The other day, Jay Graves, Mia Birk and Jonathan Nicholas presented at Portland City Club, the topic was “It’s All About the Bike” (mp3 of the presentation is here).
At the end, one of the questions that was asked by an audience member, was for each presenter to give the bike ride they would tell a person who was new to bikes to take in order to fall in love with the bicycle. They all picked nice trails that lead around the outskirts of Portland, which are all good options especially for recreation, but if it were me, I would have picked something that highlighted how nice it is to get around on a bicycle in the city. I’ve given it some thought, and here is what I think I would do for a ride to make you fall in love with the bicycle. If you already own a bike, you can skip step 2 (unless you want to have first-hand experience with some really great bikes that are fantastic for practical city use). Do this ride on a sunny weekend in the spring for best effect.
- Start at the Lucky Lab brewpub at 915 SE Hawthorne Blvd for a light snack and a drink before starting.
- Walk across the street to Clever Cycles and rent a Dutch city bike or a Brompton folding bike for the day.
- Ride East on Hawthorne just past 12th, and take a right on Ladd Avenue. Continue around Ladd Circle and out the other side, still on Ladd Avenue.
- Head across SE Division onto SE 21st Ave, turn right on Ivon St, and go across SE 20th into New Seasons to sample their weekend tastings.
- From New Seasons, turn right on 20th, then left on Clinton.
- Go up Clinton to SE 26th, stop at Savoy for lunch, and have a burger and fries (add bleu cheese and bacon to the burger, if you know what’s good for you).
- From there, head up Clinton a bit further to 34th and turn left.
- Head over to SE Division, stop at the corner and head into Pix Patisserie for a sweet treat. Alternatively, go down to 33rd and get a waffle with strawberries and whipped cream from the waffle cart.
- Next, head North on 34th across Division, across Hawthorne, and finally to Belmont.
- Stop on the corner of 34th and Belmont and park your bike in one of the big bike parking corrals.
- Head into Stumptown and get a coffee to go, then go across the street to the park and sit and sip your coffee, watch the kids playing, people relaxing, and people meandering by on their bikes.
- Finally, hop back on your bike(s) and head back on 34th a few blocks to Taylor or Salmon, take a right, and cruise all the way back down to 9th, take a left, and voila, in a couple of blocks you’re right back at Clever Cycles again, ready to drop off the bicycle, and end the day with another drink (or a movie at CineMagic on 20th and Hawthorne).