Thursday, September 29, 2011

Butte-iful

The sky was full of stars this morning when I left home. So many stars.

Climbed up Rocky Butte a coupla times with some other badasses.


Days that start out like this heal me. From hole person to whole person.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Toast #57

That's right, I've hosted breakfast and led this club ride 57 times now. That's 33 dozen eggs, 40 loaves of bread, 10 jars of syrup and 2280 miles!
Even managed a side jaunt up Rocky Butte before heading home for a change of bikes & clothes pre-pub-crawl.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Which Way Is South?

I get all turned around sometimes. I think I hear people say what I wish they would say. Don't rest enough. Don't eat enough. Drink too much. Fall off my bike. Yet I have no regrets. It's super-rare, but sometimes getting lost is the best way to get found.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Chainges

It's been getting harder and harder to ignore that little noise my drive train has been making so I stopped at the Missing Link and was informed that my chain and cassette are cashed. Cashed! They were new just months ago but it has been a couple thousand miles with a good amount of hills mixed in.

I had to confess to the cute mechanic guy that not only do I work at a bike shop, but I don't know how to do these "easy mechanicals". He charged me nothing and challenged me to ask someone at work to teach me how.

So, today at lunchtime, nice guy Alex taught me how to remove the old cassette and install the new one. He also taught me how to break the old chain, measure it against the new one and install. Surprisingly easy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ride The Rainbow

There are parts of my job that I absolutely adore, like being a "Color Coordination Consultant" for the young fixster picking out just the right color tires and bar tape for his ride. Yeah, I can ride that wave.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Flats


I was wondering just what the heck I would blog about, when, aha!, it hit me. My fourth flat in as many days. Different bikes. Different wheels. Different colors glass.

Vulcanization is occurring while I blog. The preferred time period for this process is four minutes. Unless it's rainy, then I give it six. Check out all the patches on my tube. I like me some patches!

I maintain that I don't mind getting flats. Each one is an opportunity to learn or teach a new skill, stop and smell the flowers or find a silver lining. Today's: it happened at work and we have a floor pump.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sissies & Barbies

Joined the Sisyphean Hill Riders for an out 'n back escapade to Estacada Saturday. King Sisyphus' tricks earned him the gods' revenge. Roll a huge boulder up the hill and just before the top, it rolls back down.

There weren't any punishing hills on this ride, but we had other challenges. I began and ended my day with flat tires and Patty had one mid-day. A crackerass stoner threw a plastic bottle at us from the front seat of a car while clinging tightly to a pillow in his lap. And it rained most of the day.


But we had tons of good luck too. Free burgers at the fire house for one. And running into the Cycle Wild gang as they begin their 9 day tour, which made me want to cancel my regular life and join them. We also won the garage sale lottery with fancy new jackets and Barbies for the girls' bikes.



Finally back to the civilization of Portland, a quick beer at my place and many slow beers at Biketobeerfest. An awesome beginning to the rainy season. Just like Sisyphus, I hope to repeat this sort of day over and over. I hope that boulder never gets done being pushed to the top.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Obstacles & Excuses

The Bike Commute Challenge is putting my laziness to the test this week. So far I'm winning, but I'll admit it's been tough. After 3 days of riding in the mountains last weekend, there's been no rest and no reprieve from riding.

My commute is only 10 miles each way, a veritable walk in the park. The Challenge has been a nice reminder that the car is a luxury and to use it accordingly.

I lived a car-free lifestyle for almost two decades and am grateful to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance for renewing my goal of a limited-car life instead of a car-limited one.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day Three: Recovery & Wrap Up

It's impossible to capture in words the ground that gets covered on trips like these. Sure, it was only 3 days and nights. Sure, it was only 200 miles and 6000 or so feet of elevation gain. But it was so much more.

These three days felt like weeks. Pleasantly blissful weeks chock full of the joy and suffering of cycling. Climbing to the top to see if you can is beyond worthwhile.

And evenings spent in the most sparkling of company. Some off-the-bike highlights include a Le Mans start cruiser race (ok that's not exactly off the bike), ping pong, laying on the couch, feasting, general reclining, i-pod ear-bud sharing and jacuzzi-ing.

