Venturing out on a bike puts you in touch with the landscape, the history, and the people of the area you're riding in very real ways. Even a short spin not far from home can lift you beyond your usual perspective, like a real-time multi-sensory google map. You get a different view of things from the handlebars.
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them...Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motorcar only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle." Ernest Hemingway
Riding here, you’ll put yourself in touch with an ever-evolving story of a place and its people. The Valley continues to be a place of natural beauty, of tremendous agriculture and industry, an ongoing struggle for economic vitality and cultural diversity. Virtually everywhere there’s something that reveals part of the overall story: the historic places, the state and local parks, the monuments that give homage to early pioneer missionaries, settlers, and leaders. Historic churches and schools, municipal buildings and bridges tell the story as well. You can get a strong sense of all of this when you ride here, and in a very real sense you feel like a true participant in Valley life yourself.
Inside Salem, city riding is quite accessible and nothing’s terribly far away. Head out of town and see the bigger picture: farms, orchards, wineries and wetlands will unfold in front of you in virtually every direction. Scores of bustling small towns are within easy riding distance from Salem. There's so much to take in.
Put simply, the riding here is great.
And, when you get off of the bike, the coffee’s good, too.