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The Long Road Back

Subscriber Post by John Liu on April 6th, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Sunset from the Broadway Bridge.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

A few days ago, I was sitting at the Laurelthirst Pub, a neighborhood watering hole that is on my bike route from work to home. When I pass the ‘Thirst, I’m most of the way home, so I will often stop for a pint.

But this time at the ‘Thirst was different, because my legs were limp, my chest hurt, and I was a little shell-shocked. None of which usually describes my state after riding a few miles. It was different because . . . that day was my first bicycle commute in well over a year. And that morning, when I got on my bike, was to be the first time I’d ridden more than half a mile in, at least, six months.

Yes, I’ve become a non-rider and now I’ve started on the long road back. With rotund belly, spindly legs, atrophied lungs and somnolent heart, I’ve resumed riding bicycles.

This all happened because I started a new job last summer. The job has me splitting the week between downtown Portland and Vancouver WA, and wearing a pressed suit, starched shirt, polished shoes and tie all day. I couldn’t see joining the spendy gym in the Portland office tower just to use the locker room 1 to 2 days a week, and there is no gym anywhere near my Vancouver office where I work the rest of the week. So I started driving to work, and there went the weekday commute rides. Then winter came, with it snow and ice, and there went the weekend roadie rides. The fitness went away, the inches and pounds came on. When I did get on a bike, I was disgusted and discouraged by my condition. Eventually I started actively avoiding my bikes, out of shame or spite.

My return to cycling has been, umm, not quite a blaze of glory. It has been a mix of darkness and light.

Eventually my wife started muttering things about “you need to start riding”, and “maybe you should exercise”, and finally “do you need some new clothes?” That last hit home, because every morning I was looking for the remaining suits that I could still comfortably button, and my favorite jeans had become too tight in the midsection and baggy on the thighs. When I realized that my resting pulse had gone way up and that twinges of some old health ailments were starting up again, I realized that Something Had To Be Done.

I joined the downtown gym and put some suits, shirts, and sundries in a locker. After all, I realized, a month’s membership costs no more than parking downtown for a week. I called a school near my Vancouver office and cajoled access to their changing rooms and showers outside of class hours. No more excuses. Time to return.

Since that first day a week ago, I’ve ridden downtown a couple times and also biked from my home in SE Portland to Vancouver a few times. Downtown is a whopping 5 miles roundtrip, and Vancouver is about 26 miles roundtrip if I take the Interstate 5 bridge.

My return to cycling has been, umm, not quite a blaze of glory. It has been a mix of darkness and light.

The darkness includes wondering where my legs went, and learning that false flats aren’t really flat. Yesterday, being authoritatively passed by a girl in a Nutcase helmet, wearing a leather satchel, miniskirt and gold high-tops. As she toodled along, reading her iPhone, I chased vainly behind, in the drops with my tongue hanging past my chin. But there are a few glimpses of light. I managed to pass an elderly gentleman on a hybrid bike, and stayed ahead of him for a whole block. Then I quickly turned off the street for fear that he would re-pass me, now that he had finished zipping up his jacket.

The light includes, literally, the rose glow of sunrise over the Columbia River. Watching ducks and sailboats bobbing in the marinas. Riding in the rain and feeling exhilarated rather than wet. The mental decompression of thinking about nothing for awhile, hearing only the criss-criss of my tires and someone’s deep, strong breathing. Remembering how good riding my bike makes me feel, and vowing never to stray so far off the cyclists’ path again.

— This post was written by BikePortland subscriber John Liu. Learn more about our subscription program here.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

82 Comments
  • Esther April 6, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    1. Adults are not ‘girls.’
    2. Getting passed by a ‘girl’ (or woman, or anyone else) really should not be considered one of the worst things that happens on your bike commute, regardless of what she is wearing.

