Saturday, February 6, 2010

Big plan, little plans

It seems to be getting warmer bit by bit around here. I have started doing rides that are slightly longer than just riding around town. Nothing heavy duty, but still I can feel my body is quite out of shape. I don't have any pictures though as these rides have been around already familiar places. I think weather permitting, I will start doing more substantial rides within a week or two.

Normally on this blog, we usually write about things we experience first hand, but today I thought I'd write about couple of things I noticed online.

riding ze bike

The first is the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030. I think that's the official name. I don't know how much coverage this has been getting outside of Portland, but for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it's a plan for the city of Portland to build some 680 miles of bikeways in the next 20 years that they are trying to pass. It was initially to be voted on this past week, but the vote has been postponed until next week. Mayor Adams who is supportive of the plan is confident that it will pass. I haven't followed it that closely myself other than reading articles over at Bike Portland, but while it seems a lot of people who are supportive of the plan, there's also people who are against it. To me, it's a no brainer. I have no problems with a plan that calls for building more and better infrastructure for bikes in Portland. I can only think of good things that could result from this. I think the issue for people who are against it is mainly the cost which will be some $613 million over the 20 years. That is a lot of money, but I think it's very low sum when you compare it with budgets for other modes of transportation. Anyway, I think while Portland may seem like a bicycle haven from the outside, the reality is that people who ride bikes are still a minority. One thing though that I don't quite understand is the scope of the plan. Why 20 years? Why not 10 or 5? 20 years seems like an awfully long time. I think they must have a good reason, but I don't get it. Anyway, I hope that it will pass next week. I think other Portlanders might have been more actively involved with this like going to a rally at the city hall, but my time here in Portland is limited and I will probably not be here to see the plan actually taking effect. My interest in the plan is more that it will set a precedence and maybe start a new trend for other cities to follow. Cities all over US desperately need a plan like this.

The other thing that sparked my interest this past week was this nice post over at Lovely Bicycle. It's about being able to afford things you love (bicycles!) by prioritizing what you really need in life. I'm quite similar in a way that I don't own a TV or a car and I rarely go out to eat at restaurants, etc. I spent years from when I was in high school to college being quite obsessed with sport cycling, but when I got into art school and moved to the other side of the country, I decided to give it up and concentrate on my studies. It wasn't long before I started missing the road bike I sold, but it wasn't until last year that I finally decided to get myself a road bike again. It was really the theft of my mountain bike that prompted me to buy the road bike, but until then I couldn't seem to justify the spending. I got a used bike and not a new bike. It's not my ultimate dream bike, but I'm glad to have it and glad that I didn't go all out on a dream bike then. After having had this bike, I think I know better what my dream bike would be. I had been thinking of having a road bike for so many years while living in NYC where I had my mountain bike and I often went for a ride in the city (riding around Central Park and stuff) and it took a move to Portland and losing the mountain bike to get it, but I think it would've happened sooner or later. I think what I'm getting at is that you can have what you want. Sometimes it takes circumstances for it to happen or you can manage your life and make it happen. I think people who say that they wish they could afford a nice bike in casual conversation probably don't really want one badly enough.

I was thinking before I started writing that these 2 things: the Portland bike plan and planning life to get what you want, sort of related to each other. Maybe they do, maybe not so much. Well, I think in both cases, careful thinking and planning can lead to good things whether it's a more healthy & pleasant environment or having something you truly wanted.

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