I love my bikes. There. I said it.

I love my bikes. There. I said it.

Ahearne skyline

Sometimes I just have to pull over
and take a photo. I think that’s love.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

I do not like to get sentimental or overly emotional here on the Front Page. Over the past 8 years, I’ve learned that doing so — especially as our audience has changed and grown in recent years — is fraught with all sorts of pitfalls and risks. But today, because it’s Valentine’s Day and all my social media timelines are full of odes to love and bikes, I couldn’t resist.

So, I just want to say that I love my bikes.

Even after decades of riding them, writing about them, working in the bike industry, and so on, I still love them just as much as ever. Whether it’s a quick trip around town, a work-day escape up into the hills, or an all-day weekend adventure. There are so many reasons to love them I could go on and on. I won’t bore you with all that. I’m liable to get into Too Much Information mode pretty quick.

All this talk of love reminds me: You know you always see references in the media about “America’s love-affair with cars,” as if that cultural default is a huge barrier to any policy or project that might discourage their overuse? I have a hunch that phrase in large part the result of a strategic propaganda campaign from the auto industry (and don’t for one second think they’re above using propaganda to sell more cars).


My new Cielo has rekindled my love of road — and backroad — riding.

My city bike-5

My daily bike (made by Joseph Ahearne in north Portland) in full utility mode.
Marin-Bay Area trip-6

Sunrise in the hills above Fairfax, California with my Yeti mountain bike.

I only bring this point up because I would love to start hearing major media references to “America’s love-affair with bikes” that comes with the same seriousness and socio-political implications. I think we’re headed in that direction. Slowly but surely, Americans are starting to realize that bikes can be not just wonderfully utilitarian; but also objects of desire that are so transformative to the mind, body, and community of their owners that they spark a relationship that can only be described as love.

The Danish and Dutch can call them vacuum cleaners all they want; but I’ll never see any of my bikes solely as useful tools. I love them, I love riding them, and I love the places — both literally and figuratively — they’ve taken me.

I hope everyone has a lovely day and I hope a bicycle is part of it.

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