It’s September! Which means that in Portland, mobs of cyclists hit the streets for the Bicycle Commute Challenge–basically, a giant contest to see which workplace in Oregon or SW Washington can have the highest percentage of trips to and from work made by bicycle.
I don’t usually get super into this contest anymore since September is when I can often take a significant amount of time off. And when I’m not really around for most of the contest, I have a hard time getting really excited about it. Although I do love it so very much in theory:)
BUT, I did work all week this week, and yesterday and today I managed to convince a bunch of other people to eschew the MAX and actually ride all the way up the hill to the zoo with me.
(Today’s crowd of cyclists even showed up despite the morning downpour! And they were still so excited by the time we got to the zoo that they stuck around for pictures!)
Of course we had to take a celebratory photo with the mountain goats, since zoo cyclists climb up that hill like spry little goatsies. We didn’t do too well getting the real goats to show us more than their butts, unfortunately, but hey! We look cute! In that wet-Oregon-biker kind of way! ;)
I’m kind of sad that I’m going to miss the rest of the Commute Challenge, actually. But the last week has me (re)thinking about how awesome it is to be that little voice of encouragement that pushes people ever so slightly out of their comfort zones. Or the voice of excitement that gets people re-invigorated about something that’s become normal. Or just the person who provides the safe opportunity to try something new.
So go forth, everyone! Volunteer to bike with someone new to work! Pick them up at their house. Arrange to meet at a coffee shop and bike the rest of the way together. Tell them silly stories and distract them when the going gets tough. (Heck, if you can throw in some wildlife like the barred owl we saw on the way up on Thursday, it’s even better!:)
Sometimes all someone needs is a bike buddy. In the spirit of September bike commute month, be the biking buddy you’d like to have in the world:)
Oh–random bonus of today’s ride: after we took that picture with the mountain goats, we were already in the zoo with our bikes. Which meant that I got to fulfill my three-year fantasy of biking through the paths in the zoo to get down to my office. I biked past tigers!! Best thing EVER! :)