Wednesday, June 30, 2010

50 miles to UW and back.

Normally when i bike it's in casual clothes without a helmet and i'm headed just down the street to the place i work at in Fairhaven. Today, though, i ventured down south of Bellingham to my father's condo in Renton and my mother's in Issaquah for a slightly different bicycling experience. My dad decided we need to train for our Switzerland trip where we will bike about 300 miles over 10 days. We biked for 4 hours total (3 hours of biking) and travelled from my dad's condo in Redmond to the University of Washington and back (50 miles). My brother and my dad had their road bikes. I borrowed my brother's mountain bike. If you know squat about bikes you know that mountain bikes absolutely suck for long trips on flat ground. The frames are heavy, the tires are fat and slow, and the shocks add even more weight. Usually when i bike i average 12 mph. Today i averaged 15 on a slow-as-shit bike. I didn't know i had it in me.

When i was young biking was something i did with my brother and sometimes neighborhood friends. There were two incidents that i remember vividly from my childhood biking shenanigans and i will share them with you here:

1. It was a sunny day in Kansas city. I know what you're thinking but it wasn't particularly windy. There was, i'd say, an average amount of wind. I think i was about six years old at the time which would make my brother about three, although i'm really not sure about our ages here... He was tooling around on his little red tricycle and i was rocking an awesome blue bike with training wheels. I love my brother, but when i turned my bicycle around to face him and saw the vacant stare of a three year old, the primal need for dominance and agression boiled to the surface inside of me. I'm not even really sure if i taught him how to play chicken before i ran him over with my bike, but i'll never forget my mother's scolding...

2. Washington: the beautiful State of rain, sun, forests, mountains, coastline, and much more interesting people than in Kansas. A new bike, a steeper driveway, a busier street. I thought it would be great to coast from my driveway across the street to the neighbor's driveway. Ever had those moments when you act upon your first thought or instinct without concerning yourself with the consequences? Of course you have. Well the car didn't exactly hit me... it was more me t-boning the car with my puny bike. Don't worry, just a screaming mother (yah again) and a very concerned motorist.

As i grew older my father tried to make biking a bonding thing for the three of us guys in the family. I'm not really a great 'bonder' so i pretty much gave up biking all together and let my brother go to the bike racing camps at the velodrome and ride the Seattle To Portland (STP) with my dad. I'd deserted biking so thoroughly that the bike i took to college freshman year stayed chained to the front of my dorm from the first day i moved in to the day i moved out. Now, for some reason, i seem to be getting back into biking a bit. I've biked down to McKay's for some company and some beer. I always bike to work (it's only .8 miles away...). And sometimes, on occasion, i just feel like biking for fun. My lower body is pretty messed up from running track and cross country in high school and biking is easier on my knees. It's also a great form of transportation, especially in a smaller town like Bellingham. But the thing that really gets me about biking is the wind on my face as i stand on the pedals of a bike and fly down a hill into the Bellingham sunset....

So i'm really looking forward to biking across Switzerland. I've never been to Europe and i think a bike tour will be a great way to experience it.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


My friend recently put up a travel blog for her trip to Ireland... I've always meant to blog and i've gotten started several times but never really maintained those websites. I have a lot of ideas floating around in my brain and it feels good to get them out in writing. Also, i'm headed to Switzerland towards the end of July so that will be fun to write about as well.

I'll be posting poems, photos, and ideas so stay tuned and hopefully i'll figure out this blogging thing for real this time.