Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sun, Snakes and Salmon

As a resident of the Pacific Northwest one of my duties is to perpetuate the myth that it rains all the time here. This story was invented to keep everyone from California from moving up here driving up the costs of housing and clogging our roads with SUVs. That tactic doesn't seem to have worked, so I'm adopting another technique; pointing out how darn nice it can be some days in this part of the world and showing how lovely it can be to get around here by bicycle. I'm pretty much figuring readers of this blog include a lot of people I wouldn't mind having for neighbors, so if you want to load up your Xtracycle or Bob trailer and move here, drop a note to:

kentp (at) bicyclealliance (dot) org

and I'll fill you in on the ins and outs of getting around this part of the world by foot and bike.

On Saturday, October 13th, 2007, my friend Mark Canizaro loads his bike on a bus in the Seattle morning fog and rolls east to find Issaquah bathed in warm sunlight. The pines and the cedars are still green, of course, but the cold nights and shortening days have cued the maples, dogwoods, oaks and others to color their leaves in shades of red and gold.

Our nominal goal today is the Black Diamond Bakery but our route is more meander than mission. Our bike tires ultimately spin out fifty-two miles on mostly quiet roads and leaf-strewn trails. Snakes enjoy the sun and salmon work their way up the Cedar river. Mark and I explore and eat and eventually wander home.

Soon the rains winter rains will begin in earnest. The salmon carcases and leaves will wash downstream, the snakes will sleep away the winter. Bike commuters, like Mark and myself, will layer wool under yellow rain jackets, turn on our lights for both the morning and evening commutes and tell lies like "there is no bad weather, only bad clothing."

But we'll remember there are days, days in October when the air is crisp and the light is golden, when it is hard to imagine why anyone would ever want to live anywhere else.

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