Biking The Banks-Vernonia State Trail

12 05 2010

Sometimes I bike for adventure, sometimes for a challenge, but a lot of times I just want to relax and get the blood flowing.  I had been searching for the latter for a few weeks.  I was looking for something that gave a great workout without the possibility of getting hit by a car or having to hop roots/rocks, and I found it!  The Banks-Vernonia State Trail about 25 minutes outside of Portland.  This is a 20 mile rails-to-trails ride that I really enjoyed.  There are multiple trailheads, but I chose the one at Mannig.

Most of the former railroad track trails that I’ve ridden were in the Midwest or Florida, so they were fairly flat and straight.  This was interesting in the fact that it starts (or ends depending on your starting point) right before the coastal range, meaning that you are always going uphill if you start on the east end of the trail like I did.  Normally I like more up and down throughout, but this was cool in the fact that you could go as far as you possibly could, knowing that the trip back was all coasting.  And that’s no joke because that’s exactly what I did.  I went in 7 miles, and with the exception of the last 1/2 mile of the 7 miles back I coasted.  Sure, you could peddle and get a better workout, but I decided to coast and see the sights that I might have missed going up.

Sights like these…

The flat area towards the east, farms and such.

Really cool original train bridge converted for my use 🙂

As you go in further the trees get bigger and the scenery gets better.

Someday soon, I will do the entire trail… and back.


Great Ride Today!…But Oh Those Hills :\

23 04 2010

I decided to go for a bike ride today.  See, I don’t live too far from some really great places in Portland (Downtown, The Pearl, Nob Hill, etc.).  However, I live way up on a hill and to get to said places, I have to go down… way friggin’ down.  But hey I’m up to it, so I thought I’d bike on down to Nob Hill.

But SAFETY 1st!!!
Grid patterns don’t exist where I am, but thousands of blind curves do, so before I begin it’s time to purchase some new gear!  Check out the new flashing rear light and sporty florescent yellow jersey eh?!  I went to Performance Bike and was pretty happy with what they had and what I paid.  I went to The Bike Gallery the night before and although it was a great shop, the only thing they had in my size was $100.  But, there are so many shops here, I’ll try them all to see which ends up being my go-to.  And I also found out that although I wear size XL at the Gap, Old Navy, etc, etc, I wear XXL in all biking clothes that I tried on.  >:|  Guess I need to bike a lot more?

Well I cut through Washington Park and stopped at the Rose Garden for a breather.  You can see some of Downtown Portland through the trees.  Now I just need to get down to that elevation!  Oh, and I can’t wait to get back here when all the roses are in bloom.

So I made it to Nob Hill no problem, it was actually really fun, you can fly through Washington Park at really high speeds.  Especially if you have a flashing rear light and a super-cool florescent jersey!  I walked around a bit and I thought I’d start a Simpson’s character tag for the blog since I saw 2 on my walk.  I’m sure it’s been done so many times, but who cares, here we go!…

  • Ned Flanders – Flanders St
  • Reverend Lovejoy – Lovejoy St
  • Mayor Joe Quimby – Quimby St
  • Sideshow Bob Terwilliger – Terwilliger Boulevard Parkway
  • Montgomery Burns – Montgomery Park Neighborhood/Burnside St
  • Milhouse Van Houten – Van Houten Ave

Ah, so that was all fun.  I walked up and down 23rd and then I thought I should get going since it might be a bit challenging on the way home.  I briefly thought about getting a beer 1st at one of the many pubs, but I’m really glad I didn’t…

Wow, that ride back suuuucked!  Those hills are no joke.  I guess I was having too much fun going down because I really didn’t remember those grades going back up.  And, I’m REALLY glad I had my new safety gear, because it was pretty cloudy and therefore kind of dark in the forest.  However, I’m thankfully people here are quite accustomed to bikers/walkers on the streets because they were always very respectful as they passed me while I was going .67mph and about to have a heart attack.  Oh and some guy said “Nice GT!” when I was on my way up, gave me a boost! (which shows me that people really know their bikes here)  Although I had to take about 4 breaks, when I finished I realized I did pretty good and it didn’t take me as long as I’d thought it would.  And, hills are a fact of life here so I should just get used to it and get into the kind of shape all those people were in that passed me!   I’ll see you again next week you hills you!…