Warm temperatures in January makes for great riding weather
By Beau Eastes
We like to ride bikes in Bend.
From flowy singletrack and scenic road rides to remote gravel adventures and urban cruise routes, Bend boasts one of the most eclectic bike scenes on the West Coast.
And in weather like this weekend, it’s entirely possible to keep riding through the winter.
Below are some recommendations for great January rides when the sun is a shining. Before you go, make sure to swing by REI or one of Bend’s other outdoor stores for trail maps of Central Oregon.
Road ride: Looping north of Tumalo, the Twin Bridges Scenic Bikeway offers up postcard-esque views of Central Oregon pretty much the entirety of its 36-mile route. And as a bonus, the ride is marked with Oregon’s Scenic Bikeway signs, making navigation a breeze. Start at Strictly Organic in the Old Mill District and head north on the east side of the paved river trail. You’ll go under the Colorado Bridge, past Miller’s Landing Park and then onto Northwest Riverfront Boulevard before hitting Galveston and heading west to Shevlin Park on the edge of town for the start of the ride. After crossing Tumalo Creek you’ll head north and have the Cascades in your eyesight on almost half of the ride. Mountain views and rustic farms and ranches make up the majority of the ride, which includes about 1,800 feet of climbing. You’ll pass through the charming town of Tumalo and go right to the edge of Tumalo State Park, both of which make great fuel stops.
Gravel ride: Every gravel rider in Bend has a name for this ride, but we tend to think of it as our Sisters Donut Run. Start at Shevlin Park and turn left onto Bull Springs Road 0.5 miles into the ride at the top of the hill. You’re essentially taking the backway to Sisters on the old Brooks-Scanlon logging road. Views are gorgeous, traffic is nonexistent and there’s a donut/coffee/beer reward waiting for you in Sisters. On the way back, take Sisemore Road, a hard-packed dirt road that cruises over the oldest bridge and dam in Deschutes County and provides sweeping views of the Cascades and the historic Tumalo Reservoir. All told, it’s about a 45-mile ride with more than 80 percent of the route on unpaved goodness.
Mountain biking: We love biking at Phil’s and Wanoga as much as the next person during the summer, but heading east is the key to getting in mountain bike rides in the winter. Get out to the Horse Butte trailhead southeast of Bend – it’s about 10 miles from town – and enjoy a quick, 10-mile loop that connects parts of the Coyote Loop and Arnold Ice Cave Trail. Get out early in the morning while the sand’s still frozen as the trail does muddy up in the afternoon. You can’t go wrong with trail direction and on most days you can count the number of other bikers and runners on one hand. The views of the Cascades are fantastic, the singletrack is flowy and there’s plenty of options to put together longer loops.