As with anything new, riding a bike for the first time can be overwhelming. This checklist is designed to help you prepare for that first ride and answer any questions you may have about riding a bike in Portland.
Take a look at the checklist before your next ride, and if you still have questions reach out to the SmartTrips team for one-on-one help from an expert by email at Smarttrips@portlandoregon.gov or by phone at 503-865-8637.
Before your ride
- Choose your bike - Taking a ride doesn't require owning a bike, explore your options for short or longer term rentals.
- Get geared up - Having the right gear will help you stay safe, warm, and comfortable.
- Learn riding basics -If you want to learn to ride a bike, look for Neighborhood Bike Fairs in the "Upcoming Events" section elsewhere on this page. These are generally offered in Spring and Summer. If you can already balance, brake, steer and pedal a bike, explore The League of American Bicyclists library of how-to-ride videos, such as
- Plan your trip - Riding with traffic can feel scary in the beginning, use Portland's Bike and Walk Maps to help choose a route that will feel comfortable and safe. Look for these features on the map:
- Neighborhood greenways - These are low-traffic and low-speed streets that give priority to pedestrians and people biking. Shown in green on the maps, they feature street symbols called "sharrows" to help you find your way
- Bike lanes - Protected, buffered, and regular bike lanes are shown in blue
- Multi-use paths - off-street trails for people biking, walking and rolling, no cars allowed, shown in purple
Try a pre-planned route - If you want to enjoy a ride on Portland's network of low-stress bikeways, choose one of the routes on our Suggested Rides page.
During your ride
- Look for bike symbols and signs - Learn the most common symbols and markings to stay safe and share the road appropriately.
- Take your bike on the bus or MAX Light Rail - Discover parking options by station, and how to load your bike on bus, MAX Light Rail, and Portland Streetcar.
After your ride
- Lock your bike - Make sure to register your bike and always lock it.
- Take care of your bike
- Flat tire and preventative maintenance instructions - Learn these simple steps to keep your bike running safely and smoothly.
- How to fix a flat tire (Video)
- Resources on bike repair and maintenance - Includes drop-in repair space, brief workshops and in-depth classes.
MADE POSSIBLE WITH SUPPORT FROM METRO AND THE FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION.