Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Bike!

That's right, I bought a mountain bike!
It's a Diamondback. Just like this one, which my co-worker Beardo just bought. I think he paid something like four digits for it. The extra two digits must be for the fancy full suspension-ma-jig.

Now, to unveil mine. I know, it's a prettier color than Beardo's, but hey, that's what I paid for. It set me back a whole $10, marked down from $20. It's a "rigid 26'er" in mountain bike terms. Try not to be too jealous.

And here are the presents I've picked out for it so far. Of course, it will take some time to save up for these and the shiny new tires I need, as they will far surpass the cost of the bike.

So, one day soon, look out for an entry entitled "Mountain Biking Is Awesome" and/or "Mountain Biking Sucks".

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Portland Parkways South East

These adorable children agreed to ride the Portland Parkway with me on Sunday. She's on her new Trek 830 mountain bike and he's on his single speed BMX bike. I rode my old dutch cruiser, with its new tires and saddle. Aside from the rear wheel coming loose, it rode like a dream. It features 28" wheels and an internal 2 speed hub that changes speeds with centrifugal force. After a quick three mile trek to the loop, we joined in the fun.
We were pretty cooked after one lap of the six mile route. The heat of the day and the thick bike traffic really tired us out. The three miles back home felt challenging, but we did it. Our 12 mile finish was celebrated with hoots and hollers and bells ringing.
The kids went home and I decided to change rides and get on the old Ross Cruiser with hand brakes and 3 speeds. Rode back to the Parkway, did another lap and stopped for a beer while spectating. So many people on so many bikes! The Portland Parkways events are downright inspiring. Opening up the streets (some would say closing them down) transforms our public thoroughfares into human-use spaces that feel like an all-inclusive party.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Saturday Quickie

Took the new way down the hill to the bike path, then east. Climbed every hill I saw off the bike path. If I had a fancy Garmin, I suspect the route would've looked like a DNA strand.

Then back up the new way again to my nemesis hill. Up and down and up and down and up. Then home to play.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Live in the present moment is an important mission of mine.

The Past is a place I would like to avoid. It stalks me and teaches me to dig my heels into the present.

The Future is a spot I can't comprehend. It taps me on my left shoulder, then comes around my right side.

Despite my best efforts, these times seek me out. I suppose part of living in the present is learning to cope with the intrusion and quickly get back to it.

Just this week, I was asked me how many camp spots we'll need at DesChutes next May. Then August's family vacation was confirmed. Dates are being picked for a Crater Lake trip. Overwhelming to think of all the minutes and hours and days between now and then.

How is this bike-related, you ask? I mean, this is a bike blog and no forum for broken refrigerators. Well, I'll tell you. Because bicycling is here, now, a minute ago, a minute from now, several hours ago and tomorrow.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

When Ness Day

Guess I'll can my cockiness over a quick recovery from Sunday's century.

Last night my tired little quads spun oh-so-slowly, and up only one small hill.

Still worthwhile. It's good to be strong but it's better to be humble.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Le Toast Francaise

Been procrastinating this blog entry because Saturday's ride was troublesome.

First of all, big mistake, a lady on the bike path came to a sudden dead halt in front of me. I said "watch where you stop" and she belted out "shut your big fat mouth!". I should've continued on my way and let her stew in her own negative juices but, alas, my reactive temper got the better of me.

So, I turned back to go "reason" with her. She told me she was very upset by my rude comment and that I had no idea who she was. I told her it's dangerous to stop in front of someone without warning. She told me I'm obviously not from Portland and to go back to where I came from.

That last sentiment is especially upsetting to me, because I love Portland and Oregon so much. But, apparently, it's not "mine". Of course, it's not hers either. It either belongs to the Native Americans or the dinosaurs who were here before them or the one-celled protozoas that were here before them.

Anyway, this wasted time delay may or may not have led to a small crash further on our way. A shirtless guy with a backpack started riding in the group. I was in front when my chain came off so I said "stopping" loudly several times, then pulled over. Shirtless dude panicked and stopped in front of a couple of my riders, who overlapped wheels and went down.

The good (awesome!) news is that no one was seriously hurt and no cars were involved. Just a few scrapes. No bike damage either.

However, lessons learned. Go with the flow. Don't go back to reason with the unreasonable. The change in timeline can easily alter your reality. And, oh yeah, don't ride with shirtless guys wearing backpacks.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On Top Of The World

Portland Century Ride Report
* weather: gorgeous
* air: hot & high pollen
* windy: not really
* hilly: extraordinarily
* partner: made of awesome
* other riders: inspirational
* highlight: laying in the crick
* best snack: roadside raspberries
* worst snack: pizza (yummy but deadly)
* performance: 4.21 stars
* pain: minimal hot foot
* lesson: do not touch the ice sculpture
* beer: delicious

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bikes Around Town

KISS bike with Portlandia backdrop.

