Bike escort: SE Portland to Airport Way

You thought I forgot, didn’t you? About wanting y’all to let me bike-escort you to work or wherever else you spend your time, I mean. But I didn’t! I’ve just been a total slacker about keeping up with my blog. (Let’s face it: the internet is not always the most exiting of things to spend your time on.)

So, without further ado: fun new bike commutes! (Psst: let me know if I can ride with you sometime too!)


This is Justin:

Justin(so excited about biking to work!!:)

He lives nearby in SE Portland and semi-recently accepted a new job. That job means that his commute shifted from along-the-peaceful-Willamette-River-to-Sellwood to along-the-hideously-noisy-Interstate-205-to-Airport-Way. Another way of thinking about it might be that he swapped his pleasant ride along a river of water to a new ride along a river of traffic. Needless to say, he’s been a little grumpy about biking to work sometimes, because this ride is much less inherently enjoyable.

However! It’s still a bike ride (which, as we know, is always worth it:), and he invited me to come along with him to see what it’s all about.

The first part is lovely! Most of inner SE Portland is great for biking, what with its crisscrossing bike boulevards of low-traffic awesomeness, and he even gets to bike over Mt. Tabor, too.


Mt Tabor Justin(Mt. Tabor is especially nice in the sun!)


After the lovely SE part, though, the section along the I-205 path is kind of sad. In theory, it’s fantastic to have a bike path that parallels a direct car route north. In practice, not only is it super loud, but it’s also just not that awesome of a path. For one, it does an awful lot of stopping. Unlike the paths that are more recently built, it stops at every major road you cross, making you wait through super long traffic lights at giant intersections, and it even directs you back and forth over the freeway along busy sidewalks a few times. Not the most inviting of places to navigate.


205 Path(don’t mind the “bike path” crossing 6 lanes of freeway-bound traffic!)

Also — and this may be a facet of it being along the freeway and collecting the flotsam and jetsam of unloved places — it sure has a lot of trash.

205 path 3

205 path 2(which is better captured in real life than my pictures-on-the-fly, but there’s a sample)

Some sort of adopt-a-path clean-up here would be awesome, I think. Honestly, that would be good for a lot of paths in Portland, but here would be a good place to start. In fact, if you’re interested in helping, you should contact Justin and he’ll go out there with some big trash bags and clean shit up with you.


Justin 205 path(this guy wants your help to clean up the path! :)


There is a definite perk to his ride, though: working that close to the northern boundary of Portland means that the Columbia River and Marine Drive bike path is approximately 3 minutes away by bike. Which I imagine makes for some pretty rad lunchtime riding options for him. For me, it meant that after I dropped him off I had some excellent riding options for a long and exploratory way home. Because no way was I biking back along the 205 path;)


Marine Drive bike path(Marine Drive bike path: the most consistently good views of Mt Hood of any bike path in Portland)


Any big lessons I learned from this new-to-me ride? Probably the biggest (don’t laugh) is that the pleasantness or total lack thereof of a bike route can be a large factor in whether someone decides they’re going to ride or not. I’ve been so lucky that I’ve actually loved all of my commutes in Portland that I kind of didn’t realize — don’t laugh at how naive this is — I kind of didn’t realize that a bike commute could be so bad that someone might actually rather take a car. (Of course, I would say there’s always an alternate route, but still;)

Granted, whether I could see myself riding there or not is one filter through which I evaluate any potential job, so I guess it’s not that surprising that I’ve had some pretty fantastic commutes. But I should remember that not everyone has had the luxury of structuring their life in that way.

Also, I realized I have no idea whose jurisdiction these bike paths are under — if you want to organize a clean-up, say, who the heck do you call? More research still necessary on that one (let me know if you know).

Lastly, no matter what, I love new-to-me bike routes!! Thanks to Justin for letting me tag along on his — and anyone else, let me know if you have a route I could join you on someday, too! :)




  1. I wish you could come down here and bike w/me to Pipeworks! :-)

  2. Like you, I used to hate the 205 path, but over the years I’ve warmed up to it. Sure, it’s not as idyllic as Springwater, and there’s that noise factor. But really, it’s not as much a “stop at every major crossing” path like it used to be, oh, 15 years ago when I first rode it. The new bridges/underpasses at Division, Powell, and Woodstock/Foster really improves on that. There still are the Montavilla/Gateway crossings, which suck, esp. the one at Glisan. (Pro tip: At Burnside get over to NE 99th and use that until Gateway. Yeah, there’s a li’l bit of traffic, but it’s manageable.) And I love that otherworldiness as the path passes through the (future) Gateway Green. And it gets you north-south pretty fast!

    • Yeah, I hear you about the southward portion of it (actually, I usually ride it south from Division when I go to work, and that part’s just fine). But if you head north from there and have to cross Washington, and then Stark, and then Burnside, and Glisan, and Halsey… it gets old. I actually found a fun way up to Glisan, at least, on the 87th bikeway, but I’d be curious to try your pro tip about 99th too.

      (By the way, let’s take a second here and appreciate you being Mr. Positive about this route ;) I knew you could do it!! :)

  3. The Vancouver Bicycle Club has done some bridge I-205 path clean-up efforts for a few years now. ( It might be a different thing in Vancouver as opposed to Portland but they might be worth talking to for clean-up efforts if your friend is still interested.

    • Huh! I didn’t even know the Vancouver Bicycle Club existed, much less did clean-up work:) Thanks for the heads-up!

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