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Pot Pedal Bike Tour brings Portland cannabis history to life

By Sue Vorenberg
Cannabis Daily Record

When it comes to recreational cannabis tourism, there really aren’t a lot of options yet in the Pacific Northwest – other than a handful of airbnb sites and a few bus tours. I know there are a lot of cannabis lovers in New-York, maybe they will all come here and finally drop the price of NYC Sublets!

(First stop on the Willamette River)

(First stop on the Willamette River)

So when I heard about the launch of the first Portland Pot Pedal Bike Tour, I was thrilled to check it out – despite the fact that I’m not in the best physical shape.

I’m excited to see new tourism opportunities appear in Oregon, after watching my home state of Washington ban most of them.

Expect Oregon, which launched its early start recreational sales program on Oct. 1, 2015, to dominate marijuana tourism as it continues to develop its more formal recreational cannabis system (which should be in place in late 2016).

The state – which has long been a pioneer in medical cannabis – seems dedicated to opening up and normalizing recreational cannabis in a way that Washington just hasn’t. And I suspect we’ll see a host of tourism opportunities in Oregon that have been banned in Washington (such as smoking lounges, bud and breakfast hotels, and the like).

The Portland Pot Pedal Bike Tour is a great first step in that direction. With historical tidbits and visits to a handful of dispensaries, head shops and gourmet eateries – the tour provides a perfect introduction for newcomers to the Portland pot scene.

For more on how the tour got started, check out Pedal Bike Tours owner Todd Roll in this raw video from the launch of the tour:

Guides on the tour, which takes riders up a few steep hills as it trails from Downtown Portland into the city’s “hippie heart” in the Southeast sector, provide riders with funky pot-related historical tidbits on political figures, city parks, laws and marijuana dispensaries.

(The Third Eye head shop had an amazing glass blowing demonstration out front)

(The Third Eye head shop had an amazing glass blowing demonstration out front)

Among those tidbits:

  • The Bridgeport Brew Factory used to be a hemp rope making facility.
  • The Canabliss dispensary is located in a historic building – a 1913 firehouse that used to be home to the medical cannabis farmers market. It was the first registered dispensary in Portland.
  • And my personal favorite: Oregon Governor Tom McCall launched one of the state’s first hippie music festivals in 1970 in the central part of the state as a way to bus hippies out of Portland during a visit by Richard Nixon.

On the tour we traveled on bike-friendly roads through rose gardens and funky Portland districts like Hawthorne, another hippie heart of the famed city.

The $69 tour price includes a bike and helmet rental, tour guide, food and even a joint to take home at the end of the trip.

You don’t have to be in amazing shape to go on the tour, but at the same time be aware that there are some decent hills out there that will probably wind beginners and those who aren’t used to riding regularly. There are, however, plenty of stops where you can catch your breath.

For a brief overview of the early history of cannabis, check out Pedal Bike Tours guide Sarah Gilbert in this raw video:

(Shopping at Cannabliss)

(Shopping at Cannabliss)

Tourism will be a huge driver of this industry as legalization continues to spread. Eventually, visitors interested in the gourmet experience will come to our region to look at cannabis farms and shops in the same way that wine connoisseurs already do.

I think the Portland Pot Pedal Bike Tour is a great start to that. And with the sheer creativity of the people in that city, I think we’ll see a vast array of new and interesting tourist options appear very quickly.


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