A year ago, when first settling on a name for this blog, I didn't realize how hip bicycling had become in the wider world.
Sure, the Seattle-to-Portland barreled through our town one weekend every summer - but a two-day pack of sweating red-faced riders didn't strike me as the bubbling groundswell of the next New Thing.
Every year there seemed a few more people biking the streets of Portland. Wasn't that just part of keeping things weird?
In our own small riverside town new bike lanes kept popping up - and a few more riders all the time. Which we gratefully appreciated as intermittent episodes of welcome rational thought from the local planning commission.
For years we had been biking for weekend trips or longer, on sunny days for fun, regularly for exercise and then more and more in recent as basic transportation to school in the morning, meetings, picnics in the park, movies, post office, quick trips to the grocery store. We were the Biking Family - three little ducks in a row between Mom and Dad, along the side of the road. But we have never been stylish, except by accident.
So it has been amazing to discover a whole world since then of knowledgeable, stylish and passionately dedicated riders out there. Connoisseurs of brake pads and vintage lugs. (Last year, I didn't even know what a "lug" was unless it was what you had to do with heavy baggage.) Experts on seat post heights and bike geometry and the best bike lane design. Opinionated aficionados of bike baskets, bags . . .
It's a good trend, and one I hope lives long. Lives long enough to become not just a trend for today but an everyday way of life for more than just the lone stubborn white-haired lady I intend to be . . .
Because long before the first Cycle Chic appeared in Copenhagen, Mrs. C, who has her own ideas about style, has been making her daily rounds. I started noticing her shortly after I first moved here ten, eleven years ago. "Who is she? She rides every day!"
"I know. She's amazing."
Mrs. C back then was in her late 60s, and had taught piano to half the pianists in town. Once when we were both on bikes, me on my way into town, her on her way back out already I told her how my friends and I admired the way she got out on her bike every day.
"Well," she said, "if I don't get on the bike one day, then yesterday? - that was my last bike ride." And she rode away.