Saturday, May 7, 2016

Glut Glutton


It's summer in Portland, or at least it feels like it, and the streets are brimming with cyclists and other active road users.  It's good to see everyone looking healthy and like they're having fun.  As a community, we've been working hard to encourage more people to bike and it's really happening!  However, some more seasoned cyclists, those who've been in Portland for some time, riding for a while, and who regularly brave bad weather, can feel frustrated at the sudden crowd in the bike lane.
 
Portland has experienced a huge boom lately with a large influx of new population.  Who could blame anyone for moving here, it's a great place.  It's our job as current residents to show them the way Portlanders act, which is welcoming and friendly and just pure fun-lovin.  It's also our job to show them that cyclists are courteous, which includes running stop signs in a safe and non-cutting-other-people-off way, and that above all, we enjoy riding our bikes and they can too.

I had an idea during a recent pilgrimage to check out the new Copenhagen-esque North Williams bike corridor.  This is a great game to ward off the feeling of being edged out by the new crowd of cyclists.  Pull up to a light and stop (providing the light is red and you feel like stopping).  Check out the other cyclists around you.  What are they riding?  What are they wearing?  You might catch yourself judging someone's Huffy or feeling jealous of someone's carbon racer.  You might start thinkin one guy's seat is too low, while that other gal's seat is too high.

What if you look at this small group of riders as your new bike gang?  This is the group with whom you'll be fighting zombies, rescuing children, foraging for food, crossing rivers and scaling rock faces.  Suddenly you'll see the riders in a different light.  Maybe you'll realize you're the oldest rider at the light, and although you're proud of your fitness, when the chips are down you might be the weakest link.  Or maybe you'll end being their leader and help them survive by showing them how to fix flat tires and outrun zombies.

Whatever the case, this is your new bike gang and everyone will somehow fit in and contribute to your gang.  Maybe that guy on a Huffy is a doctor and the lady with the weird brakes is a nutritionist who can show everyone where to find berries.  Maybe your prowess in flat fixing will be elevated to a higher level if you're the only one in the group who can do small mechanical bike repairs.  Each of you will have a valuable contribution to the group.  Keep on keepin on people and have some fun!