Sunday, December 31, 2017

last rides of 2017

Assorted photos from the last two days of riding in 2017.

1. Breadwinner Cycles. A bit of off-season coffeeneuring, plus a chance to see the new cafe space at Breadwinner and catch up with ira on the joys of parenthood (he and his wife welcomed a little girl several weeks ago).

Great coffee from Water Avenue was a bonus.

Off-season coffeeneuring at Breadwinner Cafe

2. A ride around NoPo and a stop at Norther Cycles to soak up the shop vibe and look at beautiful steel frames.
Sexy sexy fork crown.
It's a thing.
I just love old-school fork crowns like this one.

3.Lasy day of 2017. I mostly puttered around NE Portland. I stopped in at the CCC for Scrap Sunday, where I scored a few useful things and left an impossibly tall (27"!) and rusty old road frame. Since I can't imagine anyone in the refugee resettlement program being tall enough to need it (they'd have to be something like 6' 8" or taller!) and there was enough rust on it that I felt totally fine leaving it with them. Afterwards, I rode around North Portland and enjoyed looking for free boxes in the fading afternoon sunlight. I scored an old logging helmet and a stainless steel water bottle cage. Further along Alberta Street, restaurant, someone had bound together a stack of 29'er tires and leaned them against the fence in front of the American Legion Hall. If they had been 26" tires I would have taken them all home -- I can never find enough of these for my refugee bikes -- but I didn't need these larger tires and let them be. (Any 29'er riders, they may still be there in the morning if you ride by.)

While scavenging, I availed myself of some hot, cheap coffee at the 7-11 near Alberta Park and thus enjoyed some off-season coffeeneuring along the way.
Which was appropriate, because my 2017 Coffeeneuring Challenge patch arrived and I finally had time to sew it onto my saddlebag.
(Coming in March: The Errandonnee, a series of errands by bike hosted by Mary. G at the Chasing Mailboxes blog. I've only completed one of these and might try another.)
I finally made my way home after about two hours of mellow riding. ready for a hot bowl of lentil soup and some black bread and a relaxing evening with Sweetie. We'll ring in the new year with a shared bottle of cider and call it a night.
And if the weather holds tomorrow, I'll go out for another ride in the morning.
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance, the latest sponsor of an annual New Year's Day ride, was folded into The Street Trust, a new lobbying organization devoted to bicycling and pedestrian issues. The Street Trust will not sponsor a New Year's ride this year, ending a 40-plus-year tradition that began with the sponsorship of a large local bike shop chain and was handed off to the BTA about ten years ago.  So if anyone's riding, they're simply doing it for themselves.

This year, the Thursday Night Ride group hosted a New Year's nighttime ride. As it was at night, and still cold and wet, I skipped it. (I find I'm less interested in nighttime riding as my night vision slowly degrades. But there's still plenty of hours in the day left for me to enjoy riding in.)

Tomorrow morning, a few bike enthusiasts are hosting a smaller ride beginning at Lloyd Center and ending in downtown St. Johns. Depending on my energy level I may join them. If not, I'll pre-make some hot cereal, go for an early-morning spin around the neighborhood, and come home to a hot breakfast before I spend some time in the music studio.
Happy riding in 2018!

Friday, December 29, 2017

let's go ride bikes.

Climate change? Sure, whatever.
Last week it was 28F and snowing. Today it's 55F and drizzling.
I'm outta here. Happy riding!

Monday, December 25, 2017

portland gets a sort-of white christmas. it turns to ice. i'm staying in.

No Christmas Day bike ride for me this year.
I'm staying in with coffee, noir and homemade lentil soup.
Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

Friday, December 22, 2017

baby, it's cold outside: riding in winter

Tomorrow I am heading into town to attend Shabbat services at my shul.
Because of the weather and my fatigue issues, I'm going multi-modal.

Tomorrow's high is going to be in the high 30'sF, with rain. Typical Portland winter weather.
A wet cold that goes right through you.
And since I don't wear lycra anymore -- because even wool-blend stuff won't keep me warm as a city cyclist at slow speeds -- I have to layer up to stay warm outside.
Since my synagogue is a mellow, informal place, I'll feel quite comfortable layering knickers over wool tights and wear wool socks under my shoes. Add a t-shirt, button-down shirt, thin wool sweater and an outshell, gloves hat and scarf, and I'm ready.

