Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ride to Sauvie Island

Sauvie Island

I rode to Sauvie Island this past Sunday.

Sauvie Island is the island located North of Portland where the Columbia and Willamette rivers meet. I had been thinking of riding there ever since I heard about people riding there when the Flaming Lips were in town to shoot a music video. I didn't go on that ride, but it had been in the back of my mind as a destination for a ride.

I hadn't been going on long rides as much lately and I felt like I needed a nice long ride both for the mind and the body. I got a late start though and it was around 3pm when I left. That's a pretty late start to go on a long ride this time of the year and also I wasn't so sure about my fitness, so I was prepared to cut the ride short if I felt like it was getting late or if I felt I was over extending myself.

View Larger Map

I've embedded the route map for those of you who want to ride there. It's a pretty simple route really. I was a bit anxious about the beginning part on Willamette Blvd probably as that was the part that came at the end of Bridge Pedal when I was super tired and also it's where I often encounter other people riding and I get drawn into riding faster. I didn't want to ride too fast and tire myself out before I even made it across the river. The weather was cool, but not cold and it was just right for riding, but I only saw a handful of other people riding, so I didn't get drawn into any kind of competitiveness. I think it's sort of hard wired in my brain from my competitive days to try to ride at a fast pace. I often find myself wanting a gear between 2 gears I have available; the higher gear requires more power and the lower gear feels too light. In such situation, I usually tend to ride the higher gear and push the pace, but often it's difficult to keep the effort and I wear myself out in the process. This kind of riding is good if I'm trying to ride myself into shape, but at this time of the year, I just want to ride easy and enjoy it. So, I kind of had to tell myself that it's OK to ride the low gear and not go fast. Anyway, so I rode easy and was able to make it across the St. Johns Bridge without wearing myself out.

St. Johns Bridge

After St. Johns Bridge was new territory for me. I wasn't sure about the traffic situation there, but knowing that the Flaming Lips crew rode there was reassuring. It wasn't exactly cycling heaven with enough cars whizzing by and the bike lanes being mostly quite minimal, but it wasn't too bad. It was a good bit of mostly uninterrupted riding and I eventually made it to the bridge to Sauvie Island.

Sauvie Island

I rode onto Sauvie Island, but I didn't really know anything about the place, so I didn't know what to expect. It did have a more relaxed atmosphere than the highway I just rode on and it seemed like people who drove there came mostly for recreation. There were a number of signs for pumpkins on sale. I didn't know where to go, so after a bit, I decided to stop and rest on a riverbank. It wasn't a pristine grass riverbank, but full of wild weeds. I kind of like plants growing wildly rather than plants tended to by humans. I sat there and took in what turned out to be pretty nice scenery and took a few pictures.

Sauvie Island

Sauvie Island

However, my moment of solitude was suddenly interrupted by a power boat pulling a water skier doing tricks and blasting hip-hop. It was so unexpected and I thought about how much energy and technology is involved in this form of recreation. I have experienced water skiing one Summer at a Summer camp and I recalled the experience and the sensation of it. It's quite a thrilling and fun sport as I recall it, but I can't imagine acquiring all the necessary equipment to do it. After the lovely encounter, I got back on the road and rode further into the island. I saw a sign for a park and I followed it, but it was more of a yard. I rested there anyway and ate the apple I brought and then I rode home.

I don't know if I'll ride there again, but if I did, I would like to explore the island much more. It's quite a large piece of land with a very large lake, so I'm sure it has a lot more to offer than what I saw.

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