Quincy Tales: Bicycling

A report from my summer camp.

I brought my bicycle with me to Washington with the idea of riding regularly to get exercise and lose weight. Thank heaven I’m riding once in a while. I’m eating so much that I need the exercise to keep from really porking up.

I noticed that my bike’s rear wheel wasn’t perfectly round. It may have been damaged in transit on the bike rack we put on the back of the camper. Or it may have already been damaged for some other reason. In any case, the wheel’s rim rubbed against the brakes. it wasn’t enough to prevent me from riding, but I figured it would be nice to get it fixed.

I found an excellent bike repair shop in East Wenatchee: The Second Wind. It wasn’t fancy or flashy. In fact, the place looked as if they hadn’t fully moved in (or were in the middle of moving out). But the repair shop on the side had three guys, including the owner, hard at work. The owner fixed up my wheel in a matter of minutes, then helped me choose a new bike seat and swapped it out for me. It was a pleasure to get good service within minutes — I’ve become so accustomed to people telling me I have to leave whatever needs repaired or wait.

The Second Wind is at a great location: at the end of a street that butts up against the pedestrian/bicycle bridge across the Columbia River and the loop trail. I don’t know if they do bike rentals, but they should!

Of course, I’d brought my bike along partly to ride that loop trail. It’s 11 miles long and up until that point, I’d only ridden about 6-1/2 miles on a single ride. It was hot and I ate a big lunch and I talked myself out of it. (Can you say lazy?) But next trip, I’ll do it.

The riding in Quincy isn’t exactly interesting, although it is easy. Quincy is mostly flat farmland with straight roads, laid out in a grid according to sections of land. A section is a mile square. So going ‘around the block” out here by the golf course means riding about 4 miles. Two blocks is 6 miles. Closer to town, there are more roads, but there’s also more traffic.

My riding has been sporadic. My first ride, last week, was about 2 miles. The other day, I thought I’d ride to the airport, which is 4-1/2 miles away, and back. I wound up doing just 6 miles total (around two blocks).

Yesterday, I decided to ride into town to check for mail and buy a bottle of wine. (I allow myself 1/3 bottle of wine each evening, after 6 PM if there’s no chance of rain.) Town is about 6 miles away. Taking the truck sucks down a full gallon of gas, so driving into town each day is costing me about $4.50. I figured, why should I spend the money and add to carbon emissions when I can take my bike and get some exercise? So I did. And I think the bike repair really helped out — the bike seemed easier to pedal. (Could it be I’m getting back into shape that quickly?) I was tired when I got to the post office, but not wobbly. I had one letter waiting, which I strapped onto the rack on back. Then I hit the wine shop and had a conversation with the proprietor about local wines. He set me up with a bottle of Jones of Washington cabernet. From there, i went to Harrington’s Drive In for a small hot fudge sundae (I needed energy!). Then the long ride back. There was a mile-long stretch with a gentle uphill slope that was the most challenging part of the ride. Then I was back, feeling as if I’d really accomplished something.

I hope to repeat this performance at least three times a week while the weather holds.

What do you think?