We moved slow. Well, slow for me but just about the pace of the people I always cruise past when I’m riding this stretch of the springwater alone or with a few teammates. I would have been frustrated by the slow pace if this was my ride. But its not my ride. We had planned, or at least talked about going for a proper hike, one that wasn’t within the city limits and would take longer than an hour to complete.
Then, over breakfast she somewhat sheepishly asked me if we could ride the route to her new job downtown instead of going for a hike. ” Sure” I responded. This would be easy enough, we’d just have to roll down the Springwater, early enough to beat the crowds of walkers, lolly gagers and small children darting their bikes from one side of the path to the other. Their parents bike handling skill only marginally better than those of their children.
On the way home I was a little bit worried we’d get a pinch flat. Her back tire really needed some air and we’re still just over four miles from the house. The Raleigh three speed I bought her for her birthday has a hub I could only hope to get off the bike if I had the size wrench I need to get the wheel off. But of course I don’t even have those. I haven’t had to carry a wrench with me since I stopped riding fixed, back when I was a messenger.
I rode behind her, always moving my gaze from the rear wheel to the little nub that holds the cable which moves when the gear lever is hit. I have my frame pump. Which might work, because sometimes the puncture is so small that you can kind of ride it out if you put some air in it. Then we rode through some glass near OMSI, but the tire persisted.
Then I got over the worrying and we just rode. For a while at least. Signe has had this bike for a year and half and we’ve done four rides together. The first was last August, on a recovery day. We went from the park end of the Springwater to the end near OMSI. The second time was probably around there, down 11th and up Rex to our friend Chris’ house. The third was just last week when we rode to the Westmoreland Dairy Queen when we decided we needed a more decadent treat than the better tasting soft serve cones on 17th.
This ride, our fourth was the longest. We went down the Springwater, past OMSI then over the Hawthorne bridge and down SW Natio Parkway. Then past the street we were supposed to turn down, because I was too worried about a car coming up from behind us close and spooking her. She’s an adult, she’s capable of taking care of her self, but I can’t help but fell this is my doing and I feel responsible for getting her to her new job safely, even on the day’s I’m not going to be there.
The next day, after a much faster team ride Joe, Crossett and spun down the path. I’m not sure how it came up but we started talking about the ride I’d done the day before. I explained that Signe got a new job, and that I rode with her to show her the way to her new office.
“An hour and a half for a twelve mile ride!” he said
“Well, an hour and ten minutes” I countered.
The three of us were easily going double that speed. I told him that the day before I was trying to not look at my computer, to not stress about the pace Signe and I were moving. What I failed to realize that day was that it wasn’t my ride, but our ride and the speed didn’t matter.
“No. Signe got a new job and I showed her how