Bike Happy Hour, listening, and loneliness

It’s Bike Happy Hour eve and we can’t wait to see all your beautiful faces tomorrow (Wednesday, 8/9) from 3-6:00 pm on the Gorges Beer Co patio. The weather should be perfect — and my mom and aunt will be joining us, so that’ll be weird!

In the past few days I’ve come across two things that have reminded me of why this event exists: an essay in The Atlantic by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and a billboard I saw in southeast Portland.

As you might have seen in the Monday Roundup, Clinton’s piece is titled, “The Weaponization of Loneliness.” In it, she lays out the negative impacts of “social disconnection.” Here’s an excerpt:

“According to the surgeon general, when people are disconnected from friends, family, and communities, their lifetime risk of heart disease, dementia, depression, and stroke skyrockets. Shockingly, prolonged loneliness is as bad, or worse, for our health as being obese or smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. Researchers also say that loneliness can generate anger, resentment, and even paranoia. It diminishes civic engagement and social cohesion, and increases political polarization and animosity. Unless we address this crisis, Murthy warned, ‘we will continue to splinter and divide until we can no longer stand as a community or a country.'”

So while you might think Bike Happy Hour is just a great excuse to have fun, it’s also about making our city and its people healthier. Bringing people from diverse backgrounds together has always been my favorite thing about BikePortland. When people meet and talk in a welcoming and fertile environment, magical things happen to their health and happiness.

I’m also a big believer in listening to and actually hearing what other people say — especially people who are different from me. Even if I’m not persuaded to share their beliefs, I eagerly add them to my pool of perspectives. I think that’s why I especially love meeting new people at Happy Hour.

That’s also why my eyes were drawn to something I saw during the Murder, She Rode ride on Saturday. As we biked eastbound on the Hawthorne viaduct I looked up and saw the billboard in the photo above. It said, “The other person might be right. Listening. Pass it on.”

I believe that very strongly. It’s why I welcome people with opposing (often even anti-bicycling) views to comment here and it’s why I like to chat with people who disagree with me or have a different point-of-view. I see a lot of echo chamber preservation going on in Portland, where anything that doesn’t toe the party line is feared and thrown-away, right away. I prefer to welcome the “other person” in and at least hear them out. Sometimes they’re right. Sometimes they’re not. You never know until you listen.

So come to Bike Happy Hour tomorrow! We’ll be there, listening and fighting loneliness.


Bike Happy Hour
– Everyone Welcome, Every Wednesday, All Year Long
– 3:00 – 6:00 pm (or so)
– $2 off all drinks at Gorges Beer Co., Ankeny Tap & Table, Crema Coffee

– All-ages and Family Friendly
– Questions or Concerns: Jonathan Maus, 503-706-8804, @bikeportland on Social Media

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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PTB
PTB
9 months ago

What could be a real big cause of loneliness and social disconnect right now?? Also, probably unrelated, anyone notice the bike commuter numbers out of downtown are measly compared to a few years ago? Oh well, who cares?

Jo
Jo
9 months ago

This might be a time where i likely 100% agree with a BP posting here.
Burst the bubble!

Matt P
Matt P
9 months ago

And here we just went through a politically motivated “pandemic” that conveniently created all the negative side effects mentioned above.

Vans
Vans
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt P

There was nothing politically motivated about the people who died and struggled through it at the hospitals including myself and all the other EVS workers.

What an idiotic statement.

Yes the pandemic created a lot of negatives, death and disease can do that.

BB
BB
9 months ago

What suggestion would you have for people that haven’t been to the happy hour that don’t know anyone else there? It seems like most of the people that go already know one or many other people that go. What can new people do so that they don’t feel left out?

BB
BB
9 months ago

Thanks Jonathan,

I feel like this is a great way to run it. For a lot of people who are in need of more socialization the hardest part can be figuring out where to begin. I hope the happy hour helps those people make new connections.

Chris Cullen
Chris Cullen
9 months ago
Reply to  BB

Hi, I’m new to Portland and have been coming to bike happy hour the last couple months. I don’t usually know anyone there, except people I’ve met there at previous happy hours, if they happen to show up. The vibe is very welcoming and even if sometimes I get there and feel like ugh, I don’t know anyone, this is awkward, I just find an empty seat and sit down by some people and within minutes I’m having an interesting conversation with a new person. It’s definitely worth trying. I’m going again today with the same game plan as always. See you there!

lillian
lillian
9 months ago
Reply to  BB

Hey BB, I’ll be there today and you can introduce yourself to me, and I’ll introduce you to more people. Look for the short loud black haired person dressed in head to toe pink- on a bright yellow ahearne bicycle. I know it’s scary to go to one of these things when you don’t know anyone! I’ll introduce you to folks!

Serenity
Serenity
9 months ago
Reply to  BB

Hey BB! Sometimes when I go I feel kinda awkward at first, because I don’t know where to sit, or who to talk to, and I don’t want to bother people. A lot of times someone I know know, or someone who knows of me will come talk to me.