One of the best things about living at Reed isn’t even on campus! Living in the middle of SE Portland means excellent access to bike paths and bike friendly streets taking you to downtown, Mt. Tabor, Sellwood and more! Here is one of my favorite rides starting from Reed. It’s under 10 miles round trip, so it’s accessible to almost any skill level of biker, but it will still manage to give you a great sense of the city of Portland.
This one’s a classic. It’s a great way to see the Willamette and explore the west side of town all while staying on a beautiful and spacious bike path. First, you leave campus heading towards the 7-Eleven. Then, making your way up 26th, turn left on Gladstone. This street winds around and somehow turns into 21st, which you use to cross Powell. Now here’s where things get fun. First, the People’s Food Co-op will be on your left, with a sweet juice bar/food cart out front called Sip. Try the Maca Madness if you ever get a chance!
Urban Foraging Pro Tip # 1: In the summer, there are two plentiful plum trees a block past People’s. (They’re okay to eat because they’re on the sidewalk, so it’s not stealing, I looked it up!) One of them has yellow plums the other purple. I’ve only had the yellow ones so far. They’re amazing.
Once you’re done feasting on plums, continue to Divison St. Here you’re going to take the diagonal street: Ladd. It’s an awesome neighborhood for biking. It’s beautiful, you can take up the whole road, and on morning commutes you’ll sometimes see twenty or so cyclists in a line all going to work. Take this through Ladd Circle and right before you hit Hawthorne and the Hawthorne food carts (home of the famous PB&J fries) head left on Clay. There’s a small bike lane for you to turn through, no cars allowed! This will take you all the way down to the river. Once on the river, you head north along the bike path to the Steel Bridge. Along the way you will ride on a floating bike path, where you can see great sunsets and a silhouette of downtown (Fig. 2.)
Cross the Willamette along the Steel Bridge, it’s pretty obvious which bridge this is. It’s very much made of Steel. Now you’re downtown! So fast and easy! From here you can do anything, everything downtown Portland is very close, and if you don’t feel comfortable riding anywhere in the city, you can just hop onto the MAX with your bike. This can take you to Washington Park and the Zoo, and all kinds of food carts, among other things. To get back to Reed, you can cross the Hawthorne bridge, head south on the bike path until you get to the new MAX line, and ride along Tilikum Way (brand new MAX line, just in time for the school ) up to Clinton. This is a very relaxing street to cruise on. It takes you back to 21st, and from there you should know the way back by now. Urban Foraging Pro Tip #2: Don’t forget to eat some plums on your way back.