Portland Century

Quick thoughts on the Portland Century, whose 50-ish mile route I rode Sunday with my good friend Scott.

U-boat near OMSI


  • Portland is the epicenter of awesome (Scout, Jarrett, Ted and Scott live there). It’s also a pretty city. The St. Johns part of the route (towards the end, as you’re coming back into town) and path along the Columbia (though I’d have preferred going the other direction) were my favorites. Bicycle signage is fantastic and there is a bicycle passing lane. It was somewhat shocking how many drivers with the right of way would stop to let cyclists cross.
  • Cool bikes. Scott rode his Xtracycle.

    Team Xtracycle – w00t
  • Hot Lips Pizza – oh, this brings up fond memories of last year’s Cycle Oregon. Fresh slices of cheese, basil-pesto-mushroom or pepperoni pizza made right on the spot are so good. Too bad they didn’t have their fruit sodas for sale. As Scout noted during the inaugural ride, “Honest to goodness food!” I would have (hearted) for them to have had a presence at the end of ride soiree.
  • OMG, it’s been like forever since I’ve ridden a flat route. By mile 61 back to Scott’s house, I had only about 1,000′ of elevation gain for the day. I enjoyed it.


  • Inadequate Toiletage.  Why do large events skimp on toilets?  The first rest stop had two porta-potties.  Lines were about 20+ minutes.   I was curious what kind of guidelines there were.  The chart below is pretty standard:

    Image source: mrjohn.com and many others

    Next question, how much does it cost to rent a toilet? I didn’t get quotes – but the Internets say it’s about $150 each, with discounts for quantity. Portland Century cost ~$60/person with at least a thousand paying riders present. Three riders would pay for another commode. Three riders.

    I can see for miles and miles…

  • Rider #800, one of the “support team,” twice came very close to getting whacked by not heeding that mysterious red octagon thing … or looking at the car coming towards her. I was eager to Not Be Riding Near Her. [Oh, and dude, thanks for volunteering, but please, don’t get yourself killed. (Or, “dibs on the patch kit!”)]

Post-ride, we rode through northeast Portland. The main street was closed down to car traffic.
Utility Bike

On the drive to/from, I picked up several geocaches. Among the more interesting:

Traffic on I-5 was pretty bad. Even with listening to my backlog of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me podcasts — yes, I finally have a car wired for my iPod — I needed a break. The Mima Mounds earthcache was a good excuse to get out and stretch my legs, and it’s the kind of weird thing I love stopping and seeing.

Mima Mounds

The “Baker’s Dozen” Challenge Caches was nearby, leading me to a trek along a trail in the prairie. Completing the prerequisite required finding 91 other caches, spread over 13 days.
Prairie Grass

On the way out of Portland, I made a detour to the Original Stash Cache, the first geocache placed anywhere.  It’s also the most visited.

Original Stash Plaque

3 thoughts on “Portland Century”

  1. Sounds like you had an amazing time. Thank you for the wonderful pics, and for taking us along on your trip. I still don’t get how you can bike and photograph at the same time (a more esoteric skill than walking and chewing gum!) but I’m glad you can. And isn’t Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me absolutely awesome by podcast? Our NPR station runs it twice a week but I can never remember when. Now I don’t have to! 🙂

  2. Awesome! Thanks for all of the great stories and pictures!

    Some friends invited me along to a live taping of “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” that’s taking place here in November. I’m looking forward to it!

  3. I watched him take pictures as he rode, and I still don’t believe that he can pull it off! We’re not talking a small point-and-shoot either!

    And you forgot to the mention the crazy guy on the Spring water corridor asking us if we’d all pay a $10 ‘bicycling tax’ to pay for a new Sellwood Bridge.

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