In Which I Beat the MAX Train To Gresham (Sort Of)

Today I had planned to ride my bike to the 122nd Avenue MAX station and take a train to Gresham for a medical appointment after work. I got to the station and bought my ticket in plenty of time, but when the train arrived, all of the bike spaces were full; indeed, the train as a whole was nearly full.

I pulled out my phone and checked the transit tracker to see when the next train was due. Nine minutes? That might or might not get me there in time, and the next train could very well be full, too.

I wasn’t certain I could do better by bike, but I decided to give it a try. I hopped back on the bike and swung into the bike lane.

26 blocks later, at the next station, I checked on the train again. It was still seven minutes behind me. I kept pedaling, and the street started sloping slightly downhill. I even passed a guy on a mountain bike, and I never pass anyone on the Xtracycle! The only problems I had were one four-block section (on E. Burnside from 181st to 185th) without a bike lane, and the left turn from Burnside onto Stark (which went fine once I got there; I was just nervous about it).

When I arrived at Kaiser Permanente Rockwood, which is right next to the Ruby Junction MAX station, I checked the expected arrival time of the MAX train. It was still five minutes behind me, and I still had a few minutes to check in for my appointment.

So yes, the train would have caught up with me eventually, but I did beat the wait time+travel time equation with my ride — about 3.7 miles in 20-ish minutes. And it was fun! I’d been tired and grumpy about having to go to this appointment (a freaking MAMMOGRAM; I’m not old enough for this!), but I definitely felt more energetic afterward.

I totally took the train back, though. I’m no saint. Plus my ticket was still good!