Heading to the East Coast Nov 14-20

Hello people, time for a trip!

Tomorrow, Monday November 13, @ejpevents and myself take a red eye to the East Coast! We will be in the Boston area Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov 14-15), then Amtrak to New Haven on Thursday, where we’ll be until Saturday evening (Nov 16-18). Then Metro North to New York, where we be until Monday night (Nov 18-20) Tuesday morning we fly home.

It’s going to be a whirlwind trip, and I haven’t been Back East in TEN YEARS! (Haven’t flown in almost four!) Maybe I’ll see you? We’ll be hitting up Carl’s b-day thing in Boston on Wednesday, and hope to hit up New Haven Bike Party on Saturday.

Oh yeah, we are NOT bringing bikes yet (appropriate folding bikes are not in the quiver) but we’ll be using Bike Share where we can and maybe borrowing where we can’t.

Message me if you want to attempt to hang out.
#bosnhnytripnov2017

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Coffeeneuring 2017, Ride 7: Another #pdxcoffeeoutside and the return of the Heavy Duti

And so I end the 2017 Coffeeneuring Challenge the same way I started it: With a trip to the fabled Portland arm of the international Coffee Outside movement. In many cities around the world on a given weekday morning (usually Friday), you can find a group of cyclists huddled around camp stoves in a park, making joe and shooting the breeze.

This time (Friday November 10) Coffee Outside was happening at Peninsula Park in North Portland, a very convenient locale since it’s less than ten minutes from my house. (Glad I suggested it! 😉 ) This made it easier to wake up after a night shift: stumble out of bed, throw on clothes, grab my (already packed) bike, and off I go into the misty morning.

There was a good turnout this time, maybe a dozen people? Peninsula Park has the advantage of a picnic shelter, which helped out on this drizzly day. As the years go by, the “spread” of Coffee Outside gets better. For example: I don’t even have to worry about bringing coffee, as Ristretto donates beans. (I do need a grinder, though, and a way to boil water, but I’m sure I could bum those if I needed to.) And someone even freshly baked muffins in the morning. Still warm!

So with a three mile loop ride, I have successfully completed my Coffeeneuring 2017 challenge. This will mark my fifth year of participation, yay! I’m looking forward to this year’s patch…

*****

My personal challenge for all of the Coffeneurings has been to ride all of my active bikes at least once. And I completed that, too, as I pulled out the Schwinn Heavy Duti for today’s adventure.

I did want to pull it out earlier, but my U-Lock key had jammed, and I “hobble-locked” the bike, frame to wheel. (I typically do this to my bikes at home.) Thankfully my roommate John has an awesome set of tools* and cut the lock. I also had him install the ABUS wheel (or cafe) lock to the rear, since the fender needed to be crimped in order for it to fit. I also decided to throw on a front basket, since it’s been naked since I removed the old Wald 157 “paperboy” from it awhile back.** So I had a Wald multi-fit basket lying around intended for some project or another, why not use it on here? Setting up the basket went surprisingly fast (no cables sure helps) and now the bike is a lot more functional.

And since the bike is more functional, I feel like I’m going to ride it more again. I’ve felt bad about basically mothballing the Heavy Duti this year. I have thought about selling it from time to time, but haven’t. It’s not like I’d make a lot of money selling it, and it’s not like I’ve had to put a lot of money into it, either. Plus, I’m not going into a minimalist phase nor is bike storage space at a premium at my house. It’s still a fun bike to ride, and it’s nice to have a beater/bar bike for when the occasion arises, like going downtown for a show.

Now if I can ever sort out the front brake issue! But that might be happening soon…

*Just like Spicoli’s dad!

**At that time, I had just gotten the super duper Wald 257 “pizza” rack for the Crested Butte, and felt that two bikes with ginormous front baskets was redundant.

A West Hills Hike, 6 Nov 2017

Y’know, it’s not always about the bike. I do like to walk and use public transit. When I founded this “league”, oh, thirteen years ago, it was supposed to be both for cycling and walking. But y’know, bikes are cool and folks like to look at bicycle pictures. So that wins out nine times out of ten. (Also, I bike commute.) But sometimes it’s fun to go on a long walk.

And that’s what happened on Monday November 6th. I was jonesing for something resembling a hike, esp. since the last time I did one was during my Indian Heaven backpacking trip in August. Three months ago! Time to remedy that.

One of the great things about living in Portland is the access to hiking. We don’t even have to leave town to go on some great hikes! While there are a few spots on the east side that are good (like Mount Tabor and Powell Butte), the bulk of the good hikes happen along the West Hills. This small mountain range forms a spine dividing Portland from its westside suburbs, and while there is plenty of development around, there is also scads of natural areas, like Forest Park, the largest urban forest in the US (so they say.) And trails! The Wildwood Trail itself is thirty miles long…and all within city limits! What other city can you find that type of trail?

