Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Long Day

You know it's a long day when you leave after breakfast and return late for dinner. Saturday was just such a day.

Frozen toes, pelting rain, howling winds, flat tires.

Luckily, we found a great lunch place with a fireplace to dry gear and feet and patch tubes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

VBC Earthquake Ride

This is one of the bike club's staple rides so I finally went and rode it!

The flood we rode through makes me think it should be called "The Natural Disaster Ride" instead though.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ting ting ting a ling!






Riding around PIR slowly in the cold dark night surrounded by Christmas lights.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Let It Blow!



25 mile adventure, chock full of wind! New trails discovered. Frozen feet reveal under-prepared footwear. These were the headlines for Saturday's ride.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Man up!


It felt fantastic to finally not flake on the Wednesday night ride. It was dark and chilly, but didn't rain on us as we rode the entire loop for the first time in 3 weeks.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cuz baby it's cold outside

10 whole days passed without one two-wheeled moment for me. I started feeling itchy. Restless. Depressed, even!

So Saturday around sunset, I headed out with no particular destination. The sky was beautiful and the air delicious.

I rode down the hill. West on the path to the river. North along the river. I made it to Hawthorne when the hail started, a huge grin on my bike-deprived face.

Ladd Circle and up the hill to home where I felt like my normal self again. Aahhh.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rain & wind

...and an orange warning triangle on my desktop weather gadget.

Still glad I rode in today.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lights

Safety is KEY, especially at this time of year as we head into a few months of dark and wet conditions. Sigh. You probably have a bunch of safety gear and rules that you follow already. But, there's always more to learn!

I drive a car as well as ride a bike. Yeah, I know. It's not sustainable or green or community friendly or eco blah blah blah. I can tell you why I need it and how I try to limit its use but nah.

Anyway, driving the car has given me a whole new insight into cyclists' visibility. I actively look for cyclists and still often don't see them if they are, say, wearing dark colors and don't have lights on their bike.

My recent favorite was a guy in black toting his two young kids on a sustainable cargo bike with no lights and no reflectors. And his helmet in his basket. Yeesh.
A simple reflective ankle strap or pedal reflectors would've made a big difference as one of the most visible things from inside the evil death-mo-bile is the unmistakable movement of a pedal stroke.

The almost-incident that really taught me something, though, was the guy with a really nice bright head light and tail light mounted on his helmet. They are at a height beyond visibility from the driver's seat of a sedan. He had no other reflective gear or reflectors or lights and was wearing all black. So, even with a keen eye out for bikes, I had a near-miss because his lights literally went "over my head". Just sayin.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nature Ride

We took the bike path to the train station, hopped aboard (after experiencing some complicated ticket and platform bureaucracy) and jumped off at the end of the line.

Then we rode northbound and down a huge hill. We were supposed to be headed southbound, so we went back up the huge hill.

Luckily, we found a little village called Sushiopolis and spent some time there recuperating.

Then to the bike path again and the gorgeous countryside that surrounds it. We saw ducks, peacocks, chickens, goats, horses and a mama muskrat with her two babies. I swear they were not voles. How do I know? Because they looked exactly like this:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mileage Mania!

Did you notice the little number in the upper left? That's my mileage for 2010 so far, which is updated at the end of each month. As you can see, I'm on track (fingers crossed!) to reach 4000 by the end of the year.

My lifetime annual max of 6000 happened in '99 during ye olde messenger days in SF. My annual max in Oregon is 5000 and happened in '02 while riding my bare bones track bike all over Eugene and back.

In my current incarnation as bicycle dork-xtrodinaire, I ride a cush steel road bike with fenders and bells and whistles galore. (Unless it's summer, then I ride the steel Torpado with white heart-shaped lugs between the bubble gum pink tubes. But that's not relevant, merely beautiful).

Much of the riding I do now is with my bike club, which is not exactly local. They're in Vancouver and I'm in outer Southeast. Back in January, a club buddy and I agreed to compete for overall mileage. We've been neck and neck all year.

The stakes? Steaks. At the January '11 club meeting, I hope to be sitting down to a steak dinner especially prepared by Laird. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Early thanksgiving thankfullness

...for two dry days in a row. Warm! Leafy! Fragrant! Glad I'm able to ride to work.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bicycle dreams



REALITY: a pleasant 20 mile ride last night in the dark and rain amidst the smells of fall in Portland - candles burning, leaves, wood burning.

DREAMWORLD: a ride to the coast with co-workers, captaining a tandem with no one on the back, wide and slippery tires making the rear wheel fishtail and a parade.

PHOTOS: reality or dreamworld? past or present?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Seven Deadly Sins



One more rider would've made us seven. But six is an evil number and the weather was plenty wicked, so it fit with the theme.

