Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

I love my bikes. There. I said it.

Posted by on February 14th, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Ahearne skyline

Sometimes I just have to pull over
and take a photo. I think that’s love.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

I do not like to get sentimental or overly emotional here on the Front Page. Over the past 8 years, I’ve learned that doing so — especially as our audience has changed and grown in recent years — is fraught with all sorts of pitfalls and risks. But today, because it’s Valentine’s Day and all my social media timelines are full of odes to love and bikes, I couldn’t resist.

So, I just want to say that I love my bikes.

Even after decades of riding them, writing about them, working in the bike industry, and so on, I still love them just as much as ever. Whether it’s a quick trip around town, a work-day escape up into the hills, or an all-day weekend adventure. There are so many reasons to love them I could go on and on. I won’t bore you with all that. I’m liable to get into Too Much Information mode pretty quick.

All this talk of love reminds me: You know you always see references in the media about “America’s love-affair with cars,” as if that cultural default is a huge barrier to any policy or project that might discourage their overuse? I have a hunch that phrase in large part the result of a strategic propaganda campaign from the auto industry (and don’t for one second think they’re above using propaganda to sell more cars).


My new Cielo has rekindled my love of road — and backroad — riding.

My city bike-5

My daily bike (made by Joseph Ahearne in north Portland) in full utility mode.
Marin-Bay Area trip-6

Sunrise in the hills above Fairfax, California with my Yeti mountain bike.

I only bring this point up because I would love to start hearing major media references to “America’s love-affair with bikes” that comes with the same seriousness and socio-political implications. I think we’re headed in that direction. Slowly but surely, Americans are starting to realize that bikes can be not just wonderfully utilitarian; but also objects of desire that are so transformative to the mind, body, and community of their owners that they spark a relationship that can only be described as love.

The Danish and Dutch can call them vacuum cleaners all they want; but I’ll never see any of my bikes solely as useful tools. I love them, I love riding them, and I love the places — both literally and figuratively — they’ve taken me.

I hope everyone has a lovely day and I hope a bicycle is part of it.

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

  • David February 14, 2014 at 11:26 am

    “Sometimes I just have to pull over and take a photo. I think that’s lust.”

    Fixed that for you.

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  • David McCabe February 14, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Beautiful, thank you.

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  • el timito February 14, 2014 at 11:44 am

    So why don’t you marry them?

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    • Mossby Pomegranate February 14, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      I bike marriage legal in Oregon?

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  • jocko February 14, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    what about the most important bike in your fleet? M.T.B.

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  • none February 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I think you mean you love the experiences you have on a bike. I love that its quick, easy and cheap. The bike is nothing without riding it.

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    • Caleb February 17, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      Hmmmm…I disagree. If the bike were nothing without riding it, then what would you have to ride once you stopped riding it? 😛

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  • Spiffy February 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I love my bikes as well… I love my new Raleigh Alley Way so much that I never ride my other bikes… it’s got everything I need… sold my Electra Townie that was my first new bike several years ago… I’ve parted out a few others to make bikes for friends to ride with me… now I’m down to just one working bike and it’s made me antsy to get my Schwinn cruiser on the road, or maybe my 80’s Giant mountain bike (after I repaint it to get rid of the pink and blue pastel highlights)…

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  • Cory Poole February 14, 2014 at 12:43 pm


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  • lisa February 14, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Me too, I love both my bikes madly. I have 2 and they’re as different as opposite sexes, an Oma and a Brompton. I guess that makes me bicycle-bi.

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    • Ramona_W February 15, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      Me too, I love both my bikes madly. I have 2 and they’re as different as opposite sexes, an Oma and a Brompton. I guess that makes me bicycle-bi.
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      At the very least it makes you bike-sexual.

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  • Michael February 14, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    No love for the trail bike? Nobody puts Yeti in the corner!

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 14, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      I love my MTB Michael! This post wasn’t meant to list every one of the bikes that I love. I just happened to only mention two. But for what it’s worth, I just added a shot of my Yeti. 😉

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  • Philip Mascher February 14, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, I also have all kinds of wonderful feelings for my bikes. What they allow me to do, what they look like, how they feel riding them, the experiences we have together. Just wonderful.

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  • nuovorecord February 14, 2014 at 3:07 pm


    I frequently stop on rides to take pictures of my bike. Glad to know I’m not alone.

    (and if I were ever to cheat on my current beloved bike, Jonathan’s Cielo would be totally affair-worthy!)

    Is there some place people could post pics of their bikes and a brief story of their love affair with their steed? Maybe this would be a fun addition to Bike Portland? Maybe in the Forums?

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  • TOM February 14, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I have 2 nearly identical Randoneering (long steel frame touring bikes) that are the same size, brand and vintage. It took a couple of months to get them really dialed in. But now parts are interchangeable between the two.
    One is “summer” with appropriate Brooks saddle, slick tires. bags and there is “winter” with fenders, waterproof saddle, treaded tires..etc.
    When one breaks, I can scavenge wheels/parts from the out of season one and keep the active one on the road early and not have to spend time on repairs before getting going.

    My MTN & commuter bikes are neglected. The speed and agility of a road bike just fit my riding style better. BUT, as mentioned above, I don’t LOVE my bikes , I do LOVE the feelings that they help provide … It’s almost like being on a sailboat and certainly brings back memories of younger years.

    And I do carry both a “U lock” and 25mm cable lock. sometimes it’s nearly impossible to get the “U lock” where I want it and have to switch depending on locking situations.

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  • Alan 1.0 February 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    I trust you brought something home on your bike for Ms. Maus tonight…besides yourself! 🙂

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  • pdx2wheeler February 14, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I image this song playing on your iPod…

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  • cw February 14, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Your soulmate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTTwcCVajAc

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  • TOM February 15, 2014 at 9:20 am

    A good bike can turn into an “old friend” ..when I start rolling and settle into the saddle , it feels SO right.
    IMHO, fitment is a key to riding pleasure. The symmetry between pedal reaches, sit height, bar stretch, brake placement all have to be correct. I did quite a bit of net homework on bike setup and am always surprised at how many expensive bikes are fit wrong for their riders (hips bouncing – pedal reach too far ,,,knees bowed – pedals too close ..etc).
    Poor fitment can ruin the potential love of any bike.

    Maintenance & tire pressures can also ruin any “love relationship” ..it just ALL (rider/fitment/maint.-trim) has to be in-synch to provide the experience that we enjoy. Good weather is in that equation too, but obviously not always available in the Great NorthWest. 🙂

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  • Emily G February 15, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Hurray for bike love! I love my raleigh twenty an almost embarrassing amount, to the point where I have nearly as many of photos of it as my significant other. Luckily, neither of them mind 🙂

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  • Oregon Mamacita February 15, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Sometimes my little Bridgestone feels like a part of me. I love the balancing that you have to do on a bike. As for my Redline- so many
    adventures. I rode a bike as a kid and never gave it up- even when I was
    in places where no adults rode. Bike riding can be such a pleasure.

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  • A February 16, 2014 at 9:58 am

    I love making a bike my own. Taking a stock bike and adjusting it for fit, function, and personal style and changing it from A bike to My bike. You can always tell when a rider has taken that extra step, like with that little green Peugeot showcased a few days back, and it makes the bike shine with awesome.

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