Category Archives: Everything Bicycles
The adage “what’s old is new again” is surely the case in Portland’s Old Town. A small and dense area known for its historic cast iron fronted buildings, Old Town encompasses both Chinatown and the Downtown blocks closest to the Willamette River. For almost a decade now Pedal Bike Tours has been located near the heart of this neighborhood and we’ve seen lots of transitions. That’s why it’s time to look at what’s new in old town Portland.
If you’re visiting Portland and looking for things to do in Portland, especially downtown, there’s no better neighborhood to get a feel for both old Portland and new Portland. It’s a region of dichotomies, just like the city itself. Historic structures sit next to cranes erecting future buildings, hot dance clubs are nestled next to homeless centers. It’s authentic Portland because it embraces both its history and its future. Here’s our top stops to get a taste of both.
Portland Outdoor Store: Let the neon sign with a bucking bronco entice you into this two-story western supplies and clothing store. Take selfies with a big-brim hat, ogle the massive amounts of saddles, try on some cowboy boots, and get lost in the aisles of this century old Portland icon.
Oregon Leather Co: Looking for some leather? How about a skunk skull? No? Maybe a rabbit pelt? Even if these aren’t on your shopping list, walking into this 110 year old family owned business is a trip back in time. Inhale the forgotten fragrance of raw leather, ponder the potential of making your own moccasins, and maybe leave with a handmade wallet or belt. At the least, you’ll have glimpsed Old Town Portland unchanged and without ego.
Voodoo Donuts: Alright, it may only be 15 years old rather than 150, but it harkens back to a gritty time when Burnside was a no-go tourist zone and the Paris Theater
next door was catering to “adults,” mostly men if you know what we mean, not the artsy types it now attracts. In fact, it’s possible the neighbors were an influence when Voodoo came up with their tagline, “The Magic Is In The Hole.” With surly service and a cash-only policy, Voodoo maintains its anarchistic, punk rock roots. So yes, it’s old school Portland… with a new school line out front.
Pine Street Market: The city’s first food hall, we often describe this new marketplace
as affordable and simple street food concepts from some of Portland’s best chefs and restaurateurs. Warm up with Marukin’s authentic ramen, fill up with rotisserie chicken from Pollo Bravo (sibling to Toro Bravo), grab a slice of cheese pizza at
Mother’s Bistro: As famous for their french toast as they are for their breakfast lines, this Portland establishment is popular for a reason. It’s mom’s recipes re-imagined with a gourmet twist and a swanky dining room – still just as comfortable though, because as the restaurant’s saying goes, “It’s all about the love.” As of early February 2019, Mother’s moved into the more spacious and beautiful digs below the Embassy Suites in Old Town. That means a shorter wait time for a table, and now only 2 blocks from our shop. Thanks, Mom! I mean, chef Lisa Schroeder.
What does Oregon have that much of the rest of the world does not? Fresh hop beers, and tis the season! Locals can rejoice and visitors can revel in their luck of being in the right place at the right time.
With more than 75% of American hops grown in Oregon and Washington, not to mention that the hops must be used within 24 hours of picking in order to make these special seasonal beers, Oregon is the place to be for the next couple weeks. Harvest just happened and the beers are starting to roll out. Guests on our Oregon Brewery Trail tour are already getting samples, but if you’re just interested to do hit a couple places on your own, here’s a quick list of some top brewery picks where fresh hop beers are already on tap.
Fresh Hops On Tap At…
1. Little Beast Brewing Beer Garden – Fresh Hop Fera
A personal favorite, brewer Charles Porter takes his knack for mixed
fermentation farmhouse ales and gives it a fresh hop kick. You can even soak up
some sun on a picnic blanket while enjoying a glass.
2. Lucky Lab – Simcoe Fresh Hop Pale Ale – This is a product of their fresh hop
harvest from hops grown at their NW Portland pub. The public helped pick these
delicious hops, and if you’re on our beer tour they’ll definitely be on the
3. Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House – They currently have 3 new releases
out of more than a dozen planned to hit their taps. Try the Fresh Hop Mirror
Pond, Chasing Freshies, Fresh Hop Hop City IIPA. Yum!
4. Crystal Brewery – Another one on our brewery tour, but sip a Thundercone Fresh
Hop Ale in this eclectically awesome downtown brewpub.
Lastly, don’t miss the opportunity to try dozens of Oregon fresh hop ales this weekend,
Sept 29 & 30th, at the Portland Fresh Hops Beer Fest at Oaks Amusement Park.
The Pedal Team
There’s a reason our Oregon Brewery Tour was named one of the “10 Best Guided Bike Tours in the USA” by Bicycling Magazine. With more than 60 breweries in the city limits, there’s no better way to taste through our hoppy, sour and delicious beer varieties than by bike!
Since July is Oregon Craft Beer Month, it’s a great time to either take the brewery tour, or grab a bike and go sipping around the city. Most breweries in the state hold special events regularly through the month, so be prepared to try something new on tap, or just revel in the celebratory spirit of the month. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of Oregon Craft Beer Month resources below.
And to give you a taste of our Oregon Brewery Tour, the talented team at Anthem Media put you behind the handlebars on a fun, short video of our beloved beer tour.
Some great resources while you explore Portland’s beer scene:
- Travel Portland brief overview of OCBM has great links to top events, festivals and breweries.
- Oregon Craft Beer Month’s official website lists hundreds of events across the state
- Brewpublic is an industry favorite for beer events and news.
Here at Pedal Bike Tours, we often rent bicycles to people who are only in town for a day or few. Portland is famously bicycle-friendly, so when people want to ride, they often come to us for a bike rental. We have a well-maintained fleet of nearly a hundred bicycles that can accommodate adults and children of any size. We’ve put babies in trailers all the way to NBA star LeBron James on one of our tallest bicycles. Just today we fulfilled someone’s lifelong dream of riding a bicycle built for two!
Pedal on the Willamette River Loop
One of the most popular rides for bike rentals starts just a couple blocks from Pedal Bike Tours on the Willamette River. We give great directions on our bike map of Portland when you drop in, but you can also follow the city map (pdf) of this suggested route. Once you are on the river, we direct you north to cross the bike & pedestrian level of the Steel Bridge (pictured below), and then south along the Eastbank Esplanade to Oaks Bottom. Oaks Bottom is a wildlife refuge with a bike path running through it. From there, you can turn around and head back on either side of the river. Riding along the river is great because these days, it’s a car-free experience!
Ride bikes up to the Rose Garden
Another popular ride we recommend for tourists renting bikes at Pedal Bike Tours is the ride through downtown Portland, up the hill, and into the Washington Park International Rose Test Garden. We can mark up a bike map and send you on your way! Here is a self-guided tour (pdf) at the Rose Garden. While you’re up in Washington Park, you can also consider stopping in at the Japanese Gardens.
Portland is a great city for bike rentals and we look forward to seeing you next time you’re in town!
Congratulations to Queen Kapiolani Hotel guest Jordan Mercer on setting the record in her 4th consecutive win of the Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard race. Jordan’s dad Darren rented a bike from us the other day. We’re glad to have met you and glad you chose us as a thing to do in Honolulu for some biking Darren!