To test the ease and accuracy of the maps included in the book, I set out on the Northeast Mashup Beer Route one of the 10 trips suggested.
The list of safe routes and bike thruways is probably the book’s most useful feature (besides mapping out where to find some of the best beer in Portland). It makes biking less stressful when all you have to worry about is your ability to stay upright after throwing back a few pints. (Of course, you should drink and bike responsibly, but a minimal buzz is to be expected.)
And there are more than just detailed directions here. Brewery and restaurant descriptions and historical tidbits help you pass for a knowledgeable native rather than a clueless tourist. And the inclusion of cool landmarks and charming parks in which to take a quick breather all came in mighty handy. One of the most beautiful legs of my journey was passing by St. Andrew’s Church on my way to Breakside Brewing, which I would’ve missed without the guide.
Being new to town, and thus completely unfamiliar with the various neighborhoods in Northeast Portland, I did run into some hiccups. The biggest was at mile 4.1, where the directions inexplicably said, “LEFT/RIGHT NE Holman St/NE 8th Ave.” I couldn’t help but think myself rather thick as I queried, “How in the world am I supposed to go left and right?” I could have gone left and then right, or right and then left, but not both at once? The map located to the right of the cue sheet wasn’t much help, since there are no cross streets. Though I had vowed not to use my iPhone during my cycling safari, I broke down and looked up the directions. Twice, actually.
Hop in the Saddle makes for a great daylong adventure for a small group of cycling fiends who also happen to have an insatiable lust for beer, especially with “Bike Nerd Extended Route(s)” options following every shorter route. There is a lot of entertainment value and information in this little book of bike and brew if you take the time to soak it up.
The book release party for Hop in the Saddle is Thursday, November 15 at 7pm at Velo Cult bike shop and bar, 1969 NE 42nd Ave