Cycling Quanrdries

Portland is not so much one city as a collection of distinct neighborhoods, defined loosely by their compass directions. The river cuts through the middle of the city, straddled by seven bridges and dividing the East side from West. On the West side is the swanky North West district, and bustling South West Portland, which includes the University district where I attend collage, the business district, and the downtown core. On the East side in the newly gentrified North Portland (NoPo, our answer to SoHo), North East and the super cool South East neighborhoods. Yesterday, my peddled powered errands took me from NE, into SE, across the river into the hurly burly of downtown (SW), up into ritzy NW to meet a friend, and back over essentially the same rout back home, a loop of about 18 hilly miles.

It is rare for me to hit four regions of the city in one day ( I have yet to attempt all five) and I'm not sure whether it was an example of pushing myself appropriately, or just pushing myself over the edge. I just knew that I had things to do in each of the areas, and I was to stubborn to do it any other way. After months of relentlessly sunny and warm days, the mornings now are dawning overcast and gray, with frequent rain. For Monday's excursion I layered up (excessively, as it turned out) and headed out into it with the same hard-headed stubbornness with which I approach so many endeavors. But Monday I was on my own, the Boy safe and snug at his fathers house. I find that, just as I am a more defensive rider when I have the Boy in tow, I am also more of a weather wimp when transporting him.

The unusualy long and sunny summer has given me a long reprieve from dealing with how to get my kid around in foul weather, and I find myself missing the days when I could enclose him in a baby trailer. Neither rain nor sleet nor dark of night deters me from riding (most days), but I turn to slushy mush at the idea of my son being uncomfortable. We did well last winter, though we fell back on busing and car share more than I would have liked. I want to get us fully transitioned away from fossil fuel use, but I dont want to deal with a pre-teen meltdown as a result.

This winter I am considering blowing most of the "transportation" part of my Financial Aid budget on an Xtracycle, which would allow me to haul and transport any number of things that I currently can't, and would allow me to do the bike blender thing, but it would largley commit me to cycle commuting. hmmmmnn. As I was looking at their site I found this photo, perhaps this could be an answer. (the bike in the foreground has the canopy built onto it with piping, the bike in the background is not attached, it's just there)

Though I suspect it of being more decoritive than functional, it would be fun. And isnt that what life's all about.


Snakebite said...

I'm anxious to re-visit your fair city. It's been too many years since I've been. I hope there are good rental bikes.

griffin said...

yeah, short of bailing and moving to Canada or Europe, Portland it hard to beat
ANd City Bikes offers great bike rentals in the heart of the city www.citybikes.coop