Thursday, August 17, 2006

Wild Animals & Hidden Humans

Sunday when Lindi and I were out on our bikes, we ran across the annual Bridgepedal mob, which we rode along with for a few blocks. Look, they’re all dressed alike.

We’ve ridden the bridge pedal a couple of times, but this year we didn’t feel like it. Riding among hordes of cyclists and taking over the bridges feels pretty darned exciting, but we weren’t in the mood for hordes.

Instead we set out to explore some new routes, in particular to plot out safe and pleasant ways to get to my parents’ house over in Eastmoreland. Lindi pointed out several scenes I would have missed, such the naked person sunning on the dock, the two couples practicing their ballroom dancing on an office-building patio, and the woman feeding the ferile cats. Not to suggest that I am a less than keenly observant individual myself, but it turns out that four eyes are better than two. (Interesting cat-person story, which I’ll provide tomorrow.)

Riding along the gorgeous Springwater Corridor on the riverbank, we overshot Eastmoreland and followed it all the way to its end in Sellwood. The extra distance was well worth the car-free riding.

Here is the aforementioned naked person [see next posting], off beyond the blackberry bushes, next to an upturned bicycle. It’s always good to have the words “naked person” in one’s blog once in a while, because it ups your hit-ratings. That’s because a lot of people google those words. No doubt they’re disappointed to then be directed to my blog, but who cares, at least my numbers are up.

Along the way we veered off to explore a brand new stretch of path that detours across the base of Oaks Bottom, a wildlife reserve we have right in our city. There’s a steep dirt hiking path where you’re almost guaranteed to see blue herons and other wildlife – including certain wild-looking humans, for which reason I have never felt safe hiking there alone. Maybe this asphalt bike path crossing the bottom of it will bring increased visibility to the area. Before, the refuge felt much more hidden away. That’s good for the animals, but unfortunately draws other critters, of the two-legged featherless variety, in search of refuge for other reasons, such as, they just escaped from jail. Bike traffic is such a benign way to deal with that problem because it brings in more sets of eyes without any traffic noise, and yet it’s pass-through traffic that doesn’t stick around and “use up” the area.

Pictures of all the refuge animals are painted all along the center of the path to remind you of what you might see if you’re watchful and quiet, and probably also to alert you not to run over any of them crossing the path.

We made it to my parents' house, and after a brief visit and a snack, we used our trusty bike map to find our way back home by a more direct route along designated “bike boulevards.” (That's what the city bike planners designate residential streets without much car traffic.)

A guy on a tall-bike rode past us waving a large planet-flag, on a lone quest to spread his Sunday message through city.


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