Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coffeeneuring Challenge 2012 # 7: Velo Cult, NE 42nd & Tillamook

Today was mostly a day off -- now that I am tutoring Hebrew students privately I don't always have two full days "off" each week, so I have to squeeze these things in when I can. Thankfully, my Hebrew student met with me early in the day so I could ride around afterwards and get my errands done.

I set out on a balmy, wet day (highs in the mid-60s, steady rain most of the day) clad in full rain regalia and prepared to get soaked. The fall colors were still in evidence in many places, making everything gold and orange and really beautiful; so I didn't mind.

First up: a trip to Crank Bike Shop (http://crankpdx.com/) to pick up a frame I'd arranged to have shipped there. (I scored this frame just before I'd found the Sekai a couple of weeks back, and it finally arrived over the weekend.) Crank runs a hot pot with coffee but I wouldn't consider it a full-on coffee stop. Still, I enjoyed unwrapping my cool, new frame (a 1986 StumpJumper that I may build into a singlespeed -- but let me finish the Sekai first!), hefting Justin's new cyclocross wheel (weighed something like 12 ounces -- stupid light) and chatting with the fellas.

I continued on through Northeast, riding up to NE 39th and crossing over the freeway into the Hollywood District for another planned stop at Velo Cult (1969 NE 42nd Avenue -- http://velocult.com/). This is a bike shop AND a community cultural space which hosts films, presidential debates, and live music on a very cool drop-down stage made from a miniature castle door.

As I am playing a show here next week (https://www.facebook.com/events/405726299492653/), I thought it would be a good idea to come by and scope things out -- check out where I want to put seating, set up a space to sell CDs, etc.

The store is really pretty unassuming from the street, except for a couple of bikes on display in the heavily-barred windows. But inside it is delightfully comfortable for a bike shop. A long table made from recycled bowling lanes dominates the room, with benches for folks to sit at while they eat and drink and sometimes wait for their bikes to be repaired.

Velo Cult does not serve food (they'd need a license for that and they're unlikely to be approved in the same room inhabited by rubber and oil), but you can bring your own. They do offer a great selection of microbrews on tap, wine and bottled pop, and even a rootbeer tap for the kids.

The shop is almost cavernous, with lots of open space and a high ceiling -- big enough that, on a quiet day, I can bring my cargo bike into the shop and park it alongside the large communal table.

I hung my wet togs up to partially dry and had lunch, read magazines, and checked my email on my semi-ancient-style mobile phone. I am surprised that I can check my mail and even my Facebook messages on a phone this old-style, but I can.

I can also take medicore pictures that are good enough for documentation purposes.

While I ate and drank and relaxed, a mechanic was at work on a customer's bike.  He kindly stopped what he was doing to wash his hands and brew me a cup of coffee.

I also picked up a couple of inner tubes for my Sekai project. It felt weird to buy tubes and pay full pop at a bike shop, after being able to buy stuff at cost-plus-ten for so many years. But it's okay. My work-life has moved on, and this is part of the new trip.

The Ethiopian coffee was so tasty that it did not need milk or sugar, a rarity for someone used to adding a little of both.  I will order it again.
Finally, when it was time to go home and do some lesson-planning for my classes, I suited up -- my rain gear was only damp now -- said my goodbyes, and took a long, scenic route towards home in a light, steady, almost pleasant rain.

Total distance: 12.8 miles.

No comments: