Bicycling In Portland, Oregon

By | Category: Travel destinations

As a cheap and quick way to get around, bicycling takes some beating. Not every place can make it as safe as people would wish. Those cities or areas in built up urban centres sometimes don’t have road space that’s wide enough and “wars” break out between motorist, bicyclist and pedestrian. But Portland on America’s western coast has managed to keep all happy.
There are more than 300 miles of bike lines just around the state capital and largest city of Portland and a further 60 on the way. And the locals – and tourists- have enthusiastically responded to this. The US census says that Portlanders are 8 times more likely than the average to use their bicycles to commute to work. That equates to 7% of all commutes which may not sound many to us but when you think of America’s love affair with the car, that’s a huge number. Now Portland claims to be Bike City, USA!
For the visitor, the provision of bicycles is linked in with public transport. From the airport, the light rail train ($2.35) takes you downtown where you can visit a bike station. Or you bike your way in. Maps and guides are available at the airport. If you’ve brought your own fold-up version, they’ll even lend you the tools to put it back together. Or you can hire one. Many hotels offer “car less” packages where a bike will be provided. There is even a city bicycle co-ordinator and a committee to make sure things function properly and easily. There are also bicycle traffic lights that have been installed.
And if you tired of cycling the local buses have attachments at the front of the bus to rack your bike. (To be fair lots of American cities have buses that can strap a couple of bikes to the front of the buses.) All the local train services can carry bikes as well and not just out of rush hour as is often the case over here. But as bikes take up a lot of room, there is limited space so it’s first come, first served. There are racks at the stations where you can leave your bike though.
There is another reason why you might prefer a bike to a car in Portland. Portland has rapidly established a name for itself in gastronomy. Majoring on fresh, local produce that is in season, the menus you’ll find in spring will be different to those in the autumn. Bicycling between the markets, the delis and the restaurants might help you shed some of the weight that will probably put on. Some even claim that people move to Portland because of the quality, organic nature of the food that you can buy and eat there.
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image courtesy of Trimet

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