This post is written in memory of my cousin Eduardo D’Agord Schaan. Eduardo was an avid cyclist who once rode from Seattle, WA, to Washington, DC. For a cause. Somewhere in the 1990’S Eduardo applied to the Bike-Aid chapter of the Global Exchange, an international organization “dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world.” Here is an excerpt of the mission of the Global Exchange: “We envision a people centered globalization that values the rights of workers and the health of the planet; that prioritizes international collaboration as central to ensuring peace; and that aims to create a local, green economy designed to embrace the diversity of our communities.” Bike-Aid is one of the campaigns of the Global Exchange, promoting the use of bicycle transportation as a component for the improvement of the health of the planet and with the added benefit of stimulating a local green economy.
Eduardo’s Bike-Aid campaign proposal was approved and he was granted the privilege of becoming one of the cyclists that participated in this long ride from Seattle to Washington DC. The ride was part of a campaign to raise awareness to the importance and possibility for bicycles to be seen as a realistic mode of transportation.
Much beyond this cross country trip, however, in his day to day life Eduardo was already working towards this end. Eduardo was a Civil Engineer and worked as a City Planner for my home town of Porto Alegre. In this capacity, his professional goal and his personal dreams were to develop a bicycle path system for Porto Alegre. Something that he was not able to accomplish due to his untimely passing. But he worked long enough on it and he was persuasive enough about it that his ideas did not stop being discussed or planned after his death. The seeds were planted and the fruits are being harvested posthumously.
Far from Porto Alegre, I live in Eugene, Oregon one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the US if not the world. I think Eduardo would have been a much better Eugenean than I can ever be. Even if I biked to work frequently, which I do. And when I do, I often think about Eduardo and his struggles to develop bike paths in Porto Alegre. And I think about how I practically take it for granted that I can go to work using a bike path system. It is almost unfair when I know how difficult it was for him to fight the politics and get the funds for the project of a bike system for Porto Alegre. Let alone find the funds for the the execution of short mile of that system. More on that later.
I live very close to the Willamette Riverbank Path System. And my office is close to this system as well.
Weather permitting, I commute to work by bicycle. In the morning I’m traveling east, enjoying the morning sun, via the South Bank Path. In the evening I’m going west, and I usually take the North Bank Path, to add some distance to my commute which is also my daily workout. It makes for a total of 7 miles round trip, or about 11Km.
I ride this Peugeot.