Tucked about a hour away from Portland, Oregon is a different place. The Willamette Valley (accent on the la) is an area of vineyards, farms, small cities and much open land. Where Portland’s weather in summer is in the 60s and low 70s, The Willamette Valley is in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and very dry.
Susan and I had the opportunity to ride there today from the B & B we are staying at.
Here is the good and the bad.
The free mountain bikes at the B & B are all there is, as the bike shop in town does not rent bicycles and there is nothing else nearby. The owners are, obviously, casual cyclists as the men’s bike was a Trek and the womens, a Huffy! Both are in need of serious tune ups. However, they were ride able if you knew how to futz with brakes and shifting.
The ride start is good. Down you go from the hilltop B & B and turn onto roads that descend more than they ascend (yes, the bad comes later). We passed open fields, vineyards, llama farms, tiny towns, teenagers jumping off a bridge into the ‘ole water hole’ and a full wood log railroad trestle.
We meandered over rolling terrain on heavy mountain bikes with under inflated tires in 90 degree heat. So, we are bit dedicated or stupid. The ride was as lovely as we were hot.
Most of the roads were super quiet, except State Route 99. While a busy road, it had a good shoulder and was flatter than the alternatives.
The end was the payback however. Until the last 1.5 miles we had descended 1000 feet and ascended 500 feet.
SO… up we went. The first .7 miles was not too bad and gained us 200 feet.
However, the last .8 miles was the driveway up to the B & B. Four sections of this driveway (all paved) had grades over 20%! Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the heavy bike. Maybe it was me, but for the first time in 12 years I had to walk parts of that driveway. The last part was so steep that I had to rest while walking the bike!!!
Loved the ride. Would even put up with the bikes. Will not do that driveway again, however. So another ride is up in the air. If the owners will drive the bikes back up, I may go out again. We’ll see.
The quieter view from the B&B.
BTW: Oregon is an incredibly bicycle friendly state. There are bike lanes everywhere, even on highways. On one highway from Portland to the Airport, I even saw off road bike paths! Motorists and cyclists seriously share the road.
There was even a sign at a busy right hand turn in Bend, Or. “Motorists Yield to Cyclists”.
In Portland there are multiple bike hooks in the cars of the light rail system.
More on this in another blog, however.