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.