Story published in the Polk County Itemizer-Observer
By Lukas Eggen
POLK COUNTY — Thousands of cyclists are about to hit the road in and around Polk County.
Cycle Oregon will hold its weekend ride, dubbed Camp Cycle Oregonnadogood, this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The group will set up camp at Western Oregon University, where cyclists will have access support to keep their bikes running smoothly. More than 2,000 cyclists are expected to take part.
“Polk County has excellent bicycle rides, including the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, plus many small towns and open spaces that represents Oregon’s rich history,” Executive Director Alison Graves said.
The weekend ride will offer a total of six possible courses over two days that range from 21 to 74 miles long, ensuring riders of all abilities will have a good experience.
Cycle Oregon has two days of rides planned that will give cyclists a glimpse of the area.
Saturday will take riders through the Willamette Valley to Buena Vista County Park, Marion, Scio and the Ankeny Wildlife Refuge.
Sunday will see cyclists take a trip through Polk County to Dallas and Falls City as they ride toward the foothills of the Oregon Coast range.
Riders will gather at Dallas City Park between 6 a.m. and noon and Falls City High School between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.
A map of the rides can be found here.
This weekend’s ride sold out of spots, a common occurrence for the weekend rides, Graves said.
Organizers hope that the ride shows off the area’s natural beauty to people from around the United States and beyond while learning about a region’s culture.
“We see how communities are maintaining their small town connections and exploring different economic strategies,” Graves said.
But Cycle Oregon does more than bring tourists to the state.
The group also offers financial support to communities through its community and signature grant programs.
The grant programs are aimed at preserving and supporting community development projects.
Graves said $62,500 has been invested over the years in Polk and Marion counties.
As cyclists prepare to hit the road, Graves said she hopes both the riders and the towns they visit have a worthwhile experience.
“We have found through the years that one of the things that both riders and community members enjoy the most is meeting people from different places,” Graves said.