Portland, baby, we need to talk.
You know we've always had a great bike life. More people bike to work here than anywhere else in the nation percentage-wise. We also do plenty of biking for fun, from cyclocross to the bike-based film festival next week. Every June, we get naked and do it in the road in front of everybody.
But don't you kind of feel like we've been in a rut?
The percentage of bike commuters in the city has been stuck for the past three years. Adding more bike infrastructure has been a battle. Vandals felt empowered to destroy bike-share stations earlier this month.
It's not just drivers to blame—Portland cyclists have become complacent.
"Because we've been such a bike town for so long, it works against us," says Jonathan Maus, publisher of Portland's popular blog BikePortland.org. "We have so much pride in being cyclists. So when new things come around, there's this resistance."
With our annual bike issue, we want to spice things up.
For cyclists or the bike-curious, it's time to consider some new alternatives.
One of the things that keeps people from getting into biking is the initial cost. Well, it turns out bike share isn't just for tourists, as one of our writers discovered when he used Biketown for his daily commute, saving himself both time and money.
If you do have some money to spend, an electric bike can make car-free living a lot easier. One of our writers put a battery-powered, fat-tired bike to an epic test, pedaling to the coast on the rugged, beautiful and legendary Nestucca River Road.
Driving in Portland has become a chore, and it's only going to get worse. You can plan to keep driving, but you're going to get more frustrated. We look at why here.
We also talk with Peter Walker, a mass-cycling advocate and author of a new book countering the idea that cycling is "a kind of hobby, or a fixation or a lifestyle choice rather than just an ordinary thing."
Because toys are always fun, we put together a list with some of our favorite innovative bike products.
Portland is a growing and changing city, where life seems to get a little harder every month. Bikes can't solve that on their own, but they're a good start. And they sure are sexy.