Riding Back Towards Wellness

It’s been a quiet week around here. That’s because I’ve been sick. I started feeling ill on Tuesday the 9th. It was the classic flu, with all its classic symptoms like headache, aches, cough, congestion, fever, nausea.

I spent a few days primarily in bed, not necessarily sleeping, but in that sickly in between state, wallowing in my own sense of despair and melancholy. I thought I was well enough to go to work one day, but really wasn’t so it probably pushed me back more than help. Each day started out with me being the same sick I was the day before. I started to wonder: Would I ever get better?

Of course, things like the flu typically end, and Sunday saw me turning the corner. I still wasn’t healed, and felt a bit blah, but it was a marked improvement. Things started to feel positive. If there’s one thing I can appreciate about sickness is how you feel–not just physically, but mentally and spiritually–one it starts to subside. I wanted to enjoy life again, be out in the world.

Now I wasn’t going to go overboard. But I wanted to go outside. It didn’t hurt that the weekend was a real nice one, sun and temps in the high 50’s F, very springlike. Why not go for a bike ride?

I decided to roll down to the Slough, since it was close by. And if I started to feel down, I could get home quick. The ride was nothing new or spectacular by my standards, but a good soul-affirming ramble. I hit up favorites like Columbia Children’s Arboretum, the little slough by Heron Lakes Golf Course, the path and bridge by the wastewater plant. The mountains were resplendent in snow and there were other folks enjoying nature.

I rolled home right around dark, after stopping by the market. My Robin Hood doesn’t have a cyclocomputer, and I don’t use Strava, so I didn’t keep track of distance while riding. But mapping it later, I realize that I did about 17 miles! Wow! A bit more than I thought I was doing–and probably a few miles more than I should have, owing to my health. But I survived with no adverse effects.

I’m still getting over this sickness, but it won’t be long before I can enjoy life to the fullest again.

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Society Goals for 2018

Society Of Three Speeds

Welcome to 2018, friends! Another year, another blank slate. 2018 will mark five years since Society of Three Speeds started (though I started doing Three Speed Rides in 2011.) There’s definitely some cool things I want to accomplish this year.

First up, the elephant in the room: Yes, I am very much slacking in the wrapping up of the 2017 challenges. I still need to compile the winners of the October 2017, and then get the awards for that challenge and the April one. I still need to actually create these prize packs. Have patience. I will have it done by spring.

Same thing goes for new Society of Three Speeds memberships. It’s been a couple years since I ran out of Version 1.0 of the membership pack. I still need to create the spiffy new membership packs! Like the challenge prizes, expect to see something in spring.

Challenges: Despite…

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Looking forward to 2018

Hello friends. As you saw in a previous post, 2017 was actually pretty decent for me, despite the dire state of world affairs. I did a lot of interesting things, travelled via most known modes of transportation (sorry, no horses), and most importantly, I found love.

And I hope that 2018 can be, if not better, at least as equally good as 2017. Here are some goals, projects, and ideas for my new year:

MORE BIKE RIDING

Yeah, I say this one every year, don’t I? 😉 I get plenty of bike commuting in (my daily commute averages between 6 and 12 miles round-trip, depending where I am the night previous), but need to do more “just” riding. I’d also like to do some longer rides again, as I’ve definitely lacked that in 2017. I’m not saying that shorter rides are somehow bad, but I want to get distance in again. I’m pondering heading up to Seattle for their inaugural 100 K brevet (randonneur ride) for the season. I haven’t done any randonneuring in five years, mostly because I find the local organization (Oregon Randonneurs) unappealing. However, Seattle Randonneurs seems to be a better club, with well organized rides (food provided!) that originate and terminate within the city itself, vs a far-flung suburb which is usually the case with Oregon.

MORE BIKE TOURING AND CAMPING

Another one of my perennial repeated goals. I did a decent amount of bike camping in 2017 (eight out of the twelve months), had a couple mini-tours (both to or from the coast) and a week long tour towards Eastern Oregon. My late summer tour didn’t happen due to a number of factors. I really would like to do more exploring in Eastern and Southern Oregon, and there’s scads more touring possibilities in Washington too.

Also, I’d like to do some bike camping and maybe a short tour with Emee. She hasn’t toured before, so I’m thinking of a few rail-trail heavy locales for a good tour.

