The Only Non-Biking Portlander 

The Dirty Secret of a Portland Native

AGAINST ALL ODDS, Portland native Katy Fletcher made it 25 years without ever learning how to ride a bike.

"I'm the baby of my family, so learning how to ride a bike just fell through the cracks," Fletcher says. "I tried really hard when I was 11 years old. At that point, everyone already knew how. Within moments of trying, I bit it." She shows me her scar. "I gave up after that—my pride got in the way."

For the next 14 years, anytime Fletcher mentioned her biking inability, bicyclists would get excited to teach her—but it never panned out.

Until a night in May when everything changed, where so many things do, at a bar.

"It was about midnight. One of the people at the table had a bike my size—I'm height challenged—so we went out to the parking lot and they were holding me up. I kept saying, 'You can let go... I think I got it.' Then they'd laugh, 'cause it was pretty obvious I didn't have it," Fletcher says. "I was swerving all over the parking lot."

Now with her own bike, Fletcher's been tentatively exploring, but has some catching up to do, having grown up bike-illiterate.

"A bunch of people were sitting around in the patio at work talking about bike routes. I had no idea what they were talking about," says Fletcher, who'd just wrapped up her floor shift at the Moon and Sixpence.

"I've been out three times so far. I already have another scar. I really need to go somewhere to practice."

More Bike Issue articles here!

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