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Fat Tire Beach Biking at Bandon A Hot New Thing on S. Oregon Coast

Published 01/25/21 at 1:56 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Fat Tire Beach Biking at Bandon A Hot New Thing on S. Oregon Coast

(Bandon, Oregon) – There's much about the southern Oregon coast's town of Bandon that's enticing, especially in the natural world. Sands that seemingly go on forever, interspersed by massive rocky blobs or spikes that help create a labyrinth, and that always-engaging ocean and its nearby wildlife. (Above: one of the fat tire bikes sold by Velo, courtesy photo).

One activity that's coming into focus of late along the entire Oregon coast is the phenomenon of fat tire biking – bikes with wider-than-usual tires that allow you to roam nearly unhindered along the sands and at a quicker pace. It's a new kind of beach adventure, and one the Bandon Visitors Center recently touted, showing off a myriad of ways to dig a bit deeper into beach exploration.

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Part of this was a blog post on the Bandon Visitors Center website, which included a suggested itinerary. What the experts there show off is quite a free-for-all of fun.

Besides the joys of rambunctiously zipping up and down the sands, this section of the south Oregon coast has a host of rock structures that create some extra means of engagement and even challenge. Not only do they provide that labyrinth-like experience (picture yourself zig-zagging around them), but there are arches to wander through. Giant holes sit in the middle of some rock formations, allowing you go right through.

Among the suggestions for this new kind of bicycling wild abandon:

The Bandon Visitors Centers said to look at the Whisky Run mountain bike trails just north of town. 18 miles of trails bring you up and down mostly slight inclines in the midst of a thick canopy of trees. They're open all year and are designed for beginners to intermediate riders. It's the kind of place you can rage for half a day at or eat up the whole day, sometimes even allowing you to catch air.

Courtesy Bandon Visitors Center

Come the days of calmer weather there's camping outdoors to be had – or maybe you're hardier than just a fair weather camper. The folks at Bandon point out Bullards Beach State Park as one option, which includes all kinds of device-charging stations and quick access to the Coquille River Lighthouse.

Back on your fat tire bike, there are over four miles of beaches in this section, even more if you want to keep going until you bump into the southern edges of Cape Arago and the Coos Bay area. However, the tides may have something else to say about the Seven Devils State Recreation Site section.

There are more trails in the hills of Bandon to ride as well.

Another less-than-casual ride is the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway, where it's 25 miles to Port Orford from Bandon.

“This moderate, 61-mile journey traverses some of the most spectacular scenery on the Oregon coast, including lush cranberry bogs, the wild and scenic Elk River, basalt sea stacks, and expansive ocean views,” said the Bandon Visitors blog.

The visitors center urged caution on this one as parts of it use paved roads within towns and some very narrow roadways.

There are not yet many places on the whole of the Oregon coast that rent out or sell the fat tire bikes, but Bandon is lucky as it has South Coast Bicycles, where you can rent this ride of a lifetime. Amazon has begun featuring many online, or see manufacturers such as Velo. See the full set of trails, routes at the Bandon blog.

Some Tips for Beach Biking

According to Outside Magazine, though it feels tempting, do not ride in the ocean. Saltwater ruins bikes fast. You should also rinse off your bike immediately, the magazine urges, and use a wax-based lube afterwards and not before the ride.

Just like any activity on the Oregon coast, pay attention to the tides and if they're coming in quickly. Much of the Bandon area has more cliff-lined beaches than flat access points, so make sure you don't get yourself stuck in a tight spot that won't allow you a quick exit.

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Bandon, courtesy Google Earth

Bullards Beach State Park

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