A taste of summer.

The last few days we’ve gotten our first tease of summer here in the Pacific Northwest, a “spring heatwave” if you will. It’s been pretty nice since last week, but since Sunday we’ve seen the thermometer go up: 65F/18C on Sunday, 74F/23C on Monday, and 80F/27C on Tuesday. Eighty degrees! But it’s supposed to get even hotter tomorrow (Wednesday), topping out at 85F/29C. Wow! It’s supposed to be low-80s on Thursday, then showers roll back in on Friday and it cools down to 60F/16C, which is normal for this time of year.

When these previews of summer hit, I try to take full advantage of them. I’m glad that my Three Speed Ride happened on Sunday. On Monday I had an event to go to downtown in the evening so I rolled out the Bantam then headed north to St. Johns, over the bridge, and into Forest Park via Springville Road* to ride nine miles of the Leif Erikson Trail. It was great. I hadn’t been out there since fall, and thankfully the trail was pretty dry. Coupled with the ride up to Powell Butte on Sunday, I got quite a bit of “mountain biking” done recently!

Tuesday I had to work, so in the evening I pulled out the Trangia 27 Stormcooker stove set and headed over to Farragut Park to make a taco dinner outside. I love cooking outside for dinner, especially when it’s too damn hot to do it indoors. And using a camp stove gives me a little taste of camping. I wish I could get out this week, but work has gotten in the way.

I know I’ll think differently in August, but I can’t wait for summer. And there’s something about summer in the Northwest that you can’t know unless you’ve done one. It’s just the way it feels. Back home in Connecticut summer usually meant hazy humid days. When I lived in North Carolina for a year, it was even hotter and more humid. And the Bay Area? Ha! What’s summer?** But here we have long and dry days. Yeah, it can (and will) get hot, but you can find relief in the shade. And it cools down at night. So when I get that first feeling of that warm air, I just think of all the promise and adventure summer can bring. And I can’t wait.

*If you know Forest Park, you know that Springville from the St. Johns Bridge is ridiculously steep. I know this, but conveniently forget until I do it. (How steep? Well, the inclinometer maxxed out at 20%. Yes, I had to walk a bit.) Unfortunately the other option is Germantown Road. The grade is mellower at about 6%, but it’s a narrow and winding road with no shoulder and lots of fast traffic. Fun going down, though.

**If you don’t know what I mean, soak in this quote that it commonly (mis)attributed to Mark Twain, “The coldest winter I ever spent is a summer in San Francisco.”


REMINDER: Three Speed Ride is TOMORROW, Sunday April 22!

Society Of Three Speeds

Yes! Tomorrow, Sunday April 21st is the spring #threespeedride Meet at 1:30 PM at Rivelo, 401 SE Caruthers St. We depart at 2. Bring a hub geared bike of three, four, or five speeds. Ride ends at mystery destination and not a loop, but there will be transit options.Four of the five #threespeedadvapr2018 challenges will be met on the ride:

  1. A ride of 15 miles
  2. Climb of 5% or more grade for 100 feet of climbing
  3. Rough stuff/Gravel
  4. Coffee Outside (bring your own gear) which will happen nearer the end

A few notes:

  • It’s going to be 60F and sunny!
  • We will have a refreshment supply stop at the end
  • Coffee/tea at end, bring snacks and maybe a picnic blanket
  • There will be a few muddy spots!

See you tomorrow!😀


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That camping itch.

It’s been awhile. If you don’t count the cabin camping trip to Stub Stewart that Emee and I went on in December, it’s been exactly six months since I loaded my bike with camping gear and ridden to a campground. Yes, it’s been half a year since Todd B and I went to Battle Ground Lake. While those of you who may be digging out from a snowstorm (and waiting for the next one to come) can’t even fathom the idea of sleeping outside right now, the weather here is definitely more conducive to pitching a tent.

And man, I really would like to go camping, like, now. But that ain’t going to happen. I could have gone last week, but I was still getting over a cold. I could be camping during my days off this week, but I am currently manager on duty, so I need to be on call and available. (As it was, I almost had to go into work Tuesday morning on my day off.) Next week? One of my days off has the Three Speed Ride, which will be fun, but will also mean I won’t have the time.  That leaves April 29-30 as a possible window. After that, the next few weeks I’ll be out of town for the Lake Pepin Three Speed Ride. That will be heaps of fun, but not camping. So, late May? At least I know for sure I’ll be camping the first weekend of June, but that feels like an eternity from now.

Of course, it doesn’t help when I go online and see the awesome bike camping/touring adventures others are having, like Pondero. It’s hard to not get jealous and want to get out there now. Then that pesky life/health/work thing gets in the way.

What is it about sleeping outside that makes me this way? 😀

Three Speed Adventure April 2018: The report, so far.

Society Of Three Speeds

Hello friends of Three Speeds! We’re almost smack-dab in the middle of Three Speed Adventure April, so time for a quick status report. What’s going on?

Well, not much, at least yet.

So far, fifteen folks have officially registered. But no one has completed ANY of the Challenge reports. So there ain’t much going down as far as I know.

