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Cycling Adventures in Little Shasta Valley

When my husband and I moved from Portland, Oregon to Siskiyou, we cycled everywhere because we didn’t own a car. We’d been car-free in Portland for years and wanted to try the car-free lifestyle in Siskiyou. Living twelve miles “outside of town” and communing via bike was more challenging than we expected, and not owning a car limited our weekend adventuring options.

Despite the challenges of being car-free in Siskiyou, we enjoyed our biking adventures, and we didn’t stop cycling when we purchased a vehicle. For example, we loved cycling near our home in Little Shasta Valley; especially in the spring and fall because the weather is ideal, the roads have very little traffic, and the views are gorgeous.

One of my favorite spots to take a cycling break was Little Shasta Church. I’d eat a small snack, sip on my water, and take photos of the area. The church was built in 1876, and it’s directly across from Little Shasta Elementary School. The school is the oldest operating two-room schoolhouse in California, and it was one of the first schools in Siskiyou County. When my husband attended the school, only 14 children were enrolled! Just up the road is Little Shasta Cemetery; another unique place to photograph.

Our car-free adventures enabled us to see Siskiyou from a unique vantage point, and being car-free gave us the courage to try longer cycling routes. We love to bike, and we also enjoy having a vehicle that enables us to explore different parts of Siskiyou.

PRO-TIPS

—Lodging: Pair your cycling trip in Little Shasta Valley with an overnight stay in Yreka. The valley is relatively close to Yreka, and it’s a great place to begin your ride to Little Shasta. Alternatively, you can drive to Montague, unload your bikes, and cycle onward. There is free parking by the cowboy statue in downtown Montague.

—Good eats: In a previous essay, I wrote about Kathy’s Deli & Bakery, and it’s worth mentioning again because I love Kathy’s baked goods and sandwiches. If you’re cycling through Montague, stop at Kathy’s for a treat. Also, Shasta Valley Meats offers delicious deli sandwiches.

If you’re in the mood for a large breakfast, lunch, or dinner, The Dutchman is a great option. Since Montague is a small town, it’s wise to call ahead to make sure the establishments above are open.

—Cycling tips: Start cycling relatively early in the morning because Little Shasta Valley winds can be strong in the afternoon. Also, most roads in the valley don’t have dedicated bike lanes. Don’t worry though! Locals give cyclists a wide berth and are respectful. Also, waving hello to everyone is a local tradition. It feels odd at first to wave at strangers, but it’s a wonderful gesture.

—Cycling resources & events: Cycle Siskiyou is a helpful website with biking routes, services, event information, and more. Plus, Cycle Siskiyou has a list of bike services on their website. If you’re looking for bike rentals, repairs, and more check out the list.

Cycling Events in Siskiyou:

Scenic Bicycle Tour: May 4, 2019. This event was formerly known as the “Siskiyou Century” and has had as many as 600 participants. There are five different events to choose from, and it’s a great way to see Siskiyou on two wheels. Details here and here.

6th Annual Art of Survival Century Bicycle Ride: May 25-27, 2019. Touring and gravel grinder routes in Northern California and Southern Oregon available for all ages and abilities, with educational/historical components to share along the routes. Details here.

Castle Crags Century: June 22, 2019. Five ride options including a 142-mile “Super Century,” with pristine views of Castle Crags, Mt. Shasta, Lake Siskiyou, and the Shasta Valley. Details here.

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When my husband and I moved from Portland, Oregon to Siskiyou, we cycled everywhere because we didn’t own a car. We’d been car-free in Portland for years and wanted to try the car-free lifestyle in Siskiyou. Living twelve miles “outside of town” and communing via bike was more challenging than we expected, and not owning a car limited our weekend adventuring options.

Despite the challenges of being car-free in Siskiyou, we enjoyed our biking adventures, and we didn’t stop cycling when we purchased a vehicle. For example, we loved cycling near our home in Little Shasta Valley; especially in the spring and fall because the weather is ideal, the roads have very little traffic, and the views are gorgeous.

One of my favorite spots to take a cycling break was Little Shasta Church. I’d eat a small snack, sip on my water, and take photos of the area. The church was built in 1876, and it’s directly across from Little Shasta Elementary School. The school is the oldest operating two-room schoolhouse in California, and it was one of the first schools in Siskiyou County. When my husband attended the school, only 14 children were enrolled! Just up the road is Little Shasta Cemetery; another unique place to photograph.

Our car-free adventures enabled us to see Siskiyou from a unique vantage point, and being car-free gave us the courage to try longer cycling routes. We love to bike, and we also enjoy having a vehicle that enables us to explore different parts of Siskiyou.

PRO-TIPS

—Lodging: Pair your cycling trip in Little Shasta Valley with an overnight stay in Yreka. The valley is relatively close to Yreka, and it’s a great place to begin your ride to Little Shasta. Alternatively, you can drive to Montague, unload your bikes, and cycle onward. There is free parking by the cowboy statue in downtown Montague.

—Good eats: In a previous essay, I wrote about Kathy’s Deli & Bakery, and it’s worth mentioning again because I love Kathy’s baked goods and sandwiches. If you’re cycling through Montague, stop at Kathy’s for a treat. Also, Shasta Valley Meats offers delicious deli sandwiches.

If you’re in the mood for a large breakfast, lunch, or dinner, The Dutchman is a great option. Since Montague is a small town, it’s wise to call ahead to make sure the establishments above are open.

—Cycling tips: Start cycling relatively early in the morning because Little Shasta Valley winds can be strong in the afternoon. Also, most roads in the valley don’t have dedicated bike lanes. Don’t worry though! Locals give cyclists a wide berth and are respectful. Also, waving hello to everyone is a local tradition. It feels odd at first to wave at strangers, but it’s a wonderful gesture.

—Cycling resources & events: Cycle Siskiyou is a helpful website with biking routes, services, event information, and more. Plus, Cycle Siskiyou has a list of bike services on their website. If you’re looking for bike rentals, repairs, and more check out the list.

Cycling Events in Siskiyou:

Scenic Bicycle Tour: May 4, 2019. This event was formerly known as the “Siskiyou Century” and has had as many as 600 participants. There are five different events to choose from, and it’s a great way to see Siskiyou on two wheels. Details here and here.

6th Annual Art of Survival Century Bicycle Ride: May 25-27, 2019. Touring and gravel grinder routes in Northern California and Southern Oregon available for all ages and abilities, with educational/historical components to share along the routes. Details here.

Castle Crags Century: June 22, 2019. Five ride options including a 142-mile “Super Century,” with pristine views of Castle Crags, Mt. Shasta, Lake Siskiyou, and the Shasta Valley. Details here.