(Tuesday’s comment of the week was a catch-up from last Friday’s holiday, so we’re now back to the regular schedule.)
Talia Jacobson’s guest post about biking while clumsy — in her case, the result of learning to ride in adulthood — drew a heartwarming wave of true confessions and upbeat encouragements from readers to Talia and (mostly) to one another. The one that stuck in my own head was probably this short recollection from Dave, who fearlessly described his emotions as he learned to ride.
One of my favorite things about cycling is the opportunity it gave me to get over some of those things. I was honestly terrified at the idea of riding across Powell near my house – not because of saftety, but because I’d have to wait for the light, wait for traffic to stop, and then ride across in front of all those people. All of whom I pictured cursing me from their air conditioned cars for requesting a light and slowing them down, for looking like a dork, for being out of shape and klutzy and riding a dusty bike my mom bought me 10 years before.
Eventually, just like quitting smoking, I had to get mad about it. Why be afraid of something so many people obviously genuinely enjoy? Why give a crap what other people think? I could hurt myself in a car; I could hurt myself sitting at home watching TV. And yeah, people in Portland do take it too seriously at times. But that doesn’t mean you have to. Doing something stupid or embarrassing yourself just proves you’re not a cold hearted robot.
Here’s to a lifetime of suppressing our inner robot and giving ourselves permission to enjoy the things we want to.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.