| Green Travel News |
Who’s the most bicycle-friendly for visitors of them all? In the U.S., head for the Pacific Northwest’s Portland. So declares National Geographic Traveler, in a ranking of the most bike-friendly cities. Portland is “arguably the best big city in America for cycling,” agrees Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. The city boasts the nation’s highest percentage of bicycle commuters—nearly 11 times the national average. Visiting cyclists will find dozens of rental shops, 75 miles of off-street pathways and a cycling culture that has produced educated drivers used to navigating around bikes. Local accommodations supply bike maps.
One of the city’s most scenic rides is the Waterfront Loop, which cruises along both sides of the Willamette, passing over or near a dozen bridges. Just west of downtown are miles of paths in Forest Park. They provide dramatic views of the glacier-carved Columbia River Gorge and—on clear days—nearby volcanoes Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens.
Portland also enjoys a vibrant music scene, warm but quirky coffeehouses, and a fascinating mix of people. In any weather, Portlanders choose to bike, walk or take the MAX (public transportation) to their destinations, creating a vibrant city-center at any time of the day or night.
Living accommodations are as varied as the people who thrive in this urban environment. Housing in downtown Portland takes a variety of forms, from classic Victorian homes set high on the hill to trendy lofts and condos nestled against the waterfront. Portland apartments can be found within walking distance of major retailers, contemporary boutiques and open-air markets. For those wishing to devote themselves to experiencing the city, Portland apartment living is often the best choice. City dwellers who aren’t subject to the tyranny of never-ending homeowner chores can chose to spend their time at the Saturday Market or chat with friends at a local coffee shop, warming their hands around a steaming latte. Yard work in Portland’s oceanic climate comes with its own challenges and is something the savvy apartment dweller doesn’t have to contend with. No home maintenance and no yard work means the apartment resident has more time to enjoy city life.
Apartments in Portland are right in the heart of the action of the city. But there are also special places for retreat when that action becomes a bit much. Portland’s ever-present landscaping, with its colorful azalea and rhododendron bushes, tulip trees and evergreens, creates tranquil spaces for those wishing to slow the pace of city life. True to its name, the Rose City has a surprising number of small park spaces bursting with plantings and providing sanctuaries for wildlife and people. These natural islands are scattered throughout metropolitan Portland and are great places to hike, picnic or spend an afternoon watching wildlife.
Bottom line: Portland is a great city in which to bike and live.