Guest Post: Dynamic Duo on a Hill

What has guest blogger Dieter Loibner been doing since we last heard from him? Why, running into an awesome bike-riding dog and her human! Check it!

While her Stasianess [ha! No one has ever nor will anyone ever call me this again:)] was taking the long road to and around Utah for her big two-wheel adventure, us mere mortals, Holden H. and yours truly, were happily mucking about in good ole Stumptown. Java’d up for a jaunt in the hills and across the river, we came up on a rugged-looking cargo bike on SW Cheltenham St. heading for the steep section of SW Cheltenham Court. Up, up, not fast of course, but steady with a sweet cadence. The guy in the saddle clearly knew how to ride this vehicle with style and grace. And his four-legged friend in the basket clearly enjoyed being along for trip. At the top they pulled over, which gave us a chance to catch up, say hi and introduce ourselves. That’s how we met Drew and Sadie.

IMG_0070(© Dieter Loibner)

He is a polysomnographer who hooks people with sleep impediments to machines and measures what there is to measure. She is a 60-pound black lab who looks so darn smart, you half expect she’ll challenge you for a game of chess. What a dynamic duo, I thought. Can’t claim that I ever dreamed of making a living by recording a stranger’s heart rate during sleep, but I freely admit to being jealous of the welding and brazing skills Drew used to build this bike so he can take his trusted canine companion along without her having to feel her age of 14.

“I got her from a guy who was dying of cancer when I met him on a camping trip 12 years ago,” Drew explained. “She liked hanging out with me, so her owner suggested I take her since he didn’t have long to live.” Drew took her in and they became best buddies. Which explains why they ride together now. See how:

Sadie, as the images show, is not exactly a lap dog, but ailments of age keep her from running insane distances through the woods. Up to 30 miles in an afternoon is what Drew said she liked to do when she was young and spry. He doesn’t seem to mind. Perhaps it’s the certainty that change is inevitable and is best dealt with by adapting to it. Besides, it was a good excuse for another project, because he loves tinkering with bikes, especially with portables that have small wheels, which is how Holden and he got into a conversation about Bike Fridays and all that jazz.

Even if Sadie isn’t with him, he likes to ride. Off-road, as he explains, mentioning the Velodirt blog about the Oregon Outback. When he doesn’t ride or build unusual bikes, Drew is painting watercolors, which is a marvelous way of processing the impressions and images his senses record while riding through nature. It wouldn’t be too far fetched to suspect that Sadie might show up in some of these paintings, too;-)

sadie_lake(by Drew)

So, even though we didn’t go far that day, we still met individuals who made us go: wow! This encounter only happened because we were all riding these amazing contraptions. They’re not just self-propelled vehicles used to haul ourselves and the groceries (and occasionally a cute dog) around town. They connect us to others in ways cars can’t. And they have therapeutic powers, which was known even before the internal combustion engine started to rule (and pollute) the world. Check out this newspaper snippet from July 23, 1899:

photo 2(the Boston Sunday Journal)

Never seemed so true. I’m sure Drew and Sadie would agree.

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