Travel Oregon (a combined effort of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the Oregon Tourism Commission) is continuing their aggressive promotion of Oregon as a premier bicycling destination. Last week they announced the publication of a new map of their Scenic Bikeways system and today they celebrated when Times Square lit up with the news.
Travel Oregon introduced the new map earlier this week. It includes full details on the nine officially-designated Scenic Bikeway routes complete with mile markers, information about nearby parks, campgrounds, lodging, eateries, nearby bike shops, and more. The map is available free from Travel Oregon’s website (where you can order a copy, it’s not available online yet).
And today from New York City, Travel Oregon staffer Kristin Dahl shared a cell phone image of the Scenic Bikeways map announcement being beamed on a jumbotron high above Times Square. Check it out below the jump…
I bet to a lot of people in traffic in New York City, riding a bike in Oregon sounds like a pretty dang good idea.
When it comes to great rides, Oregon’s stock is rising. Crater Lake was recently singled out as our state’s best ride by Bicycling Magazine, and a new book, Fifty Places to Bike Before You Die (Stewart Tabori & Chang, 2012), includes three Oregon rides.
This new map also makes a great addition to a bumper crop of new Oregon biking guidebooks out this year.
To learn more, check out OregonScenicBikeways.org and get inspired to ride and plan your adventure at RideOregonRide.com.
Come ride your bike on a rural Oregon highway, where police will refuse to invoke the vulnerable roadway user law when an inattentive driver drifts onto the shoulder and runs you down from behind!
If this is the marketing they’re going with, Travel Oregon REALLY needs to think about education for residents and law enforcement in the areas they’re promoting as cycle tourism destinations.
I think HWY 101 may suffer unfortunately from also being on a very popular route for drivers as well.
Most rural roads I have ridden on are nearly devoid of traffic and seem much better than 101.
The route I’d personally like to do the most is the Grande Tour route. Maybe next spring before it gets too warm, I’d like to do it all in one day.
A.K., suffer it does from the driving hordes. Just returned from a 4 day loop ride (Portland to the north coast), and easily the least pleasant part was hwy 101/coast route. Even the 3 Capes, which has always seemed pretty sedate to me, had a lot of traffic – that’s just what you get on an August weekend, i guess.
I think promotion of the Oregon Scenic bikeways is fantastic because my impression is that most cyclists unfamiliar with Oregon think of the coast route as the signature ride – indeed, people from all over the world come here to ride the coast. But as someone familiar with bike touring in Oregon, I’ve discovered over time there are a *lot* lower traffic & almost as beautiful alternatives (and, given the coastal weather, at many times more beautiful) to the coast – I’ll take that every time. Just on routes to the north coast alone, there are a couple that are perfectly sublime (Nestucca River Rd., anyone?) – go down the valley to Corvallis/Eugene area and you’ve got more great low-traffic opportunities for coast access, like the Alsea Rd., Lobster Valley, Smith River, the list goes on & on…
I can’t help but feel like the Oregon Coast (particularly the northern part) is oversold as a cycling tourism route. So kudos to Travel Oregon for recognizing the diversity of great cycling opportunities in Oregon, and promoting them.
Yes, there is so much more to explore besides 101. Even in coastal areas like you mentioned. Nestucca River Rd is great.
A few weeks ago I was in Astoria and did a nice loop out of town via 202 south for ~10 miles, then turning right onto Youngs River rd and coming back towards Astoria on wonderful rolling farmland roads and seeing only a few cars. Combined with riding around in Astoria and going up to the Column, it was a 35 mi loop, and the only real traffic was on 202 (and that wasn’t even nearly as bad as 101 would have been).
Dan, we are working with communities and appropriate stakeholders to raise the bar on cycling education and awareness across rural Oregon, but specifically targeted at communities along the bike route through our Bicycle Tourism Studio. (Jonathan has posted other articles that reference to these efforts.) Don’t hesitate to be in touch if you have specific ideas you’d like to share with us.
Kristin Dahl, Travel Oregon
That’s great to hear! I’m heartened to see that Travel Oregon, as an organization, has considered this aspect of its activities promoting cycle touring.
