Portland, along with Minneapolis and Boulder, is one of those "bike Mecca" places. I'm not sure anyone is a fan of riding in urban areas but if you have to ride in a major city, try it out in one of these cities. Your turn: Portland.
|Alaska Airlines operated by Horizon|
My biggest fear was getting here, knowing I'd be flying with my bike and on a small plane from Seattle to Portland. As I boarded, from the rear, I asked the guy in the cargo hold if my bike was in there. He said it was. Sweet.
|Suitcase and Bike Case|
I figured out the light rail system and for $2.50 took a train to downtown Portland then put my bike on the suitcase and rolled them both up the street to the hotel. It was about a six block walk and beat paying $40 for a cab.
Once to the hotel and I got the bike assembled, I went for ride. Completely by "feel." There's a river (Willamette) so I reasoned it would be hard to get lost.
I stopped at Metropolis Cycle Repair on Williams Street for a CO2 cartridge (can't fly with them) as well as some lube. And some free air. The guy in the shop was very friendly and directed me up towards the St. Johns Bridge.
|St. Johns Bridge|
It was a nice ride up and back. I was gone long enough to form some impressions.
First, there are lots of bike lanes. But like a lot of cities, the bike lanes are dangerously close to parked cars or include the gutter.
Second, glass. It's America. There is broken glass on the sides of the road, which is where the bike lanes usually are. Proceed with caution.
Third, signage. Sometimes good. Sometimes spotty. I followed the signs to the St. Johns Bridge until I lost the scent. Same with Downtown Portland to get back.
Fourth, track stands. At every intersection multiple cyclists can be stopped waiting for the light. The really cool cyclists do track stands, that is, balance on their bikes without ever putting a foot on the ground. I'm not that cool.
I'm not a fan of urban riding but it's a great city to ride in.