On Sunday Emee and I participated in a good ol’ fashioned Portland style Move By Bike. What is that, you asked? Well, it is what it sounds like: move house via bicycle rather than truck or van. Since no known cargo bike is going to have the hauling capacity of a UHaul, it’s a group affair, with dozens of folks riding cargo bikes, bikes with trailers, or just good ol’ bikes. It’s sort of like an Amish barn raising, with less barn and less Amish.
And it is oh-so-Portland.* We did a lot of Move By Bikes in the second half of the aughts, and even into the early teens. Sometimes these moves even get national attention, like Steph and Ed’s move in 2013, which saw 70 (Seventy!) participants. The numbers have declined over the past few years, so Meghan putting out the call to move her belongings four miles from South Tabor to Beaumont-Wilshire seemed like a return to “old times” with Portland bike culture.
Of course, a winter bike move is hit-and-miss. Sometimes you can be blessed with good weather. Sometimes you have pissing rain, hail, and a strong wind out of the south, which is what happened with Meghans’ move. (Thankfully, the move was heading north.) That’s where tarps and trash bags come in handy! And despite our best intentions, Emee and I got to the move late, after everyone had loaded and set off. We rode along with them, there if anyone needed to offload stuff en route (they didn’t) and help with bringing the boxes inside at the end.
Despite the weather, about 20 people showed up. And I got to see some folks I hadn’t seen in a long time, like Tall Steve. It almost felt like a Shift event circa 2009. Ah nostalgia.**
In any case, maybe the next time you move, you can move by bike? Of course, it’s not always logistically possible, like if you’re going to move 30 miles in the countryside and you only know one other person with a cargobike/trailer. But if you’re just moving across town in an urban environment, give it a shot!
*Why yes, I HAVE moved by bike. When April and I moved into our shared one-bedroom Montavilla apartment in 2010, we had TWO separate bike moves on consecutive weekends, one from each house!
**Hitting up Zoobomb would have made an appropriate end to this nostalgic day, but alas, I didn’t go.