Who Says Bicycles Are Efficient?

The fog makes it easy to get lost in your thoughts.

The fog makes it easy to get lost in your thoughts.

While teaching bike safety many years ago my favorite thing to tell my students was that the bicycle is the most efficient human machine – even more than walking!  However, this doesn’t mean that cyclists themselves are efficient.  We load all of our belongings onto our bicycles to make them heavier, we put stickers on them to make them cooler, and put on huge fatty tires to make them tougher.  Every cyclist does this.  Just ask them.

Recently I found out how inefficient my style of cycling is.  After suggesting a route to get to Eugene from friend looked at the pages and pages of maps with a confused look.  “This doesn’t look very direct,” they said.  Well directions be damned!  Cycling isn’t about where you’re going – it’s about how you get there.  Although hopefully the destination is cool too.

I write this because upon looking at the map of my ride to Hagg Lake it is jagged attempt to avoid an out-and-back and nasty roads.  But the result is a smooth ride with little traffic and a bit of climbing.  Getting out of Beaverton was a little tricky, but it always is.  Neighborhood streets that end for no reason and are split by very fast roads.  But as I got out into those country roads and got into a groove I went to that happy place a cyclist can find – that moment when your brain is floats in your thoughts and your body goes into automatic mode.  You don’t worry about where you’re going and your body tells you, “I got this.”  It’s what I imagine driving to be like, an exciting, thoughtless motion, but with more ass and less gas.

The worst part of the whole trip was when a Blue Rhino gas truck or whatever dumb company decided to turn left in front of me, causing me to put on my brakes.  I was never in danger, but the guy clearly saw me, he just didn’t care.  So I rode in view of his window and left the bird fly for a minute until I knew he saw it.  I knew because he slammed on his brakes in the middle of the road.  I calmly kept riding and passed him to the beautiful sound of his screaming insults, but realized quickly that having an angry and hostile truck driver behind is not good so I pulled off the road.  He blared his horn while he blasted past and I wet my biking bib.  The rest of the ride I was afraid the guy had pulled a u-ey and was right behind me.  Yes, dude showed me disrespect, but starting a discussion in the middle of the road with a middle finger was not my wisest choice.

This is a no-wake zone.

This is a no-wake zone.

I got to Hagg and enjoyed a peaceful lunch on the foggy shore.  The lake, which is normally decibelious (look it up) with motor boats and screaming children, was calm as buttered toast.  The road around the lake was a swooping loop with lots of gravel offshoots that I wish I had the time to explore.  Winter just isn’t a good time to go exploring new ground.  Leave that for the endless daylight of summer.  But I got my fun in when I took Dixon Mill Rd on a whim.  A fun, car-less gravel road.  And if you’re a gravel-junkie get out there quick.  There was a guy paving it as I rode it so you have about…two weeks left of unpaved, woodsy glory.  And the descent on the other side was incredible!  The pain in my legs wasn’t.  Gone are the days when I could ride 100 miles on a whim.  It is now officially training season.

When I got back home I was still checking for that bitter truck driver, so I paid an homage to that asshole by drinking a very bitter IPA, the West Coast IPA from Green Flash Brewing.  This is a sharp beer.  Very dry with a lot of citrus and earthy hops, which is good for an IPA, but it is so bitter that I swear it poured glass into the pint.  The body was awesome, with a fat, bubbly head and a bit of sediment with a clear, burnt orange color.  Like the untamed hops of the West, this has wild hops flavor.  A blast of grass and earth in the front, with a wash of citrus in the back.  Initially, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this beer.  After the first sips I thought the induced burp tasted better than the beer, but as I enjoyed more of this 7.3 doom-machine I came to like it a bit more.  This is a real happiness killer.  A kid would burst into tears if you took away his candy and put this to his lips.  Do not drink when you are depressed for you will sink to an unfathomable low.  Instead, use this beer when you are in the mood for vengeance, like with a voodoo doll of your enemy for example.  I thought of you, truck driver dick.

Look at this mean little sucker.

Look at this mean little sucker.

Chiblam! chiblooey!

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