Skaters should roll on up the Amazon.
Zoom, zoom. Sometimes, Team Best of ... feels the need for some wind-in-our hair, devil-may-care speed. And under our own power, too, without spewing black carbon clouds from some shiny chrome tailpipe.
Sometimes, we need to go Rollerblading.
There are three things we ask of our 'blading surface:
1. At least two miles of pavement, allowing a four-mile, round-trip workout.
2. Smoothness. Roughness equals friction, which slows us down.
3. No cars.
Luckily for us, there are probably 50 miles of such surface in the greater Eugene-Springfield area. And our team has scouted every inch of it, clear out to Dorena Lake on the Row River Trail.
That path proved gorgeous, but isolated. Yes, we once patronized a lemonade stand set up by a little girl in a nearby house - but we were her only customer all day. We fear becoming carrion if we fall down and can't get up.
We also liked Springfield's path along 42nd Street between Marcola Road and Main Street. It was great until we reached the Weyerhaeuser driveway, where we had to clatter across a kidney-rattling patch of asphalt while dodging gigantic trucks.
For aesthetics - particularly in hot summer months - you can't beat the tree-lined East Bank stretch of the Willamette River Bike Path between Valley River Center and the Belt Line Road bridge. But it's just plain too popular, particularly with dog walkers. Particularly with clueless, off-leash dog walkers.
(Yes, Team Best of ... can leap small, yappy dogs in a single bound. A safe, eight-point landing (four wheels per foot) is another matter.)
Which brings us to our Fave Pave: The Fern Ridge Bike Path north of West 11th Avenue between Bertelsen and Green Hill roads.
The uncrowded concrete has it all. We like the chance to fly down a highway underpass every mile or so. We like the fact that the sidewalk is elevated above the prairie so we can actually see the herons, osprey and occasional eagle we're passing.
We even love what we expected to hate: the fact that part of this path is lined by business backsides. Some aren't pretty, but there are certain advantages to being able to skate in for a Euphoria chocolate bar.
And thanks to Elmira Automotive, we can even skate into a portable toilet the business maintains beside the path. God bless 'em, because sometimes even we have a more pressing need than speed.
BEST ROLLERBLADING SIDEWALK
Fern Ridge Bike Path
Where: North of West 11th Avenue between Bertleson and Green Hill roads
Polish your smooth moves at the Best of ... archive, www .registerguard.com/bestof.
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|Title Annotation:||Reviews; Smooth going, wildlife scenes and little traffic distinguish this perfect Rollerblading path|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Jul 20, 2007|
|Previous Article:||The music moves back under cover.|