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Go green or go home

Sometimes we have to leave Portland to realize that there is another world out there. A world very, very different from the cycling utopia of Portland. A world where things don’t revolve around coffee, bikes, and bridges. In Ashland, Oregon things revolve around coffee, bikes, and patchuli oil. Lots of patchuli oil.

It had been a long time since I lived in Ashland, and the things I remembered were vague. I remembered that everyone had blond dreadlocks, and the panhandlers generally offered to send you “positive vibes’ in exchange for change. I remembered that the ramen cups at the local grocery store has weevils in them. I remembered that for 9 months out of the year the city was overrun with old people who pretended to enjoy Shakespeare plays. And I remembered that the mountain biking was amazing and the mountain bikers were equally amazing. The trails are beautiful and endless and vein up into the hills right from the center of town.

Ashland is buried in a valley, so all of the road biking involves at least one hill. Depending on the direction you go, it may be a big hill. Like Mt. Ashland. Which is a mountain. Which is why it is named the way it is. Each Summer the locals compete in the Mt. Ashland Hill Climb, a road vs. mountain competition whose record was once held by Bobke. Or so I’m told. By liars.

The restaurant situation is somewhat bleak, with a large percentage of the establishments catering to the wealthy tourist. The all star breakfast option of the area is Morning Glory, and everyone knows it. The wait can be over an hour on the weekends. The Ashland Food Coop has a pretty fantastic deli area that makes great smoothies and soups, and they should be able to provide any number of foods that contain either quinoa or hemp. Another grocery option is Shop n’ Cart (yes, with just an “n”). This large grocer is local-friendly, has an amazing selection of beers at the lowest prices in the area, and on special days when the moon is just so, a family sells delicious tomales in the parking lot for $1.

For your riding pleasure, here’s a map of the the road route up Mt. Ashland:

Here’s a map of the classic Lakes Loop route: