best bike rides in Oregon

COOL ROUTE: Covered Bridges

This is an awesome scenic bikeway!

Here’s a fact not many people know: Lane County has more remaining covered bridges than any county west of the Mississippi River. So what could be better than a ride that celebrates several of them — along with some small-town charm, a beautiful lake at the foot of the Cascades and a smooth, mostly flat rails-to-trails bike path from downtown out past the lake?

The Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway follows the Cottage Grove Covered Bridge Tour Route and is appropriate for almost any rider. You can do an out-and-back on the Row River Trail path and stay traffic-free, or for variety you can go out on the path and back via roads – including one good climb, if you like that sort of thing (you can also easily bypass the climb). This is a refreshing, naturally beautiful ride you’re sure to enjoy, and a great chance to check out Cottage Grove, an historic town with a handsome old downtown and lots of activities and attractions.

From parking areas in downtown Cottage Grove at the Community Center or Bohemia Park, visitors can travel 17 miles of smoothly paved off-street path along the north side of Dorena Lake, passing three of the six covered bridges on the route. All three of these bridges are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Dorena Bridge is a popular wedding site, for those visitors wanting a bit of romance in addition to scenery. Four bathroom stops, seven parking areas, and three picnic areas along this part of the route provide many rest opportunities and a chance to get off the bike and enjoy the scenery. A store in the modest community of Dorena provides snacks and refreshments.

Visitors comfortable riding on the shouldered roadway can ride the 17 miles back to Cottage Grove on the road, and view another covered bridge. Those who want to bypass the Garoutte Road hill can return to the bike path at the western end of the lake. Two campgrounds and one bathroom stop provide recreational and rest opportunities.

Within Cottage Grove, visitors share low-speed Main Street with cars through the National Register-listed Downtown Commercial Historic District. A number of coffee and ice cream spots, restaurants, pubs, shops, and a bike shop face Main Street and offer refreshment or services. At the western end of downtown, the Bikeway includes views of two more covered bridges and a footbridge. Of note is the Chambers Bridge, the only covered railroad bridge west of the Mississippi also listed on the National Register.



This route comes to us courtesy of the Ride Oregon website.

Summer Riding for a Stronger Winter

This article is presented by the Harvest Century, a huge celebration of an awesome riding season. The ride takes place every September out of Hillsboro. Don’t miss it this year!

Now is certainly not the time to think about winter, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be preparing for a strong winter on our bikes.

Savoring the sweet days of summer on a bike is a fantastic way to inspire more riding all winter long. When you enjoy your rides, they leave a better lasting impression.

Too often we approach our rides as simply something we must crank though. And while it’s true that the fitness aspect of cycling is immensely valuable, the mental aspect is equally valuable, but only if you approach it with the right state of mind.


Try this: Get up out of your chair. Down a glass of water. Grab your helmet, a lock, your bag (if you don’t have a basket) and wallet. Leave all your riding gear behind. Clip in if you must because of your pedals. Wear your normal clothes. Hop on your bike. Pedal slowly. Round the block. Wander aimlessly. Have no plan. Stop for coffee. Grab a beer. Pop by a friend’s house. Stop at the farmers market. Swing by the store. Get an ice cream cone. Wave at neighbors.

Savor the sights, scents and sounds of summer.

Take it all in. Relax. Sink in.

This is what cycling is all about.

Bike Shopping

Fall and winter are excellent times to start your bike shopping for next summer. Shops are never as busy as they are in the summertime, and you’ll be able to get more attention from the staff.

This makes for a much better shopping experience.

What to Look for

What is your budget? This will help narrow down the overwhelming number of choices. We know you’re probably not interested in the most expensive bicycles in the world, but to get what you truly want, you’ll have to spend a little money. Knowing your budget in advance will help you stay on track, but be sure to come up with a range and have some flexibility. After all, your bike in an investment in your health.

