Thursday, October 11, 2012
When we first got the the States we came down to Portland to check our new town out. And it was true - bikes were everywhere! And not little 'I'm going on an afternoon ride' models, but serious 'i'm riding across town and maybe further' bikes. There were bike lines on the streets and where there weren't the cars cooperated easily with the bikers. Crossing bridges there were lanes designated just for bikes! In the end it seemed maybe the bikes even went faster as we saw in traffic in our gas-guzzling vehicle.
We knew that we just had to buy bikes and put it at the top of our list right next to a couch and bed. Really. Since we weren't sure if we were going to be among the bike commuters, we wanted to start out with some nice bikes that were more for cruising than serious pedaling. We became avid Craigslist searchers and found 2 gorgeous vintage bikes.
Joseba's is a Vintage Montgomery Ward men's cycle in green and mine a Vintage Woman's Huffy in a brown. They are both 3-speeds, which requires us to stop to change gears, but they are awesome and pretty retro. The owner was a biker himself and when he passed them over to us said he even thought everything was original, down to the brakes, which is cute but also a bit scary! Regardless, we got the pair for $90, a steal!
Between moving and setting up the house we didn't get to use the bikes til the end of our first week as Portlanders and then we finally made ourselves real locals when we pulled the bikes out of the basement and headed out on the town with them.
We coasted down Vancouver Avenue in our bike lane and then shared the road for two blocks before we got off on a multi-use path (for bikers, runners, etc) and crossed the Burnside Bridge to West Portland. We rode along the river on a beautiful sunny day, taking in the greenery along the river and passing a few bike shops (I need a fancy bell). We managed to ride into Downtown which was originally a bit intimidating - we didn't want to get eaten by a street car or mowed over by a truck, but Downtown Portland is incredibly laid-back and calm. It didn't seem like a city center at all and we were able to easily cruise til we got some grub.
We made our way back to our side of the river by crossing the Hawthorne Bridge (you will learn Portland is a town of many bridges) and again along the river. The pathway goes literally along the river, about a foot above river level and so many people were out being active on the sunny day.
Besides a hard bike seat making my bum a bit sore, the day was fantastic and a first of many bike days. Rain is forecasted to come soon, but after our first ride, I am sure that we will be happy to go out for a ride, even if it's sprinkling.
at 8:17 PM