Sunday, April 17, 2011


I always think of bike-riding in Portland as a mellow experience; the town’s so bike-friendly, groovy, and flat that going out on two wheels is remarkably easy and pleasant.

However, if it’s after midnight, you’re all alone in some part of town that looks entirely unfamiliar, the evening’s entertainment has sort of caught up with you, and the general direction you think you ought to be heading back towards your hotel seems to be across what appears to be in interstate bridge without a shoulder, then things can get a little weird and scary.

So, you decide to take a break at the brightly lit bar that suddenly appears to your left; once inside, you realize that it’s the kind of place that gives you your change all in one dollar bills, which reassures you that if there are other bike riders in the vicinity, they might be expected to appear before too long.

And if that isn’t exactly what happens: you finish your drink, head out, feeling generally restored, and no sooner do you go another mile or so, than a vast contingent of cyclists comes heading right towards you and then, in what has to qualify as a “Groundhog Day” (the movie) moment, you follow them and, in moments, find yourself back at the very watering hole you’d left not ten minutes earlier.

This time, though, the place doesn’t seem nearly as exotic and foreboding as it did before, and by carrying on an outdoor conversation with an acquaintance whose bearings are better than your own, you’re able to envision your route home.

It takes you across the aforementioned bridge, which turns out to be nothing particularly frightening at all, merely an under-construction roadway which leads you almost right back to where you need to get to after all.

And so, the freaky redneck river town turns back into to the charming little village again, where well-marked bike lanes lead you gently home once more.


Blogger Deb's Lunch said...

I think we crossed that bridge in Portland, and it was scarier on foot than by bike - on foot we somehow ended up on sidewalk that went under the bridge, where homeless people were living, or actually, toileting; by bike we knew we were going the right way because we were in a steam of homeward bound commuter bikers.

9:07 AM  

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