Longer rides with the Bantam: A ride to the SW hinterlands, 24 November 2020

I’ve said it here before: I haven’t been biking as much as I feel I should. Blame COVID, blame laziness, blame inertia, blame easy access to a motor vehicle. So of course I feel guilty about my lack of biking, and try to figure out ways to get out on the bike more, beyond my normal “errands loop” I do once or twice a week. I wanted something longer, 20 miles or longer. 20 miles is scientifically proven to be a good ride, so I figure I should aim for more of those, winter be damned.

I had to go pick up a camera at Advance Camera in the not Portland/not Beaverton hinterland known as “Raleigh Hills”. I had drove out there the last couple times, justifying the drive by the distance–13 miles from my house. But why not bike out there this time? The weather on Tuesday November 24 was supposed to be dry during the day and mild, around 50F. I lubed and aired up the Bantam, as this would be the best bike to handle not just the length of the ride but the hilly terrain of SW.

The ride turned out a little tougher than I expected. I forgot how hilly this part of town is. Not only that, I was facing a headwind on the ride out. I quickly realized how out of shape I was. The ride itself was okay, the highlight being the cruise along SW Terwilliger Blvd, though there’s always more cars than I want. This be the other problem with this area: If you want the most direct and less hilly routes, you’re dealing with busy streets, though with bike lanes. If you want quiet, you’ll have to aim for a much hillier ride via quiet backstreets. Maybe next time when I’m a bit more in shape…

Anyways, I picked up one camera from a CLA at Advance Camera. Then I swung by Portland Camera Service for an estimate on another camera, and a quick fix on a third. I started back home at dark, and that’s when the rain hit. And, oh, did it hit: it basically rained at least a quarter-inch or more in the hour ride back to the house. Thankfully, I brought the appropriate raingear, but I was cold and wet when I walked through the door. No worries, I need a baptism of rain every once in a while to “stay tough”, well, as long as I don’t get hypothermic…

In any case, it was a decent ride, and with a distance of 26 miles it got me used to longer biking again. Now that we are in “winter” mode, with a high usually between 40F to 55F (4C to 13C), I’ve gotten used to the temp and “dialed in” my wardrobe. I usually wear a wool baselayer (undies and tee shirt), a thin wool sweater, flannel shirt over it, and my synthetic knickers with looooong socks. I bring either raingear or a windbreaker, depending on the weather. If I’m going long, or going to be out late, I’ll make sure I also pack the down jacket. And to be on the safe side for wet weather, I’ll throw in an extra set of wool gloves if the first set gets too wet. This usually gets me through the season. Now I just have to bike more!

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