The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most bike friendly cities in the world. The variety of trail environments to explore is seemingly endless including; from snowy mountains, beaches, forest, valleys, desert, and rainforest. Getting to the area is as easy for a bicyclist as any traveler in an area where the site of non bike friendly public transportation is long in the past. The biking community is growing and passionate, providing support to locals and travelers alike.
Biking in Oregon
Named the second most bike friendly city in the world, Portland is a paradise for pedal lovers. The downtown area boasts streets designed to keep bicyclists safe and if in need of repairs, bike shops are easily found. Portland International Airport is connected to the MAX train, the city’s award winning public transportation. All MAX trains and buses are designed to accomodate bike riders. One of the top Oregon rides is the Historic Columbia River Highway. A highlight of the 38 mile long ride are the Mosier Twin Tunnels, that offer a beautiful view of the Gorge. The stretch between Hood River and the Dalles takes 3 hours to complete and is an easy ride.
Guided bike tours are available that explore microbreweries, waterfall trails, urban parks, Willamette Valley wine country, and the scenic Columbia Gorge.
Biking in Washington State
From Sea-Tac International Airport, traveling by bike to the city center can be done via bus, ferry, or light rail train. The light rail and ferries are all equipped with bike racks, busses are almost always able to accommodate bikes as well. Bike maps highlighting all accessible routes in King County can be found online for planning a bike tour. Seattle has had a unique influence on culture; from music to coffee. Guided tours exploring these themes can be found in the downtown area. The scenic Puget Sound offers biking along the water and past the famous Pike Place Market. The Olympic Peninsula provides endless forested bike trails to explore. The Olympic National Park alone has a 20-mile tour for experienced bicyclists. Catching a ferry across to the San Juan islands allows a leisurely day trip on bike through small towns with little car traffic.
The beautiful San Juan Islands offer three tiers of riding experiences. In order of difficulty from easy to challenging are; Lopez, San Juan, and Orcas Islands. They all offer gorgeous views of the water and plenty of stop-off areas for picnics and sightseeing. The San Juan Island itself can be circumnavigated in one day by bike. However, with quaint shops and plenty to explore in the town you will want to take your time.
Vancouver, British Columbia is surrounded by water on three sides and connected to its urban center by a network of over 279 miles of bike friendly routes. The city has recently added separated bike lanes to improve cyclist safety with plans for more in the future. Vancouver boasts a culturally diverse population. Discovering other cultures on bike tour is made easy in areas such as chinatown, downtown, and the punjabi market. Street music and a timeless market can be found on Granville Island, easily accessible via ferry. The North Shore offers adventures for mountain cycling enthusiasts of all experience levels. Transportation from the airport is easily navigated on the bike friendly public transportation system. Trips can be planned in advance using the city’s interactive cycling route planner.
Starting at Jericho Beach, the bike path through the UBC Botanical Garden to Pacific Spirit Park is a unique way to experience Vancouver. Jericho Beach sits on the English Bay and hosts sailors and windsurfers that can be viewed from the trail. Along the shoreline there are stop-offs to enjoy concession food or a picnic lunch. Further along, the University of British Columbia campus offers three attractions to explore; UBC Botanical Garden, Museum of Anthropology, and the Nitobe Memorial Garden. The bike tour ends at Pacific Spirit Regional Park where the trail winds through areas of unpaved forest.