Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is most powerful elected official in a city that’s widely considered to be one of the country’s best for cycling. However, despite living just over four miles and a pleasant half-hour bike ride away from City Hall, Hales doesn’t commute by bike.
Sure, Hales is seen on a bike now and then; but those rides are organized events like Sunday Parkways. As anyone who has been in a bike parade or open streets event can tell you, that experience is much different than real-life, everyday, weekday rush-hour conditions.
With Portland in a biking funk there has been a growing chorus of whispers pressuring Hales to get on a bike and see what it’s like on Portland streets — without a police escort and cozy coterie.
I’m happy to report that Hales heard the whispers and has decided to ride his bike into work this coming Monday.