Leif Valin wrote a very entertaining story about his daily commute. Leif is surely one our most favorite riders and now he has become one of our favorite writers as well. He puts into words what we see on our daily commute. If it’s by car the best you can hope for is to get home without being more stressed out by terrible drivers. When we make the trip by bike at least you feel like you did something and usually it’s pretty fun.
The Daily Adventure
by Leif Valin
My daily ride is a good little jaunt alongside the Platte River,I see all kinds of people and animals: Kingfisher,Avocet,Robin,Woodpecker,Dipper,Geese,Mallard duck,Canvasback duck,Blue Heron,Night Heron,Egret, Beaver,Muskrat,Turtle,Fox,Coyote,Raccoon,Rat,Mouse,Owl,snakes,Coot,Skunk,Hawk,Eagle,Rabbit, American hobo,American frowney face, American smiler, American Triathlete, to name a few.Things I would never see if I kept in my car,you don`t seem to see many live animals when your`e driving, more smashed ones. And drivers waving kindly are nil, so biking to work wins by a large margin. My mood is 30 % better when i ride to work, endorphins are the best drug with no negative side effects and I can still fit in my high school prom dress!
There`s the people i see everyday that wave and smile as they walk or ride by, and there`s the people that never wave,smile or show external signs of happiness. I don`t know if these people are court ordered to be outside, like opposite house arrest.
Here are some happenings on the trail:
There is a certain area of the trail that is a Skunk thoroughfare, From Evans to Oxford. Iv`e had many near Skunk spraying`s but so far been lucky to escape
with only my own self generated smells. Rolling up on a skunk in the freezing night ,nose so frozen I didn`t know if i had been sprayed or not until I got home and thawed out, there may
be a Tomato juice bath in my future, and I accept that possibility.
The river attracts animal and human life,you can spot hobo hideout`s all alongside the Platte if you have a keen eye. Sometimes Hobo`s can be spotted in
bushes as well,napping, dreaming of neverending beer rivers or a tent that has hoovercraft abilities. Once while riding home after dark my small one LED Knog Frog© light
illuminated a man and his ballast of a bicycle sound asleep across the entire path, in a position not unlike laying down on railroad tracks just before the train comes to end
I stopped short of his neck and woke him with a few words, he stirred, arose and apologized in his sleepy, drunken state. I told him i could have killed him by hitting him with
my bike and he could have killed me with the ensuing crash that killed him. He moved off the path to drink again.
p.s.-Hobo`s like to poop on the path and sometimes leave their underwear there as well.
Riding home one night with a friend, up ahead of us a fellow was zig-zagging back and forth on the path in a series of 90 degree turns. At first i thought he was dancing with his bike to music on
headphones. It turned out he was just very drunk, no music or bike dancing but just struggling to remain upright. I passed him and alerted my riding companion of the scene. Up a mile or so we stopped to watch some night Herons fishing, we watched the birds for a while then i heard and spotted Drunkeypants zig zagging toward us. Not wanting to get stuck behind him i yelled “lets go,we don`t want to get stuck behind Drunkeypants again!” Drunkeypants responded “so what,i`m drunk” we laughed and merged onto the path and escaped getting stuck behind Drunkeypants again.
An unwelcome part of the trail in the warm months are these mosquito`s,eye protection is a must and breathing with your mouth closed is necessary
if you don`t want hundred`s of dead mosquito corpses in your teeth,tongue and throat.I think a snorkel would help. At least the birds,bats and frogs have some good snacks in those bugs!
The path is a nice mellow, easy route to ride but to some is is a training center, a battlefield. These participants have no time or extra energy to smile or wave, they have a mission. To beat the others on the path
in a race only they know of. Passing a group of six like they`re standing still( they were,a family of six looking at a snapping turtle) gives a rush like no other, ON YOUR LEFT!
I have been defeated/passed by the night racer who most surely took my blinking taillight as a taunt, a lure. I was passed with such a feverish sprint it made me wonder if I ceased to exist ( turned my lights off)
the sprint would continue so I turned the lights off and surely enough the sprint died and I regained my lead much to the pursuers surprise.
Another time this happened a headlight behind was bobbing around like the cops searchlight looking for Ronnie Dobbs in RUN RONNIE,RUN. Surely i thought this was a friend catching me on the path. It turned out to be the holder of the worlds choppiest, gasping cadence ever, I again turned off my lights to see if the pace would slacken, it did ! Another successful experiment.
Non Wavers/American Frowney face
The non wavers by majority are comprised of but not limited to: TT bikes,Recumbants, expensive road bikes,elliptical bikes, speed walkers.
Wavers/American Smiley Face
There`s a waver/smiler in every category, the good outweigh the bad by far. I`ve never been flipped off on the path by a triathlete whose powertap is on the fritz. Keep happy you`ll live longer,drive if riding makes you mad, at least you`ll be in similar company.