Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Elly’s East Coast Road Trip; Part One

Posted by on December 11th, 2008 at 3:00 pm

After six (eventful!) weeks on the staff here at BikePortland HQ, I am headed out into the world beyond the Portland bike bubble.

This Monday afternoon I board Amtrak’s Empire Builder, and three days later will disembark in our nation’s capital, where my east coast tour begins.

I’ll be out east for a month, hanging out with my family, meeting up with old friends, and checking out the bike scene in cities from New Haven to DC.

I’ll keep you posted on who I meet and what I find. From getting re-acquainted with my old friend and mechanic who has become one of the key players in New Haven’s booming bike culture, to test-riding a tour of Baltimore designed for transportation engineers — I’ll be taking photos, asking questions, and sending back stories to BikePortland.

My trip will end at the Transport Research Board’s Annual Meeting in Washington DC in mid-January. TRB is a huge conference for everyone doing transportation research and policy work in the U.S.. A lot of Portlanders will be there, and I’m looking forward to getting a sense of how the work being done here fits into the big U.S. transportation picture.

If you know anyone who I should meet up with (or anyone around 5 feet tall who might have a bike to lend for a few days) in New Haven, New York, Philly, Baltimore, or DC — or if you’ll be out there yourself and want to meet up — I’d love to hear from you. Contact me at elly[at]bikeportland[dot]org.

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  • cyclist December 11, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    I don’t envy you that Amtrak trip, I used to go that route whne I first started college here (Chicago to PDX), it’s long, not particularly scenic, and frequently delayed because of freight trains. Best of luck!

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  • refunk December 11, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Enjoy the incredible view out the windows of the Empire Builder. I would ride it again if only I had time to get a bike off and spend a day at every stop. Bring yer own food!

    You’re probably booked up already, but the ride from the Jefferson Memorial along the Potomac to Mt. Vernon is mostly pretty. Beware DC & Virginia shoulderless roads and heedless automobilers. Will you chronicle another event (TRB) where Portland is showing the way?


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  • shawn. December 11, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Re: Cyclist (comment #1), to each their own, I guess. I’ve taken the Empire Builder countless times and it is my favorite train! Yeah, eastern Montana isn’t the most scenic of places, but I think of it as a journey to an alien landscape. And the Columbia Gorge and Glacier Park offset whatever eastern Montana (and North Dakota) lack in scenery. It hasn’t been that late the times I’ve taken it, usually on-time to two hours off. On a 44 train trip (and compared to other long-distance train rides), it’s not bad. Plus, on those two days you have your own personal time and don’t have to deal with the outside world, always a plus in my opinion. And to echo refunk (#2), yes, bring yer own food!

    Elly, say hi to Matt at Devil’s Gear for me when you get back to N’haven. And eat a slice from Sally’s and/or Pepe’s for me!

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  • a.O December 11, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Good advice from those who have obviously taken Amtrak. Bon voyage!

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  • el timito December 11, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Could you ship me back some chocolate cream filled pastry horns from Libby’s while you’re on Wooster St ? I was going to suggest you get me an eggplant grinder at Broadway Pizza but it’s gone.
    They say you can’t go home again, and Google Street View shows why – I just took a look around my old neighborhood. WTF? Where’s the corner store? The House of Prayer for All People? The place that made spaghetti sauce and filled the end of Bristol St. with an amazingly delicious aroma for pedestrian school kids to enjoy while dawdling on the way to school?
    Amazingly the house I grew up in is still there, though all the low-rise and high-rise projects on the next street over are gone, gone, gone. *sigh*

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  • Ethan December 11, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Why didn’t you check out the BikePortland.org folding bike?

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  • shawn. December 11, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    What Ethan said!

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  • Amos December 12, 2008 at 7:01 am

    What Shawn said!

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  • Elly Blue December 12, 2008 at 9:15 am

    I may be taking a folding bike after all…stay tuned!

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  • Elly Blue December 12, 2008 at 9:24 am

    And thanks for the well-wishes, everyone. I love long-distance train rides and haven’t been on one in far too long…

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  • Cruizer December 12, 2008 at 10:39 am

    What a fun adventure!

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