Cyborg Monday: New and newish stuff over in the store, including NEW COMIC!

Hello friends! It’s the start of the holiday consumerist frenzy in this part of the world. And even though you may feel above it all, maybe you need to get someone a gift. Or that you just want to get some cool stuff yourself. I don’t blame ya!

Over in my Store, I have some new things and some recently rediscovered things. What may they be?

  • First off, a new year ahead means a new year of me sending out postcards for my events. So now it’s time to sign up for Postcard Club 2017! Get about four postcards promoting my Urban Adventure League/Society of Three Speeds sent to your home or post box, anywhere in the world!
  • Also, I discovered I had a few of my Cycle Portland screenprinted posters still kicking around. Get some nice art for your wall!
  • And finally, it’s time to release another issue of my endlessly ongoing comic book series NEW OLD STOCK to the world. (Issue 2.125 to be specific.) Hey last time it took almost four years to get another issue out, so you are lucky! And note that this is a pre-order, as the issue should be ready around Dec 10th. After the pre-order is closed, the price will go up a buck per issue.

There’s lots more cool stuff in the store, so make sure you poke around in there. And feel free to ask me questions about stuff.

Three Speed October: Did you participate? It’s time to check in.

Society Of Three Speeds

bearbearprizepackageHello friends! Yeah, this is long overdue, as the Challenge itself ended two weeks ago. What can I say, it’s been an interesting couple weeks. Now is time for me to get back on top of all this.

Did you participate in the Three Speed October challenge? Please get in touch. Summarize your rides thusly:

Week One

  1. Tuesday: 7 mile trek down to the river on the Superbe.
  2. Wednesday: 4 mile grocery shop run on the Twenty.
  3. Friday: 10 mile round-trip commute with the DL-1.

etc, etc.

And in order for you to get the prize package, you will need to let me know your postal address! Even if you think I already have it, please let me know again. (Because maybe you moved without telling me?πŸ˜‰ Β )

Submit those reports to If you posted these rides elsewhere, make sure you include some links to where they be…

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Emotional Weather Report. (And goodbye, moosemoose.)

It’s been a few weeks, eh?

Besides the obvious things going on in the world, it’s been a personally challenging few weeks around the Urban Adventure League HQ. A series of down notes have hit me:

  • First off, I had to scuttle the intended Chehalem Range Ramble on Saturday November 5th. I don’t like cancelling weekend rides, esp. since I have to ask for the time off in advance. And I feel like a lot of my events have gotten scuttled recently. I don’t want to be known as someone who constantly cancels rides.
  • I also fell down my stairs at home one morning. It was early, I was getting up early and heading to the bathroom. Stupidly, I didn’t turn on the light, and also didn’t really put on my slippers properly. The slipper slipped, and I landed hard on my ass and elbow. I still have a pretty good black and blue on my butt, and I’ve been stiff for days. I’m set out for a life as an old man.

    Note: No bag.

    Note: No bag.

  • And on Election Day, someone stole the handlebar bag from my Raleigh Superbe. I had it locked in front of a store in North Portland, and I wasn’t inside for that long. When I came out, the bike looked naked and it took a second to realize it. “Really?” is what I exclaimed as I saw half of a leather strap dangling from the bars. (Apparently the thief cut the straps to get the bag.) Now the bag was a nice little one made by Treetop. And it had my tool kit and first aid kit, which while annoying to lose, are not exactly irreplaceable. Nor was the “better” camera, a Canon PowerShot. I rarely bring the real camera with me, but today was the day. And while it is also annoying to lose, honestly I didn’t care much for the camera. And recently it’s been having the annoying habit of never saving date/time information despite resetting it constantly. (It prompts you to set the date/time every time you turn it on.) And I realize that you shouldn’t leave stuff on your bike in a town like this, but never had someone go for a small front bag before. (Ironically enough, I also had a fully loaded Carradice in the rear that was unmolested.)30751703662_ecd4d82b5d_o
  • But the biggest tragedy with the stolen bag is that moosemoose was on it! My dear moosemoose. I know, it’s silly that a man in his 40’s has become so attached to a little plush toy, but he had become my mascot, so to speak. And he’s been with me on a lot of good adventures over the past four years. I realize he’s just collateral damage, unfortunately attached to things more important to a (most likely) tweaker thief. But it pains me to think that his final fate is probably thrown in a trash can or behind a dumpster or something. He deserves more than that. But the chance I’ll see him again? Slim to none.

