Have you followed this whole journey from the beginning? Follow this link to find all the episodes of our North American Cycle Tour – 2019.
Sunday 28th July: Albany to Brownsville (Oregon, USA): 50kms
Ride Time: 3hrs / Ave Speed: 10.62mph
At 11.00 am, it was a pretty late start – even by our standards! We were not about to decline a cooked breakfast, though! It was a nice, quiet ride out of Albany as we picked up Riverside Drive and headed south again.
As we came to Highway 34, which goes to nearby Corvallis, we turned onto a bike path to get us up to opposite White Oak Road, which would keep us heading directly south. The only trouble was that there were no traffic lights there, and there were four lanes of traffic to get across. We would have to be patient and pick the best opportunity to get across safely.
There was a turning lane in the middle we could use, which meant we’d only have to cross two lanes at a time. We safely made it to the middle lane as cars and trucks whizzed by us on both sides. It was a bit unnerving sitting there like shags on a rock, but we bided our time, and sure enough, a gap opened up and we darted across to the other side.
Pulling over to the side of the road under a shady tree, Shazz was quite animated over the traffic noise. It took me a little while to understand what she was on about, but then I saw it. One of her front panniers had dropped off in the middle of the road and was now at the mercy of the speeding traffic.
There was nothing else to do, so I ran to the side of the road. Two trucks and three cars had already passed over it without crushing it. I couldn’t believe that they hadn’t completely destroyed it by now!! I took the first opportunity and darted into the traffic to rescue the wayward pannier. I grabbed it fast and looked up. About 20 cars were heading my way at speed. My body was already running as my mind was still staring at the fast-approaching cars. I returned to the bikes safely before my brain could register what had just happened. It was a close call I’d rather not repeat. I put Shazz’s pannier back on correctly!
Back in the saddle, we followed the river down Peoria Road till we came to Fayetteville Road, finally enjoying a tailwind to get us across the open paddocks. At the tiny town of Shedd, we looked for somewhere open to fill our water bottles, but the place was a virtual ghost town. We pushed on.
Fayetteville Road became Boston Mill Road, and after just a mile or so, we turned south onto Roberts Road. This took us down alongside Interstate 5 to an overpass. Traffic was thick and fast on the 5. We felt lucky to be out of it on these quiet farm roads.
We headed east on Linn West Drive till it became 7 Mile Lane, and it took us into Brownsville, our destination for the day, and only one more ride to Eugene. Being a Sunday, most of the town was closed. Fortunately, the Brownsville Saloon was open for business and had a restaurant serving pretty decent bar food and craft beers!
We enjoyed a late lunch and dinner there as we met some locals and whiled away the time until we went down to Pioneer Park to set the tent for the night. We took some beers down with us and got to share them with two other touring cyclists – Ed and Lucy, who were also camping for the night but headed in the opposite direction. We swapped information about our ride and chatted till it was time to call it a night.
Monday 29th July: Brownsville to Eugene (Oregon, USA): 49kms
Ride Time: 2hrs 50mins / Ave Speed: 10.3mph
We picked up some breakfast at Dari Market on Main Street on the way out of town. It would come in handy as we climbed the biggest hill on the route. Gap Road leads right up to the hill past plenty of vacant fields until you start to climb.
The ascent is mainly forested and has plenty of places to rest in the shade. Once over the top, it’s a long downhill run until Diamond Hill Road. From there, we turn west again towards Interstate 5 and an overpass. We’re now back in amongst the fields, and it’s all starting to get a bit boring.
North Coburg road runs alongside the 5 and takes us directly south into Coburg, where we stop for lunch at another of Dari’s Markets. Taking our time now, as it was pretty hot again today, we headed south through town and crossed the McKenzie River on the northern edge of Eugene.
Armitage Park and the official end of the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway were just across the river. We went in a little way looking for a toilet, but none were seen. I’m sure there were some, but we weren’t prepared to spend any more time looking and pressed on into town. We were relying on Google Maps again to help us find our Airbnb for the night.
We followed Google down Eugene’s side streets and onto a bike path. This took us to the central train station, down Main Street, and onto 5th Street. The first thing we saw was the Steelhead Brewhouse. It was early afternoon, and plenty of people were there eating their lunch. Shazz and I figured it was a good idea to get out of the sun and enjoy a nice, cool craft beer to kill some time before heading down to our accommodation.
Well rested, we biked down to 17th Avenue and found our Airbnb. It was in an old historic building typical around the area. The owners, an eccentric “arty/hippy” type, let us put our bikes in their lock-up garden shed and showed us to our room on the second floor. The house looked like it was decorated by a fairy queen and had lots of little knick-knacks scattered around, as well as lots of fantasy-type artworks and posters hanging from the brightly colored walls. We’d stayed in hostels with a similar taste in design, and it was a nice change to sterile hotel rooms.
With some guidance from the owners, we walked back down the street to find the Bier Stein, a big pub-eatery with enormous fridges full of takeaway craft beer. God only knows how many different types of beer they had in there.
We spent the time deciding what to do next. Our research told us that Highway 126 to the coast was a particularly bad road for cycling. It was narrow with not much shoulder and very hilly. We didn’t like the looks of it, so we figured we’d hang around and find out our best options.
We stayed four nights in Eugene while we sorted ourselves out. We had decided to take the bus to the coast and avoid cycling the 126. Once again, the ticket seller wouldn’t guarantee whether the driver would let the bikes on the smaller bus. Putting the bikes on buses is always a pain in the arse!
In the meantime, we walked around town and took in the sights. I walked up to Ninkasi Brewing Company and Hop Valley Brewers one afternoon while Shazz did some work. It was quite a walk, so I didn’t have too many as I still needed to get home!
We spent each evening sitting at the Bier Stein and watching the crowds come and go.
Next up is the coast of Oregon. Take a look at Welcome to the 101: Cycling from Eugene to Humbug Mountain State Park.