Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Off-Season Coffeeneuring (OSC). Because, coffee. And bikes.

Since I'm traveling a fair amount this winter, I'll be trying to get in as much bicycle riding as I can when I'm home.
This is harder than it used to be, both because of not having a "job" to commute to, and because the darker days and the rain are harder for me to live with than they used to be.
So when it's not raining and there's daylight, I am making myself get outside, even if it's only for an hour or two, and I pedal my bike around town. If I have errands to add that makes it easier to go farther than my neighborhood; but even if I don't it's still nice to get out and ride. Yesterday's ride was under mostly sunny skies, cool enough to need a heavy sweater but nice in the sunny spots.

The official Coffeeneuring Challenge is in the books for another year. So now I'm in the off-season. Like many devotees of both bicycles and coffee, that just means Off-Season Coffeeneuring, or OSC.
Yesterday it was a quick trip up to New Seasons Market on N. Interstate Avenue, where I enjoyed a cup of the good stuff (Nossa, of course). Then, I took the scenic route home, riding over to Ainsworth so I could take a loop through Peninsula Park.

On the way over the freeway, I had to stop. It was around 3:30 in the afternoon. And the northbound lanes of I-5 were backed up as far as the eye could see. I admit I felt smug, but only for a moment. The enormity of the imbalance -- between my decision to ride a bike and the choices so many thousands made every day to drive a car -- sank in. Riding my bike won't save the planet. But if I can do anything at all to reduce my footprint and it inspires others to reconsider their options, perhaps together we can all stall the end of the world a little bit.

So I snapped what is probably the last decent photo on my ancient digital camera:

I stood there for a good ten minutes, watching the traffic below me creep northward to Vancouver.
The Portland metro area is estimated to grow by another million people in less than ten years' time.
Considering how little affordable housing is left in town and the fact that the formerly-dying suburbs are now crowding with an overflow of the working poor (all priced out of inner-eastside Portland), I'm not sure where on earth a million more people think they're going to live when they arrive.

At least when Sweetie and I are ready to sell our crappy little workman's bungalow -- in, oh, thirty years or so -- we're virtually guaranteed a buyer. That's something.
Meanwhile, I'll keep riding, through fatigue, illness, aging and bouts of depression, and through the rain as long as I can.
Today's ride took me up to the cheap bento place on Killingsworth. I had a full punch card so my $4.99 teriyaki bowl was free today (good thing, because money's tight right now). I made a loop past Community Supported Everything and its free closet, and stopped in at the Community Cycling Center to poke through the bins. As I headed home, the sunset was a beautiful parade of blue, purple and pink fading down to red through the clouds. I tried to take pictures, but my camera is basically a goner now. (sigh)
Tomorrow, I'll look for another coffee place to nurse a cup of the good stuff.
See you on the road.

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