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Portland Bureau of Transportation

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Guardian: Slowpoke Bike Commuters the Fastest


With the mercury rising, there's not a lot of draw to biking into work as quickly as you can. In our laid-back Portland mien, we try to embrace the moment and not the minutes saved. It's hard to notice the scenery when you're pushing 20 mph in 10th gear.

You tell us that you would love to slow down and chill - but you don't have the time.

We sagely nod our head, looking at you with compassion.

As it turns out, you can ride at a mild and comfortable pace and actually get to your desk faster than the spandex warrior. How do you achieve such a counter-intuitive feat?

According to a very un-scientific study in the UK's Guardian, the trick is in the sweat - or the lack therof.

People who ride in competition with Armstrong and Contrador arrive to work drenched and need to change clothes and/or shower. The zen-like tortoise arrives several minutes later, but proceeds directly to her/his desk without the need for a change or bath.

So throw on that sun dress or fetching seer sucker suit. We'll see you at the office.



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Joe Stewart

July 20, 2009 at 10:32 PM

Bicyclists are encouraged to ride slowly.

This seems contradictory to previous claims that bicyclists can mingle with traffic because they can gain and maintain speeds that do not interfere with traffc flow.

Did I miss something?


Stephen Hoyt-McBeth

July 21, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Hi Joe,

Thanks for your comment. Whether bicyclists choose to ride in traffic depends on their speed and comfort in close proximity to cars. We encourage people to only ride in a manner that is comfortable for them while being legal and safe.

In our downtown, we do suggest bicyclists ride in the middle of the lane (known colloquially as "taking the lane"), as the traffic lights are timed at 11 mph speeds.

Some folks can ride at that speed without a lot of exertion. For others, that might not be the case. They can ride on the side of the lane.

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