We rode the X around Ladd Circle, then to the Acuportland phallus called Streetcar Desire for lust.

We stopped at the Crystal garden gate and I collected a few dollars from each person. Then rode off for greed.

Riders followed me up the big 52nd Avenue hill, down it and up it a second time for wrath.

Chili and soup and cornbread at my house for gluttony.

Dark and wet and windy, we left for the new speed limit measurement sign on 92nd where the Springwater Corridor crosses and each rider competed for best speed. Mike and Lisa tied for pride.

We stopped at the funky windmill on Mill Street, which was a stop on the Tour De Mills last spring. The last time we were there, it was dry and sunny and warm. We experienced envy.

Onward to the first pub where we enjoyed sloth.

For the last pub, we went to a new place called Apex. It's reputed to be super bike friendly and sure enough, there were enough bike racks outside for ten times our number. And there were helmet shelves inside. 100s of varieties of beer on tap. And this thing hanging from the ceiling.









Thanks to Michelle for the pictures!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Musette






As bicyclekitty readers may or may not know, I insist on attaching a plastic basket to every bike I ride. It carries everything from my pump, spare tube and tools to an extra layer, snacks and my phone. All of it's accessible while riding, which can be quite handy.

It's also handy if the contents of the basket are contained inside a bag, especially if it's raining. And here in the great northwest, more often than not, it's probably raining.

So, here's a little bag I made of saved up bib numbers. I put it to the test Saturday night and although it received 5 stars in the cuteness category, it was a bit lacking in the waterproofness category. More experimentation to follow.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dusk















These autumn evenings have been perfect for riding. But it looks like our "delicious days" (the weatherman actually used those words!) are coming to an end soon. There's a big orange yield sign on my desktop gadget warning of the looming storm of wind and wet.

Hope that doesn't stop you from coming out for the SEVEN SINS ride tomorrow Saturday 10/23. Meet at 4pm at Ladd Circle, ride 18 miles including a 3-pub crawl. You'll need your appetite, money, a helmet a bike lock with you or waiting for you at the Hedge House and bike lights. And, oh yeah, your sense of humor.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

French Toast






















It's been four years since I started leading this monthly ride and WOW has it grown! About 40 riders crammed into my house for french toast Sunday. For the first time ever, my giant percolator ran out of coffee.

We had people from the Vancouver Bike Club, girls I've raced with, people I've met through work, other friends and even a couple of Portland Wheelmen! Hisssssss.

One guy showed up with "power cranks", which are independent of each other and not "locked" into the bottom bracket so you have to push forward AND pull back with each foot separately. You can also coast with both feet down. And pedal symmetrically, which for some reason reminds me of a bunny.

One girl fell because someone rode up super close to her without warning. I feel especially bad because it was her first french toast ride and they're usually not so chaotic. The good news is, there weren't any cars behind us and she didn't break anything.

It was an especially good work out for me because I'd wait for the slower riders at the turns, then race up to try and catch the front of the pack. It was a gorgeous day and a gorgeous ride and I'm so very grateful for it all.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thursday Spooky Ride

Linda and I headed out around dusk to ride the Troutdale Airport loop. We flew eastbound at 22 mph and I kept thinking "YEAH! We're fast! Uh huh.". After circling the airport and heading back westbound, twice the effort yielded half the speed. Apparently that was a tailwind we had experienced earlier. Go figure.

It was getting progessively darker, as it tends to do here every evening on planet earth. The sky featured a gorgeous pinkish orange smear of cloud near the horizon. The air smelled like Autumn.

By the time we were halfway back, it was pitch black, a jerk on a motorcycle revved his engine loudly just as he passed us, the wind picked up and it started to sprinkle. I think that's when I started to regret the "shorts/jersey/no jacket" and the "just a rear blinky" decisions, but it's hard to pinpoint exactly.

Finally, after riding back for twice the distance we had ridden out, we turned back onto the bike path toward our finish line. It was a perfect October ride, complete with ghoulish fear!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Handmade Bike Show



This was a cool show. I'm glad people get to "practice the craft" of making bicycles. I just wish people like me could afford them!


















I liked these four bikes - the first 3 are from Sprout Cycles, the last one was locked up outside.










And this old thing was on display too - a ladies bike with a cutout saddle from way back. Turns out sore coochies are nothing new!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Harvest Ride


It rained all day. I got itchy hives on my palms from who knows what. I had four flat tires. But, somehow, it was still a good time. Probably the friends I rode with! And the wine tasting stop. And the SAG wagon guy who gave us bags of gummy bears. And the awesome finish-line party where we ran into several friends.