Saturday, December 30, 2023

Photo dump: PDX Coffee Outside 12-30-2023

Last #pdxcoffeeoutside of the year included a white elephant gift exchange.
Coffee Outside happens in many cities. The ideal is to bring all the gear to brew your own cup of coffee outside and enjoy it.
Most do this, but I haven't yet dialed in how I'd like to brew outdoors, so I make mine at home and bring it along in the thermos. My goal in the coming year is to dial in outdoor brewing on a consistent basis.

Great turnout at one of my favorite parks.
I came home with a Park Tool pizza cutter, which I may regift to friends who actually make pizza at home. I had a nice ride in drizzle, and had a great time hanging out with old and new friends.

May your rides in the new year be rewarding and sweet.
Happy riding.

Friday, December 29, 2023

I don’t need a nonprofit to ride my bicycle for me.

For over fifty years, there’s been a New Year’s Day ride every January first in Portland.
(Photo: downtown Portland, January 2017; those are tights under my knickers — BRR)

I’ve participated in a number of them, and enjoyed them a lot. Most of the rides I participated in began at Waterfront Park, took a pleasant loop around Eastside Portland, and ended at Laurelhurst Park where we’d enjoy hot cider and cookies while ogling each other’s bikes and catching up with old friends we hadn’t seen in awhile. When the weather wasn’t horrible or icy, I looked forward to starting my year this way.

For most of my rides, the host was the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Portland’s grassroots bike advocacy and education organization, a group I was a longtime member and supporter of. 

When the BTA folded, as nonprofits sometimes do, the organization was reconstituted into another nonprofit and renamed the Street Trust. The emphasis became all about lobbying and rubbing shoulders with elected officials in Salem (Oregon’s capital), bicycle advocacy was watered down and combined with walking and public transit advocacy, and the education component was set aside almost completely. It became a very different organization, and not nearly as grassroots as before. So I opted not to become a member. I’ve never regretted my decision. (Photo: New Year’s Day, 2011)

I guess after that I felt I could just do my own ride on New Year’s and not trouble myself with Street Trust. And that’s what I’ve done most of the time, until I got sick in 2021. 

This year, Street Trust is hosting another NYD ride. This time, they’re requiring RSVP in advance and asking adults 18+ to pony up — get this — $40 each for admission and a year’s membership in the organization.

While they say no one will be turned away for lack of funds, there’s no provision for that on the RSVP form, so you have to tell them directly when you show up (and presumably, there’s no goodies for you at the end of the ride).


This is the same thing I struggle with in other circles in my life: if you want to participate it will cost you. If you can’t afford it, you have to say so out loud (likely in front of other people) and deal with whatever embarrassment and stigma may come from that.

I don’t need this sort of crap in my life anymore. 
I’m more unemployed than employed these days, and haven’t got forty bucks to spend on cookies and hot cider for an organization I’m not stoked about. I also no longer have the patience to deal with stigma, mine or anyone’s perception thereof. So I’ll have my own New Year’s ride and bring my own coffee and ts to enjoy along the way.
(Photo: on the Kogswell, Jan 2006)

May all your rides in 2024 be joyful ones.
Happy riding.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Ride Report: Bike Happy Hour

BikePortland has been hosting a Bike Happy Hour since August, and the crowds have continued to show up every Wednesday evening. So I decided to try and get to one this afternoon and see what it was about.

What it’s about is friendly folks riding their bikes to a pub, hanging out and enjoying the vibe together.

And it’s happening every Wednesday from 3 to 6pm at Gorges Brewing in southeast Portland.

Riding in the city is something I haven't done much of in the last year. I went multi-modal both ways. Even though I was still a little post-Long Covid wobbly, I gloried in the beautiful blue of dusk, the quietness of residential side streets, and the crisp winter air.

(Photo: me with BikePortland founder and head writer Jonathan Maus. SO a nice to see him in real life again after all this time.)

I had a really nice time meeting new people, chatting up old friends and admiring all the love bike porn parked outside the pub.

On the way to the bus stop, I rode down Ankeny and saw that the old Citybikes Annex building was empty, the doors and windows freshly boarded up and a “For Sale” sign hung prominently out front.

I left Citybikes just over a decade ago, under a rather dark cloud (not mine). Things kept going downhill from there after I left. Owners left, the co-op shrank and eventually the Annex location was closed and the beautiful mural painted over.
The most recent dust-up, where three of the four remaining co-owners decided to close down the business and divide the proceeds four ways without regard for the contributions of the dozens of former owners who’d grown and run the business since 1990. I was too sick with Long Covid at the time and chose not to get involved. 
It appears the former owners lost their fight and the annex building is up for sale, for $1.4 million.

I rode to MLK and caught a bus that would take me back to my part of town. Even if I’d had a working headlight, which I didn’t, I wasn’t comfortable riding that far in the dark.
But I loved the darkening blue sky of dusk.

It felt so good to be in the world again. 
I MUST do this more.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Save the old stuff and fix it up: vintage rack redo

The saddlebag on my Peugeot hangs a tad low, and a few times, small items have slipped through the gap between the bag and the flap. So I went about looking for a rear saddlebag rack.

I found this one online, for thirty bucks including shipping.

As you can see, it came with a lot of surface rust and some old black paint. After mulling it over for a couple of weeks, I decided I would get it sandblasted and powder coated professionally, an expensive choice but one that ensure a thorough job and longer life.

After asking for suggestions and calling around, I took it to Portland Powder Coating. They were one of the few shops that were willing to work with so small an item and, if I was willing to wait a little longer, they would wait and toss it in at the end of a larger paint run to save me some money.

They also had a few choices of color that would get it at least close to the finish on my front rack.

I picked it up today, it looked good, though the clamps were too small and too corroded to save. I’ll get some new, rubber-coated clamps in the right size made of stainless steel, and use those to install it.

When I got it home, I held up the pieces next to my front rack to see how close the color matched.
They nailed it.

I’ll pick up the clamps next week and put it all together. It’s not a big rack, but it will be perfect for lifting my saddlebag just enough to keep things from spilling out of it. And it’s nice to save something old by fixing it up and making it nice again.