Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sunday's Readers' Ride: A Lutheran and a rabbi go for a bike ride . . .

(Note: Later I'll replace this note with a link to a map of the route I and then Moti and I took; check back again in a day or two.)

This past Sunday dawned ominously for anyone looking forward to a pleasant ride: it was chilly, overcast and threatening rain . . . and our constant companion the wind, this time in the guise of a steady 20 mph north wind, was paying a visit. I ran a quick morning errand to the post office and the downtown Intrust bank on my bike, and when I turned up Waco to head back home, let's just say my first thoughts were not informed by Christian charity. That was the slowest 4 blocks, psychologically-speaking, that I think I've ever ridden. Still, within half an hour of getting back home, the clouds began to break up, and actual direct sunlight appeared. So, in my best tough-guy mode, I thought, "It's on."

My route over to the intersection of Kellogg and Armour was one that I had ridden from east to west before, but never west to east: thus, the initial climb up the hill on Mt. Vernon that begins immediately past the intersection with George Washington really took me by surprise with its steepness. Of course, I'd already ridden about 6 miles and, as I noted here, I'm not in the best shape after the long winter layoff. So: combine my weariness from that with heading north into the wind when I picked up the Gypsum Creek path at Woodlawn, and the upshot is that, by the time I reached Kellogg and Armour a few minutes before 2:00, I was glad to sit a spell.

A little after 2, Moti (he of the excellent blogs FedReb and Jewish Simplicity and a long-time good friend of this humble blog) arrived, and we chatted while waiting to see if others would arrive. Moti is the proud owner of his father's '70s-vintage 3-speed Raleigh with, as Moti put it, "all original equipment." He said his dad had bought it, rode it a couple of times, then just put it away in the garage--thus, in terms of miles, his bike is basically brand-new. Moti bikes daily from his home to the office (a distance of a couple of miles) and runs other occasional errands via the bike. We also talked about our respective work and families and "politics" in the very vaguest and wide-ranging of ways (I don't intend anything by that other than the fact that we didn't dwell on any topic in particular), and a bit about variations among Jews' observance of the Sabbath and the work of the Wichita branch of the Jewish Federation (for the benefit of this Gentile).

No one else joined us, and so at 2:20 we set off. Despite Moti's living just a few blocks away from where we were, this was his first trip down the Gypsum Creek path. He seemed to like it. And I have to admit that I liked this about him: When we reached the sewer line construction at the path's intersection with Pawnee that I'd mentioned here, he saw that we could easily get around it and continue on our way. And so we did.

We rode together to where the new extension intersects with I-135, and there Moti turned back for home. Along the way, we talked about other possibilities for rides: I mentioned my recent post soliciting proposals for neighborhood rides, and Moti mentioned the possibility about longer rides outside the city, such as up to Newton. Both these suggestions strike me as muse-worthy, and I hope those reading this who are so inclined will join us in musing on these and/or other possibilities for exploring the city and environs by bike.

Then, the ride home. It must be a function of topography, the distinct impression I have that the winds along the long north-south stretch of the Arkansas River path seem more intense, there below street level by the river bank, than they do at street level. Whatever the case, the winds were so strong (and I a bit weary, after having by that time ridden around 20 miles) that I had to pull over to the side a couple of times to rest a bit. But by the time I got home, I had to say to myself, "Good ride." It was a genuine pleasure to meet and talk with someone who has faithfully read this blog for many months of its still-young existence; and, my weariness was itself confirmation that I needed the exercise. Yes indeed: it was all good.

1 comment:

coppercorn said...

I wanted to come, but my husband had a bunch of YMCA stuff to do both Saturday and Sunday. He's already told them he won't be able to work as much this summer (we need some family time on the weekends!) so I'm hoping to do our ride down Douglas to the Arkansas River path soon!