From scenic bikeways to backcountry gravel grinding, Oregon’s cycling routes are diverse and aplenty. And these world-class rides aren’t created overnight. It takes a fleet of dedicated Oregon cyclists to envision new bike trails, gather the support of communities to build them and ensure their maintenance for generations to come.
Simply put, Oregon cyclists know their stuff. So when hundreds of cycling devotees vote for their favorite supported bike rides in Oregon, you know the outcome is significant. For ORbike’s Best Bike Rides of 2016, three lesser-known events took top honors — and it’s easy to see why.
#1: Tour de Fronds
Pedal past old-growth forests, wild rivers and panoramic vistas on this summertime ride near the South Coast. Every third Saturday in June, the Tour de Fronds starts in the small town of Powers and snakes through the Coast Range and Siskiyou Mountains, capitalizing on the Glendale-Powers Bicycle Recreation Area. With seven rides available, ranging from 30 miles to 117, asphalt to gravel, elevation gains of 950 feet to 9,000, there’s something for everyone.
Best of all, the Tour de Fronds is a community-focused tour — all proceeds are donated to local organizations in Powers. Riders are encouraged to stay in Powers and support its businesses. Nicknamed the Cruiser Loop after the town’s high school mascot, the routes features local landmarks worth braking for like Elk Creek Falls, Coquille River Falls and the one-of-a-kind Cedar Bark House, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936. It’s no wonder the tour took first place, receiving a whopping 23 percent of the votes.
Next year’s ride: June 16, 2018
#2: Columbia Century Challenge
New in 2016 and an instant hit, the Columbia Century Challenge is a self-proclaimed “unique bike odyssey,” rolling through historic backroads of former logging towns west of Portland. Challenge participants chose from two routes: the Imperial Century-Plus, a 119-mile loop with up to 6,500 feet of elevation gain; or the Metric Century-Plus, an 86-mile loop with some 4,000 feet of elevation gain. This year, zealous riders added 17 miles of the unpaved Crown-Zellerbach (CZ) trail or tackled the new 40-Mile Gravel Ride along the historic Columbia River Mainline logging road with an intense 2-mile uphill climb.
Next year’s ride: June 23, 2018
#3: Harvest Century
Known as the “last organized ride of the season,” the Harvest Century takes place at the tail end of September. More so, Harvest Century is a ride with a mission — all proceeds from the ride benefit Oregon adults with disabilities, including independent living assistance and job placement. The meaningful ride goes through the verdant hills of Tualatin and Yamhill valleys, skirting wineries, farms and charming city centers. Choose from five well-signed routes: 100, 75, 45 or 25 miles, or bring the kids along for an easy 2.5-mile family ride. Riders on the longer routes are rewarded at Montinore Vineyards with $5 wine tastings. (But everyone who fundraises is a winner!)
This year’s ride: September 24, 2017
More rides for your summer bucket list
There are plenty more organized bike rides in Oregon. Check out this year’s Scenic Bikeway event rides for some of the most picturesque routes to pedal.
Photos provided in the ORbike press release.