Home to 350 miles (573 km) of designated bikeways, Portland is widely praised as one of America’s most bike-friendly cities. And when you ride beyond city limits, you’ll find even more two-wheeled appeal.
One great regional cycling destination is the nearby suburb of Gresham, located 17 miles (27 km) east of downtown Portland. Oregon’s fourth-largest city, it’s home to the annual Portland Highland Games and Gresham Arts Festival and charming parks and cafés. Head east to discover all that Gresham has to offer.
From downtown Portland, cyclists can cross the Willamette River via the Steel or Hawthorne bridges to access the Springwater Corridor. This paved, multi-use path is open to bicycles, wheelchairs, strollers and pedestrians. As you head out of town, you’ll pass Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Beggars-Tick Wildlife Refuge and Powell Butte Nature Park. All of these parks are worth a stop on your way to or from Gresham’s Main City Park.
Beginner cyclists may not want to commit to pedaling over 30 miles (48 km) round-trip from downtown Portland to Gresham. To reduce your time in the saddle, bring your bike on the MAX light rail Blue Line. It runs straight from downtown’s Pioneer Courthouse Square to the Gresham Transit Center and taking your bike on the train is a cinch.
Founded in 1905, Gresham’s historic downtown still retains its quaint small-town charm. The district is home to more than 30 local businesses, including restaurants, bars, galleries and clothing shops. Gresham Historical Society members lead historic downtown tours on select weekends, starting at the Gresham History Museum (another noteworthy attraction).
If you’re seeking a leafy picnic spot, look no further than Main City Park, located directly off the Springwater Corridor. This 21.6-acre (8.7 hectares) park offers plenty to enjoy, including playgrounds, horseshoe pits, picnic areas and baseball diamonds. The park also contains the serene Tsuru Island Japanese Garden, the Gresham Heroes Memorial and an all-ages skate park.
Food & Drink
For morning rides, fuel up at , where bagels have been made fresh daily since 1999. Located at the edge of downtown Gresham, Jazzy Bagels offers dozens of bagels and house-made spreads. As a bonus, the eatery often features live music on its beautiful baby grand piano.
If your desires are more happy hour than brunch, head a few blocks north to the Hoppy Brewer. Billed as Gresham’s “hoppy place,” the taproom boasts 28 rotating craft beers and ciders on tap, plus many bottled brews. Imbibers can sit in the taproom, lounge in the outdoor courtyard or even browse the shop’s selection of home-brewing supplies.
Still hungry? Gresham has a number of tasty lunch and dinner destinations to sate your hunger. Boccelli’s Ristorante, owned by Gresham mayor Shane Bemis, offers a large menu of classic Italian dishes. Family-owned Portland stalwart Nicholas opened its downtown Gresham outpost in 2010, serving its signature Lebanese cuisine. Across the street, the Local Cow is a favorite for its juicy hamburgers, made using antibiotic-free Rainer Natural Northwest beef.
Plan Your Trip
Looking for more information to plan your adventure? Bike East Multnomah County offers thoughtful brochures detailing the region’s best rides, complete with spots to eat, explore and stay. Options include a family-friendly spin past lakes and wetlands and an 84-mile (135 km) Columbia River Gorge tour. Learn more at bikeemc.com/ride and find brochures at Portland’s River City Bicycles and Gresham Bicycle Center.
Bike East Multnomah County also offers a list of Gresham’s most bike-friendly businesses. They are all happy to offer water, bathrooms, snacks and even bike repair tools to traveling cyclists.
The small logging town of Vernonia has become a central hub for bike routes through the surrounding state forest.
The Columbia River Gorge is a recreational biker’s paradise, with options including car-free blacktop, smooth single-track flows and canyon trails with tricky switchbacks.
Portland's cycling culture peaks during June's multi-week Pedalpalooza (returning June 1–30, 2019), featuring 200+ local-led, themed rides, all open to the public.