PORTLAND, Ore. - There's no question that we live in a beautiful state and now there are even more options for cyclists who want to enjoy Oregon's awe-inspiring landscapes.
The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission recently designated five new state scenic bikeways in a program that is unique in the United States.
"We're the only state in the country to officially designate scenic bikeways," said Alexandra Phillips, Bicycle and Water Recreation Coordinator for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. "Oregon is a pioneer in fusing recreation, transportation and the economic benefits of this kind of tourism."
"Bicycle tourism isn't the whole answer to economic recovery, but it is part of the answer," said Mike Cosgrove of John Day, citizen chair of the State Scenic Bikeways Committee.
The bikeways program is relatively new and is a partnership between Cycle Oregon, Travel Oregon, the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
The bikeways noted with an * are the new routes.
Mild - A fun, casual ride appropriate for all ages. There is little or no traffic, the route is mostly flat and not very long.
Moderate - Not for beginners but won't be too difficult. There are varying levels of traffic and some hills, but none that are overly long or steep.
Challenging - For those who cycle a lot and are looking for a good, hard ride. Not meant for the casual cyclist.
Expert - Meant for the hard-core cyclists looking to take an epic journey. You have to be in tip-top shape, be able to climb steep hills and be ready to deal with changes in elevation.