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  #1  
Old 07-27-2011, 10:26 AM
JulienPDX JulienPDX is offline
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Default Bike Commuting Newb looking for tips

So I had no idea where to ask these questions so I'll just ask them here. Feel free to flog me for my newbishness

I recently started biking to and from work and with the exception of still getting "used to it"; I think I'm doing fine.

however, I have a very specific route and I'm having some trouble with a few of the intersections/connections and I'd like to ask for tips on how to make this a bit easier.

Here is what my route looks like:
Home to Work
Here is my Bike:
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/2007/archive/75fx

COMFORT/CLOTHING
On the way to work in the morning (6:15AM); even in the middle of summer; it seems I'm still kinda cold. So I started wearing this
Gore Phantom Bike Jacket with the arms zipped on and a wicking short-sleeved shirt underneath. I seem to be okay with regular bike shorts on because after a bit of pedaling I warm up enough to keep them on. What confuses me is that I see other cyclists along the way wearing a lot less than me. Am I overdoing it? I just really hate being cold!! On the way home, I take the arms off and it becomes a thick jersey. I definitely haven't felt too hot in it but we also haven't' had any 85 degree weekdays yet! (On my weekend rides when it has shot up in temp, I use a regular ol jersey). What's the best way to handle the "shifting" weather in this city even in the summer? I haven't yet invested in rack/panniers because I'm a bit afraid they'll make the bike heavy/harder to handle; but are most of you carrying extra gear with you to account for the weather?
While I'm on this topic, whats the best way to handle rain? Cold-days without rain (as in 20-50 degree weather).

ROUTE DANGERS/ISSUES/CLIMBS

CLIMBS
The route's elevation profile indicates that on the way to work; it is mostly down-hill. I definitely notice that it seems it doesn't take me as long to get to work as it does to get back (which is fine). But on the way back; I'm wondering if there might be a way to 'cheat' and maybe not have it be such a climb. My only issues right now coming home are that there is a short steep climb on Walker and ALL of Murray is essentially uphill. The connection to Walker from 124th is a bit brutal as well as its just nothing BUT a climb! I definitely puff and pant on the way up to the intersection of Murray and 26 and the lights there LOVE to change to red right when I get close to teh crest of the hill (grrrr). One thing though; I'm noticing that as I enter my second week of this--those hills are getting easier; so maybe its just a physical conditioning thing

ROUTE DANGERS
Okay this one definitely needs some outside opionins. Going TO work; I have no issues with the route pretty much at all. As long as I leave on time, I get minimal interruptions and I can usually make left-hand turns and connections easier due to lack of traffic that early in the morning.

However...

a) Fanno Creek connections are AWFUL at Hall (have this in another thread)
b) When I get to Denny from Fanno Creek Trail; I can't seem to get ON Denny at 4:15 PM due to too much traffic which makes it dangerous. However, I also think riding UP the sidewalk on the wrong side and crossing a really badly damaged set of sidewalk cuts is equally dangerous. Tips?
c) For the life of me, when I get to Walker from 124th...I CANNOT safely cross it and get on the side I need to be on to continue the crossing of Cedar Hills. Anyone experienced with this? I've almost been hit 3x by cars trying to cross when I thought it was safe There is a shopping center next to that intersection but there is no way to ride into it and come out on the right side b/c its cut off from the street. Tips?

Thanks for reading my wall 'o text

BTW Cycling is expensive!! LOL
Stuff I probably still need to buy

1) Rack
2) Panniers (though honestly i'd prefer 1 not 2)
3) More cycling clothing/accessories for weather (i still have no RAIN plan)
4) Fenders
5) Still on the fence about getting special shoes (I have pedals that are a hybrid regular/cleated) by Performance, I like the so far.

Last edited by K'Tesh; 07-27-2011 at 11:38 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-27-2011, 01:44 PM
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fourknees fourknees is offline
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I can offer a few words. First great job so far! You'll get stronger and the ride will become easier. It may take a few weeks.

For the hall crossing either cross at the nimbus light or go to the greenway light. Both are safer and really don't add to much time. If you use the side walk just be cautious.

Also if the weather is ever really bad you can through your bike on the bus. I think the 72 or 76 travel almost that same start/end point.

As for rain, I would make fenders a top priority.
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  #3  
Old 07-27-2011, 03:01 PM
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lynnef lynnef is offline
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Can't help you with the climbs. You'll get stronger.

