Free Range Bike: Uberize Me!

freerangebike FreeRangeBikeUberFree Range Bike: It’s Uber Time!

Uber and bike-sharing makes sense to me, so before zooming off today through the streets of Portland, I hung an Uber flag on my long bar.

And I picked up some rides!

A woman of means hailed me from a bus stop, climbed on and told me promptly that the line was delayed and she had to get to an a.m. meeting at the KOIN tower pronto! She said there was something called a “high tip” for me if I rode New York style.

Well, I’m no fool. I have a third cousin once-removed who rides messenger in NYC, so I know what that means. I rode in between the lanes of cars, darted the new red light, cut off the right-turners, and wove in and around groups of pedestrians on sidewalks.

And we got there in 3.2 minutes flat, and I learned that “high tip ” means a crisp Jackson bill, which I tucked into Barista’s water bottle.

Catching my breath at the KOIN tower, a lanky gentleman with a completely over-necessary London Fog rain coat and titanium briefcase arranged himself on my seat and said, “Courthouse, please.”

Well, it took a bit of acrobatics to keep the cuffs of his coat out of my spokes, but we made it to the Courthouse in 1.6 minutes, and I called to him to have a good day as he rushed up the steps and I tucked his Jackson bill into barista’s water jug.

I rode quietly for a few blocks, just collecting my thoughts, when I overheard a mother scolding her Jr. High school son — who was leaning tenously southward due to an overstufffed backpack plus skateboard — for missing his bus.

“You know you have too many tardies this quarter already — and I don’t have time to take you — I still have to drop off Selma at daycare and I am not even dressed for work yet!”

I humbly stepped in.

“I’ll get him to school on time, Ma’am,” I gently poked my business into hers.

She gave me a wicked eye, and then recognized me and saw my Uber sign and hugged me. “So glad you showed up,” she sighed relief. “Take my young man to school, will you? Here’s what I have on me — I’ll pay the balance when I see you around –” and she pushed a fiver into Barista’s water bottle.

Well, Jamal had the ride of his life, and I gave him some skateboard tips along the way. It has to do with physics. Us wheelers know the score on that. I know, because I have a fourth cousin twice removed in CHicago who is a professional stunt bike. He arrived on time, and was the coolest skateboarder at recess, I heard scuttlebutt later.

Well, this went on all day. Uber. What a concept!

Wow, was I was zonked at the end of the day and required a triple blast off the air tubes at Boyz Will Be Girlz Bike Shop. I told the gals my adventures and they were totally with Uberization as a concept platform for community -environmental synthesis in Portland, It makes total sense.

Just as I found myself revived, Barista showed up!

She had several water samples and leaf segments in hand, but put them in her file drawer when I offered her to take her on an Uber ride.

The city was growing quiet as businesses and offices closed up and restaurant lights started to gain attraction and glowed and scents of grilled fish and basmadi rice filled the air. We glided through the waterfront. The river always calms Barista. Me, too. The air smells fresh; not much carbon.

Then, as we fell in love all over again, I surprised Barista and rode over to the Opera House and purchased two tickets to “de Fleidermouse” from my tips of the day.

I rolled out my Service Bike vest so I could have access, and we took our aisle seat and filled our soul-tanks with classic live performance, and both agreed it was indeed, an Uber Day.

Free Range Bike is by Heidi D. Hansen, M.A.c2013-14. hhansenma@yahoo.com

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