I have lots of reasons for why I never did the Bridge Pedal before this year, though none of them are any good. I obviously should have done it before, as I love biking, love Portland’s bridges and the Willamette river, currently bike daily, and used to commute by bike to Milwaukie a few times a week, back when I worked at Dark Horse. But I am a terrible procrastinator, and in the rare years I was aware enough of its imminence, I put off registering too long. More often, I didn’t know it was happening at all, as I have traditionally paid far too little attention to the goings-on in a city I supposedly enjoy so much. One year I learned the Bridge Pedal was happening only when I was biking across the Hawthorne Bridge and suddenly found myself surrounded by a wave of other cyclists, actual participants in the event I was inadvertently stepping on for a few minutes.
(I have also always intended to do the unrelated Naked Bike Ride, and for whatever reason the word of it has always made it to me, but unlike my Bridge Pedal failures, some external circumstance always keeps me away from the naked ride. Some years I’m out of town, some years there’s an obligation I can’t get out of. This year I had four flat tires in three days that weekend, all seemingly unrelated, as the piece of glass someone at my local shop finally pulled out of the tire cannot have been there for the first two flats, one of which necessitated the replacement of the tire. The fourth flat was on the other tire.)
The biggest reason for losing track of my surroundings is that I spent several years prepared to leave at any moment, expecting my career to take me away. As a result, I stopped putting down roots, not getting too attached to places I discovered or too close to new people I met. After I quit my job a year ago, I started working from home in NW Portland and spending a lot more of my time walking and biking around the city. One of 2016’s major themes has been learning how to engage with place again, since those years I wasn’t focused on where I was but also didn’t leave left an emotionally barren stretch in my memory, and while it’s still possible I’ll live somewhere else in a year’s time, I don’t want to spend another year neither here nor there. Continue reading “How is this my first Bridge Pedal?”