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View Full Version : N/NE to PCC Rock Creek


rainperimeter
12-19-2009, 03:49 PM
Anyone in here do this commute? There is a GIS class that I want to take but it's only offered at Rock Creek. Bummer. It looks like if I go to the St. Johns Bridge and cross it you meet up immediately with Springville Rd. Thoughts or comments on this route or others to get there? I can borrow my gf's truck but if biking it is possible and not a super pain in the ass, then it's my first choice.

I'd be leaving from the Cascade campus it seems like, if my schedule works out...

biciclero
12-21-2009, 01:12 PM
I don't believe Springville goes all the way through, even though it looks like it on Google (I could be wrong). Germantown, Newberry, and McNamee are the roads I've heard most people mention as ways to get over the hill, although honestly, I've never ridden any of those on the east side of Forest Park (I've ridden up and down the west side of Germantown, Old Germantown, and Springville). If you get up to Skyline and over to Springville, though, it's kind of a fun descent and you can almost coast all the way to PCC. Almost.

hemp22
12-21-2009, 02:07 PM
Springville does go all the way, but it's gravel/dirt for a portion of it through Forest Park. If you have cross tires and good lights, you should be fine. nothing like a steep, dark, muddy hill to get things started on your commute.

there are people that do that ride every day - just be prepared for it. Where's rpc? he can give a first-hand opinion.

rainperimeter
12-21-2009, 02:15 PM
thanks biciclero. i don't know...google maps shows it all the way through and the route description mentions no trickery. sometime before the quarter starts i'm going to go give that route a shot and see how it goes. see if it's reasonable given the amount of time i have, maybe taking the PCC shuttles will be a better choice.

another thing i might need to think of is this; a friend of mine who has biked to Rock Creek (for something, not a class, and only a couple times) said that the roads suck. no shoulder and flying traffic. brian, friend, said that if he had access to a vehicle he'd have driven. not because of the length of commute time but just cuz he thought it was too damn sketchy. factor in less daylight and rainy days and all that just might be really lame.

so if anyone has thougths on that as well i'd be glad to hear what you have to say.

rainperimeter
12-21-2009, 02:18 PM
Springville does go all the way, but it's gravel/dirt for a portion of it through Forest Park. If you have cross tires and good lights, you should be fine. nothing like a steep, dark, muddy hill to get things started on your commute.

ha. we were typing at the same time it looks like. good info. the gravel isn't an issue. and usually fun.

q`Tzal
12-21-2009, 03:00 PM
Cycling both directions right?

Can't speak to Springville road other than the fact that the map at http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/finder/index.cfm?action=ViewPark&PropertyID=127 shows that it is at least twice the grade of Saltzman rd.
Often I will leave work at the NW industrial side of town to go home in Beaverslum by way of Saltzman to Skyline to Cornell all the way to Murray.

I'll say that the biggest single danger that I've seen, not seemingly affected by day or night or day of week, is the cyclists bombing down the firetrails with no regards for other trail users: they'll take blind turns (most turns are) at full speed and exit the turn as wide as possible (to increase the turn radius) with no concept that someone else might be using the trail. In the evening dusk, moderate soaking rain falling, >$700 worth of lights blazing, I stupidly expected that no one would be coming down the trail at speed so didn't postion myself defensively. Down blazed two Xtreme Sportz Dudez, mud flying, yelling an amusingly doppler-shifted, terrifying but seemingly sincere "SORRY!". These guys will be even more dangerous on Springville Fire Road.

Skyline is actually quite relaxing if you've ridden downtown. There is a higher concentration of the "entitled road-users" up there who feel that they don't have to share the road no matter what. Odds are you'll be going so fast that you need to take the whole lane to convince them not to pass in the turns. Same goes for Springville rd or any of the other steep descents from Skyline westward.

I stopped going this way in the winter due to the increasing darkness couple with rain making it near impossible to see road debris kicked out of gravel driveways on to the road. I guess if I slowed down below 15mph I could have time to react to the rocks in the road but add the slick pavement and that Cornell is just begging :) to be ridden at 40-45mph it just ain't worth it. I've already had my obligatory +35mph bicycle wipe out, I'm not doing that again.

rpc
12-22-2009, 11:30 AM
(thanks Hemp :) )
Springville on St. Johns side is kind of cool/interesting for me anyway.

First, it sure does go all the way up to Skyline. It's paved for the first couple hundred yards where it's also the steepest. Then it turns to (nasty) gravel for a short stretch (made nastier 2 weeks ago when they put down ~10 inches of fresh mostly uncompacted gravel).

Summer/fall I was doing the ride on a (cheapo) cross bike. Then it broke down on me & I went to my old (better) mtn. bike. Think that's the way to go esp. when it's extra muddy & the fresh new gravel...

Think this is my favorite portion of the commute (esp going down :) )- you get used to the steepness quickly and there's hardly any traffic (no traffic beyond the gate of course).

Hillsboro side of Springville (btw, there's a 200 yd quick connection you do on skyline) is like Germantown Rd. except with <1/20th the car traffic. With enough flashing red blinky's on my back, feels safe enough...

