Friday, May 1, 2009

Meanwhile, Back in Portland . . .

Our journey continues. Friday, our second day in Portland and I had just purchased my Nutcase helment, which I couldn't wait to wear. Our next destination, obviously, was Clevercycles, home of Dutch bike rentals. We learned from their website that they were located in southeast Portland across the Hawthorne Bridge. Oh, goody, we get to cross a bridge! Thrilling and terrifying for me at the same time.

So, to find the bridge. Up the hill or down? Logic and a helpful stranger say down the hill. Soon we spy the river and a waterfront park, teaming with life. Rollerbladers, runners, walkers, people reading on the park benches, people sleeping on park benches, and someone who looks suspciously like Vin Diesel taking in the view of the river (I don't stare since I don't see his movies anyway; had it been Daniel Craig I certainly would have humiliated myself). Several bridges cross the Willamette River. We locate the Hawthorne and my it is long but we can see the walkers and cyclists are crossing it and since we are marathoners (at least I was until the herniated disk) we decide we can manage a bridge.

Although, I was not surprised that the Hawthorne Bridge had a nice multi-use path with a designated bike area. I had never until then been on a bridge that had a bike lane. Indeed, they were being used. As the bridge ended, the lanes merged with bike lanes on the street. Where the bike lane crossed the exit ramp, it was painted green. Very helpful.

Upon crossing the bridge we found ourselves in the charmingly gritty Hawthorne neighborhood. I liked it immediately since it reminded me of my old Louisville stomping ground, the Highlands. Hawthorne Avenue is a long commercial corridor flanked by wearhouses and residential neigborhoods that are a mix of multi and single family homes and apartment buildings. It appeared to be a very self-sufficient little neighborhood with cafes, bookstores, delis, boutiques, and of course bike stores. I knew that if life ever took the Planner Guy and I to Portland we would definitely feel at home in the Hawthorne neighborhood. Fashionable but not too gentrified. High decensity living in an urban environment where you and the shopkeeper learn each others names and expect to see one another at least once a week is my idea of a neighorhood. Everything one needs should within a block or two of the front door. My dream. While most of my neighbors worry whether or not the wooded and open spaces between the airport and our neighborhood will remain undeveloped, I desperately want to see commercial services and shops that I could walk to move in. I much prefer development close to where I live than out in the middle of nowhere. But I digress . . .

Several blocks after leaving the Hawthorne Bridge we found ourselves on the doorsteps of Clevercycles. Details to follow.


Dottie said...

Can't wait to read part two! Clever Cycles will definitely be one of my stops whenever I finally visit Portland.

She Rides a Bike said...

Their women's fashion is really great! My next trip I will definitely be buying. Very urban but not too edgy and of course just right for biking. Flagstaff fashion definitely allows some flexibility in the workplace for comfort married to style. One of the things I like about Seattle, too.

Camille said...

oh, its so gorgeous there.

floppy foot said...

Come visit!!!! It is beautiful here. You have to be able to withstand a bit of rain to get greenery like this though. This morning was an amazing torrent of rain that was overflowing our well-seasoned gutters. I still rode to work, though I was wishing I had some rain pants so I wouldn't have to change. BTW, a cheap clear shower cap works great over the helmet to keep your hair dry. :-)

jbubble said...

love your description of the hawthorne area. that's pretty spot on. we're a bit further up from clever cycles, at 21st, and a few blocks south of hawthorne, but we love it for all the reasons you list - i love that most everything i need on a daily basis is an easy walk/bike ride away. and that i see people i know whenever i go out and about. i'm so glad you have a good visit!

She Rides a Bike said...

Thanks for all your comments both before and after our trip. I really think your suggestions added to our visit.

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