Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 25th, 2012 at 1:33 pm
(Photo: Oregon State Library)
Remember Oregon’s tenth governor, Theodore T. Geer? He’s the great Oregonian who, in May of 1900, rode his bike from the capital in Salem to Champoeg to establish a monument to an historic vote that took place there in 1843. That vote paved the way to Oregon statehood and the monument stands today as the focal point for the Champoeg State Heritage Area.
To honor that ride and Governor Geer’s role in the founding of Oregon, the State of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is organizing a bike ride that will retrace his route. The inaugural “Governor’s Ride 2012,” will be part of Champoeg’s annual “Founder’s Day” festivities (which have taken place at the monument since 1901).
Champoeg State Heritage Area Park Ranger Bob Woodruff got in touch with us to share more…
“It would be wonderful to have one or more folks do the ride on a turn of the century bike, similar to the one that Gov. Geer rode.”
— Bob Woodruff, Champoeg State Heritage Area Park Ranger
The ride is on May 5th. It will be unsupported (meaning you’ll have to carry your own stuff) start in downtown Salem and head north on the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway (isn’t that convenient!) to Monument Plaza in Champoeg State Park where a gathering and celebration is planned for 3:00 pm. The ride will then roll back to Salem for a total length of about 60 miles.
But wait! There’s more: Ranger Woodruff wants to pay homage to Oregon’s bicycling heritage by having a few historic bikes on the ride.
“It may be a bit far fetched,” he said via email today, “but it would be wonderful to have one or more folks do the ride on a turn of the century bike, similar to the one that Gov. Geer rode.”
Like many other bike lovers of the day, Gov. Geer rode what is known as a “safety bike” (so named because they were much safer than high-wheelers, a.k.a. penny farthings). The problem is, Woodruff can’t track any safety bikes down. If you or someone you know has a safety bike the State of Oregon can borrow for this historic ride get in touch with Ranger Woodruff at Bob [dot] woodruff [at] state [dot] or [dot] us or call him at (503) 678-1251 x. 234.
Stay tuned for more details as the State finishes up a web page with more info.
I’m excited for the inaugural ‘Governor’s Ride’! Not just because my family, friends and I have ridden and camped at Champoeg, but it seems like a very fitting tribute to Oregon’s past and our long history of — and present commitment — bicycling.
Save May 5th on your calendar and plan to attend. If enough people show up this could become a big annual tradition!
— For more about Oregon’s bicycle history, browse our “history” tag.