I’m kind of obsessed with porteur bicycles, simply because they are so damned beautiful in their simplicity. Though variations of this style of bike have been used around the world for transporting goods on the flat rack over the front wheel, Parisian newspaper couriers owned these utilitarian rides in the mid 1900s, the Porteurs des Journaux.
This obsession, along with the need for a commuter bike, resulted in my buying a plug-and-play version of a porteur last year—a basic Linus Roadster with a Velo Orange Porteur rack. The bike has served me well for the last year on my 10-mile daily commute. I just strap my laptop to the rack and go, no need for a sweaty backpack or unbalanced panniers hanging over the back tire.
But recently I have become interested in the modified, motley porteurs I see around Portland that are jimmy-rigged from old bike frames and clunky racks, and the one above is my favorite of that style. I first saw it parked in front of Whole Foods on Sandy and 43rd and I had to drive around the block to get a second look (and to snap this drive-by photo). I love its garish colors, hot pink heavy-duty rack and mismatched rims, not to mention the green seat and pink break lines. It’s a complete 180 from the precious porteurs I had been fetishizing before—those hand-made versions that take years to actually get underneath you (and to pay for).
A month or two later, I saw the bike again. It was being pedaled down Sandy Blvd. by a guy in lime green coveralls. I think he had dreadlocks. He may have been wearing a pink hard hat. Anyway, we’ve been doing series of posts here called “This Is My Bike” for a while now, and what I loved about that was how it showed how bikes can be a reflection of the rider—in the same way a dog and its master strangely resemble one another. This was one of the most overt expressions of that. It reminded me that we need to resurrect our TIMB posts. And that I should have been on my bike next to him instead of in my car.