Friday, April 4, 2008

My Commute


My commute starts in the relaxed, low key South East of Portland where I ride through neighborhood streets that have more cyclists than cars. On my way home along this road, the view of blinking bike tail lights is always an inspiration.

I meet the most cyclists while crossing the river, though. There are two lanes here on the bridge and the faster cyclists take the left lane. It gets tight further on, and not everyone gives the pedestrians the space they need.

Once I hit downtown, it's mostly car traffic. There are bike lanes, but the construction can be distracting and disruptive. Throughout the downtown commute, I can easily keep up with the cars. There are so many cars that they slow each-other down, but lots of them don't know this.

The downtown part of my rides finishes at the top of a hill, and then I get to bomb down it, across the commuter train tracks and past the train stop. Most days, when the weather is nice, instead of turning left to get onto the train, I turn right up another hill.

This hill is surprisingly steep. This is probably the hardest part of the ride. The people here seem to have bigger cars than downtown, and they are more distracted. I'm not moving particularly fast here so they zoom by me.

Then it's relief: This hill ends in a beautiful park. Often I won't see any cars for the entire trip through the park. In a few minutes, I'll ride past an awesome view of the mountain, weather permitting.

It's a steady climb from here to the top of the hills. The steepest part is fortunately pretty short and I like to tackle it quickly to get it over with. Pretty soon, I'll ride by the zoo and often hear loud bird sounds or something.

I like the downhill part of the ride because I don't have to take it too slowly. There's no traffic, just a bike lane beside the highway. Very occasionally, I'll be going faster than the cars on the highway, but not usually.

Then I hit the suburbs. The drivers here are extremely distracted, impatient, and driving large cars. The streets are designed to direct the traffic onto particular streets, so I have learned to avoid those streets and ride over the speed bumps.

At the end, I ride across the train tracks again. I could have taken the train all the way in, but this was much nicer :)

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