Here are some of my favorites for cold weather riding:

1. Wool underlayer: Depending on how cold and wet it will be, I'm fond of my Windsor Wool t-shirt and bottoms, which I got years ago from Rivendell Bicycle Works. Sadly, these are no longer made, and therefore very hard to find even used.
My substitute go-tos are the slightly thicker "Originals" top and bottoms from Duofold, which utilize a soft cotton inner layer and a wool-blend outer layer. Since it will be pretty cold tomorrow I'll probably opt for the Duofold bottoms under my knickers. Duofold underwear is readily available in stores everywhere, and cheaper than all-wool layers by far. And for mellower city rides in cold weather, it's totally fine. (Ladies, go by your actual waist and chest sizes to order men's tops and bottoms.)
In a pinch, you can sometimes find old military surplus wool-blend undershirts at surplus stores and yard sales. As long as they don't stink they're fine for riding, not so good-looking off the bike but they can be found pretty cheaply.

 2. Middle layer: This can be any old wool or wool-blend sweater. (The thicker the middle layer, the thinner the outer shell can be.) These days I alternate between a few different sweaters, including a recently-found USPS-issue cardigan (70-30 acrylic/wool-blend, a little thicker), a 1980s Cinelli heavy wool trainer I've had forever, or an Oregon Cyclewear lightweight all-wool trainer. Depending on how cold and wet it's going to be any one of these will work just fine on most Portland winter days. If I expect the temps to drop below freezing and stay there, I'll add a wool sweater vest.

3. Outer shell: On milder winter days, or on longer rides, I'll wear my old Burley rain jacket. With pit-zips and a soft-lined collar, it's almost perfect on most days. For colder days or with thinner layers underneath I'll switch to a Showers Pass Portland Jacket, which is waterproof but heavier.

4. The extremities (gloves, hat, neck): In Portland, if you ride in the rain long enough you're going to get wet. Sorry, no way around it. Anyone promising a glove that will keep your hand warm without getting either wet from the rain or wet from your sweat is going to get a LOT of money in the process -- and you may get a glove that delivers. But at the rate I go through gloves -- wear-and-tear, losing one of a pair, getting bike grease on them -- I'm not willing to spend upwards of forty or fifty dollars a pair for them. (Yes, I've heard about the new Crosspoint gloves from Showers Pass, but again they're oo spendy for my taste.)
So I generally wear ragg wool gloves -- full-fingered for anything below about 50F, and cutoff fingers for anything 50 to around 60F or so. Yes, they get wet in the rain, but wool keeps your hands warm even when it gets wet. So I buy multiple pairs of ragg wool gloves with the little rubber grippy dots on the palm, and put them back to grab a new pair as I need it. A number of bike and retail shops sell these for around $10-15/pair. You may find a screaming deal on them at your local hardware store for less than $10/pair.

As for a warm hat, almost anything that's warm and cozy (and fits under a helmet if you wear one) will do. I'll admit that there are days I don't wear a helmet; for those days I wear an old wool cycling cap with a brim. It's cool, and funky, and a tiny bit thick for under my helmet. So for the helmeted days I'll switch to a thinner wool cap and an earband. Basically, don't overthink the hat thing. If it's warm, snug and comfy, it will be fine.

Any scarf or neck gaiter that fits with your jacket is great! Covering your neck is a great way to stave off colds and sniffles.

Finally, I don't do anything fancy for my feet, because I don't really have to. Portland doesn't get a ton of snow and when we do people mostly stay home because it will turn to ice on the roads by nightfall.
When it's just raining, a comfortable waterproof shoe with wool socks are just the ticket. My favorite these days are the 415 Storm workboot by Chrome with a thin-to-medium wool dress sock. The boots are truly waterproof and after break-in they're quite comfortable (they run small; buy a half-size larger than normal for best fit).

5. Finally, your bike needs fenders. If you live in a place where it doesn't rain regularly, a clip-on fender is probably okay. But in Portland, nothing less than a set of bolt-on, full-coverage fenders will do. They can be found cheaply and you can often install them yourself with minimal tools.

Eventually, all my dreams will come true and someone will figure out how to make teeny-tiny, lightweight windshield wipers for my prescription eyeglasses. If someone comes up with that, they will make a fortune.

Stay warm and dry out there, and happy riding this winter!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

going out on a limb here: what IS tax resistance, actually?

It looks like Congress will get their shiny new Tax Code after all. They had to buy off a couple of Senators (screw you, Corker) and threaten the rest, but they got it. And that means that everyone who's not rich is about to get hosed. Royally.