I chose to start my West Hills adventure via Macleay Park entrance. This parklet (part of Forest Park) can be accessed via NW 23rd Avenue. To get there, I used the city bus and the Portland Streetcar, no car needed. One of the reasons why I like using this entrance is that the trail (Macleay) follows Balch Creek as it climbs into the hills. Balch Creek is one of the most significant creeks coming out of the West Hills, and it reminds me of the brooks I used to explore in my youth back in Connecticut. This trail “tops off” by the Portland Audubon Society, which has its own park/sanctuary (open to the public) plus an animal rehabilitation facility (hello, raven!) and a gift shop. I always stop by here. This time I managed to score a couple used books, including one of those “guide to birds” books for only $2!

From here, it was more up via the Wildwood Trail to get to Pittock Mansion. This is where I really tested my legs. And the grounds of Pittock Mansion (now a city park) has one of the greatest views in Portland. The start of the day had low leaden clouds, but by the time I reached Pittock the clearing had started. (Though I couldn’t see Mt Hood.) I ate my lunch here. It was in the upper 40’s F (about 9C), but I got cold when I sat down so I needed to layer back up.

It was more Wildwood Trail to the next destination, Hoyt Arboretum in Washington Park. Hoyt is the yin to the yang of Columbia Children’s Arboretum, which I visited the day before. Hoyt is hilly, well maintained, well marked, and popular. Columbia is flat, poorly maintained, not that well marked (but better than it has been), and obscure. At Hoyt you’ll find a staffed visitor center/gift shop, bathrooms with sinks and flush toilets, and a covered picnic area. Columbia features no visitor center, a porta potty with a spigot somewhere over there, and a falling-apart uncovered picnic area. I’m not dissing Columbia, but it’s like night and day. Anyways, I did a circuit, passing through the redwoods like I always do.

It was about four PM when I wrapped up my Hoyt Arboretum exploration. I could go further, hit up Council Crest, but I was getting tired and there was only another hour of daylight. I could hop on the MAX from here, but I still had more energy. So I decided to descend down from here via foot. I used trails and city streets, and passed through the famous International Test Rose Gardens. By this point, the clouds had cleared enough to get a good view of Mount Hood. Score! I kept on heading further down until I hit the Goose Hollow Inn, run by the family of my favorite ex Portland mayor. I got a Reuben and a couple beers, a suitable end to my adventure, then hopped on the bus home.

I just scraped the surface of hiking in the West Hills. I’ll be back again, sure enough, but hopefully sooner than later…

Coffeeneuring 2017, Ride 6: Moto coffee? Sun 5 Nov

Yep, I cancelled my originally planned Chehalem Range Ramble because the weather forecast was fairly dire. And true to form, it ended up being not that bad after all. Maybe a sprinkle, a temp around 50F/10C. Oh well, I do know of a few folks who went out and did some form of the Chehalem Ramble after all, so all was not lost. And honestly, after a tough work week and working until 10 PM on Saturday, I’m glad that I didn’t wake up early, hustle on the MAX, and do a 40 mile ride with about 2,500 feet of cumulative climbing.

What I did instead was a bit more mellow. After spending the AM around the house, I departed the Holland House around 1:30 with a general objective of heading west through the Peninsula. First, I aimed north towards my favorite bottomlands of the Columbia Slough. Oh slough, you are so peaceful, and so close. The first bit of exploration was along the levee on the north side of the slough just east of NE MLK Blvd. This is technically “off limits” to public use, but that gap in the fence is so damn wide due to years of use and abuse, ain’t no stopping no one. The first bit was a rough grassy track, then the inexplicable orphaned paved path behind FedEx, awaiting a linkage to a network that may be decades in the making.

I descended down from here and made a beeline (relatively speaking) to one of my favorite spots down here, the Columbia Children’s Arboretum. The gist behind this random park is to have a state tree from all 50 states. I don’t know if that ever happened, but I do know that my home state of Connecticut is represented with a White Oak. (It also happens to be the State Tree of a bunch of other states too, but did they have The Charter Oak? No!) Of course, all the (deciduous) trees were at peak poppin’ now, so a great time to be down here.

I kept heading westward along the Columbia Slough path, which sits on the north side levee above the slough. While it had remained dry and off/on sunny, the stiff west wind was not exactly fun, and made it feel a bit colder than it probably was. I paused at the bridge over the slough by the wastewater treatment plant, watching a UP freight pass by in the distance, and hoping for a heron to pop out of the water.

So it was definitely time for coffee. My original hope was to try Willamette’s End Coffee on N Lombard, since it was a cafe I had never been to before. And also, a cafe on N Lombard as well. I commented a few years back about how N Lombard was one of the few long avenues in Portland to be bereft of coffee shops. That’s been changing over the past few years. But unfortunately Willamette’s End closed at 3 PM and I was too late. I could just go to Cathedral Coffee, a great place, but I’d been there before. Is there another new-to-me cafe? I did a search and found a few in St Johns, Portland’s farthest-flung North neighborhood (and own city at one point.) One piqued my interest: 2 Stroke, a two-wheeled themed cafe, albeit around motorcycles. They promised some interesting coffee drinks and food trucks in back. Why not?

