By Gretchen Ammerman
For the TODAY
Family rides are fun and beach rides are a blast, but sometimes cyclists need to go long and get loopy. A new guide, “Lincoln County Scenic Bikeways” recommends some of the more challenging routes on the Oregon Coast.
“We chose to give people some options for loop rides, not just out-and-backs,” said Brian Flynn, member of the Lincoln County Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, which designed the guide. “Of course, there are shorter, more family-friendly rides, but we felt that those were covered by the cities. Both Newport and Lincoln City have ride maps for routes within city limits. We wanted to give people some options who want a longer ride that explores much more of what the county has to offer.”
Of the six rides, the shortest is 15 miles, and the longest 69.
“People can definitely choose to do shorter parts of the routes,” Flynn said. “You can easily do out-and-backs on parts of them, especially if you want to stay off of the busier roads, like highways 101 and 18.”
The longest ride in the guide, the “Big Loop’,” includes the picturesque section of Highway 101 between Lincoln City and Newport, and the Bay Road from Newport to Toledo but it also takes the less-well-known and less-travelled Highway 229 from Toledo to Lincoln City.
“This section is definitely most of why we called this ride challenging,” said Flynn. “Other, of course, than the fact that it’s 67 miles long.”
If you want to break the ride into a two-day adventure, the campground at Jack Morgan Park, located on Highway 229, has 13 sites and is open year-round.
If you only do one of these routes and are not up to completing more than 50 miles in one ride, the Yachats River Ride, though the only out-and-back in the guide, is a stunner.
Mixed conifer and deciduous stands dripping in brightly colored moss make way for wide fields filled with foraging ruminates. Though there is terrifyingly zero shoulder for the entire ride, it is also the least busy, though riders might want to invest in full suit of flashing lights to ride in comfort. Gently rolling, there are no major elevation changes in the entire route, which also includes a short side trip at the halfway point to one of Oregon’s historic covered bridges, a great place to stop for lunch.
Almost all of the rides include a way to stretch your legs. The start of the popular Drift Creek Falls Trail is along the Drift Creek Falls Loop ride, and the Cascade Head trails can be accessed from both the Cascade Head Loop and the Rose Lodge Loop.
The guide provides a short description of each ride and an elevation profile, and warns which rides are most challenging.
“When we say challenging, it really means challenging,” Flynn said. “The Drift Creek Falls Loop for example is quite hilly, including a section with 1,500 feet of climbing in five miles.”
Another thing that might make a ride challenging is heavy traffic areas or roads without shoulders.
“I wouldn’t consider any of these rides appropriate for people who aren’t comfortable mixing with traffic,” Flynn said. “But I ride thousands of miles a year in this county, and I can count on one hand the number of negative interactions I’ve had. People are generally really nice about sharing the road.”
That being said, Flynn emphasized that basic safety measures should be followed, especially making sure you are visible by wearing bright colors and attaching blinking lights to your bike or body.
A feature of almost every ride is a view of water, including the Pacific Ocean, the Siletz River and Bay, the Yaquina River and Bay and the Yachats River. According to Flynn, the rides show Lincoln County at its best.
“We have so many riders that come here from other places that don’t know where to go besides the Pacific Highway,” he said. “We provide options from the north tip of the county to the south tip, and they are all really nice rides.”
“Lincoln County Scenic Bikeways” is available at chambers of commerce and visitor centers throughout lincoln County as well as Bike Newport, 150 NW 6th Street, Newport. It is also available at the Lincoln County website, www.co.lincoln.or.us, click on “Departments” and follow the link for “Public Works.”