We like visiting Portland, not just because of it’s bike culture, yummy food and modern architecture, but also because we know some great people in town.
Last week, Tim and I got together with some of my college friends for dinner and beers as part of a long weekend (without children!). We went to college a while ago so these really are old and super fantastic friends. As always, we had a great time catching up and sharing stories and cutting loose with them. Even us semi-old people need to do that from time to time.
Since our kids were at home with grandparents, we were the only couple that didn’t have to worry about relieving babysitters and picking up kids and putting them to bed etc. So naturally when our friend Jennifer had to leave early to pick up her kids, we offered to be helpful and give Vincent a “ride” home.
As most of you know, our four wheels are not of the usual variety but since we ride practical city bikes, an extra passenger was no problem.
Vincent declined the offer to ride on Tim’s snapdeck and stare at his, ahem, backside for the three mile journey, choosing my Oma instead.
Good choice, Vincent!
From the look on his face,you can tell he kinda liked our normal way of traveling home from a date. I don’t think he even minded Tim’s non-stop photo shoot.
Always up for spending quality time with my favorite husband, I happily rode side saddle on the Xtracycle.
Despite my repeated offers to walk the inclines, Tim shuttled me the entire trip. He’s a great pilot and only dumped me on the pavement once! Note to Tim: snapping photos while track standing at stoplights may work just fine when you’re solo but it’s probably not a good idea when are ferrying an adult passenger.
The rest of the trip was just as good. We spent three days riding our way to and from delicious food and drink while taking in the low key Portland culture. We even got to spend a couple great hours with Todd, Martina and some of the Clever Cycles staff. Thanks for your hospitality and for the opportunity to drive the Work Cycles Cargo Trike, folks!
The volume of bike traffic in Portland truly is stunning, but one observation came to me this trip. Most of the people using bikes to get around at night were (quite) a bit younger than us.
What’s up with that? Were we just out on the wrong nights or in the wrong part of town, or is date-night not a bike night for the Rose City’s marrieds-with-children?
There must be others out there who are into their 30s and beyond and use bikes to get to restaurants, bars, shows, movies, the theater and the like, right?
And if not, by all means, start RIGHT NOW. You’ll be hooked. One ride and I think Vincent may be willing to give it a go (he claims Jennifer may not be on board but I think she’ll prove him wrong).
How about you?
Well, my wife and I are 31 and 29, respectively, and we do sometimes go on dates in the evening by bicycle. I do, however, think it’s largely a younger generation that is starting to see the bicycle as a viable means of transportation. Hopefully those people, once they are in their 30s, 40s and beyond will continue to do so.
I think most of the middle-aged folk who ride bikes in Portland are still men riding sport bikes to work and back in full gear, or the more recreational cyclists who ride outside of the city. Which is fine. They just aren’t the types riding bikes on dates in the evening 🙂
Great post, and what a great night. That ride home was my favorite bike ride in some time. Thanks for the lift. I’ve had several car free days since.
Yes, there are lots of cycles on the streets of Portland. During the day, I see plenty of folks older than we are. Maybe the geezers don’t see so well at night?
Where’s the video of Anne getting dumped in the street at NE Williams and Skidmore?
we’re in our mid/late 30s with kids and when we do manage to get out for a date, it’s nearly always by bike. we just don’t get out for date nights nearly often enough is the problem!
My question is: how did you get to portland? How did you get your bikes to portland? I’m having trouble figuring out how to transport the Xtra on a bike rack. We had trouble with the townie with now free rad last summer. I know there will be lots of cursing on the non cycler husband’s part when I ask him to put the Xtra on for our trips to Cape Cod. ( well he will bike but mostly in cases where a car is impossible)
What a fun solution to giving a friend a ride home from dinner!
The shots of you guys trying out the enormous bakfiets are hilarious. Holy cow Tim is so tall! He makes the bakfiets look like a kid’s bike when he’s riding it.
Great post Anne. I, too, am curious as to how you transported your bikes. My husband would like me to get the Madsen (although he just found out it was made in China so he’s not too keen on that idea now) instead of the OMA. I pointed out it would not be easy to transport the Madsen and therefore would limit us to using it only at home.
FYI…I am a 40+ SAHM to a 17 month old so the biking culture is hitting us mature families too. Biking and kids keep us young!
Thanks for all the comments!
Vincent: that is a great point. I hadn’t thought about the eyesight issue. (and the word geezer makes me chuckle). Come to Seattle and we’ll get our babysitter to watch *all* the kids and we’ll go on a double bike date.
