December 17 2011 Ride: Fetching Things

Finally, life has thrown me some time off! Today dawned lovely and clear, but I wouldn’t really know that, as I slept in until 11:00.

It was glorious.

Once I was finally up and showered and fed, I had only a few hours of daylight left (doesn’t that just strike everyone as a ridiculous statement? Oh, how I hate winter sometimes), and only 5 hours until I had to pick up The Boy from his dad. I needed to wrap Christmas presents before that point, but unfortunately, the wrapping paper I ordered at great expense from The Boy’s school fundraiser was missing in action. That meant that I also needed to go to the store to buy more wrapping paper. I figured that by the time I went to the store, came home and wrapped the Thousands of Presents for my Spoiled Children (and The Handsome Man), I would have used up most of the daylight. But the wrapping had to be done before the picking up, obviously. What to do?

I am really, really sick of my local trails. I have ridden the Cedar River Trail, Interurban Trail and Green River Trail at least a million, billion times in the last few months. I just couldn’t face them again today. But clearly, I didn’t have time to drive somewhere more interesting, especially in the monumental traffic of the pre-Christmas weekend rush.

But then it dawned on me: what if I rode my bike to the store? I know, I know… it sounds crazy, but it just might work!

The nearest store is only a mile from my house, but it’s also down the Biggest Hill on Earth(tm). So that was out. The second-nearest store is three miles away. In the past, I’ve avoided riding there as the obvious route requires riding up half of the Biggest Hill on Earth(tm). But recently I realized there was another way there, without any serious hills. Today was the day for it. Six miles in balmy 48 degree weather, with four hours before darkness descended? Doable!

I’m armed: basket, coat, hat, gloves… wait. I don’t need the coat, the hat, or the gloves. Dang. I probably should have brought both baskets. Dang again. Stupid transportation cycling learning curve!

On the back of The Raleigh, you may notice, there has been a button proliferation. Shawn at Urban Adventure League was kind enough to send me not one more, or two more… but thirteen more (!) buttons! I have six on there now, and will rotate them as I see fit. The rest are on display in a dish in my living room, as they are all totally charming. I love Shawn’s work, and have three of his posters just waiting to be framed. He sells the posters and the buttons on his site, if you’re interested in supporting a great cause at Christmas, and getting yourself some gorgeous bike art.

Aren’t they wonderful? Thanks, Shawn!!!

Anyway, the light was already casting amazing shadows, though it was not even one o’clock when I left.

Most of this ride is on the road, which is fine, as it’s not a very busy arterial. I made sure to turn on my rear blinky anyway, and The Raleigh’s white tail does exactly what it’s intended to do, helping to make me very visible. After Ireland, the roads here would have to be pretty dang hairy to scare me off!

Though The Driveway of Broken Glass is always a bit terrifying.

“Don’t it just glitter so in the sun, Mavis?”

Why, redneck neighbors, why? The best part is that it’s not just their driveway that’s paved in this stuff: it’s their whole yard!

The mountain was out in force today:

It made the ride almost scenic.

At any rate, I braved the small hill on the way there, and coasted to my local Large Store. The Raleigh was locked up with both the wee chain, to secure it to the actual rack, and the U-Lock, to secure it to itself. Let’s just say this part of my neighborhood has a certain sketchiness (did I mention the Broken Glass people?).

I’m pretty certain that with the locks and the BikeCap on the saddle, it just looks like a quirky old junker. Though The Raleigh’s paint looks great in photos, it’s pretty dang beat up in real life. In fact, it’s a bit of a rust bucket. I just happen to have enough affection for it to see past that small problem. Actually, the last three sentences could apply to myself, in many ways! The Raleigh is, after all, just two years older than me. I, too, look better in some of my photos than I do in real life…

As for the rest of my stuff, I just pile it into the Basil basket, and carry it right into the store. The Basil Cardiff Baskets are amazing in that way: so simple to use and so practical. Here’s the one I brought, posing in the shopping cart.

Once I’d purchased my gift wrapping supplies, the pocket knife The Boy is getting from certain jolly fat men (on the condition that he not stab anything), a Snapple for me, and a new shower curtain for the upstairs bathroom, I had to pack it all into the Basil basket along with my coat, my hat, my gloves, my purse, my camera and both locks. Not a problem!

First off, check out that black wrapping paper with the stars: isn’t it the coolest Christmas paper you’ve ever seen? I mean, seriously.

And yes, it did mean The Raleigh was a bit unbalanced, but I only noticed when I was stopped and it kept slipping backward down hills, even with the kickstand up. If I were to do this regularly, I’d want a double-Pletscher kickstand.

