Sunday, April 30, 2017

30 days of biking: April 30

April 30. Last day.

An easy ride through N. Portland, then over the Broadway Bridge and into downtown for a cultural event at my synagogue. (I'll ride home afterwards too, stopping along the way to visit friends and check out the river levels at Overlook. I'm told the record rainfall has made some of the old boat tie-poles partially disappear under the water.)
And today ends the #30daysofbiking festival across the country and around the globe. Thanks to the miracle of electronic communication, we meet each other, see glimpses of each other's towns and cities (and bicycles), and make the world a little bit smaller and a lot more friendly. Glad to have participated, logging 31 rides in 30 days and reminding myself that distance doesn't matter nearly as much as getting outside and turning the cranks does.
Thanks to my bicycle, I see the world at a slower pace and through constantly refreshed eyes, like I did this morning.
So continuing to ride every day -- or most days -- isn't so difficult. Especially when I consider the alternatives.

Happy riding!

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

30 days of biking: april 27-29

April 27: Tested out a hitch I'd repaired for a donated trailer, but hauling home a load of pellets from the lumber yard. It worked fine.I took a second ride later in the day to see a student, so two rides on the day.

April 28: Can't share videos directly from FB, so let's just say that I rode around the neighborhood in between rain showers. Video is here if you have FB and want to watch my very amateurish attempts at, ahem, filmmaking:

April 29: Garage sale finds and bicycle infrastraucture.

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One more day of this, and then I can go back to other bike-related posts. It's been fun to see if I could make myself ride every day without making it feel like a massive chore.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

30 days of biking: April 24-26

April 24: Short ride, errands, nothing to see here.

April 25: I slept poorly and awoke feeling out of sorts in a Crohn's-y sort of way; and if I hadn't pre-registered I might have stayed home, but I went. Across town to our Jewish Community Center, to enjoy lunch and hear a lecture I'd looked forward to in weeks. I went multi-modal both ways -- thank goodness for Trimet -- and enjoyed myself. By the time I got home the real fatigue was setting in. Done for the day.    
(Below: en route - Portland Bus Mall; At the JCC; and homeward on MAX Light Rail.)                                               

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April 26: Rain and short sun breaks, taking turns all day. Rode to Kenton to see how the new location for Kenton Cycle Repair was shaping up; stopped for lunch at Cup & Saucer (yeah, I've got a thing for the place) and then rode home. Actually warm enough to wear just a sweatshirt when it wasn't raining. The days are warming up, slowly and surely.
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"It's Spring, and the world is puddle-wonderful..." -- e. e. cummings

Sunday, April 23, 2017

30 days of biking: April 23

Today was supposed to be a lovely day. I had plans to meet a former student across town for breakfast (where we'd discuss, among other things, her summer wedding that she'd asked me to officiate at); and after that I had a host of errands planned that would have me eventually loop back home.
Spring showers with periodic breaks were forecast and I was ready.

When I arrived at the cafe, I felt the sudden and dreaded moment of realizing that Crohn's was going to have its way with me -- and I still had to lock up my bike and get inside to a restroom and fumble with my clothes, and... dammit, the light wasn't working. And the other restroom was in use.
Every Crohnie's nightmare was unfolding and I couldn't stop it.
So I had an accident. In the dark. And I could not see a thing.
Eventually, I heard the other restroom door open and close, and before I could think about what I was doing, I bolted across the hallway and locked myself in the restroom that had a functioning light.
Then, cursing my Crohn's all the while, I spent the next twenty minutes doing emergency laundry in the restroom and reconciling myself to having breakfast in clean-but-wet slacks.

When I came out, I took aside the hostess, explained the situation and apologized profusely.
She was awesome, telling me not to worry about it and that she was sorry about the bathroom light.
Apparently, that light hasn't worked in some time, and there's a little table lamp that was supposed to be turned on before the cafe opened. It hadn't been. She told me not to worry, she'd take care of everything, and showed me to a booth.
I was grateful that she was so cool about it.
I've been to places where the proprietors weren't cool -- one even told me if I couldn't control myself I should never leave the house -- and being shown such kindness really helped my morning considerably.

I spread some newspapers down on my seat, and texted to let my former student know I'd arrived. She texted back that she had totally forgotten our meeting. And she was on the west side of town, too far away to make it here in time, even if I waited for her.
She was very sorry and told me to order whatever I liked, she'd pay me back for it when we met again.
I shrugged.
I ordered.
And then I waited. And waited some more. And watched as people who'd been seated after me were getting their breakfasts served. it was clear to me by then that someone in the kitchen had lost my order.
My waitress noticed, and checked on it, and came back to tell me it was on its way.
Fifteen minutes later -- fully an hour after I'd placed my order -- I was served. it was hot, and tasty, and I was glad I didn't have to be somewhere else by a certain time.

