Life Quilt, row 5, #1 – bicycling the Oregon Coast

So many stories, so little time.


My first time on the Oregon Coast (Hwy 101) was during the first Cycle Oregon in September, 1988, right in the midst of my dissertation. 


I remember the strong headwind we faced out of Mapleton on the way west to Florence. I remember learning to draft (riding closely behind the rear wheel of the rider in front of you for wind protection and cadence).  Each rider took the front for a spell and then the leader rotated back to the end of the line. BTW coastal winds generally flow from north to south. Smart cyclists take that into account and travel north to south as we did.

After Florence came Sea Lions Cave, North Bend, and nightfall in Coos Bay.

then Bandon, Port Orford and Gold Beach.

And last Brookings. 

Well, that was not actually my first ride along the Pacific coast. That ride occurred in about 1983 when my son John and his two friends Maureen and Leslie camped at Cape Lookout (see above) and then rode the Three Capes scenic route in two days.

It was then I first saw what would become our beachhouse in Terra Del Mar. When we returned from the trip a letter was waiting for me. Bike Gallery, where we had gotten parts in preparation for the ride, had drawn my name and I got a free Brookstone touring bike.

I would ride this road from Tierra del Mar to the top of Cape Lookout and back often as a training ride.  When I rode across Wisconsin, each day someone would say, “Wait til you get to THE hill!” None of the hills compared to this climb.  Initially with John and friends we had to walk our bikes over the top, both ways.

It was 100 miles from my home in Portland to the beach house in Tierra Del Mar, but there was a shortcut.With the advent of Max light Rail in the Portland Metro area it made riding to the beach much easier. By taking your bike onto the MAX train from Lloyd Center to Hillsboro you chop off 24 miles, urban miles, with hills, on a four lane highway.

Then by riding the backroad from Hillsboro to Forest Grove and Banks to US 6 which will follow the Lewis river you can climb 7 miles and go down 24 miles. The shoulder is nice and the traffic is not bad.  Jack rode with me after he got his new touring bike. Then it’s a short 20 miles to Tierra del Mar.

Side note: my great grandson found a giant spider in the house!


A western Hobo Spider, not toxic.

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