Category Archives: Stories from Riders

Combining biking and transit: One rider’s story

As Bike Month continues, we’d like to introduce Brian, a daily TriMet rider who combines biking with transit trips:

Brian combines biking with transit on his commute.
Brian combines biking with transit on his commute.

Brian recently told us about his commute options from southwest Beaverton to Downtown Portland, where he works as an architect. All of them combine biking with some form of transit, whether bus, MAX or WES.

At the start of his daily commute, Brian chooses between walking to a stop along Line 92 or Line 62, biking to WES or driving to Sunset Transit Center to park and hop on MAX to get into Downtown Portland.

Bike & Ride facility at Sunset Transit Center
Bike & Ride facility at Beaverton Transit Center

Brian says he benefits in many ways from his typical commute:

“Here’s the obvious great thing about my bike-WES-MAX commute: exercise, riding through Fanno Creek Greenway and not having to bring a bike on MAX,” he says. “Instead, I lock it up dry and safe for the day.”

He takes advantage of secure enclosed bike parking at Sunset TC, accessible with a BikeLink card.

Bike & Ride facilities can be accessed with a BikeLink card.
Bike & Ride facilities can be accessed with a BikeLink card.

Although many riders choose to bring their bike on transit so they can ride to their destination, Brian points out that it can be nice to leave your bike behind, knowing it’s safe and secure.

Safe, secure and dry!
Safe, secure and dry!

We want riding to transit to be an option for anyone who’s interested. We’ll continue to add bike parking when we can, and we always appreciate riders like Brian who share their stories encouraging others to saddle up.

It’s great to hear from riders who combine biking and transit trips, whether for commuting or for recreation. If you’d like to share your ride with us, email bikes@trimet.org.

Jeff Owen

Jeff Owen

I’m TriMet’s active transportation planner. I work with our regional partners to improve conditions for combining transit trips with walking and biking, including sidewalks, crossings, trails, bikeways, and bike parking. Away from work, I can be found walking, riding my bike, hiking or cheering in the Timbers Army.

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I’m running the entire MAX Blue Line in a “TriMet Ultramarathon”

Steven Wong
Steven Wong

My name is Steven Wong and I’m on a mission.

In 2013, I ran 26 races before my very first marathon, the 2013 Portland Marathon. This year, 2014, has been a Marathon of Marathons where I completed nothing but half marathons, full marathons, and one ultra marathon.

Before the end of this year on December 1st, 2014, I will be running the entire MAX Blue Line from Hillsboro to Gresham, to inspire the human race and to celebrate TriMet’s 45th birthday!

I want to change [the tragedies in my life] into a motivational story to inspire people to keep moving forward, keep turning the pages of their stories, and keep chasing their dreams.

My life is filled with unfortunate events that have made it so painful in so many ways. I want to take all the tragedies in my life and change them into something inspirational. I want to change it into a motivational story to inspire people to keep moving forward, keep turning the pages of their stories, and keep chasing their dreams.

TriMet Ultramarathon

The MAX Blue Line is 32.7 miles long, stretching across four different towns (Hillsboro, Beaverton, Portland, and Gresham). I will be taking the sidewalk and side roads to meet up with my Support Team at each of the 47 stops along the way. Please spread the word of my journey and tell others about this marvel of a milestone! You can follow my progress on Monday on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What: Steven Wong’s TriMet Ultramarathon
When: Monday, December 1st, 2014 — start time is 7 a.m.
Where: All 47 stops along the entire MAX Blue Line

One bent bicycle wheel. And one bruised butt.

Last September, Ian Sutherland got hit by a MAX train near Gresham and lived to tell the tale.

It was the route he took to work every day. It was like clockwork. Except that morning.

“I was pre-coffee, running late,” says Ian.

So he took a later train. When his train stopped, he got off, put his headphones on, clipped into his bike and set out across the crosswalk. Only he failed to see that he didn’t have a green signal as he usually did.

“Pay just as much attention around the MAX as if you were crossing a freeway. Or operating heavy machinery. Oh and don’t put on your headphones or mount your bike until you’re well clear of the tracks.”

“The other people at the crosswalk were standing there waiting. And I just kept on moving… on autopilot.”

It wasn’t until he was in the crosswalk that he saw the other train. The one that was speeding towards him only 20 feet away.

At that point Ian had two choices: either go for it and ride the bike as quickly across the tracks as possible, or turn back.

He chose to turn back by making a sharp left turn only to get his back tire stuck in the tracks. He unclipped from his pedals just as the train caught up with his backside and his back tire.

He was thrown many feet through the air but landed well.

He blames the accident on his “complacency.” Asked what he would tell his little sister about riding MAX, Ian chose his words carefully:

Ian Sutherland“Pay just as much attention around the MAX as if you were crossing a freeway or operating heavy machinery,” he says. “Oh, and don’t put on your headphones or mount your bike until you’re well clear of the tracks.”

