View Full Version : Nighttime commute from OHSU to SE
06-28-2008, 07:21 PM
I have seen some discussion of the safest ways to get down from OHSU, but my problem is that I work swing shift, which means heading down the hill at midnight or later. My usual route when I drive is to go down Hamilton and turn left at the Swan Mart. I've done the exit off Barbur to Naito Parkway by bike and it's hair-raising enough during the day . . . of course at night there would be much less traffic. Does anyone have any experience with this? It has been suggested to me that I go down Terwilliger, but that is a dark, deserted road at night and I would feel unsafe there for entirely different reasons . . .
06-28-2008, 09:36 PM
I can't help you with your route, but I STRONGLY recommend that you make a serious investment in lights and retroreflective materials for any nighttime commute.
Now is a good time to buy lights, summertime typically brings down the prices as people are not riding much after dark.
But, do not think that a $20 flashing LED headlight will be some kind of shield (I'm sure that you don't, but this is for anybody thinking about night commuting). I've been using two MiNewt X2's for nearly a year now, and despite my initial misgivings about the mounting system, I've been AWED at how reliable it has been. You probably don't need to add a TriNewt to the mix, but it's nice to be able to blind damn near anything (except for Wisconsin teen drivers).
The Planet Bike Superflash taillight is, for the money, the best I've seen out there.
Adding retroreflective materials to your bike makes you more visible to motorists in the distance, alerting them early to your presence.
You can read here for more on Lights... (http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1270)
And here for Retroreflectivity... (http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1357)
06-29-2008, 06:16 PM
I'm curious to know why you have rejected Terwilliger, which is the route that makes most sense to me. It's illuminated and wouldn't be heavily traveled at midnight. Ya just ride down and work your way north and east to the Hawthorne Br.
Second option: If you prefer Hamilton >Barbur, just keep going north on Barbur, which morphs into 4th Ave. Then work your way east to the bridge. Caution: watch yourself when you cross that Barbur-to-Front exit.
So, again: what's wrong with taking Terwilliger? If you are afraid of not being visible, you probably could even get away with riding on the pedestrian path (which, BTW, originally was designed as a bike path, oh so many decades ago...).
06-30-2008, 07:28 AM
Thanks, K'tesh, for the illuminating info!
And Wrinkles . . . I may try staying on Barbur. It's slightly less direct but worth trying.
I'm not comfortable heading alone down Terwilliger at midnight because I am a not-very-large-or-scary-looking female. I've gone out to run at around 9pm and found Terwilliger to be creepily deserted. Guys (assuming here) have a tendency not to understand what it feels like to grow up feeling vulnerable to random attacks by strangers, but I make it a habit to avoid situations that feel inherently risky to me.
I've posted on the bikepooling forum, but I know it's a real long shot that anyone else on the hill who rides a bike leaves the same time I do . . .
06-30-2008, 09:53 AM
I am a not-very-large-or-scary-looking female.
As one who fits that category, I understand your gut feeling, although I personally would prefer to cruise down the lane of a lightly traveled Terwilliger to challenging the heavier, speedier (and drunker?) Barbur traffic.
Here is another option your might try: From Hamilton, cross Barbur and turn left on Corbett. Ride Corbett all the way north where it joins 1st Ave, then choose your route to the bridge.
One other: From Hamilton/Corbett, turn RIGHT (south) on Corbett, over the freeway. Then left at the first thru street to Macadam--Richardson or Mitchell, can't remember. Then left (north) on Macadam to Bancroft, right on Bancroft to Moody. You can then ride Moody to and through RiverPlace and Waterfront Park to the Hawthorne Br. I would try this route first in daylight. You might have the same reservations about it as you do with Terwilliger.
Too bad the tram isn't running at midnight; that would solve your problem. Do you use it to transport you and bike up to OHSU?
07-05-2008, 04:55 PM
I have taken the tram up the hill during the day. I have also wished it ran later at night! The bus down the hill doesn't run late enough, either.
Update: I bought another, stronger light today and will be trying out the ride home tomorrow night. I'll let you know how it goes.
07-14-2008, 11:11 PM
:) So . . . I finally did it, and it was so easy I feel silly about all my fretting. I ended up going down Sam Jackson and picking up Terwilliger at the Shell station. I encountered 1 motorcycle on the way down the hill and 1 car on the way into town. It was quick and never at all scary. I stopped to visit with a friend in Old Town and then took Naito down to the Hawthorne bridge, and home from there. So, I feel silly and yet satisfyingly empowered.
07-15-2008, 11:29 AM
DA, glad to hear your homeward commute went so well.
07-15-2008, 01:52 PM
Cool. Just remember to have plenty of lights. It's gonna get darker as the weeks go on now.
--jason "oregon december on a cloudy night has to be seen to be believed" p.
07-16-2008, 07:49 PM
As a matter of fact, I just left CityBikes after buying a new blinky. I feel pretty well lit up!
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