Helmet? Check. Water Bottle? Check. Worldly possessions? Check. I have to admit I was ecstatic when I received several e-mails packed with far too many exclamation points announcing that a house would be moved from Southwest Bend to Northwest Bend by bicyclists this past Saturday afternoon. Wow, someone's crib put on wheels pulled through Bend streets by pedal power? How amazing would that be?
And sure enough a gaggle of cyclists hove into sight about 3 p.m. headed down toward the Old Mill District from the Reed Market roundabout. But what's this? No house? Wasn't this supposed to be a house move?
Leading the cycling contingent was Cascade Couriers' Daniel Brewster, who from time to time can be seen dropping copies of the Source throughout downtown Bend, pulling along a nice double bed followed by cyclists hauling packing boxes, potted plants, artwork, sports gear, rugs, a futon, and dirty laundry. In short, pretty much everything Brewster and his wife own. As I watched the parade of goods go by, it hit me that through the mysteries of the English language, that "house" being moved should have perhaps been more accurately described as a "household" being moved.
"When we got our new place near the Newport (Avenue) Market," Brewster noted, "we decided to ask cyclists to help us move our possessions. It's not the first time such a move has been made. Commute Options moved their offices in a similar manner last year."
One of the approximately 40 people who showed up to help was Ralph Tadday, a native German who moved to Bend ten years ago from Berkeley. "It was such a great experience. I was amazed at how much you can carry on a bike trailer. If you're a bike person, it was a great thing to see happen and be involved in."
So will this become the new wave in the art of moving? "I don't think so," Tadday said, "I don't think a lot of people will do it unless they are well connected to the cycling community."
Heart of Oregon Corps employee John Aho thinks the concept will catch on, "in a small way. I know the people in the group on Saturday plan to stay connected and do more such moves if opportunities for them arise."
With well over an hour of footage Aho hopes to have a short documentary film of the move completed by early next year.
Luckily for Brewster, he is well connected to the cycling community and earlier in the week had made a pitch to help out to those gathered for a screening of the bicycle documentary, Veer, at McMenamins. That request, plus e-mails, drew the large crowd who tackled the move with gusto. A move that, after organizing all the loads, was accomplished in just over thirty minutes. Yes, you can move a house-er, a household-in less than half an hour.
Of course there is a code when helping someone move, even if it's done by bicycle, and that's the unspoken rule that your moving helpers should be rewarded with a few cold ones. And the bike move stayed true to code with pizza and beer for all 40 cyclists who did the heavy lifting and pedaling.