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Best collection of cycling roads?

Old 04-07-15, 03:36 PM
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Best collection of cycling roads?

Hello!

Wife and I are considering moving up to the Pacific Northwest in the near future. Wondering what some of the top locations are where you can find a good collection of small, simple paved roads and dirt roads that see minimal car traffic. We want to make cycling a big part of our life and although traveling to far-away places is always an option, local choices keep the spirit alive, so to speak.

Seems like much of Oregon and Washington are great no matter where you are, but perhaps there's a few choice spots with not just one great route, but multiple great (or at least good) routes to cycle on.

Thanks!
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Old 04-07-15, 06:07 PM
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Take a look at Bend, Ore. If I could work from home (or anywhere) or was phasing into an early, active retirement - Central Oregon would be high on my list. SO much less rain...
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Old 04-07-15, 08:21 PM
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Off the top of my head, in the Portland area:

You can ride most of the circumference of Portland by combining rides on the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade, the Springwater Trail, the I-205 MUP and the Marine Drive Bike Path.

Just north of Portland there is Leif Erikson Drive and its 70ish miles of tributary bike and foot trails that run through Forest Park.

Hagg Lake (both road biking and trail biking), Banks-Vernonia Trail, hundreds of miles of farm roads to the south and west of Portland, hundreds more of logging roads to the north...

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Old 04-07-15, 08:24 PM
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We've got awesome roads to the west of Eugene. In town is like any other small city and the surrounding ten to twenty miles has that usual suburban commuter problem. However, if you're retired/self-employed, you can pick your times and get to/from the best stuff without issues. Take a look at Google maps and look at all those paved and unpaved roads to the west of Territorial Highway and tell me you're not drooling at what awaits you. Of course, there's no traffic because there's no one living there, which means there's no services so you have to carry what you need.

Then we have some hidden treats to the east, many of which I still need to find the time to explore. I guess at some point those overlap with what the folks in Bend are riding, but I'm not sure.

Like many places I have lived, there is still the issue of occasionally having to ride on a road that's less than ideal in order to make a connection for a ride of the length one wants. If someone lives where that's not an issue, I'd love to hear about it.
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Old 04-08-15, 11:23 AM
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I wouldn't decide where to live based just on cycling. There's a lot more to life, your tastes will change, and even the best place on earth for riding will get old after a while.

In Washington, I'd choose one of the major metro areas (Seattle, Bellingham, Olympia, Spokane) or I'd choose a mountain paradise (Leavenworth, Winthrop or Mazama, Cle Elum to a lesser degree). Cities will have more roads to enjoy, both urban riding with neighborhoods and gardens, and the surrounding farmland. Mountain towns won't have as many rides, they'll be spectacular but you'll do the same one over and over again. If you lived in Heavenworth you'd wind up traveling with your bike to cover new ground. If you also hike, ski, climb (rock, alpine, even ice in cold years), Leavenworth would be a fantastic place to live. There's no Indian food, though.

A note since you're considering a move here: west of the Cascade range tends to have cooler summers, milder winters, and a lot of rain, while the area east of the crest tends to be hotter, more arid, and colder in the winter.
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Old 04-08-15, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I wouldn't decide where to live based just on cycling. There's a lot more to life, your tastes will change, and even the best place on earth for riding will get old after a while.
Definitely a good point. We are tossing around the idea of a tandem-themed B&B of sorts, so I was figuring a more remote area with more windy, scenic, less-traveled roads would be nice. For general bike-only transportation and living, I do agree that a more metro area would be preferable. We are trying to find a nice balance, I guess!
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Old 04-09-15, 12:48 AM
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I live in the suburbs of Greater Seattle and I can ride into the Cascades in about 30 minutes. In the PNW, it's not hard to find what you are looking for in any of the suburbs and/or the urban areas. For example, I think Enumclaw or Duvall would fit your bill... or downtown Portland or Seattle.
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Old 04-09-15, 07:47 AM
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Central Washington can be a decent location just because you're within a couple of hours of Seattle, three to Spokane. That's what also makes Bend such a nice location as well. North Cascades area is a popular summer destination.
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Old 04-09-15, 11:11 AM
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NB Western Oregon has lots of Logging Roads , Cut at taxpayer expense at the behest of Logging Companies to get the Trucks to the Units Being Cut
Won as a result of getting the auctioned Sale.
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Old 04-09-15, 12:22 PM
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Lots and lots of great places to ride in the PNW.

Strava Labs heatmap is a great place to see where others are riding.
https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#7/-1...3994/blue/bike
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Old 04-09-15, 01:53 PM
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I was figuring a more remote area with more windy, scenic, less-traveled roads would be nice.
Ellensburg would almost exactly fit if this is what you are looking for. The Tri-cities (Pasco/ Kennewick/ Richalnd) WA has a more vibrant economy and possibly nicer weather. West of the mountains rain is a constant however it does not keep folks from riding. Spokane is nice although to get this you would have to get away from the city.
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Old 04-10-15, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Black wallnut
Ellensburg would almost exactly fit if this is what you are looking for. The Tri-cities (Pasco/ Kennewick/ Richalnd) WA has a more vibrant economy and possibly nicer weather. West of the mountains rain is a constant however it does not keep folks from riding. Spokane is nice although to get this you would have to get away from the city.
Ellensburg might be nice, but I've had my fill of living near military bases in San Diego. However, from some quick reading it seems like the Yakima Training Center isn't so much as a base as a vast tract of land for shooting guns. Is Ellensburg much of a military town or anything?

