Metropolitan cities each have their own distinctive culture and appeal. Few, however, can assemble a characteristic quirkiness to rival that of Portland, Oregon. The City of Roses has embraced its hip reputation and taken great strides to foster a community that is accessible both on foot and bike.
Bicycling magazine ranks Portland the second most bike-friendly city in the nation. There was a time when cycling lanes and bike racks were a puzzling oddity, even in urban settings. But Americans are biking, and specifically commuting to work on their bikes, more these days. Cities like Portland are working to ensure that bikers are both safe and welcome—according to the Alliance for Biking and Walking.
Bike-friendly includes access to nature
Portland is a joy to experience on two wheels. While most cities laud their parks and museums, Portland dropped a nearly 200-acre botanical garden right in the middle of town. The Hoyt Arboretum is a living exhibit with thousands of plant specimens from around the world, including dozens that are endangered. Twelve miles of trails are free to the public and the perfect way to unwind after a day in the clinic.
The pioneering spirit is alive in the Pacific Northwest
After the Arboretum, bike home through Distillery Row. Yep, it's exactly what it sounds like, an entire district of distilleries and eateries. Portland has long been at the leading edge of the American craft beer industry. Today, the city is increasingly building respect for its distilled spirits as well. Distillery Row is a success story of post-prohibition entrepreneurs creating locally distinct liquors and spirits. Portland's breweries and the wineries of the Willamette Valley should not be ignored, but to truly experience the revolutionary culture of Oregon's largest city, be sure to pedal through Distillery Row on your next locum tenens assignment.