Northeast, One Degree, No Common Sense

That Time I Decided to Ride a Bike Around Portland, ME

My general consensus? It wasn’t a wise choice.

It had been over 10 years since I rode a bike. When I was a kid, my family frequently went bike riding in local parks when the weather was nice. Of course, I went along with them, but I never particularly enjoyed it. I completely chalk it up to being a terrified son-of-a-bitch.

I was scared of everything and can’t say I’ve grown out of every fear at this point. Skiing? Scared of crashing into a tree or another skier. Bugs? Squealed at the slightest tickle. Birds? Ducked for cover if even a leaf fell off a nearby tree.


I gave my handles the good ole’ death grip and tensed up my entire body in fear of falling.

Nothing has changed.

Knowing all of this about myself, I still chose to ride a bike through Cape Elizabeth and Portland for a day. That’s right, one day. Not the whole weekend.

Why not the whole weekend, Danielle?

Because it hurt. It f***ing hurt.

My boyfriend and I stayed in a cute basement apartment through Airbnb in Cape Elizabeth. The hosts were so sweet and left us a list of suggestions on the table. Outside were bikes, tools for adjusting, and a lock.

What better way to explore a city than to ride a bike through its busy streets and tranquil parks?

Well, you could drive your car to each stop you wanted to see and walk around as necessary.

Right! Not us, though!

We biked 7 miles from the house in Cape Elizabeth to Becky’s Diner on Commercial St. in Portland. To our dismay, the diner was packed and we were on a time crunch. My tired legs were screaming, but so was my stomach. We hopped back on our bikes to head just down the road to Bam Bam Bakery. We enjoyed an amazing breakfast (featuring the best cinnamon roll I’ve ever had).

From there, we biked 5 more miles and then some to get to Allagash Brewing Company. At this point, I had already stopped to walk my bike up three hills. My bottom was numb and in pain at the same time.

The brewery tour and tasting was great, but not long enough for my poor body. We had no other choice but to bike back to the east end of Portland where we’d visit a couple more breweries.

Thankfully, my sweet, savior of a boyfriend decided to park our bikes in a central area and walk from stop to stop. While my ass was getting a break from having a bike seat jammed up it, my legs were still like Jell-O.

I sat in Shipyard Brewing Co. and dreamed of the moment I would lie in bed. The cold, refreshing beer certainly helped quench my thirst, but it didn’t take the pain away. Honestly, I hoped I’d get drunk enough to not even feel my limbs anymore. Is that healthy? No. Did I care? No.

The bartender yelled for last call and my time to numb the pain was coming to an end. We wandered our way to the edge of the bay to kayak with Portland Paddle. The wind was whipping and the air was chilly. We were certainly not dressed appropriately, but our guide shoved us into some gear and placed us in our kayak anyway.

As we paddled, the pain suddenly subsided. Was it because my body was finally resting or because the 47-degree water slowly dripped on my legs and crotch? Maybe it was because my mind was preoccupied with the ospreys, sailboats, and stunning sunset.

Whatever the reason may be, I soon found out that my pain was only masked as I struggled to lift myself out of the kayak.

In this moment, my boyfriend whispered the most beautiful, touching 4 words to me:

Let’s call an Uber.

We rode back to the house and changed into dry clothes just to get back in the car to return to the city. We unchained the bikes from where we left them all those hours ago and picked up a pizza pie on the way home as our prize. It’s not even close to being as good as Jersey pizza, but whatever. We were cold, tired, and hungry.

It would do.

Despite the pain, I know I will treasure the memories of that day for the rest of my life. However, the memory of flopping into bed at the end of it all might rank as high as kayaking into the sunset with the love of my life.

Basically, if I could tell you one thing, it’s this: do not bike 19 miles around a city if you have not biked in over 10 years.


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