The Bike Ride of My Life.

My bike tends to be the primary mode of transit I get to and from work. Some days I end up taking the train home, some I ride it straight down the Cherry Creek Trail all the way home. Today, I opted to try the former method. The following is a recollection of the events from 6:05 to 7:00 PM on July 24th, 2018.

July 24th, 2018, 6:05 PM

I leave work in the evening as usual, knowing that the easiest route to get home is to go to the 10th and Osage light rail station, located at the northernmost tip of a local art district. It is cloudy, and the wind is picking up. I am glad to not be taking the Cherry Creek Trail home. I swear I see a raindrop.

300px-tenthandosage
The 10th and Osage Station. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

6:14 PM

I arrive at the station. 5 cop cars appear to be barricading the area, so I begin the process of traveling to the next nearest station (Alameda), which is usually a 15 minute bike ride. The wind is starting to pick up even more, and the beginning of a light rain appears to be falling.

6:15-6:32

The rain intensifies. I ride my bike down Mariposa until I hit 8th Avenue, turning left and right unto Galapago. The combination of rain and wind make me fear for my safety, as I am ill equipped for the storm that was to come. I take Galapago down until I hit Bayaud.

7th Avenue

Still pretty tame. Not much of a bike lane but cars seem to be sparse and are being fairly generous. Rain is light but wind is picking up.

6th Avenue

I pass a church on the left. I am not a religious man, but the better part of my instinct tells me that, if the wind picks up anymore, I will be blown to hell.

5th Avenue

Cars are getting more aggressive as the rain picks up a bit. I hear wind chimes crash to the ground as the wind approaches what feels like gale force.

4th Avenue

I pass by a park. People are all but gone from outside, and I feel like a sudden turn would result in me blowing away. Rain is steady, and the remaining people on the road are looking to get out as soon as possible

3rd Avenue

A car to my left at the stop sign honks and flips off the driver behind him, who appears to be driving an Amazon delivery van. Fender bender? I have no idea. I fear stopping may cause me to blow away, but I need to obey the law.

2nd Avenue

This is it. The culmination of the 25 years on my life this planet and its future is going to be decided by the decisions I make in the next 5 minutes on this bike. I pedal, with northern blowing winds all but negating every amount of progress I make on the way down. I can hardly see anything around me except for cars that are on the road and some of the houses in the neighborhood.

1st Avenue

The numbers are ending! To any other sane human being, that would mean the beginning of South Broadway and I25, but to me, it means 2 blocks until the left turn on Bayaud, the street that intersects with Cherokee and is the penultimate street until Alameda.

Bayaud

I turn left, breezing through Ellsworth as the breeze begins to die down a tiny bit. Rain is still steady, but to me it seems like the “white noise” of the ride. In a situation like this, the wind is the killer. I go past several industrial looking areas, briefly wondering how the workers are feeling in this weather.

Cherokee

The final street. I make a right and I seem to be in the clear. Maple, Cedar, and Byers are all streets that seem to be dead, probably because there are branches and small items in the road. As I pass Byers, I see it.

ALAMEDA

My ultimate destination. As I approach it, however, my heart sinks. Signs saying ROAD CLOSED FOR CONSTRUCTION appear to be blocking the station. However, the sidewalk is not blocked, and construction appears to be completed for the day. I take advantage of this and briefly ride my bike on the sidewalk, dodging a car that is completely in the walking lane as I pass through the green light. Wind is back to gale force, with me feeling like, even if I did everything perfectly, I could end up in a tornado.

Alameda Station
The Alameda Station, on a much sunnier day. Photo credit to   Kara Pearson Gwinn

6:32-6:34 

I’m at the station. Rain is pouring hard as I wait for the train, which rolls around after 2 minutes of miserably waiting in my t-shirt and work pants, trying to keep my bike upright. I get on the train, the southbound E to Lincoln.

6:34-6:50

Warning
The Warning for the Flash Flood

The Flash Flood warning comes up on the train by the time we hit the Louisiana Pearl station just past I25 and Broadway. As I see it, I begin texting a friend who lives near me to see if I could get a ride home with my storm-tested bicycle. I arrive at the Colorado Station.

6:50-6:55

I wait at the station. Rain and wind appear to be dying down, but I am worried if this is merely the beginning. Cars come and go as they pick people up, and my ride comes.

6:55-7:00

We load up the bike in the back of the pickup. We pass by blown over tress and partially flooded roads, but it appears the worst has passed I arrive at my apartment, with the chair out front blown over in a bush and the welcome mat folded over itself. The storm is all but over in my neighborhood. I start writing.

Front Porch.jpg
My Front Porch, shortly after I got home.

 

Cover Photo is a screenshot from @trickradigan on Twitter from the following 9NEWS article. It depicts a car trying to escape flooding of the streets on Oxford and Santa Fe around 7:00 PM 7/24/2018.

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