Bike Etiquette and Bethany.


Today I  was on the hunt for new pants, so I took my bike and headed east. Since I wasn’t feeling like risking my life today, I cruised down back roads, aiming for Buffalo Exchange.

When I got there, I discovered exactly zero places available to lock up my bike.

Sudden and irrational panic suddenly rose in my heart.

Was it okay for me to lock my bike in front of a store I had no intention of patronizing? Could I just pay that hobo a few dollars to not steal it? Was it kosher to park next to someone else’s bike even if theirs was immensely cooler than mine? What if someone blocked me in? Why was my bike lock so tacky?

My face bore no signs of panic as I locked my back on a partially available rack across the street from my destination. I commenced shopping, feeling woefully ignorant of some sort of Bike Code that I’m sure exists.

So I decided someone needs to write the Portlander’s Guide to Bike Etiquette.

It should contain answers to all of the questions listed above. Additionally, it should contain instructions on where it’s cool to park your bike, how old your bike must be for it to be vintage (80s, anyone?) a chart for how badass you have to be at biking before you’re safe on the main roads, maps of where it’s safe to ride without a helmet and where it’s not safe to ride alone, a formula for the ratio of number of gears to level of cool, and various other riding tips and rules that I don’t know about.

Also, instructions on how to exude that air of extreme badassery and devil-may-care that only bike couriers and serious commuters have.

And how to not get hit by vehicles.

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  1. I laughed (so sorry – I know bike etiquette panic is no laughing matter.)

    Only thing is, your bike etiquette guide, if written by a Portlander, will leave no room for helmetless biking. Righteous bikers wear helmets. It’s a rule of the universe (or is that only in Bend?)

      • Jessie Hargrove
      • June 7th, 2012

      Only Bend, Mom. The cool thing now is biking is the ugliest clothes you can find and indeed, maybe even no helmet.

      And they have written the book. Its at Powells…

      • I might have to purchase this book. I bet it doesn’t have everything I need to know though. Seriously, is 80s vintage enough to be cool or what?

    • John
    • June 7th, 2012

    The trick is to be so cool that you simply don’t care.

  2. I think Bend bikers got the ugly clothes memo.

    • There is a delightful lack of pretend-sponsored spandex in Portland.

    • Jacob
    • June 8th, 2012

    ill creat a charty of how badass you have to be to ride on main roads…here it is…..”You are considered ‘badass’ enough to ride on the busy road when you are confident enough to not get hit by cars….the end” Written By Jacob Lamken

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