"c) For the life of me, when I get to Walker from 124th...I CANNOT safely cross it and get on the side I need to be on to continue the crossing of Cedar Hills. Anyone experienced with this? I've almost been hit 3x by cars trying to cross when I thought it was safe There is a shopping center next to that intersection but there is no way to ride into it and come out on the right side b/c its cut off from the street. Tips?"

Don't go that way Seriously.
Continue W on Center, go through Cedar Hills Crossing, turn right. Follow it up to SW Jenkins, turn L at the traffic light. Turn R onto SW Murray.

Don't worry about what other riders are wearing. Wear what works for you. I wear a very lightweight Showers Pass jacket in the mornings and put it in the pannier for the trip home. Bonus - if it should, perhaps, be raining (it rains here?), I am prepared.

Fenders, rack, panniers - you want all these. Also the brightest Planet Bike TurboFlash rear blinkie you can find, and a very reliable headlight.

"Cycling is expensive" - how much do you spend monthly on your cell phone, cable, car, lattes, optional habit or toy of choice...? Look at it that way, and it isn't so expensive
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:05 PM
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also, avoid the Cornell stretch by heading north behind the shopping center, proceeding west and north on...Westlawn, and going through Terra Linda school - you can do that on a bicycle.
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  #5  
Old 07-27-2011, 03:07 PM
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Simple Nature Simple Nature is offline
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Lights and the Beaverton Bike Map.

If I was doing the trip every day, I'd probably opt for a more traffic prone route like Murray to Jenkins, Hocken, Millikan Way, and follow Hall out to your destniation on Nimbus. I'd probably go into exploritory mode on the ride home while the weather is good.

Personally I can't stand any part of Walker, bike laned or not. I'll have to check out the Lombard route south of 10 someday. Never much liked Denney either. This area really needs some work.

Beaverton bike maps can be picked up at the Tualatin Hills Nature Park, if you haven't already got one.

A strong strobe light front and rear run day and night is almost a must in our region. I cannot count the number of times I notice an overly busy driver with that "DOH!" look on their face when they -finally- awknowledge me, just before they were about to blast through the stop sign.
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  #6  
Old 07-27-2011, 11:07 PM
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wsbob wsbob is offline
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Route: Oak Hills to Nimbus (guess that's located in what's called 'Greenway'). From Oak Hills, I'd be more inclined to take Cornell into Cedar Mills to the intersection with Murray...south across 26, just over the highway, dodge east at first left. Mill Creek, I think....wind southeast through a nice, quiet neighborhood...left on Butner....ride to the church...right on Huntington Ave and continue on until Cedar Hills Blvd.

CHB and Walker road intersection is doggy, but with low traffic, you can dodge across to the other side of the road/sidewalk near the coffee stand and service station. Sidewalk use is good here. People don't walk here like they do downtown...the sidewalks tend to be mostly empty. Might as well ride your bike there, but nevertheless...slowly, as if people were there. People are watching you, and many of them resent people on bikes using sidewalks as some kind of mini-gran prix.

Now you're on familiar ground...123rd/124th, Center and Lombard is good. Early in the morning...probably be 6:45 when you get to Denny...I'd probably just finish the route on Hall. The climb isn't bad going in the direction of Nimbus. Leaving, it's a short grind. Traffic makes even the short grind unpleasant. Good excuse to take Fanno Creek Trail to Denny.

Going home, I suppose you're hitting 123rd/124th around 4:30. At this time of day, that street's intersection with Walker is lousy for everyone. Ride the sidewalk, take the crosswalk. Or cut through the shopping center lot as lynnef suggests. Personally, I hate riding through there, because stop and go traffic and pedestrians presence can be intense and chaotic, but maybe you won't mind as much as riding the sidewalk.

I don't like riding Murray from Jenkins, north, though 158th to Cornell isn't great either. Into your route, it's possible to plug in a Milikan Way, through the nature park/short jog on Merlo/158th, Jenkins, Baseline, 166 or 173rd...north to Walker. 173rd would take you to Cornell.

