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Can Estacada be turned into a biking haven?

Phil Lingelbach, chairman of the Estacada Development Association described plans to turn it into just that.

Most notably, there’s the hope to designate the 72-mile route along Highway 224 between Estacada and Detroit a “scenic bikeway.”

The two towns have been working on the project since 2010, when the Detroit Lake Recreation Area Business Association contacted Estacada to see if it would be interested in getting the route listed as a scenic bikeway.

According to Lingelbach, nearly everyone in town was.

“It looks like a really good way to bring tourism, bring in a lot of money,” said Lingelbach, who is hoping that the route will be an official scenic bikeway by the end of the summer.

He noted that Oregon’s revenue from cycling almost doubled between 2010 and 2012.

Lingelbach emphasized that while the entire 72-mile route is a challenging ride, there is always the option of only riding part of it.

“The thing that’s nice about this ride, you can start at Faraday and have about four miles on a gated road with virtually no traffic,” he said, adding that it would be a nice ride for families with kids.

For the last few years, Lingelbach, his wife, and three to four others have been taking a 35-mile long ride along the bikeway every Sunday.

He hopes cyclists interested in the route would be drawn to the area.

“We don’t want people to just come out to ride, but to do other events in the area to bring them back. There’s lots of things to do out here,” he said listing fishing, camping and mushroom gathering.

The next step in the process is to demonstrate community support for the scenic bikeway project. The Estacada Development Association will have businesses sign a letter of support or draft their own.

“What the bikeway people want to see is whether the community is really in support of this,” Lingelbach said.

Chatting with business owners around town, it seems that they are. Local businesses seem to be taken with the idea of a bike-friendly Estacada.

Milan Peterka of Mossy Rock explained that in the last two years the shop has started carrying a variety of biking books and maps.

Barbara Mattson of Barbara’s Flowers and Coffee said she felt “great” about making Estacada bike-friendly.

“Whatever we can do to attract people to town, as long as they don’t interfere with us being able to get around and drive,” she said.

The last step in the process is for the proposed “scenic bikeway” to be voted on by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission.

But plans to make Estacada bike-friendly don’t end there.

Lingelbach hopes to hold an annual ride of the proposed scenic bikeway.

Cyclists could choose how far they’d like to go but the most extreme riders would bike to Detroit, stay overnight in a cabin, and come back the next day.

Plans for a “Bike Estacada Day” also are in the works.

The event would encourage locals to experience the Estacada area from a bicycle.

Lingelbach also hopes to get a bike friendly decal- with a slogan such as “We <3 Bicycles”- for businesses to put in their windows.

“What we want visitors to feel is we’re friendly toward visitors as a community,” Lingelbach said.

He hopes that businesses will allow cyclists to use their restrooms.

Lingelbach went on to describe ways in which Estacada already has made efforts to become more bike friendly

Fliers for bike routes in the Estacada Area were recently mailed to bicycle shops in the Portland area. A bicycle camping guide flier will be sent out shortly.

Lingelbach noted that in honor of Estacada’s centennial in 2005, the Estacada Development Association installed some benches and bike racks downtown.

He thinks that the Chamber’s public restroom will be great for cyclists.

It’s also a big help that cyclists wanting to ride the scenic bikeway can leave their cars in the City Hall parking lot for free.

With the police so nearby, there’s hardly a safer place to park.

Lingelbach has many ideas for making his “Estacada as bike haven” vision a reality.

Who knows, maybe someday the city will someday have bike lanes.

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