"With Brains in your head, and Feet in your shoes, you can go anywhere, anywhere you choose!" (From "'Oh, The Places You'll Go!"' by Dr. Seuss.)
By event, we mean walks, bikes, swims, skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking or canoeing. The vast majority of Oregon events are walks.
At the hosted events, you will usually find a table covered over with brochures. Most people come away with a handful that tell of future events hosted by the Cedar Milers or other clubs in Oregon and Washington - or even Idaho, Alaska and California.
Another popular source of information is the Oregon Trails State Volkssport Association (OTSVA). Check this link: http://www.walkoregon.org and you will find information for walks in Oregon and SW Washington hosted by other clubs. You'll also find a link to sign up for a weekly email update of volkswalking events in Oregon and Washington.
We have periodically been a feature story in the Oregonian's Washington County Weekly, Beverton edition supplement of the newspaper. You may be able to find some of these articles in the Oregonian archives. We also send walk information to the area TV stations community calendars. Our event brochures are distributed to several businesses, recreation centers, and fitness centers in the area.
How To Get Started
In a sport as casual and fun as ours, getting started is easy! Show up at a Hosted Event, look for someone who looks like they've been around before, and tell them "I'm new. How do I get started?" We are all happy to help! The volunteers at the start point are ALWAYS happy to answer questions as well.
Each event has a specific start point. If it is a hosted event, there will be volunteers handy to guide you through the simple, three-minute process. You will be asked to sign a liability waiver, then you will receive a numbered start card. There will also be maps with directions.
You are welcome to participate at absolutely no charge, though you must still complete the registration form. Those who participate for Distance or Event credit pay a modest $3.00 fee at the start. (More on Distance and Event credit below.)
Year-Round Events (YREs) usually consist of a "start box" located at a health club, hospital, or large store that offers access at convenient hours. A start box may be a stand-alone podium or a two-drawer file cabinet. Contained inside are instructions, sign-in sheets and maps. These also require you to take an envelope or start card with you.
YREs differ from Hosted Events in some important ways. These are unmarked and require the use of a map and directions. This means you have to guide yourself on the walk. We devote a lot of effort to making these routes easy to follow. You follow the route on your own, at nearly any time convenient to you. YREs must be completed during daylight hours for safety reasons.
If you are new to Volkswalking, it is best to attend a few Hosted Events first before trying a Year-Round Event.
Hosted events are usually well marked using brightly colored arrows and ribbons. Follow the markings or the instructions on your map. We usually have a checkpoint with water and a restroom along the way. Volunteers at the checkpoint will mark your start card as you pass.
For YREs, the checkpoint is usually some permanent feature along the route. It could be the name of a statue you will pass, the color of a house along the route or the number of steps on a stair that you will climb. This insures that you actually complete the entire distance. Don't forget to bring a pen to write the checkpoint answer!
Most events are friendly to children:
For the really young children - we like routes that favor strollers. If our route is difficult for a stroller, we will tell you why.
We also heartily endorse the American Volkssports Association Youth Programs. Girl Scouts, in particular, can join us in two separate programs, There is the Walk-Together program in which scouts can complete any walk with an adult. With advance coordination, we can make the Girl Scout Walk-Together Patch (which is designed each school year by a girl scout in a national contest) available for the $1.00 purchase fee. Scouts and other youth can also earn a special award in the Master Program. To qualify for the Master Patch, kids (accompanied by an adult) must complete 12 events over the course of one year.
We also try to accomodate folks in wheelchairs whenever possible. If a route is NOT suitable for wheelchairs, our brochures tell you why. Sometimes, if possible, we will find an alternate route that is suitable for wheelchair use.
Finishing (with few exceptions): The finishing point is also at the start point. Turn in your start card so that we will know that you completed the event. Otherwise, we may have to go looking for you! That's it. Don't forget to grab a brochure or two before you leave.
Our walks are rated on this scale:
(1) Easy walk on pavement or good trails with no significant hills. It takes the average walker two hours or so to complete a walk with this rating.
(2) Moderately easy. May be on trails that are not as well maintained. No significant difficulty with hills.
(3) Moderate walk. Some difficult terrain, substantial hills and/or steps.
(4) A more difficult walk, perhaps on poorly maintained trails.
(5) Very difficult, steep hills, rough terrain.
Remember that nasty weather can make an event much harder to complete!
The chief awards are for total Distance walked, and total Events attended. Walkers who want credit for these categories carry two special booklets. At the finish table, a volunteer will put an official sanction stamp in each book. You receive only one event credit per walk, but you can walk an event more than once if you want more distance credits.
The inside of a typical Distance Booklet. This walker likes to do each event two or even three times for extra Distance Credit. The lower-left Stamp (#12923) is for the Portland Marathon - 42 kilometers or 26.2 miles. 10K or 6.2 miles is the normal distance for a Volkswalk.
"USA" means that each of these walks took place in the United States. If you attend a walk in Canada, the stamp would have "CAN" instead.
The "YR" at the end of the stamp shows a Year-Round or self-guided Event. The first four digits show the year of the event.
Eventually, your booklets will be full of event stamps. When that happens, you send your booklets to the American Volkssport Association. They will log your achievement, then send you a colorful pin, a nice cloth patch and a certificate of achievement that you can display for friends. Distance and Event booklets cost $5.00 each. Other than postage to mail your booklets outward, there is no charge for the achievement pins, patches or certificates that you receive.
The clubs often have a variety of colorful pins, medals or patches that commemorate a specific event. These are popular collector items. Veteran walkers are sometimes covered in them! These awards typically cost a few dollars in addition to the registration fee.
Questions? If you want more information, please come to a walk! We may be able to help you find someone to walk with. We always a volunteer who is dedicated to assisting new walkers.