Coffeeneuring 2021, Ride 6: With the Bantam and Coffee Outside, 20 Nov 2021

Ascending Powell Butte, 20 Nov 2021. Olympus 35 RD/Kodak ColorPlus 200.

I’ve ridden my Brompton A LOT since I got it in the middle of October. It makes sense: I want to become familiar with it, and the only way to do so is by riding it a lot. Plus, it’s a fun bike. Oh yeah, since I was out of town for two weeks and only had the Brompton, it’s the only bike I had.

By Saturday November 20th I had been back in town for a week, so I could ride any of my other bikes, right? Yet, I still rode the Brompton, because it’s fun. But I was still taking part in the Coffeeneuring Challenge. And my classic “self-challenge” with this challenge has been to ride all my rideable bikes, at least once during the Challenge. Up until this point the only other bike I had ridden for a coffeeneuring ride was my Heavy Duti. I had two more challenges to do, and two more available bikes to ride. The Superbe has a flat (well, has had a flat since October, but I have been too lazy to fix it) so the Bantam “all-rounder” was called into service for Ride 6.

Another “self-challenge” I like to do as part of the Coffeeneuring Challenge is to at least hit up one of the weekly PDX Coffee Outside meet-ups. I always like going, but in the “before-times” the start time of 7 AM on a Friday morning made it difficult to do it frequently. 1 Since PDX Coffee Outside resumed after several months of pandemic-induced shut-down 2 it switched to Saturdays at 9 AM, a much more civilized time. So I went a bit more, though getting up early on a Saturday is a big deal for me, which meant if it was further than a couple miles from home I probably wouldn’t make it.

The PDX Coffee Outside for Saturday, November 20th was at Sellwood Riverfront Park. It’s eight miles from my house, by no means close. But I pushed myself out of bed because a) I really wanted a PDX Coffee Outside during Coffeeneuring, and there ain’t much time left, b) it was supposed to be nice, sunny and 50F/10C, c) I like being by the river, d) I hadn’t had a good bike ride since I got back to town, so I’d get a minimum of eight miles in and e) if I started my day far from home, it would encourage an even gooder bike ride.

I got to Sellwood Riverfront Park around 9:45 AM. Yep, I never arrive on-time to these, but they last until at least 11 AM so I knew it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. There was about a couple dozen folks there, and a few more showed up after me. I quickly got to work grinding coffee (Two Dads, grabbed from the house) and boiling water via my Esbit stove and pot set. (The chemical smell of burning Esbit tabs got a few comments.) Soon the water boiled and I poured it over my pour-over kit. And repeat. (I can’t just have one cup of coffee to start the day, can I?)

11 AM rolled around and people started heading off, many to take part in a “Cranksgiving” race/benefit. Me? I wanted some “me time on the bike” so I pointed the Bantam eastward. I should add here how weird the Bantam felt after riding the Brompton for over a month. By this point I had gotten used to the “big bike” feel of mid-trail and plump 26 inch tires. But the initial rush guiding me to Coffee Outside had faded, and I felt slower and more sluggish for the rest of the day. I made many pauses, especially by bodies of water like Crystal Springs, Errol, and Johnson Creeks. Everything had a much different vibe than the two weeks in SoCal, a vibe I’m more used to. There was a little bit of fall still lingering, but it was mostly bare trees. It wasn’t grey, though, Cascadia never is. There’s enough green from trees like Doug Firs, grass (it’s green in the winter, not summer!) and some other evergreens that are hidden by leafy trees in the summer. 3 The creeks were now full of water, recharged by rains after a summer of nothing.

Initially I had the idea of heading up to Powell Butte, as it’s been awhile. But as I closed in I started to doubt making it all the way up because of 1) My lack of energy 2) A worry of muddy trails and most importantly 3) Not being able to see snow-capped mountains because of clouds. I had pretty much convinced myself to not go up by the time I hit the SE 136th Av crossing of the Springwater Trail. Then I saw Mount Hood in the distance and knew I had to see the top of Powell Butte. It was a grunt, no doubt, especially since I feel out of shape. The trail I used to get up, Holgate (my usual way up) was a bit mucky, but nothing out of hand. I made it all the way up to the top without even walking, something I thought I might have to do. There were plenty of other folks enjoying Powell Butte too.

I didn’t linger that long, as I started to get cold thanks to my sweat-covered clothes. (I have to remember every November, when we transition into “winter” riding.) I ended up going the paved way down, not my preferred way, but I didn’t want to take chances with muddy trails. And despite thinking I might take the MAX most of the way home, I ended up just riding westward. I reached home around 5 PM, right after dark. My cycle computer clocked in nearly 33 miles, a respectable ride and the longest Coffeeneuring 2021 adventure so far.

Now I got one more ride to do before November 30th. Hopefully I’ll have the Superbe road-ready by then! And hopefully there’ll be more 30 or so mile rides throughout the winter…

For photos from this ride, see the dynamic flickr album below, or click here.

Atop Powell Butte, 20 Nov 2021

1 Difficult because either I was going to work at the hostel at 8 AM so could only fly-by if it was en-route, and after that it was just hard to get up by 7 AM on a Friday when I didn’t have anywhere to be.

2 Not counting the attempt at a “Zoom” Coffee Outside, which quickly fizzled due to everyone’s burn-out with Zoom.

3 Not all the green is good. During winter I’m much more reminded how prevalent invasive plants like English Ivy and Himalayan Blackberry are.

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