About Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist)
Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist) Posts
This past week was a rough week to be the pregnant family biking columnist at BikePortland. Heck, it was a rough week to be a human being in Portland.
Like many Pacific Northwesterners, our home doesn’t have AC, so we just roast and try to figure out survival strategies. Cooling off with young kids is more difficult since the pandemic has shut down the majority of kid-friendly indoor spaces or forced them to close their air-conditioned play areas. We tried riding the bike a bit in the mornings at the beginning of the week, but by the end of it, I was actually making up excuses to drive our van around, just for the needed respite of cooler temperatures via car AC. I even went shopping, with four children, in actual stores, just to avoid sweating it out at home. We visited the library to cool off and volunteered to cook dinner at a friend’s house who had air conditioning.
Even with our best efforts to make the best of things, by the week’s end I was beat, hot, tired and even bored. I was too hot to do chores, to accomplish any projects, to exercise, to ride a bike, or lift a finger. At last I took a cold shower and began to fantasize about winter biking in drizzle, rain, and blustery cold.
(Note: This is part two of Shannon’s story. We posted part one on Monday.)
This post began with my scouting of a new park for our family to visit on our bikes. It resulted in me coming face-to-face with homelessness in Hillsboro. Which is a unique reason why I think biking is so valuable: it increases our intimacy with our own neighborhood and local community. Biking opens our eyes to what is right around us, but that we might otherwise (in a car) never see.
My original intention was to check out the bike route and amenities at Dairy Creek Park. But after reading reviews that warned about various encampment-related ills (such as trash, feces, and unwelcoming encounters with campers) I was encouraged to also scout out park cleanliness and safety. But even more importantly, I was prompted to take an active interest in the needs of the houseless community near me — because this can’t just be about me. Yes, I want a clean and safe park for my children to play in, but I also — far more importantly — want my fellow neighbors to have a clean and safe place to live.[Read more…]