Guest blogging for Sweet Athena today is Kara. An artistic woman, whose latest project involves making a documentary about her shift from car dependency to bicyclist. During our week of Oregon guest bloggers, it only made sense to include a Portlander challenging her everyday lifestyle, while documenting the progress. To learn more about Kara, check out her website BikeLove, or the recent article written about her by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. ~Jess
On December 1, 2011, I gave up my car and started a one-year commitment to bike commuting.This has been a significant change for me, especially since I was not accustomed to biking on a regular basis when I started. I am still getting used to the physical practice of biking around the city – going up hills, starting and stopping, carrying my day-to-day items around with me, etc. I even did all of my holiday shopping on bike. I am getting used to the new routine, but sometimes I miss being able to get places quickly.
I no longer rely on the convenience of using a car to get around, which changes not only the way I go about my day, but the way I see and experience the world. Whether I meant to or not, I thrusted myself into a minimalistic lifestyle. It has been necessary to scale down on my activity level and plan out my days to make efficient use of my time. I had a hard time with this, especially during the first month; I love to “do it all”, but this approach is no longer a realistic way to to go about my life.
I want to embrace this experience, rather than resist it. Certainly this is the choice that I am faced with when it is late at night, raining, and cold. Using mindfulness and breathing exercises I am able to experience moments like this without feeling like I want to be somewhere else. Much like yoga and other mind-body practices, biking is one way to connect with myself and connect with the experience of being human. I am learning to accept this transition and I feel positive about all of the changes that are happening. I am more connected with myself and also with my environment. By slowing down and tuning into my surroundings, I am finding deeper moments of peace.
I am doing a documentary about my experience to illustrate the motorist to cyclist change process as well as to explore themes of sustainability, feminism, the arts, and community-building. I want to learn from and connect with the individuals, organizationns, and businesses who create Portland’s bike culture. I am currently in the process of planning a Bike Fashion Show, which will take place on June 31st to celebrate the end of Pedal Palooza Month. Stay tuned for other events and project updates by checking out: www.bike-love.org
or follow Bike Love on Facebook & Twitter!! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
if you would like to be involved with the project – I am currently seeking 2-3 more people to join the social media team and 4 more people to join the Fashion Show planning committee.