Face it—we, a small minority of dedicated bicyclists—own this town.
We've given the city its most frequently spouted honorific ("Most Bike Friendly City in the Country"), unabashedly rule in the city's streets, we get city commissioners and mayors elected, and, hell, you probably moved here just because of the city's biking reputation.
And why shouldn't we be proud of ourselves? While the rest of you lazy schlubs are driving single-occupant vehicles for every trip you make, increasing global warming, tearing up the roads, and getting us into illegal wars with oil-rich countries, us bikers are using our own legs and some simple physics to get around, decreasing congestion, putting out zero emissions, having fun, and getting some exercise.
In other words, the moral high ground is one giant bike lane.
Of course, that's how it exists in our minds. In reality, the city still underfunds biking and, according to one survey, only 3.5 percent of the city "regularly" bikes, which is paltry compared to many European cities. And every time the city comes up short on money to pay for basic road maintenance, guess who catches a lot of the blame from the community—yep, bikers.
Still, there's no denying that in the past two decades, Portland has become a mecca for biking. So how in the world did that happen, while the rest of the country has become filled with parking lots, freeways, and SUV-driving fatties? The answer is a combination of politics, fun, sexiness, rebellion, and a whole bunch o' luck.