Every time I live in an urban area, I abandon my bike because I'm less comfortable navigating busy streets. This spring I decided to take advantage of the city that bikes and pull my ride out of retirement. The best part is that the City of Portland has organized a whole series of clinics and rides specifically to encourage women of all ages to cycle for fun and to consider using bicycles as a means of commuting to work, shopping, etc.
If you live in Portland, Oregon I highly recommend taking advantage of the Women on Bikes program. Last weekend I went to their Let's Get Rollin' class where we asked questions about safety, clothing, riding at night, types of bikes, and extra gear. I had so much fun meeting other women who were also looking for some support when it came to understanding the rules of the road and how to stay safe.
Next class I'm taking is Be Your Own Champion where you learn basic bike maintenance, how to change a flat tire, and cleaning techniques. After experiencing my first rear wheel flat last week, I'm excited to gain more experience taking my chain on and off my bike. If you've never changed a flat before, it's incredibly simple and through the magic of the Internet I learned in an hour using these online videos:
Another cool feature on the Web is byCycle.org. It's the MapQuest of biking for Portland, Oregon and Milwaukee, Wisconsin where you can put in your starting point, final destination, and receive directions for bicycling.
One of the neatest ventures here in Oregon is the City of Portland Sunday Parkways. Here's what they have to say about it:
Lastly, I saw this book Joyride: Pedaling Towards a Healthier Planet by Mia Birk, which tells the story of how a group of visionaries in Portland made cycling an essential part of the city and have gone on to inspire a nation to take up biking. So if your city hasn't caught the cycling wave, perhaps drop Mia Birk a note and she'll show you how to make it happen in your neck of the woods.