PortlandNeighborhood.com

Welcome to YOUR Portland Neighborhood Community

I remember, when my wife and I were getting acclimated to our new lives in Portland after having moved from Texas, being amazed at the number of people we saw riding bicycles.

To 'amazed' let me add 'nonplussed' and 'nervous' and every once in awhile but still too often for my comfort, 'terrified'. This was in 1992, when there were fewer bicycle commuters than now, but that's relative of course. Never in Dallas Texas would you have seen this number of riders on the street, and we found that we quickly needed to learn a whole 'nother set of motoring skills so that we didn't kill someone or find ourselves contused by irate cyclists flailing U-locks at our heads or flinging D-cells through our windshield. I remember once turning to my wife as we drove through downtown and saying “I just might as well get used to the idea that I'm gonna hit one of these {expletive}s one day”.

Not that many years later, I was one of the ones who occasionally wanted to exercise a little U-lock justice (but I never did, never have, and you shouldn't either, I feel compelled to point out). My first bike was a Magna, bought at a K-Mart for $59.00. Didn't take long at all to understand the error of my ways with that landfill-ready knee-sprainer, and so soon afterward I was the proud owner of a “comfort mountain” bike that was much sturdier but very heavy, steel being real, y'all. Two years later and I had yet another bike, my current machine, a 2004 Trek 7500FX. It was very soon after that I was commuting to work via bike.

I can't be counted among the ranks of the bike commandos who've become so identified with Portland's “bike culture”, the ones who wear street clothes and eschew helmets in favor of knit caps, lazily cranking track bikes at an effortless 30 mph or faster. For one, I'm too interested in my own comfort, hence the padded shorts worn under cargo shorts (I'm modest, and you're grateful), and I actually look like I weigh more than my bicycle (Jeez, but some of these people need a sangwich!). I'm also very invested in my own safety, so I wear a helmet at all times, and gloves, and a reflective vest after nightfall, and use the best lighting options I can afford. If there is a poster boy for the ideal Portland cyclist image as defined by the younger bike-y set, he's probably left tire marks up my back. I get passed a lot.

But I enjoy myself. I'm courteous to motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. I obey the rules of the road to the best of my ability while still insisting upon my share of the roadway. When I commute via bike, I arrive at work in a great mood, flushed and feeling like a warrior, doubly so after a cold and rainy Portland morning. The Rob you get after a brisk morning ride is the best Rob, the kindest Rob. Ask my co-workers. Ask my wife.

I love watching others on their bicycles, too. No matter the bike, the rider, or when or where, there is a quiet gliding grace in the motion of organic and mechanical systems entwined. Spindle and sinew, sensuality. I'm not trying to get you all horned up, I'm just trying to express how people on elegant yet practical machines, through physical effort and momentum, become kinetic objects of beauty and well-being.

It doesn't hurt that picture at all that we citizens of this city are rolling through some of the most beautiful landscape to be had anywhere near an urban environment. The ride I took on the Springwater earlier this week is a very good example. It had been some time since I'd pointed the front wheel east, and throughout the ride I was asking myself why.

What's not to like?

“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.” -Samuel Clements (Mark Twain)

Views: 110

Comment

You need to be a member of PortlandNeighborhood.com to add comments!

Join PortlandNeighborhood.com

Comment by Rob Creighton Garrison on February 24, 2012 at 9:18am

Thanks for the comments!  :oD

Comment by Angela Higgins on February 24, 2012 at 8:24am

"and I actually look like I weigh more than my bicycle (Jeez, but some of these people need a sangwich!)"  LOLOL, Bob!  


Seriously, though, this is my favorite of your blogs yet. I, too, lovelovelove riding my bike. Few things compare to how wonderful it feels. :)

Comment by Lorri E. on February 24, 2012 at 6:10am

Seriously,  I love that ride through Springwater Corridor.  It is just another one of those places that gives me that feeling (which I have so often) of wanting to give Portland  big hug for being such a great place to live.  I mean, geez, how lucky are we to have bike paths and trails everywhere, and with such great scenery?  Yeah, it's sappy, but I mean it.  We are so fortunate that I think we don't realize it until we go visit other cities and there is nary a bicycle or trail in sight.

Latest Activity

Karen Karger shared their event on Facebook
Dec 17, 2018
Karen Karger posted an event
Thumbnail

Oregon Sinfonietta Performs Rarely Heard Ethel Smyth ‘Serenade’ in Free Concert at Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church

January 20, 2019 from 3pm to 5pm
The award-winning Oregon Sinfonietta, now in its 46th season and conducted by Dr. Donald L. Appert, is a full symphony orchestra of 75+ members that draws together community musicians from the greater Portland metro area. The Sinfonietta performs four free concerts per season. On Sunday, January 20, 2019 at 3:00 pm, the orchestra presents music by Ethel Smyth, Mozart and Butterworth. Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie for…See More
Dec 17, 2018
Ann Singer posted an event
Thumbnail

Rogue Pack Yoputh Theatre Open House at Sellwood Playhouse

December 1, 2018 from 10am to 4pm
Rogue Pack storytelling theatre for youth at the Sellwood Playhouse will be having an Open House to introduce our lineup of spring classes, play games, and eat some food! We will be telling our stories through writing, drawing and collage. Drop in; write your six-word memoir, a tweet story. Act out your story by playing some improvisational theatre games; or draw and collage your story. There is no one way to tell your story, so you get to choose.See More
Nov 17, 2018
Tara Lemezis posted an event
Thumbnail

Winter Break Camp at Portland Audubon at Audubon Society of Portland

December 17, 2018 at 8:45am to December 28, 2018 at 4:15pm
Don't miss Portland Audubon's Winter Break camp! Whether campers are snowshoeing on Mt. Hood and staying overnight at our new Marmot Cabin, learning the art of candle-making, visiting a wolf sanctuary, or making nature inspired art, our educators are dedicated to helping every camper build an authentic and meaningful relationship with the natural world, all while playing games, making friends and exploring!See More
Oct 23, 2018
Karen Karger posted an event

Oregon Sinfonietta Performs Mahler Symphony No. 4 in Free Concert at Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church

November 4, 2018 from 3pm to 4:30pm
The award-winning Oregon Sinfonietta, now in its 46th season and conducted by Dr. Donald L. Appert, is a full symphony orchestra of 75+ members that draws together community musicians from the greater Portland metro area. The Sinfonietta performs four free concerts per season. On Sunday, November 4, 2018 at 3:00 pm, the orchestra presents Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No 4. in G Major. Joining the orchestra for this…See More
Sep 22, 2018
Elisabeth Allie posted an event
Thumbnail

Holiday Wine Sale: 12 for $12 at Pairings Portland Wine Shop & Bar

September 28, 2018 at 12pm to September 30, 2018 at 6pm
Come stock up on delicious wine for the holidays! Here's how it works:• 12 handpicked wines all selling for $12 a bottle• $12 to taste all 12 wines• 12% off EVERY BOTTLE on our shelves• BONUS GIFT: Two tickets to a Food & Wine Pairing Class when you buy 12+ bottlesJoin us:Friday Sept 28--12 to 10 pmSaturday Sept 29--12 to 10 pmSunday Sept 30--12-6 pmSee More
Sep 18, 2018
Karin Kaufmann shared their event on Facebook
Sep 13, 2018
Karin Kaufmann posted an event
Thumbnail

Artistic Portland introduces “Art After Dark” at First Thursday Gallery Art Walk in October 2018 at Artistic Portland

October 4, 2018 from 2pm to 9pm
Artistic Portland, a downtown co-operative gallery of 40 local artists, will open its doors for “Art After Dark,” from 6:30 to 9:00 pm, on October 4, 2018.  The evening of music, wine, food and art will give the public a chance to meet many of the artists behind the creative work at the gallery. Husband and wife duo The Sweet Peas will play from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, and everyone is welcome to the free event. This summer Artistic Portland celebrated its five-year anniversary at 318 SW Taylor Street,…See More
Sep 13, 2018

Badge

Loading…

Powell's Books Picks

© 2019   Created by Lorri E..   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service