May 11th, 2011

Postcard from Portland

Let me start by thanking HetFairWheel Podium and BikeRealtor.Com for an insanely great day. Fairwheel is a small gallery, that trades bikes the way galleries in Chelsea move art. They have bikes there you can't even buy: collaborative efforts by artists and artisans. Where esle by America, as we might say! They recently handled The world's lightest bike. One prospective buyer arrived by Lear Jet, and was refused purchase because he didn't truly appreciate what he was buying. Don't you love those kinds of stories!

Meanwhile, people moving to Portland with the dream of living car free, and growing herbs in the backyard, usually end up doing open home tours by bike, led by Kirsten Kaufman of Can I tell you how nice it is to meet a realestate agent who doesn't turn up in a cheap suit and leased German car, but on a locally handmade steel bike, with a fresh flower on the handlebars, and dressed ready for showers.       

Portland is the only city in America that in no way gives me the creeps. The interstate freeways that used to run along the river here have been politely propped up in the air on the far edge of town, in the form of bypasses, leaving a river front park and relatively quiet CBD. For reasons I've been furiously researching (and that you'll find in my wonderful overpriced book), the bike share here is 10%, ten times the Australian and American average in cities. Bike racks outside certain cafes and brew pubs look like custom bikes shows, people expressing themselves through their bikes the way hoons back home do with their cars. At the time of writing there are 36 registered frame builders in town, even more micro breweries, and Tattoo artists with time in Warhol's Factory on their list of credits (I made that up, but hey, it might well be true). Criticisms of this city are borne purely of jealousy, for what other city can boast residents who don't pine for elsewhere? No more time to write I'm afraid, so here are some more videos, in that shaky handheld iPhone style I have almost perfected. Already, I hear, top Hollywood producers are working to emulate the wind-in-mic effect that characterises my style. Given I'm here in the land of IP, I guess I should look into protecting my style with a patent.