Thursday, 29 May 2008

Portland

I've been in Portland for the last 3 days with my girlfriend on the first bit of a 4 week trip to Oregon.  Portland is ace - been impressed with so many aspects of the place:

(oh no! Bullet points coming up..)

  • Off the plane.  Airport nice and relaxed.  Friendly immigration dude.  2 min walk to the 'Max' light rail.  $2 gets you straight into the centre of town, literally.  Runs from here every 15 mins.  Nice artwork on the shelters at all the stops along the way.  Very little vandalism.
  • The bus and rail system is comprehensive and you can ride all day using either for $4!  Bargin'.
  • Everyone is incredibly polite.  This took a while to get used to.  Doors get opened for you, cars yield at junctions to pedestrians, only heard 1 carhorn beep so far,  bus drivers are super friendly, homeless folk asking for change are polite and courteous.
  • Bikes are everywhere.  Bike rails are everywhere.  Bikers seem to get respect from car drivers.  Not many folk where helmets though.  Lots of hip looking young guys and gals on fixies.  Rad.
  • Listened to a 1 hr chat on the local community radio about bike lanes and development with my face buried in the bike route map yesterday morning.  Many folk seem really switched on.
  • Bike shops.  Not subjected Ros to too many of these! (she gets bike shop fatigue quite quick).  Highlight has been River City Bikes on the east side of the Willamette ("Will - 'mit") river.  I was like a kid in a sweet shop!  
  • Coffee.  The coffee at Stumptown is just stunning.  None of the big bucket of hot milk, made by kids who don't really care, rubbish you get too often in the UK.  The level of detail and perfectionism that goes in to making each cup at this place is incredible.  As coffee experiences go, this rivals a good cafe con leche mid bike ride in Mallorca.  
  • We're staying at the Ace hotel on SW Stark.  This place is rad.  Sorry to use that word again!  Check out the website.  So many neat little touches and for the basic room it's only $95/night.  
  • Trees are everywhere in the city.  Much green-ness and hugging opportunities!
Don and Kathy who are kindly putting us up for the next three weeks in Bend are driving up this morning.  They are going to be here at 8am for brekkie.  Really looking forward to seeing them.  Also can't wait to get out on a bike.  4 days of not riding and i'm starting to get very fidgity!!

3 comments:

chrisD said...

River City Cycles is a very nice shop, keep your wallet in your pocket, unless its for those white Sidis ;-)

have a good break,

jac said...

Try to hunt out Veloshop too. They are cross riders apparently. I got a lovely t-shirt from there from Mike Golinski last year when he saw our lovely SCX t-shirts.

Don Leet said...

Yeah, found Veloshop, it was just around the corner from our hotel! They had one of their ace pink and black race tops in an XS, but it was a bit too tight unfortunately.

Spotted a very beautiful light blue Vanilla bikes cross frame, think it's the owner of the shops steed. Didn't get a chance to speak to the guys about cross as they were pretty busy. Stylin' little shop though.

andy