Urban Biking: Portland on Two Wheels

The Oregon city is made up of pockets of hip neighbourhoods best reached by bike. Here are just a few, easily covered in a day.

Cycling on city waterfront

This is a cycling city. Even for those who are a bit timid to jump on a bike in an unknown city, Portland has figured things out; you’ll find easy-to-navigate cycle-only lanes and plenty of places to lock up your bike. With waterfront views, plenty of parks and impressive restaurants on every corner, you can ditch the car and see the city on two wheels.

Rent a bike at Everybody’s Bike Rental in Northeast Portland (one of many bike rental spots around the city) where you can also pick up a detailed map of the city, colour-coded to identify bike-only and shared paths and roads.

Cycle west along Alberta Street (just one block north of the rental shop), or through the quiet residential streets to trendy North Mississippi Avenue in the Boise Neighbourhood, a great place to stop for lunch. Check out the Mississippi Marketplace Food Carts: a gathering of trucks serving delicious food from heart-warming southern fare to filling burritos and giant, mouth-watering sandwiches. It’s like a trendy outdoor food court.

If you’re in the mood to shop, boutiques abound. The Meadow has an amazing assortment of salts, artisanal chocolates, and bottles and bottles of every bitter you can think of. Or go to Gumbo Gifts & Gallery for unique socks, wacky hats and everything in between. Wanderlust + Wild Hearts has beautiful bohemian clothing and tribal-style jewelry collected from Peru, Indonesia, Laos and other travels abroad.

Make your way to the Fremont Bridge. When you cross, leisurely follow the beautiful waterfront along the Willamette River, through the long, green park space perfect for people watching.

Head to the Pearl District, packed with shopping and restaurants. Lock up your bike to wander, stopping for a pint along the way. Try Rogue Distillery and Public House, with their wrap-around patio and 35 taps or sample a flight at the big and beautiful Deschutes Brewery.

Follow Burnside Street, across the bridge and you’ll find yourself in the Industrial District. Plan dinner at renowned Le Pigeon, for upscale and innovative French fare (make reservations beforehand), or stop at Burnside Brewing Co. for delicious pub-style eats.

Circle back to the Alberta Arts District and along the stretch of Alberta Street lined with colourful graffiti, little galleries, restaurants, bars and coffee shops, perfect for an espresso pick-me-up. Also, you have to try Salt & Straw, where they’ll let you (and even encourage you to) taste every flavour of ice cream you’re curious about. Why not? You deserve it.

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