You Say You Want A Revolution-

Every Summer, there is a visible increase in bike ridership in Portland. Every year when the Tour de France starts, there are more bikes. This year, with gas topping four-bucks-fifty, there are still even more bikes.

In general, this is a good thing- for one, for the first time since the Carter-era gas shortage, car fatalities have gone down nationally.
On the other hand, I read that bike commuters are bad for the planet, because we live longer and use more resources, and if we really loved the earth, we’d all ride scooters and smoke.
Despite this, I like when there are more bikes, except when it inconveniences me- like when helpful wags wave at me manically as they approach in the wrong direction in the bike lane, or when the Portland police take it upon themselves to set up “sting” operations, like the one at the traffic circle in Ladd’s Addition on Monday. (In Little Rascals style, a bike who had been stopped at the Stop Sign Which Seems Superfluous circled back to the entrance of the Addition to warn the morning bike traffic that we’d better stop for once, which was very nice.)

This morning, a new commuter pulled up and we had the following conversation:

Nice Lady: Hey, I saw that you tripped the signal at 21st and Division! I thought we had to wait for a car!
Me: Oh, no, if you see a tar circle on the ground, pull into the outer third and it should trip the signal.
Nice Lady: That’s great! How long have you been bike commuting?
Me: (Bashfully) Well, several years anyway- I just hit 9000 miles on my odometer!
Nice Lady: Oh my gosh! Well, thanks so much!
Me: Um…Excuse me, but isn’t your helmet on backwards?

Bike Essay

Me and my bike, making snow angels.

I sent this essay in to a contest for to promote bike commuting, and it was not good enough to win a prize, but it’s plenty good enough to annoy you people with.

Mental Health: I am the last sane person at my office, because I never have to worry about the over-capacity parking lot. Whenever I arrive, I put my bike in the same bike room. And if the racks were full, I could lock my bike to another bike, or I could chain it to a railing. If I were really stuck, I could put it in my office. Try that with a Jeep, and you’ll find you can’t. My tinkling laugh rings out when co-workers run into meetings panting they had to park and walk from Vancouver.

I am guaranteed an hour and a half of quiet “me” time a day, when I am not annoyed by the horrible, grating chitchat of friends and loved ones. If you are a friend or spouse, I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about the others.

Continued Education:

I can pull a blown tube, replace it, and put the tire back on the wheel while standing. It’s like the world’s slowest, lamest magic trick. I can trigger the signal at stop lights by rolling over the mysterious tar circles. The motorists think it’s magic, or that the light turning green has something to do with elves. br /br

Fitness: I have calf muscles that could cut diamonds, or at least slice bread, or definitely spread butter on bread. Unfortunately, that makes for really greasy, buttery calves.

In closing, go ahead and ride a bike, because who wants to live forever anyway?