I draw a distinction between bicycle Rides with a capital R, and riding around town. The latter is usually an everyday thing, toodling around town on errands and to work and whatnot. Those times when I want to burn off some energy but don’t want to get too far from home will usually find me looping around the river, but since it is all in-city on bike paths I’ve been on many times before, I don’t categorize them as Rides either.

Rides, on the other hand – they involve longer jaunts typically more than 20 miles which require some level of planning. They usually begin with me looking at a map of places I’ve wanted to ride to, or going to RideOregonRide.com to see if someone has uploaded a fun route.

The date of this year’s first Ride was yesterday, January 28th. It had been too icy or snowy the first part of January, and then the last half of the month saw my weekends mostly allocated towards caring for an ailing parent. My weekend this week was unexpectedly free, so the boyfriend and I hopped on our bikes and rode out to Agrarian Ales in Coburg, which we have been wanting to bike to for forever! It was about 13.9 miles from downtown Eugene to Agrarian.

The weather was supposed to be rainless but overcast, with fog in the morning and evening. Between one thing and another we got a much later start than we had planned on, and left from downtown Eugene about 3pm instead of noon like we were hoping. We rode up Coburg Rd, which eventually turns into a two-lane highway with a moderately sized shoulder once you get past the city of Coburg on the outskirts of Eugene.

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It was about 40 degrees out with a chill wind. My boyfriend, Mark, defines his “leisurely pace” a couple-few miles per hour faster than I define mine, but we found a happy medium and arrived at Agrarian red-cheeked and only a little sweaty.

We were immediately greeted by a couple who were very impressed (but mildly concerned, as non-cyclists tend to be) that we biked from town to Agrarian. We mutually acknowledged that Mark and I are crazy bike people, and went in to grab our drinks and food. We were so hungry and eager for beer that I completely forgot to check the time, and I have no idea exactly how long it took us to get from Eugene to Agrarian. But I feel like maybe an hour and a half?

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I had a 20 oz of Grow a Pear (pear cream ale), a 12 oz of Dark Sparge (porter), half a veggie pizza and most of a plate of pickled veggies. There was also an egg pickled in beet juice, which was a lovely color as well as delicious… But I didn’t think to get a picture until after it was all gone!

We anticipated that it would be dark by the time we made our return home since we had left Eugene so late, and we were prepared for it with fresh batteries for our lights. But we didn’t consider that Agrarian Ales is out in the country and surrounded by damp farmland, and were taken aback by how quickly the fog rolled in, and how thick it was. After some discussion we decided to call Mark’s mother to come pick us up in her truck rather than bike on a dark and foggy high-speed country road at night.

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I enjoy riding at night and I would have liked to have biked in the fog as well, but I think we made the right choice given the lights we had on our bikes did not have the highest of lumens. The bartender was glad we made the choice we did too, and told us a story of how when she was driving home the other night she barely saw a cyclist in the fog until she was right on top of him.

The bikes enjoyed their speedy flight in the truck and recovered from their day’s toils in the warmth of our apartment while Mark and I used a car to grab Safeway Chinese food to celebrate the Chinese New Year. (I’d say “in honor of” instead of “celebrate”, but I’m not sure Safeway Chinese food can really be interpreted as an offer of honor!)

Till the next ride!

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