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    • dan April 6, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      John, I enjoyed this article. I also think that being passed by someone “toodling along” in a miniskirt and gold high tops would be a bad ride, regardless of that rider’s gender…especially if I went for the drops to keep up and couldn’t 🙂

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      • Esther April 6, 2017 at 4:57 pm

        Except you wouldn’t say “I felt bad that someone in jeans and black high tops passed me.” miniskirt + gold = typically femme cuts and colors worn by women or femme nonbinary or genderqueer people… you’re signifying “I felt bad that someone femme passed me.” A miniskirt and the color of ones shoes literally have NOTHING to do with one’s speed riding.

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        • dan April 6, 2017 at 10:06 pm

          It feels kind of presumptuous for you to tell me what I would and wouldn’t say. If I was togged out on my road bike and got beat down by someone in jeans and high tops, I would _definitely_ complain about it.

          But you wouldn’t be willing to admit that this doesn’t have to be a conversation about sexism.

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          • pengo April 7, 2017 at 1:29 am

            Why on earth would you complain about that?

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          • Middle of the Road Guy April 7, 2017 at 8:50 am

            It’s also presumptuous to tell you what the worst part of your commute is. She is literally telling you how to feel.

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    • Matt April 6, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Esther – You can pass me anytime 🙂

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    • Middle of the Road Guy April 6, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks ***portion of this comment deleted by moderator***…but the author is entitled to his own words.

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      • Chris I April 6, 2017 at 2:57 pm

        As is Esther. We can keep going like this forever…

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty April 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm

          Technically speaking, we can’t.

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          • Esther April 6, 2017 at 4:10 pm

            This is the song that never ends…

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty April 6, 2017 at 4:12 pm

              It’s like Stairway to Heaven on auto-repeat.

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              • rachel b April 7, 2017 at 12:53 am

                There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold high tops…

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      • Maria April 6, 2017 at 3:48 pm

        awwww, c’mon MOTRG! Words have power. The author is entitled to use his own words, and when he publishes on a public forum, we’re allowed to say “hey, that word offends me”. Pretend the word he used started with N and ended with you know what.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy April 7, 2017 at 8:48 am

          Maria, people can be offended over anything, even when the intent was not there. People will always hear different things and get offended based upon their own personal experiences. Nobody gets to tell me what I meant when I said something, nor do I have to change how I speak because someone might get aggrieved over a perceived slight.

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          • random_rider April 7, 2017 at 3:13 pm

            Pointing out offensive language, regardless of intent, is how we learn. It can be embarrassing in a public forum and, god knows, I’ve committed plenty of blunders myself. This is an example of a microagression. Talking of being passed by a “girl” in very feminine clothes is just another tweak to women who hear such comments every day. The message is that women are perpetually ensconced in a semi-adolescent, certainly not fully adult, form (that’s an approximation of how it was given to me when I made a very similar mistake a couple of years ago).

            I’m not saying that was the conscious intent of the author, but that is the message that was delivered. An appropriate response would probably be along the lines of “I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention. That was a poor word choice, thanks for pointing it out.”

            I liked the article. I am similarly dealing with my own loss of conditioning and am probably handling it with less aplomb and humor of the author.

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    • Pat Lowell April 6, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      How do you know she was an adult? The outfit and phone obsession certainly sound like possible teenager characteristics.

      In any case, way to miss the forest for the twigs.

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    • Mark smith April 6, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      Just a tad over sensitive there. Just a tad.

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    • Matheas Michaels April 7, 2017 at 10:49 am

      I’m going to have to agree with Esther on this one. While I enjoyed the article (happy to hear that you’re back in the saddle John), that last bit rubbed me the wrong way. Aside from the obvious slip of referring to an adult woman as a girl, it doesn’t make sense that the hook in this paragraph is that he was passed by a woman. I have a little perspective here because my girlfriend is a fast rider, and constantly encounters men who are desperate to pass her even if they can’t keep up the pace, or are simply enraged if passed by her. So what I think what Esther is referring to here is the alienating and intimidating culture that many women experience while riding bikes in the city, and how to reference getting passed by a woman as a sort of emasculating experience contributes to this. Men get really weird about being passed sometimes, so often so that I actually profile men worth passing while on my crappy old step-through 3 speed cause some of them I can just tell will get really upset by that. Often it’s better to stay behind a meathead on a bike than upset his fragile ego. Women in these positions encounter far, far more of this and I think it’s important to realize that many women cyclists are much faster and much stronger than many men cyclists.

