Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Cat's Away - Favorite Rides Part 1

I am away on a hunting expedition. We are seeking out the perfect college for our perfect daughter.  Why we are heading to South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, principally because they are theoretically driving distance away - which you can't say for the 3 colleges in Scotland that are on her list.

Since you paid good money for access to this blog, I thought I'd better do some entries while I'm traveling. What? You didn't pay? Dude, how am I going to afford my new tadpole trike?  I kid, of course. The blog is free, but please feel free to send some financial love to WABA in care of their Bollard Demolition Fund.

And so here are two of my favorite rides:

Maui Downhill:  On our honeymoon, Mrs. Rootchopper and I got up at 2 am and took a van to the top of Halleakala crater on the island of Maui.  After the sun rise shot what looked like laser beams through the irregularities in the far side of the crater rim, we donned yellow suits (they looked like the kind of rain gear kids used to wear at the bus stop in the 1960s) and motorcycle helmets. We hopped aboard mountain bikes with seriously beefy disk brakes and rode down the mountain on the sole access road.  We went through dozens of switchbacks with our tour leader riding down the middle of the road swerving like a madman so that the bleary eyed drivers on the way up the mountain were sure to see us. About half way down we stopped for a breakfast feast (fresh Kona coffee is unbelievably good).  Stuffed to the top tubes, we used our pedals for all of 30 seconds before gravity took over as we left the restaurant parking lot We glided all the way to the ocean town of Paia. Paia is known for two things, wind surfing and Maui wowie.  It’s a one of a kind place. The ride was unique and very easy on our bodies except for our hands.  All that braking wore our hands out. My hands were fine in a couple of days.  We started on what looked like the moon and ended up with the trade winds blowing through the trees. Memories of this ride have lingered for a long, long time.

Golden Gate:  One summer long ago, I worked as government intern in San Francisco. It was the most boring job ever. I had never been off the east coast, however, so I was in for some culture shock. My summer started in Davis CA which was Biketown USA even back then. There were way more bikes than cars. And a casual vibe that only a California college town could offer. After a week of hospitality from Don Kanare, a college friend, I moved to Berkeley and worked in “The City.”  One Saturday I took my bike on a BART train to go exploring in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  I rode all over the place but I remember most riding up Russian Hill and having to lean over my handlebars to stay upright. Can you say, “Legs on fire!”? At the top of the hill, I looked to my right and could see Fisherman’s Wharf waaaay doowwnnn there. It was scary steep so I rode in the least steep direction. I found my self cruising at speed under redwoods in the Presidio, which was still a military base.  It was a total rush.  I made my way to the Golden Gate Bridge and rode across it on the side path. Can you say, “Just plain awesome, dude!?”  My ride finished in the chi chi town of Sausalito. After hanging out, I took a ferry across the bay past Alcatraz and back to the City. 

More tomorrow. Don't touch that dial.

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