Had I tried to blog every day this last week, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have had much to say. Luckily, what happened on all those days makes a nicely longish blog post if I do them all at one go like this. Also when I condense my week into one post like this I sound like I did a ton of stuff — which I actually kind of did! Though most of it happened today…but we’ll start with:

April 13

Who thought it was a good idea to have Vandal Friday and Mother’s Weekend during the same week? There were way too many cars on the road. Since the majority of them were not from Moscow (i.e., residents of a college town where lots of students bicycle) there was a higher occurrence of skittish-driver syndrome than usual. I mean…I understand not being used to bicyclists on the road. When I drive and encounter a bicyclist I try to err on the side of caution, but I’ve realized as a bicyclist that confusion can sometimes go both ways. Why do you trail me for three blocks twenty feet behind me, when we’re both going the same direction on a very wide road? I don’t believe I’m a particularly erratic cyclist, and I wasn’t even technically on the road; when there are no cars in the parking lane, I bike in that, which is what I was doing in this particular instance. Oh well. I suppose I would rather have a driver be overly cautious than pushy or hostile.

Friday did, however, bring about my first bike flirtation ever. A guy in a niceish suit and a red road p who did not look at all old enough to be a parent and certainly not young enough to be a high schooler, yet was only in town for the weekend. We had a short conversation at a red light when he was on his way to the post office and I was on my way home after classes. Guy in a suit + on a bike + who brings his bike with him on business trips to run errands (I’m assuming it was a business trip) = awesome.

April 14

Stayed home all day (being that it was Saturday), eventually felt lazy in the early evening and squeezed in a bike ride before the sun went down. There was rain in the distance and the sky was a brilliant, vivid coral color, with the rain forming dark streaks across it. I rode towards it until the colors disappeared, and when I stopped for a break the frogs started singing all at once. At the risk of sounding mushy, it was kind of a magical moment; it’s like they were taking over for the sun. And since I was on Paradise Path the creek was right there, so it was also a surround-sound moment :D.

April 15

Fairly uneventful day. Rode the Minx to a campus festival thing in a dress. Froze to death when the sun abruptly left the sky and a light rain took over. At least biking warms you up!

April 16

It rained. Boo. So I took my Schwinn to class instead, because currently it’s my only bike in working order that has fenders. After riding the Minx so much lately (112 miles, baybay), the Schwinn felt REALLY different. It’s a hybrid/comfort bike, so it has a big wide seat with shocks, an almost completely upright seating position, and gigantic handlebars. Remember how I said in a previous post that the “roads” in my neighborhood are terrible and hazardous? Not on the Schwinn; I could hardly feel the potholes. It’s a weird comparison, but riding the Schwinn felt almost like riding a car when compared to the Minx; I felt oddly disconnected from the road, it felt heavier and slower, and I was sitting upright. For the first time it felt awkward to pedal, too; the seat is lower so my legs don’t fully extend, and I’m further away from the handlebars. That being said, it was a pretty comfy ride, especially in my neighborhood. Its naturally slower-than-the-Minx-ness suits it too. I don’t use the Schwinn to ride fast or ride far; I use it to carry things (it has a rack and a basket), have a relaxing ride (I can see using it to just take a leisurely summer ride), and, well, look pretty (it has a chaincase so skirts don’t get grimed or caught up in the chain). And there’s no doubt it’s an eye-catching bike. Whereas the Minx has a kind of an understated classy elegance, the Bonny Red Bovine (yeah, that’s what I named it, whatever) is a more “I’m so pretty” bike. I don’t have a good photo of it that I’ve taken myself and since it’s dark outside so I can’t take a picture right now, but here’s Wal-mart’s image of it:

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I really do think it’s one of the prettiest bikes on campus. I love the red tire rims! Even if they are a bit worn on the outside edges because of the brakes, now. The red-and-white scheme in general is particularly attractive to me. The only additions I’ve made to it is a black side-basket on the back rack, and a black handlebar basket. And a new chain because, well, Walmart does not exactly sell high-end products and the original chain broke barely a month after I got it. This bike definitely doesn’t feel as sturdy as my other bikes, but it’s pretty and gets the job done well enough.

