The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

New 4-story mural downtown proclaims ‘Welcome to America’s Bicycle Capital’

Posted by on July 25th, 2012 at 9:09 am


New mural between SW 2nd and 3rd south of Ankeny.
(Photo: Matt Haughey/Flickr)

There’s a new mural in town, and it’s a biggie.

Todd Roll, the owner of Pedal Bike Tours in Old Town says they’ve just put the finishing touches on a four-story mural on the north side of his building at 133 SW 2nd Ave. Roll launched his business on Williams Avenue in north Portland back in November 2008. He’s seen solid growth in his guided bike tours every year.

The location of the new mural is in the heart of a Portland tourist triangle — between Waterfront Park and Saturday Market, Stumptown Coffee, and Voodoo Donuts. Roll says he wanted visitors to, “Experience Portland’s love of bikes and have yet another great photo opportunity.” As for locals, Roll adds that, “we can revel in the pride of a 6% bicycle commuter rate, and always push the bar higher… or bigger.”

I like it and cannot wait to see it for myself when I get back into town.

NOTE: The lead photo has been changed since this story was originally published.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • 9watts July 25, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I like it too. But this being Portland I think we need a few more (non-generic looking) bikes up there. Sort of along the lines of the quirky bike characters on the pavement symbols in bike lanes….

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  • wade July 25, 2012 at 9:29 am

    good to see there’s enough car parking downtown in america’s bicycle capital!!

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    • Chris I July 25, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Ironic photo of the year…

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      • Andyc July 25, 2012 at 10:08 am

        Ha! I saw this the other day and thought the same thing. Nice mural, though, not hating on it, just found its placement amusing.

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  • Alex Reed July 25, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Awesome!! I love the aesthetic too, even including the car parking. The clean lines that don’t cover over older grit seem to me to symbolize the way Portland has mostly done it. We (ok, the City, but I feel a sense of ownership) used the resources we had (mostly neighborhood streets, plus little ribbons parceled out from major streets and bridges) and tweaked it to work reasonably well, often sharing with cars because it’s necessary here. It’s a little bit gritty but that’s OK for now.

    I suspect people would have laughed if, 30 years ago, you had told somebody that there would be thousands of adults riding bikes on Clinton and Tillamook in the not-too-distant future. That transformation is pretty cool! Of course, I’m not saying there’s not a lot of work left to be done, some of which will involve big re-dos and shiny new infrastructure.

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  • Brad July 25, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Kudos, Minneapolis!

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  • boneshaker July 25, 2012 at 10:07 am

    That’s awesome, nice work Todd!

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  • Uncle Muscles July 25, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Welcome to America’s ROAD Bicycle Capital.

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    • METROFIETS July 25, 2012 at 11:38 am

      Whaaaaat? I thought Portland was the CARGO bike capital of the world. 😉

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      • dan July 25, 2012 at 11:43 am

        Whaaaat? I thought Portland was the TALL / FREAK bike capital of the world. 😉

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        • Mike Fish July 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm

          Whaaaaat? I thought Portland was the Zoo-bomb bike capital of the world!

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          • Caleb July 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm

            Whaaaaat? I thought Portland was the capital of the world!

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            • Burk July 25, 2012 at 6:17 pm

              Whaaaaaat? I thought Portland was the Unicycle capital of the world!

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  • Matt Haughey July 25, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I spotted this last week, had no idea it was brand new:

    (Jonathan, feel free to use it if you didn’t want cars showing in the pic)

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  • Racer X July 25, 2012 at 10:29 am

    The bar does need to be raised. Unless there is an “*” at the end.

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    • davemess July 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      Have you been around America? That bar is not too high. That said, I dare anyone to say that portland isn’t at minimum a “decent” place to ride a bike (unless you like mountain biking).

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      • sw resident July 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm

        I second Racer X and accept your dare. If you live east of 39th, north of Killingsworth, south of Powell, or west of the Willamette river Portland isn’t a decent place for the average cyclist to ride a bike.
        The geography of spending on bike infrastructure is symbolic of all the other infrastructure and socioeconomic disparities in this city.

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        • Caleb July 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm

          What characteristics do you attribute to an “average cyclist”? I’ve personally found riding far beyond your range in all directions to be quite pleasant.

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          • sw resident July 26, 2012 at 9:32 am

            These characteristics: they have no formal training, don’t know how to ride in a group, they know how to operate their bike but don’t know how to anticipate what all other road users may do, they have an elementary understanding of how traffic works, likely don’t know how to scan 20 seconds ahead and have an escape route in mind at all times, ride maybe 10 hours a week, and have never raced or messengered (which affords a set of skills that can mitigate some of the sketchiest urban traffic in the US).
            I think it is reasonable to say that those are average characteristics, give or take. Consequently, it is no surprise that it is regularly argued on these pages and elsewhere that there need to be bike lanes, separated paths, cycle tracks, green paint etc. If this type of infrastructure is so important to the average cyclist then why is it spread so thin outside the “Portlandia” core?
            The disparity in spending is why a mural like the one above is disingenuous and even myopic and provincial.

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            • Rain Panther July 26, 2012 at 10:35 am

              I would think riding on city streets 10 hours a week would constitute enough “training” to help a person gain a pretty high level of confidence and proficiency. As far as riding in a group goes, that’s exactly what’s often not so fun about using the well-appointed bike infrastructure in the central part of town. I live in SE – east of 39th- and work in NE – also east of 39th – and I enjoy my commute immensely.

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  • Joe July 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Noticed it last Sunday walking around with my family. its like wham! haha 🙂

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  • K'Tesh July 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Now get on your bikes and ride!!!!

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  • brian July 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    unless you like riding in the forest.

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  • Rol July 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    There are two things that happen in the world: 1) Stuff. 2) People saying stuff about the stuff that happened. This mural is an example of 2). Biking in Portland right now has more than enough 2). What we need is more 1).

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    • Alex Reed July 25, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      But, we don’t live in a dictatorship (thank God!) so 2) affects 1) because people vote based on what they believe about things that have already happened. I think that people who want more biking in Portland need to seriously make the case for how awesome what has happened already to Portland voters who don’t currently bike. We also need to make the case for why more investment and protection for people on bikes would be rewarded many times over in health, safety, and frugality.

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  • jim July 25, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    They could have found a nicer building to make the capital, this one looks like it has just about used up its useful life.
    So who’s the bike president?

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    • noah July 27, 2012 at 12:20 am

      Bikerack Obama.

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  • Tourbiker July 26, 2012 at 6:30 am

    After recently moving to Las Vegas from Portland…I can say PDX is easily far superior town to ride in…even Hawthorn area is safer than anywhere in Vegas to ride….yikes…never seen so many yahoos here in cars.

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  • pete July 26, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Unicycle polo tonight at Alberta Park!

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  • Mickey July 26, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    ‘Let them eat bicycles’

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