May 17, 2010

Portland…Bikes Bikes Bikes…and minor league soccer.

Portland’s famous for its plethora of bike lanes. But bike parking is really what makes it outshine every other cycling city.

I found myself in Portland, Oregon this past weekend, and it lived up to its reputation as Best Bike City in America (even better than bike friendly Boulder).

No offense to my beloved Boulder, but Portland, a city of about half-a-million citizens, has some amazing bike infrastructure. I felt like I was cruising the streets of Copenhagen as I rode beside hundreds of bikers on the Hawthorne bridge heading downtown.

Biker culture here seems pretty laid back—I rarely saw any Spandex or flashy bikes, it was mostly regular folk on simple commuter bikes…oh and lots of hipsters! Portland is second only to Williamsburg for these tight jean wearin’, fixie riding, anti-establishment trust-funders. But I’ll take a hipster any day over a Spandex wearin’, Amante drinkin’ gear head.

Riding on the streets of Portland is super safe (and flat), and you can get anywhere in town on two wheels in about 15 minutes.

But my favorite part about the Portland bike scene isn’t the plethora of bike lanes, it’s the bike parking!

There are bike corrals all over the place (I’ve heard 28 in total), where a parking spot it stolen away from a car and filled with room for about 15 bikes. I’m sure businesses love it—instead of only one car fitting into a single spot, 15 coffee drinking hipsters with daddy’s credit card can pile in!

I also visited a beer garden with bike racks inside the bar, so you don’t even have to worry about locking up. Hipsters relaxed with their beers while gazing at their precious anodized Fixies.

But it’s not just beer drinking hipsters who love riding in Portland. Apparently soccer fans also love bikes. My last night in town, I rode downtown to watch the powerhouse of the minor league soccer world, the mighty Portland Timbers! I was blown away to see hundreds of bikes crammed onto bike racks around the stadium.  I’d love to see that at a C.U. football game sometime. I’d also love to see Ralphie, C.U.’s buffalo mascot, pull out a chainsaw and slice up a huge log every time the team scores!

Portland is a bike commuter and minor league soccer paradise. However, if you’re attached to Colorado’s 300 annual days of sunshine, you might want to stick with Boulder.

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