Hi my name is Emily Randel. My first memories are of a Big Wheel. When I grew up, when I was really small, I remember every bike it seemed to upgrade at Christmastime, so lots of my bike stories and getting new bikes are at the holidays. I’m lucky enough to have those memories.
I think bike commuting is my favorite or when I’m on my own and I’m adding that little bit of adventure to my everyday is kind of where my spirit aligns with biking the most. When I was first out of grad school and first kind of in the career world, I worked out in Oregon and had a woman I worked with- Rebecca if you ever hear this I am thinking if you!- she is tall and beautiful and she had this shock of just like wavy blonde hair. She rode to and from work almost every single day 10 miles one way. So she was riding 20 miles every day of her working life and was quite an accomplished professional as well. Always looked put together, always looked fabulously stylish and I just sat and was in awe of her. And I vowed then, like if she can do 20 miles in a day I can certainly do my round trip 10. And there is a way to have it all in that respect. So I always looked up to her. She never bragged, it was just her choice and I knew she was sort of like feeding that spirit by taking to the biking every morning and after work decompressing. I knew I just admired how she was seizing that sort of more wild side of herself and accomplishing that for herself every day. The thing is to just really like claim that space for yourself.
So I worked in Portland, and for a while I worked for the City of Portland. There were people walking through the cubes, you know through the office rooms with their bike helmets still on, their shorts, you know, I knew they had come right up from the locker room and the indoor bike racks and it was just expected. I mean of course in a planning environment in a city like Portland it’s much more accepted and there were multiple people with bike helmets on their desks in that sort of culture, and I always hold on to that. Just deciding that you’re going to be brave about.
There is something different about the way I got to work today. Maybe I have to get to work early to just sort of mop up, and then you know brush your hair and change your clothes or whatever, but I think that’s kind of where the power comes from.
One morning I was going to ride my bike, I live in Brookside, and I was going to ride my bike to the bus on the Plaza and take the bus the rest of the way into work. I was late, I was going to lose my connection to the bus if I didn’t hustle. So I flung myself down the stairwell and I threw myself on the bike and I was pedaling as fast as I possibly could and I was taking all of these bumps and just flying! And I was laughing because it was so fun. You know, slightly dangerous probably, but like really great. I thought, like, this is my commute and like some people never will feel this as an adult and they won’t feel the wind on their face and feel that sense of adventure of, like, looking at the gravel and like taking your next turn and seeing, you know, just feeling that energy. And I just hope that more people consider it for themselves even to just try it, cause it is the best way I can think of to like add a little bit of childhood back into your every day.