It can feel daunting to start biking in Portland if you’re not accustomed to it. Luckily, thanks to all the knowledgeable and passionate advocates we have here, there’s no need to go it alone. Rumors of the stereotypical, intimidating Portland cyclist have been greatly exaggerated: there are hundreds of people who want nothing more than to show you the ropes and will welcome you with open arms.
If you want to find one of those people, bike advocacy non-profit Bike Loud PDX has you covered with their newly-launched ‘Bike Buddy’ program. All you have to do is fill out a form with a bit of information about yourself and Bike Loud volunteers will match you with a buddy to bike around with you and answer any questions that might come up along the way.
Bike Loud member and road safety instructor Vivek Jeevan has been leading the charge to get this program up and running. The non-profit has been working hard to advocate for their goal of getting Portland to a 25% bike mode share by 2030, especially with their weekly rides to the Portland State University farmer’s market, where they sometimes set up tables to chat with people passing by. Jeevan said he had the ‘aha!’ moment while he was working one of these outreach events: even with all the work they do, there was still a more direct component missing.
“People say they want to bike, but they have concerns – maybe they have a flat tire they don’t know how to fix, or they don’t know the best routes to take or what to wear,” Jeevan told me. “We have solutions.”
The days of bicycle gatekeeping are long behind us: we are now in the era of bike buddies. Ask anything you want – there are no stupid questions within the pursuit of creating a safer city for everyone and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Fill out Bike Loud’s form, which you can find here, to get the process started. And remember that every seasoned Portland bike rider was once a newbie, so there’s nothing to fear! I promise that your bike buddy will love to help you.
“We all love biking and we all love to be asked questions that we know the answers to,” Jeevan said. “It feels like an easy win-win.”