Last edited by wsbob; 07-28-2011 at 11:56 AM.
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  #7  
Old 07-27-2011, 11:35 PM
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K'Tesh K'Tesh is offline
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Lightbulb My changes to your route.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulienPDX View Post
b) When I get to Denny from Fanno Creek Trail; I can't seem to get ON Denny at 4:15 PM due to too much traffic which makes it dangerous. However, I also think riding UP the sidewalk on the wrong side and crossing a really badly damaged set of sidewalk cuts is equally dangerous. Tips?
c) For the life of me, when I get to Walker from 124th...I CANNOT safely cross it and get on the side I need to be on to continue the crossing of Cedar Hills. Anyone experienced with this? I've almost been hit 3x by cars trying to cross when I thought it was safe There is a shopping center next to that intersection but there is no way to ride into it and come out on the right side b/c its cut off from the street. Tips?
Riding home from Tigard, not to far before you get to Denny, there's a short length of trail that exits out on SW Bel Aire Dr.. Take that. Turn right onto Bel Aire, then left onto SW Clifford St. (yeah, there's a bit of a climb there). Take Clifford to SW Anne Ave. (first stop sign), turn right, climb up to Denny. Left on Denny, to SW Lombard. This is my preferred route now. I Loath the FCT's intersection with Denny. SW King is nice, but waiting at the intersections are a PITA.

I'm not a fan of SW 124th @ Walker either, but I've found that if I dismount, then walk across Walker, motorists are more likely to favorably respond to my presence.

Another option is to take Hwy 217 some time. It's legal, fast (sometimes you're faster than the cars), but noisy.
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Last edited by K'Tesh; 07-27-2011 at 11:38 PM.
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  #8  
Old 07-28-2011, 11:19 AM
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dmc dmc is offline
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"BTW Cycling is expensive!!" for all you rich kids that shop at REI. I think you need to worry less about all this crap and more about just getting on the saddle and having fun for awhile.
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  #9  
Old 07-28-2011, 11:45 AM
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Haven_kd7yct Haven_kd7yct is offline
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Firstly, welcome!

A lot of people ride out in this neck of the woods so you'll get some great advice from these experts. I don't have much to add to them except:

Fenders: YES!! Even when it doesn't rain, sometimes there are puddles or other watery things you'll have to ride through. Some of the watery things you don't want to know about what's in there, and fenders keep it off you. Also, fenders keep little rock and debris bits from flying up into you or the person coming up behind you. Just a little observation I've noticed.

Panniers/rack: yes, if you don't want to carry stuff on your back. Sometimes, I use the panniers-- two makes for a more balanced load than one. Your bike will be heavier, but it's a great workout. Sometimes I carry my stuff in a backpack. Then I get a sweaty back.

Clothing: Don't worry about what people are wearing. There's a guy I see more or less regularly down here in Tigard who wears a full coat, hat under the helmet, and long pants-- it was just about 60 degrees this morning. I wore capris over my bike shorts, a wicking shirt, my windbreaker and Most Annoying Vest (tm) and was perfectly fine. It's all about YOUR comfort. I also see a couple of guys wearing shorts and jerseys, and to me that's not enough in the morning.

I generally take a more interesting and meandering route by bike than I would by car; I also make it a point to find more interesting ways to get to work and home. Besides getting a bit more mileage in, I get to see other parts of my community I wouldn't normally see if I was driving. So that's cool, too.
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  #10  
Old 07-28-2011, 12:06 PM
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biciclero biciclero is offline
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Default Route, etc.

I avoid the left turn from Murray by continuing south past Jenkins and taking the next right onto Terman, which loops back under Murray. From there, you can continue through to Hocken and sneak through the Cedar Hills Crossing parking lot. If you take the driveway out from in front of Best Buy, you can use the light to cross onto Fairfield, which will take you to 124th. You could do this in reverse to avoid the left from 124th onto Walker.

Or, what I do is turn right off of Terman onto Shannon/141st past the Millikan Way MAX stop and then turn left onto Millikan Way. I follow Millikan all the way to Watson, then take Watson to 5th. Just remember to claim the lane on Watson from Millikan until you cross Farmington and the bike lane starts. If you then turn left on 5th, you can again pick up your route at Alger and proceed. Sorry I don't have any good pointers on how to deal with the nonsense that is the Greenway crossing at Hall.

As far as expenses go:

Rack = 1 full tank of gasoline
Panniers (good pair) = 3 tanks full + a couple of oil changes
Fenders = 1/2 to 3/4 of a tank of gas
Good rain jacket = Panniers (i.e., 3TF + 2OC)

Depending on what kind of mileage you get, you could rack up the same expenses driving for 3 months--and your bike gear will likely last years.

Shoes = not necessary for commuting, especially with all the stopping and starting you tend to do in town.
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Last edited by biciclero; 07-28-2011 at 01:21 PM.
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