(Photos © J. Maus)
Our story about bike tourer/author Willie Weir reminded me of another example of how Portland is luring tourists thanks to its urban biking offerings.
“We come down often to ride. We find a place to stay and just bike around, do some shopping and see the city.”
— Dave Carter
Back in July, I walked up to our office and noticed a family of four enjoying drinks and snacks at the bakery next door with four folding bikes next to them. My curiosity sufficiently piqued, I introduced myself and struck up a conversation.
Turns out it was the Carter Family — Dave, Jan, their son Paul (age 9) and daughter Val (age 12) — visiting from south King County up in Washington. They came specifically to experience our city on bikes.
Dave Carter said he finds the roads here “much more bike friendly” and the people who drive to be “much more courteous” than around their hometown. I thought it was pretty neat that a family would load their bikes into a van and drive to Portland, just to experience our city by bike.
“We come down often to ride. We find a place to stay and just bike around, do some shopping and see the city,” Dave explained (the highlight of their trip was the Waterfront Blues Festival). “The city would be very wise to market this type of thing to more people.”
In the past year or so, two companies have done just that. Portland Bicycle Tours and Pedal Bike Tours have both found success in leading out-of-towners on rides around Portland. Pedal Bike Tours owner Todd Roll recently celebrated the first anniversary of his business and said it exceeded his expectations.
Portland could be at the forefront of urban bike tourism; which is another growing facet of our local bike economy. And, if the Carter Family is any indicator of this growing market, it’s yet another compelling reason for the City to invest more in our bikeway network. After all, we want the Carter Family (and others like them) to feel safe and welcome on our streets.