Knowing exactly what type of riding you want to be doing, and what features your current bike lacks, will also help you hone in. Remember – no bike has it all. If you’re looking for the cargo-cross-light weight-zippy-gravel grinder, you need more than one bike.

Plan a good time to go

Not all shop staff are well trained to help sell bikes. Go at a time when the shop is less busy so they can spend more time with you.

Take a good test ride

How does it climb? Descend? You want to know how the bike performs in a variety of scenarios. Don’t rush your test ride – the bike is a big investment and you want to know you’re really comfortable on the bike before you make your purchase.

Don’t fear the test ride! Enjoy it!

  • Ride as many bikes as you want.
  • Be sure the bike is adjusted for you and the tires are aired up.
  • Return to the shop and re-ride the bikes you’re most interested in.
  • Consider visiting multiple shops.

Go prepared

Know what you want to ask, do a little research, then hit the shops. This will save you a lot of time in the long run. And that’s time you can use to catch up on your book, hit up Red Flush casino and of course ride your bike much more.

Bring a hit list of questions and ideas you want to go through with the shop.

Do careful research

Be sure you know what you’re getting for your money. Search around online. Maybe even take a break every so often for Red Flush casino to clear your head, then return to the task of components, parts and cost.

Whatever decision you make, enjoy the ride!

Wear the Jersey! Restore the Gorge!

The Columbia Gorge is a beloved place for so many reasons, most of which revolve around the boundless beauty of the natural environment. The region is home to dense lush forests, striking mountain views, the Mighty Columbia (the largest river by volume in the US), gushing waterfalls, endless hiking trails, supreme mt. biking, perfect ribbon roads of farmland serenity….

Eagle Creek Fire Damage

Long after the Eagle Creek wildfire has fully smoldered, this designated National Scenic Area will be forever changed. It is going to take extensive work to assess the damage then repair and re-open popular destinations like the Angle’s Rest hiking trail.

Restore the Gorge – This Jersey Saves Trees!

One bike jersey at a time.

Portland Jerseys, in partnership with ORbike, wants to aid these important rehabilitation efforts. For every one of their Columbia Gorge jerseys sold, they will donate $20 to Friends of the Columbia Gorge for restoration efforts.

On top of that, Portland Jerseys always plants a tree for every jersey sold.

Buy the Jersey Today!

Wear your Gorge-ous jersey with pride and know you are one of the people restoring the Columbia Gorge.

New Routes for Arthritis Bike Classic

The Arthritis Bike Classic (Septenber 16-22) is one of the best rides in Oregon – an opportunity to make new friends while riding your bike fully supported for days on end.

Due to wildfires raging all across the state, many rides have been canceled or have had to re-route. Arthritis Bike Classic was no exception. The annual supported ride decided to shift inland from their traditional coastal routes so riders could explore the Willamette Valley, but they are now back to the coast.

And with the cool substitute routes and activities they have planned, we’re sure no one is going to be complaining.

“Fortunately, we were able to move the first few days to the Coast and fill in the ride with some magical locations and extracurricular events,” says Ride Director Daniella Crowder of Oregon Rides. “A ton of last minute things took place to make this happen and we are thrilled with the outcome!”

New Routes

The ride begins at Spirit Mountain Casino and follows back country roads and quiet winding routes to the coast, then heads south to Otter Rock for a wonderful night camping on the lawns of the Otter Crest Inn – looking directly out onto the Pacific Ocean. Dinner that night is at the Flying Dutchman Winery where riders will have the opportunity to bottle their own wine with an Arthritis Bike Classic 2017 label.

The next day features the epic roads of Lincoln County as the ride snakes along the Yaquina and Siletz Rivers and riders spend the night at Moonshine Park.

After this lovely coastal cruise, the Arthritis Bike Classic will sneak along the isolated back country roads of Logsden, Nashville and Summit on the way to Corvallis.

