I live in SE Portland and work in SW. For those of you who don't know that the Willamette River is the dividing line between east and west. My ride begins through residential neighborhoods, crossing busy streets (but I don't ride on them because I want to avoid the exhaust) and along a nice overlook into the Oaks Bottom Aviary Preserve. I then cross the Sellwood bridge which takes me to the west side where I follow a greenbelt along the river for a few miles before I begin the climb up to Oregon Health Sciences University. Another tip for those who aren't familiar with Portland, OHSU is the highest (elevation-wise) employer in Portland, which is why all the folks who bike up here are in great shape. I haven't actually measured the climb, but I suppose it could be between 800-1000 ft. Not a huge climb, but enough of a deterrent that most new commuters shy away from the hill. That is route number one. My second favorite route has more climbing and the climb starts as soon as you cross the bridge. The windy cemetary roads can be spooky on early winter mornings when the dark and fog leave your brain easily scared by the tapida lucidum of rodents catching the headlight as you turn up the hill. The cemetary enterrs you to Terwilliger road which has a spacious bike lane all the way up to OHSU. The road offers scenic views of east Portland and mild climbs ensure the heart of a good workout. With these ywo routes I can vary my commuting schedule so it doubles a my training work out for when I decide to race.
I won the very first cyclocross race I ever entered. I say this because I am always reading bios of famous racers that claim the same thing. Granted I had raced MTB cross-country events before, but I just was so psyched to win my first cyclocross race, that I just have to advertise it as much as I can. This I owe entirely to bike commuting. I am a 24 year old male who worked his way through college as a bike mechanic. I love bikes. I am a co-founder of the OHSU Bike Commuter Group. We promote cycling to the hill, and non-single-driver-car alternatives. We have monthly meetings, social events, group rides to work, winter, and spring (coming up) bike workshops. We are active in the local and state government, and have acquired a grant for $75,000 to make bike improvements to the workplace at OHSU, and have made plans for a bike commuter shelter that will feature lockers, showers, laundry facilities, and more for all our wonderful commuters that brave the climb in even the most mucky Portland weather. I am a member of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), and recently rode my bike to Salem, OR (the capitol) to lobby for a bill initiated by the BTA to create safe routes to school for K-12. I currently work in a Behavioral Neuroscience research lab, but I am making the crossover to engineering of alternative fuel vehicles, because let's face it, not everyone is going to bike all the time, so we might as well build those unforetunate few non-polluting vehicles to get from A to B. I also like to get out and ride the mountains, and as a necessity, I drive my car to the trailhead. But I still feel guilty, and I wish I could afford a new Insight or Prius, but until then, I have learned to tweak the fuel injection on my car to 30mpg, which isn't bad for a 21 year old car.
Great Site. I would like to put a link to your site on the OHSU Bike Commute Group web page that we have started, if that is ok. Thanks for all you do!