Well I am happy to report that the "Worst Day of The Year Ride" was spectacular! This annual cycling event takes place during what is frequently the wort time of year to ride in Oregon, and coming as it did this year on the heels of the wettest January in 36 years, there was every reason to predict a muddy and messy ride suited only for the heartiest of souls. Luckily, the weather was clear and delightfully pleasant.
My son joined me on the Trail-A-Bike for the first ever cycling event either of us has ever participated in. The route was an 18 mile loop that took us through most of the neighborhoods in Portland's core, and twice traversed the Willamette river, which cuts through the middle of town. Although a longer ride than either of us is used to, we found it was more of a psychological challenge than a physical one. Looking at that map --and those hills-- was daunting!
My primary cycling focus is utility, "bikes are the cars of the future" as my son likes to say, but I found that this recreational cycling event offered a number of advantages that made it well worth while (and the sore muscles). In addition to helping to get us hooked into the local cycling community, the ride took me through areas of town I had not visited by bike, and would have thought too great a distance, or otherwise challenging, to reach by bike prior to this ride. Just as I have encountered people who could not fathom shopping by bike before seeing me do it, I did not imagine I had the strength and endurance needed to ride “all the way” into Northwest Portland, prior to this ride . The rout also presented us with challenges we had managed to selectively avoid (heavy traffic, seemingly insurmountable hills, etc.) Watching veteran cyclist maneuver helped me make my way along the uneven surface of the Esplanade, over bridges, through heavier and more aggressive traffic conditions than I had previously dared, making me a much more confident and competent rider.
I also got to check out just about every type and brand of cycling equipment and accessory out there. There was even a mom who had a trailer attached to the hub of the Trail-A-Bike, attached to her bike. I didn't know there were trailers that attached to Trail-A-Bikes, let alone moms who could tow two kids up hill! The event was a great opportuniy to see cycling products in use, and talk to the folks using them. Having over-packed by more than a little, bringing all manner of provisions and a change of clothes for every concievable weather condition, I am now convinced of the value of panniers over a handlebar basket and backpack.
More than anything, it offered a great sense of community and comrodory with the cycling community, and showed my son and I that we were capable of far more that we had imagined. The photos above shows us getting ready to go to the event, I hope to have shots of us at the event soon.