Bicycle Revival – a plug for the city


I am really coming to love Portland.

Yesterday was a great day. The clouds parted about the time we left the house, and it was warm and I was dressed perfectly. (It’s so hard to put together the right combination of layers so that one is neither too cold nor too warm all day long in Portland)

It’s a long drive in and we listened to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!, which I always get a kick out of. I asked my partner what the plans for the day were, and he said we were going to the bank. After that, he suggested we could check out the lower Hawthorne street faire and then maybe a bicycle revival.

“A what?”

Bicycle Revival. He said he didn’t know what it meant, but wanted to go anyway. I tried to imagine things it could mean, and laughed my ass off all the way across the bridge over the Willamette River. I laughed and laughed as we slipped between layers of highway overpasses (if you’ve ever seen how they criss-cross like macramé here, you’ll know what I mean). I missed most of Ron Paul doing Not My Job on the radio.

Rather than go directly to the bank, we walked from the other end of Hawthorne, so we could soak it up on the way. I’ve been needing work clothes (still having faith that I will, indeed, become employed one day), and my daughter needs school clothes, and so I was delighted with the racks and racks of funky things hanging on the sidewalks.

I stopped in one shop to have a “Free Reading,” in which I could only draw one card. I flipped quickly through the deck and shuffled as I went. The woman across from me said I needed to get my essence in there. The edge of a card called me and I plucked it out with my fingernails and told her my essence said “this one.” It was the Phoenix. I actually sighed with relief. ha ha. I know pretty much zero about Tarot, but of course I know the Phoenix. My partner and I have been SO miserable the last week while no one calls asking us for interviews, and the money we’ve been living on is very nearly used up. So anyway, the Universe believes I’ll rise again, and that’s good enough for me.

As we wrapped up the reading, my aunt came in and touched my shoulder from behind. My partner had spotted her on the street and had called her over. It was lovely to see her. I tipped my reader and went outside for hugs and kisses and pats for their gigantic Dalmatian-spotted Great Dane, Alice.

Then we spent 20 minutes going through gigantic piles of vintage clothing: each piece $1. We chose about ½ of it for me, and ½ for my daughter and spent a whopping nine bucks total.

We walked all the way to Mt. Tabor and came back. By the time we returned to the car, we were grateful to sit down in it, and crossed the river again, looking for anything that might make us think of a Bicycle Revival.

strength, poise, loveliness

On the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in front of the World Trade Center, we found it. It is the Tour de Fat we’ve been seeing advertised for so long. A twelve-city tour sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company aimed at getting people out of their cars and into bikes. What a crazy bunch of people Portlanders are! Though the entertainment was brilliant, the audience is half the show.

We first spotted the Sprockettes, local beloved “all female synchronized mini-bike dance troupe.” We saw their black stockinged, neon pink-booted feet sticking up into the air above spectators’ heads as they balanced on bikes. On the stage opposite, Circus Contraption was just beginning with one of the best circus shows I’ve seen in so long. They conjured music and laughs and had feats of strength and beautiful girls twirling on ropes high above.

After the circus, we got an update of how many miles people had pledged to ride bikes instead of cars, an update on the waste products we had generated: it ended at about 57 pounds of recyclables, 170 pounds of compost, and 28 pounds of trash. (All New Belgium’s cups, plates, forks and spoons were made out of corn and fully compostable) A woman actually handed over her car – passed the keys to the emcee, pulled the title out of her garter, and actually signed that puppy over to Tour de Fat in exchange for a gorgeous hand-built bike and trailer for her to use from now on instead of her car.

singing praises

And yes, it was a revival. The emcee was all in white and he bounced on his toes like a Southern Baptist preacher, and shouted “Can I get a Ride On?” and the audience would shout RIDE ON! And people were waving their hands in the air and shouting in response to his words. What a crack up.

the awesome March Fourth Marching Band

The show was wrapped up with the March Fourth Marching Band (and the March Fourth Dancers – nice!), which had about 16 musicians on stage all dressed in high school marching band gear and playing some kick-ass dance music. The audience was going wild, and it was obvious that they knew the songs, even though none of them had singing, just instruments. The revival choir in their long yellow robes and hands in the air brought the show to a close.

I find myself somewhat distracted from the stats board

By this time we were exhausted, and the wind was picking up. The sun had been replaced by some grey stratocumulus and the timing was perfect for revelers to end the day and go someplace drier

(though not so perfect for organizers who had to put it all away in the rain. Luckily, many volunteers stayed to do just that).

Once again, we soared above the water, back across the Hawthorne Bridge and to upper Hawthorne where we had dinner at a new Afghan restaurant which we had spotted earlier in the day. The food was tasty and I had a couple bites of baklava to top it all off. Finally home in the rain where it was getting chilly enough to have a very comfortable sleep.

Comment from the old blog:


Mmm…you make me crave the city!!! Since we bought a new-to-us car yesterday, coming to visit you will be much more likely in the coming months–when you’re ready for a visit that is. I imagine living with the uncles and being unemployed is not really conducive to hosting.  : )

I am so sure the perfect job is just around the corner for you. The timing just isn’t right yet.

BTW, I just learned from my new boss that I’m actually blessed not to have gotten the university library job (she was the Director for all of the branch libraries for the county so she interacted with the staff a lot). Turns out there’s a heap of political turmoil right now, the professional librarian staff is very snobby to the paraprofessional staff, and it’s all around not a pleasant working environment.  I really don’t want to give up the wonderful and healthy environment I’m in now just for more responsibility, etc. I’d rather be bored with people I adore than busy and unhappy. Also, it turns out that if I stay with the Agency, the new ED is willing to look at how to adjust my position to make me more happy. She just wants to take a few months to watch and learn before doing any major overhauls. So if I’m patient, I may get a lot more of what I want right where I am.

I have to say that I love getting a glimpse into your life on a fairly regular basis through zaadz. : )

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