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Lunch Ride: The Lawyers Ride
SUBMISSION: Matt Karre of River City Bicycles
A lunch ride that's been meeting for two decades, the Lawyers' Ride was started by a group of attorneys as a way to get in some miles during the work day. It has become the best known lunch ride in Portland, steeped nicely in tradition with just a hint of irony (a large group ride started by attorneys and judges rolling en masse through downtown streets. Regard is of course taken for traffic laws, if not to the letter.)
The Lawyers Ride, Portland, Oregon
12:15 Mondays/Thursdays - southwest corner of Pioneer Square
Nearly two decades in the making.
Obey all traffic laws (you are with lawyers.)
Thursday's adventure contains more climbing.
Take comfort in the feeling of spent legs. Then head into the office.
12:15 at the southwest corner of Pioneer Square. Monday rolls through downtown, up SW Broadway as a group then unceremoniously ignites on two laps of the Fairmount loop. Thursday goes up the real hills. Ride as a group to the tunnels of NW Cornell St. until the right turn onto NW 53rd or NW Thompson, depending on your desired maximum gradient, where fitness and pride come to the fore. This is the Lawyers' Ride in Portland, OR.
As with most recreational group rides, the lunch ride generally begins as a casual group ride, perhaps as social formality, perhaps as a warm-up, only to manifest its sense of urgency. It is the lunch break after all. The ride should take an hour, give or take a bit. Aside from chronological constraints, the addition of significant climbing or twisting, stop-sign-free circuits always provokes a test of skill, of fitness. The real lunch rides, the fast paced, high heart rate lunch rides, illustrate a palpable duality of man: go to work to sustain and maintain lifestyle, order, earn a living. The lunch ride exposes the another side: aggressively attacking a corner on a descent knowing full well the risk and potential for chaos and casualty. Riding hard is a reward and a punishment for the work day. When done properly, the ride leaves the rider peacefully exhausted with the legs aching in satisfaction. The rest of the work day is perhaps challenging though as the result of personal triumph the challenge is welcome and worthy.
On the Thursday Lawyers' Ride, the route begins climbing almost immediately as it heads west out of downtown Portland. Once onto the main climb of NW Cornell St., the group rides around two tunnels to the middle of the climb. At this point the intent of riders becomes more apparent as the peloton begins to line out ever so slightly in the approach to the two finish climb options. The first option is NW 53rd Ave, which, at a 9% average gradient, is the much steeper and slightly longer passage. Option 2 is NW Thompson St. This is a classic high speed ascent of around 4-5% for about 1.5 miles. Each climb winds through Forest Park on the way up to Skyline Road along the ridge of Portland's West Hills. As soon as the right turn is made onto one of the finish climbs the group explodes. In one way or another lunch rides are ego boost rides for everyone. The super fit riders display their plumage at every opportunity as much for self-recognition as for a congratulatory response from those left behind. Those in search of fitness, form or fun will either join the festivities or stoically adhere to the training program, using the ride as recovery, opener or litmus test. Each seeks to affirm beliefs or exact authority, if only for a couple hundred meters.
Specifically designating the limited free time of the work day for a good hard road ride is as much about ritual as it is necessity. There will be those who show up every opportunity and those who arrive at the mercy of the day's schedule. Regardless, each possesses the same passion and need for the bike. In the mind of the competitive rider is the search for form: 'If I keep showing up to these eventually the legs will come back.' Or, 'I could never force myself to ride this hard alone'.
It's an oversimplification to reduce the lunch ride down to a way to get some exercise and break up the work day. The lunch ride offers a solution for those desperate to be connect with the bike; an excuse for the fit to maintain and fine tune; the right circumstance to enjoy disorder before returning to find order again; an opportunity to go for a bike ride instead of work.
Previous Lunch Rides:
If you wish to submit your lunch ride to the collection please send an email to email@example.com. Also, take a look at the continually updated schedule of the Rapha Mobile Cycle Club to see if Hennie will be in your neighborhood.
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