Portland = Bikes

I recently took a trip to Portland and was eager to see a city that so purposely revolved around bikes.

Stopping for coffee, we saw plenty of guys on track bikes–sans brakes–but few regular riders. Never understood the value of riding through a busy downtown without brakes. Seems like more style than sense.

As tourists, we missed the regular morning commute which was a shame because I was hoping to see a wide range of cyclists and how they interacted with car traffic. (We’ve got some folks here in Columbia that get physically angry when they think about sharrows.)


We did find a dedicated bike lane right outside our lunch destination but alas, only one biker passed by–although the bike lane did come in handy to the guy rolling a cart of restaurant linens to his idling truck. Still, it was a great looking street and good gumbo.



Our next stop was a promising looking bike shop–West End Bikes–with a cool espresso bar set up right at the sidewalk. They had some nice looking commuter bikes and some sweet bamboo grips but not a single employee asked us if we needed some help. We’ve got about eight or nine bikes at home and more accessories than we know what to do with but we must not have looked the type.

By then, it was time to leave and we said goodbye to the city of bikes and roses.

So, my 48-hour impression of Portland? A little underwhelmed and still wondering what’s behind all the hype. I can say I was glad to get home, hop on my commuter bike, and head to work. I didn’t even mind when people I knew called out to me from the sidewalk with a friendly reminder to put on a helmet.