Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Portland, Oregon: Beyond My Comprehension

I travel very little, and haven't been to many American cities for any length of time, let alone ridden a bike around one. I have always been pretty envious of the good people of Portland, and the legendary support that cyclists find there. If any of you live in Portland or have good knowledge of how it really is, I would love to get some comments. Is it the Cycling Nirvana I have built it up to be in my mind?

This post was prompted by something I read on sweetbike.org recently that only added to my impression that Portland is a zone of alternate reality, a parallel universe of some kind where people aren't even a little uptight.

Apparently, in this land apart, when a group of off-the-wall people leave a big trashy pile of bikes somewhere for use in an off-the-wall cycling activity and some of those bikes get stolen, the powers that be gives said people 10K to build a monument to which said trashy bicycles can be attached.

I'm not a big fan of re-posting the content from other blogs on this one, so check out what I've been describing by clicking here. Can such a place really exist? Portland, as I imagine it anyway, is almost beyond my comprehension. Like I said earlier, if anyone reading this is into dispelling or affirming Portland's mythical status as a cycling town, please go for it in the comments.

Signing off from the very Real and "Normal" London, Ontario,



Pfaff said...

One of my best friends moved out there about a year ago from our hometown in North Carolina and he loves it. He calls me every week telling me how I need to move ASAP.

Most of my thoughts outside of work are centered around bicycles (fixing, buying, riding, touring, etc.) and that's what he is basing his recommendation on, so it has to be at least somewhat true. No firsthand experience though. Sorry.

He was also pretty excited about getting a medical marijuana card and being able to have 6 plants in his house at anytime.

Damn hippies. Haha.

RANTWICK said...

Pfaff - Thanks for your comment. I could do with a lttle medicine right now myself. Better get one of those cards.

Pfaff said...

Also, I find myself checking this site a lot even though I dont live out there.


It just deals with a lot of local issues surrounding cycling and can serve as an educational tool to other cities and their residents who are new to bicycle infrastructure.

Portland is like a giant testing ground for bike stuff (that's the technical term).

Have a good one.

RANTWICK said...

Thanks for the link. It looks like if I want to read bike-related stuff, there's enough of it on that site to make my head explode.

Robert H said...

I'm in Seattle but my mom lives near Portland so the wife and I are down there pretty often. It is head and shoulders above most cities with bicycle infrastructure and advocacy. It is even more impressive when you consider how shitty the weather is most of the time.

Seattle is making a real comeback on the infrastructure front though. We have a much hillier city, so it takes riders that are a bit more dedicated to get around. Helmets seem to be more often worn here too... for what that is worth.

RANTWICK said...

In my based-on-nothing mental hierarchy of cycling cities, Seattle is second only to the mighty Portland. While I'm at it, it seems like Texans are pretty good with this stuff too. Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth?

ChipSeal said...

It is hard for me to admire anyplace that compels bicyclists to use bike lanes.

RANTWICK said...

ChipSeal - There are so few bike lanes here that I have yet to form an opinion on them. From what I've read, maybe I don't want to.

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