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Bicycle Touring Has Come of Age Worldwide

July 20, 1986|FRANK RILEY | Riley is travel columnist for Los Angeles magazine and a regular contributor to this section

TILLAMOOK, Ore. — We are on two wheels near the tip of Cape Meares beside the Bay of Tillamook.

From here the Three Loops Road follows the Pacific coastline to Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda, overlooking the grandeur of seascapes accented by lighthouses, sculptured cliffs, sand dunes and hideaway beaches.

Los Angeles Times Sunday July 27, 1986 Home Edition Travel Part 7 Page 8 Column 4 Travel Desk 1 inches; 21 words Type of Material: Correction
For the record: In last week's column on bicycle touring the phone number given for Kao International Inc. was incorrect. The number is (213) 208-6001.

Our two wheels belong to the tandem bicycle that was tucked into the back of our station wagon as we drove north through Oregon on the Interstate 5 route toward Expo 86 in Vancouver, Canada.

A friend in Eugene had advised us: "Turn off to the coast and U.S. 101 before you get to Portland. You won't want to miss biking for a few hours around Tillamook--after you sample that fabulous local cheese at the Tillamook County Creamery."

In Keeping With Expo

The experience of Tillamook and the Three Capes Loop is just one of many possible two-wheel side trips that will tempt cyclists to tote along a bike on a drive up to Expo.

A bicycle fits neatly into the Expo theme focusing on the history and future of transportation and communication. In turn, Expo has taken center stage at a time when "bicycle touring has come of age," to quote Backroads Bicycle Touring of San Leandro, Calif., a travel company that has scheduled 132 bike tours this year, ranging from California and the West to Hawaii and New Zealand.

Euro-Bike Tours, based in De Kalb, Ill., links the bicycle to communication as well as transportation in its offering of tours through Europe: "The bicycle gives Americans a chance to interact closely with the people of other nations--to become an active part of the environment instead of watching the scenery pass through the window of a car, train or bus."

The People's Republic of China, which is helping to make history by participating in Expo with the Soviet Union and the United States, has opened the door to more bicycle tours than ever this year. Four of the new tours are sponsored by China Passage of Teaneck, N.J., offering such cycling destinations as Peking, the Yangtze Valley, the Great Wall, the ancient villages of the Pearl River Delta, and Yunnan Province, "Land of Eternal Spring." You can rent a bike or take your own.

Kao International of Los Angeles, a pioneer in bicycle touring of southern China, in cooperation with United Airlines has put together a variety of 10- to 20-day packages for cycling some of the most historic and scenic areas in the south of China, with frequent departures through 1986 and 1987.

They include air transportation from the West Coast, all hotel accommodations and meals in China, guides and interpreters, cultural activities, sightseeing and bicycle rentals. Prices start at $659 for the 10-day tour out of 2,000-year-old Guangzhou (Canton), plus $910 for the air fare. Contact Kao International Inc., 1007 Broxton Avenue, Los Angeles, Calif. 90024. (213) 206-6001.

McBrides Earth Adventures, headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., has seven new bicycle tours between Paris and Pompeii for this season. They vary from "Renaissance and Historic Italy" to "Biking and Ballooning--all across Burgundy."

Domestic and Foreign Tours

The Bicycle Adventure Club of San Diego has put together eight tours covering the United States from California to Maine, and five foreign two-wheel treks to destinations including the Cotswolds of England, Peru from Lima to Machu Picchu, and Israel from the Mediterranean coast to the Red Sea and the Golan Heights.

Pacific Adventures of Irvine, Calif., is ready to take you on three-day bike tours of Yosemite, Napa/Sonoma wine country and Monterey/Carmel.

Vermont Bicycle Touring, which is sponsoring America's first bicycle-schooner vacations this year, has summed up what is happening: "The word is out. Bicycling is in. 'Doonesbury's yuppies ride bikes on the cover of Newsweek. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward take their family vacations with Vermont Bicycle Touring. For 10 years, Americans have purchased more bicycles than autos."

If you aren't driving to Expo and would like to get into bicycle touring, there's sure to be a bike tour tailored to your interests and expertise.

Of the 132 tours offered by Backroads Bicycle Touring, one heads for Tillamook, its cheese sampling and the Three Capes Loop Road. Participants also bike through Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River, where the Lewis and Clark Expedition wintered in 1805-06, then pedal inland to the heart of the Oregon wine country for a night at the Flying M Ranch. Cost of the five-day tour is $450 per person, including lodging and meals.

Backroads expresses the philosophy of contemporary bike travel and the approach we take in our own bicycle treks. My wife, Elfriede, packs the appropriate lightweight clothing so that we can dine with candlelight and wine after a day of pedaling. Backroads puts it in these words: "This sure isn't roughing it!"

Gourmet Cycling

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