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Need Memorial Day Weekend Plans? The City Has Made It Easier to Tour Your Neighborhood by Bike

Online maps highlight everything from low-traffic streets to quadrant-by-quadrant navigation suggestions for getting to parks or grocery stores near you.

You may have had to scrap your Memorial Day weekend getaway this year, but the Portland Bureau of Transportation encourages people to escape the confines of their home anyway—by exploring the city via bike.

With mild temperatures in the forecast and, for some, an extra day off work on the horizon, city officials know that it will be tempting for many in the Portland metro area to pack up the car and head to the coast, wine country or even Central Oregon, where restrictions on bars, restaurants and slightly larger gatherings have been lifted.

So PBOT is trying to get people to stay home during the COVID-19 outbreak and channel their pent-up energy another way.

"We want to encourage Portlanders to abide by Gov. Brown's request to stay local during the Memorial Day weekend," PBOT representative Hannah Schafer tells WW, "and we think there's a bunch of ways to enjoy the weekend here in our beautiful city."

One option the agency is pushing: taking a leg-pumping tour of your neighborhood. Normal holiday weekend activities that would pack bodies closely together—parades, boat shows and festivals—have all been canceled in the wake of the pandemic, but bicycling is one outdoor activity that allows people to more easily maintain the recommended 6 feet of distance.

And if you haven't gone for a ride in a while, or are simply looking for a new route, you don't even have to plot it yourself. PBOT has provided multiple online maps that highlight everything from low-traffic streets to quadrant-by-quadrant navigation suggestions for getting to parks or grocery stores near you.

Aside from the fact that there are simply fewer cars on the road as the public adheres to Gov. Kate Brown's stay-at-home order, PBOT also made it a bit easier to get around on two wheels by installing temporary signs and barriers along 100 miles of greenways throughout Portland in early May. The virus-sparked effort is meant to encourage compliance with physical distancing guidelines.

Before you mount your bike and hit the streets, the city wants everyone to keep a few safety measures in mind. Wear a face covering—even if others aren't—to help stop the spread of coronavirus, since you may have it and not exhibit symptoms. Only cycle with members of your own household. And if you think you'll need to use a restroom, check the city's website for a list of parks where those facilities are open.

Still unsure you can properly keep your distance while recreating outside? The city offers a visual reminder that, yes, it is possible, as seen in this video made by the Vancouver (British Columbia) Board of Parks and Recreation.