There have been some murmurs, though. Velocipedium (on Instagram and Wordpres) has shared some images of a few rides, but I don’t know what the stats are. Our friend Tarik Saleh (of the Bike Club fame) has obtained a Schwinn Traveler three speed that he is fixing up to do the challenge. And I heard rumors that Maria aka Bicycle Kitty is doing a Three Speed Camping Trip to Oxbow Regional Park on Saturday April 28th.

And…that’s it.

So, if you’ve been doing the Challenge, let me know! Please remember…

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Heading to Pepin again!

I’ve made hints at various points, and in various places over the past few months. But I didn’t want to make an “official” post until everything was, well, official. But now I can announce it: I am heading out to Minnesota in May to participate in the annual Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour!

I’ve been thrice before: 2014, 2015, and 2016. I took last year off. Much of the mechanics of the trip will remain the same since I’ve been going,  like a train trip to and from St. Paul via Amtrak’s Empire Builder, three days in Minneapolis, and a visit to Red Wing Boots so I can pose next to the World’s Largest Boot.

But there are a couple things that are different this year:

  1. Emee is coming along! Yay! This is the first time I’ll be travelling with someone else. It’s so much better when it’s with your girlfriend. 😀
  2. We’ll be taking the sleeping car both ways. I’ve generally taken Coach on every long distance train ride, though 2016 marked the first time I ever took a sleeper, when I took one on the way to Pepin. (I took Coach back.) Last year, I took the sleeper on the return from the Bay Area on the Coast Starlight. Such luxury!

Are you heading out to Lake Pepin, or are you in the Twin Cities? Let me know, maybe we can hang!

Sick, again.

After such a bustling March, it was inevitable: I came down with a good, good cold. It’s been a week, and this virus is still lingering. So I’ve had to slow things down. Today I had plans of camping, but with my health still not 100%, it’s not going to happen. Plus, the weather is going to be crap.

I did still lead Portland’s Tweed Ride on Sunday April 8th. Despite a dire forecast, the weather gods smiled and we had a dry and fairly mild day. About 40 folks showed up (it would have been bigger if the forecast hadn’t been so bad) and I led them from Alberta Park in NE to Laurelhurst Park in SE.

If there’s one good thing about a week of sick, it’s the opportunity to catch up. March featured a trip every weekend, so it was hard to get anything done. Now I’ve had down time to finish things up. I finally got all the details sorted out with Three Speed Adventure April and am working on things like patches and buttons. I’m also sorting out travel plans for the Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour in May.

The weather has alternated from dreadful to dreamy. Monday April 9 was the latter, our first 70F day here. I managed to get a Sunset Burrito Club. It was also my first time displaying bare feet outside this year. Summer is coming…

Three Speed Campout, June 2-3: We need a hands count

Society Of Three Speeds

IMG_20171015_163517-01.jpegHello folks! The Society of Three Speeds has hosted two camp-outs before, but we took 2017 off. The previous camping trips have gone to Ainsworth State Park. We’re planning on another campout for the first weekend of June, which not only falls in Pedalpalooza, but is part of Adventure Cycling Association’s annual Bike Travel Weekend!

Originally I was planning to go back to Ainsworth. The campground will be open on June 2 and 3, but the Historic Columbia River Highway may be not. It’s been closed since the Eagle Creek Fire last September, and there is no definitive plans for a reopening date. It could be open, it could be closed. If it’s closed, not only would we miss attractions like Multnomah Falls,* Horsetail Falls, and Oneonta Gorge, but…we would have to ride on the shoulder of Interstate 84. And that would not be fun.

So, we have come…

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Seventeen years.

I’ve said it here before: I am not good with anniversaries. Sometimes it’s weeks or months after the fact that I remember them. In this case, it’s only a day. Yesterday, April 4, 2018, marks the seventeenth anniversary of moving to Portland. So let me reflect on My Portland Moment for a moment.

Seventeen years? Yeesh. If it was a child, it would be a senior in high school. It’s nearing half of my life (though most of my adult life was spent here in Portland, so that makes something.)

Portland was the second place I chose to live as an adult. The Bay Area was first. That was a failed experiment. I’m maybe a teensy bit bitter about that. But I decided to stick it out and try another place rather than go back home. Now if I did that, I’d be a lot more bitter.

Portland has also been the best thing I’ve done in my life. While I was interested in certain things beforehand (like art), here is where I honed it all. Portland has been a nurturing environment where I got to spread my wings. It’s been a good ride. Now I’m not saying that it’s been seventeen years of “great” all the time. There have been rough patches. But that’s life.

And best of all,  the urge to leave has mostly subsided. There was an era (roughly late 2013 to about 2017) where I had considered moving. But I could never actually do it. For one, I could never find a place that called me in the same way that Portland has. Sure, I could make it work, but starting over in my 40’s, when I have built up a life here, would not be easy. So I decided to stick it out. Now I’m going to concentrate my energy on getting things done here, than pine for another city.

It will be interesting to see what the next few years in Portland are like. It hasn’t gotten easier to live here by any means. Housing has gotten expensive, people have been pushed to the fringes, or out of town, or the streets. I’ve managed to find a decent and affordable housing situation for the past four years. In fact, I’ve lucked out when it’s come to affordable housing for the entirety of my stay. I know others have not been so lucky. It’s hard not to feel a bit guilty.

But Portland is the city I call home, and I’m going to stick around. Maybe for another seventeen years?