Vanessa, We drove to Portland. Our gracious friends let us park our vanagon in front of their house for the weekend so we ditched the car upon arrival. We talk about taking the train every time we go. I’ve just heard it can be unpredictable and never want to risk it. Maybe we’ll give it a try one of these days. Tim said he’d do a post about how we transport our bikes. It’s not super elegant, but it works.
I’m glad you’re amused by the photos. Tim is 6′ 6″…yes, he’s very tall.
Yes, I can’t think of a way to transport the Madsen. It’s pretty bulky. Second thoughts about the Oma? Not to complicate matters, but have you considered an Xtracycle? You can use any frame you like and customize it…. ; – )
Thanks Anne. I’m all for a Xtracycle as a second bike but for daily use w/ my son I prefer the OMA.
Wow Vince, I shudder to think what you would say if you saw me and my hubby cycling. I guess we would be “Geezers” I only hope you are still cycling when you are as old as us. (50+ & 60+)
Anne we love Portland. it does tend to be a much younger crowd. Many times we have recieved accolades from young people we’ve met, who expressed admiration that we still cycle (LOL)
The frame for the WorkCycles Omafiets was probably made in Taiwan or China as well (they said their highest quality frames come from Taiwan and China). Compared to a lot of the frames coming out of Europe, they are actually higher quality. Of course, there are cheap ones from China and Taiwan as well, but they aren’t all bad.
It’s hard to go for something that wasn’t made in mass production, because it’s so expensive. For instance, a similar bike to the WorkCycles Omafiets built by a frame builder in Portland would probably cost you $2500 or more (if you could even get anyone to build a frame like that).
A local shop, Joe Bike, is working on putting together a kind of frame-building collective in Portland to build good, everyday bike style frames, at prices normal people will (and will be able to) plop down money for, which is really cool. I hope it takes off.
Anne- please do a tranportation with Xtracycle post. Do you put the bikes in the VAn or on a rack? I’d love to know. I’ve just a little bit thought of a pick up truck so I could take my Sorte with me. But I don’t want a pick up for real so I really only use the Sorte in my home town…
I wanted to add to the Age issue. I’m 37. I am a brand new cyclist as of a year ago. So there are some middle aged women who are taking it up. Well at least one! I’m not in portland though. Boston Ma ( right outside)
Don’t take offense to the geezer comment. I think Vince was lumping all of us into the geezer category! ; – )
“The frame for the WorkCycles Omafiets was probably made in Taiwan or China as well”
Here’s a quote and link from the WorkCycles page clarifying where the frames are made.
“Certainly all of our (WorkCycles) bikes are made this way. Most of our city bike frames are hand built/made in Belgium. Some are hand built/made in Holland and China. Ironically enough the frames made in China are the most consistently straight and best finished. So much for China bashing. ”
I’ll get Tim on the “transporting your bike” post. We don’t do it very often, but it’s nice to bring them along every so often. We have a bike rack that’s similar to the ones on the front of buses. Tim had to modify it to carry the long bikes.
Good for you for taking up cycling at 37! Way to go.
It’s always fun to see our bikes put to good use in other cities. Thanks.
Here’s another page with a more extensive answer about where our bikes are made, amongst other general FAQ’s:
Just a note: I have taken the Seattle–PDX round trip on the train many times, occasionally with a bike. (The train has those ‘hang by a tire’ style racks, ~5 dollars for a bike ticket).
It’s a great way to go, but you probably want to give yourself an hour cushion at the end. I have twice in 4 years (maybe 40 trips) been over 2 hours late.
But since you are arriving with your own transportation, the exact timing doesn’t need to matter!
We’ve taken our xtracycle on our bike rack. It wasn’t exactly quick and easy but it worked. If you take off both wheels, you can put the frame on a regular back-of-a-sedan car rack. It cants up at an angle, but it’s secure and stable and sticks out past our car just a teeny bit on one side. Next time we throw it on there, together with an adult bike and a kid’s bike, we’ll be sure to take a picture!
Just seeing this again now. Marge, if you’re reading, Anne’s got it right. I completely lump the riders on this night into geezer category (even if Anne isn’t quite 4-0…yet), all in good fun. We were definitely the oldest on the road, which was fine with me. I’m with Anne. Where was everybody else our age or better? Truth be told, my night vision isn’t what is was, and I don’t expect it will be improving. But you can bet though that I plan to be a night rider in my 50s, 60s, and beyond, as long as the fates allow. There’s nothing like it. Hope to see you out there.
Bike (double)dating is awesome, been doing it for years 🙂
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