Portland has twice been selected by Bicycling magazine as the most bike-friendly city in the nation, and indeed the city has a comprehensive infrastructure devoted to cycling. Unless you’re from Amsterdam, you’ll be amazed at the number of people who get around Portland on bikes.
The website of the City of Portland’s Office of Transportation (www.portlandonline.com/transportation) lists up-to-date information for cyclists. A handy map called Getting There by Bike, published by the government agency Metro, is sold at bike shops and bookstores across town.
Cyclists should know that Portland is a city of bridges but that not all bridges are recommended for cyclists. A river-level foot-bike bridge forms the lower level of the Steel Bridge and connects the Eastbank Esplanade to Waterfront Park and downtown; otherwise, the Hawthorne, Broadway, and Burnside Bridges are best, although bikes must share sidewalks with pedestrians.
Bikes are allowed on TriMet buses (bike racks are mounted on the front of every bus), the MAX, and the Portland Streetcar, which can be handy to get out of the congested city center to more suitable biking destinations. For more information, see TriMet’s website (www.trimet.org/guide/bikes.htm) or call their bike hotline (503/962-7644).
Although there are many worthy bike routes throughout the Portland area, there are several standouts. For further information on these routes, contact Portland Parks and Recreation (503/823-2223, www.portlandonline.com/parks).
The 16.8-mile Springwater Corridor is a bike thoroughfare built on a reclaimed rail line from Southeast Portland through Gresham to Boring. Views of Mount Hood abound along much of the route. Along the way, easy access to Leach Botanical Gardens, Powell Butte, and other worthy detours are available.
Leif Erikson Trail
A top choice for mountain bikers is Leif Erikson Trail in Forest Park. From the park gate at the end of NW Thurman Street to the junction at Salzman Road is a steady but easy six-mile climb through mature forest. It’s 12 miles to the trail’s end at Germantown Road, but signposts provide directions to shorter loops.
North of Portland at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers is Sauvie Island, a perfectly flat island where farms and truck gardens share space with wildlife refuges. The island’s 12-mile loop road is a scenic delight reminiscent of rural France. Sauvie Island is 10 miles north of Portland off U.S. 30.
Repair bikes at the Bicycle Repair Collective (4438 SE Belmont St., 503/233-0564, www.bicyclerepaircol.net). A day-long bike rental costs $25–40, depending on the model.
Hardened cyclists looking for organized 30–100-mile rides at a touring pace should hook up with the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club (503/257-7982, www.pwtc.com).
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel