Richard and I have ridden up to this corner together countless times on the Lawyer Noontime Ride. It was a fresh mid February day and I had just finished telling him the story of how my son Chris was hit by a car the night before, his first crash in a few years. He was commuting home and a Trailblazers fan trying to find a parking space before tipoff ran a stop sign right in front of him. Both were going about 15 mph and fortunately the only casualty was a broken rear wheel. We got to the stop sign at Civic Stadium and saw a White Subaru Forester coming toward us on the through street on the left but with plenty of distance back from us. Richard started to wait in case I did as I am the more timid rider but it seemed like the car was moving slow enough and my Car Psychoanalysis MMPI for a Subaru Forester was that it is a benign or at least semi-positive auto type (“Love, it’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru” as the current ad slogan goes…) so I stopped enough to say I did it and rolled around the corner with him beside me.
As we headed northbound parallel to the Max tracks the rest of the riders were a ways behind us and had just pulled in behind the Subaru. They were now all behind the Subaru as we headed toward where the Max tracks cross the road. There were about a dozen of us, and it was one of those days where the pavement is damp but it’s not really sprinkling but is misting a little. As I approached where the tracks cross the road in front of us we were riding two up with me to the left. I moved slightly toward Richard to get my crossing angle correct as I know the tracks would be wet and slick, and then I steered left so I would hit them at as perpendicular an angle as I could. We were going about 12 mph, just cruising along companionably as we rode out of town to go race the hills just like we have every Thursday for a decade or so he has been in the ride, (for me that number was 25 years). This was the warm up and social part of our ride through NW Portland and we were just spinning through town picking up a few riders on the way who were waiting for us at the places they knew we would be coming past instead of them riding all the way to Pioneer Square where the main group assembles and rolls out together.