Biketopia: Imagine if Denver was like this
0 comment Saturday, June 7, 2014 |
I spent Sept. 12-16 in Portland visiting some friends and got to spend a day kicking around the city on a borrowed bike. There was not a single incidence of someone yelling shit at me for riding a bike, which I thought was a very nice touch.

1. The first bike shop I stopped at, River City Bicycles, served free espresso on Saturdays and Sundays.
2. Bike route signs make sense, and tell you how many miles and minutes of riding you have until you reach landmarks like the Hawthorne Bridge.
3. Stoplights are timed for bikes (12 mph) downtown.
4. Busy intersections have green bike boxes letting cars know to yield to bicycles, thus avoiding the most common bike accident, the right hook.
5. Everything is very clearly marked. Bikes here, joggers here, cars here. MAIN STREETS downtown include bike lanes. Give me a bike lane on 17th Avenue in Denver, I say!
6. Bike paths are integrated into existing structures, ex. the Hawthorne Bridge. Imagine a curb-height bike lane all the way down Colfax, crossing the Platte River.
Of course I have very few photos of all of these wonderful things. My point-and-shoot camera died the weekend before I went, so I had to lug my DSLR around the whole time.
The point is, all this infrastructure leads to an enormous amount of people on bikes. Or perhaps vice versa, a large cycling lobby leads to all this infrastructure. Yes, Portland has cars, and traffic, but so many people use bikes for transportation. I felt like all the infrastructure made a much less confrontational environment -- when I ride on streets in Denver, I definitely feel like I'm in someone's way a lot of the time. In Portland, I was integrated into traffic.
Also, you can actually breathe the air there, which is pretty nice. All that said, though, I'm not leaving Denver.