On Wednesday Collin and I biked over to Ristretto Roasters on the N. Williams Ave Bike Corridor. We frequent this coffee shop a lot because of it easy access and ample bike parking. This stretch of businesses (and a few more we didn't visit) were taking a few hours to offer special deals for Rider Appreciation Day. If you follow bike advocacy here in Portland you know there are many local business associations are less than friendly to the city thriving bike commuter community. It is great to see that so many shops and businesses that I frequent really appreciate the almost 3,000 daily bike commuters that ride on N. Williams.
The two ladies in the blue shirts are from Sweetpea Bicycles, a lovely custom bike brand here in portland. They were offering commuters free seat height checks! The lady in black and the sweet riding cap is from Sugar Wheel Works. They were passing out coupons and cheering all the the commuters on as they rolled by.
By far my favorite gift for bike commuters are these super sweet Card Cases from tinymeat. Mine is the lovely orange one on top. Tinymeat couldn't have made a better graphic for me if they tried. It is a lovely dutch step thru bike in Orange. It's like both of my beautiful bike are represented! Plus this wallet is a looker I have already had two people ask me where I got such a sweet wallet! I was totally stoked to tell them about the generosity of this awesome pro-biking business.
While the US media and many of the officials here in Portland would to tout how great our infrastructure is here, it is far from perfect. Biking in portland is certainly easier than it has been anywhere else I have lived. But this Picture illustrates how challenging it can be. The bike lane is only 5 feet wide. This 5 foot bike lane can feel very cramped as it carry up to 400 Bicyclist an hour during rush hour. Between speeding drivers using Williams Ave as a I-5 bypass and cars flinging their doors haphazardly into the bike lane, there can be a lot of challenges and close calls on N. Williams.
All the problems with the present (and future) Williams bike lane aside. The support that these businesses show bikers make me happy to be their customer. Free coffee and a cute wallet are great reminders, but what really matters is how great the bike access and parking is. In the recent debates over how to renovate Williams Ave. This business association sacrificed a block of street parking to make the bike lane safer. The spot above is one of two that are in the courtyard of the coffee shop and mexican restaurant. Around the Corner there is great on street bike parking corral. The Bakery and Brewery across the street have another large on street corral. And Up the street a block there is Hopworks Bike Bar. who have 70 bike parking spaces in their patio area. My biking accident happened in one of Portland's more infamous bike hating commercial districts. (For the portland locals it was The Pearl District) The main reason I was on the street that I was on was that a bike lane dead ended right as you enter this neighborhood. I haven't been back since. I am not sure if I will ever go back unless there is a radical change from their business association. The bottom line is I ride my bike to get around. I would rather spend my money in places like N. Williams where I know that is seen as a positive thing, rather than an obstacle to the bottom line. For more complete Coverage of the North William Rider Appreciation Day check out my favorite biking blog Bike Portland