Yesterday I had the occassion to drive out past Gresham, past Troutdale, almost to the very banks of the Sandy River. The drive was pleasent enough through rolling hills and nurseries on every street. Coming back was a different story, but thats neither here nor there.
The moral of the story is that my destination, Ratto Farms, lies a mere 15 miles from our house outside of Portland. Growing up in Rural Idaho, I was 10 miles from the nearest town, 15 from a slightly bigger one that actually had a grocery store, and almost 30 from Boise itself. Back in the day I would drive fifty-some-odd miles regularly to go to school and visit friends, and generally lead a social life that a somewhat awkward queer teenager is expected to lead.
And it didn't mean anything to me. It took some time sure, but it never felt like a trip. But yesterday was an expedition. Renting a car and driving a WHOLE 15 miles seemed enormous. Not to mention that it took almost a WHOLE hour to get there.
Part of a dedicated bike economy and culture is a re-localization of people and places. Riding out to Sauvie Island is 40-miles round trip and is an all day trip in my mind. Even going downtown from our home at 34th, can seem like a trek, and is only done for special events. It just amazes me to think that once upon a time a two-hour ride was normal for me. While now I being to squirm after 20 minutes in a vehicle.
I have gotten to know my neighborhood and most of the SE more than any other place I have lived, including my home of 18 years. When riding I am more cognizant of my surrondings and their changes of place. Distances all seem much greater, but that is because a mile means more to me. Not only in energy expended, time in travel, but also as something to be reconigzed not simply driven by.
In conclusion I am blessed to live in a city which is still quite human in scale.
1 hour ago