Rode from Manila to Ferndale this morning. 24 miles.

The sensation that occurs when riding over the bridges has changed from fear to exhilaration. Except when a logging truck roared past two feet to my left. That was definitely fear.

Unfortunately my chain kept slipping whenever I pedaled in midrange gears, compromising my enjoyment, but otherwise the ride was lovely, from seeing the heron poised in the bay to watching the Coast Guard helicopter zooming between the trees like a scene from Hollywood.

Biking in diminished traffic (due to the holiday) made for the most pleasant ride yet. For the first time, I relaxed and enjoyed the view; normally I can’t shake the awareness of the possibility of imminent death a few feet away. If we had actual bike lanes, a whole new world would open up for people.

I took the waterfront, accepting the smell of fish in exchange for fewer cars.

I attempted to keep an average speed of 15 mph or more. I counted “one, two, three, four” to help maintain a steady pace. I thought of Jack and chanted “Royal Crown Cola” just for fun.

I struggled up the Loleta grade, barely keeping a speed of 5 mph. My knees ache.

I flew down the other side, refusing to look at the spedometer, wanting to go as fast as the bike would go. (I checked later: 32 mph was my top speed.)

I cursed the wind, which seemed to come up at exactly the moment I crossed the Fernbridge and thought, “Oh, good. I’m almost there. This’ll be easy from here.”

With the chain problems – and my first experience going up the Loleta grade – riding from my house to work took over two hours. I imagine I could whittle that down to an hour and forty-five minutes, which would mean leaving home by 8 a.m. (To take the bus, I have to catch it at 8:44 p.m.) Definitely a possibility in the summer. I’ve already put 14,000 miles on the car my dad gave me in December! Taking the bus round-trip costs $3.80; if I drive, I burn about $4.60 worth of gas. Wear-and-tear on the bike must be less expensive than wear-and-tear on the car. Yeah, I should keep on this.

Love the way the light lasts so long this time of year.