That’s really good advice… Ian narrowly escaped a serious accident.

As a result of this incident, he has graciously agreed to be a model for our “Be Alert” safety campaign. We’re glad you’re OK, Ian!

Watch NewsChannel 8’s story about Ian’s accident at kgw.com

It’s easy to combine bike and transit trips

In honor of Bike Month, we’d like to highlight a commute that combines biking with TriMet.

Matthew Hampton starts his commute in the Boring area, southeast of Gresham, and after a short stretch riding on Highway 212’s wide shoulder, he joins the trailhead for the Springwater Corridor in Downtown Boring.

After the “best 8-mile ride you can imagine,” which is slightly downhill, he rolls into the recently renovated Gresham Main City Park and grabs coffee and a freshly made bagel from Jazzy Bagels.

Typical shot from the Springwater Trail, linking Boring to Gresham.
Typical shot from the Springwater Trail, linking Boring to Gresham.

Then it’s a little hop over to the Gresham Central MAX Station where he checks his bike into the secure BikeLink parking room, then boards MAX to enjoy a nice ride to Portland without the hassle of dealing with hanging and un-hanging his bike. Matthew works in the Lloyd District so he walks only a couple of blocks from the MAX station.

His favorite part of the commute is seeing the variety of folks on the trail in the morning: “Everyone has a smile and it’s like we have this little secret. I feel incredibly grateful this path is still providing mobility for the region’s population and it fits in my commute.”

“Everyone has a smile and it’s like we have this little secret. I feel incredibly grateful this path is still providing mobility for the region’s population and it fits in my commute.”

Matthew’s favorite spot along his commute. He calls it “Clackanoma Park.”
Matthew’s favorite spot along his commute. He calls it “Clackanoma Park.”

Other things Matthew likes about his commute? The physically separated biking paths and the locked bicycle storage. He can even get supplies or repairs from the Gresham Bicycle Center which is conveniently located in the same structure as the TriMet BikeLink parking room.

Keep enjoying the ride, Matthew. We’ll keep an eye out for you both on the trail and on MAX. Happy Bike Month to you!

TriMet resources for cyclists:

Bikes and TriMet: How to get there by bike, bus and train

Plan a bike/transit trip at trimet.org

Park & Ride Locations: Free 24-hour parking for riders

Get your own “I ride” TriMet bicycle messenger bag

 

TriMet does not endorse and is not responsible for any business, product or services mentioned in this blog article.

 

Jeff Owen

Jeff Owen

I’m TriMet’s active transportation planner. I work with our regional partners to improve conditions for combining transit trips with walking and biking, including sidewalks, crossings, trails, bikeways, and bike parking. Away from work, I can be found walking, riding my bike, hiking or cheering in the Timbers Army.

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Since her office moved, Sarah has a new perspective on her work commute

Sarah McCloskey
Sarah McCloskey

Until six months ago, my work commute between Beaverton and my office in Lake Oswego had consisted of driving a stretch of Hwy 217 during peak rush hour traffic each day. I tolerated the slow, bumper-to-bumper traffic in exchange for the convenience of driving my own car.

Since I started riding public transit, I’m more relaxed.

When I first learned that my firm would be relocating to Downtown Portland, I knew that I would need to make some major changes to my commute. If I were to continue driving to work, it would mean spending twice the time in rush hour traffic on two notoriously congested highways each day. I estimated that my monthly costs for driving and parking would amount to more than double the cost of a 1-Month Pass. Since I did not need the extra stress or expense of driving, the decision was simple: I would take public transit.

My new commute begins with a short ride on WES—now in its 5th year of service—to the Beaverton Transit Center. I enjoy comfortable seats, wide aisles, free Wifi and the friendly WES conductors. I also enjoy getting to know other regular riders that I see each day. After transferring to MAX, I have 25 minutes to get a jump on my morning email or catch up on news, books and crossword puzzles.

Since I started riding public transit, I’m more relaxed. I save money and I’m happy that I am doing my part to reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion. When I began riding, I assumed I’d miss the convenience of driving, but, with frequent arrival times, a MAX stop right outside my office and no traffic jams, I’ve found it to be much more convenient than driving!

Sarah McCloskey is a marketing coordinator at Otak, Inc. She is a new TriMet rider and commutes from her home in Beaverton to her office in Downtown Portland.

Marisa Scheidegger

I'm TriMet's marketing communications coordinator. I write content for TriMet's web and social media, and customer-facing print materials. When I'm not working, I'm spending time with my husband and two incredibly bright and funny kids.

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Otak designer finds “Katie Time” on TriMet

Katie Kersten, Otak

About the author: Katie Kersten is a senior graphic designer who has been working at Otak, Inc., for 18 years. She volunteers with EarthShare of Oregon and is on the board of directors for Third Rail Repertory Theatre. Katie has a passion for incorporating sustainable practices into her work and personal life. She lived in Portland for 22 years and moved to Sherwood in 2011. 

