Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway
If you like to roll across the Oregon countryside on two-wheels, you’ll enjoy this week’s “Grant’s Getaway.” I’ll show you how Oregon’s outstanding scenery is as easy to locate as a click of the mouse on your computer. All you need is a bike, a helmet and a spirit of adventure to enjoy the new Oregon Scenic Bikeway.
On a recent April morning at Hillsboro’s Shute Park, a small cadre of cyclists gathered to pump up their tires, stretch their leg muscles and then bundle up against the chill.
It was the start of a Saturday two-wheeled adventure with a group called “Team in Training.” Sally Miller, the team leader and a longtime cyclist, passed out maps and mileage logs to the twenty-two members of her team that were preparing for this day’s 40-mile long ride. Many were newcomers to the cycling game and were recruited by Miller or had signed up on their own to train for an upcoming fund-raising ride at Lake Tahoe this June; all part of an effort to help the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Like thousands of Oregonians, each of the riders had discovered that cycling’s a fun way to stay in shape.
Mike Olson, an avid cyclist and owner of a successful Washington County cycling business called Olson’s Bicycles, (located in Forest Grove, Oregon,) agreed with Miller’s assessment of many newcomers to cycling.
He also noted that in order to begin cycling, it’s best to do some simple homework because there are a dizzying array of bike styles to choose from and each specialize in different types of riding. Olson suggested that newcomers decide how the bike will be used: off road or on the road – touring long distances or riding locally in your neighborhood or community.
Then – find a bike that fits you! The best way to do that is to try them on – or rather, put yourself on the bike and ride it for awhile. A good bike shop should not only allow that, it should encourage you to take the bike for a spin.Be sure to check out helmets too – there are lots to choose from but make sure the one you select offers a universal fit – that will be more comfortable. A water bottle’s a must, a repair kit too and when it comes to proper clothing, Olson insisted that you stay away from cotton and stick with layered synthetics.
The members of the Salem Bike Club have discovered an enjoyable way to see a different part of Oregon each week when they ride a portion of the newly designated Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. The Scenic Bikeway takes bicycle tourism from the cities to the country according to Alex Phillips, the Bicycle Recreation Coordinator for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. She said that so far, 135 miles of paved roadways have been identified and mapped and are now available to anyone on-line.”
The Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway is just the start. Eventually, as more communities become aware of the program and nominate routes in other parts of Oregon, cyclists will enjoy new coastal routes, or rides through the Cascade Mountains and across the Oregon high desert areas.
In addition to the OPRD Scenic Bikeway program, be sure to check out Travel Oregon’s Ride Oregon Ride resource site for more statewide trails and cycling information.
Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Fridays and Saturdays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network.
About the Author: Grant McOmie
Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.