My dream of walking off the podium to showers of flower petals was attained, at least figuratively. An absolutely effervescent wrap-up to the best summer I've ever had.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day Two: Butterflies & Bunnies

I get butterflies. Boy do I get 'em, especially before a big ride. On the descent from the 5300 foot pinnacle of McKenzie Pass, we rode through clouds of butterflies. One even tarried on my Terry saddle.
Other bugs bugged me so bad on my way back up, I was a basket case. But soon the nastiness was transcended and morphed back into niceness as more butterflies came back. Somehow these tiny winged creatures remind me I'm still alive and potential abounds.

Speaking of potential and cute woodsy animals, this old dog has learned a brand new trick. I can bunny hop, even with my hands in the drops I can HOP! The opposite of heart is fear and mine was conquered.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day One - Legends of Cycling

In my quest to create my own reality, I semi-privately deem certain riders Legends of Cycling. It is a supremely hard-to-earn title, akin to the Alice B. Toeclips award but without the expensive banquet, news coverage or really any fanfare at all except in my own velo-inspired mind.

Specifications include but are not limited to variables far beyond actual cycling capability. Style is close to the top of the list and is defined not just by apparel and gear choice but timing of such choices. Frame material is also a factor, although not a deal-breaker. Another key is riding body language, which includes hard-to-describe micro-nuances such as soft pedal methodology and pinkie placement.

There are currently five known title-holders, and three legends-in-training. It cannot be revealed who these legends are, except to say that they are ordinary extraordinary people.

On Saturday's climb up the side of Mount Bachelor, unbelievably, two current title-holders and three legends-in-training were present. As is expected of Legends of Cycling, many of these encounters were unexpected and fleeting. All were pure inspiration.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wednesday Sunset

Was gorgeous. Gorgeous. No pictures but just the prettiest sunset, huge fiery ball on the horizon surrounded by a milk-orange sky.

Got caught up in some brambles but didn't fall over or cause my partner to fall over either. Those brambles are thorny!

Then beer and simply beautiful string music. Finished the day with 50 miles on my odo - not too shabby for a workday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bikes 'Round Town

Up in the air bike.

Cruiser sans pedals & lock.

Matchy matchy chick on phone.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

VBC Summer Picnic

Fritz joined me for the ride to Vancouver Lake Park.

Clay shows me a tack I almost rode over.

Jim hands me next year's camp reservation for the Gorge Tour.

VBC jerseys aplenty!



Slow race, tandem category.


Slow race, solo cat.

DQ'd.

Flat fixing contest.


Post-picnic ride with Jim and George. You could see and smell smoke in the air from the nearby forest fire. Funny the trail is called "burnt bridge".



I won't need those stinkin' bridges again anyway.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Maria’s Mushy Gushes

*
Tush on the saddle, hands in the drops, feet on the pedals. The fetal position.

Wind curling around biceps.

The knowledge that life is up ahead and you better hurry up and go get some.

The smell of clover. Jasmine. Even cigarettes.

The sound of the chain. Of the coasting freewheel.

That one little droplet of sweat that drips down the inside of your arm.

A bug hitting you in the face hard.

That little whisper of rubber on asphalt.

Riding with a group, like we’re a gang. When you’re a jet, you’re a jet.

Leading a paceline. Sucking someone’s wheel. Riding alone.

Coping with pain. Digging down to that hard little core inside.

Having arrived at your destination every second. Now and now and now.

The Italian-ness of it. The French-ness. The American-ness.

Body meeting machine, the ultimate robotic organism.

The slow and quick, easy and hard, utility and luxury.



(excerpt from Vancouver Bike Club September newsletter article)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Courier Coffee

Sprout Cycles and North Street Bags had their wares on display at Joel's place last night.


Two turntables but no microphone.


Talking bikes with Edwin from Sprout Cycles is pure stimulation. Makes my daydreams of custom bikes feel possible.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bike Commute Challenge!

STOP what you're doing right now (or after you finish reading this blog entry) and register for the Bike Commute Challenge!

Why, you ask? The main reason is that the more seasoned bike commuters participate, the more new riders are motivated to join in the fun. More bikes! More bikers! What could be more awesome? A free beer party at the end, that's what!

Even if you work from home, you can log miles you ride for work-related errands. You get discounts at many area bike shops. You can compete with other participants, finally showing your friends (or enemies!) who's boss.

New this year, you can create and compete with different leagues. For example, there's a bike shop league that my team is competing within - not just for mileage but percentage of commuters and commute days.

So, join the fun! If you'd like to challenge me, go to individuals and search Maria Schur. I will beat you. Or I won't. Either way, we both win!