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      • Katherine Rose April 11, 2017 at 2:41 pm

        Thank you Esther and Matheas! I have to strongly agree that there is a problem with male antagonism when they suffer the blow to the ego of “being passed by a girl on a bike.” Anecdotally, half the road rage I have experienced has been from cyclists vs. car drivers, *all* of the road rage I have experienced from other cyclists has been from men, and *all* in the context of them throwing some kind of fit because I’ve passed them, they are struggling to pass me, or they haul hard to pass me then immediately slow down because they can’t sustain that pace and then I pass them again [this makes them insane]. This kind of behavior barely happens in the winter when I look like an androgynous deep sea diver in a rain suit. This behavior goes *wild* when I am riding around in a dress in the summer. I’m sure the author meant no harm but his words reflect an endemic mentality among men for whom being outpaced by “a girl” is the greatest blow, and sometimes cause for violently acting out [language, reckless riding, or even trying to physically cause harm, etc.]

        The scariest experience I’ve had on my bike wasn’t from a car near miss [though I’ve had those], it was some middle-aged professional-on-his-way-home-looking guy completely emotionally losing it at me because I passed him, after which he sped up and tried to run me into a curb while snarling all the nasty words for a woman. Luckily I didn’t crash and there were plenty of witnesses who rallied to confront him.

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        • El Biciclero April 11, 2017 at 3:22 pm

          “I have to strongly agree that there is a problem with male antagonism when they suffer the blow to the ego of ‘being passed by a girl on a bike.'”

          The only reason I’m not responding is because my ego isn’t fragile enough to be hurt by being broad-brushed as having an ego so fragile that I would be expected become antagonistic if a woman were to pass me on a bike.

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          • Katherine Rose April 11, 2017 at 3:51 pm

            If it doesn’t apply to you, you have no need to fret. 🙂 We already know: “Not All Men.”

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    • Beeblebrox April 7, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      And who said she was an adult? Nothing in the post indicates her age.

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  • Adam April 6, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    I stopped riding so much, but for different reasons.

    The auto traffic on the local bikeways has skyrocketed in recent years, and my bike commute became more and more stressful.

    Having a soda can thrown out of a moving car at me while riding home up Clinton one day, all for having the audacity to be on my bike, was the final straw.

    I take Trimet most of the time to work these days. It feels unfair. I hate Portland lately.

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    • seRider April 6, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      Bad Luck! I’ve ridden on Clinton (between 12th and MLK) 5-6 times a week for 10 years and never had anything thrown at me. Odds are it won’t happen again. Also, diverters have really cut down on car traffic (on that stretch at least).

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    • Chris I April 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      Empty or full? You know those are worth $.10 now, right?

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  • Maria April 6, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Welcome back, John! I had been wondering why you’d been absent from my rides!

    I love the whole article, superb writing. One small edit: I imagine the woman in the Nutcase helmet was an adult and not a girl. We ladies like to be called ladies, just like you men like to be called gentlemen (as you referred to the other rider).

    Just avoiding the seepage of misogyny, where using girl to refer to a woman demeans. I know you didn’t mean it that way, but let’s all get in the habit of calling children girls and boys and adults women and men.

    Thanks and come on a bike ride soon!

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  • Jon April 6, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    It appears to be almost impossible to write something light hearted without accidentally offending someone these days. I personally liked the images of the distracted younger non-male rider and the older non-female rider that he was having trouble keeping up with on his rides. The descriptions helped put me in the scene. When we get to the point where we can no longer use any creative descriptions to tell a story all writing will read like a 2 paragraph page 7 newspaper article. Let’s save the outrage for the more important problems in our world. I speak this as a male who has been passed by females in races, tried as hard as possible to catch up, and failed.