Has Travel Oregon made any statements or taken any official action on the recent rash of car/bike collisions on Highway 101, specifically Christeen Osborn and Marcellus Tijdink? As far as I’ve heard, neither of the drivers involved has received any sanction beyond a “failure to drive in lane” ticket — even though this is the kind of accident that the vulnerable roadway user law was specifically designed to address.
We only have one “official response” that was generated on 7/27 in response to a comment on Ride Oregon: http://rideoregonride.com/road-routes/oregon-coast/
And that was,
“Travel Oregon works with a variety of partners in promoting cycling and overall tourism in Oregon. We’re aware of these accidents, and naturally we’re very concerned about them, as are all our partners. You’re right that the best preventative is a combination of well-planned routes and conscientious drivers. As ODOT manages the Oregon Coast Bike Route, we’ve been informed they’re studying the details of each recent accident to look for patterns that point to what can be mitigated or improved. Staff with ODOT’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Program are conferring with their agency’s traffic engineers and area managers to look at what they can do to try to prevent these types of accidents in the future.”
We are very concerned about rider safety and will continue to engage with our partners to continue to raise the bar here in Oregon. Its not optional.
A bikeportland reader, Lois, contacted and received a reply from the DA Joshua K Marquis, about why the VRU law was not applied, see:
I would think that Travel Oregon could be at least as proactive in intervening here as Lois. Several of us have written to Mr. Marquis as well, but have not received replies. I think it would be more useful if your organization inquired about the specifics of these dreadful crashes–intervened to point out existing but ignored laws such as the VRU–rather than reporting on the generalities, ‘that ODOT staff is conferring with traffic engineers….’ It seems to some of us that convincing coastal law enforcement that the VRU is a statute they can and indeed must apply in certain cases is a more urgent priority, a more glaring failure than hwy engineering.
Thanks 9watts (sorry, don’t see name) – we’ll have a look into this.
I wish they would also consider cleaning up some of these routes too. HWY 101, Seaside to Cannon, is a dump!
Kristin — is there a regular sweeping program for the shoulders of the official Scenic Bikeways? Or, do they get swept once a year or so like other highways in the state?
Hi Ted —
I’ll be honest in that I’m not sure what the latest is on the sweeping situation. ODOT is one of the Oregon Scenic Bikeway Committee members as is the County Road Program Manager for the Association of Oregon Counties and this topic has been discussed. I’ll check with the Committee.
For a little background….Scenic Bikeways are supported by every single transportation organization that has authority along the route – that is an explicit condition for the route to be designated a Scenic Bikeway. It is really up to Oregon State Parks & Rec as the program manager, the Scenic Bikeway Committee members, and local proponent groups that steward these routes to work with the various transportation departments to help them better understand the needs of cyclists and to encourage them to prioritize these needs when making management/maintenance decisions on designated routes. So far, the program seems to be stimulating positive dialogue and tangible action to this end.
~ Cheers and thanks for the great dialogue on here. We do read/listen…and invite anyone with questions to learn more about the program.
I suppose their MIGHT be a sunny fall day for New Yorkers to ride in Oregon. 😉
We’ve seen a definite increase in cycle tourism through Sisters this year. I think it may from the Scenic Bikeways designation. Travel Oregon is certainly getting the message out there, and I think it’s working.
Captain Karma, it’s ALWAYS sunny in Central Oregon, even when it’s not. :-/
If I could hit ‘LIKE’ more than once, I would! We know just how important a program like this is for Oregon, particularly our most distressed areas.
Here is some additional feedback we received this month from Doug LaPlaca at Visit Bend, another serious cycling advocate and a healthy skeptic of this program in its early stages:
“Thanks Kristin! I’m a total believer in the Oregon Scenic Bikeway program. I was somewhat skeptical initially, not sure if it would generate incremental tourism. Even in it its very early stages now, I have no doubt it’s bringing incremental and new visitors to Bend. Let me know when you are in Bend next. I’d love to introduce you the Visit Bend Team and share with you our marketing plans around the Three Sisters Scenic Bikeway.
Have a great weekend! And please extend my thanks to everyone at Travel Oregon for supporting the Scenic Bikeways program. The maps are awesome.”
Nice work Travel Oregon! This can only help efforts around the state to make conditions better.