I’m sure I appeared either adorable or ridiculous, depending on one’s point of view. I got lots of smiles from drivers, especially small kids. I chose to believe that I was cute in a French sort of way (like those are baguettes and I was wearing a pretty sundress rather than polar fleece, and like this is Paris rather than suburban Washington State).

On the way home, the small hill I’d had to go up reversed to mean I now had to tackle the slightly larger hill I’d coasted down. Ah well, after all my Lake Washington rides, which feature over 20 miles of serious hills, this was nothing. I just threw The Raleigh into first gear and pumped up the hill.

In the end, my errand was fun and easy. I would definitely attempt it again. Would I want to ride nearly six miles to the store daily or even weekly? Probably not. As an occasional trip, though, it’s very doable and gives me a great excuse to get out and ride, no matter how busy I am with things that need to be purchased. All the presents were wrapped, daylight faded, and The Boy returned to a tree loaded up like a Christmas dream.

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17 Responses to December 17 2011 Ride: Fetching Things

  1. cc yee says:

    Beautiful bike :)

  2. LuckyChow99 says:

    You gave me inspiration to get the Raleigh out and ride to the store today. I needed that. Cold weather and I aren’t good friends, so any inspiration is appreciated. By the way, I always love your photographs. They’re so on-point and direct. They’re always a joy.

  3. rideblog says:

    Thanks, Lucky! I’m really working hard on the photos, so I appreciate the love. Woke up today to 39 degrees and dense fog turning to rain. Guess I picked the right day!

  4. disabledcyclist says:

    I loved reading this one,made me think of the times I’ve loaded up and road to the store when I could ave driven…an AWESOMELY good feeling that is! I LOVE those buttons,I’ll have to look at the link.

    I need you to post more after having ridden more,as since it’s been weeks since I put foot to pedal and looks to be next year before I’m able to again (I have hopes for a Daddy\Nick ride this week,but don’t want ot jinx it by saying,so shhh…),I find myself living my cyclist life vicariously through other’s blog posts and pics,LOL!

    If I don’t have chance to say again before,from mine and me to yours and you,we wish you a very merry Christmas and the happiest of New Year’s,and make em both safe as well :)

    DC

  5. rideblog says:

    Thanks, DC! I’m going to try to ride more this next weekend, so I should be able to oblige. The weather here has definitely gotten worse, so no riding in the next few days. :(

  6. Ed in NH says:

    What a great ride report! You had me chuckling more than a few times. I, too, feel a bit rusty now and then, but I tend to ignore it…

    I’m sure you know that twelve miles, round trip, really isn’t a long ride. Do that run twice a week or more, and it’ll feel like nothin’. And tackle that Biggest Hill on Earth(tm) more than once in a while, and that won’t seem so formidable, either!

    -Ed in NH

  7. rideblog says:

    Thanks, Ed. But sadly, it was only 6 miles round trip, which makes it even easier. In my salad days of last summer, anything less than 20 miles seemed like nothing. These days, anything more than 5 feels like an adventure. I clearly need to get out more :).

  8. Kent says:

    Nice to know that there is some of the french countryside in Washington State too. Merry Christmas.

  9. rideblog says:

    Well, the bread would be a bit crunchy, rather than crusty… :)

  10. Agreed, these short hours of daylight are ridiculous. Glad you got to capture a bit of sun for a nice ride.

  11. rideblog says:

    Indeed, Princessruffian, I was thinking that after I dropped my son off tonight, I might go for a ride… then I realized it would be 5pm, and pitch black :(

  12. adventure! says:

    rideblog-You’re welcome! Glad to see the buttons made it safe and sound. Watch out though, I just might send you enough to make a bag out of them! ;-)

    I’ll be doing a li’l Washington State riding on the day after Christmas. A bunch of us will be venturing across the Columbia. If I feel spry enough, maybe I’ll come visit again!

  13. adventure! says:

    And what is it about old Raleighs: they might look like a rustbucket in person but in a photo they look pristine? It’s the same with my Wayfarer. Looks great in most shots. Somehow the rustiness of my front fender (and off color of my front fork) don’t come across.

  14. rideblog says:

    I would love to see you, if you’re in town! Let me know… I might be able to sneak away from the kids :). As for Raleighs… It’s their souls that come through to the camera, I think. They’re such glamorpusses in their heads, but workhorses in every day life!

  15. adventure! says:

    Rideblog–Unfortunately we only rode 16 miles until we got to Camas, WA and then turned around. Too tired to ride all the way to (almost) Seattle that day. ;-)

  16. rideblog says:

    Trust me, the ride to Camas and back would be enough for me! I find it hard to do more than 40 a day anyway, so I understand.

    I’m hoping to be down in that area around spring break, so perhaps we can do a ride then.

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