Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Summertime

For me, summer started last spring when I separated from my job.  Separated, a politically correct term, fit well.  It felt like a divorce, with all of the pain that implies.  After several months of soul searching and yard work and starting the Bicycle Kitty business, I see now that this change is leading me to a better place.

Meanwhile, I slacked off on keeping up this blog.  I'm going to flush away the shame and guilt of getting behind by catching up in one entry to encapsulate the awesomeness of this summer. 

First off, the 4th Annual Tour de Beavers was a big success.  Eight ladies got together for a fun ride to Corvallis to drink beer, build new friendships, and practice our Tour de Beavs traditions.
Pedalpalooza provided its usual mix of crazy costumes and themed urban rides.  Last year there was buzz that maybe our little festival was dying.  This year, event attendance was huge and the calendar was stocked with both old favorites and new rides.  The ever-popular kick off ride was a highlight and it's evolved into a weekly Thursday night urban ride.  I believe they're on their twenty fifth consecutive week of taking the streets for human use.
The vintage ride gave me an excuse to dust off my old pink Torpado.  We rode close to twenty miles, all around the east side, including up Mount Tabor.  The leader offered a beer to anyone who showed up with a suicide shifter or old style derailleur. 
Grilled By Bike has become quite the movement and team.  They even had a group riding the Oregon Outback this year.  I met my basket twin at one of the delicious park stops.
The Northeast Alley ride was especially fun this year.  Over 100 riders wove their way through fifteen miles of unimproved roadways.  I had the privilege of acting as a sweeper and flat fixer. 
The Bike Play is also a big people pleaser.  Their story featured time travel to foil a villain whose evil plan was to replace the bicycle with the segue.  We visited Dunlop (inventor of the pneumatic tire), and rode past scenes of Bike Plays of previous years.  Afterwards, it was time for prom and your writer was all decked out in satin and sparkly makeup for the occasion.  Next year I'm not going without a date, as attending prom stag gets one excluded from some of the fun (like couples photos).
What Pedalpalooza would be complete without a Swim Across Portland?  I absolutely loved leading riders up Terwilliger to Wilson Pool, over the Sellwood Bridge to the next pool and finally to the Bike Commuter to take a dip in beer.
It's hard to even keep track of where the summer blew me next.  How about up and around Mount Hood on an adventurous and challenging ride I hope becomes an annual event.  We named it the Chalet Tour, since we were staying in a beautifully homey chalet atop the mountain, generously offered by rider extraordinaire MaryJean and her husband SAG extraordinaire Rick. 
Riders met in Welches, climbed Lolo Pass, hung around for a while on the gravel descent fixing a flat, and descended into Parkdale.  We were racing daylight, so we crammed in a quick lunch, then rode up Cooper's Spur.  This part is fast for me, because I know there's beer waiting at the lodge up top.  Then up highway 35.  And up.  Slow and hungry, I was seeing stars. 

The earlier flat reared its head again, and this time the tear in the tire was too large to boot.  So, I finally had the opportunity to test the "children in the village" theory.  The idea is that, no matter how worn out you and your legs may be, if there's an emergency, (ie children in the village awaiting urgent medicine), you can rise to the occasion.  I took my shredded legs and revved them up the rest of the hill at top speed, looking for a cell signal so I could call AAA.  It worked!  Children in the village is not a myth!
Soon it was time to head south for my daily dose of hippie-land.  Many adventures and even some misadventures make all of my trips south super fun.  I enjoyed a loop around Dorena Reservoir, some in-town exploration, a visit to Bike Church, even an illegal bridge crossing!
My eleventh STP.  The rally call of ON YOUR LEFT (usually as a "corrective measure" from newbie riders as I passed on their left) still echoes in my ears.  Eleven may be enough.

A new addition this year was a slight change in the route, taking us through a military base.  This proved awesome because of the views of aircraft, along with a temporary decrease in the enormous number of cars and PSV (personal support vehicles - yes, many riders bring their cars).
The rest of summer was whiled away acting as event support for several rides, including the Ride to Defeat ALS right near (but never actually up to) Mount Angel, the Portland Century, and Tour de Lab.  Riding event support is great fun, and free. 
I enjoyed the unparalleled privilege of leading century rides for the Missing Link bicycle shop.  In July we rode to Cascade Locks and back.  August took us to Ripplebrook, and up and over a large boulder barricade.  Riding out together with several types of riders, some with a different distance in mind than others, is a superb way to start the day.
There've also been some nice little side adventures, thanks to local clubs like the Vancouver Bike Club, the Portland Wheelmen and the meetup group NW Rideabouts.  I love me some freds!