Portland's bike culture suits Timbers midfielder's style

Sal Zizzo enjoys his bike commutes to JELD-WEN Field

Sal Zizzo, Timbers vs. Ajax, 5.25.11

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Midfielder Sal Zizzo has become a regular on the Timbers.

One way he’s become a regular Portlander is by getting on his bike.

Zizzo is one of a growing number of players who have settled near the stadium and now bike to work. Working here daily means training, which alternates between Beaverton and JELD-WEN Field. When training is at JELD-WEN, then bike is a quick option.

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“Every morning I get out of bed, wheel my bike out of my apartment and take it down in the elevator, and in four or five minutes I’m there,” said Zizzo.

He and defender Rodney Wallace both picked up their new rides at West End Bikes, not far from where Zizzo lives. (Kevin Goldthwaite is another Timbers bicyclist.)

Portland is known for its bike culture. Everything has its niche here: fixies, road bikes, beaters, stump jumpers, Dutch grocery bikes, Extracycles, baby movers and pedal-powered food carts.

 Photo: Joseph Gallivan

Zizzo’s ride is an understated cruiser in Timbers green, with a front basket for his cleats and his groceries.

He’s in it for pure convenience. “It’s a lot quicker than getting the car out, dealing with the one-ways and then parking.”

As for getting more serious about biking, he says, “Maybe one day, but right now it’s something to get me from point A to B, quick and easy.”

Certainly the fleet-footed winger doesn’t need it for his health and fitness. Training consists of two hard hours a day, plus the expectation to come early and stay late for core work and weights.

“I’m not using it for bike hikes or anything. We usually rest when we’re not training,” he said. “For me [the ride to work] is a decent warm up in the morning, it gets your legs going.”

The team has rules about players not indulging in dangerous activities such as motorcycling or snowboarding, but bikes are in the clear.

“I always wear a helmet,” he added.