Connect with Metro
503-797-1804 TDD
503-797-1797 fax

History of the Bike There! map

Tools for living    Getting around    Bike there!    Bike There! map    History of Bike There!

Learn about the making of Metro's Bike There! map and history of biking in the region. Bike There! has guided cyclists around the region for almost 30 years.

Some Metro bike maps through the ages1896

Portlanders have been biking for a long, long time – since 1896 in fact. The 1896 Cyclist's Road Map of Portland District offered road ratings. A good rating was given to a road that "enabled a good rider to make from 10 to 12 miles per hour, including hills. This first map also showed information to help cyclists combine a bike ride with transit. "Cycle to Oregon City, spend the night at the Oregon City Electric Hotel, and take the interurban railroad home the next day!"

The dark ages of biking

The dark ages of biking soon followed. Cars dominated. Bikes were viewed as just for kids. A bike map would have been a laughable concept. And then, times changed again.

80 years later

In the 1970s, people started running for exercise and other athletic forms of recreation took off. In 1979, the Portland Bicycle Map was created by the City of Portland.

"Getting There by Bike"

In 1983, Metro published Getting There by Bike, which was funded by a Federal Highway Administration grant to test and demonstrate low-cost strategies for improving existing transportation systems.

Every few years, Metro updated the map:

  • 1991: Computerized mapping used for the first time, replacing Mylar overlays
  • 1995: Tyvek, material on which the map had been printed since 1983, was abandoned because it was not recyclable; map renamed Bike There! as a nod to the program that funded the first map
  • 1999: Shaded relief and contours used; arrows showing hills deleted
  • 2005: Contour lines deleted; spot elevations and shaded relief used; bike shop locations added
  • 2007: Little change from the 2005 edition
  • 2010: Feedback from people who bike in the region led to exciting new changes for Bike There!

Cyclists looking at Metro's Bike There! mapCyclists shaped the eighth edition of Bike There!

Cyclists talk and Metro listens. Here are the changes that users said they wanted to see in the new Bike There! map, released in 2010:

  • A wider range for recreational and weekend rides
    The new regional map now covers 1.1 million acres, more of the area's landscape than previous maps.
  • Smaller, larger scale maps
    Eleven inset maps that include 23 urban centers show areas in greater detail.
  • More obvious marking of bike boulevards
    Bike boulevards as well as enhanced bike lanes and cycle tracks are made to visually stand out on the map.
  • Better elevation information
    Plan-oblique shaded relief is used on the 11 inset maps. This depiction of relief helps cyclists decode elevation changes without contour lines, which add visual clutter on a map focused on roadways and paths. Arrows and symbols on the inset maps mark the direction of steep slopes.

Metro wants to hear from you!

Help shape the look and usability of the next Bike There! map. Follow this link to take a brief survey. Go to survey

Need assistance?

Regional Travel Options program
503-797-1757 | 503-797-1930 fax

Related Internet links

Places and Activities

The Intertwine is the name for the region's ever-growing network of integrated parks, trails and natural areas. See a regional map of The Intertwine's best-loved outdoor recreation and education locations, and find nature activities, bike rides, bird walks, volunteer opportunities and many workshops on the calendar.

Explore the map
Browse the calendar

New edition

bike map

More routes, more bicycling, more fun

Gear up for bicycling fun with Metro's eighth edition Bike There! map. Learn more

Featured video

I-5 bridge video
Learn how to safely bike across the I-5 bridge with a short video by Metro and Drive Less/Save More. Go

© 2014 Metro. All rights reserved.

Send questions, comments and suggestions about the website to

600 NE Grand Ave.
Portland, OR 97232-2736
503-797-1804 TDD
503-797-1797 fax