Monday, October 8, 2007

Portland, American Amsterdam?

Gordon,
Thank you for making the most of your cycling knowledge and Dutch holiday. I look forward to returning frequently to your site.

Portland is a bicycling city! Most people in my office ride bikes to work daily. In the basement parking area of my office building, there is plenty of room for additional cars (at $11.00/day) but bikes are crammed in locked to every bike rack, handrail and post. In downtown Portland, bicycles travel at the same speed as cars and taking a lane is accepted and the most safe place to ride, allowing full access to traffic control devices and lanes. Outside of downtown Portland there are many intersections where being on a bicycle in fast, heavy traffic is scary. I'm still learning the ropes.

I visited the Portland Dutch bike import shop last week. I rode a long wheelbase bike with a box mounted forward large enough for two kids. I also rode a high tech Dutch standard bike with a Shimano Nexus 8 speed hub and Shimano electric dynamo front hub. Now if only the 45 lbs weight could be reduced to make these bikes practical for my very hilly commute. It is great fun to see how Dutch bike designs have evolved to fill many practical and social needs.
Ken Thiessen