Add all this to what’s been going on in the world (and some frustrating times at work), you got a recipe for discontent and unhappiness. As such, I haven’t been that active on the internets lately.

But I’ve been trying to keep my head above water. While I haven’t done a long bike ride, I’ve done a few long walks. As I noted previously, I haven’t really done much in the way of long walks or hikes since the winter of 2015 (two winters ago, to be clear.)

30252747044_c9f2097909_hOne big thing that I realized after the West Hills hike last month is I didn’t have any great hiking footwear. All of my shoes were fine for short walks, but not long ones. So I decided to get a decent pair of hiking boots. I found a pair of Alico Tahoe boots on Sierra Trading Post for a very good price. They are a traditional Italian style hiking boot Β (think Vasque Sundowner) but still made traditionally in Italy. They have a gussetted tongue and Norwegian stitch, so they are theoretically waterproof. (And thankfully Gore-Tex free.) And I can also resole these boots too. I wanted a boot that I could wear for a long, long time.

So far, so good. My first big trip with them was a six mile urban walk along N Lombard St the day after the election. And while my feet were a bit sore, they were not “Oh my god, my feet want to rebel” like some other shoes I’ve had. Success! I also took another six mile walk through NE Portland on Wednesday November 16th. Still good. They do still need a bit more breaking in, but no complaints so far. I think they are keepers.

It’s still a long road ahead for me, and for us. The only thing I can do is take it one step at a time.

And if anyone knows a good replacement for moosemoose, let me know!

Coffeeneuring 2016, Ride 6: Fri 4 Nov, or #pdxcoffeeoutside again

We’re nearing the home stretch of Coffeeneuring! Just a few more rides to do before I “win” and get my patch!

Well, the dudes behind #pdxcoffeeoutside put out the notice on Thursday November 3 that they would be at the “Dog Bowl” at 7 am on Friday morning. The Dog Bowl is the most popular name for the horseshoe shaped natural area on N Willamette Blvd, what I lovingly refer to as Rivendell Ridge. I could feasibly work in Coffee Outside on my way to work, so I went for it!

And man, Β 7 am on the Friday before Daylight Savings Time ends is DARK. We had to do everything with flashlights or lamps. Can’t wait until we are back to Standard Time!* And my Esbit tablets were for some reason not igniting properly, so I needed to make several goes at it. But it finally worked, and I got the water to boil for coffee!

7:30 am and it was finally light. And that was my cue to scramble along so I could get to work “fashionably late”. But I hope to do #pdxcoffeeoutside again soon!

By the numbers, Coffeeneuring Ride #6, Friday 4 November 2016

  • Ride distance: About 9 miles total from home to work, coffee stop about 3 miles in
  • Location: Dog Bowl
  • Weather: Clear though bits of fog, high 40s/low 50s.
  • Bike: Bantam Rambleneur
  • Coffee: Five Points “High Score” blend
  • Prepared by: Boiling water with Esbit stove and using GSI travel French Press

And as you’ll note above, with using the Bantam, I have now successfully used all four of my active bikes in the fleet. And with French Press, I have prepared coffee outside in three different ways (the other two pour over and Esbit coffee machine.) So now I have completed my two “personal challenges” within my Coffeeneuring 2016 participation!

And one more ride to go before I complete the full challenge!

*I know that by the time of Solstice we’ll be back to dark at 7 am. Please don’t remind me.

Chehalem Range Ramble for tomorrow CANCELLED.

Yeah, I hate to do a cancel with less than 12 hours before the ride starts. And yes, I realize that I cancelled last year’s ride. And yes, the weather is supposed to suck tomorrow. But that’s not the primary reason for the cancel.
Basically, it’s mechanical. The front brakes on the Bantam are having issues, and it’s not anything I can have fixed by 8 am tomorrow. (There’s also other issues going on with the front wheel.) Tomorrow is supposed to feature lots of rain and some good descents, nothing I really want to risk with my brakes being the shape they are.
And my backup bike, the Crested Butte, also is having front brake issues. So I don’t have a bike that would be suitable for tomorrow’s ride.
So I apologize. I would like to do this ride at some point this winter, so stay tuned for a reschedule.

