Biketoberfest 2008: Drive 1st, Drink Later

What a fine way to spend a sunny and chilly Sunday afternoon. Sue S. - my biking partner and now, Driving Instructor, and I went to the Bicycle Coalitions Biketoberfest 2008 event at Dock Street Brewery, 51st and Baltimore Avenue. Earlier in the day, Sue came to pick me up and to take me for some driving lessons at an empty parking lot area down around Columbus Boulevard aka Delaware Avenue. We - I, drove through the parking lot and then we actually went onto a service road that runs parallel to Delaware Avenue near Oregon Avenue. For those of you who are unaware, I don't drive. I have never driven! I don't have a driver's license, yet, and have for all of my adult life, been scared to learn and in the ensuing years, I have built up a major amount of neurosis around driving. I've got to hand it to Sue, she not only pushed me on the why's of why I don't drive, but pursued the question to the point of just saying, we're doing it. Which made the first lesson a good one. Without having to wait for me to make a decision, the choice was just put forward to me. It helped a lot since I tend to do what I do best, procrastinate and do nothing.

Our first lesson went well. I figured out how to start and stop, turn and sort of park. We picked up some speed and I felt more comfortable with the car in general as our lesson progressed. I just have to figure out how to become "one with the vehicle", which unlike riding a bike, I don't know how this happens. The bicycle becomes an immediate extension of my body. A car is huge and it surrounds you. I'm not quite sure how you figure out how to drive, be aware of your surroundings and not freak out at the cars turning and stopping around you, but I guess I'll get it eventually. Everyone keeps telling me if I can ride my bike in traffic, I can drive. I hope!

After our lesson, Sue drove us up to the Bicycle Coalition's Biketoberfest celebration. We hung out at Dock Street Brewery for a few hours, and I enjoyed a few pints of Pumpkin Ale, brats and pizza. Since Sue was the designated driver, she slowly sipped one ale. A roaming photographer snapped a bunch of photos of the event, and lo and behold, Sue and I appeared in a few. Alex Doty of the Bike Coalition is talking to us, asking if we would like to buy a raffle ticket to win a new bike. It looked like a nice bike, but as neither of us needs another bike, we passed on the raffle. Now if it had been a mountain bike or cross-breed, I might have purchased a chance to win it. For $5 to $20, who could argue with another bicycle purchase? From the photos put up online at the Philly Bike Coalition's Flickr page, it looks like the right person won the Lager Bike raffle. Besides, I had too many beers to drink to allow any more driving of any sort - cars or bikes.

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