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My ride to PDX Airport

Posted by on September 28th, 2005 at 8:17 am

Well, here I am in Las Vegas for the Interbike trade show. In the next few days I’ll talk to all sorts of people in the bike industry. I especially want to touch base with the Portland-based companies that are exhibiting here (there are only a few). If I have time between all my high-profile meetings with movers and shakers in the global bike biz (not really) I’ll snap photos and get the low-down on new products that are of special interest to Portland bikers. Things like lights, racks, fenders, panniers and new commuting/city bikes.

PDX Airport bike path (at 5AM!)

But before all that, I want to share my experience with the new PDX Airport bike paths. In case you missed it, PDX Airport recently completed a network of bike paths. I decided to give them a whirl because my plane left at 6:00AM which was too early for Juli and the kids, the MAX takes too long from my house in NoPo, and because I just wanted to ride my bike. So, at 4:45 Tuesday morning I loaded my bags into the Burley and headed out.

I took low traffic streets the whole way and didn’t see many cars. Then, once I got on the new, off-street path it was very smooth sailing all the way. I couldn’t help from grinning as I felt very proud of my city for this Euro-style improvement to the airport’s bike-ability! The path was great. It was smooth, easy to navigate and it led me right to the bike racks. I was hoping to see more signage but maybe it’s just not up yet.

The best part was the bike parking structure. I was a bit worried about security of my bike and trailer, but after seeing the fully enclosed, gated bike parking(!) I felt much better.

It took me 34 minutes from N. Michigan and N. Portland Blvd. Much faster than MAX and much more fun than driving! I’ll definitely do this again.

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  • Chris Smith September 28, 2005 at 9:04 am

    How is access to the bike parking area controlled?

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  • Jonathan Maus September 28, 2005 at 9:58 am

    Chris,

    It is not a controlled area. There is simply a break in the fence. The area feels secure because it is near a row of official-looking offices. Besides, I assume most areas of an airport are under surveillance. Maybe someone should look into this.

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  • Fritz September 28, 2005 at 10:08 am

    Did you ride from the Las Vegas airport?

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  • vj September 28, 2005 at 10:19 am

    Damn, Jonathan, how cool is _that_? Oh, I can’t wait to check this out!

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  • Jessica Roberts September 28, 2005 at 11:14 am

    Jonathan, BTW I think your “new PDX Airport bike paths” link is unhappy…at least it doesn’t seem to be working in Safari. Could you check it out?

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  • Jonathan Maus September 28, 2005 at 1:55 pm

    Jessica,

    Sorry about the link…it was pointing to a pop-up window, not a real page so it didn’t work. Unfortunately the only information about this on their site is either in a pop-up window (which I can’t link to) or in a PDF press release (which I won’t link to).

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  • Fritz September 28, 2005 at 2:27 pm

    “PDX Airport Bike paths”: Is this the link you need?

    http://www.flypdx.com/Notices/Wheels_to_Heels_Event_03_BLT.htm

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  • [...] A few months ago I was smitten with PDX airport because of their new and vastly improved bike access. After reading my post, several folks were inspired to ride to the airport to take advantage of the new bike lane and enclosed long-term bike parking facility. [...]

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  • Scott Mizée February 11, 2006 at 1:47 am

    PBPO–Wow…. This original post was PBPO for me. (Pre-BikePortland.org) Thanks for pointing me back here, Jonathon. You defitely have me intrigued enough to try this. I have to travel frequently for my job and have usually resorted to a TAXI cab from my University Park Neighborhood home when the MAX is not running. I just might have to try the bike next time–Burley trailer and all…

    Any word if there indeed are security cameras covering this area?

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  • Roger May 24, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    Ok, I like you article, but I am very unclear as to the specific route you took. I know where you started from and where you ended up, but where exactly is this new bike path. Is it near the Parkrose Transit center? Seems logical. I know the Marine Drive bike path too. do they connect somewhere? could you have taken this same route during the day with heavy traffic? It is easy to put your bike on Max too.. Thanks.

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  • Jonathan Maus May 25, 2006 at 5:42 am

    Roger,

    The new bike path I think starts on NE 82nd near Alderwood. You can take it to NE Airport Way and it goes all the way to the bike racks. I’m not familiar with Parkrose TC and yes, this new path sort of connects with Marine Drive.

    And yeah, putting your bike on MAX is easy…but it’s not free and not nearly as fun as riding.

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  • paul June 21, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    What about the issue of luggage? On my next trip I will be travelling outside the continent and I imagine will have at least a full large backpack that\’s designed for week-long backpacking.

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  • Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 21, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    luggage? I usually just pull it behind me in a trailer. The parking area is secure in my opinion. It\’s enclosed in a chain link fence and is close enough to airport offices and the terminal that I seriously doubt anyone would risk thievery in such a high-security type environment.

    I\’ve also ridden to the airport with a Bike Friday foldable bike that has a suitcase trailer! This is the ultimate solution in my opinion. you pull your stuff, then you fold your bike into the suitcase and check it as baggage.

    you can see photos of the parking structure here.

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  • Mike August 3, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Can someone post a map or something that shows where to get the bike paths to the airport. Say if I were coming from NW Lovejoy at the Broadway Bridge. How would I go to take the bike paths to PDX? Thanks.

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  • Mike likes bikes April 3, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Hi – anyone ride to PDX and leave their bike for a week or so? Still feel it is safe to do this? I’ve tried calling PDX parking and they couldn’t tell me much other than “bicycle parking is free.”

    : )

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  • UK Airport Person April 29, 2010 at 5:12 am

    You say ‘very European’, and I agree in terms of the cycling within some European countries and many cities, but our airports are so far out of town I couldn’t imagine many cycling to them. Stansted has a great cycle path, which local employees use, but Heathrow ?!! I can’t imagine it will ever happen. Well done Portland.

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  • Jonathan Gordon November 10, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I just rode from Mt. Tabor to the airport. It was awesome! And easy. And quick: 30 minutes! In an effort to help others out who are interested in making a similar trip, here’s a map of the route I took.

    Getting there: The route is pretty straightforward, on a mix of neighborhood greenways (50′s Greenway coming soon!) and roads with bike lanes. There’s currently construction on Cully (cycle track on the way!) but it’s still passable. The 500 ft on NE Columbia Blvd are my least favorite part, but even that has a turning lane. The short quarter mile on NE 82nd Ave/Way is straightforward and low traffic. From there, it’s a simple matter of crossing over to the very low traffic frontage road, and the last half mile is on a separated MUP.

    Parking: As noted in the comments to this story there is unsecured, gated (on three sides) bike parking directly adjacent to the secured and gated bike parking for airport employees. Twice now I have left my bike locked there for about a week’s time, with an unsecured quick-release front wheel, with no issues.

    Luggage: I’m really enjoying my Arkel Bug pannier. Converts to a backpack and seems like it was designed for just this situation.

    In summary: Do it! And as fun as it is to ride to the airport, nothing beats walking straight out of the airport and hopping on a bike. It’s the perfect way to greet Portland and say, “I’m glad to be home!”

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  • Steve B January 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I’m about to take this trip myself to pick someone up at the airport (their bike will be towed behind in the trailer). Thankful I found this old post to figure out my route!

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  • [...] as an exemplar. Jonathan Maus has written about his airport’s superior bike access and facilities over at Bike Portland numerous [...]

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