Cherry Linus on a bike rack, I know, I know, it's really serious.

So pretty and so functional. Love the hammered fenders and delicate-looking racks.

Pretty prissy Fuso. Not her best side.

Got caught in the act taking this one. Guy called it his "b" bike.


Miyata mixtie. Miyata mixtie. Miyata mixtie. There's no place like home.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Playing With Bicycles

Most of my time is spent playing with bicycles. Riding bikes, selling bike crap, blogging rides, bike club volunteering, attending bike network group events, planning my next bike purchase. Am I over-focused? Fixated, even?

This lady, Ranger Madeleine, decided to be a forest ranger when she was eleven, although she didn't make it happen until recently.
My answer to "what do you want to be when you grow up?" was "win the Tour de France". That's a bit out of reach, especially considering my gender, but isn't bike stuff what I wanted to do when I was eleven?

These questions haunt me and plant doubt in my belly, until the weather pokes a gentle reminder at me. Last night as the air chilled and wind swept in, even though it's still summer, I actually started wondering what to be for Halloween.

I suppose, like death, the threat of winter is always on the horizon.

Conclusion? RIDE! Ride. Ride more. Our warm, dry rides are numbered, like our days.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Council Crest

Here's the Hawthorne Bridge, filled with bike commuters early today.

And here's the Salmon Street Fountain, where I met up with Nick and Amy of the "morning excuse committee" at 6:40AM (yes, AM!).

We rode through downtown, then up to Washington Park and the zoo.

Finally arrived at Council Crest Park. What an amazing view! We could see Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams and even Rainier!

Then, a cold descent down to Portland State University, where, amazingly, we ran into Inge. She told us about getting her legs ripped off at PIR last night. Headed off alone to the Pearl District, over the Broadway Bridge and northbound on Williams. There were tons of bike commuters everywhere I went.

On my way to Marine Drive, while crossing the big ramp at 33rd, I noticed a long string of cyclists on my tail. It was none other than Portland Velo! Soon, their fast guys passed me so I pacelined with them for a short while.

They headed west and I headed east at Marine Drive, with a fabulous view of the Columbia River and Mount Hood. Shortly after, I saw the VBC riders on their "two bridge loop" ride.

Getting 35 miles in before work felt pretty luxurious and I hope to join more of these early morning riders while we still have early daylight.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Crater Lake

Richard, Jenn and I arrived at Diamond Lake campground just in time Friday night to set up our tents and get to bed. The next morning, after coffee and breakfast, Richard and I joined the BOB riders.

We went through the pumice desert, which was prettily polka-dotted with pine trees. We saw plenty of small snowdrifts along the 15 mile climb to Crater Lake, even though the air was warm and it felt summery out.


Finally, we arrived at Crater Lake. This was my first view of it.

Then, around the lake. It was hot and dry and we quickly became dehydrated. A miscommunication with our SAG vehicle left me without water for an hour. But, the climbing was easy and the views were stunning.

Jenn & the SAG team:

The whole group!

Just me.
Another great adventure on two wheels.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mia Birk

Amazing news! My very own bike club, the Vancouver Bike Club, has secured Mia Birk to speak at our November club meeting. THE Mia Birk!!!


I'm not sure if there are enough exclamation points to express my excitement about this! We're even going to reserve a larger venue. More details to follow.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pink Upgrades

Rode the Torpado, my Italian stallion, into work Tuesday. The geometry of this bike is very different than the SOMA. Very short reach, not super fast, but pretty comfy. Not to mention - pretty pretty!

The poor thing felt unloved and unmaintained. Spent lunch lowering the stem a smidge, polishing the frame, putting on new bar tape and replacing the old Campagnolo pedals & toe cages with Shimano clipless.

After work, I took off on my new loop. The bike felt improved, especially with new pedals, but something is still "mushy". Maybe new tires next, although the precise shade of pink (in a quality tire) has proven elusive.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Super Stud Sunday

We met at Scott & Ayla's house in Camas and headed out toward Cougar. At Yacolt we ate nuts and balls and red vines. Ayla turned back, respecting her knee, healing from surgery.

Scott, Nick and I continued on. We rode by gorgeous meadows filled with cows, horses, llamas (or are they alpacas?) and lots of picturesque barns.

Then back through Yacolt, this time for coke, drumsticks and strawberry milk.

I worked my fanny off to keep up with these two fast guys on this almost-century ride. They slowed down for me a few times, but mostly I hung on. Average was 15.4 mph, ride time 6 hours for 92 miles and a fair amount of climbing.

Ayla thoughtfully had Thai food waiting for us back at the top of the hill. What a great day!