If you are looking for a peaceful, nature-filled cycling adventure, look no further than Canby, Oregon. The site of this little town was once a gathering place for Native Americans who enjoyed the local crop of strawberries and used the area as a meeting place. Canby sits on a plateau above the east bank of the Willamette River. The Canby Ferry, on the outskirts of the town, is one of those rare cable ferries, and will take you across the river on a tiny conveyance whose maximum load allows for 6 cars and 49 passengers, plus a bicycle or two.
Cycling around Canby is mostly flat, but if you venture out east of Highway 99E you will begin to climb up to another plateau that sits at the base of the Cascade Mountain Range. For today’s ride, I stayed close to town, and was able to use mostly my highest gears. In fact, as I was blasting away in my top gear I thought: Uh oh! What will it be like on the return trip? As it turned out, I seemed to have a slightly downhill grade the whole way, and enjoyed spinning leisurely on my Meral. Many of the town’s back roads have 25 mph speed limits. I kind of worried about exceeding them!
The town’s website has several bike route maps which you can download. I printed out all of them for my trip today, but actually ended up just riding where my instincts took me. One route not to be missed is the Logging Road Trail which leads down to the river. I took an inviting unmarked path off this trail and ended up at the banks of the Willamette River, after walking the bike through a very muddy section. I was rewarded with a lovely view of the river, quietly meandering northward toward Portland.
On the way back, I encountered lovely pastures, crop fields at rest, and big horizons. Seeing these irrigation wheels reminded me of my childhood. My grandfather was an enthusiast of this “new” technology back in the 1950’s. Wheel line irrigation is in use today, but was developed many decades earlier.
If you have the opportunity to cycle here, I think you will be delighted by the roads, friendly residents, and the enticing call of the wild.