my own way

Well, here it is folks. My 100th post on this blog.

If you’ve stuck around from the very beginning or you’re one of my more recent followers, I’d like to say a huge thank you (or should that be sorry?) for taking the time to read this drivel.

So, what does one do at such a milestone? I suppose I could do one of those cheesy reviews looking back at some of my favourite posts, quote some stats and show you the most looked at pictures, maybe even revisit some of the gems from ‘Random stuff people were searching for when they landed here trivia!’… but, no.

For my 100th post, I have something a little bit special for you. A post that has literally been years in the making. It’s got a little bit of everything: nostalgia, celebrities, old bikes, new bikes, some guy called “Tim” (whoever he is), and even a little bit of Coffeeneuring.

I know what you’re thinking: there’s just no way anything I wrote could contain so much awesome and, you’re right. That’s why I’ve brought in a guest blogger to pen this, the 100th (and probably best) post on lifeinthecyclelane.

Take it away, Tess.

I grew up in a family of cyclists.

Two older brothers rode – one of them even made it to the US Junior Nationals one year — and eventually my dad got into it too.

Tess_Bernard_HinaultOn certain summer Sundays we would all watch the coverage of the Tour de France, complete with John Tesh’s synthesizer accompaniment.  In 1986, for our family summer vacation, we went to the World Cycling Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Yes, that is Bernard Hinault.  We found out our hotel was right across the highway from his, and went over and talked to him and his crew one day.  (Somewhere, there is a picture of me and one of his mechanics, who, unbeknownst to my father snapping the picture, has his hand on my startled 17-year-old ass.)

RAGBRAI is a family tradition.  My dad rode it into his mid-60’s at least.  My whole family (including my husband) have ridden it together multiple times as a vacation.  I refuse to go — I think it sounds like a penance.  I can think of better things to do in a Midwestern July than cycling hundreds of miles in 110% humidity past endless fields of soybeans, showering out of a plastic bag, and sleeping on the ground.

When I was in high school, my brother and my dad had the local bike shop build me a bike, but I never really joined the cult.  There was a definite vibe that there was a right way to do it, and anything else was wrong.  I knew I couldn’t do it right (that’s older brothers for you) and so I just… didn’t do it.

Panasonic1But I kept that bike.  For thirty years, I took it with me.  And occasionally, I rode it.  A Panasonic Sport 1000 frame and probably a lot of crap components.

I took it to Golden, Colorado, when I went to college there, and one summer I did indeed ride it up Mt. Zion three times a week, in training for the annual bike race that was held for Homecoming — which I then slept through.  (But I had great legs that year.)

I took it to Minerva, Ohio, and leaned it against my apartment wall.  One of the few pictures I have of my very first cat, Koshka, was of him climbing on that bike.

I took it to Spokane, Washington, where I found out that in the summer, you could go out for a bike ride at 9:00 pm and it stayed light for at least an hour.  After a couple of years of telling people this, even I thought I was full of shit.  (After moving back to the wonderful Pacific NW, I found out I was telling the truth after all.)

I took it to Dallas, Texas, where I pretty much didn’t ride it at all, because Dallas is not built for cycling, and Texas is too damned hot for anything.

And I took it to Portland, Oregon, with my husband, who one year started riding it to work.  And rode it to the coast with a group of friends.  And rode it in his first century.  And oh yes – the cult was back.  The padded shorts, the shoes with clips.  Oh. My. God.  Here we go again.  He bought his own bike; then another.  And eventually a third, and sold the first, and a parade of bike parts and bike clothes and bike gear passed through the house and down to the man cave, and a repair station was built and bike stands installed.

And my old bike just sat there.

But.  It turns out that Portland has a way of soothing those old wounds inflicted by that Midwestern, you’re-not-good-enough way of thinking.

Portland doesn’t give a damn how you cycle.  Portland says, “Hey, cool, look at you, on a bike, that’s awesome!”

Portland doesn’t care if you have the “right” cycling gear.  Hell, Portland doesn’t care if you wear clothes.

Slowly, I began to re-think.  Maybe I could do this.

Last year, an online friend came for a visit in August and wanted to do a lot of hiking.  To get myself in shape for that, I started riding a few times a week.  Then I found out that she would be here for the Portland Bridge Pedal.  I’m not entirely sure what made me do it, but I threw the suggestion out there and YES WE DID.  My first ever organized ride.  And I wore a pink top with sparkly sequins on it.  And oh man, was it FUN.

Tess_Panasonic_bridgeLast spring, my online friend Tim told me about Chasing Mailboxes’ Errandonée Challenge, and while I didn’t really do it, the idea stuck with me.  Panasonic2I put an old milk crate (of the same vintage and from a nearby town) on the back of the old bike, and one day in April I RODE TO THE LIBRARY TO RETURN A BOOK.  Holy crap!  I CAN DO THIS!  And it’s… kind of FUN!

This summer we did the Bridge Pedal again, and I gulped and agreed to do not the shortest ride, but the next one up.  And I am proud to say I cycled 27 whole miles that day.  (I even took the old milk crate along, and believe it or not, someone recognized the town it’s from.  Small world.)

Tess_bridge_pedal1Now (thanks to Tim of course), we are Coffeeneuring!  In fellowship with cyclists all over the world.  And guess what?  IT’S FUN!

Photographic evidence, week 1:

Don_coffeeneuring1Husband is riding a Renovo, handmade right here in PDX.  Out of wood.

Renovo_PanasonicWeek 2:  I blew it by drinking orange juice instead of something hot with caffeine.  Oh, well, I say it counts.  THIS IS PORTLAND.  Rules are flexible.

Tess_Don_coffeeneuringSo.  Two weekends down, and after this weekend, we will be attempting to Coffeeneur in Europe for the next two weeks.  If you’d ever told me I would be wanting to cycle on a trip to Europe, I’d have said you were higher than a kite.  But I am looking forward to it.

Maybe it’s not what my brothers would call “real” cycling, but this time, I’m doing it my own way.  And guess what… IT’S FUN.

And there you have it, riding your bike is fun. Who knew?

HUGE thanks to Tess for the guest post and sorry to MG for the flagrant bending of the coffeeneuring rules!

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8 thoughts on “my own way

    • For this weekend’s coffeeneuring, we cycled to the house of our friends Rocky & Gordy, who made us coffee and a very cool strap cushion thing for one of the bags for the upcoming trip. There was bacon involved, and pics were taken, but came out horrible. And I learned that you don’t HAVE to wear padded shorts. Who knew?

  1. Being online friends with anyone called Tim is a really bad idea. 100 posts eh? Gosh, blocked most of those out. Keep posting and I’ll try and pay more attention… I said I’ll try…

  2. Pingback: sign your name | life in the cycle lane

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