MORE ANALOG, LESS DIGITAL

Now this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop blogging or using social media, or (heavens forbid!) stop using a smartphone. No, I just need to do more things again that don’t rely so heavily on the internet. For example, read actual books. I have a stack of library books sitting by my bed that I’ve barely cracked open, yet I’m going to read “sometime” so I keep on renewing…until I reach the renewal limit.

And while I love the ease of a smartphone camera, I’m thinking of getting into actual film at some point. I never was much of a photographer before I owned a digital camera, though I had hopes at one time. About 20 years ago I put a down payment on an SLR that I never picked up because I was too broke to complete the payment.* (This was partially due to my car insurance rate doubling because I leased a car, and I was too dumb to know that would happen.) Now I’m not going to plunk down for a fancy SLR, but with the ease of buying used gear (see? Internet is good for some things. 😉  ) I know I can find something.

On the positive, I still listen to terrestrial radio (including shortwave), have an analog face watch, and write letters and postcards to people, so that accounts for something, right?

MORE DRAWING

Yet another repeatedly stated goal! But let’s face it: This year was bad. I don’t think I drew much outside of the postcards I send out or for the Pedalpalooza ad. And now I don’t have a regular outlet for comix since Bicycle Times folded. But doing Bike Craft in December and the renewed interest in my artistic goods since I published NEW OLD STOCK 2.125 in December makes me want to rekindle my artist side. If anything, it would be nice to see another NEW OLD STOCK come out by year’s end. Getting a few paying illustration gigs and maybe even a regular comic in another publication wouldn’t be bad, either.

MORE BACKPACKING AND MAYBE OTHER STUFF

I really enjoyed my backpacking adventure to Indian Heaven Wilderness in August. I wanted to do another one before the year ended, but all the fires meant it wasn’t going to happen. At the bare minimum, I’d like to get another overnight in, maybe two trips. And it’d be cool to try a three day (two overnights) trip somewhere. This area is so flush with opportunities!

One thing I’d like to try out is kayaking. Biking and hiking are two great ways of human-powered exploration, but I’d also like to explore things via water. Maybe I can get in a trip this year?

REVISE THE BIKE TOURING PRIMER

I created the Cycle Touring Primer ten years ago in conjunction with a touring workshop Ian Stude and I led. Most workshops may come with a printed outline, why not go a step further and make a zine? (Especially since I like zines!) So the primer was born. But, while there is still plenty of good info in there, I’ve learned a lot more about touring since then. There’s nothing cringeworthy in there (not like some of my old comix), but it was heavily from a heavily-laden perspective. I’d like to revise and expand it and add more and different topics in it. I’ve been itching to do changes to it for awhile, but other projects got in the way. Now is the time!

EAT IN MORE

I admit it: I eat out too much. This is partially due to me splitting time between work and two houses, and part of it because I don’t grocery shop as much (or as big) as I should. And all that eating out hits the pocketbook! So, I want to eat in more often this year, including at work where it’s easy to go down the street to grab something for lunch. My work has a full kitchen, so no excuses!

SPEND LESS, SAVE MORE

This definitely ties in to eating in. While I make okay money, I have not a lot left over when the month is done. I’ve spent a lot on food, beer, and bike stuff lately, and that’s got to change. Thankfully it seems like my roster of bike projects is wrapping up soon, so barring anything breaking all I’ll need to worry about with my bikes is maintenance and upkeep. Nothing big and expensive looming on the horizon, either.

One positive in my financial department is that I’ve been repairing my credit. After 20 years of bad credit, this past year I got  a couple of new credit cards. I’ve been fastidious about payment, not leaving a balance at the end of the billing cycle. I don’t intend to take out any loans any time soon, nor spend more than I can afford, but it’s nice to know I have a cushion just in case.

TAKE BETTER CARE OF MYSELF

I’m 42 and not getting any younger. I enjoy beer a bit too much, and I don’t think it necessarily enjoys me. I haven’t been to a regular doctor in god-knows-when, and I know that’s not good! And I’ve definitely been feeling the effects of not riding as much this winter. I also tend to stress out about things, so I need to figure out balance there.

The big thing I need to do is: Listen more to my body. It’s easy for me to overdo, and as the years go by, my “bouncing back” isn’t as fast as it used to be. I need to tune in what my needs are, and know when to stop.

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Okay, thanks for reading this far! Next time, I’m going to talk about some bike and travel specific plans I have in store for 2018.

*Ah, layaway. What a novel concept!

Palm Tree Ride returns! Sunday January 21st.

Yes, three years ago I said I was done with the Palm Tree Ride. After 10 years of doing it annually, I had “lost the passion”, so to speak.  I’m not one for perpetuating traditions “just because”.

