Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bicycle Buzz

I have two things to say about the biking.

1) I took a different route home on Monday afternoon. Mostly I took a different route through downtown so that I could observe more of what’s happening in PDX ~ all the better for my reportage. Instead of turning by Terwilliger Plaza and taking 4th through downtown, I went down 6th instead. Thought I’d get a good view of the new Max Green line and see what changes have been made on the bus mall.

Well, that didn’t work so well. The Max tracks are a huge hazard to bicycles and when you are traveling parallel to them, it’s nerve wracking. I could hardly take my eyes off the damn things! I had to get off my bike and walk across them to get off 6th. I turned down SW Market St just to get away from the tracks. Originally, I intended to ride to Salmon and get on the waterfront that way, but I had to escape the hazard and turned right by St Mary’s academy. I took Market down to Second and turned left there. Second is like an alley in size and in repair. Actually, the streets downtown are in terrible shape and it’s a nightmare riding on them.

I will add just one small note of commentary here. This isn’t new but I saw it again and was reminded of how irritating it is: There is a clock by the fountain in the plaza at PSU. The plaza between 5th and 6th, Montgomery and Mill. On the clock are Roman numerals. Now, maybe I’m wrong but I think the number 4 is written IV, not as it appears on the clock, IIII. That bugs me every time I see it. Didn’t anyone proof the design before it was cast in steel?

2) Wednesday was wet! I made it to work fine, dry and cool. On the way home, though, ugh. It rained periodically throughout the day but the afternoon was “supposed” to be clear. Ha! I looked out the window at work about quarter after 3 and thought, I’d better get out of here before it rains. So, I clocked out, got my bike, rode down the elevator and by the time I got to the door, pouring!

I had a choice at that point. Get on my bike and ride or wait to see if it would stop. A toss up. I chose to ride, figuring that I was just going to get wet and so what. I had my raincoat on and that helped some, but my glasses were really wet, my thighs were wet and my butt was wet. The funny thing? By the time I got to the bottom of the hill the rain stopped. Oh well! So, most of me dried out as I rode home… except for my butt. I don’t have fenders on my bike and I don’t have rain pants. I’ll be checking those things out real soon. Maybe you’ve noticed, as you tool along in your car, all warm and dry, that bicycles kick up water from their tires. Well, if you don’t have a fender, all of that water goes right up your back in a dark, oily stripe. Yuck! My raincoat and backpack kept it off my back but my seat area was definitely wet.

I don’t know how much riding I’ll manage to do during the rainy months. It depends on how much I want to invest in gear for me and the bike. I have definitely been enjoying the ride though. It’s good exercise and my pants are fitting better.

1 comment:

  1. biking and rain sounds like a drag to me! glad to see you are gonna try it. if it doesn't work out for you i do hope you will still report on our fair city by whatever form of transport you chose.