Cycle Oregon and Oregon State Parks are a winning team. The state agency partners with Cycle Oregon to allow its locations to be used for rest stops and overnight camps during events, which in turn exposes more people to Oregon’s parks.
“Cycle Oregon has opened up a huge promotional opportunity for us,” says Alex Phillips, a Bicycle Recreation Specialist for Oregon Parks & Recreation Department. “When people come through on their rides, it lets us show our parks to people who might not have otherwise known about them.”
The two organizations have collaborated on exposing people to the beauty of Oregon in another way, too. Cycle Oregon and Oregon State Parks joined forces in 2009 to create the Scenic Bikeways program. Cycle Oregon provided a signature grant of $50,000 to get the program going, and State Parks is responsible for designating and maintaining the routes.
“Cycle Oregon provided the seed to get the Scenic Bikeways program going,” says Phillips. “It wouldn’t have been able to survive without that.”
The Scenic Bikeways program designates cycling routes in various regions of Oregon, creating accessible ways for visitors to see the state’s natural beauty. The Scenic Bikeway program also brings economic development to the designated areas—in 2014, Scenic Bikeways brought $12.4 million into the Oregon economy.
The first official bikeway in Oregon, and in the whole United States, was the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. This 134-mile Bikeway gets ridden over 18,000 times a year, including day and overnight trips.
“The Willamette Valley is Oregon’s most popular Scenic Bikeway,” says Phillips.
Those looking for a quieter experience—and “a great training ride for Cycle Oregon,” according to Phillips—should check out the Blue Mountain Century Scenic Bikeway. This 108-mile route in Eastern Oregon, which is filled with long, rolling hills, only sees about 1,000 riders a year.
Cycle Oregon’s Week Ride this year travels one of the newest bikeways, the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway, an out-and-back route that starts and ends in the quaint, eccentric town of Port Orford.
“The Wild River bikeway goes inland along the scenic Elk River, and offers several opportunities for views along the coast,” says Phillips. “Cycle Oregon riders will enjoy incredible views from Cape Blanco State Park—to the lighthouse, and all up and down the coast.”