Friday, September 05, 2008

Summer is Not Over

I spent yesterday in the car, but I consoled myself with the knowledge that each time I drive it, could be the last.  I went to the car wash on Broadway and got the absolute works.  The car was pretty filthy all summer, but I refused to wash it till after my two road trips.

Then it was next door to Oil Can Henry's for some lube 'n' love.  One of my worries about taking cars to the shop is their tendency to be alarmist about the condition of your vehicle, in an attempt to sell you more services.  This time my experience was the opposite. "Wow, your air filter looks great!  Your oil level looks pretty good...PVC's look fine, I wouldn't worry about them for another ____ miles. 

I don't have a clue what PVC's are, but that's just another indication that I'm probably not meant to own a car.  I've always gotten by driving other people's cars when I need one, and I don't see why that should stop now.  All those mystery parts are in such great shape because I drive about once a week or less, except for the couple of road trips I took to Mt Bike Oregon.

I should know by now that if I start out they day with three errands, it's going to take all day. By the time I got out of OCH, it was after 3:00, and I'd promised to walk a friend's dog so I went to do that.

When I got home, Jess was making dinner and I just had time to get our poor neglected road bikes ready and stuff some food in my face before we headed over to Laurelhurst park to help out with the Women on Bikes ride.

Jess hasn't ridden her roadie in about a year, and I haven't ridden mine since early this summer.  After all my load hauling recently, it was a revelation to ride something so light and fast.  Add a little tailwind and our 20 mph cruise down Ainsworth seemed effortless.  I practically floated up the hill to the park. 

Part of the reason it had been so long was that the saddles we had on the road bikes were, let's say, less than friendly to the girl parts.  Getting on them was torture within minutes.  The search for a good saddle has been going on for years.  We have a saddle graveyard in our garage of all our rejected prospects.

Lately I've been really liking the WTB Pure saddle I have on both my MTB and the Dummy.  Based on that, and lots of recommendations from bike shop folks, we're now trying out the Deva saddle, also from WTB.  Based on our first short ride, I'm cautiously optimistic.

Women on Bikes Ride

Because we were so smokin' fast, we actually arrived on time to the ride.  There was a good group of twelve or so women gathered, but the leader never showed up.  These rides are usually lead by our friend Janis of PDOT, but she is in Seattle this week for the Pro Walk/Bike conference.  Since the sub didn't show, we agreed to lead the ride, to the relief of all the ladies in attendance.  We took a nice cruise over to Lincoln, arguably the best bike blvd in Portland, down through Ladd's Addition and over the Hawthorne bridge for a loop around the Willamette via Waterfront Park and the Eastbank Esplanade.  There were varying degrees of riding experience, so we took it pretty easy.  For one woman, it was her first time crossing a bridge on her bike.  The award for best style definitely went to the woman in pink:And the Style Award Goes To...

As we were going down Clay St, approaching the Esplanade, we were passed by three truck fulls of lesbians who hollered at us, in a good way. "Whoo hoo, lesbians on bikes! Looking good ladies!"  Most of the group was pretty amused--one woman said she'd have be sure to tell her boyfriend about it--but I think a couple of people were a little miffed.  Of course, the women were right on at least two counts...

I was glad we were there to help out, but I confirmed that I would make a horrible full time ride leader.  I missed being able to talk to Jess, who was bringing up the rear of the group.  Also, our average speed was 7 mph, which was particularly torturous on my road bike.  In novice groups, in order for them to learn good etiquette, there's pretty much of a constant stream of yelling out every. little. obstacle. "Car back! Car up! Car left!"

I prefer a group ride with a larger element of personal responsibility where the cues are a bit more subtle.  Despite the frustrating elements, I do like to help convert newbies into excited, responsible bikers, so in that sense, I had a great time.  And once we had delivered everyone safely back to the park, we got to motor over to Pizza-A-Go-Go for second dinner.

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