Sunday, June 22, 2008

my Portland ride

I really enjoyed Portland, Oregon. I was curious to see if it lived up to its bike friendly reputation. It absolutely did. In walking around town, observing traffic from public transit, and riding a bike, I saw almost a lot of polite, civilized traffic interactions and almost no road rage. Many streets had bike lanes, and they were well used. Cyclists generally stopped at red lights and rode more reasonably than many Chicago cyclists (sorry, folks). Their light rail system accommodates bikes better than CTA trains. They have hooks near each doorway to hang bikes by their front wheels, so the footprint of each bike is smaller. They make allowance for more bikes on each car.

The hotel where I stayed had a bike available for guest use and I decided to try it out. It was a heavy European bike with generator lights and a sturdy rear rack, a cushy ride but more of a workout than my regular bike at home.

I went to check out Riverfront Park and crossed the bridge to the well-used path on the east side of the Willamette River.

Signage said that the bridge crossing had been added to this double-deck road/railroad bridge several years earlier.

As I crossed, a light rail train was passing on the upper level, and a freight train was crossing alongside me. I certainly don't experience that in Chicago. I had a very pleasant ride and wished that I'd been able to see more of Portland by bike and do some riding in Eugene, which looked equally bike friendly.

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