This morning I woke up before the birds in our backyard, the kind of early I used to do all the time when I was teaching. Why? Because I have a friend who’s still teaching, and I was determined that before the school year ended, he would bike to work at least once.
He’s been talking about biking to school all year but he’s not a huge rider and was somewhat concerned about the route, not to mention nervous about what he would do if he ran into bike issues. To help him feel more comfortable, I promised to ride with him. And today was the day.
We talked over the route on the phone yesterday, him looking at GoogleMaps and me at my Metro bike map (yep, I bought a new one;) to figure out what the best way there and back would be. Since he lives near me in SE Portland and works in Gladstone, there’s a killer hill between him and school on SE Flavel Drive–fine on the way to school, but a little hard on the way home. We tried to find a way back that avoided it.
I met him at his house just as he was strapping a little bag to the back of his bike. Because we’d planned this on Sunday, he used yesterday to bring to school all the stuff he needed to be ready for work today, which meant that his towel, soap (they have showers there!), nice clothes, and whatever else he wanted for work today was already there. All he had to do this morning was roll out of bed and get on his bike. Okay, I’m sure there was more to it than that, but still:) This struck me as a good way for people who feel that they have too much stuff to carry to at least bike some of the time: drive to work on Monday, drop off all the clothes and whatever else you’ll need for the week, and then bike the rest of the week:)
It turned out to be a super pleasant ride. That early in the morning there’s basically no traffic to worry about; we could bike next to each other and chat without pissing people off even in the few spots where there was no bike lane. In 40 minutes of biking, we got a chance to catch up more than we have in probably the last three months. And we made it the 9ish miles to his school even faster than GoogleMaps estimated we would:)
He totally could have done this without me. But sometimes, a friendly and persistent presence who is damn well going to show up at your door and bike there with you is the difference between wanting to bike and actually doing it. And on my end, I get a super awesome bike ride, a chance to hang out with my friend, and a wonderfully early start to my day. We both win on this exchange, I think:)
Bike buddies are the best:)