Category Archives: Transportation

The Night Ride, 2009

Last updated on February 11th, 2018

I celebrated my 32 (or 2 to the 5th) birthday by taking part in the annual Portland Night Ride, a very goofy night time bike ride with 1,500 of my newest friends. I’m not particularly keen about riding my bike after dark, but we started around 9am with plenty of light and then gradually drifted into darkness. I thought my costume was pretty silly, but my favorite costumes were a crew of pirates who decorated their bicycles to look like ships, a banana, and the Three Musketeers.

The ride started at the train station, and then took us across the Broadway bridge into North Portland. I somehow managed to be in the first handful of riders out of the gate, which meant the first stretch was remarkably solitary. I had been counting on following the pirates, but it was not to be. We went up Interstate and onto Mississippi, and then smack into the Mississippi street fair. While waiting for my brother, we got to watch a fairly hilarious collision between the two events. But everyone was mostly pretty chill, and the bottleneck meant that we got to inspect the other riders and locate other favorites (low rider bicycle and bicycle with lanterns were great).

Once the brother was located, we plunged onwards, ringing our bells, hollering, and being offered beer. Out to Willamette Boulevard, we enjoyed some bagpipers and reckless bicycles as we entered darkness.

The bicycle short movies at a park near N. Carey were excellent, particularly this PSA:

And we were then off to the Columbia Slough (gorgeous ribbon of bike lights through the dark), past the racetrack and then the disco party (pumpin’ tunes, but too crowded). We shot back towards the train station trailing the Three Musketeers (who didn’t seem to find my witticisms as funny as I did — “”where was D’Artagnan? One for All and All for One! Oh, no, you’re split by the traffic light!”” Good thing I wasn’t drinking…). The final donuts at the train station were bypassed for a goodnight birthday drink at the Rose and Thistle, and then to a well-earned sleep.

All in all, a great time! Similar to wandering through the streets in large crowds of happy people, there is something delightful about cheery bike riders taking over the streets (at least for those of us on bikes). I can’t wait for the next Sunday Parkway.

Trimet: Airport Max

Last updated on February 11th, 2018

I’m a huge fan of riding Trimet trains and buses. Prior to the airport Max (aka the Red Line), I used to ride a Trimet bus to the airport. The line number escapes me, and the bus actually worked fairly well. However, buses are more challenging to navigate, particularly if you’re coming to a new city. They are also typically viewed as dirtier and scarier than trains. The airport bus, however, had the advantage of taking a fascinating trip through Eastside Portland while the airport Max pretty much moves you along freeways.

Nonetheless, I appreciate the airport Max line and was very excited when the train line opened in 2002(?). Nothing is more satisfying than taking a train that is moving faster than gridlocked freeway. And the convenience of the Max airport station nicely complements traveling with carry-on luggage. Walk off the plane and walk on the train.

It’s an All Zone ticket (NOTE: Trimet no longer uses zones), and there is some value in having a ticket ahead of time (NOTE: or use their phone app) so that you don’t have to fuss with the ever problematic ticket machines.

Steel Bridge

Last updated on February 11th, 2018

When I ride my bicycle or walk to work, I have the pleasure walking along the lower level of the Steel Bridge in Portland. When I ride the MAX, we roll along the upper deck with the cars, and a few intrepid bicyclists and pedestrians. All of this traveling back and forth has left me very fond of the Steel Bridge, even when traffic jams start to occur on the lower level.

One of my favorite things include crossing the lower level of bridge with a train. It’s loud, no doubt, and sometimes there are horrible high pitched squealing noises, but it’s also exciting. The Amtrak trains have entertaining passengers to stare at, the freight trains have lots of interesting different cars, and the occasional steam engine makes my week! The Southern Pacific #4449 pictured here is one of the absolute delights of living in the Portland area. Sometimes I hear its whistle from our office a few blocks from the waterfront, and have to run down to see if I can spot the steamy excitement of this train!

And you can buy a 2009 calendar to support the Southern Pacific #4449.