When the weather warms, it seems far too many Oregon byways can be busy blurs that just don’t allow you enough time to slow down, get out of the race and set your own pace for travel across the state.
In the southern Willamette Valley, you will slow down and savor the spirit of cycling adventure near Cottage Grove. You’ll love rolling through six bridges on a 36-mile stretch of flat, paved bikeway along the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway as you glide past scenery that takes your breath away.
Built in the 1920’s, Chambers Bridge had hit on hard times was on the brink of collapse a couple of years ago when the community decided they couldn’t let that happen. They raised millions of dollars to fund the restoration in 2010 and soon began to take the old bridge apart piece-by-piece.
The rebuilding of Chambers Bridge went on the fast track! They used 30 percent of the old bridge materials and re-built a connection with history that reopened to cyclists and hikers in December 2011.
“We saved a structure that defined us and sets us apart from every other town in America!” said Travis Palmer, Cottage Grove resident.
It is also a reflection of the larger Cottage Grove dedication to hold on to history: “We are a classic small town in America downtown! If you walk Downtown, see all these great old shops and yet we’ve got modern business tucked right next to it. We fancy ourselves as the melting pot of the Pacific Northwest.”
Blair Winter showed up a couple years ago and added a key ingredient to the Cottage Grove pot when he bought Rainy Peak Bicycles, the town’s only bike shop.
He is an ambassador of sorts for the fast growing two-wheeled recreation and said the new Covered Bridge Bikeway is perfect fit for the southern end of the Willamette Valley.
“It’s family friendly and a really easy to ride with little traffic, and of course, the mountain bike community has discovered some of our great mountain trails as well.”
He is right! Oakridge, Oregon is little more than an hour away and boasts over 500 miles of Cascade Mountain trails that offer a challenge and fine compliment to the new scenic bikeway.
If you don’t normally travel with your bike – not to worry – Rainy Peak also rents bikes, so you can cruise in, rent a bike and get on the new bikeway in a matter of minutes.
Editor’s note: In Oregon, a bicycle is legally considered a vehicle, and the same Oregon road laws apply. Please “be seen” and practice safe riding. Vehicle traffic, farm equipment and narrow shoulders exist on many Oregon roads, and you may find that construction projects, traffic or other events may cause road conditions or signage to differ from the map results, ride descriptions and directions. For travel options plus weather and road conditions, visit TripCheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941. Routes listed on this website are for informational purposes and intended as a reference guide only.