This was my sixth or seventh CO.
Cycle Oregon is a grand and luxurious event, a big, noisy, rolling party
mounted by a monstrous, finely tuned machine. Most CO participants
are there for reasons other than what I think most of us here would call
"touring by bicycle." Cycle Oregon isn't really about "touring." Its
mission is to bring urbanites out into rural Oregon to spend money.
While that may sound dismissive, the participants dump huge cash
inflows into small towns and the Cycle Oregon Foundation (having
raised more than a million dollars) contributes large amounts to social,
cultural, and bike-related projects. You can read all about it: http://www.cycleoregon.com/fund.htm
Cycle Oregon is a gold standard against which many similar events can
be compared. You get a royal treatment for your money. You must like
or be able to adapt quickly to riding in and sleeping with big crowds.
Disclosure: I am associated with Ride Idaho. I have not been on an AC
event or tour. I have participated in small multi-day tours and small
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go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."