Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Freedom: wild riders, impatient driver

Posted By on Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 9:14 PM

After a Fourth of July morning mountain bike ride a friend and I drove from the Skyliner's trailhead to Bend Brewing for a beer. Beer imbibed, we got in the car and headed east on Oregon Street only to encounter a huge mob of bicyclists filling the entire width and length of Bond Street.

There was no way we were going to get through the intersection. Looking back we could see the cycling mob was also blocking off Wall Street.

So what do you do? Turn off the car's engine, sit back, relax and watch the parade go by.

And what a parade it was with equal parts avid cyclists, extras from a Fellini movie, aspirants to become part of a Cirque du Soliel troupe, a few folks who looked like their tavern time started early that day, kids, you name it. It was one noisy and colorful parade, and a lot of fun to watch.

But wait, as much as the Freedom Ride and its estimated 3,500 riders was all about the new exciting and hip Bend (note that 20 years ago there was an annual cruiser crawl organized by Dennis "The Heatman" Heater"), there was a sign of the other new Bend.

In this case, new as in impatient and we're important people Bend.

Take a couple in a luxury European SUV who couldn't bear to be impeded let alone stopped on their way to something very important we're sure. Add in five cars ahead of them and a bunch of nutty cyclists and we have a situation

The driver of said marvel of European automobile manufacturing first lays on the horn for minutes at a time, as if that would get us all to mow down a few dozen cyclists to clear the way and get traffic going.

A glance in the rear view mirror showed the people behind us relaxing and enjoying the parade. But not the impatient couple. Soon the driving member of the duo maneuvered their car into the oncoming traffic lane and rolled up to the intersection. There, the driver took 12 minutes to inch the car across the intersection and then peel out down the road.

As they sped off out of sight, we got a look at the frame holding their license plate. It read "world's greatest grandparents". How true.

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