Coffeeneuring Ride 5, 2 Nov 2016: Pulling out the Heavy Duti

Man, the Coffeeneuring challenge is slipping Β away! Time to catch up and get in something this week! One of my “personal challenges” in the Coffeeneuring challenge is to ride each one of my rideable bikes at least once through the course of the challenge.* I’ve used both the Raleigh Superbe and Crested Butte, my two main “everyday” bikes, so I still need to ride my Bantam and the Schwinn Heavy Duti. So I opted for the Heavy Duti, since I ride this bike the least.

I picked up the Heavy Duti just over two years now, and it’s basically the bar/beater/neighborhood cruiser. From time to time I think about upgrading it a bit, mostly where it comes to front brakes. The Heavy Duti is your simple good ol’ American style balloon tire, cantilever frame cruiser, so all it has is a coaster brake. Now for many of us who started riding a bike as a kid, a single rear coaster brake is all we had, and we thought nothing of it. But now hurtling into middle age, I’d like less of a chance of hurtling from my bike because the only way to stop by bike in a panic is by skidding. But there’s no easy way about it. I’d either have to get a drum brake front wheel ($$) or swap out the front fork with one that would allow brakes. I’ve been leaning towards the latter. But there are other bike things I should do first. So the Heavy Duti generally sits in the basement, barely ridden. And that’s a shame.

But there is part of me that says, “Keep it simple. Keep it pure.” One of the beauties of this bike is that because it’s a single speed coaster brake bike, there’s little maintenance that needs to be done. No adjustments, cable replacements, etc. So I can leave it in the basement until on a whim I want to take the bike somewhere. Like today.

The ride itself was pretty ordinary as it goes for me on a day off: a westbound expedition into North Portland. I first aimed for the “Dog Bowl” aka Rivendell Ridge or the big horseshoe bend on N Willamette Blvd. I love coming to this spot for its general serenity and great view of things. Then it was a short hike to Blend Coffee on N Killingsworth St. I got a cup of house coffee (roasted by Coava) and sat outside to enjoy it on this pretty darn nice November day. (It was about 62F/17C and dry, which is nice.) Then afterwards I had a beer at Lucky Lab, picked up a few things at the market, and headed home.

It was nice being out on the Heavy Duti. Until I ride it I forget how much fun it is. The Bullmoose bars are nice, and since I pushed the saddle a bit further forward (a Huffy leather saddle I picked up off of Craigslist) it fits/feels better. I took off and sold the big Wald basket a few months ago, but it definitely can use something in the front or rear, so I’ll be on the hunt. Now the big question is: Will I ever do something about the front brake?

By the numbers, Coffeeneuring Ride 5: 2 Nov 2016:

  • Distance: 6.5 miles round trip
  • Bike: Schwinn Heavy Duti
  • Destination: Blend Coffee
  • Coffee: Drip coffee, Coava Coffee Roasters
  • Route: here.

*The other one is to do Coffee Outside at least three times, each time using a different coffee preparation method.

My third (and maybe final) week of the Three Speed Challenge

Hello all! I just wrapped up a third week of my Three Speed October challenge! Hooray! I could go for a “bonus” week this week, but don’t know if I’ll be riding my three speed. (Sorry, Tim!)

Here’s how it played out:

  1. Sunday Oct 23: Though I rode to work, I’m only going to count the Three Speed Pub Crawl as the official ride. So that was five miles.
  2. Monday Oct 24: Commute round trip, about 12 miles.
  3. Wednesday Oct 26: A quick late-day ride to the pub (Lucky Lab N), Goodwill, and Green Zebra. 6.5 miles. This completes the challenge!
  4. (bonus) Thursday Oct 27: Work commute: About six miles. (Crashed in SE that night.)
  5. (bouns) Friday Oct 28: Work commute, after work errands. About eight miles total.