Since I already know how little I will gross in 2017 -- in the higher four figures, which is about what I've earned the last four years running -- this has got me thinking:

So here's an idea: What if everyone who will gross less than $10,000 in 2017, decides to NOT FILE A TAX RETURN?

Because if you're living on that little you can't afford to pay anyway -- and you shouldn't be taxed for being poor.
Breaking the law? Yes
. Sometimes bad laws need to be broken to be destroyed. And before anyone raises concerns about the penalty for tax resistors, let me assure you that if everyone who earned less than $10,000 chose not to file at all, there wouldn't be room in the jails for everyone.
There aren't enough people working at the IRS to audit everyone.
There aren't enough people working in Treasury to manage the chaos that would arise if the government tried to go after every poor person who elected not to file.
So if you're feeling lucky as well as poor, why not go for it? Because the Middle Classes, cowering in their fear of becoming poor, will fall all over themselves to obey even the most unjust laws. They will because doing so holds out the faintest glimpse of hope that this is somehow just a bad dream, from which the lawful and righteous will get to wake up unscathed.
That's DENIAL.
It won't happen. We won't wake up from this reality by cowering in submission.
People talk about waging class war but have no idea what that means.
It means breaking unjust laws.
It means eschewing false notions of "security" in favor of personal agency to effect real change.
It means accepting the risks that come with choosing to be free.
And -- newsflash -- it means accepting your own mortality. Because so much of what's being played with here depends on society being in denial of death. If you think you'll live longer, or forever, you're more likely to invest in a system that lulls you into thinking you can have it all, and keep it.
We're all going to die someday. There will be nothing to take with us.
So what if we lived like that was the truth NOW?
And share this post if you like.
Because I'm not officially calling for organized rebellion. I'm merely wondering aloud what it would look like. So feel free to toss this idea around with your friends and see what you come up with.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

eight candles help brighten the whole world. so do bikes.

Tonight is the last night of Chanukah. The holiday will end tomorrow at sundown.
So tonight we lit the chanukkiah (a special menorah used only at Chanukah) one last time, with all eight candles. The view from the fron window, of our electric Chanukkiah with our two candlelit ones inside on the dining room table, was a glorious sight.

This afternoon, Sweetie and I went out and FINALLY planted the garlic. We'd meant to get this done earlier, but schedules and depression and a couple of bad colds kept us from doing it together and that's generally how we like to work in the garden. Together.
So finally, today we did it.
It's the last warm day of the winter before temperatures fall tomorrow night. It was nice to get outside and plant the cloves; I hope we'll have a more successful result than we did last year, when hardly anything we planted was big enough to use.

When we were done, Sweetie went inside again -- she's still nursing a cough -- while I finished off another bike for Catholic Charities.
Thanks to pals John and Randy, who provided me with some replacement donor bikes and parts, I was able to resume work and used some of the newly-donated parts to finish off a bike for a taller rider.
I had to deal with very limited clearance due to slightly taller tires, so in the end I opted for a trunk bag to block at least some spray from the back wheel; and a downtube deflector panel for the front wheel. Sometimes I have to make choices based solely on what I have available. (Hopefully, the new owner will figure out something better along the way.)

Then there was the upright conversion, something I've taken to doing now on ALL donated bikes. There are tons of free mountain bike handlebars around town, andfor someone getting used to riding in traffic in a larger American city, upright bars inspire more confidence on the bike. If the drop bars are steel, I'll sometimes convert them into hooks for the back or sides of the house, something to hand a garden hose on. I(I have two such handlebars holding the poles for our sukkah up under the eaves to help keep them drier.)

Finally, I noticed that the bolt for the left-side shifter had broken off, leaving the shift lever dangling loose. I removed the old cable and housing, the shift lever and all its hardware, and replaced it with a modified stem shifter mounted higher up on the stem (to provide clearance for the housing to come out at a steeper angle).
Once I put it all back together it was totally fine.
When the bike was done, I moved it to its hiding place off-site (I have a separate locked storage area down the street for finished bikes until they're ready to go to Catholic Charities) and put another bike in the workstand, an old beat-up mountain bike that came with everything but cranks, chain and wheels. it's nothing fancy but it will work just fine. This should come together quickly and I hope to get it done before New Year's.
The next several days will be colder, with lows in the 20s at night; but the space heater makes it cozy in my workshop and I'll probably wrench a little each day this week and next.

