Last Saturday, September 22, 2007 was "World Car Free Day". The intent was that everyone celebrate by leaving their car home for the day and get around some other way; transit, bicycle, on foot, roller skates, wheelie shoes, perhaps even by horseback. Judging by the number of cars on the road though, this day of celebration didn't have quite the same appeal as Christmas. Perhaps next year.
I, on the other hand, being fully in the mood to celebrate, put together, at the very last minute, a small spontaneous bike ride down the Springwater Corridor Rails to Trails from Portland to Gresham. I posted the ride on Craigslist for less than a week, but didn't really expect much of a response but I did receive one endearing e-mail though from R. L., who is obviously one of my greatest fans. It read, in it's entirety:
what i would prefer is a "World Bicycle Free Day," particularly the
Peter Pan dorks in spandex like they're in the Tour De France,
retarded Lance Armstrong wannabees. let me know when that happens.
P.S. I used to ride a bike, WHEN I WAS A KID. then i grew up.
R.L., if you read this in my blog, which I doubt, I did actually enjoy your e-mail, it gave me a very good laugh and there's no hard feelings. Really! Oh, and about the kid part...thanks! I love being a kid still and the last time I flew like Peter Pan on my bike was just quickly over my handlebars when I hit a deep patch of mud in Port Angeles. It wasn't that much fun. Oh, and I do in fact wear Spandex but only when it's hot. Not because I look cool, but rather because I stay cool and it has a little extra padding on the posterior where I am, ahem, a little lacking now. That is always helpful on a long ride. Most of the time I just wear pants and a t-shirt though and no one has yet confused me with Lance and asked for my autograph when I wear the spandex. I'll set them straight though, if they do, and let them know I'm just a wannabee and not really him. Honest.
There was a magnificent crowd that showed for my ride and I documented the occasion with a picture. As you can see it was just me, and uhhh, me. It was a great ride anyhow though. How can you not love a trail which takes you through a place called "Beggars Tick Wildlife Refuge"? I'm sure there's a history behind that name but I'm not sure I really want to know.
The highlight of the ride was a stop at the marsh just before you reach Gresham. I was greeted by a French-fry chomping nutria--essentially a huge amphibious rat with a long thick tail---who was looking for an additional handout from me. He looked very well fed by other passersby and certainly didn't need my help on his way to a rodent coronary. He flirted with my "Gorge Delight Just Fruit Bar" for a few minutes, but headed for the water when he discovered I don't feed wildlife and was just pulling out my camera for a quick shot instead of more food.
I hope to be a little better organized for this ride next year. I didn't find out about "World Car Free Day" until less than a week prior and jumped on it the best I could. China actually closed some of their roads to traffic in honor of the day and Portland, being alternative transportation friendly, I feel should follow suit next year. I'll see what I can do. Hmmm, another thing to feed my polyphasic mania.
Note: I traveled roughly thirty-five miles by bike and roughly the same by light rail. Total fuel expenditure: an unknown amount of electricity for the light rail train, one and one-half cups of oatmeal, a small handful of raisins, a generous splash of "Pacific Foods Oat Beverage (Plain)", about a cup of rice, a cup of beans, some plantains, a few slices of yam,Pico de Gallo, salsa and one "Just Fruit" Bar. Had I traveled in my automobile I would have consumed about 4.5 gallons of petroleum plus the above mentioned food items as well.