Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Saturday loop & Sunday Parkways

Kao's last post was about an event and a place in Tokyo to promote cycling. From what she told me, it seems that there is quite a bit of funding behind them. I am not really sure what they want to achieve and if they are effective at all. It is quite different from events here in Portland which are more grass roots based and organized by people who actually ride bikes. These ones in Tokyo are supported by the bike industry and Keirin which is the legal bike race gambling. It's hard to see what they want to achieve other than just to show off bikes in a fashionable way. People do ride bikes in Tokyo and it is do-able, bit it's hardly an ideal environment for it. It seems to me that the real issue with cycling in Tokyo isn't the bicycles, but the infrastructure. That's definitely a hard area to tackle, but if they want to promote cycling there, I think that's the most important thing.

I went out on another long ride on Saturday.
springwater trail

I was becoming weary of riding on car heavy roads (though they have bike lanes and are mostly safe), so I went on the Spring water Corridor Trail which is part of the 40 mile loop which circles Portland. The loop isn't complete yet and it's still missing some connections here and there, but on the Southern part of the loop, it's all connected. It is comprised of mostly of multi-use paths with bits of regular streets in between. The multi-use path does have some pedestrians and joggers near the center of the city, but once you are out of the center, there are hardly any pedestrians and not too many cyclists, so it's an ideal place to ride without having to worry about cars or pedestrians.

(40 Mile Loop)

On Saturday, I decided to take the trail to a place called Beggars Tick wildlife refuge. It was further than I had gone before on the trail, so I wasn't quite sure of the way. Surely enough, I got lost after the trail came to an intersection and I didn't see that the trail continued on the on the other side of the intersection. I went on the bike lane on a normal road and the road started to go upwards. The more I tried to find my way, the more I seem to have to go on steep climbs. I eventually got to my destination after quite a long detour. The Beggars Tick wildlife refuge looked very green and nice on the satellite map, but it was a wildlife refuge and not so much a human refuge. I wanted to sit and rest for a bit, but I couldn't find any spot to do so, so I decided to ride back to find a spot to rest. I hardly ever drink soft drinks as I think they are bad for nutrition and the environment, but I craved a cold soda really badly. My leg muscles were starting to ache as well. I probably rode at least another half hour to get to the Oaks Park which is an amusement park, but more like a glorified county fair. There is no entry fee and you can walk in with your bike. I walked in and got a small Dr. Pepper. Man, did that taste good! I sat at a picnic table by the Willamette River for a while and recovered while listening to people playing bingo in the background.

Willamette River

I didn't notice before, but the beach along river was quite nice. If I wasn't so tired, I would've gone down there and dipped my feet in the water.

On Sunday, I wasn't looking to ride too much, but I knew that they were having the Sunday Parkways again, so I decided to go check it out on my way back from the Farmers Market. I was just gonna see how the event was going, but I started riding on the course with all the people on bikes and I ended up going most of the way. I read people's impression of it on some blogs and there was one where the person thought that riding along inexperienced riders seemed more dangerous than riding normally on regular streets, but for me it was just a lot of fun to ride on the streets without any cars. If you were trying to ride fast and pass everyone, it would be dangerous, but if you rode casually with the flow, it seemed really safe. Besides, the whole point of the event I think is to get the inexperienced riders out on their bikes in a safe environment. It wasn't quite the "bike culture" event like the Pedalpalooza events, but I think this kind of event really does encourage people who usually don't ride bikes to try it out and discover (or re-discover) the joy of bicycling.

No comments:

Post a Comment