Cycling through Portland is my new drug.
Whenever I'm feeling stuck I get on my bike and go. Whenever it's too gorgeous to bear another minute inside. Whenever I have a book to pick up at the library, or need some sewing supplies, to make a bank deposit or meet a friend.
I've been covering SE 122nd to about SE 20th and from Powell to about Stark and notice how each neighborhood seems to have its own smells. The winding neighborhoods east of 82nd smell like Round Up and cut grass; the spicy lemony nectar of thousands of roses drifts heavy in the air and I feel safe and electric pedaling down the worn streets.
Cutting down SE Mill to parallel Division and cross 82nd I discovered a shady emerald aisle. The entire 10 block stretch from 92nd is lined with tall whispery trees that form a shimmering canopy. The shade smells like mettalic soil, rich in minerals and decomposition, the base stuff of life.
The closer I get to 39th the houses gain height and ancestry. It gets warmer, the air heavier and I smell sweet blossoms like lily and mock orange, peppery stock and silvery birch.
My bike is a black and silver Schwinn with just 5 gears. Since I've been riding in Portland my strength is up and I can pedal up hills that were out of my league back in Olympia. I've been thinking about making some upgrades so I don't have to go out of my way to avoid really big hills and be more comfortable for longer rides. Can I swap the big chrome fenders for something lighter and is it worthwhile to regear a bike? For now my bike serves me well as it is but I like the idea of modifying it as my needs change rather than just buying a new one altogether.