Saturday, March 5, 2011

Putting the "Bent" in Recumbent

Our first Eastside Foursquare Church Cycling Club Ride of the Year. Jim, David Z., David J., Ken and I gathered in the north parking lot of EFC ready for 38 miles around Snohomish County. We planned for rain but were pleasantly surprised when we discovered sunbreaks late in the ride.

We rode through Kenmore and into Brier enjoying the fellowship and the start of our long-awaited cycling season. The snow had long since melted. All the ice was gone. The rain from earlier in the week had abated. And even though it was still a cool morning, it was by no means cold. I would call it "crisp."

At Logan Park we paused to wait for David J., our recumbent rider. Recumbent bikes are great for comfort—especially on your backside—but really are a drag on the hills. We kept encouraging David to "stand up on those pedals!" But when you seated in a reclining position akin to a poolside chaise lounge, it's a little hard to do that.

As we waited for David, a couple of walkers caught up to us and we chatted. With them were two yellow labrador retrievers. One of which was in a child's wagon and covered with blankets. They explained that she was getting on in years—16 I think—and couldn't walk. But she loved to get outside and go for a roll. In fact, if they forgot to take her on her "walk" she would let them know by being ornery the rest of the day.

David caught us and we continued north into Lynnwood. We entered the Interurban Trail which is a regional trail built on the old Interurban Railway Line that ran between Seattle and Everett from 1910 to 1939. Today the the trail begins in North Seattle and continues north through Shoreline, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, unincorporated Snohomish County, and Everett.

We exited the trail in north of Mill Creek and then took the 2.5 mile North Creek Trail that runs behind Mill Creek Town Center. The trail is hidden among the trees behind several apartment complexes. Occasionally the sun would dapple the black top, but most of the trail is shaded. On one tight 90 degree corner, the shade mixed with recent rains to make the pavement slick. Slick enough to cause David to dump his recumbent. I turned the corner and heard the crash right behind me. I thought it might be Ken who immediately behind me, but instead I saw David on his side with his recumbent's wheels in the air.

We helped him to his feet, checked him over for blood or broken bones, and then finding none inspected his bike. Jim noticed the damage first. "Hey David, your left aileron is a little high." It was evident that his handlebars were tweaked. They now pointed on a downward angle to the right. Upon closer inspection after the ride, David told me that he had bent his stem.

His recumbent was bent.

Fortunately, he could still ride fine. So we remounted and continued on. We exited the trail at Mill Creek Town Center and turned north again along Bothell-Everett Highway. We rode east past Jackson High School and then through the old neighborhood I lived in ten years ago when we first moved to Bothell. Continuing east, we noticed the sun was beginning to break through the clouds more and more. This was becoming a really nice day for riding.

Our café stop was at the Seattle Hill Road Starbucks. We each ordered our mid-ride food and took a seat. I noticed Ken's high-minded fare. A cracker, cheese, fruit, and boiled egg plate that Starbucks calls the "Protein Artisan Snack Plate." Wait. I haven't described it accurately. From their own website, here's how Starbucks describes this delightful spread: "Hard-boiled, cage-free egg, grapes, sliced apples, and white Cheddar cheese with multigrain muesli bread and honey peanut butter spread." It's good to know that the egg is cage-free. I don't like to eat eggs that come in cages...

After Starbucks, we headed south through Cathcart and Maltby and on into Woodinville. We took our favorite descent past Wellington Hills Golf Course that we call "The Plunge." It's a sweeping, fast drop that dumps you almost into the Woodinville Costco parking lot. If there was no traffic, no intersection, and no streetlight, I'd have coasted down that hill all the way up to the hot dog stand.

We hit the Sammamish River Trail for the final few miles back into Bothell and then up the hill to Eastside Foursquare Church. Our first ride of the year was done. All five riders made it back. And only one bike suffered slight damage.

But, hey, you can't spell recumbent without "bent."

Riders: Jim, David Z., David J., Ken, Bob
Distance: 39.8 miles
Time: 3:03
Avg: 13.2

No comments: