biking {with baby} on vacation: portland, oregon

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I spent last week with a good friend in Portland, Oregon. We brought together our one year olds, who were mistaken for twins on more than one occasion, and spent the week catching up and seeing the city. And some of that we did by bike! It was a wonderful week in a truly amazing place. If I had to sum up Portland in just three words, it would be: bikes, people, food. There were bikes everywhere, incredibly friendly people, and the abundance of good food made me never want to leave.

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Clever Cycles generously supplied us with a Yepp mini child seat for my borrowed bike. Although they also carry the iBert, which I use at home, I was excited to try another bike seat for comparison. (I will be posting a review of the Yepp mini as compared to the iBert soon, in case you’re interested!)

Our most important critic – my daughter – loved the seat and had no objections to being switched from her familiar iBert at home, so that makes it an overall success in my eyes. She also did her best to inspect the cargo bikes in store at Clever Cycles, although we never did get her loaded up in one for an actual test ride. I just left my drool all over the floor at Clever Cycles before heading home with far too many wish list items floating around my head. One day, especially with more than one child, a cargo bike sounds like a dream. For now, the child seat is actually all that I need and something I really like for keeping my bike light and agile and my daughter close-by while I ride.

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Biking in Portland was definitely a difference experience from biking at home. From the many bike lanes and sheer amount of other cyclists on the road, to the bike repair stops downtown and the bicycle counter on Hawthorne Bridge (our nation’s first!), it all added up to making me feel safe and welcome as a cyclist.

Being with two one-year-olds, our days were somewhat limited by their nap schedules so we often only had short windows of time in between naps and meal times. But we still managed to bike along the river, a bit through downtown, and a lot more just in our neighborhood and to a nearby park. I also loved seeing so many other parents carting their children around by bike to school, the grocery store, or the park we frequented.

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Visiting Portland by bike gave me a chance to experience something the city is famed for: its bike friendliness and accessibility. Portland was ranked the top most bike-friendly US city in 2012, followed by Minneapolis and Boulder. When you go somewhere lauded for its great cuisine, you don’t spend the week avoiding the city’s best eateries. Similarly, going to a place known for its bike infrastructure and bike friendliness without as much as going on a bike ride would have been crazy, right?

If you’re thinking of visiting Portland, I definitely recommend renting a bike or trying one of these self-guided Oregon wine country tours! Dave Feucht’s blog, Portlandize, is a great resource for cycling in Portland, as is

Are you a native Portlander? Do you have any tips or suggestions for a visitor wanting to experience Portland by bike? Please chime in below!

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Related posts:

A bike date in Portland.
Touring Prague by bike.
Renting bikes in Colorado.

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About simplybike

{Bikes, a new baby, and the story of us.}
This entry was posted in Baby, Biking with Kids, Social Cycling, Travel, Travel with Kids and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to biking {with baby} on vacation: portland, oregon

  1. Sue says:

    How lovely. I have always wanted to visit Portland, OR and hope to visit someday soon. It must have felt great to ride in a community full of cyclists and a place that truly caters to bicyclists. It can sometimes get lonely where I live and sometimes you feel like the odd man (woman) out. We have bicyclists, but not like Portland. But I’m working on it :).

  2. anniebikes says:

    In my eyes, Portland has only become more bike and pedestrian friendly since my husband and I moved. We are native to Vermont, but spent some of our best outdoor years there from 1985-1996. I had the pleasure of revisiting about 6 years ago and was floored by the incredible changes: increase in cyclists, rejuvenation of run-down neighborhoods, Portland has always had the best assortment of restaurants, and microbreweries, and coffee shops.

    I always loved riding the 26 mile dirt Leif Erickson trail, part of the vast Forest Park. More road than trail, it is a fire lane access, suitable for pleasant country riding within city limits.

    Do I miss Portland? Sure. It has everything I love for outdoor adventure. But it lacks a family connection for me and with two boys now, our hearts rest comfortably in Vermont.

  3. Seeing this immediately after [finally] hitting “Publish” on my own biking in Portland post. When were you there? We were there Sept. 4-12. It would have been fun to meet up if our trips overlapped.

    • S. says:

      How funny! I’m excited to read your post and take on this now! We were there the 10-15th, so we just barely overlapped. Glad you also enjoyed your trip there!


  4. Oh, and we wanted to check out some of the many bike shops and test drive some cargo bikes (specifically a long tail), but we ran out of time (i.e., we were too busy eating ;-) ).

  5. Last summer when we visited Portland, I wanted so badly to have our bikes with us. We did Vancouver by bike and that was suuuuper fun. Also recommend! Seattle is difficult because it’s much hillier than either of those cities, though–still, lots of bike lanes and shops here too, just a bit tough if you’re carrying little people cargo.

    • S. says:

      I would love to visit Vancouver and get to experience it by bike! It sounds wonderful. And Seattle is a place I’d like to see someday as well. But duly noted on the hills.


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