When you ride your bike, you’re seeing the city in a more intimate way. You see the faces that you’re passing, and have time to flash a smile and catch theirs back. You smell the city – from the bacon someone’s making, to the rain-fresh odors, to a whiff of sewage. At intersections, you eavesdrop on the conversations of pedestrians crossing, or hear the music that a large SUV is blasting. It’s a wholly different experience than riding in my car.

In June, it was with great joy that I bought myself a sweet Raleigh bicycle from the good people at Recycled Cycles, and became Verity’s first bike loan borrower. Since then, I’ve ridden 200+ miles – about 100 miles of it in work commutes (not filling my gas tank every week feels awesome), and the rest in joyful rides with my fella and our friends.
This past weekend, I took the big step (big pedal?) of participating in my first event: Go Means Go’s Nine to Five all-night bike scavenger hunt, part of a delightful team of ladies. As we waited for the event to start, Kite Hill at Gasworks was covered with a crowd of people and bikes. The sun painted clouds hot pink in the sky, while we waited for the race to begin.

My team (oXXo <- two x-chromosomes on a bike) experienced some hiccups at first – one of our teammates had some mechanical difficulties, but another savvy teammate got her up and running. We headed into Fremont to a photo booth (ended up being a bust – it was out of order) before we divided up to get the items on our list.

We rode all over the city. It was surreal to be out with few cars on the road. I’m pretending that the drunk guy who hollered, “Share the road!” at us was doing so as a sign of solidarity at the road being nicely shared. (There was no other traffic around, and we pride ourselves on being considerate cyclists who ride well in the city.)

When you ride your bike, you’re seeing the city in a more intimate way. You see the faces that you’re passing, and have time to flash a smile and catch theirs back. You smell the city – from the bacon someone’s making, to the rain-fresh odors, to a whiff of sewage. At intersections, you eavesdrop on the conversations of pedestrians crossing, or hear the music that a large SUV is blasting. It’s a wholly different experience than riding in my car.

I did something I would have told you was impossible for me – I rode up Pike to Capitol Hill. Whenever I heard the little voice in my head saying, “You can’t do this.” I focused on my teammate riding smoothly ahead of me, and just kept pedaling, following her strong example.

I’m still smiling at all the good-natured strangers who were willing to help us out on our mission – from the woman going through Taco Bell’s drive through and graciously got us an item on our list, the karaoke singer at Hula Hula who held our spoke card while singing her heart out into the microphone, to the friendly group who cheerfully performed a coordinated dance move (a conga line) for us at Dick’s on Queen Anne at 1:30 in the morning.

As we met up at checkpoints throughout the night, the number of teams was dwindling. By the donut stop at 3 a.m., though we filled Ly’s Donuts on 45th like custard in a Bismarck, the number of people was approaching half of what it’d been 6 hours earlier. My team divided up again to achieve the goals set on the third list. Before I knew it, we were heading back in the noticeably lighting morning toward Gasworks Park.

Our even smaller crowd assembled over a provided hot breakfast, swapping tales and ogling the various items each other found to satisfy the list. We were tired, achy, and bruised in some cases. And we were all of us grinning like nothing else. We watched the sun rise to greet us, and it treated us with a rainbow over our fair city, and our grins only grew bigger when we learned we’d earned third place.

Morning_rainbow_over_Seattle

Interested in trying out a fun, no-pressure bike race of your own? The Girls Of Summer all-girl alleycat race is this Saturday. $5 registers a female rider, and earns them two drink tickets at the post-race celebration! Male riders and supporters are encouraged to volunteer. More information can be found on their Facebook page.

Sasha Kemble

Sasha may be the shyest social person you’ll ever meet. She joined Verity in 2009, with a couple years in the Credit Union Movement already tucked under her belt (amidst coffee-making and bagel-slinging, running a non-profit, and trying her hand at farming). 

An eternal optimist (except, you know, when she’s not), she enjoys exploring her surroundings and having adventures with friends; yoga, running, reading, writing, and good food. Though not a remarkable cook, she is nonetheless a sincere one and admits she’d be better if there were three more hours in every day. When not doing one of the many activities mentioned in the previous two sentences, she counts herself lucky to be peacefully at home, cuddling with her partner and their cat.

One Response

  1. sharistorm says:

    What a great experience. And I love the name of your team. Quite clever.

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