Tuesday, October 24

The Last Warm Bikey Weekend

This weekend was a magnificent break from the oncoming dark winter. I had a wonderful morning on Belmont exploring the pedestrian environment and brainstorming new ways to bring together community.
Then it was on to the Bike School to change a freewheel. While passing there I found out that 7 Corners Cyclery is moving from their historic location on Division. Cory has apparently grabbed space with virtually 3 times the room in a new building near Powell on SE 21st. He's conveniently located a block away from People's coop.
Bike Buddy
Sunday morning I took part in the Bike Buddy program. This program initiated by Southeast Uplift is a wonderful means of connecting experienced bike commuters with people who are interested, but a little intimidated by the idea of using their bicycle as transportation. Elisha joined the program without ever having learned how to ride a bike.
She recieved a bike from co-member Greg who got her through the initial training and was at it like a fish to water. I met with Elisha and listened to her thoughts and concerns. What I initially realized is that most people look at bicycling as scary because the only experience they have is with big scary arterials. thankfully most drivers don't use small feeder roads
So she didn't even know about the very people-friendly roads connecting her to the shopping district. I walked her down one of these and we were completely comfortable in the middle of the street. Now only a couple of weeks later, the two of us rode all the way to Gresham, and stopped in Powell Butte. Even the strong headwinds didn't slow us down. The most important lesson to gain from this is that the mind is fully in control. Nearly every day I hear someone tell me "Oh I could never do that." This is completely true. As long as a person decides that they can't do something, any hope of success vanishes. Elisha on the other hand, decided that she would succeed and therefore success was inevitable. Even crossing large roads like Foster was not a hindrance. I'm thrilled to be part of this program and to share it with others.
(to learn more about the bikebuddy program, you can download a flyer here)
After that short ride, it was time for a more ambitious adventure. I was leading a ride with Exchange Cycle Tours to the outskirts of Northwest Portland. We took an amazing ride through the Rose Garden and then through the suburbs of Beaverton, Hillsboro and Forest Grove. I was thrilled to have been joined by a couple of new women Elizabeth and Sara joined us and both had a great time. They were not only capable of completing a fast 50 mile ride, but they led the pack on the return.

It's great to see more women feeling confident about getting out on a bike. I am a strong advocate in supporting everyone to feel joyous in participating in whatever activity they desire.
Fortunately there are several people working to encourage women to ride safely and happily.
The fall colors and quiet roads made for a perfect climax to the awesome 2006 riding season. I look forward to sharing more wonderful ride experiences with the folks who came on this ride.
Then as if that weren't enough, I found out from Brian that the Ankeny Block party was still going strong with lots of folks connecting and sharing the community. So it was off to SE Ankeny to meet up with Savannah who helped organize the party. If you haven't been to a block party, I strongly recommend it. No words or photographs can describe the experience of standing in the middle of a public street and hearing nothing but the sound of human voices (especially being a block off of Burnside). There were some great people there, good music and food, lots of connections, and amazing artwork. We even had time to brainstorm ideas to keep this momentum going into the winter season. Thanks for biking this weekend, and I hope you will join me for an adventurous winter riding season. :-)

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