Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

There’s an old riddle—I’ve forgotten the particulars—but I believe it involved a fox, a hen, and some grain. The point was, carrying only one at a time, to get them all across a bridge without the fox eating the hen, or the hen eating the grain.
Replace those with a marathon, an umbrella and a bicycle. With the weather in Denver being unpredictable, I found myself at the office today with my bicycle, my wonderful umbrella, which is approximately three feet long, and an interrupted public transit schedule all weekend due to the annual Colfax Marathon. Unsure whether the H line would be running as usual, I was faced with the possibility of having to hike all the way to Union Station to get to work on Sunday, since I was covering for my co-worker.
Since Union Station is approximately twice as far to walk as my entire usual commute, obviously having my bicycle would be the easier and faster choice to get there. However, if the H line is running, and it’s raining, I surely didn’t want to get caught without my umbrella. So I decided to ride my bike home from work. Okay, only part of the way home from work, but it was still a good 7.5 miles. After scouring the internet for bus schedules and bicycle path maps, I came up with no really good plan for getting home. The bike paths/trails/lanes were unclear and complicated, leaving little hope that I could find a safe ride home.
Then I remembered the 20 route. On days I’m running late, or just too lazy to walk to the light rail, the 20 bus picks me up right in front of my house, which is on 700 E, and winds up past the city park to Monaco, which is 6500 E. The 65 picks me up there, and the Saturday driver is a friendly man named Gary, who remembers my name and is always glad to see me. The ride from Monaco to my house is on mostly level terrain, and the city park takes up several miles of that. The rest of the neighborhood includes tree-lined streets and old mansions, with the lane divider consisting of beautiful grass and trees, and not a lot of traffic.
So I waited for Gary. He smiled when he saw me, and when I informed him I had never taken my bike on the bus, therefore did not know how to engage the complicated looking bike rack on the front of the bus, he jumped off and gave me a lesson on securing my bike. We chatted until my stop, and I informed him it was my first major bike ride that didn’t involve a park trail. He dropped me off and wished me luck, and I headed for home.
I secured my umbrella to the bottom of my backpack, which left each end poking out about a foot on each side. Mindful of tips on the internet, I stayed to the right of the road and didn’t weave in and out as I passed parked cars. I attempted to ride on the sidewalk, but quickly became frustrated because pedestrians kept popping up in front of me. I found a comfortable gear and with no real hurry to get home, safely, and slowly, made it through the neighborhood.
And what a wonderful neighborhood it was. Apparently its called the Whittier neighborhood, and I passed beautiful old churches, one of which was being converted into luxury apartments. Reminiscent of the Sugarhouse area in Salt Lake, the homes were small and close together, with stone porches that actually had people sitting on them. I passed a limousine parked outside a center of some sort, and watched as a group of young Hispanic men and women milled around the car, waiting for their function to start. The trees were full of sweet-smelling blossoms, and there was not a lot of traffic.
While I enjoyed my ride, I couldn’t help but think that bike riding required a certain amount of faith. As I heard cars coming up behind me on the narrow road, I repeated the mantra “stay to the right and stay in a straight line.” I couldn’t help but tense up as they approached, and sighed with relief when they had safely passed me. Before long I came upon the city park, which, much to my delight, had a road with a bike lane that runs through the center of it, the entire length of the park. I’d never been to this part of the park, and on my right was a golf course, on my left I was riding along the backside of the Denver Zoo.
I caught a whiff of stale straw, a faint touch of animal feces/urine and the musty smell of chlorinated water features. I couldn’t see into the enclosures, but as the smells changed I could picture the animals inside—monkeys, seals, well, okay, I just pictured monkeys and seals because those are really the only zoo animals I like. The ride was incredible! The fresh air revived me, I could feel a slight burning in my legs and butt from pedaling, but all the stress of being stuck in an office for ten hours just melted away as I rode along.
I felt great as I pulled up in front of my apartment building, until I dismounted my bike an found my legs were rather wobbly. Elated at my accomplishment, I sat on the front step for a minute, before muscling my bike and my umbrella up the three flights of stairs to my home, where I promptly threw a potato in the toaster oven to bake, and began drawing a hot bath…

May 20, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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