Heritage + Cycle Oregon 25
By Lexie Simpson
On September 8, 2012, a friend and I headed toward the little community of Bly in southern Oregon to participate in Cycle Oregon 25. I’d participated in Cycle Oregon 1 & 2 back in 1989 and 1990, and what I learned from those experiences was that it is more than just a bike ride. It is visiting and enjoying communities rich with heritage that you would otherwise likely never see.
It was no surprise to see welcome signs as we arrived in Bly. Along the roadside and in front of shops were decorated bicycles and tricycles. The town was very clean. It was as if every member of the community took a broom to their front steps and sidewalks. I saw the pride of the people who lived in this lovely little town. I learned that Bly is short for Blydell, the name for “heaven” associated with the Klamath Tribe. I agreed.
The next morning we set out for Silver Lake. The air was fresh and the countryside was beautiful. At the finish line, cyclists were greeted by local well wishers who cheered and congratulated us. The next morning, the Mayor of Silver Lake gave us high fives as we left and thanked us for visiting his town. He invited us back. I’ve never seen stars so bright and close. I’ll be back.
It was below freezing the morning we left historic Fort Klamath. My friend and I stopped for a cup of coffee before we headed off to Crater Lake. We had a nice conversation with a local motel owner. Once again, it is the people who make a town a home, and this woman was delightful. It was obvious she loved Fort Klamath.
We camped on the high school football field in Prospect. Once again, the residents went all out to make us feel welcomed. The feeling of pride in the community was evident. Throughout the trip, we cycled through beautiful country and saw interesting sights that enhanced the charm of the communities.
We had a much-needed day off in Ashland. I encouraged my friends to join me for a drink of Ashland’s famous Lithia water at the plaza, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. I think it’s delicious. They disagreed.
Our last stop before returning to Bly was Klamath Falls, one of 81 communities part of the Oregon Main Street network. We camped alongside Klamath Lake. It was mesmerizing watching the beautiful white pelicans on the lake. I’d never seen anything like it.
Cycle Oregon was a wonderful experience. Every community along the route has its own heritage and beauty, and every community capitalized on its uniqueness. I can hardly wait until next year.
Lexie Simpson is the Main Street Coordinator for Cottage Grove, Oregon.