Boggles my brain, that it took me THIS long to get with the program.
Portland loves bikes! We’re arguably, the bike-friendliest city in America. (Heck, Bike City USA says so!) While local politicians are busy figuring out how to protect, serve and grow our bicycle community, the people are spinning our wheels, en masse.
Never one to follow the herd, bicycling made it’s way into my heart – recently – only after I became accustomed to the numerous, costly drawbacks of driving an automobile.
Bought my car in October. It was my first time owning a car with a manual-transmission, and I’ll never forget the day I went on the car lot and asked the cute young salesman to teach me how to drive stick. After we practiced/test drove an ugly teal Toyota, I came across this sexy little black Kia hatchback… Immediately I knew, it was the one.
Drove that car like it was nobody’s business. So, it hasn’t taken long for the costs to start adding up. Payments, insurance, gas, parking, and tickets. The tickets! Ugh.During my recent road trip with Becky Jean, the single most expensive item (far beyond the cost of gas for the entire week) was the speeding ticket I got on the long drive home.
Vowed to start biking again.
My bicycle is a blue schwinn, probably from the 70’s. It’s got some dings, and it squeaks most of the time as I pedal, but it gets the job done. When I see people checking it out, I know – it’s not because they’re impressed with it’s coolness. They’re impressed it actually, still rides.
Given to me by a friend, last summer (who was horrified that I, a native Portland Oregonian didn’t have one already) my bike is more than a means of transportation. It’s more than exercise. It’s therapy! No matter what is getting me down, a bike ride is guaranteed to make me feel better.
My biggest concerns about cycling are slick brakes in the rain, and cars. There are not many ways to collide with a car and not get hurt. And when it rains (which in Portland, is a lot) my stopping distance gets longer by an order of several magnitudes. I always wear a helmet – but it’s still scary. The only other drawback I can come up with, is repeatedly having to bike up the beautiful, yet hefty, hill that I live on. Someday, maybe, I’ll get used to it… Until then, I’m reminded of my favorite workout motto:
HURT SO GOOD!
When I decided to ride the bike to my daughter’s soccer match over the weekend, I first checked Google for a suggested route to the field. It directed me to a multi-use path, going alongside the 205 freeway. Fantastic!
Approached the 205, cheerfully zoomed past another biker, saying, “Good morning!”
Came to the light, befuddled, not able to see ahead, where the path could be. Paused. Then the dude I’d just passed caught up, so I turned around to ask, “Do you know where the multi-use path is?”
“It’s right here,” said the man, gesturing toward the open gate and paved path behind him, extending far into the distance beyond.
“Whoops!” Laughing at myself for asking how to find something while it was there in front of my eyes. Thanked the man, then flew on by, heading south.
Couldn’t have been happier. Legs pumping, smiling at no-one in particular, I was even singing along the way. It put me in such a great mood – I felt like dancing!
The point is, I’ve officially discovered the joy of biking. Maybe so should you!