East Side Ramble

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I’m a die-hard bike rider. I brave snow to get to the grocery.  I commute to work in the rain.  I haul kids long distances, even when the mercury climbs into the nineties.  But when someone asks me to go on a road ride, just for fun, I usually find an excuse to stay home.  I leave that kind of riding to people in lycra shorts.  

Biking on the side of a busy road is the pits.   Threatening cars zoom past you, broken glass and debris eat away at your tires, and you can barely look at the scenery since you must focus to stay on the pavement.

So, when Andy Bike asked me to go on a ramble near The Dalles, Oregon, I didn’t immediately sign on.  He explained that a ramble is about the journey, not the destination.

“It’s cars per hour,” Andy nudged, “not cars per minute.”

I had to experience it to understand exactly what that meant, so off we went to the dry side of our state.  Here’s what it was like:

It's soothingly quiet out there. You can stand on the side, or in the middle, of the road and draw without fear of the automobile.
It’s soothingly quiet out there. You can stand on the side, or in the middle, of the road and draw without fear of the automobile.
Here is the sketch of the day.  Click for full size version.
Here is the sketch of the day. Click for full size version.
You can cruise in complete silence.  Hardly an airplane or lawnmower to be heard.
You can cruise in complete silence. Hardly an airplane or lawnmower to be heard.
Or you can chum around with your buddies in front of a hundred year old school house, talk with a farmer, and ride fifty miles through the open space, feeling like you are the last people on earth.
Or you can chum around with your buddies in front of a hundred year old school house, talk with a farmer, and ride fifty miles through the open space, feeling like you are the last people on earth.

Bikes were the perfect way to experience the landscape: fast enough to see different places, but plenty slow enough to stop and soak it all in.

Do I need to tell you that I’d do it again?

Thank you to Andy Bike for the inspiration and the photos.

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3 thoughts on “East Side Ramble

  1. Sounds all too familiar, cycling in Holland is a joy, it France it’s easy and safe even if there are a few too many hills were we were in the Avergne, at home the only way we cycle is on the footpath which is ironically safe but illegal – even in the new Forest our local national park there are very few cycle ways, – cycling is so nice when the roads and behaviour allows

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