One of my favorite features to living a life in which the bike plays a dominant role is the way that simple device takes me to new places. Were it not for the bike, I’d probably never have encountered Santa Cruz, California, Crested Butte, Colorado, Vaison-la-Romaine, France, or Santa Rosa, California. The bike has been both a great way to encounter new places, but it serves as a reminder to keep my eyes open.
I’d been hearing from friends that Eugene, Oregon, is Super Record among Nuovo Record, that it was big enough to sustain a real life, but small enough to remain intimate and quick to get out of town. For my trip up for the Oregon Gran Fondo I decided to make my visit a bit more than three days to give me a chance to wander the town and sample its charms.
Of course, the Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson house (above) isn’t typical of all of Eugene’s homes, but this Victorian stands as an example of the kind of vision and creativity on which Eugene was founded. I was tempted to take a tour of the place, maybe stick around for high tea, but the timing didn’t quite work out.
Saturday morning I met up with a few Rolf Prima and Co-Motion employees for a ride out into the country, which took all of five minutes to reach. Brian Roddy, Rolf Prima’s owner confided to me that the loop we were doing was their typical post-work loop. I alternated between being reminded of my days in Northampton, Massachusetts, and seething envy. The riding was varied as an iPod on shuffle and beautiful as the vistas in a national park.
It would be hard to get tired of the riding in and around Eugene. Very hard.
The town did have one rather stunning challenge, though. I’m as allergic to pollen as Dick Cheney is to kindness. My buddy Alan Cline, who works for Rolf Prima and dark:30 sports, served as my guide for my visit and he warned me, before I ever boarded my flight, that Eugene sits at the southern end of the Willamette Valley and the prevailing winds blow south toward town, carrying with them stunning amounts of pollen from all the grass grown specifically for seed. I dealt with it by taking 24-hour Allegra every 22 hours. I haven’t had that allergic a reaction to a place since I left Memphis, Tennessee. Gads.
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