It was cold and foggy when I started my bike ride this morning, and I was afraid I was going to be too cold. The forecast was for the upper 60s, but it was only 45 degrees when I started. I didn’t want to start out too cold, because we weren’t going to be anywhere near the 60s until the sun managed to burn through the fog. Bundle up too much, though, and you start sweating excessively and have to find a way to carry all those extra clothes.

So, I was dressed a little light, and was kind of chilly by the time I got to the bike path. Even though everyone calls them ‘bike paths’, in actuality, they’re MUPs: Multi-Use Paths. That means pedestrians, skaters, dogwalkers, kids with training wheels, kids on scooters, etc. So, the MUP is the best and worst of all possible worlds. On the plus side, you won’t get hit by a car. On the minus side, you have to be really careful not to run anyone else over.

Unfortunately, whereas a lot of drivers think that bikes have no place on the street, and should be confined to bike paths, MUP users often know that bikes have no place on MUPs and should be restricted to the street. It’s good to be loved.

The key is tolerance. You need to go a bit slower, and give plenty of warning before you pass someone. It’s easy to startle pedestrians when you suddenly appear whooshing past their left elbow, especially if they are senior citizens. A lot of people will call out ‘on your left’. I prefer to ring my little bike bell. I think it has a friendly sound. Whatever lets them know you’re coming up on them is fine.

Of course, with some people, it doesn’t matter. This morning there was a couple walking abreast in the middle of the path. As I approached, the woman turned and saw me coming. “Great” I think, “I won’t even have to ring my bell.” But she didn’t move over. She didn’t tell her walking partner. By Golly, she was going to make me ask them to move. Now that’s just rude. And then there was the jogger who kept looking behind him, and getting more and more irritated that I was hanging back. He had moved all the way over to his right, and I still hung back. I didn’t have any way to tell him that we were coming up on some blind corners that I’ve almost gotten nailed on, and I wasn’t about to be passing on his left when we got there.

As I rode down to Tualatin, the sun slowly began to appear, first as a disc in the fog, and then finally as a source of warmth. This made a huge difference in the temperature, and I began to feel much warmer. Then, as I rode from Tualatin to Sherwood, I rode back into the fog. After even the few miles I had been riding in sunlight, it felt like riding into Mordor.

I stopped in Sherwood for a mocha, which was darn tasty. As I stepped up to the counter, the server smiled brightly and said “I bet you’re a [Oregon State] Beavers fan!” I looked down at my safety orange shirt and black fleece vest and smiled back. “No, I just don’t like getting hit.” “Oh,” she said. “You must be riding.” That Starbucks had a very nice restroom as well. I mentally added it to my catalog of Places PAgent can Pee while Pedalling.

And I used that restroom, too. I wasn’t as dehydrated as I usually get, because I was using my Camelbak instead of water bottles. I love using a hydration system. I always feel better if I’m taking sips of water as I ride, rather than big gulps when I get thirsty. However, it was a whole lot easier to do when I could just strap it to my back. Now I have to find a way to carry a bladder in or on something. I like having an insulated bag, but it just barely fits in my seat bag, with the drink tube running out of a slit in the top of the bag. But now that I’m taking longer rides, I’m going to make that a priority.

I rode home via Beef Bend road, Highway 99, and the Greenway MUP. By the time I got home, the sun was back out, and it was a beautiful day.

Today’s Stats:

  • Total distance: 25.5 miles
  • Max. speed: 26.8 mph
  • Time spent moving: 2 hours, 9 minutes
  • Average speed while moving: 11.8 mph
  • No. of grande no-whip mochas consumed as fuel: 1
  • No. of wooly worm caterpillars (Pyrrharctia isabella) observed frantically trying to get across the bike path before they got smooshed: 2