It is such a relief that the Portland roads are ice-free and clear — not just the major roads full of cars but the lower-traffic neighborhood greenways and bike paths too — and I can ride my bike again.

Last week I would have told you that I was doing a great job getting out of the house and exploring via foot while the whole world was iced over here, and I think it’s true that I was. But yesterday when I could finally get out on my bike, it was like a whole new feeling of freedom, like oh my gosh this is what I was missing.


(these bikeshare bikes at Mt Tabor definitely did not get a lot of use for a while, heh. I took this picture as they were finally starting to melt again, but check out the sweet icicles on the seat:)


The best I can explain it is that biking feels like a whole different level of roam. I’m grateful that we live where we do and I’m as mobile and healthy as I currently am and that on foot I can get to many lovely parks, grocery stores, restaurants, sweet little neighborhood nooks, coffee shops, friend’s houses… there is a lot of awesome around our neighborhood, and I fully take advantage of that. But when I bike, I can go alllll over the city, to adjacent cities, even an adjacent state; I can see rivers and lakes and wetlands; I can visit far-flung friends or ride to Forest Park where I could take a 30+ mile trail run if I wanted to. There’s just so much more on my bike.

And when I finally busted out on my bike again yesterday, a little more carefully than normal since it was still pretty slushy, I was SO EXCITED to be able to stretch my roam again, to see neighborhoods I haven’t seen for over a week, to see the Willamette River again. As much as I dearly love my pedestrian wanders, it was soo nice to wander just a bit faster and farther than I’ve been able to get with my feet only.


(Oaks Bottom was still mostly frozen today despite the fact that most of the ice and snow has melted otherwise)


I do realize the irony of wanting a larger roam, since I think that is why many people feel that cars give them freedom. I do realize that with a car I could more quickly get even further and that, technically speaking, my roam would be larger. And if that were the only thing that went into my personal feelings of freedom, then maybe I would want a car. Indeed, I am grateful that cars or something like them exist sometimes, like it was nice that James and I could rent (an electric!!:) car to go to a part of the coast not served by transit a few weekends ago; it is nice sometimes to borrow a car from our neighbors to go on a hike that we wouldn’t be able to get to and back from with our bikes in one day. But cars don’t feel like freedom to me the way my bike does, where I can point it in literally any direction and go where my whim takes me, where I can stop whenever I want, where if I see a friend I can turn around and ride with them for a while, where parking is never a thing, where I only have to feed my bike my own muscle power and light maintenance, where I experience the world as I move through it, where every second of it is me translating my bodily energy into movement to and through where I want to be in this world, where every moment is exploration and feeling alive.

I do appreciate that I can use a car sometimes, but never once when I’ve gotten in a car after not being in one for a while have I though oh my gosh I missed this so much the way I do with my bike.


(the pond at Laurlhurst Park from a long microspiked wander:)


There’s another whole essay I could write here about transit and the way public transit does or does not feel like freedom. But I’ll leave that for another day:)

Point being, I missed riding my bike so much this past week. I didn’t ride at all between last Friday morning and yesterday, eight and a half full days of bikelessness. Which maybe doesn’t sound like that much but is crazy for me given that it is extremely rare, unless I’m off somewhere backpacking or something, that I don’t ride my bike at least once every day).



(from the coast, not from Portland:) But DUDE, I had never seen the fricken BEACH freeze! That is frozen ocean froth!)


Randomly: In another funny angle on this, before ice storm, I had been loving walking so much. James frequently made fun of me since I would come back from random walks to tell him that walking just feels so physically good these days, like the sensation of my legs walking me through the world has felt really good on my muscles, back, body in general in a way that I just love and apparently couldn’t stop talking to James about, ha. BUT, over the last week, when I was only walking, I kind of lost sight of the fact that it all felt so good, maybe because I started thinking more about how I missed biking. So, no real moral of that story other than maybe variety in freedom and wandering is the spice of life. For me, anyway. And, I’m excited to bike. And I also love walking. The end.

One Comment:

  1. Variety truly is the spice of life. :-)

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