I was so excited when I got an email from an Eco Etsy Teammate, Ellie Efforts about her bicycling adventures. And it turns out, she’s here in Oregon, as well, which I never realized! I’m so pleased to share her bicycle commuting story here – a real inspiration!
When my amazing husband & I married in 1999 I moved from Eugene, Oregon, where bicycle commuting is common & bikes rule, to rural Douglas County in SW Oregon where big pickups and log trucks dominate the roads and commuting is 10-30 miles round-trip depending on the size of the town you need. My husband & I are woodworkers and the hands behind Earnest Efforts natural woodworking. We work from home and my commute consists of walking about 500 feet from the house to the Sawdust Cathedral (our woodshop) and my daily exercise is a 40 minute hike around our property through woods & along streams with Myrtle Jo Efforts, our precious canine friend. My 25 lb. mountain bike, I’m hardly kidding, was getting dusty and looking very lonely until I had a brilliant idea.
My Pa loves to surf, bicycle, fly-fish and camp and he has all the toys that go with these adventures. So, when his birthday came around this spring my brother & I gave him the ultimate birthday gift – a bicycle trip around Crater Lake and a weekend of camping in Southern Oregon. The Crater Lake Rim ride is a 35 mile ride, which is a moderate one day trip, but I hadn’t been on my bike in such a long time I was worried that I would be the one left in the dust and my ego was cringing at the thought. Our Etsy shop & wholesale accounts send us to the post office twice a week on yoga class days and one day a week as the only errand. My mind was made up – time to start riding and saving fossil fuels one day a week.
The nearest post office is 10.8 miles round trip on the black top, so in May I aired up the tires, strapped the packages to my bike and started riding to the post every Monday. There are some hills, blind curves and a very narrow shoulder, but otherwise it is a perfect morning ride. That moment of freedom when my feet hit the pedals and I feel like I’m flying puts a smile on my face and in my soul. With the fresh air in my face and the speed I don’t get when hiking; I feel connected to the Earth and released all in the same moment. Along with yoga classes and a regular work out program the cycling is getting easier with every ride. Better yet, the drivers in our rural community were seeing me on the road, giving me a wide berth and waving as they passed. I was planting the seed of bicycle awareness in the minds of these drivers.
Our family weekend at Crater Lake in August was brilliant and I had the time of my life. The ride was difficult at times, but the moments were incredible. The trip stirred in me that fire that has kept me coming back to my bike. On Friday nights I bike 10 miles with my Mom, who discovered her love of cycling when she decided to join us on the Crater Lake ride. Her hip had been bothering her on her walks, but cycling has eliminated this and she now rides 10-18 miles a day a few times a week. My dear girlfriend, Dot, is an avid cyclist and bikes the 10 miles to yoga a couple times a week. I joined her in September and had the privilege of riding with one of her sons to his school then off on the 45 minute ride into yoga, 90 minutes of yoga and 45 minute ride back to Dot’s house. At the end of the ride I’m starving and delirious about life for the rest of the day.
I know I’ve already said a lot but all I really needed to say is if you have a bicycle, dust it off, get out your helmet, and put your feet to the pedals. There is nothing else like it in the world. Whether you hop on your bike for a quick trip to the store for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or you commute to work 10 miles there is nothing else like bicycling. Freedom, air, and living in the moment. That’s what bicycling is for me…living in the moment.
Thank you, Ellie! If any of you have a bicycle commuting story you would like to share, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.