05 November, 2007

Let's all Move to Portland and Other News

The New York Times has a major article and a video entitled: In Portland, Cultivating a Culture of Two Wheels. It's been on the NYT home page all morning! That the country's "newspaper of record" is paying this much attention and devoting this much space to bikes is terrific. The fact that a lot of local officials from around the country will see this piece and, perhaps, consider taking some of the positive steps to encourage cycling and sustainability that Portland has, is encouraging.

The article features quotes from and photos of Tony Pereira and Andy Newlands. The video shows a bike with a Berthoud handlebar bag. Bike culture has come a long way.

Speaking of Portland, Lesli sent a couple of photos of Sara's black VO Randonneuse at the "end of the season Oregon randonneur populaire up near Portland." Sara reports that "the bike is brilliant!" You might check out the the rest of Lesli's photos, lots of Ostrich bags, Honjo fenders, etc.

So, should we all buy the requisite hoodies and move to Portland? Is Portland the new San Francisco? And will it soon become too crowded and expensive, a victim of it's own success? It's one of the few cities in the US where I would consider relocating.

In other news:

We now have Strida folding bikes in stock, several orange model 3.2, and more are on the way. I really like the Stridas and have been riding one myself. I'll write more about them very soon.

The porteur racks have been delayed again, but only by a couple of days. The polishing wasn't quite up to par so some touch up was required. Sorry for the multiple delays and I want to assure you that these racks really do exist. I am not just imagining them ;<) We are working on a removable upper rail to make the porteur racks into a low basket for carrying awkward loads. We should have photos by next week.


Chris Kulczycki said...

I just noticed that the NYT article is at the top of their "most e-mailed" list.

Gino Zahnd said...

I think Portland has been the new SF for several years now, and the cost of real estate has already been jacked through the roof there as well, particularly when you look at what one can earn there.

Gino, in SF

nv said...

I second Gino's sentiments. I was thinking Portland eclipsed SF in terms of livability and cycling culture years ago. The real estate market has boomed there - I have friends who both live and flip homes there and were buying [nice] homes in Portland for under $100k 5 years ago. Those same homes are now selling for $400k +. Further more, by all accounts, employment in the Portland area is hard to come by and I've been told that the public school system is horrendous - largely in part to there being no sales tax in Oregon. I'm not bashing Portland - I love it there and it's the first city I'd move to if I left the East Coast. Just throwing a few counterpoints in the mix before we collectively pack our bags.

C said...

When my wife and I decided we had to get out of SF we looked at Portland and Seattle. Ultimately we wound up in Seattle due to the better job market. Compared to SF, both are downright affordable (assuming by affordable you mean houses in the $400-500k range)

Also both are more cycling friendly than SF. That said, the Bay Area - and especially the north bay - have nicer riding.

keithwwalker said...

I have moved to Portland in the last year, and commuting by bike was one of the 'quality of life indicators' that weighed my decision.

I have to admit that most drivers are courteous, but as this local article points out, there is room for improvement:


Yes housing is expensive, much speculation (my rental house check goes to california...), but I believe that the housing market is in for a shock in the next year or two. Prices are still up here, even if sales are down.

Anonymous said...

Though there was a pretty extensive bike culture in SF when I lived there, I don't think the city did all that much for it. My commute down Market was always a battle and I saw many wrecks (and had my own). Streets were poorly kept, with lots of broken glass (and flats) and drivers weren't much help. The "Wiggle" through the lower Haight often felt dangerous traffic-wise, especially if you opted to take Fell to the Panhandle, over humping it up Haight. Bike parking was not great and theft was rampant. The real treat was being able to take a ride in the headlands after work, because why not? Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the burgeoning Portland call center industry will support all the cyclists that move to Portland.


See references to the genial workers and combating the jaded tone of other industry workers.

Not sure I would want to be a call center worker at this point in my life, but good for Netflix to put a human on the other end for once.

C said...

I think one of the key things that makes Portland a good cycling city is the deliberate decision made years ago to limit rampant development. In many ways they're the exact opposite of places like Phoenix and Las Vegas that have turned into vast, hideous sprawling messes thanks to a near lack of any zoning restrictions.

As for drivers, Portland (and Seattle) have to be some of the most cycling friendly places in the country. If you think motorists in those cities are bad you better stay away from Phoenix, LA, Las Vegas, Boston, New York, etc., etc.

Ron said...

"C" is right about the control of rabid... um, rapid development. But there are plenty of people here who, unfortunately, want to erase Oregon's historic land use laws. They partially succeeded last election cycle with one controversial ballot measure. Now the push back, in the form of a measure to limit the scope of the previous mistake, is on the ballot. I really hope it passes. Otherwise, I fear subdivisions spreading far and wide. Spread out communities and the miles of freeways that go along with them are the antithesis of cycling friendly.

I've been here for 15 years. And, it is getting more expensive all the time.

beth h said...

Move to Portland if you want, but be warned that wages here don't even come close to keeping pace with the rising cost of living.

I have lived here for over thirty years. I marvel at all the changes that have taken place. I also marvel at the fact that even with all the change it's still possible to live car-free here if you want to.

david said...

Most of us who live here do so for reasons other than money. Living in Oregon is like living in a National Park. Having all this wilderness just off the back porch is part of our compensation. That, and the coffee bars, and the microbrew pubs, and the wineries ... and if you can't see it that way, you may feel short-changed.

Most of us feel rich.

Michael S said...

Sara's black Randonneuse just looks right.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Sara's black Randonneuse, I'm still hoping to see photos of the bike fully built up. The last time I looked on flickr, the original pix weren't there any more.


beth h said...

Sara's black randonneuse was on display at last weekend's Veboort Sausage Populaire. It was lovely to behold. Go to the Oregon Randonneurs' webpage and click on links pertaining to the ride:


Lesli L said...

Hey. I've been trying to add to the Black Randonneuse flickr set as we go:


Probably a bit more heavy on the lifestyle cycling shots than desired. Now that the Riv is built up I'll try to take some more formal portrait shots of both bikes.

The black randonneuse definitely provides great eye relief from my over-the-top bike.