With miles of protected bike lanes (many of which are adorned with special designs), one of the world’s largest naked bike rides, and even a months-long bike festival every summer, Portland is any bicyclist’s dream.
Pedaling through Portland on two wheels is a summertime must. With almost 400 miles (650 km) of bikeways woven throughout the city, Portland is consistently listed as one of the most bike-friendly cities in America.
Portland’s bikeways are made up of bike paths, designated bike lanes and neighborhood “greenways” where bicycles and pedestrians are given priority over cars. In just a few minutes, cyclists can go from riding beneath a canopy of trees in Ladd’s Addition to biking along the Eastbank Esplanade and watching the sunset over the Willamette River. If you don’t have your own wheels, Portland’s many bike rental services and Biketown bike-share program have you covered.
Introduced in 2016, Portland’s bike-share program brings 1,000 smart bicycles to the central city.
Bike tours let you see Portland like a local, rolling through neighborhoods along this cycling-friendly city’s many bike paths, trails and lanes.
E-scooter sharing lets users rent vehicles via an app for one-way trips. Before boarding, check out our dos and don’ts for riding e-scooters in Portland.
Bike Safety Tips
The Portland Bureau of Transportation provides a page with all the relevant state and city laws pertaining to cyclists.
Know Before You Go
Portland city ordinances prohibit riding bicycles on sidewalks in the downtown area bounded by SW Jefferson Street, SW Naito Parkway, NW Hoyt Street and 13th Avenue.
Sharing the Road
Most Portland drivers are comfortable sharing the road with bicyclists — in fact, many of those drivers are counting the hours until they can get on their own bikes and ride. However, it’s still a good idea for cyclists to be careful and ride defensively. Some Portland streets are geared more toward cyclists than others, so it’s a good idea to review the biking and walking maps from the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
Portland has 15 intersections with green “bike boxes.” These are designed to prevent collisions between cyclists using bike lanes and motorists making right turns. Here’s how they work:
- When the light is red, bicyclists should stop inside the green box. (Motorists must stop at the white line behind the box.)
- Bicyclists can turn right on a red light at bike box intersections; drivers cannot.
- Bicyclists have the right of way on a green light.
Bike Lane Variations
The city is testing two other alternatives to traditional bike lanes downtown: the Portland State University Cycle Track demonstration project on Southwest Broadway from Clay to Jackson; and buffered bike lanes on Southwest Oak between Naito Parkway and Ninth Avenue, and Southwest Harvey Milk Street between Naito and 13th. Use the links above to learn more.
Bike-loving Portlanders have come up with all sorts of rides and events that fill the calendar with two-wheeled shenanigans. Read on for our top biking events by month, and check out BikePortland for more Portland-based biking news and upcoming events
Worst Day of The Year Ride
Die-hard riders will spend 12 months of the year behind handlebars, but anyone worth their chain stains makes it to the Worst Day of the Year Ride. Timed to coincide with the year’s worst weather day, the 15-mile (24 km) fun ride (or 42-mile [67 km] challenge course) ends with cold beer and hot soup at Southeast Portland’s Lucky Labrador Brew Pub .
The dream of the 1890s is alive during the Tweed Ride, an annual affair in which dozens of riders don their most dapper duds and take a spin on vintage bikes. Expect to see waxed mustaches, fancy hats and a few penny farthings (and don’t miss the after-party!).
Summer Biking Events
Held in several different neighborhoods each year, Portland’s free Sunday Parkways rides convert city streets into car-free zones, encouraging cyclists to explore different parts of the city. Each event features stops in city parks along the route, with entertainment, food and activities.
Each Sunday Parkways route is closed off to cars and other motorized vehicles from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., allowing cyclists full access to the city streets. Dozens of volunteers are stationed along the route, directing traffic at busy street crossings and providing additional safety measures (and encouragement) for young and less experienced riders. Learn more on the Sunday Parkways website.
For the expansive months in the summer, bike geeks organize about 200+ events to celebrate all that is cycling during Pedalpalooza. There’s a major menu of rides, performance art, races, taco stand tours, gay pride bike parades, bike polo and more.
Portland’s World Naked Bike Ride
The World Naked Bike Ride is a global event, with rides held in 74 cities from Amsterdam to Perth, but Portland lays claim to the world’s largest ride, drawing over 10,000 cyclists clad in various combinations of swimsuits, underwear, body paint and smiles in 2014. And don’t worry, riding naked in Portland is legal; the event is considered a protest and, therefore, nudity is permitted under Oregon’s liberal free speech laws.
The Bridge Pedal is your one chance to pedal fancy- and car-free with nearly 20,000 other cyclists across Portland’s Willamette River bridges, from the Sellwood to the St. Johns Bridge and most others in between. The event’s route includes the top decks of the Marquam and Fremont bridges, normally open only to automobile traffic on interstates 5 and 84.
Year-Round Biking Events
The recipe is insane but simple: The Zoobombers gather every Sunday evening at the corner of Southwest 13th Avenue and West Burnside Street, ride MAX Light Rail to the Washington Park station (Oregon Zoo stop) and bomb back down via the streets of Portland’s West Hills. Regulars prefer to ride small children’s bikes or their own customized contraptions. If you’d rather just get a taste of this particular slice of Portland culture, visit the People’s Bike Library of Portland sculpture at 13th and Burnside
The Worst Day of the Year Ride is a costumed bike ride benefiting the Community Cycling Center. On Sunday, March 24 — regardless of the weather — grab your friends, don your costume, and jump on your bike to honor this historically terrific day. After scoffing at the elements, participants return to the Lucky Labrador…
Petal Pedal is a gourmet distance bike ride like no other. You’ll journey along scenic, quiet roads along mostly flat routes (with a hilly option to visit Silver Falls) as you drift away to another world. The ride starts and finishes at The Oregon Garden, Oregon’s premier botanical garden with over 80 acres of specialty…
The small logging town of Vernonia has become a central hub for bike routes through the surrounding state forest.
Starting just 30 miles east of Portland, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area offers amazing vistas, trails and more than 90 waterfalls.
Looking to venture off the beaten path like a Portlander? This neighboring town is where locals go to slow down, stroll through quaint historic architecture and feast on international fare.
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