Sunday, July 8, 2012

Riding The Scenic Bikeways In Central Oregon

However long it may take you to get there, the Oregon Scenic Bikeways in Central Oregon are definitely worth the trip. If you like cycling, and you like interacting with nature while you’re pedaling, you must find your way to Central Oregon on a day in late spring, summer, or early fall. You could ride two or three of these bikeways in their entirety in a weekend; the views along the way are nothing short of spectacular. The routes use roads that help to minimize your interaction with vehicle traffic, so it’s safer than the highways and main arterials. Most of them are fairly level and don't require big climbs. Farmland, forest, desert, and mountain views constantly make you want to stop riding and just gaze at the views. Aromatic cedar, pine, and sage add to the sensory experience that you can’t replicate inside a car. Several amenities along the way such as hotels and campgrounds, great restaurants and coffee shops, and bike shops galore will help you plan a trip in just your own way. Get thee to a Scenic Bikeway in Central Oregon. Pronto.
I just got back from there myself. In future posts I'll share about the bikeways that I rode in greater detail. I hope I can describe them in ways that convince you to try them, too. For now, though, just a little tattle on myself.
I’d planned a two-day ride that would cover three Scenic Bikeways: Metolius, Twin Bridges, and Sisters To Smith Rock. I brought camping gear, extra clothes, and the usual stuff you’d take along on a bike tour. I wanted to get a feel for fully-loaded touring. Unfortunately I learned that my tires had their limits, and I had pushed them too far. The pavement became hot and unforgiving in the summer sun. Out on Lower Bridge Road, miles away from town, I started getting flats. The blistering roads, the touring load, and jagged cinder rock proved to be too much for my tires, and they finally gave out. I ran out of spare tubes and patches, I was low on water and morale, and I wasn’t able to finish the final leg of my ride. Defeated, I turned around and pushed my bike and all my gear on a long, hot walk back into the nearest town. 

Lesson learned...the hard way. It's okay, though. Sometimes it's just how you have to learn some of this stuff. It's funny, just minutes before that first flat tire, I remember how ridiculously blissful it felt to be riding out in the forest, in such a great spot. I was thinking to myself: “Enjoy this moment. this ride’s going to be over before you know it.” Minutes was!

I will get back there. Not only is there I ride I need to finish, there are several others waiting to be experienced.

1 comment:

Joseph said...

Just discovered your blog. My wife and I just took a short trip to Bend and I'm in agreement that its a great area to ride your bicycle. We've traveled there twice by loading our bikes onto the "Valley Retriever Bus," which stops at the Greyhound/Amtrak station en route from Newport to Bend. They let you stow your bike for free and then you can bike anywhere you need to go.

On a separate note, I love your cover photo of the Union Street Bridge and your motto of "Ride Bikes, Drink Coffee." If you don't know about it already, you might appreciate my Salem business, Steel Bridge Coffee.

We're having a free coffee tasting event on the 16th. I hope you can come!

Happy biking!

-Joseph Penner