I never start my New Year’s Resolutions on Jan. 1st: that way, if it doesn’t work out, I am technically not one of those people (well, most people) whose resolutions peter out a few months into the new year. “Beginning of December Resolutions” are much less regulated. 

But anyways: one of the things I would like to improve this year is my writing. I used to write a lot but once I started college I felt like I didn’t have enough time for it. I tried to do NaNoWriMo this year and discovered that, after many years of disuse, my writing is incredibly rusty. My vocabulary is shot, and it’s harder for me to put words to the images I see in my mind. To fix this I decided I want to write for half an hour a day, to start, and see what happens from there. I already journal a bit, but then I remembered I have this blog… and I need no encouragement to show off or blabber on about my bikes :D. So my resolution starts here. 

I have begun to build my Mixte Fleet: introducing THE PEUGEOT. (Which I still have no idea how to pronounce.)

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The guy I bought it from thought it was a Schwinn. I don’t know how you make that mistake when the name of the maker is very prominently and prettily printed on the bike itself, but at least it was still a good price. I’ve run into a couple problems with it, however. I’ve never ridden a bike with drop bars before and, to my dismay, I might be physically incapable of doing so. I’ve heard before of people with wrist problems having issues with different kinds of handlebars, and I guess I must be one of those people. My wrists were in intense pain after 15 minutes into a ride, and the next day were so sore it was difficult to cut vegetables at work or carry anything more than a couple pounds. Racing is something I want to get into, and I’m worried that not being able to ride with drop bars might hinder me in that. The second problem with the Peugeot is at least a fixable one; the rim of the front tire is bent, so I’m going to either try to bend it back into place or I suppose I could purchase a new one. We’ll see. 

The Minx, on the other hand, has been doing spectacularly. She’s all ridiculousified up for Christmas. 

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I also put some good fenders on her. It cost a pretty penny, but it eliminates all road grime and lets me ride through massive puddles :D. Next I need a waterproof jacket, and then I’m completely set for winter riding. 

I haven’t been riding as much though. My mother was moved to a facility out of town so I stopped doing my regular 20 mile loop to see her, and I’ve been put almost exclusively on closing shifts at work, and I don’t like riding my bike through the 99/Roosevelt area that close to midnight. 

There have been lots of rides with the SGF (Special Gentleman Friend), however. Exploring the paths on the west side of Eugene have been pretty fun, and biking to/through the downtown at night is easier than trying to find parking. 

I’ve also gone on a few rides with my Flowerhelmet friend that I met during the century (…which I suddenly realize I did not post about. HOW COULD I HAVE A BIKE BLOG AND NOT POST ABOUT MY FIRST CENTURY. I need to get on that, stat. Looking at the route and pictures now will help me look forward to summer biking 🙂 ). I love the killer pace he sets (at least for me, with my weak noodle legs), and he knows all the beautiful remote roads in the area…the kind that are populated with cows, which are the best kind. 

I’ve also had some unpleasant encounters with drivers lately. Two in the last month, which leaves me anxiously waiting for the third, if bad things do come in threes >.<. First a car hit me on Coburg as they turned right into a parking lot (I think I bent their side mirror but I was okay and my bike was okay, so I motioned curtly for them to get out of my way, and that was all). It actually mildly aggravated my shoulder injury, but the damn thing refuses to heal under any circumstances anyways, and I believe it was just my body suddenly tensing at the encounter that hurt it, because the car didn’t touch my body at all. 

The second time was scarier, because the driver was clearly intending to be an asshole. They were stopped at a bus station pull-out on 99, partially in the bike lane. I signaled left, checked traffic in the road behind me, and took the lane to pass them. As I passed their door they slammed on the gas and succeeded in going nowhere — probably a good thing, because if they had lurched forward at that time, they would have hit me. As it was he only moved forward perhaps a foot then slammed on the brakes, and his tires squealed on the pavement again. I sped up to pass him completely and get back in the bike lane when he did it again, except with less force, so he actually succeeded in gunning forward, blocking me from moving over. I looked back and made eye contact, and he stepped on the gas and then braked suddenly again, which allowed me to swerve into my bike lane, and at the same time he peeled out one last time, barely missing my back tire as he sped past me. I got his plate (WTD787, white car with a wheelchair rack on the back, if anyone is interested). I was shaken enough where I had to get on the sidewalk and just breathe for a few minutes, I was shaking so badly. It’s the first time I’ve had an encounter with a car that didn’t just feel jerkish or ignorant or potentially accidental, but as if they were actively interested in harming me. I thought about calling the police, but…what would I have said? “Yeah, I wasn’t hurt and my bike wasn’t hurt, but this guy totes scared me like reaaaally bad.” I can see the police caring about that…not. 

Biking here in Eugene is very different than biking in Idaho. The area in general is less immediately remote. On my Troy ride, for example, I went almost fifteen miles without seeing a single person. Here the bike paths are beautiful (I should post about my summer rides sometime), but more populated. It’s harder to lose myself completely in a ride. Though still possible.

My bike goals this winter are to repair the Free Spirit, fix the Peugeot (and name it!), and research bike camping/touring. I’d like to bike to Olympia this summer, or at least Portland, and investigate local bike camping (if I can convince the SGF to go with me to protect me from bears and stuff :D). Also…operation Get My Dad Into Biking is in development. More news to follow. Over.

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