Normally, I’m not one for late Monday-evening rides, but when adventure! calls, you answer. No, really. Shawn Granton, who normally posts here as “adventure!” and who writes the great Portland bike blog, Urban Adventure League, phoned me about 6:30 last night, and I answered the call (that’s what you do with adventure!, right?). Shawn and his girlfriend April are on an epic cross-country ride. They started just a couple days ago and were travelling right through my neck of the woods. I knew they were coming, and I knew they were coming late. I was just hoping it wouldn’t be too late.
Riding across the country is the sort of thing you can do before you have children. I was very much aware of this last night, as I worried that they would be here right when some critical child-centered activity was happening, like dinner or bedtime. Or crying. Fortunately, Shawn called when they were about an hour away, and 7:30 is the perfect time for me to slip away for a bit. I left The Boy in the company of The Beloved, with whom he was practicing stick-form Kung Fu. The giant Kung Fu stick was a birthday present from The Beloved to The Boy, along with lessons in the yard. This, The Boy declared, was “almost as good” as the Nintendo DS I bought him, “or better.” Huh. Who’d-a thunk it? Kids today!
Shawn and April were progressing up The Interurban Trail, and so I drove down to somewhere in between Kent and Auburn to meet them. When I arrived at 7:45, I called them, only to discover that they were still several miles south. I hopped on The Viva and rode to meet them. I figured that on the empty trail, two people riding heavily-loaded touring bikes wouldn’t be too hard to spot, nor conversely, would they miss the only human being within a radius of 30 miles riding on a Dutch bike.
It was a beautiful evening. The light was fading slowly, and the city had recently mowed the grass along the edge of the trail, turning the normally-boring trail into a strip of rabbit-laden golden heaven. There were bunnies literally everywhere! I thought for certain one of them was going to leap under my wheels in a fit of cuteness-laden hari-kari, but they were smarter than I thought they would be, and hopped in the right direction. Some of them had that big-eyed, twitchy look that rabbits get, and frankly, there were so many of them at points that I felt like I was on the set of that horrible cartoon version of Watership Down my teachers made me watch every year for most of the Seventies. I still have no idea what that story is about, except that it features some sort of rabbit dystopia, which is ridiculous. Rabbits are so obviously practitioners of a constitutional monarchy.
Earlier in the afternoon, The Boy had thrown a snot-and-tear festival in the middle of the pet store when he was informed that he would not be, under any circumstances, acquiring a pet bunny. “BUT I’VE ALWAYS WANTED A BUNNY!” he shrieked dramatically. Um, perhaps, in the grand scale of the last seven years compared to say, the age of the universe, then fifteen minutes would count as “forever.”
So the sudden proliferation of wild rodents on my ride was apropos, as well as adorable. I tried to capture a picture of one while I was going fifteen or so miles per hour in the fading light. Oddly enough, this wasn’t all that successful.
Rabbits on the Verge!
Anyway, I did eventually find Shawn and April, who looked exhausted, but also excited. After quick introductions (and some admiring of The Viva, naturally), we headed back up towards Tukwila. Both of their bikes were completely draped in bags, almost festooned. I had worried a bit about holding them back, but I think April at least was pleased to slow down and cruise a bit at Dutch bike speed.
As we rode, we covered many topics: helmet laws, nutria versus muskrats, redneck residents of southern Washington state, shootings in Skyway, and April’s bike woes (covered here in her blog)… Riding with other adults isn’t something I do very often, so this was a real treat. I must say, I admired their stamina and bravery. I can’t imagine pedaling over mountain ranges, much less doing it with so much stuff attached to me! It was truly impressive.
We reached my car and kept going. I was having so much fun, I didn’t really pay as much attention as I should have to where I was or the time. Finally, I left them in northern Kent, within a few miles of the train station. I know they are going to have an amazing journey, and I wish them fair skies and flat roads all the way!
Realizing that I was now at least four miles from my car and that I was supposed to be home… well… NOW to put The Boy to bed, I turned around and hit the gas. The Viva flew as I pumped through Kent at a speed I’m certain no other rider of a Dutch bike on that trail has ever achieved. I felt sort of crazed and magnificent at the same time. Man, you Do Not Mess with Bedtime. I arrived home still covered in sweat just in time to get The Boy snuggled up with some chocolate milk and book four of the Harry Potter series. Good times!
In final news, The Panasonic has arrived at its new home and is already much appreciated. Mr. Bewareofpizza (I love internet handles, you know?) sent me these shots of him on the bike. Certainly, The Panasonic has a reputation for being one sexy beast, and its new owner looks like girl bait to me, so I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship for them both! I told him I wanted to hear that he was riding the bike fast, fast, fast. Hurrah for The Panasonic!