Ah, Inspiration. In 5 Steps
I’m done waiting for the showers to pass and biking anyway. The only impediment was the rat who took residence in my garage, suspiciously sniffing the area near my bike. Now that I’ve been talked back into entering the garage, I’m getting a jump on the bike (literally) and my only New Year’s resolution: To be bike-inspired, every season. So here’s my inspiration/resolution 5-step plan:
1. Take in the Holidays on Two Wheels
It’s easy to kickstart this one with a ride to Peacock Lane with a group ride or perhaps my own family ride to experience the lights all aglow. The family will also be heading to ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo, where a weeknight bike-to-the-nearest Max stop and riding the Max round-trip means avoiding the seasonal snake of traffic up to the zoo’s parking lot.
Thanks to the new spoke reflectors and stickers from Fun Reflector (flowers and stars!) I just added to our bike and trailer, we will certainly be reflecting well this season.
Our family will also be biking to area shops to fill our panniers with stocking stuffers. These trips usually involve a stop for a winter warmer, such as the comforting drinks for adults and kiddos alike at Jim & Patty’s Coffee, where there’s ample bike parking. We also pedal over to the BiPartisan Café for warm pie and couches by an area perfect for the kids where they can play and relax.
2. Teach My Eldest to Ride a Bike
It’s time to remove the training wheels and let her own legs, steering and balance take over. In retrospect, she probably would be better prepared had she originally ventured out on a balance bike, but those surely are claimed quickly on Craigslist! As an incentive for her to take the leap, I’m going to purchase the fun bell she’s wanted for awhile. I envision more rides as a family where she’ll be pedaling her own bike, but we’ll be taking it one block at a time.
3. Get Back on the Springwater Corridor
I used to ride this, and other multi-use paths, all the time. I enjoy the freedom of riding long stretches away from car traffic in recent years. I no longer live near the Corridor and, sadly, I haven’t continued our friendship the way I had hoped, so here’s my new incentive: the food cart pod Cartlandia is located directly on the Corridor. With ample bike racks, a professional repair shop, covered seating, heated tent, family-friendly beer garden and waffle cart, this pod caters perfectly to family bikers.
4. …and on the Banks-Vernonia State Trail
Though I only once rode the entire 42-mile expanse, I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of racing without stopping through dense forested stands, and dodging snakes. I’m aiming to show my kids what exploration on two wheels outside the city looks like. I think they’ll like three rhyming elements of the Trail in particular: frogs, logs and bogs. Hmm, and I may just write that children’s book I’ve been talking about….
5. Trick Out the Ol’ Bike
I love my trusty road bike. I remember the day I paid cash for it and rode it home in the pouring rain, grinning and gearing (…cue the Chariots of Fire music). But I never added the double racks or souped-up fenders that my previous (stolen) bike had. As I ride around, I’m in awe of fellow cyclists’ creative baskets; fitted fenders; multiple, effective lighting systems and even extended bikes. Is it time to replace my old faithful, and invest in a new family bike? Or maybe it’s time to accessorize what I’ve got.
This will be my to-do winter and spring cycling list, as I find that no prompts are needed for me to bike through the sunnier Oregon seasons, er, season. Will your resolution lead you to the same bike lanes? Share your inspiration below.
Angie Marsh is a lifelong Portland cyclist and ORbikes family biking contributor. Her random thoughts can be found on Twitter at @angieSuMarsh