The Kinda Girl That Goes All The Way

That’s right. I’m that girl. I went all the way baby!

All the way from my house, that is!

I was going to wait until after the Portland Century to attempt biking to work from the house. But I realized that this was the last week I had to get in some BIG miles so I decided to give it a try. Last weekend when Michael and I biked almost 40 miles I was watching the clock to see how long it took to ride from the house to the waterfront downtown. It took us about an hour and ten minutes with two stops.

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I’m registered. It’s real. After months of waffling back and forth on whether or not to do The Portland Century or try a different ride, I bit the bullet and registered. But back to my ride.

I got up extra early in order to get everything ready to leave from the house. In a way leaving from the house saved me some time–time it takes to load my bike on Michael’s car, drive to the Park n’ Ride, unload and head out. That takes a good 15 minutes at least.

I got up at 6am, showered, dressed and ate breakfast. Michael kindly pumped my tires and I was out the door at 6:45. It was a cold morning on Wednesday.  I wished I had my long gloves, but I warmed up after about 10 minutes. I rode on back roads that had less traffic, trying to stick to streets that had wide bike lanes.

The ride was going well.  I was alert enough, I was warming up. The route I took was a good one, with very little traffic. I knew it was time to try biking from home because every ride lately I felt like it was too short–like I was just getting started when the ride was over.

I didn’t make many stops because I was a bit worried about my time. I gave myself an hour and fifteen minutes to ride into work and that included changing time.  I didn’t stress about being late, though, I just rode. I crossed the highway at a light and biked through downtown Milwaukie. I crossed a lot of train tracks as I looped around the city (about four different times).

I didn’t bike on the Springwater, going side streets instead to get to Sellwood, where I biked down to the Springwater trail on the waterfront (the usual part of my commute).

By the time I got to the Springwater Trail along the river I was warm and uncomfortable in my cycling jacket. I made up some time on the trail because it’s straight and it was pretty empty.

I stopped briefly at OMSI to drink some water and check my time. I’d biked 45 minutes so far. I was making great time!

I bypassed the Hawthorne Bridge, rode North on the east esplanade, crossed the Steel Bridge and was on my way to the office.

Morning Commute Stats:

Time: 1 hour
Calories Burned: 461
Distance: 12.2 miles

Awesome! It felt so good to accomplish it!


I was excited about biking home after work. It was much much warmer–75 degrees! I headed down to the waterfront, rode across the Steel Bridge to the east side where I left downtown. The first mile of my commute home is the longest and slowest. It takes forever to bike four blocks to the waterfront and maneuver all the people not following etiquette on the trail.

There’s a portion of the trail that has a grated bridge across the water. It’s quite disturbing riding across it and seeing the rocks and water underneath.

I try not to look down. 🙂 So my ride home was good but annoying. On the east side of the esplanade I ran into a little trouble. There were three girls running side by side deciding to take up the ENTIRE trail no matter how loudly I yelled “On your left!” and “Passing!” I barely made it passed them and dodged oncoming people doing the exact same thing. Do people just not care?! Then when I got passed OMSI and was turning right to get to the Springwater Trail a guy riding his bike on the wrong side of the road came THIS close to hitting me head on when we both turned the corner. Jerks. I tell you!

I got to the Springwater Corridor and it was smooth sailings. The trail was less crowded and I made it to Sellwood without any more incidents. I stopped briefly to drink some water in the shade and then continued on. All of the hills were super easy–no issues at all. I love seeing the progress in my abilities. All of the hills on the way home were so easy! Love it! The rest of the ride was easy, quick and uneventful. I was so happy that I had made the decision to ride to work from home!

I got home in no time at all and literally five minutes later Michael got home from his commute. His commute his SHORT and ALL HILLS. My commute is LONG and relatively flat for most of it.

Afternoon Stats:
Time: 58 minutes
Calories Burned: 445 
Distance:  12.2 miles

Not bad for a day’s worth of riding! That makes my total mileage for the day: 24.4 miles! I think it’s pretty fitting that I accomplished this goal on my 3 year anniversary of keeping the weight off! When we got cleaned up and settled in, we made Mexican Salads for dinner with chicken.

Lots of fresh lettuce from my garden, black olives, beans, tomato, onion from the garden, sour cream, and of course guacamole.

The dinner was the perfect food after biking 25 miles!

QUESTION: What’s a challenge you’ve faced recently that turned out positively?

First Bike Commute Ever!

Wednesday’s weather was supposed to be sunny and in the 70’s here in Portland. I excited planned to commute to work by bike for the first time ever.

It may not seem like a big deal, but let me give you this tidbit: I love my car. I love driving. I absolutely HATE relying on public transportation to get around. I will never be one of those “car-free” types. I like my freedom. I like being in control and I don’t want to rely on others to get around. So giving up my car for the day and riding my bike was a pretty scary thing. I started thinking of all the things that could go wrong, being stranded, being unable to physically bike and then not having a car, etc etc.

I prepped everything Tuesday night. Wednesday morning I woke up at 6am instead of sleeping in for another 30 minutes and showered. I dressed in my cycling gear: Pearl Izumi bike shorts with cycling tights on over that (for warmth), a cycling shirt plus my cycling jacket.

Michael and I ate a lighter breakfast in preparation for the ride. The morning was sunny but cold and I was a little worried that it would be a miserable bike ride.


I loaded everything into Michael’s car since he has a bike rack. Michael took off for his 5 mile commute to work from the house. I drove to Sellwood, parked his car on a residential street and then took off on my bike.

It was a cool, bright morning and it was really quiet as I rode through Sellwood. I saw a few other cyclists. My fingers were cold but I wasn’t miserable and 10 minutes into the ride they weren’t cold anymore. The wind was a bit cold on the bike but again, it wasn’t horrible.

I biked down to Oaks Park and caught the Springwater Corridor that would take me into downtown Portland.

It was so quiet and relaxing. There weren’t a ton of people out (just a few other cyclists commuting to work too and a few runners) and I enjoyed my ride.

I stopped about three times to take some photos. I was doing okay on time so I wasn’t worried I’d be late. I saw some geese along the trail with their adorable little babies! I didn’t stop to take a photo of the baby geese though because I didn’t want to scare them.

I saw the people on the Willamette rowing.

I left the Springwater Trail, rode passed OMSI, and then caught the Esplanade Loop. I took the Hawthorne Bridge into downtown (I normally walk the bridge every morning). That was kind of nerve-racking. There were a lot of bikes on the bridge, plus runners and walkers, and it wasn’t very wide. There was another cyclist right on my ass making me nervous but there wasn’t room for me to move so he could pass.

I got off the Hawthorne Bridge and road up the west side of the Esplanade until I got to my street and then road up a few blocks to my office.

I stored my bike in the office bike locker room and then went to the bathroom to change into my work clothes. It was liberating and exciting to ride my bike to work!

Morning Stats:

Time: 37 minutes

Calories Burned: 313

Distance: 5.7 miles

My goal is that by the end of summer I’m able to make the whole commute on bike, leaving from home instead of driving half way to park.


During my lunch break walk I scouted out the best route to get out of downtown. With the crazy way people drive downtown I wanted to ride down there as little as possible. I decided that going across the Morrison Bridge and catching the Eastside of the Esplanade was the best bet. It just meant the beginning of my ride would be up a hill to climb the bridge!

The good news: there was a very wide, safe bike lane. I got off work at 4:30 ready to bike home! Instead of the warm cycling gear I just wore my bike shorts and t-shirt. It was so nice out! My backpack was much heavier on the ride home because I had all those clothes in it. I rode through downtown a few blocks to the Morrison Bridge, crossed the bridge over to the Eastside.

Once I was on the other side of the river it was smooth sailing all the way home. It was pleasant out, not cold or too windy. And I was making GREAT time!

I thought the commute home would be harder and take more time (going uphill) but I was faster. Weird! I made it to the Springwater Corridor, zipped down the trail and then was faced with the HUGE hill up from Oaks Park. I was nervous about the hill because it’s a killer but I made it up without having to stop (or stand).

I rode through Sellwood neighborhood streets and made it back to the car in record time. I loaded everything in the car and headed home. It as a GREAT first attempt at bike commuting!

Afternoon Stats:

Time: 28 minutes

Calories Burned: 258

Miles: 5.7

Not too shabby! I like getting in a workout while commuting. My afternoon ride home meant my backpack was A LOT heavier though (all my cold weather gear was inside). That was difficult.


Calories Burned:  571        |        Miles Biked:  About 11

QUESTION: Have you ever commuted by bike?