Good Life

Car-free = More Adventures Biking

November 22, 2011

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Something I’ve learned to appreciate from traveling is the waiting and the process of “getting somewhere”. After returning from my RTW trip, I waited to re-purchase a car, and almost three years later, I’m still car-free in Portland.

Just like when traveling, I’ve found that when I’m actively engaged in my journey (transit) by walking or biking or taking public transportation, I’m experiencing my community and city in a different way. Each trip is unique and can vary from a fairly standard ride to yoga class, to chatting with Portland tourists on the Streetcar and giving them restaurant recommendations, and even the occasional drama like having a bus pull over and call the police because some crazy person is getting mad at the driver), or discovering a new shop because you decided to walk a new route.

As I started biking in Portland a lot more in the past year, it’s brought all kinds of lovely surprises. The kind of spontaneous adventures that I find myself much more open to when I’m traveling vs at home. Biking in Portland has made me fall in love with my city even more, and I stumble across lots of little adventures while out pedaling around.

Biking also makes me more positive. Seriously? Yes. Here’s a comparison of what biking vs driving sounds like in my head…

What a biking commute sounds like for me: “look at those leaves, omg that tree is beautiful, oooh… I should stop there sometime and buy a pastry, hmmm is that guy wearing a tutu? does he think it’s ironic? wow, I love bike boulevards, please don’t let there be a car at this road cuz I don’t wanna stop, OMG my quads are burning, ooh the river looks awesome today, maybe I’ll bike over the Steel Bridge instead of the Hawthorne, maybe I’ll stop for dinner here…”

What a car commute sounds like for me: “I hate this traffic. I hate this song. Don’t get over. Don’t get over. I hate you other drivers. I hate that I can’t teleport…”

Is it all awesome not having a car? No. In case you’ve forgotten, it rains a bit in Portland. But with biking, public transit, friends, and Zipcar, it’s doable and has allowed me to both live more ‘in the present’ in my everyday life (and save money). Biking is also great for de-stressing. I can start off my bike ride while intensely thinking about something, and by the time I arrive at my destination, my mind is practically clear — a wonderful feeling.

What’s your favorite method of transit?

Car-free biking in Portland

What’s your favorite method of transit?