Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Wow, it's been over a month since my last entry. Sometime in between, trips were made, summer ended, school started and a flurry of activity has ensued. Many potential blogging topics but I'll start with what's on my mind today. Bicycling has re-entered my life after a 15 year respite. I've been riding to school a couple times a week to offset the monstrous cost of driving the Denali to work (midlife crises cost money). I must admit, I feel like something out of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" when I look at my reflection in the mirror on my bike. I resurrected my Specialized Stump Jumper from 1991 with some road tires and some new shocks.

It's been really fun, kind of like rediscovering something from childhood. The only downside is that it takes me an hour each way to ride my bike - it's about 15 miles each way. I ride along a paved trail called the Bear Creek Greenway, so there's actually only a short stretch on either side of the trip where I travel on the streets. Here's a map that roughly shows the route. I pass by several small towns on the way to Medford where my high school resides. My favorite one is Talent, OR - which is fertile ground for a Hooters franchise expansion.


View Larger Map

Besides being called a cat burglar by my wife for my biking attire, I've already had some hilarious moments from this past month. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Running red lights in Ashland at 6:30 in the morning and then trying to quiet the moral/ethical battle that rages in my head for the next 5 minutes of riding.
  • A black cat that entered the path from the Talent RV Park. I thought she was really cute until she ran along side my bike, caught up with me, and crossed my path within seconds. Why doth thou smote me, unlucky one?
  • Greeting other bikers. Apparently, head nods are the most popular form for a head-on crossing. If you're being overtaken it's always, "On your left!" or an ice cream truck-style bell ringing. These encounters never involve a "good morning", "hello" or any other chit chat as most bikers seem to be involved in some kind of unstated invisible Tour de France. I made the mistake of trying to start up a conversation with a jersey-clad, clip-pedaled baby boomer and all I got was a scowl. Perhaps my kung fu is not good enough yet.
  • Forgetting to pack underwear to change into at work. I'm not sure this is a good thing to mention here... but now I've said it, and I can move on from that horrible day.
  • A biker I call, "The Sniper". Like a two-wheeled Johnny Cash, he's dressed in black from head to toe, and he rides a demon-forged black bike. This half man, half wind tunnel experiment always zooms past me with no warning, no sound, and no looking back. I'm just a pylon that's in his way. His speed is uncanny, and he never fails to scare the crap out me when I least expect him. Clearly, he's on steroids.

Riding to work is amazingly peaceful. With a 1 hour ride, you can't spend the whole time thinking about getting there because it's not going to happen any sooner. It calms me down before work, and I find that it focuses my head on what's important for that day. I feel like I accomplish something before the day begins. Regardless, you have my permission to shoot me on the spot if you see me sporting a race jersey tightly stretched over my ample mid-section!

3 comments:

Christy Raedeke said...

I'm surprised at your restraint; I thought for sure you'd trot out Ashland's favorite catch-phrase, "I'm reducing my Carbon Footprint."

Scott Raedeke said...

Yes, my carbonated footprint is tiny.

Anonymous said...

Scott,

I used to ride from Ashland to Medford every day. I loved it. My favorite part was taking the backroads through orchards and vineyards and cow country--now mostly Mahar Homes.

I loved the beauty in trying to ride uphill on Payne Road. So well named.

Enjoy your rides. They're great transitions. Coming and going.

Marcia