On the way home from work today, going across the Hawthorne Bridge, I spotted something I almost never see… someone going the same speed as me! I’ve figured out that I average somewhere in the general realm of 8-10mph (13-15km/h) or even a little below. That may be the average in Copenhagen, but that’s pretty slow for Portland. So, when I saw someone sustaining about the same speed, well, it felt nice. As we went down Hawthorne and then turned onto Ladd Avenue, and the slow speed continued, I was enjoying watching the towering cathedral of trees lining the road, and feeling an unusual sense of solidarity with the only person on the road traveling the same speed as me. As we came to the intersection of Ladd and Division, we pulled up behind a girl on an old single speed cruiser, who was riding with a guy on a recumbent bike. As we started going, I couldn’t help but notice that they were also traveling at what was a very comfortable speed for me, riding side by side, and just chatting the whole way – moving over to the side of the road as cars would go by, and then moving back again.
We moved slowly up Clinton Street, making our way past 26th and on up. The girl in front of me turned off at about 30th, and the other three of us continued along.
The two in front of me continued just chatting away, until we reached 35th, and they said a fond farewell, as the girl turned left, and the guy continued straight. I, for my part, turned right, feeling calm, peaceful, and having enjoyed my ride home more than I have in a long time.
The moral of the story – enjoy your riding. Talk to people. Look at trees, houses, clouds. Don’t fly by the city so fast you forget it’s there.