Also, seems like the land is very similar to San Diego, being dry shrub-brush mostly. We would like to take advantage of PNW's greener areas if possible. What about Burlington or Mt. Vernon?
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Old 04-10-15, 03:39 PM
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Well, if you want something like Mt. Vernon or Burlington, then you must take a look at Bellingham. It is a bit larger and therefore has more variety of living places, shopping, and support like medical/dental and the like. It is one of the top cities for retirement in the country - it's beautiful, mountain and Puget Sound views abound, housing is affordable, and has a very campy downtown. Close enough (~2 hrs) to Seattle and Vancouver, BC for expanded shopping, entertainment, and cultural venues but with a small town yet vibrant aura. It is really a tree-huggers paradise (if that appeals to you) with the mountains close in (Mt Baker looms over the city) and the San Juan Islands (Lopez Island, the entire island, is a biking paradise) are just a short ferry ride away. The mountain biking community is huge there but roadies abound. Lots of bike shops for support and advice.

Yes, it rains during the winter months but it is usually mild and after awhile you get used to it and one never lets a wet forecast deter an outing - the saying is "even if it's raining when you leave home there is a good chance it won't be at your destination." This acknowledges the high prevelence of mico weather (spotty) caused by the proximity of the Pacific Ocean and mountains.

My wife and I live in Seattle but my daughter and her family live in the Bellingham area so we know it well. If you are interested in a tour of the area, please don't hesitate to PM me. We would be glad, actually enthusiastic, to show you around.
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Old 04-10-15, 03:44 PM
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The firing center has very few soldiers that reside there. It is mostly a training ground for JBLM over by Tacoma. The Kittitas valley is irrigated farmland mixed with small acreage homesites. There is a sizable population of commuters that work in the Puget Sound area that live here. Ellensburg has a medium to large regional university. We have forested mountains on more than 2 sides and plenty of shrub-steppe to the east and south.

The North Puget Sound region is green and has lots of rural roads with good access to the mountains and sound. I've no personal knowledge of the traffic volumes and have not cycled any of it. I've driven semi on some of it.
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Old 04-10-15, 03:51 PM
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Bellingham info: Bicycling | Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
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Old 04-11-15, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by tegnamo
Definitely a good point. We are tossing around the idea of a tandem-themed B&B of sorts, so I was figuring a more remote area with more windy, scenic, less-traveled roads would be nice. For general bike-only transportation and living, I do agree that a more metro area would be preferable. We are trying to find a nice balance, I guess!
Hood River valley would be a great place for a B&B. Nice place to ride in warmer months. Not too far from Portland.
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Old 04-11-15, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Midgen21
Lots and lots of great places to ride in the PNW.

Strava Labs heatmap is a great place to see where others are riding.
https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#7/-1...3994/blue/bike
This is a very cool map.
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Old 04-11-15, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by tegnamo
Definitely a good point. We are tossing around the idea of a tandem-themed B&B of sorts, so I was figuring a more remote area with more windy, scenic, less-traveled roads would be nice. For general bike-only transportation and living, I do agree that a more metro area would be preferable. We are trying to find a nice balance, I guess!
Twenty-nine miles from downtown Eugene, five miles past the last house, lies the Lane County Sheriff's Forest Work Camp. The County is looking to either lease it out or sell it off since they closed it about a decade ago. It's got many buildings, but will need work. It has full utilities and phone service, but no cell phone coverage (you might want a satellite phone available for your customers to use when they're out riding).

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Al...341bb7e61f29ad

The county says it would prefer to lease it to someone to do drug treatment, but tourism is important to the county as well. You could even partner with someone who does drug treatment and do both with live-in staff. (Community Supported Shelters is looking into the site as well and would probably welcome someone to partner with.) A stand-alone B&B would need a zoning change, which is doable with support from the County Board of Commissioners (almost a sure-thing), but partnering with someone who meets the zoning would be easier.

Work camp put up for rent | Main News | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon

The site is located along the Siuslaw River on the main cycling route between Eugene and the coast. In fact, there are two great routes to the coast from there, either down the Siuslaw River (there's about a dozen miles of gravel road (Richardson Upriver and Stage Coach roads) to Florence or over Oxbow to the Smith River to Reedsport. One can easily connect the two in a loop by riding down the coast from Florence to Reedsport (actually to Gardiner). There's lots of ~100 km loops that can be done from the site, both paved and gravel, flattish and hilly. My wife and I ride our tandem along there regularly; it really is an ideal place for riding a tandem, or anything else (it's also popular with motorcyclists).

A somewhat popular cycling loop from town passes within a mile of the forest work camp, so I could see some local weekend cafe business happening as well.

