Thinking about taking a bicycle trip or tour? North America offers many beautiful places for you to visit by bike. Oregon and the Pacific Northwest should top your list. You should come here for authentic, reenergizing bicycling adventures you won’t find anywhere else.
Are you wondering if you’re up to the challenge of bicycling here or anywhere? Here are some thoughts about that important question….
How do you decide if cycling in the Oregon and the Pacific Northwest is something you could do, particularly if you are not an experienced bicyclist already?
Well, for starters, bicycles have been around for a while. In fact, they showed up soon after the founding of the United States. The rider of this model from 1817 didn’t pedal his bike but just walked it along, and then coasted downhill using his feet for brakes!
Bikes have changed a lot since then. They got brakes, pedals, and gears. A bicyclist even powered an airplane that flew across the English Channel! Bikes in good condition are safe and reliable, and you can have your choice of foot-pedaled, hand-pedaled, upright, recumbent (reclining rider), and electric bikes. And then there are mopeds with gasoline motors and tricycles or quadracycles for stability.
There are tandem bikes for two, and bikes with trailers used to haul little kids or groceries. Racing bikes. Mountain bikes. Gravel-grinding bikes. Touring bikes. A whole galaxy of bike choices.
So, if you think about it, you’ll realize that bicycling, unlike some other sports and outdoor activities, could really be for everyone. Even you!
Why? Well, almost no matter what your fitness or physical condition, you can probably be mobile on a bike, trike, or quad. And no matter how much money you have, you can probably find a new or used bike in your price range. If you decide to own a bike, fixing a bike is pretty inexpensive. And when you travel, cycling businesses may rent you bikes.
You don’t have to own fancy, Spandex clothes to go bicycling around here. Regular loose-fitting clothes will do. Look at the top-hat wearing guy in the old graphic! And bicycle helmets…must-have, must-use items…are often inexpensive and, in some cases, even free from police or fire departments, schools, or charitable organizations. The same with high-visibility bibs or clothing.
You don’t have to be able to ride fifty or a hundred miles to be a bicyclist…ever. Around the block a few times could do for you when you get started, although you may want to go further later on. This Cycle Umpqua website shows rides of many different distances and difficulty. You can pick how far and how hard you want to ride. Up to you.
You can ride alone, with family, or as a part of a bicycle group or club. You can ride from place to place by bike, or travel by car to a place and enjoy a few local rides from the comfort of your lodgings. Again, up to you.
Bicycling is all up to you!
Now that we’ve settled the question of whether you can be a bicyclist in whatever way you choose, let’s talk about an important subject: where you ride.
Most people ride their bicycles distances less than ten miles from their homes. They go back and forth to work or school, or out and around the neighborhood for exercise, or off to a store for a few items and then home.
Fortunate riders have trails, paved or dirt, to ride on. Trails reduce the threat of accidents with motor vehicles. And bike lanes along roads help separate traffic and keep bicyclists safe, too.
Still, no matter what routes they use, most bicyclists living in cities or suburbs complain about congestion, noise, and near-misses by vehicles. Even when they take early-morning rides, traffic is still too loud and too present.
And many times, other bicyclists, joggers, and walkers have the same idea about how to have the quietest and least-congested experience. So, sharing the road means having to swerve, slow down, and sometimes stop to avoid hitting slower-moving folks.
Just too much going on close to home for optimum riding.
So, why not add bicycling in interesting, wide-open country to your next vacation or business trip? Try a different kind of trip? Get away from noise, congestion, and too many distractions or other users of the same spaces?
Many places in rural America could and do work to give bicyclists great experiences. But n Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, rides are very special, particularly here in the Umpqua Valley.
Across the region–from Washington, to Idaho, to Oregon–we offer waving-grass prairies, sun-drenched deserts, and lush, high mountain forests and lakes. The incredible natural diversity in our public lands and parks is matched by the economic diversity reflected in our “working landscapes:” farms, ranches, and managed forests.
Our rural roads are often empty for much of the day. We don’t have rush hours or traffic jams. For the most part, our drivers are respectful and know how to Share the Road. If a bicyclist gets in trouble, drivers generally stop to help.
Our people are friendly. Our hospitality is legendary. And many of our foods, beers, wines, and restaurants are internationally famous…and available even in our small- and mid-sized towns. Here in the Umpqua Valley, we offer the most diverse palate of varietal wines in the Pacific Northwest and perhaps in the Nation.
Our winemakers have won awards in competitions throughout the region and around the world. Our meats…poultry, lamb, beef, buffalo, and seafood…are sought after by Michelin-starred chefs. Growers ship our organic blueberries and hazelnuts to Asia and Europe where they are in high demand .
Seven Feathers Casino and Resort offers gaming and gourmet dining in Canyonville, Oregon. Diamond Lake Resort serves customers high in the Cascade Mountains at the threshold of Crater Lake National Park. Many of our communities offer festivals, free music, and casual vacationing throughout the summer. The Pacific Northwest, Oregon and the Umpqua Valley are just those kinds of places and people.
Ready to come and play? Here are some resources to start your planning:
Travel Oregon: https://traveloregon.com/
Experience Washington: http://www.experiencewa.com/
Visit Idaho: https://visitidaho.org/
Visit Northern California: http://www.visitcalifornia.com/trip/ultimate-northern-california
Once you’ve decided on a region, focus on local resources. Many jurisdictions will offer travel information or brochures and online resources like these in Cycle Umpqua Country:
Forest Service: https://www.fs.fed.us/visit/know-before-you-go/camping
Bureau of Land Management: https://www.blm.gov/tag/camping
Oregon State Parks: https://oregonstateparks.org/
Travel Southern Oregon: https://www.southernoregon.org/
Douglas County Parks: http://www.co.douglas.or.us/parks/campgrounds.asp
Experience Roseburg, Oregon: http://www.experienceroseburg.com
Don’t forget about our weather. Some parts of Oregon get lots of rain and others don’t. So, it’s good to check seasonal trends and present weather to help you decide what to bring for your visit. And practice riding sensible distances before you come…you’ll enjoy your trip much more if you do.