If you're in the Portland area and want to help out this little project, which enters its THIRD season in February, I am currently in need of some good bike locks, preferably U-lock style with two working keys. Good locks are expensive to buy new and I'm paying for what I can't find donated out of pocket. Money's very tight right now and I could use a little help with decent U-locks, new or used. If you've got a line on some, please let me know!

Thanks, and happy riding!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Nothing to see here: A ride non-report

So as I've grown more "woke", as it were, about the State Of The World these days, I wonder at the need for curating rides.
Sure, there's the fun in seeing where I and fellow bicycle enthusiasts like to ride (this is especially the case during the annual Coffeeneuring Challenge). it can also become too much of a good thing, all those photo stops taking away from the pleasure of simply having a nice ride.

And in the end, isn't having a nice ride what it's about?

Today, I went to the trouble of curating bits of my ride, enjoyed on a cold, mostly cloudy day. I'll toss them up here in hopes that you'll be inspired to go have a nice ride of your own where you live.

And unless there's a specific reason for offering a ride report, there may be fewer of these here in the coming year.

Go out and ride your bike. Because writing about it only goes so far. Just go out and ride, and enjoy.

1. At the New Seasons store on N. Williams. There was actually a soggy, dog-eared 'zone inside, which I did not help myself to. I may stop by and toss in a couple of donations later this week.

2. A lucky find at the Community Cycling Center, where I dropped off a couple of damaged frames that I could not resurrect. (They have a great recycling system and were happy to take them.)
While I was there I rode around back where Salvage Sunday was in full swing. While I wasn't planning to spend any money, I spotted this rear rack for a refugee bike. It cost me a total of 50 cents.

3. I made my way down to Bike Farm for the annual BikeCraft show. I scored a great patch from Microcosm. Look for it soon on a messenger bag near me.
4. I stopped at New Seasons Arbor Lodge an the way home, to pick up a few things that reflect my move away from dairy. (It's a month-long experiment, encouraged by my GI and dietitian. )
I remembered how much I like tinned oysters, and they're on sale right now so I stocked up.
I also discovered that I still like cream in my coffee, so I looked for the cheapest soy creamer on sale and got one of those. Hoping this will ease the transition as I eschew cheese, formerly a major source of protein for me.)
5. On my way home, the sun came out, hanging low in the winter sky at nearly 3pm. I love these cold winter days when the air is crisp and my breath hangs in the air, and makes me pedal faster in spite of myself (in a good way).

Wherever your bicycle takes you in the coming weeks, ride safely, defensively and brightly!
And have a wonderful time getting out and riding your bike in 2018.

Friday, December 15, 2017

riding in the cold gets harder when it's colder, and i'm older. but not impossible.

So we're making up a batch of veggie burritos at home today -- they coast us about $0.50 each to make and are delicious, with flour tortillas, refriend beans and rice we make ourselves, and shreeded cheese.

Sweetie is also whipping up a batch of from-scratch ginger snaps for my sister's holiday party this weekend.
We needed ingredients for both, plus ai needed to fill in on a few things due to adjustments in my diet (more on that later). So, after pulling on some warm clothes and steeling myself for the wind, I got out on my bike and rode to the store.
Clad in multiple thin layser, topped off with a wool cap and a rainjacket as a eind shell, I was fine. Slow, but fine.
By the time I got there I found I'd had enjoyed it.
Rain is in the forecast for later today so I wanted to get home before it started. (The only forecast worse than 38F is 38F and raining.)

The diet thing -- yesterday I met with a nutritionist who work with IBD patients. Together we talked about my current dietary choices and looked at a couple of options:

1. begin with a complete and radical elimination diet, in which I eat basically nothing but broth for a few weeks, and then slowly add back stuff and see how my body reacts to it. The upside is that this is a much more complete approach to modifying a diet, and can be the most effective for many IBD patients. The downside is that taking this approach can often result in multiple "healing crises" -- episodes where I cannot control my bowels and/or I will be in enough pain so that I can't work.

I can't afford to not work. We cannot afford for me to not work. Period.

So we looked at the other option:

2. We discussed which foods caused the most memorable triggers during my childhood -- which foods seemed to send me to the bathroom more often and more urgently. I recalled the hot fudge sundaes my mom took me out for every week, in an effort to help me gain weight( it didn't work and I ran to the bathoroom more often), and immediately said it was dairy.
So we're cutting out all dairy, starting today. This will mean no cheese, no milk in my coffee, and butter is only allowed in cooking ( thankfully, she and I agree that margarine is terrifying).

