Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wrapping up in Portland

I just finished my dress for Sarah's wedding. It looks really lovely.
Finals are done, dress is done, and the Toward Carfree Cities conference will go on without me. Gil Peñalosa's address yesterday was excellent, very inspiring, and challenging. He didn't ignore the need for more age and economic diversity on bicycles, and went beyond patting Portland on the back for its thriving bike culture. I'm so glad that such a key figure in the sustainable transit movement worked to build bikeways through even poor neighborhoods in Bogotá. I was disappointed by the lack of attention to the poor in yesterday's talks at the conference; though I commend all those who choose to leave cars behind, it's a bit limiting to pretend that we are all upper-middle class and homogeneous. What about people who aren't part of the bicycle or sustainability subculture? How do we reach out to them? Peñalosa hit the nail on the head with these issues, arguing, along with Andy Clarke, that bicycling should become something normal, not something viewed as kooky or "just for those weirdos." If they're willing to sacrifice the authenticity of subculture, activists can gain so much by considering the needs and perspectives of other kinds of riders.
Now Bobby and I are going to dinner before he takes me to the airport. I might have to pay $100 just to get my folding bike on the plane, unfortunately. Little did I know that my purchase of the Loose Goose would coincide with the imposition of ridiculous levies on baggage. Nuts to you, US Airways!
Fortunately I'll be taking the train back to Portland in July. Hopefully the Loose Goose will be more welcome on Amtrak.