Sunday, 21 June 2015

21 Jun: A ride around Bend

Nigel writes: A motoring holiday in the western United States brought me to Bend in central Oregon. It's a small city of about 90,000 people lying just east of the Cascade mountains, the line of conical, snow-capped volcanoes that runs north-sound through the middle of the state. It's well-known for its excellent brewpubs and as a centre for outdoor activity. Although mountain biking seems to be the main thing here, it seemed an ideal place to rent road bikes and spend a half-day cycling.

Behind Nigel are the mountains Middle Sister (left, 3062m) and North Sister (right, 3074m)

We rented bikes from a bike shop called Sunnyside Sports, partly because of the convenient location but mainly because its impressive website allowed us to specify exactly what bikes we required, right down to the saddle width and type of pedals.

The bike shop

We went for a pair of Trek Domaine 4.3 carbon-fibre road bikes, each of which cost $40 (£25) for a day's hire.

The bikes

The route we took was the Twin Bridges Scenic Bikeway, a signposted 36-mile loop to the north-west of Bend. This starts by the river in Downtown Bend and then heads west through leafy suburbs.

Start of route in Bend

The road out of the city had cycle lanes, but traffic was very light (it was Sunday). What traffic we did encounter appeared courteous and patient. It was a hot, humid, day, about 25-30C, with a slight threat of rain that never amounted to anything.

Bend has plenty of roundabouts, unlike the USA generally

Soon we were out of the city and on wide, empty roads. The route was described as being "very scenic". However this didn't refer to the immediate landscape, which was pleasant but unexciting ranchland, but to the constant sight of the "Three Sisters" mountains about twenty miles to the north-west.


The ride itself was straightforward and easy, with little in the way of climbs. We were on quiet, smooth roads throughout. We passed quite a few sports cyclists along the way; curiously everyone seemed to be riding in twos, and we didn't spot any larger groups.


After a couple of hours we arrived in Tumalo, a small settlement just north of Bend, and stopped for coffee.

Coffee stop in Tumalo

Afterwards we carried on back to Bend and returned the bikes to the bike shop. Our total distance was 36 miles.

Download GPS track (GPX).

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