As a modifier, Alyssa also wants me to try swapping out processed grains where possible, and substituting starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots and yams. Finally, when I crave a snack that's super-processed, she wants me to open a small tin of smoked oysters instead. They're protein-rich and loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, both of which my diet can use more of.

"So veganism isn't happening for me any time soon, is it?" I asked with a smile.

"Probably not ever," she said, "Crohn's and UC patients who can't absorb plant protein have to get it some other way, and that means animal proteins. You shouldn't try a vegan diet, because it won't give you what you need nutritionally. If you could eat kale, perhaps we could talk about a vegetarian diet, but not vegan."

I thought about smoked oysters and mussels, which I hadn't eaten in a long time but which I remember that I liked. "Gook thing I don't keep a kosher kitchen," I said.

Seriously, I doubt I'll ever totally give up on all grains -- that's simply not a realistic thing for me, and since I tolerate them pretty well, I'm not going to lose sleep over it (though I'm happy to experiment with eating less wheat and more rice). Giving up dairy seems like a more reasonable place to begin.
I hope to see noticeable results within a month.

And I'm relieved that I don't have to give up coffee.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

there's a special place for bike thieves - but is it hell? should it be?

A few days ago, someone broke the three locks that secured donated bicycles and a janky cargo trailer I was preparing to tune up for Catholic Charities refugee resettlement program. They left the two cruisers, and took the two mountain bikes and the trailerfrom where they'd been locked up beside my house. Of course, being diligent thieves they also took the broken locks (likely to avoid leaving fingerprints).

Since the bikes were donations and I'm not officially a non-profit organization, I haven't called the police. The best I can do in this situation is get some more locks and collect more donation bikes to replace what got pinched.

I've had friends tell me to store the bikes indoors. Where? Our little house has no basement or garage.
I've had friends tell me to get heavier locks. I'm working on that.
And I've had lots of people tell me the thieves suck.
Well, maybe they do.
And maybe they're even more desperate than the folks I'm trying to help.

The existence of bicycle "chop shops" along the Springwater Corridor and in other homeless encampments is well-documented. Some brave souls have actually stolen their bikes back, at considerable personal risk (because the homeless men who steal and guard those bikes are armed with guns, knives and other weapons which they will use to keep their loot).

I'm not brave enough to do that.

Years ago, when I had a customer's stolen bike in the workstand at the shop, The too-short-for-the-bike fellow who was waiting for me to fix the flat realized that I had realized the bike was stolen. In a split second he leapt over the counter, punched me to the floor, took the bike out of the workstand and took off. Of course, he was never caught. And of course, while I staunched the flow of blood from my bruised nose, the police who responded advised me to never try and save anyone's bike again. "It's just a bike," one of the officers gently advised me. "Your life is worth far more than that, regardless of your intentions."

That was almost twenty years ago. I have not stepped between a thief and a bike since. It's a personal decision for each of us, based on one's experiences and strengths. My strengths are not in direct physical force, and I know it.

Still, the loss of the two bikes, and the trailer (which I'd already repaired to make it usable), were annoying and frustrating.

Four years ago, I had my own trailer stolen from my home. It was a repaired and converted kids trailer, strung with nylon webbing from a lumber yard and used to haul cargo. It cost me maybe forty bucks for the trailer, replacement wheels and the work and small parts I'd put into it.
Six weeks after it was stolen, I spotted it at a homeless encampment that clearly looked like a bicycle chop shop. The man who was unloading it glowered at me menacingly as I stared at my trailer. it was clear that he would not give it up without a fight.

I rode on.

Today, I have a folding trailer that can be stored flat, and indoors. I also own fewer bicycles, sticking to just two that I alternate depending on my needs that day. They're both stored indoors under lock and key. When I'm out on errands, the bike is locked with a heavy-duty U-lock AND a cable. I don't like having to carry such a heavy lock, but this is the world we live in and that's that.

There's an old saying: There's a special place in hell for bicycle thieves.

And yet, I wonder how true that is in today's world where so many more people are living one paycheck away from homelessness, from desperation, from starvation, from death. (Yes, people have died from being homeless here in Portland, often due to exposure to the elements and starvation and/or the illnesses that accompany those things.)

And I keep coming back to the idea that perhaps each of us has the personal ethics we can afford to have.

