Cooler temperatures, golden school buses and colorful leaves can only mean one thing – it’s almost time for Portland Society’s Boot Camp! We’ve come to call it Bootless Camp, because it’s more of a relaxing retreat than a workout-a-thon.
What is the Portland Society? According to our website, we’re Badass Biking Babes. To put it more succinctly, we’re a membership organization of female-identifying cyclists in Portland, Oregon who work together to support each other through referral, education and community. Portland Society has become so much more to me than its mission statement of making Portland a better place to live and ride. What started as a networking group has become a club of bikey friends who empower and uplift each other.
The Portland Society Boot Camp, which happens every autumn, takes me back to my girl scout camping days. There’s fun and crafts and projects and art and learning and summer camp-flavored friendships. We start off by riding out to Stub Stewart, either from town or from the Hillsboro MAX station. Everyone’s there by dinnertime, and every meal is prepared by a member who used to run a catering business and loves to serve our group delicious meals.
Many drink wine during the Friday night “kick off craft”, which I have the privilege of organizing. My goal is to create a craft that’s easy and fun, and can be returned to anytime during the weekend to capture any inspiration we may find along the way.
We bunk in the cozy hilltop cabins, our assignments decided by who likes to stay up late and party (hi!), and who likes to have a chill evening and wake early. Saturday morning we head to the meeting hall again for fireside yoga followed by breakfast and an intention-setting session. The day zooms by after that, with a perfect balance of presentations and relaxation time.
One year we went on a meditation hike. Fourteen women, all silent, hiking through the pretty woods.
It was unusual enough that a passing mountain biker dude shouted to us “it’s that time year!”. Every year is a little different, and a little the same. By the time we depart on the Banks-Vernonia trail to head back to town and to our regular lives, it feels as if more than a weekend has gone by. Strangers become acquaintances, acquaintances become friends, friends become besties.
If you’re interested in attending one of our future events, or know someone who might be, you can learn more about the Portland Society here.
— Maria Schur, Bicycle Kitty
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