No, I’m really not, but I’d like you to believe I am. A few weeks ago, I got some panniers so I could be a (fair weather) bike commuter. At one point, when I lived in San Francisco, I was a bike commuter. I was really and truly hardcore then. Also very strong and slender. And sanctimonious because I had a very small carbon footprint.
Sidenote: I’ve had my Bianchi Milano for about eight years. It’s still going strong. If you’re in the market for a work-horse bike, I highly recommend the Milano. Plus they look great. Those are Queen Bee panniers. They’re a bit more expensive, but they’re made in Portland at a woman-owned shop. Plus they look so cute on my cute girl bike. See? Not hardcore.
For the first time in a few years, our scheduling allows me to bike to work once again. Biking in Portland is different than biking in San Francisco. I don’t know if you’ve heard but Portland is a bike-friendly city. You haven’t heard this? Well, can I tell you about our composting program as well? [Spoiler alert: we can compost ANYTHING and the city will pick it up!]
My commute is about six miles one way and there are a few hills and some hairy traffic situations. And often I think, “is it possible for someone to pass out from panting too hard, and oh my god, my legs!” Also, “damn you swimming for not preparing me for this!”
But mostly I enjoy it. Or I try to enjoy it. I cross the Broadway Bridge to get to work and bikes share the walkway with pedestrians. I often get passed on the bridge, which means I need to move over closer to the railing. This scares me.
A lot of the ride scares me. There’s a ghost bike on my route as well. It’s a memorial to a cyclist who was killed on that very spot. I also have to cross a freeway on-ramp.
I have no idea if it’s worth it. Each morning, Fancyhats kisses me and says, “ride safe.” I don’t think I need to worry about riding safely. I’m a cautious slow poke. I worry about the drivers not driving safely.
But really, can I live my life scared of every single thing? I can’t. And riding home gives me that time to decompress from work, which I sorely need. Also, food tastes about a billion times better when you’re biking. So there you are. Food trumps safety and fear.