Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike...

If you just came out from a cave in France after 10 years, then you probably don't know, but seems everyone else has heard that there is a linear trail in our fair town of Banks, Oregon that has become quite the destination for pedal jockeys far and wide. It became a hot property when they finally completed the trail head, which is a tiny paved parking lot with a restroom that will probably be trashed and forever locked shortly if I know Oregon State park users. I noticed this weekend that they've opened up a narrow graveled spit on the other side of the road for overflow parking, and MAN was it overflowing on that first warm weekend in a while....normally traffic jams only happen in Banks when it's the morning or afternoon school bus runs, or when a lumber train drives back and forth through the crossing for no apparent reason. Who knew?

We are within spittin' distance of PDX, which is a mecca for spoke heads, a percentage of which are rather militant and like to pound on city buses or beat their rides against cars of those who offend what they consider their personal space. I don't blame them, just get tired of hearing them whine publicly about us scofflaws when I rarely see one stop at a light or stop sign, and sometimes do stupid things downtown to bog up traffic in the interest of "education". I also would not do what they do on a bet....people in cars are a-holes, and "I'm sorry" doesn't count for much when you're being scraped off the road with a shovel.

I do, however, get some amusement seeing those who are rigged out with gear that most likely cost what would probably finance a coup in a third world country. I want to buy a beater bike, rig it up with a bell, maybe an air horn, tassels for the handlebars, a basket with flowers, mirrors, and cards in the spokes. I an use would use random items for padding/helmet (one of those German helmets with a spike would ROCK) and ride up and down the trail on full capacity weekends. I would be the Crazy Bike Lady of Banks....and I'm sure I would be alone because I can imagine the look of horror Handsome Stranger would display if I suggested he join me. Diff'rent strokes...

But really, who doesn't love a bike? When you're a kid, it's freedom - you can extend your boundaries, feel the wind in your hair, and show off to your peers by running over a half-inflated kick ball lying out in the road...but you know how that goes, right? When the tire runs over the ball, it pushes the air in the ball down and makes you crash and burn spectacularly, requiring you to force back tears, pick up the stupid bike, and limp home to the jeers and laughter of the neighbor kids who were watching out the window.

My big sister had a giant cruiser bike - too big to reach the pedals, so you had to stand on them and go up and down as you pedaled. My older brother got a 10 speed when they were first popular because mom and dad obviously loved him best, and I got his hand-me-down....the second coolest ride I've ever had. It was a gold Schwinn Sting Ray, with a 5 speed gear shift, a tuck and roll silver glitter banana seat, and HAND BRAKES. It was the SHIT of bikes...who cares about a stupid green 10 speed? I loved that bike...don't remember if it survived me riding out of a blind driveway into the back fender of a passing gold Cadillac, but it earned me a ride in the back seat when that poor rich lady had to pick my unconscious bad self up and take me to the address I kept repeating over and over. AND she put my bike in the trunk.

The youngest of us 5 got the ultimate hand-me-down...it was a small, blue one-speed antique of a bike, and it had no brakes. You cannot tell me that my parents didn't think that one through...I swear it was the Catholic way of thinning the herd. Mom used to yell at him for the holes in his tennis shoes...he had to drag his feet to stop, and even the rubber toes were no match for blacktop. One time he was riding down the neighbor's long driveway that dumped onto our street, and unfortunately met with a motorcycle heading in a perpendicular direction. I heard he hit the front wheel of the dudes bike, flew through the air, and actually landed on the wheels of his own bicycle before crashing. And the bike was OK....for round two.

I believe the last time it was ridden was down that same driveway, where he safely negotiated the intersection with the road, but not so much the post alongside the neighbors driveway. His entire body launched over the handlebars and made sickening contact with the 4x4...which was turned ever so slightly so he "luckily" caught the corner. He had two black eyes and a bruise line that was slightly off center from his forehead all the way down his chest. I remember waking up that night to his screams because his eyes swelled shut and he thought he was blind. I'm surprised he still remembers how to tie his shoes, for crying out loud....I think he finally started riding a bike again in his 40's.....

So yeah, bikes are fun...most of the time. I am really thinking about buying one for reals for me and Handsome Stranger and riding down the linear trail for exercise, and so I can walk funny the first couple weeks because my butt muscles hurt from saddling up. But we'll see. A bike rack will never touch my Camaro, so we have to figure out a way to strap them to the Hyundai first. In the meantime, how about a recipe? This is an oldie from when I was a kid - it may not be exactly the same, because I don't have mom's church cookbook, but it's in one of my old Betty Crocker cookbooks and tastes just like what I remember. The only resemblance to this post is that the sugar on top is sparkly, just like my bike seat...

French Breakfast Puffs

My mom served these with a dish of melted butter and one of cinnamon sugar. We were double/triple/quadruple dippers, so when you were done, the butter resembled a wet sponge which was also dispatched with by the first one finished with their muffin - oh how I miss the unfettered use of butter! Now when I make them, I just dip the tops and leave it at that - restraint is the new excess.

1 egg
3/4 C. milk
1/2 C. oil
2 C. flour
1/3 C. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

1/2 C. butter, melted
1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oven to 400; line 12 muffin tins with paper or foil liners. In a medium size bowl, beat egg, stir in milk and oil. Stir in flour, 1/2 C. sugar, baking powder and salt just until moistened - it should be a little lumpy. Fill liners 3/4 full and bake at 400 until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool a couple minutes and remove from pan to cooling rack; when still warm, dip tops in melted butter, then in cinnamon sugar to cover entire top. Any leftover butter and cinnamon sugar can be used for double/triple/quadruple dipping by the cook or her preferred minions....it would be a sin to just throw it away.

These would not be so good to take on a bike ride - your fingers get all buttery, your hand could slip off the hand brake and you could end up in the blackberry brambles with hipster spoke heads in aerodynamic helmets and bike shorts that clearly delineate the best man pointing and laughing at you. And no one wants that...

ps, I forgot....PW makes these and takes the liners off when they cool and rolls the WHOLE MUFFIN in the butter/cinnamon sugar. Which is why I love her. And I posted a better pic - stop licking the monitor!


  1. That little blue bike was MINE. He just took it whenever I wasn't looking. The last I heard of it he sold it to a punk kid down the street for 50 cents. Brat.


  2. Man, you made me feel guilty for never teaching Ethan how to ride a bike... for about 5 seconds, until I read the parts where y'all tried to off yourselves in dumb-kid fashion :P