But never say never again!

I’ve decided to bring it back at least for 2018, mostly due to a couple personal reasons that I won’t divulge here, but you can learn about them if you come on the ride!

On Sunday January 21st at 11 AM, meet me at Five Points Coffee Roasting on the corner of SE Division St and 35th Place. Grab some coffee and food inside, we leave at 11:30 AM. Expect a social paced, easy cruise of 10 miles around the city, checking out palm trees and other exotic/interesting evergreens. We do stop frequently, so if you are one of those people who get antsy (or have children who get antsy), this may not be the ride for you.

We’ll end near transit and a spot to get food and adult beverages.

Will I do another Palm Tree Ride after this one? I don’t know for sure, we’ll see if I get the spark back after this year! So maybe you should skip your midday plans for Sunday January 21st and come along!

20% sale on most items in my store until Jan 21!

Hello all! Time to have a little sale. I’ve got A BUNCH of new stuff in stock in my store, so what better time to give you a little deal?

From now until 11:45 PM Pacific Time on Sunday January 21st, get 20% off on most everything in my store! Yep, buttons, postcards, zines, comix, posters, and the Zinester’s Guide to Portland! That 20% is on top of my already good deals on things like the comix/zine multi-packs. And remember: I ship everywhere in the world!

Here are the details:

  • Use the code JAN18SALE in the check-out to get the discount
  • Discount is only on the items, not on shipping
  • Order will need to be at least $5 before shipping for discount to work
  • The only thing not on sale is Postcard Club 2018. HOWEVER, if your NET (after discount, before shipping) order is $20 or over in the US, $25 rest of world, you get the Postcard Club for FREE! (DO NOT add Postcard Club to your order, I will do it automatically)
  • If you want your Postcard Club subscription to go to somewhere else, please include their name and address in the notes of the order
  • Oh yeah, if for some reason I have anything on “pre-order” during the time of the sale, it won’t be included, sorry.

Questions? Please get in touch. Once again, thank you for your support!

 

2017 year in review

It’s over, right? 2017? Whew! What a year!

Despite the overall nature of world events, I managed to have a pretty good year. Better than the past several. So this won’t be another one of those “woe is me” posts, no. I’ll concentrate (mostly) on the positive.

JANUARY

Man, it was a very snowy and cold month for these parts. A good half of the month was filled with unrideable conditions, and I felt it. Still, I managed to get a bike overnight with friends at the end of the month to Battle Ground Lake, so all was not lost. Plus, I had a bunch of work done to the Raleigh Crested Butte.

FEBRUARY

The weather improved somewhat, but it was still wet wet wet. I rode out to Stub Stewart to cabin camp with Peter Rhodes and others. Luckily I had a dry and warm place to sleep! And despite everything, I led a cold/damp/snowy Chehalem Range Ramble (aka my most cancelled ride) and people didn’t kill me. Oh yeah, got a new fancy front wheel for the Bantam, laced around a Shutter Precision hub!

MARCH

The weather started to slouch towards spring, with (a bit) less rain and (a bit) milder temps. Coupled with the longer amount of daylight, I started to ride more. I didn’t get in a bike overnight this month, though. I did do a major trip to the Bay Area, my first one in three years. I took the train down, hitting up Sacramento on the way, and spent a couple nights in Marin at the tail end. It was fun, but the weather was wetter than I hoped. Oh well. I still got to visit Rivendell!

APRIL

April was a three-speed centric month, with the first Three Speed April Challenge happening, a Three Speed Ride on Sunday April 2, and the Tweed Ride (which I help organize) on Sunday April 9. No bike overnights, so getting behind on that, but I did see my first bike tourists of the season at the hostel, so that’s something, right?

MAY

We got our first taste of summer weather around these parts. I got on the bike as much as I could, between planning rides for the upcoming Pedalpalooza. I didn’t go to Lake Pepin this year (after 3 in a row), but I did do some camping and touring. I went to Oxbow Regional Park for a quick overnight at the beginning of the month with my friend Stasia. And towards the end of the month, I did my first multi-day tour since the fall, a four day adventure riding out to the Coast. This one featured a mix of old and new roads, an 80 mile day (first, and really only, long day of the year), and camping at a familiar spot (Nehalem Bay) and unfamiliar (Barview Jetty.)

