Archive for February, 2011

What great news! The Cycle Oregon Weekend Ride will feature bike history! The Cyclecentennial ride will be based at the oldest university in the West and feature two other important territorial sites.

Willamette University was founded in 1842 by Methodist missionaries.

French Prairie was a hotbed of activity, and Champoeg and the Willamette Mission were also important sites before statehood.

Today there are state parks at both sites (Champoeg and the Mission) and the ride will visit both of them!

Governor Theodore Thurston Geer purchased a bike on February 14, 1899 – at least, that’s what Portland bike dealer Fred T. Merrill wanted us to think. A year before, his first bike was headline news and Geer had started commuting to the Capitol by bike.

Not long after, in May 1900, Geer biked from Salem to Champoeg for the new Oregon Historical Society to locate the site of the 1843 meeting where the very first pioneers decided to form a territorial government.

Writing about the trip in the spring with good weather he said:

It was a perfect day, with a firm north breeze, not a cloud in the sky; the roads were in good condition, the crops were growing splendidly, birds were singing everywhere, seemingly to be in harmony with Nature’s glad mood – it was, in short, just that sort of day which is known in all its wealth of joy, beauty, and inspiration only in the Willamette valley in the spring and summer months.

Geer also lived up in the Waldo hills, east of Salem towards Silverton, and perhaps the rides will also go by his uncle’s farm and maybe even his own land just a couple miles away.

July 15-17 will be very exciting for the lucky riders!


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