Sunday, June 3, 2012

ride report: starlight parade

Sweetie had been off her bicycle for the better part of a year, battling knee issues and other stuff. This spring she began a walking and stretching regimen, and got some new walking shoes which have helped her knee issues. Last weekend, she asked if we could go for a ride. We enjoyed a meandering 8.5 miles around inner Northeast Portland.

Last night, we rode into town for the Starlight Parade, the event that officially kicks the civic mayhem we call Rose Festival. 

It was in the mid-60's and cloudy when we left the house, riding aong residential streets designated as Bike Boulevards and down North Vancouver Avenue's bike lane. Late-spring irises bloomed in every shade from bright yellow to whorish eggplant. Starlings, resplendent in their summer speckles, swarmed in yards; cats yawned lazily from porches as we rolled past. Sweetie pointed out beautiful yards, raised beds and fancy front doors (we dream of remodeling way out in that vast realm of Someday), and we noted with delight the appearance of a new food cart at Commercial Street. 

The sky overhead swirled with rapidly changing cloud formations, and the sun broke through at times with long rays that we said looked like the "fingers of God". There was a delightful, gentle breeze as we crossed the Willamette River over the Broadway Bridge. The water was still pretty high from all the spring rains, but the sun broke through long enough for me to see the pale green of the St Johns Bridge way off in the distance. 

We wound our way into downtown, locked up the bikes near the art school and walked the eight blocks to our agreed-upon perch. Bike Buckets from Citybikes ( carried our snacks and cushions; they made decent seats from which to watch the festivities. We laughed and clapped at the marching bands and electric-light festooned floats that passed by while little kids in front of us slapped high-fives with the policemen and Royal Rosarians walking along the route. 

Wanting to get out of downtown just ahead of the crowds, we ducked out a few entries before the end of the parade, making sure to stick around for the entry from my alma mater; Portland State University's entry was a flotilla of bicycles, including students, alumni, the President of the University, and several members of the collegiate bicycle team clad in their green-and-black kit (go Vikings!). 

We enjoyed the ride home under partly cloudy skies and cooler temperatures in the high 50s. The moon peeked out a corner here and there from behind the clouds and we pedaled home on a gorgeous summer night. As we pulled into the driveway, the moon shot out long beams from behind a cloud and lit up the sky with a soft glow. A perfect ride on a beautiful evening. Sweetie commented that her knee only twinged once, on a hill; and when she shifted down it stopped hurting. A good sign for future rides together.

(one of my two bike buckets; so handy!)

No comments: