A quick guide to the two different icons that appears on the map:
On the greenways and bike lanes in Portland, live a special group of people. And if you ever travelled along them, you've probably seen them too. I'm of course talking about the Bikeway Characters! They're an eclectic group, ranging from profession athletes and dead celebrities, to aspiring Mario Kart racers and schools of Fish. Often times they can be a familiar sight on a regular ride, or a nice surprise when you decide to live on the wild side and take a left turn where you'd normally go straight. This website, an ongoing project, aims to be both an archive of the characters, both presently existing or after they've faded away, as well as an encouragement to explore your own neighborhood, you never know when there might be a chicken a few blocks away, and finally as an ode to the city workers who bring these characters to life!
In April of 2021 An Article was published on bikeportland.org talking about three new bikeway characters "coming to life in North Portland". At the end of the article a reference was made to another in which former PBOT employee Kirstin Byer was referred to as the "Curator of Portland's 'random bike art' museum". My first thought upon reading this was "oh cool, there must be some sorta online directory of all the bike characters in the city. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, but out of that disappointment was birthed the idea for this website. So I planned a route that would hit up the three new characters in North Portland and snagged some pictures of them. Since then I've been slowly documenting the various characters as I come across them.
I believe these characters are more than just thermoplastic on a background of asphalt, but they are something that makes biking truly special. You're average traffic sign doesn't have anything in the way of characters, they're standardized and unambiguous, and that's a-ok! We don't need speed signs that looks pretty. Whenever I see one of these lil' fellas hanging out it always makes me so happy. And if I see one that's completely new to me? Well that's just even better.
This map is by no means complete, this will be something that I continue to add to, and since there is no master list of characters, I'll never know when I've "collected" them all.
Until next time, keep on biking,