Executive director of Cycle Oregon on cancellation: 'It's been a - KPTV - FOX 12

Executive director of Cycle Oregon on cancellation: 'It's been a really tough day'

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Courtesy: Cycle Oregon Courtesy: Cycle Oregon
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

For the first time in its history Cycle Oregon is canceling its annual ride as wildfires burning through the state have put a halt to this 30 year tradition.

It’s a sad day for cyclists in the Pacific Northwest. More than 2,000 riders who paid $1,000 for a ticket are left with a lot of questions.

Organizers say cyclists were flying to Oregon from all across the country and even the world for the event. But all riders seem to agree; the wildfires are too close for comfort.

Cycle Oregon said the biggest hit from this cancellation will be all the little towns in central Oregon expecting a big economic boost from the visiting riders.

Riders tell FOX 12 that the massive ride is impossible to describe.

“If you’re a cyclist there’s nothing like Cycle Oregon, it’s amazing,” said Robert Holler.

Holler said he’s been training for the event for the entire year. He’s taken part in the past 11 rides.

“We’re setting up a town every single day,” said Steve Schulz, executive director of Cycle Oregon.

The traveling city makes up a big footprint. They take over 15 acres each night, staying in a different community. 2,600 riders stay on the move for seven days.

“We’re like a giant fire camp. We have kitchens and showers, main stage, beer gardens. Massage and yoga,” said Schulz.

“They’re dealing with the fires and smoke, and now they’re going to miss out on the economic boost,” said Holler.

All that expected tourism, more than a year of planning, and thousands of excited riders have all been stopped in their tracks.

“The whole state is a tinder box right now, there are fires everywhere. This is unprecedented its uncharted territory for us.” said Schulz.

Schulz said canceling was as a heartbreaking decision.

"It’s been a really tough day," said Schulz

Now, his biggest concern?

“Disappointing people. We are very emotionally attached to this. We will be back we will continue to ride, so just stay tuned,” said Schulz.

Organizers said riders will be compensated in some way, Cycle Oregon is putting together a plan and will release that information next Wednesday.

In the meantime, many cyclists are still free from September 9-16. Cycle Oregon said it’s compiling a list of activities for visitors still coming to Oregon.

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