First Highway Ride

I finally did something I’ve wanted to do since I got my bike. I rode it to the bike shop where it was originally purchased! This may not seem like much of a feat, but it’s a nine-mile ride, on a very busy 4-lane highway. However, gas prices being what they are (and I realize this is relative, we’re whining about $3.xx/gal which I’m sure seems downright cheap to folks in other countries, but we’re still trying to acclimatize our brains to the meteoric rise in prices in just a few short months), I try not to take the car out of the garage on weekends if I don’t have to. Since I wanted to go get a new pair of warm gloves to ride with, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to see if I was fearless (foolhardy?) enough to take to the highway on the bike.

When I was a teenager, I had a 10-speed bike that I rode all over, even down the highway to school, and thought nothing of it. But that was a loooooong time ago (we won’t go into how long) and I’m not immortal anymore.

I did try stopping in at a local retail store of a national bike store chain to see if they might have something. I was very disappointed. Their selection of women’s gloves was abysmal, I think they had two styles with full fingers, and only one or two sizes of each. I found one pair that might have suited, but couldn’t figure out the price. They were tagged with one price, but the rod they were hanging on showed a different price. There was a sign on the display wall saying “All Gloves 15% off”, so when the store employee checked the price and quote the higher price on the tag, I said “but they’re on sale, right?” and he said, “No.” I was a little cheesed off, so I left with no gloves.

It just always felt kind of silly driving to a bike shop… so I was very proud of myself for making the trip by bike. For the most part it all went well. I was zooming along in top gear downhill, when I hit some lump of badly patched pavement and heard an odd noise. I thought maybe it was a rattly car or truck on the road, and nothing felt different so I kept going, until I heard a car horn honk, and I stopped and looked and one of my panniers had popped off back when I’d hit that bump. Ugh. Right about then I heard tires squeal… I think whoever had honked was trying to get my attention to tell me I’d lost the pannier, and when I didn’t stop right away, they were probably trying to get over in traffic to tell me. Now I felt really bad, someone nearly got rear-ended trying to be nice. Suddenly I wasn’t feeling so smug about riding down the highway instead of taking the car. But who knows, maybe the tire squeal had nothing to do with it. I hope. So to whoever that kind person was who tried to alert me to the missing pannier (which I was able to ride back and retrieve) thank you very much. They’ve never popped off before, but I think since I really had almost nothing in it, there was nothing to weigh it down so gravity wasn’t helping. Normally I have a fair amount of stuff in each one when I bike commute to work. Anyway, I took my heavy chain lock off the seat post where I’d had it wrapped, and dropped it in the pannier. That seemed to do the trick, no further problems. Oh, except I did take a rock in the side of the head. I think it was kicked up by the tire of a passing SUV. Nothing serious, startled me, but no blood drawn. I’ve certainly sent my share flying with my bike tires, I guess it’s just one of the road hazards I can expect from time to time.

I only wish I’d taken my camera. The road I was on is a straight line to Mt. Hood for part of it, and the mountain has a new coating of snow. It was the first time for several days that we’ve seen it at all. It’s been socked in with clouds and fog lately, but Saturday it was clear, quite a sight. But, since I was planning to do more shopping on the way home, I didn’t want to haul the camera around with me. Darn. Next time.


About D. D. Syrdal

Writer of vampire stories and science fiction. First novel, "Revenants Abroad", available now at Amazon,,, Smashwords. If you like a vampire you can go out drinking with and still respect yourself in the morning, I think you'd like Andrej.
This entry was posted in bicycling, bike commuting, Green Living, suburban living and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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