Oregon Bikes, Brews, and Bike Friendly Businesses

May 22, 2014

A Bike Friendly Business sign in front of Oakridge Lodge & Guest House

Oregon, how we (cyclists) love thee. This Pacific Northwest state excels at two of our favorite things: biking and beer. Not only is Oregon home to 11 scenic bikeway routes, the best bicycle camping around, four cross-country Adventure Cycling routes, our bike friends The Path Less Pedaled, a $400 million bicycle tourism economy, and a stellar bicycle tourism website, but it places SECOND on the list of states with the most breweries per capita. There is one brewery for every 26,791 Oregonians, just trailing Vermont’s 24,067.

And now there’s another great reason to visit Oregon — its new Bicycle Friendly Business Program

The program welcomes cyclists riding through Oregon and alerts them to the many local businesses excited to serve them. It raises awareness around Oregon’s growing bicycle tourism industry, teaches businesses how they can benefit from cyclists and be more bike-friendly, and highlights businesses that are already doing it right. Many Oregon businesses have been serving cyclists for years on the Adventure Cycling routes and scenic bikeway routes that pass through the state.

Carol Tannenbaum in front of McKenzie River Lavender, a Bicycle Friendly Business

Eight businesses along the McKenzie River have already been approved for the program. Hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores have started to put up “Bicycle Friendly” signs welcoming cyclists into their establishments. Carol Tannenbaum is a life member at Adventure Cycling and owner of McKenzie River Lavender who recently applied for the Bike Friendly program. 

“Each year starting in April and continuing into October we see touring cyclists pass by our lavender farm. These cyclists are riding the Adventure Cycling Transamerica Bike Trail. We are joining the Travel Oregon Bike Friendly Program to provide some support services to these long distance riders. We think it is smart business to reach out to these tourists on two wheels and serve their special needs.” 

Chris LaVoie, general manager of McKenzie River Mountain Resort, similarly understands the value of being a bicycle friendly business.

"Our primary business is serving guests who come to mountain bike the world famous McKenzie River Trail and road bike the McKenzie Pass and Aufderheide Scenic Hwy, so embracing the Bike Friendly program was a no brainer."

A New Label: Bike Friendly Beer

Apex Bar in Portland, Oregon is a member or Oregon’s growing Bicycle Friendly Business Program. Apex embodies the cycling spirit and offers ample bike parking for their many cyclist patrons. With 50 beers on tap and a thriving cycling culture, it is a great place for bicycle tourists to sample the unique flavors of Oregon's craft brews while supporting a small business.

Cyclists enjoy bicycle friendly beers at Apex Bar

We talked to Dave Lipps, co-founder of Thunder Island Brewing Company in Cascade Locks, Oregon, about 40 minutes outside of Portland.  Lipps rode through Missoula on a cross-country ride in 2009 and subsequently turned his love for beer, community, and the outdoors into Thunder Island Brewing - a career dream come true. While living in Portland, he used his car-free garage to house a small bike shop and start a beer CSA. The operation quickly outgrew its small space and limited hours, and expanded into something bigger that became a perfect hub for both beer and bike tourism. Thunder Island aired a long-distance cyclist portraits exhibit this month, with striking black and white photos of road warriors passing through Missoula, taken by Greg Siple at Adventure Cycling. We’re honored to be a part of making their bike-friendly vibe a reality.

“We’d like to get local businesses involved in the Bike Friendly Business Program. It advocates for cyclists, and fights for their rights! Education of local businesses about cyclists is very important. Bike travelers are tourists that contribute to our businesses.” –Dave Lipps, Thunder Island Brewing

Dave Lipps portrait was taken at Adventure Cycling during his cross-country trip in 2009.

Cascade Locks is home to a brand new bike pathway, Adventure Cycling’s Lewis and Clark Trail, world class sailing competitions, 40 bike racks around town, a hub station in the downtown plaza, and many cyclists and backpackers passing through on adventures. The town is right on the Columbia Gorge, which Lipps declared “one of the most beautiful destinations in Oregon."

This summer will mark Thunder Island’s first cyclist season, which is an exciting prospect for their business. Lipps spoke highly of Oregon’s new Bike Friendly Business program, and hopes to become a part of it along with other local businesses. He emphasized the importance of education—informing local businesses of the benefits bicycle tourists can provide to them. 

Oregon is leading the way in educating and encouraging bike friendly business, and we hope other states will soon follow. 

Top photo by Oakridge Lodge & Guest House, second photo by Carol Tannenbaum, third photo by Rick Olson, and bottom photo by Greg Siple. 

The 2014 BUILD IT. BIKE IT. BE A PART OF IT. campaign runs through May 31, 2014. All donations are tax deductible and support Adventure Cycling's organizing efforts and technical assistance for the U.S. Bicycle Route System. The campaign is supported by Adventure Cycling members, bicycle industry partners, bicycle clubs, and cyclists across North America.

The 2014 Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. campaign is sponsored by Planet Bike, Primal Wear, Ortlieb USA, Bike Tours Direct, Sun Bicycles, and Team Estrogen. Bicycle club sponsors are Almaden Cycle Touring Club and Cascade Bicycle Club. In-kind sponsors include Beer & Bike Tours, Bike2Power, BikeFlights, Bike Touring News, Cygolite, Detours, Growler Cage, Nutcase, Ortlieb USA, OspreyPark Tool, Primal Wear, RaleighThunder Island Brewing, and Velo Orange.

The U.S. Bicycle Route System is supported in part by grants from the the Lazar Foundation, New Belgium Brewing, Climate Ride, and the Tawani Foundation.

*No purchase necessary to enter any featured sweepstakes offered during the Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. campaign. To enter any USBRS campaign sweepstakes, send an email to development@adventurecycling.org with full name, address, phone, and email address by the cut off date (listed on the blog post featuring that day's sweepstakes) at 5pm MDT. Winners are selected by random drawing. Winners agree to release their name for public disclosure and promotion of sweepstakes on Adventure Cycling's blog and other communications outlets. 

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