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Bike Commute Challenge, week 1

by Frank Mungeam

Bio | Email | Follow: @KGWNews


Posted on September 7, 2007 at 11:15 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 6 at 12:22 PM

KGW's "Green Team" has taken to the streets of Portland, riding to work by bike as part of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance's month-long Bike Commute Challenge.

So far, we've enrolled 13 employees who've committed to bike to work at least once this month. You're invited to sign up your own team at your company on the BTA web site...and you can even select "KGW" as the team you want to compete with - for fun, of course.

During the next few weeks, several of our bike commuters will share their stories here about what their commute experience is like. Here's the first account, written by KGW News Graphics Coordinator Dave Haneman, who actually commutes by bike every day:

I live just over two miles from the station in SE Portland, along a major bike route. I ride year 'round, rain or shine (I'll take a break if it's snowing).
Since I work swing shift, I don't have to worry about traffic too much.

I swing into Ladd's Addition and follow the bike route up Clay to SE 6th, then travel north and pick up Madison to cross the Hawthorne Bridge.

The intersection of Madison and Grand Ave. is the first tricky spot of the the ride.
Cars cross the bike lane, turning right onto Grand Ave., buses cross the bike lane to pick up passengers and bikes thread the middle!

The City of Portland and Multnomah Co. recently added a bicycle climbing lane on the eastern approach of the Hawthorne Bridge. Before this, riders tended to bunch up due to the climb up the ramp. It may not look like much of a hill, but for many riders it's not easy, especially if they were stopped at the red light. Now faster riders have a safe way to pass, and slower riders don't feel so much pressure to move. Yes, even cyclists tailgate!

Crossing the Hawthorne Bridge is always a treat. With wide sidewalks and great views of downtown and the West Hills, it's a calming experience before plunging back into traffic on the west end.

The west end of the Hawthorne Bridge can be a cycling nightmare, especially if you ride during morning rush hour. Just as on the east end, the bike lane crosses a turn lane and a bus stop with bikes in the middle. I've found most drivers to be courteous, it is just the sheer number of cars and buses that can make it a little unnerving.

Unfortunately, it doesn't get better until you pass the Elk fountain.

If traffic allows, I prefer to turn left on First Avenue and head towards SW Jefferson St. That requires crossing three lanes and is nearly impossible in the morning, but the afternoon traffic has big gaps.

Jefferson has a nice bike lane that goes right up to KGW.

Ride time from home to work for me is about 15 minutes, about the same as driving and I don't have to worry about a parking space. Taking the bus is 30 minutes, including waiting and walking.

I go home around midnight, so there's no traffic at all and it's mostly downhill.
The great thing is that I'm home in about 10 minutes, again about as fast as driving, but three times faster than the bus.

The station has secure parking, showers and lockers. Add in the speed of the commute and the money saved by not owning a second car and riding to work is a no brainer for me.