So what is moving by bike? Well, here's your answer:
"Moving by bike is like a barn-raising for the urban environment, a gangly parade that migrates the innards of one's living room from hither to thither, all to the melodious sounds of bike bells and friendly calls of 'car up!' People have moved countless homes, a puppet theatre, a few small businesses, file drawers, a chinchilla, more than one hide-a-bed, coveys of bookcases and chests of drawers, pianos, accordions, plants, a gun safe, saplings, and a documentary crew, to name just a few items. You don't need a trailer, just moxie and a sense of fun and adventure."
People sometimes ask me, "Hey, you're a bike blogger. How come you don't move to Portland?"* Well, there are many reasons, but the main one is that I live by the credo "Move your own puppet theater, asshole." This has served me very well in New York (in fact I'm currently working on a children's book and using that as the title), though it doesn't go over so well in the "urban environment" (gigglechortle) of Portland, where saying stuff like that tends to make people cry.
*Disclaimer: nobody ever asks me that.
Anyway, "Moving by Bike: The Book" tells you how to move by bike, but here are the CliffsNotes:
Step 1) Live in Portland.
And that's pretty much it.
See, Portland's not really a city. It's more like a quaint suburb of Seattle that got lost in the woods. So when you live a simple life in a small town whose economy is based on "arts and crafts," and your only possessions are a puppet theater, a chinchilla, and your accordions, it's pretty easy to move by bike. But for the rest of us, there are trucks.
Still, this project asks an important question:
"What do you think drives so many people together to just get involved in the community and help people they don't know?"
("I'm helping! So ahhhsome!")
Well, it probably has something to do with the fact that people in Portland have a shitload of time on their hands and thus can afford to squander it on leisure activities like moving someone's kitschy vinyl collection for them:
By the way, he's not describing a bike move here. That's just a typical Portland weekday.
Yes, you can tell a great deal about a society from the stuff they move, and evidently in Portland it's perpetually sophomore year at Bard since the cargo basically consists of kitschy vinyl, skateboard decks, and other stoner toys:
Oh, and milk crates, of course:
Some of which are full of wine:
"There comes to be this sort of competitive thing which I freely admit that I'm a part of, that you want to see who can carry the most cargo or how much you can carry and I've found a lot of times like if you don't show up early you might not get to carry anything..."
Competing to see who can carry more of somebody else's playthings for them? Now that's what I call "Cat 6 bike movin'." By the way, showing up late so you don't have to carry anything is how you're supposed to do it, you rubes:
And not only do these people have time to participate in bike moves, but they also have time to make quilts celebrating the act beforehand:
Look, I don't mean to be negative here. All I'm saying is that we should place the city of Portland under martial law and force the population to work on projects that benefit society as a whole instead of themselves. At the very least, every qualifying New York City household should be given at least one (1) Portlander who will serve as their valet. (Naturally they'll be free to use their bikes as much as they'd like in this capacity.)
Speaking of people with lots of time on their hands, I recently received an email with the subject "Fixie heroes," and here's what it said:
Met these three young guys in Grand Forks while on a bike tour. The one on the right is from Spain and he is riding from Vancouver to Calgary off road (trans Canada trail). Tough enough.
The other two are riding Calgary to Vancouver on fixies. God knows how they are getting over those brutal ascents but they seem to be knocking off 80-100km a day without the luxury of pedal clips or bike shorts that we all take for granted. And carrying tents on their backs!
But they are grinning whenever we see them.
Just wanted you to know
You know how they're getting over those brutal ascents? By not having any jobs or responsibilities! That (and weed) would also explain the perpetual grinning. I mean, good for them, and I hope they're enjoying themselves, but I'm not exactly marveling at their exploits here.
And what's the opposite of the "gangly parade" that is a bike move? Well, one might argue that it's riding around in the woods and killing things, and a number of readers have informed me that the hunting bike is the new gravel bike:
It seems just as superfluous as a gravel bike too, since the definitive characteristic of the hunting bike seems to be the camouflage "colorway:"
Now, I readily admit I don't know shit about hunting, and the only "survivalist" behavior I engage in with my bicycle is riding it to the bagel place, but where the hell do you put the dead deer?
Though of course the true outdoorsman knows you don't need any fancy special equipment to portage a deer carcass:
That's doing it the old-fashioned way. He'd be a real asset to your next bike move.
Lastly, speaking of Portland (or at least Oregon) and gravel, it was only a matter of time before the two came together:
You have to feel bad for the poor Midwest. For awhile they were the epicenter of the whole gravel racing thing, but now here comes the Portland "bike culture" to steal the whole thing away from them--because your grassroots style of racing hasn't truly arrived until you can order a Speedvagen for it.
What a bunch of artisanal carpetbaggers.