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    • dan April 6, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      I’d like to point out that I think it’s great when I get beat down by a female rider and I treat them just like I do male riders: suck onto their back wheel and stay as long as I can! 🙂

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      • Kyle Banerjee April 6, 2017 at 2:45 pm

        I personally feel that wheel sucking without asking is bad form even if it is a common practice.

        Since moving here, reasonably strong riders have grabbed my wheel many times. Most riders don’t know how to ride close to others, and there’s no way to know the skills or mindset of someone you’ve just met. Plus, the rider in front has to manage anyone behind — a significant issue in dicier situations. Also, I can’t do things like clear my nose.

        If you can catch someone from behind, you’re faster, so you should pass. If slower, you should ease up and let them through (or at least hold pace). More often than I like, I find myself in surprisingly long drag races because someone won’t pass if I slow down but they speed way up if I try to drop them so doing this is much more work than I’d like.

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        • dan April 6, 2017 at 9:59 pm

          I actually agree that wheel sucking without asking is bad form, and a possible safety issue. I do modified wheel sucking with people I don’t know: about 2 feet back and half a handlebar to the side. It’s just hard to let all that hard work go to waste 🙂

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          • Kyle Banerjee April 7, 2017 at 2:41 pm

            That’s not nearly as bad and there’s no safety issue though there is slight obstruction of rearview traffic. Plus, that kind of positioning tells me the rider has some sense.

            I should confess there’s a prank I sometimes play on people I suspect are trying to catch my wheel. I set a pace that keeps them just outside the draft — 20-30′ behind so it looks like just a bit of effort will let them catch up and enjoy a tow. So they incinerate their legs faster than they normally would and eventually blow up. It’s a little mean, but I sometimes can’t resist 😉

            If I don’t have the legs for the job, I ease up so they can pass.

            Though if I see riders suffering or trying to bridge a gap to someone else, I sometimes offer a tow. Especially if winds are bad, it doesn’t hurt to make some new friends.

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      • soren April 7, 2017 at 10:41 am

        i still remember an epic commute where i *thought* i was really powering up campus drive and a woman riding a singlespeed cross bike blew by me like i was standing still.

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        • Kyle Banerjee April 7, 2017 at 3:13 pm

          If you’re talking up Marquam, I don’t see many uphill SS or fixed riders. The very few I’ve seen are strong — they have to be unless they want to destroy their knees.

          The aging process has helped my attitude immensely. When people who weren’t “supposed” to pass me (virtually everyone except strong racers) started getting by, it stung a bit.

          Then I quit worrying and adopted an easier style. A couple mph is the difference between very fast and crazy slow if you’re racing but in real life, it is nothing. It’s a much more fun way to ride.

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    • Maria April 6, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      I don’t think it’s asking much for women to be called women instead of girls. Men are called men, not boys. It’s part of the misogyny of our culture to belittle women by literally referring to them as children.

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      • Brian April 6, 2017 at 4:39 pm

        I completely agree, but how do you know this cyclist wasn’t a 12 year old? I’ve reread the paragraph mutiple times and cannot see anything that would lead me to believe John was using an inappropriate descriptor. Am I missing something?

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        • Esther April 6, 2017 at 4:44 pm

          Really, Brian? How many 12 year olds do you out and about cycling on the main commute routes during rush hour? Why do you feel so interested in defending this person instead of assuming that the likelihood the person was an adult is pretty high?

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          • J_R April 6, 2017 at 5:06 pm

            Maybe middle school or high school students going to school. PPS high schools begin at 8:15 AM. Wouldn’t you agree that getting to school by bike would involve travelling during rush hour?

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          • Brian April 6, 2017 at 5:07 pm

            Did this pass happen on a main commute route?

