Somebody asked me about bike rides in Albany, where to go and so forth. Here are some thoughts based on my experience over the past few years.
The easiest way to get started is to pick a neighborhood and cruise the residential streets. There’s very little traffic, especially on weekends. You might start with your own neighborhood just to get used to riding on city streets, watching for cars and for people crossing the street, and staying aware of your surroundings while pedaling. Once you tire of that, pick another neighborhood to explore.
Or you can try this:
♠ Follow the Dave Clark Clark Riverside Path from Monteith Park east. It will take you past the Wheelhouse office building and the DeLuxe Brewing Company to the Willamette Neighborhood, Bowman Park and, if you keep going on the dirt trail past Bowman, to Simpson Park.
♠ You can extend the riverside route by touring the Talking Water Gardens. It helps to have fat tires because the paths are surfaced with gravel or decomposed granite, and some are hard to ride because they’re covered with wood chips.
♠ Follow the Periwinkle Bike Path from Oak Street near Lowe’s, going south to Grand Prairie Park and back. At the Queen-Geary Street intersection, the best way to cross, especially with kids, is to walk your bikes to the intersection and get across with the help of the signal.
If you want to go a short distance outside of the city, head out Queen Avenue from West Albany High School and turn right at Riverside Drive. Cross the old Oregon Electric rail line and then turn right on Bryant Drive. Pretty soon this turns into Bryant Way and leads back downtown, unless you detour through Bryant Park first.
There are plenty of alternatives, some a little longer. When I have the time, I sometimes ride out of town on Old Salem Road and tour the new residential sections of Millersburg, seeing how many new houses have sprung up. Or I duck under the freeway to take Murder Creek Road to Kamph Road, then turn right on Scravel Hill and return to Albany on Knox Butte Road.
For a bit of nature, it’s fun to take a mountain bike down the Takena Landing Trail on the north side of the Willamette, or the Simpson Trail on the south side. Or there’s the Oak Creek Trail off 53rd Avenue in South Albany. But don’t try it unless it’s been dry for a few weeks. Wet weather turns some sections into bogs.
On the paths and trails, you’re going to encounter walkers, some with dogs on long leads or no leashes at all. Go slow and be ready to stop. Caution and courtesy are two C’s the trails demand.
On second thought, I’m pretty sure that people with bikes don’t need suggestions on where to ride. Riding a bike is freedom itself. And freedom means you can go anywhere you like. (hh)