I’ve gotten this response several times over the past few years, usually in response to some photo I took around the area. Get around? I look at the statement with a lot of bewilderment and confusion, dashed with a little anger.
I follow many blogs or flickr/tumblr/instagram streams of many intrepid bicycle adventurers. These are people who regularly ride 1000 km brevets like they’re a trip to the corner store. Or they are bikepackers that search out the most rugged and remote places to journey to. Or they are bike tourists on the road the majority of the year, only crashing at a “home base” of some sort when they need to replenish their savings. Photos of epic places and epic adventures. Photos that make me jealous and feel inferior, like I have no business blogging.
Most of my adventuring occurs in my home territory in and around Portland, Oregon, USA. I rarely do rides over 30 miles, unless I’m on a bike tour or there’s a big reason behind it. Most of my adventures happen in just heading around town, on the way to or from work. I’m blessed that I live in an area with a wealth of natural beauty and diversity, even within the city limits. But most of it happens within the 145 square miles (376 km²) of the city of Portland.
Yes, I do get around the city. My round-trip bike commute to work is 12 miles. But I don’t always head straight home. And there’s just those little things I can do after work, like go make dinner in a park, or eat a burrito or watch the sunset, or take the long way home via the Leif Erickson Trail in Forest park to St. Johns. I try to pack in as much as possible, as often as possible. Do I do this every day? Of course not. Some days I’m just plain tired or I got something else going on. But if the weather’s nice and the time’s there, why hurry home?
And I try to do something “fun” on one of my days off, if they weather’s good. This is where I try to explore my are more intensely and more intently. This is where I seek out the areas of the region I don’t know that well, try to find something new out there.
In short, this is what the Urban Adventure League is about, since it’s inception way back in 2004.
Yeah, I get around. And you can, too!