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          • Middle of the Road Guy April 7, 2017 at 8:42 am

            So you made an assumption based upon what one would normally see, but you in fact did not see it nor have first hand knowledge of what Mr. Liu saw.

            Furthermore, how do you know the cyclist was not a transsexual and preferred the pronoun “he”, even if ‘he” looked like a female? You simply assumed that the cyclist was a female based on Mr. Liu using the term “girl”.

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            • Matheas Michaels April 7, 2017 at 10:53 am

              Please use the word transgender and not transsexual.

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          • SD April 11, 2017 at 12:21 pm

            There are a fair number of strong youth cyclists in the Portland area. Some of them are girls.

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        • stirringthepot April 7, 2017 at 2:36 pm

          “How many 12 year olds do you out and about cycling on the main commute routes during rush hour?” -Esther

          Quite likely on my ride. Every single day I ride past a high school, middle school and public pool including the associated playing fields, tracks, tennis courts, etc. Every single day I not only see many kids using the well-traveled MUP most days I even recognize one or more of them riding home from their various after-school activities.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy April 7, 2017 at 8:39 am

        So when a woman says she has a “girls night out” and a guy repeats that, is he guilty of misogyny?

        Should we jump down the throat of a woman who says she has a boyfriend?

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        • Val April 7, 2017 at 6:32 pm

          Maybe try listening to women who are actually speaking up here and telling you that women being referred to as children bothers us.

          tl;dr- Listen to women, don’t be hasty to dismiss our experiences.

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      • Matheas Michaels April 7, 2017 at 10:55 am

        Yeah, I’m not seeing why this is so complicated.

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      • SE Rider April 7, 2017 at 12:29 pm

        I was talking about this topic with my wife the other day. I hypothesized that sometimes “girl” is used instead of “woman” because it is only one syllable versus two for “woman”. “boy” and “man” both have the luxury of only being one syllable.
        Thus it’s shorter/easier for people to say “yeah man” or “go girl” as opposed to “yeah woman” or “go woman”.

        I’m not against the idea that it can be used derogatorily and this isn’t a social commentary, just a hypothesis based on ease of use (as we all know how lazy people can be and are).

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty April 7, 2017 at 12:37 pm

          Context is everything.

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  • bikeninja April 6, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I feel this way after the long, dark, cold wet winter that has kept me off my bike, though I know it shouldn’t, and I need to be stronger and get out there. Looking out the window and taking the train ( or worse the dreaded automobile) is almost always a response to riding conditions that are not as bad as you imagine. Once I am out there on a rainy day, the greatness of cycling comes back and the weather fades.

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  • Pat Lowell April 6, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Way to get back in (or on) the saddle! Keep it up, you’ll feel like sh*t for several rides, and then suddenly you won’t, and it will be magical. Hope you get back to commenting on BP again too!

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  • Kyle Banerjee April 6, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Glad to see you’re riding again. This jumped out at me:

    “I was disgusted and discouraged by my condition. Eventually I started actively avoiding my bikes, out of shame or spite.”

    This is a major sentiment that I hear from practically all types of people about why they don’t ride (or exercise), the subtext is that they fear being judged. On the clothing remark, I believe what John was trying to convey was that he felt some humiliation getting smoked by a casual cyclist while he was working hard.

    It would be great if people didn’t worry so much about what strangers thought and compare themselves with others, but it’s a big thing for many people.

    What needs to happen is for people to understand that the people they fear judgment from actually think it’s cool they’re out there. Also, we need more pictures and and celebration of normal people riding as exemplified by the recent good weather article. Normal people seem to find strong riders discouraging rather than encouraging since it makes the task seem that much harder.

    On the boys/girls/men/women thing be aware that people have different preferences on this. I never described male friends as men nor have they referred to me that way — we’ve always called each other boys and I like it that way. Preferences vary among the women I know, but a surprising percentage like to be called girls, especially as ages start climbing. Always good to be aware of predominant practice where you are with special attention to the preferences of any specific individual referred to.