April 17

Monday was going to be an uneventful biking day, until I acquired two whole free pizzas from the ECB club (Ecology and Conservation Biology). They had bought too many pizzas to feed the volunteers who helped pick up trash on Paradise Creek (it was TONS of fun, by the way), and I immediately offered to adopt two lonesome pizzas when the opportunity arose. Then I realized I had to figure out a way to carry them home, because there was no way I could bike with two whole pizzas in my hands.

But then! — I realized that since a mixte frame has two top tubes, not just one, they form a slim but stable triangular platform that I could easily set the pizzas on and use bungee cords to keep them in place. Behold:

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Apologies for the poor photo, but it was dark and I was using my phone’s camera.

This little stunt greatly amused the Moscow general public on my walk home, and was so intensely appreciated by the passengers of one red Tacoma that they circled the block to yell things like “Whoo!” and wolf-whistle.

April 18

Nothing much happened on this day. I took the Schwinn to class again because of the rain and ended up clipping a curb, which somehow dislodged the chain. After ten minutes and some unladylike language I got the chain back on, and still made it to most of my next class.

April 19

OKAY okay okay guys guys so I biked to Troy today. And back. And did not die. And had enough energy to spend two hours volunteering on a farm afterwards. BOOYAH, I say, BOOYAH.

PROOF, MY FRIENDS:

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I originally set out to just see how far I could go, and was surprised to end up in Troy. I blame the scenery, and my music. I don’t normally listen to music when I’m biking in town because I want to be able to hear traffic but lately when I’ve gone riding on the trails I’ve brought my ipod with me. Today’s mood was set by Bibio’s Ambivalence Avenue, and it was apparently enough to power me to Troy and back.

There was wind, but only a moderate one. I didn’t know that Troy was in a forest, or is at least on the edge of a wood; the palouse just kind of gradually got tree-ier and tree-ier until it was so shady that I was cold, and there was unmelted snow on the sides of the trail that the sun had never touched. There were piles of red pine needles on this part of the trail, and they smelled like rooibos tea to me (as well as almost looking like it, with its color).

When I got to Troy I didn’t really know what to do. I didn’t feel very tired, but I didn’t want to just turn straight around and head back to Moscow without celebrating my accomplishment a bit. There’s a Conoco   visible from the trailhead and I was about to go there and get some cheap coffee and, idk, a candy bar? (I guess gas stations are not exactly hubs of celebration) when a jogger and her dog I had passed on my way in arrived, so I asked if she knew of a coffeeshop near by. She did, so I hopped back on the Minx and headed up Main Street.

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I can’t decide if this is the best coffee I have ever tasted in my life because it followed the accomplishment of a goal I never would have seen myself capable of just as recently as last summer, or because it was actually that great of coffee. Either way, folks, The Filling Station Espresso has some pretty rad coffee, as well as smoothies, tea, pizza, soup, sandwiches, pastries, etc. all of which looked amazing and I might need to bike back to Troy to sample. They were super nice people who worked there, too. Either Troy is a particularly tiny town (I really have no idea) or they have very loyal regulars, because the cashiers and cooks greeted everyone by name (it’s an open layout, all one room, so you can see the kitchen behind the counter) and were joking and catching up with customers left and right.

I ordered an Americano and drank it outside. One man on his way out of the cafe was pretty impressed with the Minx. He asked how old it was, and I told him I estimated it to be about 20-30 years old. Then asked if I had really biked all the way from Moscow on it (the cashier had seen me bike in, so I had told her, and he must have overheard) and he seemed impressed with that too. I felt pretty good :).

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A little while after he left a bicyclist pulled up to the cafe and said hi, and as we got to talking he told me that the trail continues around Troy to what he wryly referred to as the “scenic water treatment plant”, and after that it goes all the way to Juliaetta. Now, Google Maps tells me Juliaetta is an additional 15 miles out of Troy, so a total of 25 miles from Moscow, round trip of 50 miles. Biking to Troy only took me about 3 hours, with a few short breaks for water and a long break at the cafe, and was about 30 miles round trip. Since I already achieved my original goal of biking to Pullman for the 30DOB challenge and now I’ve knocked out my second goal of biking to Troy…there are still two weekends left in April. With enough coffee, fig newtons, and time, maybe Juliaetta will be next?

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