I could see some synergy between a B&B at the forest work camp and an existing cycling-oriented B&B on the west edge of town.

Velo Bed and Breakfast
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Old 04-11-15, 12:31 PM
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What do you do for work?
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Old 04-11-15, 12:49 PM
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Road Cycling in Bend Oregon Along the Oregon Scenic Bikeway and Three Sisters Scenic Bikeway
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Old 04-11-15, 10:50 PM
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Thanks for all of the helpful replies, everyone!

Originally Posted by Gyrine

My wife and I live in Seattle but my daughter and her family live in the Bellingham area so we know it well. If you are interested in a tour of the area, please don't hesitate to PM me. We would be glad, actually enthusiastic, to show you around.
Wow, thanks for the offer! We will perhaps try and make it up to Bellingham for the Northwest Tandem Rally in July. Just found out about that event.

Originally Posted by B. Carfree
Twenty-nine miles from downtown Eugene, five miles past the last house, lies the Lane County Sheriff's Forest Work Camp. The County is looking to either lease it out or sell it off since they closed it about a decade ago. It's got many buildings, but will need work. It has full utilities and phone service, but no cell phone coverage (you might want a satellite phone available for your customers to use when they're out riding).

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Al...341bb7e61f29ad

The county says it would prefer to lease it to someone to do drug treatment, but tourism is important to the county as well. You could even partner with someone who does drug treatment and do both with live-in staff. (Community Supported Shelters is looking into the site as well and would probably welcome someone to partner with.) A stand-alone B&B would need a zoning change, which is doable with support from the County Board of Commissioners (almost a sure-thing), but partnering with someone who meets the zoning would be easier.

Work camp put up for rent | Main News | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon

The site is located along the Siuslaw River on the main cycling route between Eugene and the coast. In fact, there are two great routes to the coast from there, either down the Siuslaw River (there's about a dozen miles of gravel road (Richardson Upriver and Stage Coach roads) to Florence or over Oxbow to the Smith River to Reedsport. One can easily connect the two in a loop by riding down the coast from Florence to Reedsport (actually to Gardiner). There's lots of ~100 km loops that can be done from the site, both paved and gravel, flattish and hilly. My wife and I ride our tandem along there regularly; it really is an ideal place for riding a tandem, or anything else (it's also popular with motorcyclists).

A somewhat popular cycling loop from town passes within a mile of the forest work camp, so I could see some local weekend cafe business happening as well.

I could see some synergy between a B&B at the forest work camp and an existing cycling-oriented B&B on the west edge of town.

Velo Bed and Breakfast
This is freaking crazy! But probably too much for first timers like us. I can definitely imagine it being some kind of awesome retreat. But that Velo B&B is right in line with what we'd want our own B&B to be like! Still, might have to start off a bit simpler...

Originally Posted by j-law
What do you do for work?
Mechanical engineer. Remotely working can be a challenge unless it's just contracting CAD/drafting work. So I'd need to figure something out. Plenty of bicycle companies in Bellingham, of course. Maybe one of them needs an engineer...
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Old 04-12-15, 09:28 AM
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There is probably no greater concentration of engineers in the PNW than at the Intel Ronler Acres campus in Hillsboro OR. This would include not only the engineers hired directly by Intel, but the engineering companies like Corbin, SSOE, and CH2M that subcontract to general contractors who do the continuous sustaining work. Google Maps (select bicycle route option) and Strava Global Heatmap are good resources to see what routes are considered safe for cyclists and which are travelled by cyclists the most. Edit - Hillsboro is also very close to the 'wine country' to its west and south which is very popular for multi day bike tourists who like to sample the wineries.

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Old 04-12-15, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by trainsktg
There is probably no greater concentration of engineers in the PNW than at the Intel Ronler Acres campus in Hillsboro OR. This would include not only the engineers hired directly by Intel, but the engineering companies like Corbin, SSOE, and CH2M that subcontract to general contractors who do the continuous sustaining work. Google Maps (select bicycle route option) and Strava Global Heatmap are good resources to see what routes are considered safe for cyclists and which are travelled by cyclists the most. Edit - Hillsboro is also very close to the 'wine country' to its west and south which is very popular for multi day bike tourists who like to sample the wineries.

Keith
Alright. I'll cut Keith some slack because he's from Oregon and there's a nature brotherly love-hate relationship between our states -- but they've got nothing on us Engineers in the Greater Seattle area.
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Old 04-12-15, 03:02 PM
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Yeah, OK, but you don't have anything on us when it comes to WNBR participation .

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Old 04-13-15, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by tegnamo
Also, seems like the land is very similar to San Diego, being dry shrub-brush mostly. We would like to take advantage of PNW's greener areas if possible. What about Burlington or Mt. Vernon?
For the record the green gets old. It comes from dreary weather: lots of rain, constant overcast permaclouds, moss growing on all sides of every thing. A lot of people who live on the wet side (in Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, B'ham) go over to the dry side (Ellensburg, etc) to feel the warmth of the sun.

What Mount Vernon and Burlington have going for them is the North Cascades Highway.
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