Gravel Grinding at Forest Park

Words and photos by Kona Ambassador Lita Monaghan

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Usually, it is summertime that is associated with road trips and adventure. After being buried by a snowstorm here in the Pacific Northwest, I needed a cure for cabin fever. With a couple of riding buddies, we took a [rail] road trip from Tacoma to Portland. Destination: Forest Park.

Traveling by train with a bicycle could not be easier!  You can sit back and relax while enjoying the passing scenery and chit chat with friends.  Once we arrived at Union Station in Portland, we left a change of clothes at the baggage check and headed out on our bicycling adventure.

Of course, no bike ride is sufficient without a coffee break, so we got sufficiently caffeinated and had a light snack at a local grocery store. We then stopped at a local bike shop to drool over some Kona bikes and picked up some nutrition.  We then made our way to Forest Park via NW Thurman Street.

Forest Park is one of the largest urban forests in the US with miles and miles of forest roads.  We rode along NW Leif Erickson Drive, out to Saltzman Road, and then doubled back to where we started.  My 2019 Kona Rove ST made easy work of the gravel and mud. The weather cooled as the day went on, but somehow, despite high probabilities of precipitation, not a single drop of rain fell on us!  There was a perfect amount of mud and just enough presence of cold nipping at our toes to remind us that we were still a ways off from summer. The Northwest weather, however, made the views along the ride so green and gorgeous.

Although the ride through the park was reward enough, we made our way back to downtown, did a little retail therapy limited by the space available in our backpacks, and capped the day off with beers and dinner at a local brewpub.  From the restaurant, we cycled 3 minutes to the train station, changed into our dry, warm clothes, and took our seats on the train.

Less than 3 hours later, we arrived back in Tacoma.  We loaded our bikes on the vehicles we left behind in the parking lot for the day and headed home.  Our day trip to Portland in search of some amazing gravel grinding was an excellent reminder that wintertime can mean road trips and adventure, too.