My pants were still quite wet, but the newspaper was helping speed things along. I figured I'd ride them dry by the time I got home. I took my time eating and enjoyed every bite.
When I was ready to leave, the hostess came to my table and said, "I am so sorry about everything. Your breakfast is on me. Please come back anytime, we'd love to see you again."
I assured her I would, and thanked her again.

I went ahead with most of my errands. My pants were dry by the time I got halfway home. And the day wasn't a total loss. Plus, I got to ride. When I got home, I chucked my clothes in the laundry and took a hot shower. Then I settled down with a book and one of the cats. A pretty good afternoon in spite of itself.

Happy Cup Coffee Company provides the coffee for all the Cup & Saucer locations, and it's tasty.
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Reflective Window Selfie on NE Broadway. It mostly didn't do more than drizzle the whole time I was out. Delightful and not too cold.

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Below: How NOT to lock a bike. To be fair, this had probably left outside all night. On SE Grand. Not a great idea all around.                                                    
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Urban funk and grit: a building from another era, and probably not long for the world.
Five years from now I fully expect it to be gone, replaced by still more unaffordable housing.
SE 20th and Stark.
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 You gotta love this stuff while it's still here -- the old ugly buildings, the vacant lots, the potholed alleyways -- because they are survivors of a time when everything was not pristine and sanitized for our protection.  And it's important that we still have things like this in our lives to keep us from becoming totally sterile and too safe. A little funk and dirt never killed anyone.
Happy riding!

Friday, April 21, 2017

30 days of biking: April 19-22

April 19: More spring showers. And more flowers. My knees hurt -- they've been hurting regularly for a couple of weeks and this morning it was more intense. Still, I'm glad I went out today. The fast-moving clouds and intermittent showers were beautiful to behold.                                                                                             


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April 20: The first of two days spent finishing tune-ups for Catholic Charities refuge resettlement project. So my rides were test rides of the finished bikes. Today, an entry-level city bike that rode surprisingly well after a tune-up.

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April 21: The first of two rides was a test ride on an old Fisher mountain bike that Kai at Upcycles gave me. It needed a lot of parts, all of which I had at home; so I finished building it up, and of course I swapped out the plastic grip shifters or some basic metal [friction] thumb shifters. MUCH better now.
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 Fender hack. I LOVE zip-ties.
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 Capped corks from old bottles of port make great handlebar plugs. Wrap a layer or three of tape around the cork so it fits snugly inside steel upright bars.
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April 22: Ridden afternoon of April 21 in anticipation of not being able to ride tomorrow.
(my 30 days, my rules.)
A nice, sunny loop to and from Velo Cult Bike Shop, where there's always something interesting to see. This trip it included a couple of nice Rawland touring frames; an antique tricycle and an absolutely stunning 2009 rando bike from MAP Cycles (aka Mitch Pryor). Bike porn is good for the soul. Enjoy, and I'll see you on Sunday.
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

30 days of biking: April 18

A good day with lots of errands.
Being Tax Day in America, I dropped off the returns at the post office, then rode around the neighborhood scavenging, riding through puddles and hiding out from the worst of the big rain that blew through between sunbreaks.
 Evidence of sunbreak between rain showers.

I had to remove my jacket shortly after this photo because I actually warmed up enough to ride in a t-shirt.

Repurposed bathroom tiles used as ground cover, Alberta Street.

Don't like the weather? Wait five minutes.

Later in the evening, after a lesson with a guitar student, I headed out again to meet friends at the local pizza joint, where we all "broke" Pesach by eating leavened goods again.

Good neighbor pizza serves amazing pizza knots.
Garlic, or Blue cheese and bacon, with marinara sauce for dipping. Heavenly, and so rich I only eat them once a year.

Monday, April 17, 2017

30 days of biking: April 13-16

Working backwards from yesterday:

April 16: A short ride to meet a B'nai Mitzvah parent at a local coffee shop. Nothing ambitious, though I also got in a test ride later after tuning up a bike for Catholic Charities.
A lubed drivetrain is a happy drivetrain.

The sign from the bike shop in Waldport, Oregon where I apprenticed twenty-four years ago. Quinn painted this sign the summer I worked for him. When I went back ten years later to help his widow sort out the remaining tools and parts, she insisted I take this home with me. "Youwere the only apprentice who stuck with it and made a career in the industry," she told me. "He was proud of you."

