View Full Version : New Biker - need advice - bike/route

03-27-2008, 08:05 AM
Hello to everyone, I have been reading a few posts and felt it was time I joined in. Starting off, I am new to the bike scene (and do not have a bike yet)... I am looking for a good commuter bike and at times have the flexibility to do a bit more trail rides with my kids. I don't need a hard core mt. bike though.

Mostly I will be riding from milwaulkie to clackamas to work (4.5 miles). So I am looking for a good day to day bike. 7+ speed - with room for a bag or rack. I havn't been a regular biker for a long time so I guess I am just looking for hits and ideas. I figured I would drop by a bike shop and ask some questions of the staff also (any good recommendations for that?)

Next I am concerned about finding the "best" way to ride to work. I live about 5 blocks off of 224 (expressway) - near providence hosp. and I work in clackamas - off 82nd drive next to I-205 (the "jem-top / "matress world" area). In doing a bike route map - a link from a thread here - The route takes me out to springwater trail - then up to I-205 near johnson creek. This is about double my straight line drive into work. Is there any reason not to ride down 224? OR if I cut through international way and then onto 224 for the last third of the trip over?

I am not familiar with the biking habits of the area so I am unsure of any "do's or dont's" and for whatever reasons those feeling apply. It just seems like the straight shot would be best in my case... given that MOST of 224 on the route has a large shoulder.

Anyhow... insight is needed and appreciated. Thanks for reading~!


03-27-2008, 09:56 AM

I ride from Webster and 224 to PSU, so my ride covers some of the area you're looking at.

When I first started riding last summer, my standard route was 224 to Oak to downtown Milwaukie. 224 is okay, the shoulders are nice and wide. But the biggest challenges are the exit ramps and the right turn lanes. Traffic on 224 moves fast enough that I'm always a bit concerned that someone is going to run over me as they take an exit lane or move into the right turn lane (especially after dark or in the rain).

I still take 224 when I'm running particularly late, but generally opt for International Way.

I can not speak about the section of 224 from Webster to 82nd. I haven't ridden it, and given the amount of turning and merging traffic there, I'm not sure that I'd want to.

I can't help you too much with that section, but would suggest you see if you can find someone who is familiar with SE Harmony along that stretch.

Hope this is some help.


03-27-2008, 10:30 AM
Todd, How is international way? generally I don't see much of a shoulder in there. Also 224 does get dicey down by the intersection with 205. I look and worry about that section. But just before the overpass with 205/82nd drive the bike line from 205 south merges and follows 82dr. So I am thinking that area after the intersections are fine.

I am wondering... is it ok if I came out of international way to lake road...then merged onto 224 going on the north side... would that be ok? if I stayed on the north side of the street shoulder in front of lowes/kmart area to join up with the bike lane? seems like it could work that way.


03-28-2008, 08:06 AM
International way is fine. The first section is very wide, with a center turn lane that cars can use for passing.

The other section from the stop sign to the eastern intersection does not have a center turn lane, but speeds are slow enough that--with a little patience--cars scoot around with no problem.

Regarding 224. If I understand you correctly, you're thinking of riding eastbound on the westbound shoulder, is that right?

If so, I can't comment on it. I would never think that anyone is safer riding against traffic. Even more so in that section of 224 it's a fairly high speed series of intersections, drivers don't expect to see cyclists there especially when the cyclist is riding against traffic.

Have you driven SE Harmony? Would that work for you?


03-28-2008, 03:15 PM
Welcome to biking; you're going to love biking to work instead of being stuck in traffic (and spending a fortune on gas)! Try out different routes and see what works best for you. The same goes for dressing for the elements. The thing that surprised me the most when I started riding in cold, rainy weather this year was that I don't need to dress nearly as warmly as I'd expected.

I envy you getting to choose a new bike. My advice is go to locally owned shops and ride a lot of different bikes. When you find a particular bike that appeals to you, try it in two sizes to be sure you get the right size. And really ride them. Get a decent hill on your test ride. Most of all, don't be in a hurry to make your purchase. There are so many choices that it can be overwhelming at first, but you'll be surprised at how fast you learn if you just try a lot of different bikes.

Also, don't overlook used bikes. Sellwood Cycle Repair has a lot of good used bikes. That's a nice way to save some money when you're just getting started. If you try a used bike for the first year you might have a better idea of what you want in a bike when (and if) you go looking for a new one. But then again, you might luck out on your first choice and be perfectly happy with it.

Whatever you get, new or used, you'll want to add fenders if it doesn't already come with them. That's another $50 but they're indispensable in Portland. And make sure the frame has holes in the back for attaching a rear rack. Not all of them do!