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Bike Trails: Enjoy gentle Shady Cove route

Cruising along to Shady Cove! That's my vision when I think about riding this 50-mile route covering gentle terrain with a few rolling hills, smooth pavement with wide shoulders and great scenery. Traffic is light on most of the route, and you ride miles without encountering a stop sign.

I like to start this ride at the Bureau of Land Management office on Biddle Road where there is ample parking on the weekend. From the parking lot, go north on Biddle or escape some of the Biddle Road traffic by heading east out of the parking lot and turning left on Bullock Road, then winding through the airport on Airport Road and returning to Biddle Road.

Turn right on Table Rock Road, where there's a long, straight stretch of new pavement and wide shoulders. At Table Rock and Vilas Road, a very busy intersection, go straight.

Traffic will begin to taper off, and as you pass the Agate Desert Preserve at the intersection with West Antelope Road, note the abundance of wildflowers and vernal pools that harbor rare fairy shrimp. Continue on, crossing the Rogue River at TouVelle State Park, a good place to rest and use the bathrooms.

Follow Table Rock Road east for a few miles and then north again, finally reaching Highway 234 just after you pass between Upper and Lower Table rocks.

Cross Highway 234, passing Sams Valley Elementary School. Shortly after the elementary school turn right on Weber Road and continue to Meadows Road, where you turn north, or left. Even though this part of the route is slightly uphill, the smooth pavement makes it really pleasant. Make a right-hand turn on Dodge Road and enjoy another long stretch of road with a few rollers. Dodge Road eventually intersects with Highway 234.

Turn left onto the highway, proceeding a short distance before turning left on Rogue River Drive. Follow the undulating road to Shady Cove. Just before reaching Shady Cove you climb a short hill and then coast down several curves into town. Go slowly along the downhill stretch as there are usually deer and slower vehicle traffic in this residential area.

Reaching the intersection of Highway 62, you will have traveled 25 miles.

Refuel at a restaurant in Shady Cove, and then head back toward Medford on Highway 62. For the first few miles the road is narrow with a narrow shoulder. Traffic can get congested in this stretch so ride cautiously. After a long, gradual uphill, followed by several miles of downhill, turn left onto Butte Falls Highway. After a short distance turn right on Reese Creek Road, heading south toward Eagle Point. Then turn right on Brownsboro Road. It's just a short stretch until you'll be passing the Butte Falls Flour Mill.

Brownsboro Road turns into Royal Avenue, which you will want to follow all the way out of Eagle Point to the stoplight at Highway 62. Cross the highway to Nick Young Road. You can fly along this stretch, eventually coming to Agate Road, where you turn left. Keep going south and then take a right on Antelope Road, which heads west and intersects with Table Rock Road. Turn left on Table Rock and retrace your route back to Biddle Road and the BLM office. I hope you enjoy this 50-mile journey as much I do. Have a safe ride!

Bicycling enthusiast Bob Korfhage of Phoenix is a former president of Siskiyou Velo bicycle club.