Get a decent headlight & enjoy the new commute! Cheers.

PS I think I find the St. Johns crossing much more unpleasant...esp. with occasional strong cross winds (I ride the sidewalks) & semis flying by.

rainperimeter
12-22-2009, 11:44 AM
all of this is awesome help! thanks a ton. i think i mentioned this, at some point before the quarter starts i'm gonna ride out that way so i can check it out first hand. no one said "no way, that will suck", which i didn't think would happen, just wanted to check. all the biking sounds great, but it's also going to have to work out with my class schedule and if i get some part time work, it'll have to work out with that too. we'll see. i'll keep you posted with all the riveting details of my new commute, let you know which way this ends up going.

q`Tzal
12-22-2009, 03:36 PM
Summer/fall I was doing the ride on a (cheapo) cross bike. Then it broke down on me & I went to my old (better) mtn. bike. Think that's the way to go esp. when it's extra muddy & the fresh new gravel...


Would you say that there is a single type of tire that is best for this sort of route where part of it is loose gravel and another part is high speed turns on pavment?

rpc
12-23-2009, 08:58 AM
Would you say that there is a single type of tire that is best for this sort of route where part of it is loose gravel and another part is high speed turns on pavment?

I'm definitely not the right guy to ask -- I sort of ride what I have available. I'll check what's on my bike later today & will let you know. Even then, I can say that the tires I have on do not handle (corner) well on wet pavement but they do an ok job on looseness.

q`Tzal
12-23-2009, 01:08 PM
I've been running almost slicks like Schwalbe Marathon and Continental Ultra Gatorskin. Obviously much better in high speed turns on dry pavement; not even so bad on Saltzman rd because you can tell that at some point it used to be paved. The gravel doesn't give too much.

rainperimeter
12-27-2009, 11:22 PM
no. will not be biking up springville road. i'll have books for 2 classes and maybe my laptop. went with a friend today to see how it is. just way too steep (granted, the super steep bit is short), then the gravel is far too loose. we had fun for sure. but i don't want to do this in between classes. and we didn't deal with rain. that stretch of springville up to skyline would be a mess in the rain. fun if not for the commute aspect.

a guy i used to work with was biking out to classes at rock creek. gonna see which route was taking.

bikieboy
12-28-2009, 04:14 PM
rp, you might consider Saltzman up from US 30 - it's a closed road, good gravel (might have once been paved?) & not hideously steep. Takes you to Skyline, hang a right & go for a mile to Springville. Springville (near Skyline) shows as 2100 ADT (ave daily traffic) but it probably picks up as you go west toward campus.

rainperimeter
01-12-2010, 11:37 PM
so today was my first day biking to that class. last tuesday i took the PCC shuttles. lame. took forever. on the bus sitting in traffic. no thanks. thursday i drove my gf's truck. lame. took forever. in the truck sitting in traffic. but blasting metal (electric wizard). still, no thanks. i have a 1pm class at cascade, got out at 3, rode to food front in NW to supplement my sandwich and fruit with more fruit and junk food, then rode up lovejoy to cornell to thompson to skyline to springville. took less than 2 hours even with the lunch break. not bad i guess. beats the shuttles and the parking lot that is hwy 26. why people put themselves through that shit blows my mind. whatever. the freedom of the open road is a powerful thing.

oh, on the way back tonight, at the intersection of thompson and skyline; COYOTE! hell yeah!

and as it's dark and there is no cross traffic on those back roads, and really not much traffic to speak of anyways, i did what i never do on my bike...i blasted metal! not too loud, i care about my ears and ensuring i can rock into old age.

bikieboy
01-15-2010, 07:40 AM
that's a treat!

(insert howling here)

rpc
01-15-2010, 08:35 AM
Was "cut off" by a coyote once in Forest Park. I thought to myself that was sooo much cooler than being cut off by some impatient ahole while driving :)

Q'Ztal - thanks for the tires info...you definitely don't want to ride on what I have (took a tumble on a wet manhole cover a week ago -- I was almost stopped too...piece of crap tires).

Bikieboy - thanks for the Saltzman idea. maybe I'll try it out sometime but for now, I kinda like the gravel punishment.

rainperimeter
01-27-2010, 12:30 PM
so last night at thompson and skyline, where i met a coyote a few rides back, i had another encounter. only last night it charged at me. scared the shit out of me. thinking less of my route home and more of getting the hell away from this animal coming at me, i turned right on thompson...the wrong way. i take a left there. whatever, it shouldn't have been a big deal, just a little evasive move, wait a few, head back up and down thompson the right way. but it just kept following me! ugh. when i finally stopped my heart was pounding and legs were jelly. i called a buddy who was on his bike and had left rock creek a little after me. we met on laidlaw and rode home together. fun. the only drawback to this is i'm on an old bridgestone with front and rear rack and a pannier full of crap, and tony is on his fancy team issue vanilla speedvagen. he hauls ass. i don't, not on the bridgestone at least.