Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Identity and the Bicycle

Anyone who knows me knows that bicycles are a big part of my life. I have a number of them, some that come and go and a few that are priceless and stay around for a long time. I could easily live in a small studio so long as it had a garage for all my bikes (well, okay, and A LOT of bookshelves…). I ride everywhere, year-round, regardless of weather, and only reluctantly own a car. Bicycling is my “mode” for getting around, but more than that, it’s my lifestyle. Much of my art, many of my books, a lot of my clothes, my social life, and volunteer activities are related to cycling. But I guess until recently, I didn’t realize how much it had become my identity.

I was in this bar in NE Portland, called Zaytoons, chatting with some other barflies-er, uh, I mean patrons- and someone asked me, “Are you really riding a bike in this weather? Are you crazy? Don’t you have a car?”

“Sure, I have a car,” I replied, “but I’d rather ride. The weather isn’t that big a deal if you have the right gear.”

Then (and this was the moment of enlightenment I mentioned earlier), the bartender, Brandy, said, “Dude, don’t you know who that is?” Then, pretending to be me, she said, “Dude, I’m Ryan. I ride bikes. It’s what I do!”

Needless to say, that made me very happy. In fact, I think that will be my new mantra. Whenever I am frustrated with riding or feeling unmotivated, I will say to myself,

“Dude, I’m Ryan. I ride bikes. It’s what I do!”

Only I think in my mind I will hear it in Brandy’s voice, because it sounds a hell of a lot sexier when she says it.


Barry R. said...

When the bartender knows your name and your cycling habits - you're probably not riding as much as you are DRINKING!!! I don't think any bartenders know me by name....but I am a light-weight, which is probably part of the reason.

Captain Hairdo said...
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Captain Hairdo said...
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Sunrise over Little Tohama, from Ingraham Flats, 2007