I ride a bike and I identify as a cyclist. I don’t own a car and I haven’t for nearly 20 years. I tend to get annoyed when I take the bus, and the trains here in Portland don’t have don’t have coverage into my part of town. I’m not one of the 20-something cyclists around town that’ll probably buy a car shortly after they get a ‘real’ job. I do my best to be prepared and practical. I ride my bike five days a week, rain or shine.
When I moved to Portland in 2006, I needed a way to get around. My last bike had been stolen back in California, so I bought a new one. My first job in town was out at the airport. I had to be at work before buses were running, so right away I was riding over ten miles a day. I’d never ridden that much before, so I was sore for a while. I was terribly unprepared. I didn’t own any practical shoes or clothes that were conducive to riding so much.
That first winter I had to buy appropriate clothes and rain gear. I transferred to a different job downtown and continued to ride my bike every day. It got cold and I bought gloves. It rained and I bought a good jacket. I bought lights and a helmet and a good lock. I invested in all the gear that I could afford. I my legs got stronger and the ride got easier.
That next spring, I bought a second bike: an agile steel track bike. I bought my first cycling shoes and clipless pedals. That second year I bought better clothes to keep me warm and reasonably dry through the winter. I discovered wool and I started investing in merino layers and socks. I built up a wardrobe of 3/4 length pants so that I would only have to change into a fresh shirt when I got to work.
I’ve been riding to work pretty much every day for the last five years. I still have the two bikes. One has gears and disc brakes, so I ride it in the winter. I ride the track bike the other three seasons. Lately, I’ve been toting my boy around on a Trail-a-bike and encouraging my wife to ride her bike more. I’m an evangelist and I honestly think that everyone should ride a bike more often.