Ever the student (if I was independently wealthy, my dream life would be one of quiet academic pursuit) I will be returning to Lane Community College this summer. The last time I attended LCC, I was an avowed motorist – I drove everywhere, and bicycles, road construction, and anything else that might require me to wait thirty seconds or move my wheel slightly to the left made my blood pressure shoot up. I’m afraid I was quite a boor – pretty much everything cyclists complain about, I did. I’m not proud of it, but there you go. (That’s why I’m always trying to get other drivers to just try cycling, just long enough for me to get them to the top of a long descent and coax them into the big ring. That was what got me hooked.)
Unfortunately, Lane Community College was banished to the no-man’s land between Eugene and Springfield. It is only accessible by high-speed highways with little shoulders. Every year cyclists and pedestrians (and countless wildlife) are killed on 30th Avenue.
So of course I decided to try and ride it.
It was really the first nice day of the year – the sky was cloudless, the daffodils were finally up, and the ducks were fornicating in Amazon Creek. I dusted off my roadbike, squeezed myself into my spandex sausage casing, clipped in, and set off.
Now, when I consulted The Oracle (Google Maps) for route suggestions, it wanted me to go all the way north to Franklin, before heading south through Glenwood to reach LCC. But a friend of mine had ridden her bicycle several times to LCC when we were in the same program, so I knew it could theoretically be done.
As soon as I turned left onto 30th from Harris, I knew I would need something other than a compact-crank roadbike if I was going to haul my pudgy butt up the hill regularly. But there was a wide sidewalk sort of thing, and I labored gamely on.
Eventually the sidewalk disappeared, but the shoulder was wide enough that I felt comfortable. But as I climbed, so did the speed of the cars.
Note that Google thinks this off ramp is a “bicycle friendly” route. Note that Google is a sadistic bastard.
I passed under the overpass, and reached the top of the hill. But the cars continued to speed up, and the shoulder continued to get narrower. I decided discretion is the better part of valor and turned back like the chicken I am. Also I was gasping for breath and starting to get black spots around the edges of my vision. But now I was in a quandary – how to get to the other side of the road? There was only one thing for it – climb to the top of the overpass and go across.
What followed was quite an adventure in spontaneous cyclocross training (NOT getting lost, there’s a difference) but I’ve rambled on enough. Suffice it to say, it’s looking like if I’m going to cycle the whole way to LCC without relying on the bus to get me over the hill, I’ll need to invest in a mountain bike. According to the satellite map, there are some trails that appear end at West-side parking lot.
But really, LCC? NO bicycle access? Lane Community College serves the population of people who SHOULD be using bicycles to get around, people who have to buy books and pay for credits and “transportation fees” and “technology fees” – not making car payments or buying insurance! The fact that there’s no easy access to LCC by bicycle is completely baffling to me.
PS – thank you to the nice gentleman I met while completely lost in the Ridgeline trail system for leading me back to civilization. I was very impressed by your laundry-portaging skills.
PPS – It’s girl scout cookie season again! Did you know that a package of Thin Mints fits perfectly in a jersey center pocket? It will look like you have some sort of horrible kidney tumorcanceraids, but screw the haters, you’ve got Thin Mints.