City Cast

Portland Biking 101 with Jonathan Maus

Adrian González
Adrian González
Posted on August 17
A bicyclist rides on a bridge.

Portland has over 400 miles of bikeways, including 100 miles of low-stress neighborhood greenways. (BikePortland / Flickr)

Whether you’re a seasoned bicyclist or just getting started, riding a bike in Portland can be daunting. We spoke to BikePortland editor Jonathan Maus about the best places to bike and how to stay safe.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Is biking getting more dangerous in Portland?

“I think it’s safe to say that it has gotten more dangerous for the vast majority of people. I don't want to get involved in a blame game, but people are driving way worse. The divisiveness and polarization we see in other parts of people's lives, that doesn't end when people get behind the wheel of their car. So, whether you're in a big truck or a little bike, those two people have to have mutual respect or things can go terribly wrong.”

How can cyclists find the safest routes?

“We have this amazing neighborhood greenway system. Look for the streets that have the bike symbol with three little arrows on top — those are called ‘sharrows.’ And if you can't find a route on the neighborhood greenway streets, try to find streets that have the most separation between where you'd ride your bike and where people are driving.”

What are three things you check for before heading out on a ride?

“The first thing I look for is if my chain is making noise, I lube it. Make sure your tires are pumped up. Bike tires lose air naturally, so if it's been sitting for a while it's going to be low — it's going to be really squirrely when you turn and you will probably get a flat. The big thing that I really believe in is making sure that I have a really good bell. And don't be afraid to use it!

Listen to the full interview for more bike safety tips.

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