Bike tourists have one more reason to target Bend. The area has hundreds of miles of single track, a premier multi-stage road race, a booming cyclo-cross culture, among other things. Now you can add a state scenic bikeway to the list . The newly designated route was approved earlier this week by the Oregon Parks Department, bringing the total number of scenic bikeways to eight in Oregon. The new 36-mile loop, dubbed the Twin Bridges Scenic Bikeway, begins and ends in downtown Bend’s Drake Park and includes the town of Tumalo, which the press release describes as “quaint” (I guess they’ve never seen a gravel mine). The route takes its name from the river crossing near Terrebonne and is classified as moderately difficult by the state. Although local bikers are likely familiar with the already popular route, local tourism promoters, including Visit Bend, which pushed for the designation, believe it could bring additional notoriety to the area.
(We’re guessing there is some sort of wall of fame at VB for the first group that completes the route on the cyclepub in what would be an unprecedented act of tourism marketing synergy.)
Meantime, if anyone wants to check out the specifics of the route, her or she can get the 411 from the state park’s website. There you can find details of the other eight routes around the state, including the two other recently designated Central Oregon routes, the Sisters to Smith Rock Scenic Bikeway and the Metolius River Loops Scenic Bikeway.
Oregon is the first state in the nation to dedicate scenic bikeways. The routes area designed to spotlight some of the best existing routes along Oregon’s roads and paved paths. The program is partnership between Cycle Oregon, Travel Oregon (the state’s designated tourism promotion agency) as well as the Oregon Department of Transportation and the state parks department.