Monday, December 02, 2002

A Tale of Two Bicycles

One Sunday afternoon, two Seattlites decided to take their bicycles to the East Side (of Lake Washington) for a ride. It was the end of a long weekend full of eating, cooking, and household projects, and they were eager to get a breath of fresh air, some exercise, and possibly stop by a holiday event or two.

One of our cyclists, however, was feeling a little cranky. She was anticipating an evening ahead spent painting and felt that the weekend had been a bit heavy on the project time and little light on her "me time." She realized, however, that once she got going, she'd be glad that she went on the bike ride. So the two loaded their bikes on the car's roof rack and began their quiet (she was still sulking) drive east.

Sure enough, once the two were a mile or so into the ride the silence melted away and they enjoyed the ride, chatting of cabbages and kings (well, not really), holidays and cycling. They traveled through a local park, rode (skirted, actually) the velodrome, noted the climbing wall for future visits, and took a few photos.

They were on the return trip, little more than a mile from the car, when the ride headed downhill (not literally) fast. She was not an experienced road cyclist and was uncomfortable riding too close to other bikes. He was a more skilled and savvy rider, and thought that he knew how to help her get over her fear. They steered their bikes closer to each other. "Look," said the young Lance Armstrong, "you can push me and I won't fall over." Sure enough, pushing and shouldering each other did not bring them down. She lost confidence, however, wobbled her front wheel, and next thing you know, something caught on something else, and she was going down, her strangled scream of fear and warning filling the air. He only lasted upright a few seconds longer and soon they were in a pile on the trail.

They quickly stood up and took stock. A few bruises, scrapes, a sore wrist and a flat tire were the extent of the casualties. She was shaken and shed a few tears. He rode ahead to get the car while she walked her bike the few hundred yards to the meeting place. Back in the car, they both appologized, and decided that an eggnog latte (first of the season) would help them feel better. Still a little puffy from crying, she suggested finding a Starbucks with a drive-thru. Enamoured of the drive-thru espresso experience, he readily agreed. It didn't take them long to find one (this is Seattle, remember) and soon they were placing their order and driving up to the window to get their....

Uh oh.

They had forgotten about the bikes on the roof rack and one of them had gotten stuck to the awning over the drive-thru window. Fortunately, the damage to the awning was cosmetic and the Starbucks employee had a sense of humor about the whole incident. It seems that this had happened before... They extricated the bike, paid for the coffee and quickly drove off. Okay, so they had to wait a few more minutes for the lattes to be ready. This isn't McDonalds, after all.

Thus ends my tale of lakes and lattes, bikes and bruises. A true story of the modern Pacific Northwest. All concerned are a little sore, but know that they will fall with more confidence the next time.

By the way, those eggnog lattes sure were good. :0)


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