There is little doubt to me why I moved to Portland, Oregon a few months ago. My partner had wanted to be here for a few years – artsy, eco-friendly, alternative-friendly town that it is – but it took more time for me to warm to the idea of the map shifting under my feet. I’ve travelled, sure, and I’m passionate about travel, but I’ve only ever lived in New York or my native New Jersey.
And then something else happened – a culmination of content and information driven by the Midway-to-Cape-May ride. I had stumbled across The Path Less Pedaled while hunting for bike tour gear reviews, and started following them on Facebook. Eventually I learned that a heavenly place called Velo Cult exists, and that out here in the great Pacific Northwest – bicycle touring is celebrated. Not to diss my homies, but bike touring is just not something that’s acknowledged as a legitimate thing in New Jersey. This began to permeate. And encouraged by beautiful energy from The Path Less Pedaled’s Laura and Russ, I finally found my reason why I would want to make the jump myself. Sure, Lisa wanted to try on a change of scenery for a while, but I had to find my reason for myself if I could ever hope this thing would be healthy and lasting. The seed was planted. I was gently being exposed to how normal bike culture is out here (and please, I don’t mean that in the weird Millennial hipster sense), and more importantly, how a state can truly celebrate bike TOURING culture and recognize its economic impact.
Last night, we attended the Oregon Scenic Bikeways Video Release Party, and Lisa saw first hand the stuff that inspired me to make my jump across the lower 48 to Portland. I met Laura Crawford from the PLP and Jerry Norquist from Cycle Oregon and thanked them both for their energy that they put into the world. Jerry had just spoken for a few minutes from the dais about recognizing the economic impact of bike touring especially when coupled with strong support from the state, and I told him that this is the kind of thing that helped to draw me out here. I thanked Laura for the work that she and Russ has done with documenting their passion and producing these great videos that unequivocally was the tipping point for me. I didn’t want to be all weird fan-club about it, but I needed to let them know that they unknowingly helped inspire me to make a life changing move.
There are so many routes out here with so many beautiful things to see; a landscape fundamentally different from where I spent the first 34 years of my life. I am so excited to start planning out my summer! I think I’ll start with a ride to the grocery store today. :)