On 27 April, a group of riders, led by Peter Murray, Chairman of NLA: London’s Centre for the Built Environment, set off on the Portland 2 Portland ride. They are to cover 4,500 miles from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place, London. They have been working their way across the American northwest through sunshine, rain and in the case of South Dakota, strong persistent headwinds sweeping the entire state. And now they have finally reached Chicago for a couple of rest days via Minneapolis.
By the time they had reached Minneapolis, the intrepid riders had cycled 2,227 miles, spent 229 hours in the saddle and burnt 80,390 calories each. In the larger conurbations, local campaign groups have been keen to show the British riders around and demonstrate how the transportation authorities in various cities deal with the bicycle on their streets.
One of the main reasons for the ride is carry out a research project where the team shall be comparing infrastructure and facilities across the cities they encounter, firstly as a desktop study based on completed policies, plans and strategies. However, it is one thing to read documents and try and guess what a city is like on a bicycle based on Google Streetview. It’s quite something else to actually experience it.
To this end, they shall be talking to local cyclists and policy makers, riding the facilities directly from the good, the bad and the ugly, and reporting in print and digital formats. A study of North American bicycle infrastructure and experiences seen through British eyes will be very valuable as the British work out the best ways to progress bicycle facilities in their towns and cities.
The riders had already conducted training rides to Freiburg, Copenhagen and Rotterdam to provide experience in the legs and also because Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands are exemplars in different types of bicycle infrastructure enjoying far higher modal shares than the UK. They make striking comparisons to what cities across the US and UK are facing up to in terms of sustainable transport networks.
There’s obviously a lot more riding to do in this grand endaevour. You can join in either for one of the legs of their grand voyage across the US, Ireland, Wales and England or, if you don’t have cream for saddle soreness, you can make a donation. All monies will go to Article 25, Architecture for Humanity and the Architects Benevolent Society.