Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bear Creek Greenway: Ashland to Phoenix trip

Cynthia Parkhill, wearing bicycle helmet and jersey, with her bicycle on a bridge along the Bear Creek Greenway
Bridge along the Bear Creek Greenway north of Ashland
Jonathan and I rode our bikes up the Bear Creek Greenway on Saturday, from Ashland to Phoenix, Oregon. The trip represented enormous progress in our efforts to free ourselves from dependence upon driving a car.

The Bear Creek Greenway is an 18-mile multi-use trail that follows the Bear Creek streambed. This narrow corridor of publicly-owned land connects the communities of Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford and Central Point.

This beautiful trail is maintained and supported by the Bear Creek Greenway Foundation.

Tight-cropped image of Jonathan Donihue, left, and Cynthia Parkhill on a bridge along the Bear Creek Greenway in southern Oregon
Selfie along the Greenway
We discovered and began enjoying the Bear Creek Greenway during vacations to Ashland. During our stays, we frequently walked the Greenway from our hotel to the downtown.

Upon moving to Ashland, we quickly began using its Central Trail and dedicated bicycle lanes for in-town destinations. But we needed to replace our auto trips to Medford with “greener” alternatives.

The Greenway supplies that alternative.

We prepared for this, our longest bicycle trip to-date, by taking numerous rides to downtown Ashland and back that averaged five miles round-trip. We believed that taking three such rides per day was comparable to a trip to Medford.

Once in Phoenix, we caught Rogue Valley Transit and rode with our bikes into Medford. Once dropped in Medford, we rejoined the Greenway and used it to reach our planned destinations.

Our final verdict was that the riding we did on Saturday equaled a one-way bike ride into Medford. Give us a year, maybe less, and we’ll be ready to make a complete round trip by bicycle.

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