Sunday, April 20, 2014

thirty days of biking: week three highlights

Highlights of the third week of 30 Days Of Biking: Springtime in Portland.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

thirty days of biking: week two highlights

A few highlights from the second week of my pledge to ride daily for thirty days:

1. I thrilled to the sound of geese flying low overhead as I crossed the Broadway Bridge this past Sunday to go to my teaching job. It was a brilliant morning that grew sunnier and warmer with every mile.

The view when I arrived at work:

2. Bike Boulevards are the new "Bike Routes". Basically, the City of Portland has decided (in its infinite wisdom?) that painting sharrows on the streets and adding cute little toppers to street signs helps to make it clearer that This Is A Street Where Bike Riders Should Go In Droves. Or something like that. It has certainly helped in some places, like NE Going Street. In other places it's not yet clear if this re-branding has made much of a difference in bicyclist safety.

3. The Portland Loo saved me more than once this past week, when I made it downtown and had to rush to find a restroom quickly. On a Sunday morning. When almost nothing was open yet. Mostly I can manage the symptoms of Crohn's disease; but when I can't I am so glad to find a Portland Loo. This is a public bathroom structure made of steel and large enough to wheel your bicycle inside while you take care of business. There are two that are on my route to work and they come in handy (except when someone is sleeping in one, which has happened occasionally).

Next week: a report on how to fuel up for long rides while living with the dietary restrictions of Passover. (Hint -- Matzoh Roca is an amazing source of quick carbs.)

Happy riding!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

for sale: bridgestone mb-4 with some serious upgrades

Selling my short-track bike. Retro-fitted in 2012 and raced ONCE, then hung up indoors. In excellent condition, and I'll toss in a brand-new set of never-mounted Panaracer small-block tires that are perfect for short-track. Please tell your friends!

Monday, April 7, 2014

thirty days of biking: day seven

A lovely morning that started out cool and got warm quickly! Sunny and bright, with a high of 70F!

Met a friend to catch up over at the library; then looped around the neighborhood before heading back to the house to do some yard work and hang out with Sweetie in the sun. Headed out again in the afternoon to meet students. A beautiful day, and the ride home in the cool, delicious evening air was heavenly.

Bike Polo House, NE Portland. Note the polo mallets used to repair the missing posts.

Foreclosures have slowed down but are still a real problem in inner eastside Portland. A number of homes have these signs in their yards, urging neighbors who are struggling with their banks to stay and fight.

Sweetie uses this library all the time for her work as a freelance writer/researcher. She and the librarians get along swimmingly; every now and then she bakes them cookies.

April gets busier for me now, with preparations for Passover around the corner and planning for the remainder of the school year consuming more of my time and energy. So for the remainder of this glorious month of daily rides, I will save up the best photos of the week's rides and post them each Friday morning. Happy riding!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

thirty days of biking: day six

After riding into town this morning to teach and heading home again, I did some pre-Pesach cleaning and then relaxed for a little while with Sweetie before heading out for another ride, this on a recreational affair with a group calling themselves Womens' Bike Swarm. I'd gotten an invite on my Facebook feed to join this ride, which would begin at a city park and end at a local pub. The group's stated purpose: to encourage more women to ride bicycles in Portland, and to consider the reasons women remain underrepresented in the city's cycling share. I rode across town all the way to Colonel Sommers Park, arrives on the dot at the appointed time, and waited for half an hour, taking an occasional loop around the park to see if there was a group of women with their bicycles. Nothing. I kept riding around every five to ten minutes or so, and found nothing other then small groups of park-users and folks tending community garden plots in the late afternoon sunshine. I tried reaching the group via Facebook, but my [not-smart] flip-phone wouldn't let me send messages via FB.
Finally, around 6 pm, I gave up and made my way home. I had a ride, just not the ride I'd hoped for. I decided to leave a note on the FB page for the event sharing my experience. Honestly, while I would like to find a group of women to ride with from time to time, I think I'd prefer a group that had its act a little more together, and one whose leaders did not assume that everyone in the universe can afford smartphone technology.

Still, it was nice to ride this afternoon. The sun came out and warmed things up considerably, allowing me to ride in shirtsleeves at a leisurely pace that I could manage after a long morning of teaching and having already ridden eight miles. By the time I got home I had ridden over twenty miles on the day, the most I generally ride at one time anymore. Dinner and a glass of cider helped calm my indignation, and tonight I can feel glad for having had a nice ride in the sunshine. I also recognize that perhaps I need to look at a different demographic for female riding friends who like slow rides. The older I get, the less patience I find that I have for the Spontaneity Generation.

..:: sigh::..

Saturday, April 5, 2014

thirty days of biking: day five

Sometimes you just have to go get stuff. First, an egg pickup from our friend whose urban chicken condo is in full production right now (so local, so organic, happy chickens, no guilt). Then, it was off to the lumber yard to get a couple bags of wood pellets. I would've waited till Monday if we weren't so close to being out; I prefer not having to go to stores on Saturday. But our supply wouldn't have lasted the cats two days, and it was a nice ride all the same.

The guys at the lumber yard are totally fine about letting me roll right into the warehouse where the bags of pellets are stacked up, though they do insist on loading my trailer for me. The "new" trailer date from the late 90's and is rated to carry up to 100 lbs. I probably could have managed another 40 lb. bag; but storage space at home dictated that I stop at two bags.

The ride home was short and sweet. Today's weather: high of 55F, with light showers on and off throughout the day. Starting Monday it's supposed to warm up quite a lot -- into the 70s!

stolen trailer: update

UPDATE: An email from one of my bicycle buddies has just informed me that my "old" (stolen) trailer had been spotted at a "very rough-looking" homeless encampment in east Multnomah County, some fifteen miles from where I live. It was piled high with camping gear and other stuff, and beng towed by a big, tall guy who looked like he might be mentally altered in some way (unable to hold a straight line while he pedaled, menacing-looking expression).
Lesson: Poverty is real, and it sucks, and it drives some people to desperate acts. Whoever stole my trailer was desperate enough to think he needed it more than I did. I am blessed with employment that enabled me to save up and buy another used trailer to fix up and use, and one that folds so I can lock it up inside at night.
That's life in this world today. In cities across America, distinctions of "have" and "have not" are being reduced to a much more base level than before. I'm not a "have" because I am healthy enough to be able to rely on a bicycle trailer to haul with I need, but because I have a job that allowed me to buy a trailer instead of stealing one.