JUNE

A big–and important–month! All month was Pedalpalooza, and I organized several rides. Maybe too many–I always want to do a lot, and halfway through the month I realize that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. When will I ever learn? Also, I had a week long tour through the Columbia Gorge and into Eastern Oregon. This tour didn’t go as well as I hoped, and I rerouted the second half on the fly, but it was still fun. And most importantly, I found love in the name of Emee!

JULY

Summer in full effect, so busy that I didn’t even really blog about it here. (Sorry!) That’s why I tell ya to check out my InstaFlick feed! Anyways, I attempted to attend a seersucker social in La Conner, Washington, but ended up hanging out in Bellingham and camping in the San Juan Islands (both Shaw and Lopez) instead. And I did my second bike tour to/from the coast, this one a group joint with friends. I took the bus to Tillamook, rode to Cape Lookout State Park (my favorite coastal campground) for a night. Then we rode back to Portland via Nestucca River Road in two days.

AUGUST

Emee and I celebrated my birthday weekend by camping at Rainbow Falls State Park outside of Chehalis, Washington, then on the coast at Cape Disappointment, and a night in a hotel in Astoria. This was the first time Emee and I camped together (verdict: we survived!) and the first time I car camped in ages. Also, I did my first backpacking trip! My friend Steve and myself hit up Indian Heaven Wilderness on the north (Washington) side of the Gorge. It was fun, and I look forward to doing more backpacking adventures.

SEPTEMBER

The biggest bummer month. Just a week after the backpacking trip, the Eagle Creek Fire started in the Gorge on Labor Day Weekend, threatening one of my most loved and cherished areas (Columbia River Gorge), and also tainting the sky with smoky haze and ash. It seemed like the whole Northwest was on fire, and I saw my plan for a grand week-long bike tour in Southern Oregon fade. And when I planned on a backup tour around the Olympic Peninsula, the much-needed rains arrived. Good for fire, bad for bike touring. All my enthusiasm for touring drained, so nothing happened in that department.

Still, I did manage to have some fun: Emee and I had a quick roadtrip out to the Central Oregon Coast on Labor Day Weekend, mostly to escape the smoke. I got to see areas I hadn’t seen in awhile. And we also spent a day in the Gorge (fire be damned) and stayed in a lovely house on Lake Cushman by Olympic National Park. I also got a quick overnight towards the end of the month to Oxbow.

OCTOBER

October was a month occupied with challenges. There was the Coffeeneuring Challenge led by Mary of Chasing Mailboxes, and I put together the second annual Three Speed October. I also led a Three Speed Ride, where Emee’s green Raleigh Sports made her debut. I also snuck in a bike camping trip with Todd B to Battle Ground Lake, both of us doing it on our three speeds. I also led a Sunset Moonrise Ride and an East Portland Cemeteries Ride, both of which were fun.

NOVEMBER

Getting busy around here! The beginning of the month saw me wrap up the Coffeeneuring Challenge. I snuck in a West Hills Hike, my first in ages. But the biggest thing to happen was a trip to the East Coast. Emee and I visited Boston, New Haven, and New York right before Thanksgiving. It was my first time being back there in ten years, and my first time flying after almost four years. It was a whirlwind of a trip, and I wish we had more time. But I’ll be back…

DECEMBER

And another busy month to wrap up the year. I started it with a cabin camping trip with Emee to Stub Stewart, her first time bike camping. It was a success! Then I tabled at Bike Craft Fair, our (usually) annual bike art/craft thing. Emee and I snuck in a quick overnight adventure to Grand Lodge in Forest Grove for Christmas night. And we wrapped up the year in Vancouver BC for New Years, bikes in tow.

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As you can see, it was a pretty busy year filled with a lot of fun adventures on and off the bike. And I managed to camp nine out of the twelve months, though only eight of those months were by bike (and two of the bike months were cabins, which some may consider cheating, but I digress…) Now all I can hope is that 2018 will be even better…

Heading to Vancouver BC for New Years!


Yep that’s right! Once again I leave Portland for the New Years holiday! Just like last year, I’m heading north to Vancouver BC. And of course I’m taking my bicycle (the Bantam) but also really hope it’s not snowy and icy like last time. But this time, Emee will be with me!

Currently, we are heading north on Amtrak Cascades Train 518. We’ll be getting into the Terminal City sometime around 11 PM tonight. We’ll have three full days to explore town (Sunday December 31, Monday January 1, Tuesday January 2) then take Amtrak back to Portland Wednesday morning.

I’ll be updating my Instagram and Flickr feeds along the way. Check them out to see what we get up to!