My office used to be located in Lake Oswego. Every workday I drove 14 miles round-trip from Sherwood to Lake Oswego. When my firm relocated to downtown Portland in May, my commute grew to 34 miles.

After figuring out that driving would cost around $15 per day for parking, gas, car maintenance, and depreciation, I decided my best option would be public transportation. A monthly transit pass would only cost about $5 per day, and my employer began offering a monthly transit stipend that covers the cost of the pass.

I believe that your attitude helps create your experience, and I have found many ways to enjoy my new commute.

During the past few months I’ve become a more transit-savvy rider, thanks in part to the many useful smartphone apps that have guided me. I’ve even incorporated MAX and WES into various trips.

I’ve recently integrated my workout studio into my commute without missing a beat. When my parents visit from out of town, they take the MAX from the airport to meet me downtown. This is always a fun experience for them. They are also able to have some similar experiences as I do when taking public transportation.

I’ve learned to think of my commute time as “Katie Time.” I read. I listen to podcasts, audio books, and music. I catch up with friends, family, and colleagues via email and social media. And I do research while I ride. People watching can be very entertaining, as well!

I believe that your attitude helps create your experience, and I have found many ways to enjoy my new commute.

Fun fact: Katie’s employer, Otak, Inc., recently achieved Gold Certification through the City of Portland’s Sustainability at Work program by dramatically increasing employee alternate modes of transportation! Learn more about TriMet’s pass programs for employers

The freedom of riding transit (my TriMet story)

About the author: Valerie Chapman lives in Oak Grove, an unincorporated area in Clackamas County. She has volunteered on the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project Citizens Advisory Committee since 2008.

I began riding the bus regularly ten years ago. Of course, I took the Rose City bus many years ago when I was a student at Portland State University, but that was because my dad wouldn’t let me buy a car. I wanted the freedom of a car and eventually I bought one. Little did I know that one day, I would want the freedom of riding the bus!

Valerie Chapman
Valerie prefers the convenience of not driving.

When I made the switch as an adult it was because I wanted to simplify my lifestyle. I hated the rush-rush of traffic, the endless circling to find a parking spot, and the fast pace that driving seemed to bring with it. There was also the cost of gas and parking and concern for the environment that was growing.

One day I just decided that it would be possible to take the bus one day a week. I really felt nervous at first. I was 53 years old and out of the mass transportation loop. But I saw other people, older than me, hopping on and off buses near the church where I work. If they could do it, surely I could.

The first time I rode I was very concerned about having exactly the right change. I had never purchased tickets in advance, and I didn’t know much about bus passes except that some people were able to just get on the bus and flash a card at the driver. They seemed very bus savvy to me. I picked up bus schedules from the racks that used to be right behind the driver for every bus that I frequented, and I had a lot of angst about missing a bus, doing the wrong thing or worse, getting on the wrong bus. But I quickly discovered that the system was designed to help people ride with ease.

I saw lots of interesting people and talked to many of them. The drivers were quick to answer my questions and I soon learned when my stops were coming up and how to request a stop at night. After the first few weeks of riding the bus once a week, I discovered that I wanted to ride more often. Even though I had been driving back and forth to work for years, I realized that I had missed seeing most of what I drove by.

Valerie Chapman
Valerie likes to talk or read or people-watch on the way.

With someone else focused on the driving, I was able to look out the window and actually notice the neighborhoods I was passing through. I discovered new restaurants and interesting shops that I had not known about. I also enjoyed the changing of the seasons in a different way. On the bus I did not have to worry about pouring rain on the windshield or be afraid to drive on snowy roads.

Within a few months I was buying a monthly pass or packets of tickets. I found that I was riding the bus much more often than I was driving and I really felt good about it. I branched out and rode a MAX line, and began to travel to different parts of the metro area after work hours. All day passes and quick tickets are making trips easier still. And I no longer have to carry around bunches of bus schedules. I can text the bus from my house to see when it is coming and plan adventures around town ahead of time on the computer or from a mobile phone. Just recently, when I had to go to Wilsonville, I went online to TriMet in the hope that I would not have to make that awful drive during the morning rush hour. To my delight, I was able to make the whole trip by bus.

I enjoy the TriMet system. I prefer the convenience of not driving. My husband and I love to walk from our house to the corner of Park Avenue where we catch the #33 bus in to SE Clay Street. There we can transfer to the Central Loop (CL) streetcar. Downtown we transfer to the North South (NS) streetcar going west to 23rd Avenue. That drops us at our favorite restaurant. (I am not telling!) The whole trip is an adventure. We can talk or read or people-watch on the way. And after a great meal, we don’t have to worry about driving back in the dark.

I am looking forward to new adventures when the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Line opens in 2015.

Thanks for listening. Hope to meet you on transit!

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