Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Whenever I ride with you, it's an adventure," my friend says to me as we start off on an urban bike ride through the streets and bike trails of Portland, Oregon, USA.

"What do you mean?" I ask him.

"Well my last dozen or so rides have been uneventful from start to finish.  But whenever I go with you, something unusual or interesting always seems to happen."

I'm beginning to see his point now.  Last time we rode together was rural and forestry with very little traffic at all and some redneck in a large pickup came up from behind and gunned his engine like he was late for an episode of "Hee Haw" on the TV or something.  He screamed by us down the oncoming lane and was gone.  We thought nothing much of it.  It wasn't a scene out of "Easy Rider" where somebody leaned out the window to use us for target practice or something.  No, just a slight irritation and he was gone.

Or so we thought.  For sure enough, just up the road he'd pulled off, circled around and waited so he could scream.  "You two get the f**k off my road!" and then proceeded to gun it back down the hill from whence he came.

The bigger the pick up the smaller the..............I.Q.
This was the kind of thing that happens when you ride with me I guess.  I don't know, do I excrete some mystical scent that pisses off those around me?

Case in point...on this particular biking adventure, we first followed some roads.  We were on a bike path along side of a really wide two lane road with no traffic at all when up comes a semi-truck from the other way and leans out the window, flips us off and proceeds to yell, "Get the f**k off the road."  Apparently he didn't personally own the ride like the idiot from before but he sure had to go out of his way for us to hear it clear across this wide road.

Later we jumped onto some bicycle paths that cut through Portland.  The Springwater Corridor is a 20+ mile former railroad line that is a convenient and fun ride.  

Springwater Corridor path through the East side of Portland, OR
And not just fun in the sense that you can get off the streets and meander down a dedicated path for non-motorized vehicles but also fun in that because it is urban and because this was Portland, you never knew what you might see riding or walking.

In Portland, this bike isn't that out of the ordinary
Okay, this might actually be out of the ordinary even for Portland
Seriously...Portland is one of those few cities that have the motto "Keep Portland Weird".  It wasn't their invention. Austin, TX came up with it but Portland does it justice too.  So when you aren't gazing at some crazy contraption on the path or dodging some homeless person camping in the bushes, you're usually dodging city people that don't seem to have a sense that there are others on the same path as them and they should be aware that they're weaving all over it.  Still, if you don't get taken out, it's a fun ride.

As with most urban trails, it seems to be a magnet for the homeless to live in
So I'm leading and we're on the right side of the path as we should be and another biker comes at us from the other way and right as he comes up to me he barks at me.  Yes, literally barking like a dog.

I still don't know what to say.  Meeting bicyclists that bark at you wasn't on my bucket list and actually not something I would have ever considered might happen out there even in Portland.  But it did.  And it just added to the legend that for whatever reason, unusual things happen when we go riding.  Go figure.

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