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Bikefag “Coming of Age” Bike Tour: Portland to San Francisco (part 1)

September 24, 2010

The Bike Gods Move in a mysterious way Their wonders to perform.

I was nevertheless completely enraged when Rose bailed out on our bike tour..  Rose, or “Brose,” was the girl who talked me into going on this fucking bike tour in the first place.

Less than two weeks before we were supposed to leave for Seattle, she changed the plan.  Apparently she couldn’t miss the first week of school.

“OK, let’s just ride Portland to San Francisco.”

She agreed and assured me she’d buy her tickets the next day.  So I bought mine.

“OK, I have my tickets,” I emailed.  “You?”

No response.

I called.  I texted.

Finally she popped up on Google chat one night, maybe four or five days before my flight, and told me she was afraid to ride on the highway. Brose is a very gifted bike racer who went out on a training ride nearly two years ago and was hit, run over, and nearly killed by a car.  She was in a coma, had a lot of surgery afterward, and was still apparently very terrified of riding on heavily trafficked roads.

Like U.S. Highway 101, for example – a very heavily trafficked roadway that turns into a freeway.  We’d be on that road on-and-off for six days.  Then California State Route 1, a well-traveled state highway on the coast that frequently has no shoulder.

“Well, dude, fair enough.  Just let me know what the deal is, ok?” I said, or something to the effect.

That was the last time I talked to Brose.

She stopped responding to my emails.  She wouldn’t return my calls.  Nothing.

Two days before I was supposed to leave, it was obvious that I no longer had a tour partner.

I’d already bought my plane ticket to Portland, though, and my train ticket back from San Francisco.  I’d already told my friends in Portland and San Francisco that I was coming.  I’d saved the money (sort of). I’d done the research (not at all).  And I was ready to do this thing (yeah right…)!  Whether or not Brose was coming with me!

So off I went to the airport, Jake the Snake packed into a box with a full compliment of gears shifted by a borrowed rear derailleur, touring tires from the Purple Bike, borrowed paniers, a borrowed tent, borrowed sleeping bag, borrowed stove, no map, and no idea what specific route I was going to be taking (which, it would turn out, made my “estimated mileage” somewhat inaccurate (can you really put “no idea” in a box?!)).

“Here’s hoping my Ksyriums can hold all this weight!” I said to myself, dragging the almost-at-the-50-lb-limit box onto the airport shuttle, while wearing the two fully-packed rear paniers around my shoulders like little kids’ floaties.  “And may the Bike Gods help me to get on the plane with all this shit!”

To be continued…..

(sorry, doggs.  I’m going to try to get a few posts out of this one.  And Brose, if you’re reading this, I hope you don’t mind.  I thought of using a pseudonym for you, but what pseudonym/pseudo-nick-nym could take the place of Rose/Brose?)

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 28, 2010 2:34 pm

    yes! i have been looking forward to your stories about the trip.

  2. SAm permalink
    September 30, 2010 7:52 pm

    Awesome, this is off to a fantastic start! No map, no real plan, carrying things that should not be carried on a plane, Kysriums and panniers. This is already sounding like one my many misadventures! I can’t wait to see what comes next…

  3. Antigone permalink
    November 6, 2010 1:57 pm

    Looking forward for more. People like you amaze me.

  4. thomas Hayes permalink
    November 6, 2010 8:30 pm

    Good work, Can’t wait to read more. I’ll be checking in

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