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    • Eric Leifsdad April 10, 2017 at 1:20 am

      Electric bike kept me riding the 400ft climb through the weather, tired, sick, or whatever. Just a moderate effort into the school run got me into quite decent shape for an old programmer, with much better stamina within a few months. Now if only we could get rid of some of the car traffic… I’m sure some of these drivers think electric biking is “cheating” (must be why I’m “winning”.)

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty April 6, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks for the posting. I enjoyed reading it.

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  • Christopher Jones April 6, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    If this is the same John Liu that rode with me and Mark G and those other awesome folks from Hillsboro to Tillamook via the North Trask last summer, awesome that you’re back riding! I’m trying to rebuild my fitness now too, after having a baby six months ago. It feels great to be back out there on the bike.

    Here’s to the next North Trask ride!

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  • wsbob April 6, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Funny story, good story. Well, that’s tough. With inactivity, some people put on a lot of weight, others don’t. Car commute habitation can really zip the tone out of muscles, and deplete general energy and vigor. Fortunately, you realized that if you put your mind to it, you could get your fitness back, and now that’s starting to happen.

    Even though lance armstrong rightfully earned the resentment of many people, among other things, he had some good learning experiences which he shared in his book. One I remember is his telling of the cold reality of discovering, after recovery from cancer treatment, during which he was off the bike, and starting to get back in shape on the bike, that elderly ladies on cruiser bikes could leave him in the dust. He kept working out, got stronger. The human body is capable of an amazing range of fitness.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu April 6, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Ah, I was hardly wheelsucking the young lady/teenager. Try as I did, I couldn’t chase her down. I didn’t mention the guy on a fatbike who took off like a rocket and was two blocks up the hill before I’d gone half a block. I’d like to think his bike was electrified.

    Yes, Chris, we’ll do the North Trask again this year – got to get G to organize it. I’m building a gravel bike for the job.

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    • stirringthepot April 7, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      “horizontally gifted” bike, perhaps?

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  • Mark smith April 6, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    I get it buddy (*buddy can be used to denote a male, female, non gender specific pers on/s). I totally understand packing on a few pounds (not referring to plus size people) and losing muscle (everyone has muscle, not just strong people). Cheer up mate, hang in there…and within a month you will be over it.

    *this message is intended to no offend any majority, minority or unidentified group that has yet to be offended

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    • Middle of the Road Guy April 7, 2017 at 8:43 am

      Maybe riding with the boys will help get him in shape faster, and they can talk about it on a boys night out.

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      • ic April 8, 2017 at 9:43 am

        i see what you did there

        and i like it.

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  • B. Carfree April 6, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    I suppose it should be comforting to know I’m not the only person out there rebuilding. I had a horrid year of riding last year, bookended by pneumonia in February and a near-fatal encounter with bronchitis in December. Clearly, getting old isn’t for wimps. In between, every time I started to build some fitness there was some out of state family emergency that took me off the bike for weeks at a time.

    One week into February, I was finally adequately recovered from my illness to consider rebuilding my body. I stepped on the scale and was disappointed, but not surprised, that there was an extra thirty pounds hanging on. Having been there a couple of times in the past, I know the way back. When March came I was actually riding the bike on the road and taking joy in it rather than just spinning the hamster wheel (rollers) and lifting weights. I’m now back near my normal weight and fat content (11%). I’m still a long ways from fully back in cycling shape, but I’m pleased at how quickly one can go from fat to sort-of fit.

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  • pdxhobbitmom April 6, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Loved this story! I can stand reading something light-hearted and encouraging for a change.

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  • rachel b April 7, 2017 at 1:02 am

    HAhahaha! Great piece, John Liu. 🙂 Cracked me up and also kind of inspired me. I haven’t been riding either–too unpleasant and stressful and fumey. I don’t trust drivers to even be simply looking UP anymore when they hit the gas, much less thinking of safety. I may venture out now on my bike (on some ridiculously circuitous route with the express idea of avoiding teeming, awful humanity) though. Good job, you. 🙂

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    • Brian April 7, 2017 at 6:09 am

      That’s when I get the heck out of the city to ride, preferably in the woods somewhere. Good luck finding a suitable route, rachel b.

