Friday, August 10, 2007

Commute to the ninth circle of suburbia

Got some work in Gresham. Yes, Gresham, the place I made fun of horribly when I got sent out there for jury duty last year. See what happens?

I rode my bike to the Max station at nine A.M. and biked to my destination when I got to the end of the line. Hardly anyone was on the train, which was great. No, I did not hang my bike on the hook. I didn’t feel up to it, and it wasn’t necessary. I stood it there on its kickstand with nothing else holding it up, and sat down and read a book. It wiggled around but there was no danger of it falling over.

The way back at six PM was a different story. Tons more people. Stood my bike there in the bike area. By then I felt even less like lifting it up to the hook, but none of the other passengers with bikes felt like it either, and they were doing the same thing. Besides the fact that my bike is a tank, I’d have to unload a bunch of stuff from it, and put it someplace where I could keep an eye on it while I performed this herculean feat.

Had I hung it up, I could’ve sat down, but certainly could not have engrossed myself in a book without worrying that one of the many riders might pop it off its hook and make off with it. And leaving it standing there by itself as I had in the morning would have made it even easier to roll out the door. With so many people boarding and unboarding, it was out of the question. So I stood there with it for the duration of the 40 minute ride. Nothing more exhausting than standing in one spot, especially if the spot is (1) a hard surface like metal, and (2) wiggling. Far more tiring than all the work I did that day put together.

I’ll be traveling out there with some regularity, so I have to find a way to make it not miserable. Tomorrow I’ll try plan B: Bike to my neighborhood Max station like I did today, but leave my bike there. When I get to the end of the line, I’ll just walk to where I have to go. It’ll take longer, but it’ll be more exercise. Then on my way home I can sit down and relax without worrying about my bike. I just hope no one steals it while it's parked at the Max station all day.


At 8:16 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

My family is contemplating a move to the Pacific Northwest. Portland is one of the possibilities on our list, so it's interesting to hear about the new challenges we might face.

I work in Nevada's capital, Carson City. The entire town is probably 5 miles across at its widest point, so you can get anywhere by bicycle rather quickly. My hometown, the metropolis of Minden and Gardnerville, together share 4 stoplights. The challenges we face are continuous, safe bicycling routes. With all our open space and harsh winters, there are lots of big trucks and SUV's. And they like to drive fast...

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Vicki Jean said...

Ah, the bike on the MAX. I applied for a job out in Hillsboro (gulp) but I've been enjoying daydreaming about getting a folder at Clever Cycles if that comes to be.

I haven't even tried riding the MAX with my Oma. The damn thing is so heavy, I imagine hanging it on the hook would be equal to several gym visits.

At 9:19 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Jeff. If you're serious about moving to the northwest, make sure you come for a good long visit in the winter first, between November and March, because that's when you'll see the truth, and find out if you and your family members can stand it. The perpetual soggy greyness does a lot of people in.
Carson City sounds very promising for bikes in light of its small size. This would be the time for them to plan in the bike friendly systems. I imagine you're dealing with a lack of widespread public support for it, which is too bad because of course it's so much harder to try to weave in the bicycling after a city has already become a congested pile of writhing traffic.
As for the harsh winters, you have more guts than me. I'd never have the courage to share the roads with such monster cars if on top of wetness I had to deal with bitter cold and snow, and all the road debris that comes with it. You're scaring me.

At 9:26 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Wow, Vicky, we've been having exactly the same daydream! I've been drooling over a certain foldable for years, and they now have it here, yes, over at Clever Cycles. I'm saving up.
Your OMA on the MAX train? A bear. Don't try it, it might kill you. I love those OMAs, however......
The naked truth is that one really needs a bike for every occasion.


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