Drive My Bike


Saturday Morning Canyon Ride
July 18, 2009, 8:58 pm
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This morning Dave and I road to the top of Emigration Canyon, a beautiful canyon in the northeast corner of the Salt Lake Valley. We started at about 6:15am, and it was a wonderful way to begin a Saturday. Who is Dave you ask? Well that’s another story…

EmigrationWithDave

Last Thursday evening I was sitting around the house and I just got kind of restless. I should have been really tired because I had done an intense spinning class that morning, and those usually completely wipe me out, but for some reason I just wanted to go for a ride. I decided to keep it simple, so I didn’t change into biking clothes, I just grabbed my helmet, announced my intentions to my family, and headed out the door. I didn’t really want to go far, I just wanted to get out and enjoy the night. I couldn’t decide on a good route, so I just started weaving through the neighborhood, and I eventually ended up on the road that is my main route for my commute to the office.

It was about 9:30pm, and was getting dark. As I pulled onto the main road I noticed another bicyclist a block or so in front of me. He was easy to spot because he had two really good red flashers on the back of his bike, and he was wearing a bright flashing headlight on his helmet. With a lighting setup like this I figured he was an experienced rider, so I decided to catch up with him and say hello.

As I got closer he must have sensed me coming up behind him because he pulled over to the right a bit to allow me to pass. (I later learned this was because he wears a good rear view mirror on his glasses.) I pulled alongside and said “How’s it going?”. That’s pretty much my standard greeting to other riders, and within a few seconds I can usually tell if the person is friendly and interested in talking at all.

Well, he was definitely in the friendly camp, and he responded in kind. We started talking about the weather and how it had finally cooled off a bit that night so that it was pleasant to ride again. He said he usually rides in the morning, but he had some schedule changes so he was trying to get a ride in that night. I shared that I had only been riding for about a year, but that it had become quite a passion of mine. I asked how long he had been riding, and how often he rides. He said he had been riding for probably 20 years or so, and got started when he lived in Europe. He mentioned that his son is training for a triathlon and so the two of them usually go for longer rides on Saturday mornings. I mentioned that I had been riding on Saturday mornings lately, and had been trying to find people to ride with. I mentioned that I had been doing more challenging rides lately, and had successfully ridden up Traverse Mountain, but had been thwarted by the heat when I attempted to ride Big Cottonwood Canyon a week later. We continued our biking discussion, over a few miles, and a few stops for red lights. He mentioned that he was getting close to home in a few blocks.

Then a curious thing happened. He said, “Well I would ride Emigration Canyon with you this Saturday morning.”

It kind of caught me off guard, and my initial reaction was to decline the offer, but for some reason I found myself saying “Yeah, I would meet you for that. What time?”

“How about 6:30? There’s a little dirt turn off at the mouth of the canyon, and we can meet there.”

“Okay. Sounds good. By the way, my name’s Scott.”

“I’m Dave. Do you have a phone number?”

I got his phone number, we shook hands, and agreed once again to meet at 6:30am on Saturday. Dave pedaled off one way, and I went the other.

It was done. I had just agreed to meet a stranger, that I knew little about, to go on a ride that I knew little about, early Saturday morning. That felt a little crazy.

All day Friday I was stewing on this, and a few times I pondered ways I could call and tell Dave that I would have to cancel: Family obligations, Too tired, blah blah blah. I’m glad that I didn’t do that.

Needless to say, we did meet this morning, and it was a great ride. We talked about all kinds of things on the 45 minute ride up the canyon. We reached the top a little after 7:00am, and paused for a few minutes to rehydrate. There were some folks up there enjoying the morning view, and one of them shot the picture at the top of this post. Then we saddled up again, and enjoyed the exhilarating 20 minute ride back down at about 40 miles per hour.

Oh, and one more thing about Dave. He’s 63 years old. When he told me this I was shocked, because when I met him that night I would have guessed he was in his early fifties. Not only is he an avid cyclist, but he also water skis, and does serious rock climbing. (By serious I mean… he backpacks in, climbs over 1000 feet to a summit, climbs down, backpacks out… yeah, serious!).

I hope that I’m that full of life when I’m 63 years old.

I would never have met Dave if I hadn’t started riding my bike to work a little over a year ago. Nor would I have ever known how cool the bicycle community can be, a community where two strangers can meet, and in a few minutes have enough in common to decide to meet up for an early morning ride. It reminded me once again why I love riding my bike.

Dave, if you read this, thanks for sharing a great ride with me this morning!

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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

thats such a wonderful story! and what gorgeous photo 😉 I must say a bunch of my good friends, I have met because of bicycles
xo.meli

Comment by meligrosa

Enjoyed the story. Looks like you had a great ride.

Comment by Greg

Isn’t it great that some of our most wonderful experiences just kind of fall into our laps like that. Good for you for not backing out!

Comment by tracywilkins

Scott,

No, thank YOU for making it a GREAT ride! You referred to the “community of the bike” and the brotherhood that exists there— that makes for many great rides.

You hinted of a little intimidation about the prospect of the climb up Emigration Canyon, but I didn’t witness even a hicup on your part— you motored right up the slope. I’m betting that you’ll be “full of life” at 63 and beyond!

Lets do it again— ride on.

Comment by Dave Richards




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