Marisa HowardMomentum's Portland editor Marisa Howard.
By Marisa Howard
Photo by Misha Ashton
When I was a kid in elementary school, my dad commuted to work on his bike. He rode his metallic-red 1970s Schwinn from the tiny town of Eagle Creek to Northeast 21st Avenue and Sandy Boulevard in Portland nearly 30 miles each way.
My child’s imagination pictured him coasting the big hills with his arms out-stretched or splashing through puddles on the winding country roads that carried him to the city. I compared it to the lazy summer rides I took as a child, pedaling in transparent pink Jellies, my fingers sticky with popsicle residue.
It wasn’t until later in life that – after commuting to work by bike myself – I really considered the commitment he was making. The extra time he built into his morning routine, not just for the ride itself but for the preparation at either end of it. The care he took to navigate shoulder-less country roads and battle drivers who weren’t concerned with his safety.
So, why do we put ourselves through this? Why do we show up to work red faced with rain-induced mascara tears? Perhaps, for you, the answer isn’t simple. Maybe it changes everyday, with every ride. You might ride to save money or for the exercise or maybe just because it feels good. For me, cycling is like the city of Portland, there is always something new to experience and that experience is always open for interpretation.
“You don’t have to be a badass,” said Andrea Updegrave of Pedal Nation, to be part of the cycling community in Portland. And, cycling makes sense in any economic climate, according to Ron Sutphin, owner of United Bicycle Institute. So, why not start now, if you haven’t already? As the City of Portland looks ahead to urban cycling over the next 20 years, where will you fit in?
Why do you ride? Please feel free to share your personal story and be part of the momentum magazine Portland community. Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Portland Editor, Momentum Magazine