Best Bike Rides Around Portland
Portland routinely wins awards for most bikeable city. With neighborhood greenways and trails like the Springwater, it’s a recreational and commuting biker’s paradise (by American standards). As spring arrives, so does cycling season, so here’s a few of my favorite rides around Portland. Plus some food recs because its Portland so we have to eat the best and flex our foodie knowledge.
1. Cemetery waterfront loop with the Terwilliger chaser.
The climb up Riverview cemetery is the famous ascent into the West Hills. Once you’re up, keep heading up Terwilliger towards OHSU – it provides the best view of Portland I’ve come to know. Additionally, bonus views await if you go left at Westwood and onto Fairmount Blvd. The descent is electric, straight downhill until you get downtown to the waterfront. From here take the Springwater Trail to Sellwood. Total distance is a bit over 20 miles, best experienced on a crisp summer morning.
Food: PDX Sliders OR Platter Division Indian Grill in the Sellwood Corner food carts
2. Lief Erickson (gravel)
Once I got a gravel bike, I sought out the nearest forest service road or gravel section to grind and Forest Park always delivers. This ride is straight pacific Northwesst with with dense evergreen forest nearly the entire ride and if you go on a mountain bike there’s plenty of great offshoot run.. It’s always amazing how quiet Forest Park gets even right next to the industrial district. You’ll wanna run at least 35s to cope with the bumpy first 5 miles and the thick stuff at the end.
Food: The cuban sandwich at Jo Bar on 23rd.
3. Rocky Butte and Mt. Tabor aka “Twin Peaks”
East side gems await in climbing up two of our city’s volcanic cones. Tabor is a classic and Rocky has the East side’s best views. Throw them together and it’s a rewarding day of climbing and exploring the heartbeat of Portland - the east side!. Doing this one at off times (e.g. not the weekend) is best as to avoid weaving through the crowds at Mt. Tabor. And yes the Fremont Fire on the Mountain is within striking distance to post game the ride.
Food: Fire on the Mountain, duh
4. Southern Willamette Loop.
This loop starts from the Springwater in Sellwood is around 35 miles. Taking the Springwater to the trolley trail then across Arch Bridge in Oregon City comes with scenic benefits. Like Willamette Falls - the largest waterfall west of the Mississippi and second in the nation only to Niagara Falls. Things do get a little sketchy riding along Willamette blvd and 43 coming up through West Linn and Lake Oswego, but the reward is Tryon Creek which is perfect for cruising and a fresh dose of forest bathing. The ride completes by coming down the cemetery and doing a waterfront loop of the esplanade and Springwater trail, otherwise known as the Willamette greenway.
Food: Super Torta, Oregon City
You’ll find some of my recommendations along with others at Rubber to the Road, who did not pay us for this, they just know their shit! It’s a comprehensive list of rides around the area bound to keep you exploring.