Sunday, April 25, 2010

Top 10 List

10 things we learned touring the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. A collaborative blog.

  1. Ben is an under-exaggeranger when it comes to bikey journeys. When he says the day’s journey is 60 miles, he really means 80. When he says the ride is flat, expect some hills anyway. And when he says there’s a little hill coming up, expect to see Mt. Everest.

  1. Kyle has a grasp on languages. Near the beginning of our ride, Kyle says, “Hey, what’s the name of this area again? It’s some French word.” Ben: “Uh… the French Prairie?”

  1. Your legs can handle quite a bit of mileage. It’s the butt-igue that really gets to you. Especially Day 2, after having ridden 78 miles the day before. Apply Butt’r liberally. And re-apply, if necessary.

  1. When you see bee boxes, ride on the other side of the road, with your mouth closed, and sunglasses on. And pray that none fly into the vents of your bike helmet.

  1. If you are a young lamb, stay near your mommy. Bald eagles are very big and have big claws. And they will fight over you.

5. Some bikelists carry bike pumps that they know how to use properly. And others carry bike pumps that they don’t know how to use and cannot actually be used on their tires, but just want to look hardcore. *cough* Kyle *cough*

4. God loves us. Giving Kyle a flat tire in Brownsville was very considerate. And so was giving us the bright and cozy Corner CafĂ© – where we watched a downpour while eating warm soup and amazing chocolate cake.

3. Two new useful terms were coined on this trip. The first is “Hoo-day”, and is a noun. The proper usage in a sentence would be, “Wow, that restaurant looks really good, but I don’t think we can go in there smelling like hoo-day.” Kyle thinks hoo-day is a French word. The second term is “Idaho” and is an explicative. Kim started using this term as she was going over bumps on a loaded bike with significant butt-igue.

2. Trains are the cheese. And everyone should travel by train more often. They are quiet, comfy, and cheap. We are composing this blog while reclining in our faux leather seats and munching on snacks and listening to our iPods.

1. Lorraine is hardcore. While the rest of us bikelists have done a tour before, she accomplished more daily miles in her first tour than we did last year. Almost 150 miles in two days… while carrying a questionable bike pump for fashion. But she didn’t put it there, so that doesn’t make her less hardcore.

Willamette Valley Bike Route

The truth be told, we were planning on updating this blog while we were en route – so, yesterday, and the day before. Unfortunately, we never actually got a chance to do so; because right about the time we could get online with the netbook, we were ready for bed… both days.

But, for those who are interested in knowing what our journey was like – here it is: Our experience riding the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway…

Day 1 (Friday), we started out in Champoeg State park, and rode south. Our destination was Albany… a little over 70 miles away. Now, mind you, 70 miles is a pretty aggressive ride for us as bikelists, since none of us have ridden past 60 yet; loaded or not.

First of all, the route: this route is published online with maps, and they are a wonderful way to plan the trip, since the string of roads is very well documented. It is a wonderful route. Almost all flat. During one stretch – Talbot Road – we rode for 9 miles, and only saw 1 car.

We made great time – averaging about 12 miles per hour on loaded bikes. The scenery was beautiful, and mile after mile just flew under our wheels during most of this ride. Actually, the most memorable part of this ride, for me, was one of two hills – Scravel Hill. As we were climbing the hill, I discovered a profession that I had never knew existed... We passed a huge sign read “Mobile Slaughtering.” I guess I had never thought about it before… so, um… how does that work? Is it messy? If I called him, would my Neighborhood association complain about my discolored grass? Just wondering.

Since I live in an overly-sanitized, immaculately groomed, always well-kempt neighborhood, I feel like the world may be moving away from this profession. But in the mean time, I am glad to know I can hire a hit man to take out any animal I want. It would be especially nice if he can make it look like an accident… and if he doesn’t require me showing proof of ownership before making the ‘hit’. (there are neighbor animals that always come to mind)

We also discovered at the top of Scravel Hill, that it’s very inadvisable to applaud each other, and give accolades for climbing to the top of a hill when you are not absolutely certain that you’re at the top. In fact, our accolades and laurels were so fulfilling at the halfway point, that after we continued, and discovered there was a lot more hill to climb, we felt no need for further self-congratulation at the actual top of the hill. So in umbrage, we rolled right on over the real summit.

The most memorable view for me, was our view of Albany atop a hill, with the sun hanging low behind the beautiful Albany mill. Aah, bliss. After a ride of 78.5 miles, we rode in to Darrell Decker’s house, (preacher for the church of Christ in Albany; really neat guy) and he put us up for the night.

78.5 miles. I went to bed at 8pm. Bliss.

~ Ben the bikelist