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      • rachel b April 7, 2017 at 3:52 pm

        Good advice, Brian. All (well most) of my fave escapes have altered for the worse. Springwater Trail, Esplanade, Powell Butte. I’m not going to name any more because I’m clinging desperately to anything that stays nice in Portland nowadays. But it sometimes feels like one door slamming after another when it comes to the old escapes.

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        • Brian April 7, 2017 at 5:00 pm

          I hear ya. I haven ridden some of those same places less and less the last year or so.
          If you can make it out there, the Banks-Vernonia Trail out to Stub for some down time is really nice if you haven’t been (and not too long of a drive). It’s busy if it’s nice out, but still enjoyable. The last time out we saw deer, coyote, and many birds of prey. Enjoy the weekend.

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          • rachel b April 8, 2017 at 11:20 pm

            We (my sis and husband and I) have vowed to get out there to the Banks-Vernonia trail! Hope you’re enjoying your weekend too. 🙂

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        • rick April 11, 2017 at 10:39 am

          try the new trails on the westside !

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          • El Biciclero April 11, 2017 at 10:59 am

            No campers yet! I use these (N. Beaverton) trails often for part of my commute, or for store trips or (are you sitting down?) recreational rides with my kids. They often traverse wetland areas where we’ve seen cranes, nutria, ducks, geese, and other birds; we’ve gone out in the evening and listened to the frogs—it’s a teeny slice of awesomeness we try to enjoy whenever we can.

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  • Brian April 7, 2017 at 6:07 am

    Great story John, and one which I can unfortunately relate to. This was a tough Winter for many reasons, and about a month ago I found myself at the mall buying some new pants that were a waist size bigger. I suppose I could quit drinking delicious, local microbrews. But then what would be the point of riding?

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  • WillB April 7, 2017 at 10:03 am

    tl;dr man gets new white collar job, ditches bike. Wife calls him fat so he decides to ride again, finds joy in CAT6 racing and nature.

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    • dan April 7, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Good work, what a time saver! Here’s mine for the bible: Divinity creates the world, skullduggery ensues.

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      • rachel b April 7, 2017 at 3:53 pm

        🙂 🙂 OMG, you have saved me so much bible reading…!

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  • Rebecca April 7, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    LOL. I feel like all of my friend rides this spring have started out with everyone apologizing to each other for how slow we think we’re going to be. You’re in good company, John.

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  • Mark April 7, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    So we’ll soon see you at a VC Saturday morning ride?

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  • John Liu
    John Liu April 7, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Hemingway-esque indeed!

    WillB
    tl;dr man gets new white collar job, ditches bike. Wife calls him fat so he decides to ride again, finds joy in CAT6 racing and nature.
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  • curly April 8, 2017 at 11:13 am

    I too, enjoyed the article and the comments. I’m afraid to say more than that. Let’s all enjoy the ride!

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    • rick April 11, 2017 at 10:38 am

      Try some of the new bike paths and trails !

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  • John Liu
    John Liu April 8, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Ack! Heard my downtown gym may close . . . What is the gym (or other locker and shower facility) closest to Big Pink that isn’t the Westside Athletic Club? Don’t mention the MAC, I’m not that prosperous . . .

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    • Pat Lowell April 10, 2017 at 9:24 am

      There’s a 24-Hour Fitness downtown and another in the Pearl. They’re not right next to Big Pink like the Westside is, but should be a fairly non-sweaty ride on a bike. They usually have ok membership deals and you can use any of them, so maybe you can find one in Vancouver too.

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  • Dave April 10, 2017 at 10:41 am

    I know the agony all to well.

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  • rick April 11, 2017 at 10:37 am

    I’ve been waiting for new wheels, groupset, and brakes for my bike in order to ride more often.

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