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Kat Marriner : September 23rd, 2009

Cyclist’s Playground

Portland cyclists come in every size, shape, style and color. OK, maybe not so many colors unless you include colorful jerseys worn by racers. It’s a cyclist’s playground with fun for everyone.

Want a family ride away from traffic? Just head to the Eastbank Esplanade trail and Waterfront Park on the west side of the Willamette River. You can even loop around to connect with the Springwater Trail as we were encouraged to do by a mom, dad and two kids snacking at the Hawthorne food cart lot one afternoon.

esplanade

Want to put on some miles and get some saddle time? Jump on the Marine Trail and head toward Blue Lake along the Columbia River where we met a cross-country cyclist just back from riding the Adventure Cyclist Southern Tier route.

marine-driver-trail

Just want to get to work and avoid the parking cost and hassles? Bike Boulevards lead to bridges crossing the river from residential to downtown with dedicated bike lanes making the commute so safe and easy you could do it in your skirt or dress pants.

Need a sprint workout to cross train? We met runner Ruben at the top of the in-city volcano Mt Tabor looking fresh while I’m a little winded.

Want to meet friends for breakfast? Well, there’s any number of great cafes and all come with plentiful bike parking out front and no Lycra is required.

red-bike-cafe

Need a respite from the city? Look no further than a pedal around Sauvie Island where we even found a place to camp for the night. It’s sill within city limits but this island of peaceful farmland and wildlife refuge will feel like you are far from home.

sauvie-island

We sampled these rides and more in the last week. No doubt there is something for racers and mountain bikers and tandem riders and … you get the picture.

Portlanders don’t just ride bikes for sport or exercise, like cyclists everywhere, they ride bikes for life, happiness, thrift, the environment, transportation, family-time and a multitude of other reasons. Bike riders come in all different flavors and the Portland bike infrastructure attempts to address the varied needs and interests. All cyclists benefit from increased awareness and visibility created by the greater number of bikes and greater number of bike advocates. In Portland, we tasted the sweet life as part of a bike-culture and not just bikes on the fringe of car-culture, and it tasted good!

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