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Lifestyle column: You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone

Friday, August 8th, 2014
cathy-hastie
Lifestyle columnist Cathy Hastie in a 2013 photo.

Editor’s note: Lifestyle columnist Cathy Hastie was a remarkably healthy cancer patient. Then she stopped bike commuting. Here, she describes what happened next.

Six months ago, I was healthy.

At 5’11″ and 160 lbs, my body was capable of just about anything I asked it to do, from hoisting boxes to dancing the two-step to running a few miles through the neighborhood. I wasn’t overly demanding, forcing myself to reach for some calculated heart rate or working towards 9 percent body fat. I simply had a body that worked, and worked well. Even though I had cancer.

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Lifestyle column: Observing, analyzing Portland’s stop sign culture

Thursday, June 5th, 2014
Lifestyle columnist Cathy Hastie.

My friend, a recent transplant from the Midwest, was describing his 35-mile round trip bike commute during the misty quiet of the early mornings. He sets off in the dark, living his ideals, even on those days when he doesn’t really want to. His commitment put me in awe.

But what he wanted to talk about was stop signs.

“What do people here in Portland do?” he asked, eager to know. “At 4 a.m., when no one is around, do you stop?”

At first, I thought he was joking. Is there any place in the U.S. where people stop their bikes at stop signs at 4 in the morning when no one is around?

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Lifestyle column: A strange but satisfying Mother’s Day victory

Saturday, May 10th, 2014
Lifestyle columnist Cathy Hastie.

I have never met anyone as dedicated to her bicycle-fueled independence as my 15-year old daughter.

It makes me proud to see Katie venture out on a stormy, miserable night to get herself to her martial arts class, the library, then back home again. And yet I am also a little confused by the fierceness of her commitment.

What makes her protect her cycling habit like a mama lion while my other teenage daughter slouches contentedly in the upholstered bucket seat of our family sedan, tapping texts and basking in the warmth of the car heater? They both have the same avidly bike-commuting parents. They both received the same encouragement to ride when possible as a means to cut back on exhaust, save money and gas, and multi-task travel with exercise. Both have been offered decent bikes with the important Portland-area accessories (fenders, lights, helmet). But now that the girls, close in age, have exited puberty, their perspectives on what a bicycle is good for are as different as chocolate and vanilla.

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Lifestyle column: What a car is good for

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
Lifestyle columnist Cathy Hastie.

When lifestyle columnist Cathy Hastie’s job pushed her to switch to a car commute for the first time, we wondered if it’d change her perspective on getting around. Here’s what she’s concluded from the first month.

I have recently rediscovered that the typical car is much more than what I remembered it to be. The car serves a multitude of purposes that have become essential in the modern world.
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Lifestyle column: How I went over to the dark side

Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Lifestyle columnist Cathy Hastie.

In the end, the decision wasn’t mine to make.

The question: would I give up a major component of my lifestyle in order to advance my career? My employer was asking me to take a long-term assignment 13 miles away, in Vancouver, Wash.

I know myself. I absolutely cannot expect that I could continue biking to work at that distance.

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Lifestyle column: After commuting changed my life, life changed my commute

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
Lifestyle columnist Cathy Hastie.

I used to have a 100% human-powered commute. It was a point of pride to say I had made it 365 days without driving to work or even riding the bus: I ran the seven-mile round trip to and from my downtown office for a year straight.

At the end of the day, I would finish up my workout at the elementary school where I picked up my kids. I would casually mention my unbroken record amongst fellow parents as we stood on the playground watching our children play. When it rained, I entered the after-school program looking like a drowned rat, boogers and water dripping from my nose. I flaunted the obvious unpleasantness of my commuting experience like an in-your-face victory lap for all of the other families to see.

I was dedicated to my lifestyle and proud of it. Maybe a little conceited. Then, in 2010, I suddenly and painfully fell ill.

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From mortality to mortification, 25 years of bruises on PDX streets

Friday, January 17th, 2014
lifestyle columnist Catherine Hastie
Lifestyle columnist Cathy Hastie.

Cathy Hastie is BikePortland’s lifestyle columnist.

What daily activity involves quick-twitch muscle action, practiced hand-eye coordination, thinking on your toes, hearty cardiovascular fitness and the ability to outwit competitors? It’s not kick-boxing at the gym.

If bike commuting were a sport, I would compete in the “masters” category. I have been biking to work for more than 25 years: approximately 7 miles per day, 240 days a year. With 42,000 miles on Portland’s city streets, you’d think I would have been injured by now. But I remain unscathed.

Well, almost.

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Lifestyle column: ‘Those arrogant bikers,’ and why I’m one too

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
lifestyle columnist Catherine Hastie
Lifestyle columnist Cathy Hastie.

Cathy Hastie is BikePortland’s lifestyle columnist … even when she says things we wouldn’t all agree with.

Some people say that bikers are an arrogant group. I am the first to admit that I am a card-carrying member. Portland has its coffee snobs and its beer snobs, and me — I’m a transportation snob.

I ride my bike past rows of motionless overheating cars with my nose in the air, flaunting my obviously better commuting choice. I crow to my officemates about how little I spend on gas and how I never pay for parking. My ego precedes me as I fill the elevator at the office with my bulky two-wheeler. I take advantage of the ambiguity bicycles are afforded in respect to sidewalks, driveways, streets and bike lanes. If I can ride on it safely, I will.

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Lifestyle column: A biker’s ode to the butt

Monday, November 4th, 2013
Look familiar?
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Cathy Hastie is BikePortland’s lifestyle columnist.

Gravel and grit from the street kicks up onto my legs. Rain and sweat drizzle between my shoulder blades. Grinding brakes pierce my ears as a semi-truck swooshes too close. Being out in traffic on my daily bike commute can wear down my senses. Day in and day out, you would think I’d complain about the harsh urban visuals as well.

But from my hunched-over posture on my Trek, the view is fascinating. Anyone who rides during the bike rush probably knows what I am talking about. What is perfectly aligned in my sights as the crowd of bikers swarms ahead of me, heading west up the Hawthorne bridge?

I’ll give you a hint – it ain’t the sunrise.

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