If I have to steal in order to survive, I'm not likely to sit up at night worrying about my soul. I'll be too busy worrying about how to get warm, dry and fed.
And so I can't be TOO angry at whomever stole the bikes and trailer. Because it's highly likely they were desperate, homeless and hungry enough to steal; and perhaps addled enough by illness or addiction to be unable to find work.

Their numbers are rising.
And it is very hard for me NOT to wonder if one day I might join them on the sidewalk, simply because I'm already living hand-to-mouth and one day I'll get too old to work and the world will get too cruel to care about anyone like me.

So while bike theft is frustrating -- and if my personal bike were stolen, I'd be angry and sad -- the fact is that right now, I can find another bike more easily and legitimately than someone who is forced to steal one.

So I can't be too hard on bike thieves who live under tarps in the thickets out on the Springwater.

And to my friends who've offered advice, thanks. I'll sort it out as best I can, and eventually get back to helping newly arrived Portlanders find their way around town a little more affordably by bike.

If you really feel bad about this whole scenario, please make a donation of money or time to organizations in your town that work on creating stable housing for the poor, refugee resettlement, or advocacy for the homeless. Seriously. Do it today.

Happy riding.

(Photo: homeless encampment along the Springwater Corridor-South, December 2015.)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

off-season coffeeneuring -- travels with a pluviophile*

Last week I really struggled with a depressive period, where I felt like crap and didn't want to go outside. A couple of days, just getting out of my PJ's was hard. Then, somehow, the fog lifted and a couple of days ago I went outside and it was okay.
So I did it again today, combining errands and coffee.

I rode a mile to a bus stop, went multi-modal (every Trimet bus has a rack on front that holds two bikes) and got off at Lloyd Center to drop a package in the post office's mail slot. Then, I decided to ride over to the Rose Quarter, where the wind picked up and I decided to toss my bike on the MAX train. (I have a gig coming up next weekend and need to take care of my voice -- meaning I can't always ride in the cold and wet whenever I feel like it. On those days I'm glad there's public transit.)

I got off and rode over to Rivelo to say hi to John, and to deliver several pairs of socks for him to hand off to the local homeless shelter. He had a deal where if you brought socks you could have a free bandana. So take him up on it before Christmas, Portland friends -- the bandanas make nice gifts and are 100% cotton. We chatted for awhile.

 At Rivelo there's currently a suitcase filled with these cool blue bags. They're Sackville handlebar bags, hobo-style but a little slimmer and more streamlined than the old-style hobo bags Riv used to offer.
And these, done up in a very pretty blue waxed canvas, are selling so cheaply right now that if you need one, go get one. Because the price is stupid-low, and John needs the space for other stuff, and while I normally don't like to tell people to go out and consume, these are actually good and if you need a handlebar bag this will do you for YEARS. And the price is stupid-low. I'm not posting it here because John is lonely and could use the company, so go visit and say hello and maybe buy a bag. He's got about seven or eight left, so grab one soon.
(If it's any help, if I wasn't totally broke I'd buy one for myself.)

 And if you do go visit John, Be sure to bring a pair or three of clean socks without and holes or rips (pro tip: You can find them in packs of six really cheap at Goodwill.) He'll also take knit caps and gloves if you have them. They all go to people who need help staying warmer this winter.
After my visit with John, I rode back over to the MAX station, hopped the train and took it back into town, where I filled my thermal mug with some late-afternoon half-caff and enjoyed it while I watched the rain come down. In spite of the chill, I felt good being out and riding around. I'll try and do it again this week if weather allows before I head out of town for my gig.

If weather permits tomorrow, I'll visit with a friend over tea and then stop by the CCC for Scrap Sunday, to see if there's anything useful for my ongoing refugee bikes project.
And if you're in Portland and you'd like to help out, you can do one or both of the following:

1. if you've got bicycle parts, locks and lights and/or adult-sized bicycles you'd like to move along, I can use them to provide affordable transportation for our newest Portlanders. (Yes, we ride bikes here even in the winter, as long as it's not icy.)
Just let me know and we'll figure out the hand-off.

2. The bikes I repair are delivered to Catholic Charities, which then distributes them to newly-arrived refugees who will use them to find work or go to English classes and job-training. If you don't have a bicycle to give, but you'd like to help out, Catholic Charities can always use financial donations to make their work possible. I can vouch for their work with refugees and assure you that they do good stuff to help people get settled in Oregon and move forward with their lives in safety and peace.

Thanks, and happy riding.
(*pluviophile - lover of the rain)