- A Good Bike: There are many varieties to choose from. Maybe check out LaVogue’s Bike Shop in Hoquiam!
- Friends: Walking, biking, roller-blading, kayaking… everything is better with friends.
- Focus: It’s not about the destination, consider the journey. You’ll be out in the open air, so take a minute to look at the flowers.
- Practice: The exercise you get from low tech transportation will not only keep you in shape, but it will make you happy and help you save a few bucks.
Where I’m from, we don’t see a lot of sun. It’s not vampire country (i.e. Forks, Wa), but we are pretty close so we get a decent amount of rain. Even on the occasional days when we get a forecast of sun, that creepy marine fog will come rolling in while we sleep peacefully, dreaming of actually getting a tan for once. Waking up and looking out the window is enough to depress even the happiest harborite.
So you can imagine how exciting it is on those days when you wake up with all of the blankets in a pile on the floor because you got too warm from the sun shining in. It’s practically impossible to not spring out of bed and run outside to spin wildly in the yard, Julie Andrews style. On these rare days, there are a number activities that seem to be ok things to do in this small town that I would typically frown upon. Listening to country music is one. I don’t know what. it. is. about sun and terrible country music but they seem to go hand in hand. If only I still had my old Ford truck! And what good would a truck be if you didn’t fill it up with your unemployed friends and cheap beer and head for an afternoon on the river?
Since my truck is long gone and I do actually have work to do, I typically spend these sunny summer days commuting on my bike. You’d be surprised how many people ride their bike as their main transportation around here – most of them have DUI’s, but still! We’re all saving the environment, regardless of our reason for being on two wheels. Even better is when I decide to walk around town. Is that person honking at me someone I know or are they just harassing me?
The nice thing about living in a small town is that it’s very fast and easy to get around. After living in Seattle, where I would have to give myself at least a 30 minute window to travel anywhere, even just a few miles, life here in my town is a breeze. You want me to drive across town to pick something up? I’ll be back in 5 minutes! I now consider it a challenge to see just how close to an appointment I can leave and still get there on time.
Back to bikes. This is the greatest town to bike around. I hear many complaints from people that this is a dangerous place for biking, but if you hit the right roads you may actually never even come across a motorized vehicle. However, if you do, they may not know how to react. Last week, a woman in a car was cruising behind me for at least 2 miles. I finally stopped and waved her to pass me because I couldn’t handle the pressure any longer. It was very polite of her to obey the law and treat me as a legit vehicle, but completely unnecessary on this nearly abandoned roadway.
When I moved back to town, I decided that I wanted to start a bike gang. We wouldn’t commit crimes to gain attention, we would simply draw stares by the fact that we would bike together. And maybe we would have gang colors… I was undecided. My dreams became reality that summer when about 15 of us got together for our first ride.
We cruised through town, playing music from my phone in my back pocket, recording a video with a camera taped to the handlebars of one bike, and just plain having fun. People yelled to us, in a friendly way, as we rolled by. It literally felt like some kind of revolution. It was such a simple thing, to ride together, yet I suppose it was a kind of statement. We were riding in the name of Health! Community! Green Living!
Or, it turns out, just to prove that riding a bike is fun. It’s hard not to feel like a kid again when you get on two wheels and get the adrenaline pumping. Sharing a beer or two afterwards then riding home under the stars isn’t such a bad time either. I think passersby notice the aura of happiness hovering around our little bike gang… and hopefully they wanted to join in.