(FYI: this was supposed to have been posted on Sunday...)
Today I became an official cyclist! For weeks I have been shelling out money to the bus lords every time I needed to go anyplace, but at last their cruel, cruel reign has been bypassed by one purple bike called the Professor. Professor Plum.
My roommate's boyfriend (Rick) gave me an old bike he had in storage. This large, thoughtful gift has opened up a world of freedom, when I took it on its maiden voyage.
Before embarking, I spent careful time planning which train station I would ride to, in order to further get to the city. Google informed me that most of the Max stations near me were about 2 miles away, a bicycling distance of a mere 15 minutes. I was pumped. I checked the train schedules, confirmed meet up times with my friends, and finally calculated the minutes I would need to then further bike to church. All these added up to a departure time of 9:30 am. Lastly, I checked the weather forecast. This weekend has been beautiful, clear and 80s; I knew this was the right time to bike.
Surprise! Rain and high 60s. Rain? After I did all this work? Ugh. Fortunately, thoughts of being a true Portlander, who bikes, even in the rain, stiffened my resolve. Too bad Mr. Dark cloud, I'm going to go anyway.
Thus, it was raining this morning when I got up. Raining when I had breakfast, raining when I pulled out my bike. I kept praying that it would stop-- at least for the 15 minutes I had to bike-- but it looked like God had other plans. So off I went.
I got to the top of my first hill and as I was shifting, my chain slipped off. Was this another sign? I was tempted to just turn around and call it quits, grab my money and head for the bus, but then my pride took a hold of me. Just fix the chain yourself, you big baby. Thus chastised, I bent down to put the chain back on and it worked... it actually worked! and incredibly, as I went, the rain stopped.
Now I was feeling freedom AND empowerment. I pedaled and panted and plowed my way to the station. I crossed streets, climbed hills, and raced vehicles. It was pretty exhilarating... yet slightly wet. (The back of my jeans took about 3 hours to fully dry). But I had arrived at the train station a whole 10 minutes early! I got into the city, biked to Pete and Kim's house, and then we all headed off to church via bike.
We went from the NW section of Portland, through downtown, across the bridge, around the detours and police blockades, and arrived in the SE section of Portland (around another 2 miles). The rain had started up again as we were nearing Imago Dei, but we had reached our destination. After locking up our bikes, we discarded a few layers of clothing (whod've thought exercise would warm one up so much?), and headed in for the service, which was amazing.
Then we did the entire trip back again (my thighs were abandoning me at this point), and headed to watch the Eagles kick the Jaguars' butts. All in all, a satisfying day.
One last bike ride to the train, then another 2 miles home. I thought I'd be so ready for bed, but I think I might be up for another road trip instead...