The rest of the ride remains the same, with gorgeous Willamette Valley riding and a finish at Hagg Lake.


Cool Route: Rocky Butte Loops

This fun little route will give you some climbing – it makes for a great training ride if you’re getting ready for a distance ride – do it more than once. Trust us!


This route comes from the Best Bike Rides in Portland book by ORbike editor Ayleen Crotty and published by Falcon Guides.

Vineyard Tour Cancelation

A message from the organizers of the Vineyard Tour in the Umpqua Valley. The ride was supposed to take place on September 9.

The 2017 Vineyard Tour bicycle ride has been CANCELLED due to air quality conditions from the current wildfires in Oregon. Those already registered will receive a voucher for next year’s ride along with 2017 Vineyard Tour T-shirt. We thank you for your continued support for our cycling club event.

Mark your calendars for next year’s ride: September 8. 2018.

Big Thank Yous

We would like to thank our sponsors: Umpqua Health, Weston Eye Center-NVISION Eye Centers, The News Review, TMS Call Center, Douglas Medical Equipment Supply, AHM Brands, Mike H. Lee D.D.S. P.C., Driver Dentistry, Big Foot Beverages, Canyon Creek Bicycles, McDonalds, Melrose Vineyards, Henry Estates Winery, POWERADE, River Blendz Coffee, Backside Brewing Co., Old 99 Brewing Co., Two Shy Brewing, and OSU Discovery Garden.

RIDE NEWS: Wildfires and Riding

Wildfires are burning all throughout our region. At one point, 44% of all US fires and 50% of all firefighters were in Oregon. With the recent blaze in the Columbia River Gorge, this number has likely increased.

No matter where you live in the region, chances are you are affected by the fires that are burning.

Air Quality

Air quality is an issue for many parts of the state. It is not recommended that you exert yourself in such conditions. As much as you might be eager to clock those miles, now is not the time to be out riding your bike all day.

If you must ride your bike, wear a particulate filtering mask,. They’re inexpensive and easy to purchase at any hardware store. Plan to swap out your mask every two days if you have a long commute. There are many types on the market. We like this handy guide to safe masks and what to buy.

Tracking Air Quality With an App

You can track the air quality in many ways. WeatherBug is the app we recommend. You’ll be able to see a smoke overlay on maps and easily determine the severity, then re-route your weekend riding plans if necessary.

The app is robust, but be sure to disallow bluetooth and close the app when not using it – otherwise your battery will drain in ho time.

If you’d rather check on your computer, we like the site Real Time Air Quality Index.

Ride Updates

Unfortunately some rides have been canceled due to the fires, but others have decided to proceed.

Vineyard Tour – Umpqua Valley – Canceled
Cycle Oregon – Central Oregon – Canceled
Ride the Rim – Crater Lake – Not canceled
Arthritis Bike Classic – Willamette Valley – Not canceled but there will be some route adjustments
Harvest Century – Washington County – Not canceled
Oregon 12/24 – Bend – Postponed until October 14/15
Cascading Rivers Ride – Estacada – Canceled
Jensie Gran Fondo – Marin County – Not canceled

As far as we know, all other rides are proceeding as planned. If you have additional information not listed here, please share it with us.

Stay Up to Date

  1. Check the ride website and contact the organizers
  2. We’ll keep this post updated as info becomes available
  3. Follow us on Twitter

Stay Safe

When in doubt, stay inside and stay safe. As much as we’re all eager to squeeze in a few last rides before winter is here, your long term health is much more important.

Watch the Video

The Columbia River Gorge ablaze.

How to Help Your Friends Ride Bikes

This article is presented by the Harvest Century, a huge celebration of an awesome riding season. The event is every September in Hillsboro.

For those of us who love to ride, there’s a strong pull to get our friends and family on bikes. Perhaps it’s evangelism, but perhaps it’s merely that we want to be able to spend bike time in their good company.

