Inspiration from Portland bike riders

blog-day31-squareNow that a month has passed, my life without a car is finally feeling like a reality, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not always fun or easy.  Take last week for example – I contracted bronchitis.  Bronchitis, in and of itself, is not fun, and by the time I realized I needed to see a doctor, my sweetheart and his handy truck were gone.  I broke down and called a friend for a ride to the doctor.  I could’ve taken a taxi or managed the long bus trip, but I really just didn’t feel good!

Despite my setbacks, I am still happy with my decision.  It just takes some getting used to.  It’s a new way of looking at life.  It involves resourcefulness and planning (and effort and energy).  It involves being present for all the things you do outside your home.

I have gathered some inspiration today from this article on  Scroll down a bit and watch the video about a woman whose friends moved her to a new house via bicycle.  Those crazy Portland bike riders!  Human ingenuity is amazing!  Apparently many people use their bicycles to carry loads that most wouldn’t imagine.  You can even buy a heavy-duty trailer for your bike, allowing you to carry tools, plywood, even a ladder.  Here is one person’s story about going car-free after buying a trailer with which to haul larger items with his bike.  I love that people are so creative and dedicated to living according to their personal ideals.

The article also touts the struggles electric bikes are having in breaking into the American market.  There are obvious issues such as who will service them.  The tipping point will hopefully come when enough are being sold and the demand for service rises and is filled.  Trek is apparently coming out with a full line of electric bikes to compliment their non-electric collection.

In Portland, where people are zealous about living wholesome and fulfilling lives, so-called “longtail bikes” are popular.  They allow for heavier loads and a smoother ride.  You can even convert your current bike to this format using their kit and then add on the luggage racks.

It is exciting to see how other people have adapted their lives to living without a car.  There’s no reason why more people can’t do it – and we definitely know we should.  We all need more exercise and are contributing more than our fair share to pollution and climate change.

Hopefully my bronchitis will subside now that I’ve gotten a chest x-ray and some antibiotics.  Living without a car is definitely easier minus emergencies!  (I’ve already been thinking about what the plan is if my cat needs to go to the vet or a hurricane causes the need to evacuate.)  But they can always be dealt with.  It just takes time to figure out how to handle them.  One month down… no idea how many to go!


  • Sarah Felder

    After living in Portland, OR for 2.5 years, I can say that the people there are truly dedicated to many alternative lifestyles. Bicycles are a major form of transportation there and many executives commute by bike to work. That being said, the weather there is absolute shit there about 9.5 months of the year. That is true dedication. We in Florida have little excuse not to get outside and exercise in some form. You would love it there, Els. Keep up your fight for what’s right. Oh, and call me if you need a ride somewhere. My kids are too little for bikes 🙂

  • Rebbeca Beccaria

    When you get on a liter bike you can’t just grab that throttle and pull all the way back on it because it will just flip right out from underneath of you. You have to learn the limitations of the bike and know when and how much throttles to give it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *