Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Portland for 5 days before heading home

I spent 2 days driving around with my whole family, then 3 more days just with my daughter. Portland would be such a fabulous place to live, if not for the weather and lack of jobs.
What makes Portland so fabulous? The whole bike culture. In Buffalo, if you needed to make a left turn, you would wait until traffic cleared or proceed to an intersection, then use the light to make your left. In Portland, you stick your arm out to signal your intention to turn left from the bike lane on the right. Even if there are three lanes of traffic going one way behind you, they all stop so you can pass in front of them. Story #2: Five of us with bicycles needed to get on a 3 car train, the stop after the location of the Italian Festival at 5:30 at night (no comments on the choice of stops). We broke into 3 groups to get into separate cars. I pulled forward into the car with my bike and realized my daughter and I were not going to make it: too many people. As I looked backwards to begin backing out, then forward again, the whole mass of people had parted to let us get to the hooks in the train to hang our bikes. Just like that. When we got to our destination, all 5 of us had experienced the same phenomenon. It is not that every driver and pedestrian was fabulous, but that the majority were. It made Buffalo pale in comparison.
Here are some pictures of the special bike boxes to protect bikes locked in one place for an extended time (one rents most of them):
Here is my Bike Friday leaning against a rental bike box. This one was at a park and ride lot. I suspect you can leave your bike there, then take your car or the train the rest of the way home.
This one is a hinged device, which swings down onto your bike and "skewers" your diamond frame and each wheel. It locks the main components, but is really only good for a day, not an overnight.

This cover is hinged and drops down over your whole bike, then locks into position.

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