If you’ve got people in your life you hope to inspire onto a bike, here are some ideas. An inspire ts a carefully chosen word here – forcing, guilting or other negative approaches are approaches fraught with failure and the potential to damage friendships.

Get the bike set up

Find out what is the condition of your friend’s bike with a quick phone call to go over the basics. Are both wheels on? (good sign) Do the brakes touch the handlebars? (no good). If you determine the bike is basically rideable, plan a visit to your friend’s house with plenty of time to get the bike set up. Bring a helmet, lock and lights if your friend doesn’t already have these items.

When you visit, pump up the tires, oil the chain and give the bike a look-over. If it looks safe to ride, plan a short trip. If the bike needs work, suggest taking it to a shop – TOGETHER. If possible, go on a weekday or early weekend morning when the shop is less busy and can give you more thoughtful attention.

Plan a Short, Fun Trip

We know, you WANT to take your friend bikepacking or on a long adventure, but if he or she is newly getting back on the bike, it’s best to start with a short trip that will end in glee, not frustration. This leaves a much better biking impression. Here are a few of our favorite starter rides:

  • Head out in the morning to a breakfast place nearby.
  • Ride to a farmer’s market. YOU bring the carrying capacity and let your friend ride free (unless she/he is ambitious). Afterwards, make a snack from the treats you gathered at the market or stop for coffee.
  • Head to the store and buy fixins for a BBQ, then head home and enjoy the bounty you gathered.
  • Arrive at your friend’s house with EVERYTHING necessary for a picnic! Ride to a nearby park and enjoy a summer day on two wheels.
  • Join in on a fun event, like a Pedalpalooza ride or other free short-ride event. The energy of a crowd is infectious! Your friend will be inspired to see so many other bike loving people.
  • Head to another friend’s house for a visit, something under 3 miles.
  • Cruise around a neighborhood you like and stop for a beer, wine, coffee, window browsing.
  • Plan to ride together to an event for which your friend would have otherwise driven, but something closer than 6 miles away. Meet together at his/her house and ride together.

Keep at it

If your friend says no or gives excuses but is still expressing a desire to ride more, help with gentle pushes and AWESOMELY fun opportunities. We like this sort of approach: “Hey, a group of us is going to ride down to the Waterfront Blues Fest together. We are planning to meet first at XYZ bar that’s around the corner from your house. Why don’t you meet us for a drink and we can all ride down together?”

Keep it Fun

During the ride, avoid criticism or correcting. Instead, lead by example. Smart people will catch on to what you’re doing with respectful and safe riding behavior. Be open to answering a million questions (hopefully your friend asks!) and approach all inquiries with an enthusiastic and friendly response.

Go slowly on the road, avoid making harsh maneuvers, don’t squeeze through yellow lights.

Make your turns known in advance. “In two streets, we’re going to turn left.” Knowing what’s coming makes the ride much ore comfortable to a new rider, who likely has a lot of thoughts rushing through his or her head.

Whatever you do, keep your approach lighthearted, fun and positive. Hard pushing creates resistance. Inspire!

Seal the Deal with Rewards!

We’re never too old to love rewards. Sure, a 3 mile ride may not seem like a big deal TO YOU, but it might be for your friend, even if she/he doesn’t act like it. It’s not so much the distance as it is the fact that you did it – you got out on a ride. So celebrate!

Beers afterwards. Go out for dinner. Stop for a snack. Something!

How will your friend remember your ride? Hopefully as a tasty and fun day spent with a good friend.

Cycle Oregon 2017 – The Classic – Canceled

It is with a heavy heart that we report Cycle Oregon 2017 has been canceled due to the wildfires ravaging Oregon right now. After carefully monitoring the worsening situation for the last few weeks, the event has come to this difficult decision.

AFter consulting with state and regional agencies, Cycle Oregon decided to declare their first-ever ride cancellation.

