I couldn’t ask for better ride for this year’s Palm Tree Ride, the tenth annual installment.* Sunny and cloudless, no wind, a high somewhere in the upper 40s Fahrenheit. Last year was somewhat sunny and near that temp, but occasional fog made it feel chillier than that. There was the very sunny ride in 2009, but the stiff east wind sucked out whatever warmth there was in any of us. And the 2011 ride had the warmest temps of any ride, pushing 60F/16C. But it was grey and drizzly. So the 2014 had the best weather overall.
Anyways, onto more interesting things than me ramble about the weather! About two dozen people assembled at Velo Cult at 11 am on Saturday 18 January for a ten mile tour. While the start location was the same as last year, the route was entirely different, heading east than south. (Last year was west than north.) Within the first mile we saw several palms and our first monkey puzzle tree. When we ascended the Alameda Ridge via NE Wistaria, we saw our first madrona (arbutus) tree of the ride. We took a quick circle through the parking lot of the SE Asian Vicariate with had the highest concentration of palms in one place (21). We cruised atop the Alameda Ridge, then bombed downhill and had a snack/refreshment break at Daily Cafe, which happened to fall exactly on the five mile mark! (I was really impressed by that.)
Part two of the ride had less stops and more riding. And more climbing too, as we ascended the north slope of Mount Tabor. Everyone made it up in one piece, even the family cargo bikes! (They had to do a slight detour because of the narrow passage into the primitive path that follows SE Stark between SE 62nd and 65th.) Atop the north slope we spotted an ecoroof adorned with a few prickly pear cactuses. Soon we descended the east side of Tabor, offering some great glimpses of Mount Hood. It was about another mile of rambling around Montavilla to catch the last of the palms on the ride, and we ended it all near SE 80th and Stark at exactly the ten mile mark! About half or the remaining crew peeled off to other destinations, while eight of us enjoyed post-ride food and beverage at Roscoes.
Overall, it was a great ride. It’s no secret that I might not do more Palm Tree Rides past next year. I want to keep it going until 2015, which would mark 10 years of me doing this. So I’m glad that the last few have been so good.
The ride route is over here.
BONUS: A full set of photos from Family Ride.
And a set of my various palm tree photos (not from the ride) over here.
*Well, I guess it could have been 60F/16C and sunny, but whatever.