Saturday, June 4, 2011

And The Winner Is….

We rode the Loooong bike on our little jaunt today.

Mrs. C’s schedule cleared up as if by magic, coincidentally with the latest weather report that predicted sunny and 75 for Saturday. It is a good thing too because with a favorable change in the weather the Chehalis gap can be counted on to give a pretty stiff blow in from the harbor. I really needed that stoker pushing me along; I would have been meat in the grinder on the Quickbeam. Funny thing, my wife really has no idea how enormously helpful she is on the tandem. I tell her every so often but not too often, and not too convincingly; the last thing I want is for her to figure out that I’m not a wizard but just some pudgy little geezer shifting gears behind a curtain.

Isn’t she a pretty thing? My wife of course is lovely, but in this case I am referring to the bike. Normally my latent scandehoovian genes cause me to shy away from those gaudy, flashy bike paint jobs. Those 8 color Colnago paint schemes are pretty to look at, but just shout ME!ME!ME! a little too much, and a little too loudly. “So” you might ask “How did you wind up with a candy apple metal flake red tandem?” Well it was the one they had on the floor when we decided to buy and once in buy mode I was in no mood to wait weeks for the build, and too, …. it is awfully pretty.

We really needed sun glasses on this day; the bright sun glinting off this thing is nearly blinding. They say red is a dark color but on a sunny day you can see this thing coming for three blocks. Friday night I was tinkering and lubing and adjusting (I know; I need to tighten up the timing chains) making last minute adjustments getting it ready to roll. I took it for a spin up the block and back. The little kids at the end of the street came running out, silly grins on their faces. “I saw you ride that bike before!” It’s like an antique car, or an old fire truck, it just gets people’s attention. And so it was all along the ride.

And what a day for a bike ride! I reviewed the weather stats for May, April too, and it quickly became obvious that we aren’t whiners here in the Pissing Pacific Northwest. We have suffered a prolonged stretch of seriously crappy weather. Sure, we haven’t flooded, or been swept away by tornados, or been buried in 15 foot snow drifts, we’ve just seen a little too much rain and a little too little sun.  Temps below normal, rainfall above normal and number of days without sun considerably below normal.  But in the space of a couple days, it’s all forgotten. A constant parade of pasty people with sunglasses and goofy grins, everywhere, including pasty us. 

We saw plenty of people out on bicycles and of course lots of people out on motorcycles. There were also lots of people in $150,000 RV’s. We were all out having our own kind of fun and I was quite pleased with how we were treated on the road. It wasn’t anything to match riding the country lanes of rural France, but people generally gave us a wide birth. I’m sure it had to do with riding a bike that is flashier than Elvis:

and looks like it is as long as an RV. Check this out:

It even dwarfs our big honking 4X4 SUV!  Maybe people are fooled into thinking that it is not only longer, but wider. It does have about the same turning radius as a Kenworth 18 wheeler.

Yes folks the flying Koi wind sock is standing pretty much straight out in this picture.

True to form we got some wind today. For much of the first half of the ride it was a BLESSED tailwind! Once we turned around at the Chehalis tribal minimart and gas station however, we were pushing through the invisible waves. I’m thinking my pals out riding the Tahuya Hills 600K probably got some wind coming down Hwy 12 but maybe not as bad as I had feared. Hey, any head wind is a pain, I wish them luck.

We went around the course with purpose but also retaining our allegiance to the childish belief that riding a bike should be fun. WE HAD FUN on the bike, on a beautiful day, in a beautiful part of the world. There were no big surprises, and no catastrophes, minor or otherwise. It was the kind of ride that makes you say “We ought to get out and do this more often”!

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