Life just got simpler
and we feel a whole lot better from the exercise.
Now that we live in a condo in a big city like Portland, the question keeps coming up.
Do we need to drive? When we think about it, probably not.
We consider biking instead, or walking, depending on the distance we need to go.
We own bikes and are getting in the habit of using them for every day travel to nearby places.
Bikes are easy to use in a city like Portland, Oregon.
Portland and many other urban settings like New York City are planning to keep bikes as a major source of public transport. Entire lanes and off-road areas are dedicated for bikers, making it easier to avoid competition between bikes and cars and reducing potential, unnecessary, collisions.
We learn bike rules, however. We are expected to know how to signal when changing lanes, where to position our bikes when we turn left or right at crossroads. We stop at red lights and at stop signs. We stop for pedestrians.
Roads here are designed and marked to clarify space between people who need to open their car doors and bikers who ride by on the road. I still keep my eye on parked cars, just to be sure no one is about to open their door and get out.
Portland has entire bridges dedicated to pedestrians, bikers and rails. Here is one we take almost every day, the Tililikum Bridge. Walking, or riding the bike across this bridge is such a thrill and a bit of a challenge on the way up to the top.
Lines and signs clearly lay out where pedestrians and bikers are supposed to be, reducing the usual dance between them.
The views from the top of the bridge are spectacular as well and reward us for our work. We often stop to admire the view and take a breather from the upward part of the bridge. Although, going down on the other side gives us plenty of respite, as well.
|Top of the bridge|
Here in Portland, they now have a program called Biketown that offers bike rentals on a daily, or annual basis. I joined it recently and use it for getting around town and shopping, or going to appointments. The bikes are ever so colorful and fun to ride.
But, remember, it is BYOH, or bring your own helmet.
|Shopping at a nearby nursery.|
Don't want to bike somewhere? Are you thinking that it is too far to go on a bike? Don't want to? How about rent-a-car?
We figured out costs of renting or using short-term car rentals like Zipcar and there is no way we could make the costs of rentals for shopping and getting around town equal to the cost of owning one's own car in the city, paying for parking.
In our case, we have Zipcar right around the corner. Other companies also offer short-term rentals. I'll bet some people walk as far just to get to their garage as we do to get to a car rental.
In any case, life is but an adventure, and biking is certainly a lot of fun, and it is also a very practical way to get around town.
Try it! You may get addicted to all that fresh air.