A mildly epic Saturday bike adventure: 11 April 2020

We’re in the midst of two weeks of nice weather in Portland, sun and highs above 60F/16C every day. Saturday April 11th was another nice day, with a high of 62F/17C. Not as warm as Thursday, but that’s OK. And unlike Thursday, Emee and I had a mission in these pandemic times: Emee ordered some cloth face masks from a sewer in the Harmony neighborhood of north Clackamas County, east of Milwaukie and just west of the mall.

It’s a little (but not too) far. During normal times we wouldn’t have minded transit (the house was about a mile from the MAX), but in these days of COVID-19, that’s only used for a last resort. And yeah, the Emeemobile would have been awful convenient, but why squander a nice day with a ride in the car? We got out our bikes: me, my Bantam, Emee, her Surly Cross-Check, and headed out.

We had a few errands to run first, namely, mail. We stopped by the biz mailbox and my post office. My new strategy for picking up my P.O. Box mail is to do it on Saturday–the retail window is closed but the lobby open, so there would be few folks. In fact, there was no one in the post office when I went in, so social distancing for the win!

From my Post Office in inner SE, we chose a route that headed south paralleling the river, but not along the popular Springwater Corridor path, which promised lots of people on a nice day. Instead, we used mostly neighborhood streets to downtown Milwaukie. We took a quick snack break in their riverfront park, which afforded beautiful views of the Willamette and also a lack of people.

From the river we headed east, using Monroe Street. Monroe is Milwaukie’s main east-west bikeway, and besides a couple hills and a crossing of busy Milwaukie Parkway (which was pretty un-busy at the time), the ride was pleasant. We arrived in Harmony in no time, picked up the masks, hit up an ATM near the mall, and headed north.

We chose the I-205 Bike Path to get us northbound. While I’m very hesitant to use a bike path at all during the social distancing order, I figured that a path paralleling a freeway would not be as popular as a scenic one following a river. And I was right. We were on it for a few miles to the Lents neighborhood, and saw only a handful of people.

From Lents, we used the newish bike lanes on SE Foster. Foster was pretty pleasant (besides some debris in the shoulder), and using a diagonal street is always advantageous. From Foster we cruised north along the 50’s Bikeway until we got back to North Tabor. We decided to pick up some pizza from one of our neighborhood joints, Oly’s Pizza. We’ve been pretty much cooking at home all week, but we’ve been trying to do at least one take-out meal a week to both add variety and support local restaurants. Oly’s tasty East-Coast Style pies do not disappoint.

We arrived back at home around sundown. It was a 25 mile ride, the longest I had done in quite a while. The riding felt good, and the pizza felt well earned.

Here’s to more bike adventures!

EDIT 24 April 2020: Full photos here, or check out the dynamic album below.

Milwaukie Bay Park, 11 April 2020.

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