When the Oregon State Scenic Bikeways Committee meets on November 9th, there will be a lot of introductions needed. That’s because it’s been about 43 months since the last time it convened.
There are currently 17 officially designated Scenic Bikeways throughout the state, all created with an eye toward the economic development boost that comes with bike tourism. But progress on development of the network has been largely on pause since 2019. A Covid hiring freeze and the tourism slowdown during the pandemic didn’t help matters. But in March of this year we saw the first ray of light when Oregon Parks and Recreation Department awarded a contract to Cycle Oregon, a nonprofit based in Portland, to administer the program.
Cycle Oregon has built a stellar reputation for their week-long “Classic” ride that has hosted thousands of paying customers on the best routes throughout the state since it was first held in 1988. Cycle Oregon also has many working relationships with small-town business owners and advocates — just the type of people who can dream up and implement new scenic bikeways.
The Cycle Oregon staffer responsible for the program is Clint Culpepper, a former active transportation coordinator at Portland State University and owner of the Portland Trophy Cup race series. He shared recently that Oregon State Parks has been very receptive to adding new routes.
The first new route up for consideration — one that will traverse 65 miles of riverfront forest roads between Oakridge and the town of Rainbow along Aufderheide Memorial Drive — is on the agenda of the Scenic Bikeway Committee’s first meeting since March 2019 that will take place November 9th from 1:00 to 4:00 pm via Zoom.
Also on the agenda of next month’s meeting will be a discussion of how to recruit two new members of the committee. If Oregon is going to create more scenic bikeways, we’ll need a capable team to plan and vet the routes. If that sounds like fun to you, hit that link and apply for the positions.