Portland cyclists

Sharing the Road

Portland is a big cycling city. In fact, the Northwest as a whole is big into fitness–kayaking, running, hiking…you name it. One of the things I’ve noticed as a life long resident of the NW is the animosity between people when it comes to sharing the road. Cyclists don’t like people in cars and they don’t like runners in their bike lanes (“Ugh, cars man, WHY?”). Drivers and runners don’t like how aggressive bikers are…The most heated discussion you’ll ever have with someone in Portland is not taxes or construction woes, it’s CYCLISTS. Which I find amusing.

I’m in a unique situation because I’m both a runner and a cyclist. I can see both sides equally because I’m on both sides. I often have to switch my thinking depending on what kind of shoes I have on–my Brooks Ravenna running shoes or my clip-in cycling shoes.

General Rules for Cyclists

  1. Stay on the correct side of the road. I cannot stress this enough. It amazes me how often I see people doing funky things and potentially causing head-on collisions because they aren’t being mindful.
  2. If you’re biking on the road, stay on the shoulder or in the bike lane as much as possible. Be mindful of parked cars, car doors opening, people walking and cars.
  3. One of the most annoying things about cyclists (usually newbies) is when they ride two or three wide. Sure it’s fun to ride side-by-side with your biking partner. But only do so when it’s safe and you aren’t blocking traffic. When riding on the Springwater Trail, for example, Michael and I sometimes ride side-by-side but only if there aren’t other people around. The trail can be narrow and it can also get very congested. It’s not safe to ride next to each other and block walkers, runners and other cyclists.
  4. The general complaint of non-cyclists about bikers is that they ride slowly in traffic. I’m not sure what the solution is here because as a driver I’m also annoyed with slow riders, and as a cyclists I understand sometimes you’re going as fast as you can. πŸ™‚ If possible, move over so cars can pass.
  5. If you’re biking on the road, follow the traffic laws like all the cars do. That means stopping at red lights and stop signs, respecting Right-of-Way and not running through intersections.
  6. Share the road with runner and walkers. As a cyclist it’s your job to SLOW DOWN whenΒ maneuveringΒ around people. Β Last summer when I was running the Esplanade Loop a biker crashed into me because they weren’t paying attention. That hurt!
  7. When you’re passing people on a trail or road, give them notice. It’s polite and just smart to say “Passing” or “On Your Left” to someone you’re riding around. I always do this when I bike and people appreciate it. If you don’t want to say anything, get a bell for the bike.
  8. Use hand signals when riding in traffic. Drivers can’t read your mind!
  9. Be aware at all times what is going on around you. Check your peripheral vision, blind spots, and look down the road to see potential hazards. When coming to a two way stop, look both ways to make sure cars are stopping.
  10. Watch out for stopped cars trying to make a right turn.

General Rules for Runners

  1. The above rules can apply to runners as well.
  2. As a runner, follow the rules of the road as well. Don’t dart into traffic to get across the street unless it’s safe.
  3. Look behind you before you move positions, especially if you are running on a trail and you’re wearing headphones. You should always be aware as a runner who is behind you.
  4. Run against traffic. Especially if there are cyclists in the other lane with the traffic. It’s also safer because you can see what’s going on.
  5. Be visible, especially running in the morning or evening.
  6. Watch out for stopped cars trying to make a right turn.
  7. Remember that cyclists are often clipped into their bike and it might be harder for them to stop suddenly!
  8. Bike lanes are for cyclists! Be respectful of that.
  9. If you’re running with a group of people, don’t take up the whole road. Side-by-side when it’s safe, but not four wide.

And a final note about people walking their dogs on trails like the Springwater: PLEASE do not let your dogs off leash, or have them on a long leash. I cannot tell you how many times I almost crashed on a bike because the dogs scampered in the way and the owner wasn’t paying attention where the leash was going. Just this weekend two ladies were walking side by side with four dogs on leashes. They took up the entire trail and I had to shout that I was coming. They moved over to the side but what if I was coming around a corner and didn’t see them in time? That would be a big mess!

I don’t know why it’s so hard for some people to just get along and share the road. There’s plenty of road for everyone and if we’re all respectful it can be pleasant for everyone!

QUESTION: Do you have any other tips for sharing the road with everyone? Do you share the road?

One Sunny Day

I changed things up a little bit on Tuesday’s commute to work. I parked on the other side of Sellwood, to lengthen my bike ride a little bit. I knew it would only add a few extra minutes, but I was okay with that.

Because I was lengthening my ride, I didn’t stop at all. I peddled like mad and my heart rate definitely increased. At one point there was a guy right on my tail while I road through the detour around OMSI. It was rather annoying. I wanted to yell at him to pass me. I knew he was drafting off me, but I don’t know you dude, stop drafting off me. It was just creepy. I mean I’m a girl riding all alone the last thing I want is some strange guy riding my tail.

I eventually lost him because I started peddling really hard. He just made me uncomfortable. If it was Michael drafting off me, or a stranger in a race, that’s one thing.

I crossed the Hawthorne Bridge in no time at all and was on my way to work.

I somehow shaved almost 8 minutes off my time! I’m guessing it is because I didn’t stop at all and I pedaled faster than normal because I was worried about having a longer ride and being late.

Ride Stats:

Time: 30 minutes

Calories Burned: 255

Miles Biked: 5.9

Almost 6 miles! It was a great ride in, even being a little bit on the cold side. I wore my new gloves too.

They have extra gel padding on the palms, which is nice because my old gloves were losing their padding.


For lunch on Tuesday I had a Trader Joe’s frozen Indian food meal. I’ve had it for a few weeks but I didn’t realize when I bought it that it had 500 calories in it! The package was deceptive: at first glance it said 250 calories but there’s two servings in it! It wasn’t larger than the other Trader Joe’s frozen meal I bought, so I didn’t think it would be two servings.

Sneaky! I brought it for lunch on Tuesday because I could justify eating 500 calories for lunch after riding twice in one day.

It was a yummy dish but I wouldn’t buy it again simply because of the calorie count. I’ll stick with the chicken one I usually buy because it’s around 330 calories for the whole thing.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day in Portland. I hope my ride home is nice and easy!

QUESTION: Do you think there’s etiquette in regards to drafting? Would you ever draft a solo rider you don’t know, or am I being weird about it?