Took the train to Portland this morning, had a meeting, browsed at Bike Gallery (sadly not finding the pedal straps I’m looking for) then took the 2:50 train back. I’d wanted to take my bike with me, but Amtrak was apparently sold out of bike space on the way back. Anyway, fate and rain conspired against me – having some need to look presentable for my meeting, I wouldn’t have been able to ride anyway.
But even a few hours in Portland are enough to bring home how far Seattle has to go. Bike boxes at the front of intersections, beautiful and strange bikes being ridden everywhere, hell, even bike-themed cafes and coffeeshop signs (elephants on bicycles? Why not?!?) – Portland has embraced bike culture in a big way. I know from reading Bike Portland that it’s not all gravy; there’s still a lot of anti-bike bile, a battle for both acceptance and infrastructure dollars. But it’s not hard to look at downtown Portland and imagine real bike boulevards, dedicated zones, racks of bikes in front of every business and school.
Meanwhile, we’ve got miles and miles of sharrows . . .
Thanks to construction east of the Paramount, my primary route home – up Pine Street – has been closed for a while. So I escape downtown up Pike.
What’s not to like about Pike? It’s steeper than Pine. It’s narrower. It hasn’t even got the gratuitous “door zone” bike lane found on Pine. Drivers on Pike don’t seem aware of bikes. And while Pine has one bad pedestrian spot (where Cal Anderson park -goers traipse across the street to get overly-fancy ice cream at Molly Moon’s) the club zone on Pike is a shooting gallery of clueless peds.
Sure, there’s more happening on Pike, but I’ll be happy – and safer – when the city gives me Pine Street back.
A friend living in Amsterdam shot this pic earlier this week – apparently tens of thousands of abandoned bikes are dredged out of Amsterdam’s canals every year. This has got to bring a tear to the eyes of the guys over at Ballard’s Dutch Bike Co.
My office building has a new owner, and one of the first things they did was add a secure bike parking room in the garage:
Rumor has it they’re also building out showers and changing rooms. Our lease is up in May – these developments are going to make it harder to consider moving.
I rode by the Canterbury last night; hundreds of folk had turned out for Dead Baby Downhill XIV, the annual urban bike “race”/celebration. Wish I’d known about it sooner – looked like a great time. Next year . . .
I wonder if they have a race category for “over 40/has health insurance?”