Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The ARC Bike Hike.

Memorial Day Monday this week, as opposed to what I just said last week about Mondays, found Kathy and I working opposite schedules - her all day, me at night. The day was beautiful, though, so instead of sitting home alone all day I decided to do something start-of-summer-y even though I didn't have any barbecues to attend: I took a bike ride. I biked from my house to the Springwater Corridor, which is a piece of awesomeness which I will talk about another time, when I write about how much I like Portland bike-friendliness. The Springwater trail was chock full of people - mainly bikers, a few runners, some dog walkers - but not too crowded to be annoying, and it was overall quite the lovely jaunt. At one point, I passed a boy and his dad on their bikes, and then a few moments later, passed the rest of their family, who were stopped at a point on the trail at an intersection with a larger road, next to a country store. "You made it to the store! Whoohoo!" the mom clapped to her son, and as I heard this I glanced over at the country store, and wished I had brought along any kind of money so I could pretend to be that little boy and go inside and buy a classic ice cream sandwich, maybe, with the brown cookie which sticks to your fingers while you lick around the outside at the vanilla ice cream which inevitably squishes out, or perhaps one of those sugary fruit drinks in a barrel, and as I was thinking about these things, all of a sudden I thought about the Bike Hike.

The Bike Hike was a fundraising event for the Association for Retarded Children of Wayne County, Pennsylvania (not necessarily the most politically correct name, but, it's Wayne County) otherwise known as ARC, and I swear every child in my elementary & middle school participated. I can't even think of how many times I did it. I wanted to write about it as soon as I got home Monday from my bike ride, but instead I spent a long time searching for this picture I know I have somewhere of two old friends, Jenna and Becky, holding up their Bike Hike t-shirts for that year in our middle school cafeteria and looking really pumped about it when we were in say, sixth or seventh grade, so I could scan it and post it here. But alas, whichever photo album holds that gem must have gone to the Store at Mom's House side of the Store at Mom's House or Take With Us cross-country moving debate. So perhaps you can just imagine two scrawny looking girls looking excited about two yellow t-shirts with ARC BIKE HIKE written across them in a middle school cafeteria, and understand that it's awesome.

The Bike Hike occurred on a Saturday morning, and included the option of biking 20 miles or walking ("hiking") ten. (Only moms did this.) You would think the title should have then been, "The Bike-or-Hike" or at least "The Bike/Hike," but, alas, it was simply the Bike Hike. It involved a swarm of parents driving their children and their bikes to a small field off a relatively small country road for the starting point, which obviously resulted in a slightly hectic melee of minivans and bikes and helmets and pumped up kids. The route went along the road which for whatever reason is just called the towpath, which follows right alongside the Lackawaxen River, a tributary of the Delaware. At the time I was living there this was an area we pretty much mostly made fun of for the weird, hick-ish people who seemed to live around there, but now that I look back on it I realize how pretty it actually is. (An experience, I believe, common to most people from small towns who then move away.) The Lackawaxen is big with fly fishers and is also known for being a good area to spot bald eagles during certain times of the year, and has huge boulders in it we would picnic on sometimes when the water was low in the fall, and driving (or riding a bike) along the road which hugs the river the entire way is pretty much great. But again, most of the time I forget this, and in fact what I instead think of whenever I think of Lackawaxen (which, you know, isn't particularly that often) is how much my dad liked making the joke, "Where all the cars are dull - from the lack o' waxin'!" (Enter hearty dad laugh.)

The route always inevitably involved a number of child wipeouts/crashes/scrapes, and also a stop at that country store I can't remember the name of, before that bridge whose name I can't remember either if it has one. I remember that hill from hell near the end which I normally had to get off my bike and walk up - only the show-offs and kids-who-would-go-on-to-be-real-athletes biked up it - and the weird scary house at the top, before the cemetery. Most of all I remember getting to the end, and being rewarded with a hot dog or two and a big cup of orange Hi-C out of one of those big yellow-and-red McDonald coolers.

And the reason I'm writing this is to remind myself that even though I work now on my weekends, usually dealing with crazy and annoying people, and even though I have been working on weekends pretty much since I was 15, there was a point in time when I spent many Saturdays of my life just riding my bike and drinking orange Hi-C, and that, is awesome.

1 comment:

  1. "Where the cars are dull, from the lack o' waxin!" I still think of the same thing.