Brian Hunt spent some time in Portland this summer sampling swimming holes, strip clubs, and some good concrete. Since he is a full time Austin resident and I always here the debate on which city is better I thought I’d shoot him some questions and let you guys decide.
1. What are the perks of each city riding wise?
Portland has the most amazing concrete parks, great street spots, and some really fun trails. I mostly come for the concrete since you can ride 3-4 incredible parks a day maybe more. The weather in the summer is untouchable, such crisp clean air and perfect temps.
Austin has everything. Concrete parks, incredible trails (East Side), legendary spots (9th St.) ditches, street and you can’t forget one of my favorite ramps ever, T1.
2. Where are your favorite places for food in each city?
Oh man there are too many great places to eat in Portland as well as drink. I’m a huge craft beer fan so all the breweries get me psyched. I know I’m going to forget a bunch of awesome spots. There’s a ton of great places on Alberta st. but La Sirinitas is always a great choice any time of day for tacos. I love McmMnamins Kennedy School with the best tator tots, beer milkshakes, and a giant hot tub that fits like 40 people. Portland City Grill has happy hour with the best view in the city 30 floors up overlooking everything including Mt. Hood on a clear day. Montage for the best mac n cheese and they take your leftovers and wrap them in crazy foil shapes like scorpions and flower bouquets, it’s wild. I feel like I could go on forever. Dechutes brewery for all the beer and pub food.
Whole foods in Austin, they have everything you want and you will always run into someone you know there. It’s also pretty easy on the eyes all day long but especially when the local yoga classes let out. Burger night at Jos is my spot. Best buy one get one free burgers in town. Al Pastor, the best breakfast taco spot ever, anyone I’ve ever taken there wants to go back everyday. One of the must go to spots is definitely ALC, the guy who runs it @thescottymezcal is a rad skateboarder who is homies with everyone at the skatepark all morning then shaking hands with the Mayor and serving up the best food in the afternoon. He has the best appetizers and easily the best burgers and steaks. I know that might sound confusing after talking about Jos but the best burger and best buy one get one are very different. Chuy’s happy hour is the best after hitting Barton springs all afternoon and easy on most of the dudes trying to eat lots for cheap. Buy one drink (2.50) and there’s an all you can eat nacho bar. Dudes always love that one. There are too many places in Austin as well.
3. When it comes to nightlife where are your go to places in each city and why?
Well it’s no secret Sassys is a great place to spend a night or 7, haha. There are so many fun places to hang and grab a beer. I can’t even remember them all but I had different craft beers every single evening and that was a treat. Magic Garden? We saw some strong rotations, haha.
In Austin I’m usually looking for more craft beer or margaritas. Craft pride has 54 beers on tap all made in Texas and they do not disappoint. Polvos and Baby A’s for margaritas. Baby A’s has a purple margarita and it’s so strong they can only serve you 2 and you’re cut off. The best thing about Austin is pretty much every bar has some sort of backyard patio setup which is always good vibes. Side Bar has the strongest drinks, pool tables, and there’s always friends inside. Most dudes always migrates to Shakespeare’s by the end of the night, $5 liquor pitchers, dance parties, single girls, and the owners/staff all ride BMX or are great friends with most of the riders in town. I don’t know I could be anywhere.
4. What is something you actually dislike about each city?
Portland with the rainy winter for sure. I guess that’s what makes the summer so special though. The hills are pretty wild in spots too.
Austin has some of the worst traffic ever. That’s usually driving me nuts. If you visit and don’t have a car it’s kind of good because you might not really notice it.
5. Where is the most boosty quarter in each city?
Oh man that’s a tough one. I’d have to say for me on this trip I really took a liking to St. John’s deep bowl. If you want, that thing can send you to the moon.
In Austin definitely the deep end at Mabel Davis, it takes a bit to get used to but once you get it you’re golden.
6. What is the first thing you do when you get off the plane at each spot?
Somehow in Portland I almost always end up at Tigard or some amazing park right off the plane.
Austin I always go to my favorite Mexican spot because I miss the food.
7. Which city do you leave your bike locked up in the shadiest spots?
Portland for sure. In Austin it was just bad luck and cable locks that was the problem. I know now how mad bike thieves are in Austin. Portland dudes just got me a little too loose once or twice.
8. If someone asked you about each cities scene how would you describe it?
I think the scenes are pretty similar and that’s why I love both so much. Both have such a scene of OG’s, all of today’s shredders, and then a bunch of up and coming kids. Visiting both places I always left feeling apart of the scene for a quick minute and it always felt like either one would be easy to move to. Obviously I ended up picking Austin but I always feel great being in Portland.
9. What city is easiest to get around on your bike?
I’d say both are just about even. Portland has the max which can take you all around the city and to a few parks if you want and the city is pretty easy to pedal around besides the hills (mostly to the trails).
Austin is really easy on a bike. I would always visit in the winter without my car and I did just fine. All the things I want to ride are easy to get to pedaling around town and if you want to hit the parks outside of town you just find a ride with a buddy.
10. Tell the readers one thing they should know about each city if they are wanting to visit?
One thing? Portland: Sassys and Burnside. Austin: Barton springs and east side.