“Fifty percent of individuals fighting fires nationally are in Oregon and Washington.These fires are spread throughout the entire state, with the heaviest fires being in central and southern Oregon – encompassing our 2017 Classic route. Currently, fires are impacting five of our seven days with smoke and air quality levels ranging from unhealthy to hazardous.”
– Executive Director Steve Schultz.

This is a Big Deal

The wildfire situation is a big deal, and Cycle Oregon is a big deal. Cycle Oregon isn’t “just another supported bike ride.”With 2,500 participants moving camp every day in some of the most rural places in our state, Cycle Oregon is a huge undertaking. The event also brings much-nedd support to rural communities through their grant program. With a long history in the state, we have Cycle Oregon to thank for pioneering many innovative projects like the Scenic Bikeways.

The Impact

Riders come from all over the world for Cycle Oregon. The event typically sells out well in advance, and many people made their travel plans back in the spring. Hundreds of volunteers and support personnel re-arrange their schedules take time off work, buy extra supplies and otherwise coordinate their personal efforts to be nearly off the grid for a week.

Cautious Planning

Cycle Oregon is a ride that happens out in some of Oregon’s most rural areas, where significant impact from natural conditions is par for the course.

Care for the riders, the communities through which the event travels and the environment that surrounds the ride have always be of utmost importance to Cycle Oregon. The event has weathered many a storm in its 30 year history. Wildfires have caused mid-ride re-routes in the past. Torrential downpours have flooded campsites. Sometimes both of these burdens have happened at the same time (Cambrdige 2015, anyone?). But never has the ride encountered such destruction as is currently occurring all around the route.

From the Director

Executive Director Steve Schultz summed it up best in this recently released letter.

Wildfires in Central Oregon Force Cancellation of 2017 Cycle Oregon Classic Ride

Oregon is in crisis.

Forty-four percent of acres burning nationally are in Oregon. Fifty percent of individuals fighting fires nationally are in Oregon and Washington. Eight of the highest trained firefighting teams in the nation are working on the fires in Oregon. These fires are spread throughout the entire state, with the heaviest fires being in central and southern Oregon – encompassing our 2017 Classic route. Currently, fires are impacting five of our seven days with smoke and air quality levels ranging from unhealthy to hazardous. Previously designed alternate routes are now affected with fire and smoke from both new and existing fires. Statewide weather forecasts for the foreseeable future are for more hot, dry and windy weather with an associated increase in fire activity and smoke production.

After discussions with numerous authorities including the Oregon Department of Forestry, the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Oregon Department of Transportation and others and conducting on site personal meetings with Incident Commanders at the fires, we have come to the most difficult decision to cancel the 2017 Classic event.

This is an enormous disappointment for all of us. We as a community rise to challenges, but sometimes the risks far outweigh the potential benefits. We have exhausted the options and possibilities of doing anything but cancelling. The one priority that we won’t jeopardize is safety; we feel we cannot go forward without doing just that.

We are sensitive to the current struggles throughout our communities and our state. Right now, Oregon needs our support; Cycle Oregon will not add to these already challenging times.

This situation is unprecedented in Cycle Oregon history; we are in uncharted territory. As we work on next steps, we ask for time as we determine the best path forward. We realize you have many questions and we are committed to answering them. We will focus our current efforts on taking care of our communities as they deal with their struggles, being as generous as possible to our riders and partners, and supporting our state and those standing up and fighting these perils on our behalf. Cycle Oregon is something that we all embrace, and want to experience, but there are much bigger things at play here.

Over the next number of days, we’ll be working on how we stop this freight train and assess. We will reach back out to you by next Wednesday with our next steps.

Cycle Oregon is more than just a brand or a bike ride. It’s a way of being. We will move forward. We will embrace the environment that surrounds us – good or bad – find meaning in it, and remember that we are here to make a difference. And we will ride on.

Steve Schulz
Executive Director

Fire Map

At the time of ride cancellation. Click for a larger version.

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