April 15: Probably the craziest day of the month. I rode across town to Ladd's Addition to hang with friends and watch the Second Annual Ladd's 500. 500 laps around Ladd's Circle equals 100 miles. It's a stupid way to complete a century, but dozens of people did just that. I even hopped in a rode a few illegal laps just for the hell of it. Stupid and fun enough that I'm pondering riding with a team next year.
 Though probably not in costume.


The intrepid Brock, who did a solo relay (500 laps, switching back and forth between two different bikes).

April 13: Errands around town, including the drive-thru window at the drug store and a stop at the Bike Farm (non-profit) for a few spare parts.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

30 days: catching up (April 7-12)

Sorry about the lag in posts.

Passover preparations and seders took precedence this week and so I'm sharing a few random photos here to catch up.

April 7 and 8: shorter rides, errands and such. No photos here, sorry.

April 9:I took a bunch of donations up to Community Supported Everything on Alberta, and left them in the "Free" Closet out front. I love how much carrying capacity my Bridgestone has!

 The Free Closet is a place where people can leave donations of clothing, books and household items, and/or take what they need. Once a week a volunteer comes by and rearranges and reorganizes whatever's there to keep things neat.

More neighborhoods ought to have places like this.

Afterwards, I went next door to the Community Cycling Center and checked out Salvage Sunday. Every Sunday, people can bring their own tools and pull of whatever parts they need from bikes that are too far gone to fix up and resell. Then you pay by the pound to take it home.
I found some nice racks, fenders, seat wedges and a few other random parts that will go towards my Refugee Bikes project.

April 10: A quick, enjoyable run to the store to get a few last-minute things for our seder that evening. (As long as I can refill my coffee cup along the way, I'll go almost anywhere Sweetie asks me to.)

April 11: I actually ended up postponing this ride until the morning of the 12th because I had too many Passover-related items to attend to.
A short little run up to the produce place on Killingsworth.

April 12: By the early evening I still had not gotten in my ride for the actual day today. So I hopped on my bike and did a brisk run around the park and home again in the rain. I got a little soaked but it felt good.

Happily, I'm now back on schedule for the rest of the week.

Happy riding!


Friday, April 7, 2017

30 days - April 6: Roadway Not Improved

A few pictures from Thursday's ride.

Urban Farm Collective. One of several plots around N/NE Portland. Vacant lots are taken over and planted with produce. People can sign up for a plot and tend it themselves on their own schedule. This plot has been looking pretty haggard for several months, and the house next door to it has shown a few signs of sprucing up. I worry that signals the end of this plot as sprucing up generally preceds another old house being put on the market.

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Below: There are dozens of these unfinished blocks, especially in North and Northeast Portland, usually marked with signs like this one. Potholed, and filled with loose and packed gravel, they are actually fun to navigate. I used to use them as practice sports when I prepared for short-track mountain bike race season; great places to practice bike-handling.

Image may contain: sky, basketball court, tree and outdoor    Another shot of just what's involved in spots like this. Often, homeowners whose houses open onto these blocks will fight to keep them unimproved, to prevent a spike in their property taxes. I know, that's SO Oregon.
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Feet shown for scale.

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Best view of all came near the end of my ride when I looked up and saw this:
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These beautifully back-lit clouds signaled the advancing storm, which arrived from the coast shortly after dinnertime.
Today (Friday) it's very windy and there have been power outages all over town, so I may only partake in a "ceremonial" short ride to the corner store and back. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

30 days of biking: April 5

I am so far behind in my preparations for Passover -- first seder is Monday night and the in-laws arrive Saturday -- that the last thing I need is to find time for a daily bike ride these days.
And yet, riding was exactly what I needed. Sweetie pushed me out the door and said, "don't come back until you've ridden at least two miles. Fast."

It wasn't a big ride. I took a scenic loop up to the drug store to pick up something sweet and a few household items. Along the way, I enjoyed some gorgeous spring blooms and delighted in a small "free" box outside the soon-to-be former location of Upcycles. (They're moving to a new space at 16th off Killingsworth.)

When I got home, we checked the weather forecast, and saw that rain would begin tonight and last the next three days. So I pulled out the lawn mower and got a little upper body workout while the grass was still merely damp and mowable.

I will be slammed tomorrow with final house-cleaning and any ride I take will be ceremonially short.

The last of the big, beautiful blossoms in the neighborhood. Many of the trees have begun to drop petals as the summer greens begin to crowd out the flowers.
Look what came today!
Thank you, Banjo Brothers.
Looky what I found!  My second bike parts free box in two days.
A fair amount of what was here will be useful when I fix up bikes for refugees, including fender bits, handlebars and stem, even a small pump.

I LOVE scavenging for parts.