Sunday, October 11, 2015

coffeeneuring challenge 2015:4 -- the official cheapskate ride

I decided that I could spare a little change to actually buy coffee on today's ride, as long as I spent as little as possible. Knowing that the foofy shops would charge me in excess of $7.00 for a cup of shade-grown, fair-trade coffee and some artisan pastry, I opted for the cheapskate route.

I went to Plaid Pantry, Store # 22 (N. Killingsworth and Denver, Overlook neighborhood)

 (for non-Oregonians, it's sort of like 7-11 but a little less multi-national corporate.)

The sign in the window does not correlate with the prices. I would avoid the "cappucino" machine and just get coffee. I filled my cup for $1.35 and it was hot and fresh. It wasn't, well, artisinal; but what-the-hell-ever. It was way cheaper than the $3.75 that my local foofy shop would've charged me.

Amazingly, it did not totally suck.

And it went rather well with the generic baked item I also got there (see below).
 From Plaid pantry, I rode around the Overlook neighborhood.

Here I must digress a little. If you're not a fan of TMI (Too Much Information), scroll down a bit.

I have Crohn's disease. It's considered "mild to moderate" which means I can actually leave the house and function most days. I manage it with medication and avoidance of certain foods (every person with Crohn's has a list of foods to avoid, and no two lists are exactly alike.)
While elsewhere in Coffeeneuringland, you will read about folks doing metric centuries and/or other ambitious rides in the beautiful countryside, you won't find much of that here at my blog. The simple fact is that with age and other factors, it has gotten too hard for me to ride distances of much longer than about ten miles on average and twenty miles tops without experiencing some difficulty related to my gut.So I listen to my body and ride within my limits.

(Note: Please DO NOT respond at my blog with suggestions on how to treat my symptoms. I've lived with Crohn's nearly my whole life and have become something of an authority on my body; plus I'm working with a great GI doc who is very helpful. Thanks in advance.)

I did dabble in Randonneuring for a year and a half, and enjoyed five seasons of mountain bike and cyclocross racing before my gut told me it was time to hang it up and just ride my bike for pleasure and transportation. I'm not sad. I can still ride a bike today, just not very far or fast, and I still get a lot of joy from riding.

However, when I need a bathroom I need it yesterday. So my riding around in circles in Overlook was for the sole purpose of finding evidence of the ongoing gentrification that dominates the Portland landscape these days. It took exactly eight minutes of riding from the time I left Plaid Pantry until I found what I needed, six blocks away: a construction site.

Another beautiful factoid: I was blessed from birth with an almost complete absence of olfactory capability. I can't smell much of anything at all, including farts, kitty litter, Camas, WA (mill town with a legendary odor) -- and porta-potties.

Life is good.

From here, I enjoyed a longer ride along Ainsworth Street, tree branches hanging low with brown and red leaves, all the way back to my favorite bench in Peninsula Park, where I stopped to sit, enjoy the last of the summer's roses still in bloom, and read a little Torah in advance of meeting with my study group tomorrow morning.

The late afternoon air felt good on my skin, cool without being chilly; and I enjoyed the sights and sounds of folks walking and biking past. In the distance, a young woman was getting ready for her QuinceaƱera, or coming-of-age party, slipping the enormous dress on over t-shirt and shorts for formal photos, with two friends helping her and all of them laughing happily.

I started to feel a chill after about half an hour, and decided it was time to head home. Along the way, I stopped at a couple of "Free" piles to see if there was anything worth claiming either for my use or for resale; I found a couple of nice vintage thermoses and a busted table knife. The thermoses will eventually get cleaned up and sold; the knife went in the recycling when I got home so some kid wouldn't hurt themselves with it.

All in all, not a bad ride. I probably managed around 7 1/2 miles or so, enjoying a nice loop and beautiful early fall weather.

Being on the lookout for work, I've decided not to worry about the rules quite so much this time around. If I find myself with some free time I'll go for a ride and try to remember to bring a thermos along. If it's not the same two days each week, I won't worry about it. Bicycling also helps my depression and anxiety, two things I've decided I'll no longer hide or be ashamed of. I'm happy to dispel myths and stigma whenever I can. The bicycle is a great way to help with that.Some days it's the only way.

Additional photos at my Flickr page.

Happy riding!

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