In 1993 I was a broke college student unable to replace a stolen bike and living several miles from campus. I started taking the bus.
Since then I’ve mostly lived and worked downtown or along major transit routes. My car free and bike free arrangement has mostly served me well, and I know the Portland bus lines as well as anyone.
But a couple years ago, as I approached my late-mid-thirties, I got too old for retired from playing indoor soccer and figured I should find a low impact activity to stay in shape. I started to think about getting a bicycle. Maybe I could save money too by forgoing my spendy monthly bus pass.
I researched, asked my bicycle-nerd friends for advice, shopped around, and eventually spent about a grand on one of these babies.
At the time, I lived about a mile and half from work. Riding a mile and a half on flat city streets on a bicycle takes less time than driving a car, and requires about the same physical effort. A coworker lived on one side of the West Hills and rode to work on the other side. His bicycle commute was a workout. Mine, on the other hand, was a joke.
And then I had to contend with finding bike parking, and deciding about rain pants, fenders, or spending the day with a wet butt and pant legs, or bringing a change of clothes. It was a big hassle.
And having relied on TriMet and my own two feet for so long, I was used to not rushing. On a bike, you have to rush; you’re traffic after all.
I don’t like being traffic.
I started walking to and from work again. Walking was much more pleasant, and better exercise given the distance I had to cover.
Now, if it’s under 3 miles it’s walking distance. Over that I take the bus.
I have a different bike now, a $200 single-speed beauty with coaster brakes. On a nice day, I sometimes take it out for a spin.
But most of the time, I’d rather walk.