I rambled further west, trying to find some great off-the-beaten path streets. And I definitely found one on the north side of St Johns, N Seneca St. Most of it was in some form of unpaved, yes! (I even passed by a chicken coop.) I found myself at 2 Stroke around 3:30. Normally I go for a tried and true “house”/drip coffee, but they had an interesting menu of specialty drinks. I got a “Vermont” which was espresso, white chocolate, maple, and cinnamon. Delicious, especially with a marionberry hand pie!

And then it was nightfall, so early with Daylight Savings Time done. I got some food, drank some beer, headed home. It was cold now, around 40F/4C. Winter is on its way…

Ride Report: East Portland Cemeteries, 29 Oct 2017

Fun fact: I get a lot of “crazy” ideas for bike rides, but only do a fraction of them. And when I throw out something that’s a bit off the beaten path, a bit eccentric, I wonder if anyone is going to show up to these things. So it’s always a pleasant surprise when people do.

And that’s what happened on Sunday October 29th, with my tour of four different pioneer cemeteries on the east side of Portland. My starting point was a bit out of the way: Parkrose Sumner Transit Center. Yes, this goes against the conventional Portland bike fun wisdom of starting your ride in a central location, but where else to start an out-of-the-way ride than an out-of-the-way place? (And it’s a light rail station, so it’s not exactly “hard to get to”.) We had a total of eleven people for the ride! It didn’t hurt that it was a pleasant day, sunny and 60F/16C.

The first stop was Columbia Pioneer Cemetery, aka Parkrose Cemetery, a mere tenth of a mile from the station! Like all the cemeteries we visited, this one was started in the mid-nineteenth century by the pioneer families who settled the area, then got transferred to government supervision in the mid-twentieth century. The graveyard was just a couple acres, so we walked around checking out the place.

Stop 2 was Powell Grove Cemetery at NE Sandy Blvd and 122nd. This one acre plot has the misfortune of being in a traffic circle, so I’m sure most people zip by without even noticing it! Like all the other graveyards on the tour, actual information is scant, so I couldn’t give any grand tour with stories, I just let everyone look around.

Then came the long stretch without a graveyard stop, about 10 miles. While there are plenty of pioneer cemeteries on the east side, they are not all close together. We broke up this section with a stop at the brand new park off of NE 122nd and Fremont, Luuwit View Park and a break at Jet Black Coffee at NE 111th and Halsey. (A vegan coffee shop in Gateway? Yes!) Then a bit of “rough stuff adventuring” as there are quite a bit of unpaved/unimproved roads out this way.

Finally, as the sun grew lower in the sky, we hit Cemetery No. 3, Multnomah Park Cemetery at the corner of SE 82nd and Holgate. This was the largest graveyard of the tour at 9 acres, and the one most people knew about. It also featured a small mausoleum, the only one we saw on the ride.

And then we headed north to the final stop, Brainard at NE Glisan and 90th. Another tiny plot (one acre) and on a rise above busy Glisan, so not noticed by most. This one featured a few veterans of the Civil War. It was dark at that point, and we all went our separate ways.

I had a lot of fun on Sunday, and hopefully everyone else did as well. I might do another East Portland Cemeteries Ride at some point (next Halloween?) but may mix it up with different ones…

You can see all the photos over here on flickr.

 

A bit of old and new in the Store: Unearthed posters and new postcards!

Hello folks! I am gradually gearing up for the Bike Craft Fair which will happen December 15 through 17 here in Portland. I’m getting my stock levels back up, and creating some new stuff for it. As I create new stuff I’ll be posting it to my Store and notifying you fine folks via the blog.

So, what’s new in the Store?

  • I’ve unearthed some poster work I did about ten years ago! I’ve done the art for Pedalpalooza, Portland’s annual bike fun celebration several times over the years. I’ve got a few from the 2006 event, so I’m posting those for sale for just $5! These posters were printed locally by Stumptown Printers. They are aged, so the edges are not perfect, but they are still good overall.
  • Also, I did the art for the annual Portland-based Filmed By Bike festival for three years (2005-7).  I’ve found a couple from the 2007 event, also printed by Stumptown. They are just $5!
  • Also in Pedalpalooza related art, I did the art for this year’s fest and have some postcards left behind. They are just $1 each.
  • And in new-new, a couple postcards! Check out the lovely Tweed Ride Every Ride or Woman With Brompton postcards. $2 each!

So don’t delay! Check out these and other items in my store. And thank you for your support.

Chehalem Range Ramble may not happen this Sunday…

Yes, the weather forecast for Sunday is not looking good. And doing the Chehalem Range Ramble in wet and cold conditions is not fun, especially since there are few bail out points and/or places to warm up. Heck, there could even be a li’l snow at the top, just like it was when we last did it in February.

I’ll have the final decision Saturday. Don’t worry, if it doesn’t happen this Sunday, it will happen at some point!