I just returned the bike I’ve been borrowing this summer. I’m extremely sad because I’m going to miss traveling by bike in Portland. It’s brought me many joys and is the only way I would recommend seeing this beautiful city. Coupled with sunny afternoons and cool evening temperatures, being on a bike again has been such a delight. Yes, there were sweaty, hot days that don’t mesh well with cycling uphill but it was always worth it at the top. For some reason, I feel more alive on a bike.
I mastered the obnoxiously difficult chain lock. I’ve had my bike light stolen. I’ve carried loads of groceries. I’ve learned how to ride gracefully in a dress or skirt. I found nooks and crannies to take the best pictures of sunsets on the river. I have cruised the expensive neighborhoods and fancy, tree-lined streets. I learned all the appropriate hand signals. I hit high speeds without a helmet (not my proudest moment). I learned to pump air in two kinds of bike tires and grease a chain.
The summer would not have been the same without that bike.
The bikeways in Portland are easy to navigate via bicycle. Google Maps bike routes work like a charm, even in beta. The drivers here know how to respect cyclists and truly share the road. Even riding in complete darkness feels safe because you often see other riders cruising the streets late night with you, ringing their bells, heading home.
If you haven’t seen Portland by bicycle, you’ve never seen Portland.