Why Portland is the Best City for Personal Electric Vehicles

by freshlycharged

My son and I are searching for the most PEV friendly city and in this article I’m going to share a city that’s got to be near the top of any PEV friendly list.

If you don’t know, PEV stands for personal electric vehicle and is used to refer to micromobility devices like the electric scooter, electric bike, electric unicycle, Onewheel, and electric skateboard. 

We’ve traveled and done many PEV group rides from New York to Hawaii but on a recent trip to Portland, Oregon we experienced one of the most PEV friendly cities we’ve ever visited.

What makes Portland such a PEV friendly city? Here are six characteristics that make a city PEV friendly for things e-scooters, EUC, Onewheel, Eskate, and ebike:

A PEV friendly city needs to be unique

A PEV city needs to be unique, or in Portland’s case, a city that’s weird. Keep Portland weird is the unofficial motto of the city and the people of Portland take pride in being eccentric.

You know what else is weird? Riding on an EUC or Onewheel. But in Portland, it was no big deal when we rolled into a pizza place, everyone on their PEVs wearing full gear. Just another day in weird Portland where the unusual is usual.

A PEV friendly city needs infrastructure

A PEV city has infrastructure. Portland, OR, made a commitment in 2010 to reduce reliance on personal auto use and increase its bike infrastructure and culture by 2030.

Now that we are more than halfway to that goal, you can immediately see how bike friendly Portland is. I have yet to visit a city that has made such a commitment to get around without a car.

Portland Eride night group ride

A PEV friendly city needs foresight

Back in 2010 when the city of Portland made their commitment to bike transportation, they had the foresight to plan for changes in technology. In their vision document they published in 2010 they ended with the following statement:

“A 20-year horizon will likely include many new trends… beyond what exist in 2009. New trends… will arise. This plan prepares Portland to be flexible and agile in responding to new opportunities to invest in the bicycle transportation system.”

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/44597

Hopefully the city of Portland will recognize PEVs as a new trend in personal transportation that is here to stay.

A PEV friendly city finds ways to share the road

The next characteristic that makes a good PEV city is a city that accepts and finds ways to incorporate PEVs instead of banning them. Change is tough and trying to figure out how to safely allow PEVs to share the roads and lanes on a large scale takes work.

It’s much easier for cities and countries just to ban all PEVs but that’s the lazy way out and  it’s certainly not forward thinking. Our group was stopped by some security folks during  our  ride. I was  expecting them to kick us out but instead they were more curious about what we were riding.

Portland seems to be very accepting of them and as one member of the Portland eriders Facebook Group said:

“People are used to us riders and give us space. They accept our new sport.”

Sheridan Miller

A PEV friendly city has an active PEV riding scene

Part of the reason the citizens of  Portland accept  PEVs is  because they are used  to seeing them which leads us to  the next characteristic of a great PEV city: A city with an active PEV group.

The Portland eRiders get together weekly, weather permitting. Being able to meet and ride with others who share the same love for Onewheel, EUC, escooter, and eskate is the best way to grow in the PEV hobby, make new friends, try new devices, explore new paths and trails, and learn about new safety gear and accessories.

A PEV friendly city has PEV champions

Portland has a great PEV group that rides regularly, is filled with passionate PEV fans, and has a rich history. While I never met Robert David Cyders who everyone refers to as “Uno,” I could immediately tell that he had a huge impact on the PEV scene in Portland just from the way so many riders spoke of him during our visit.

Uno Onewheel Robert David Cyders

Here are examples of some of the impact that Robert David Cyders had on the PEV culture in Portland before his death.

Robert David Cyders aka Uno made a huge effort to bring together riders to have as much fun while he made sure they were safe. Spoke to businesses to get accommodations for riders to eat, drink, and ride. He strived to father a group of not just riders but family within the OneWheel community. Not just in Portland but anywhere to connect new relationships. He helped bring about the routes still used. The group has grown and still has core people that knew Robert. My brother is watching from his cloud in heaven. But, this group is more than he could have dreamed. He encouraged more riders to join and to spread the Float Love.

Dianne W

Uno taught me to be a good leader!!! Without his guidance the erider community would not be what it is today.. He cemented our culture into the Portland scene! We carry the flag with pride, our connection to him amd everything he gave to the community.

Jason M

I’d also like to add that Robert tried to spread the joy of Onewheeling to everyone he met. It was something that changed his life, and it was hard not to feel that enthusiasm when you spoke to him. He did quite a bit to unite the group, spread the stoke, and help everyone in their Onewheel journey if asked.

Janda T

Robert David Cyders is the heart and soul of the Portland scene RIP. Portland also has such a nice variety of terrain with trail rides and city rides all within the city limits.

CC Travis

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While I never got to ride with Uno, I could feel his legacy on my Friday night ride. What I love best about the Portland Friday night PEV ride was how accepting everyone was, no matter your skill level or your PEV of choice. 

A PEV friendly city has local PEV repair and maintenance support

The last characteristic of a PEV friendly city is a city with PEV support. PEVs like the Onewheel, Electric scooter, electric unicycle, electric  bikes, and eskate are electric vehicles that need service, support, and maintenance.

The Portland PEV community has options to purchase locally and get  support for their devices with places like REVrides which is just across the bridge in Vancouver, WA.

PEV support for things as simple as a tire change is invaluable to keep the PEV community riding.

PEVs are the best way to explore a new city

I love to travel and there’s no better way to explore a city than on a PEV with locals who know their way around. I’ve done rides in Colorado, Nevada, California, Washington, Florida, New York, Hawaii, and now Oregon. 

I want to thank the good folks in the Pacific Northwest that braved the cold and the rain and came to hang out and ride. I appreciate you all and I look forward to returning to ride when the weather is better.

Interested in PEV group rides? Here are videos from some group rides I have joined in the past:

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We are Andrew and Jimmy, two guys who love personal electric vehicles, and we hope to share our experiences and reviews to help you find the best next PEV for your needs.

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