Surly, Long Haul Trucker: $1000
Feeling supported: Priceless
So, we have completed our first day of biking, and thanks to an amazing product called Chamois Butt'r; Kim, Eric and I are feeling great. Ben, on the other hand, will be sure to apply some tomorrow. :)
We started our ride in the beautiful city of Spokan't. That's right: Spokan't. Because in Spokane, you just can't. For example, you spokan't turn left onto most streets. A lot of their intersections are controlled with curb size barriers, telling you where you can and spokan't turn. You also spokan't bike on many of the streets. We didn't get any pictures, but there are actual signs on some of their streets that forbid bikes from the road (I would like them to try something like that in Portland and see what happens - Ha!). Anyway, you get the point.
Throughout the morning, we were reminded that we spokan't do a lot of things. You spokan't always expect the weather to turn out the way you'd planned. We were planning on having a very hot, dry ride today, but we were greeted in the morning with rain (though it did clear up - Mom, I wore sunscreen). You also spokan't expect the toaster to work in your hotel. Ben was trying to toast his english muffin, but he spokouldn't.
Other things you spokan't do when riding in Spokane:
1) You spokan't forget to get Starbucks before the ride. I mean, you need your coffee, and you spokan't expect good coffee at your hotel.
2) You spokan't spend less than 45 mins at the beginning of your ride on one stinkin' street, picking up bike computers that are flying off handlebars, and taking on and off jackets, and adjusting panniers....
And most importantly,
3) You spokan't forget your bikey stretches before the ride. Below are some very convenient stretches that you can do with your bike. Try them before your next 60 mile ride:
However, once we started getting on the Continental Trail and headed out East from Spokan't, we started feeling a bit more optimistic. The wretched Spokan't curse loosened its grip from us. Our moods lightened and our spirits were high again. But there was one thing that I still spokouldn't do: Prop my bike up. Why? Because I didn't have a kickstand. Whenever we stopped, I just had to rest my bike bucket on something low and just hope that it didn't slip and fall.
Trying to get into my panniers was quite the task. If I pulled on something just a little too hard, the whole bike would shift, and the front wheel would just roll out, sending the whole bike to the ground. It was quite annoying.
I became more and more frustrated by the situation, and I started to long for a kickstand. Thankfully, we were able to find a bike shop in Coeur d'alene, and I was able to buy myself a kickstand.
Ah, the beauty of being able to just kick that thing out and prop my bike up. No more grasping in shear panic as my bike pummels to the ground. No more worrying whether I'll be able to find something to lean my bike against. My kickstand is there for me, and it gives me the support I need.
One other thing I realized that I still spokan't do is deny the fact that this trip would be nothing without these other three people I'm with. Where would we be if Ben and Kim didn't scope out all the directions, and if Kim didn't get all the hotels booked and all the details planned out? You have to realize that Ben's already riden half of this route...on Google Earth. And though I still think it would have been nice to have a hot single lady along with us, having Eric around is fun. I mean, for once in my life, I'm not the one getting picked on the most (Ben has a couple of counts going on for how many times one of Eric's bike buckets falls off his rack while riding - which has happened 3 times so far, and how many times Eric rubs tires with the bike in front of him - 2 times for that). And though his sense of humor is a bit quirky, it's good to have Eric along for the ride. New friendships are exciting.
It's these kinds of friendships that we all need to keep our lives from toppling to the ground. Like a good kickstand, these are the friends that will be here for me to keep me from slipping. They're here for me to lean on when I need them. And whether it's a sweaty sixty-mile bike ride, or me trying to dig through my past and clean up my life, I know I can do it without fear of being left standing alone.
That feeling of being supported is truly priceless.