Wednesday, October 16, 2019

What do you do if you can't ride? Walk.

For several weeks now, my left hand has been giving me more and more trouble. Decreased grip strength and flexibility, more stiffness, swelling and pain.
I had to stop fixing up old bikes over a month ago. I rode last week but it was painful whenever I had to lift my bike onto the bus rack, or use the front brake lever (with my left hand).

Still, I had work to do.

I powered through my High Holy Days work, wincing whenever I played guitar.
I came home, and tried to practice for my upcoming recording session.  yesterday morning, I hit a wall, and called the doctor. By the evening, I was in the urgent care office, getting a cortisone shot in my hand.

The pain was epic, technicolor.
First, the lidocaine shot, which made me yell a ragged, loud sound that rang up and down the hall.
Then, a second shot of cortisone with a little more lidocaine mixed in, which also hurt but this time like a massive liquid bruise flowing through and around my left middle finger joint and beyond. I yelled again, but it came out sounding like a clear note.

Today, I rested at home until around 4pm, when I was climbing the walls and couldn't take it anymore. I went for a long walk around the neighborhood on a grey, drizzly afternoon with fall colors everywhere. Walking along the same streets I usually ride allowed me to slow down and see things even more up close, and although it took awhile longer, I enjoyed it.

I'm off the bike for at least the next four days, and hope that by then the pain will subside enough to let me take a spin on my Rivvy. Because right now the colors are just too good not to be outside.

If you're riding this week, may all your miles be beautiful.

Image may contain: plant, nature and outdoor

Friday, October 4, 2019

ABC = Always Be Coffeeneuring

Scenes from today's ABC ride. Shout out to Tarik Saleh (of the world famous Bike Club), with whom I enjoyed a lovely second breakfast at Breadwinner Cafe. We had a fascinating conversation about bicycles, renewable energy, bacon, art and death.

The man, the myth, the legend.
Tarik Saleh created the best rules ever for a bike club, and you can join!
Check out to hook up with some club merch!
And remember, Try not to be an ass.

Below: the latest colorway. That yellow really makes it pop. This one's going on my bookbag.

One final caution:

Now that the days are shorter and wetter (at least here in PDX), make sure you've got fenders and lights on your bike and reflectivity everywhere possible. I used to think it was a bummer having to dress like a Christmas tree on LSD in order to feel safe; but time and reality have softened my views on fashion and now I just want to get home alive.

Your local bike shop (or construction supply store) has tons of reflective solutions to make YOU pop at night for a very reasonable investment of money, time and adhesives. DO IT.

And happy riding.

refugee bike update: THANK YOU

Just a shout-out to my Portland readers and their friends who've brought me their old bikes for Catholic Charities' refugee resettlement program.


I've received bikes and parts all summer, and fixed most of them up and moved them along well before the end of August.

Right now I'm working on a couple of build-ups -- two mountain bikes that I'm building up from parts around a couple of donated frames (special thanks to Kai at Upcycles for those!). When those are done, I'll have some space for more bikes. If you or another Portlander you love has an old dead bike floating around, let me know.

A special note on type of bike --

While I will take almost any bicycle if it's whole and complete, I prefer old mountain style bikes with derailleurs. That's because Portland is a very hilly town -- it was built over a bunch of little dead volcanoes -- and giving someone a single-speed with a coaster brake when he'll end up living at 185th and southeast Hell is kind of mean.

Also, for liability reasons, I cannot accept children's bicycles. Please donate those to Community Cycling Center for their afterschool programs.

If you want to see some of the bicycles that have enjoyed new life in the refugee resettlement program, check out my flickr album.

Below: Just a few of the bikes you've donated to this program, repaired and ready to ride. Thank you!