Three Speed October 2017! Oct 1 through Nov 5

Society Of Three Speeds

36273501226_297ebb0f97_kOkay folks, here is all the basic info for this year’s challenge! Check yesterday’s post to see what’s different this year from last years’ challenge. Feel free to ask me questions via comments or directly at

Started in 2016, the Three Speed October challenge is a way to not only get folks out on their three speeds, but to get them excited about them!

The premise is simple: Ride your three speed during the month of October! Here are the basic stipulations of this challenge:

  1. Ride a three speed bicycle
  2. Three times a week during a calendar week (Sunday through Saturday)
  3. At least three miles (5 km) each trip
  4. For at least three weeks during the duration of the challenge
  5. During a five-week period from Sunday October 1st through Sunday November 5th, 2017
  6. At least one ride a week should be for utility/errands/commuting

And those of you who…

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Mark yer calendars: Three Speed October is happening Oct 1st through Nov 5th. First, here’s what’s different in 2017.

Society Of Three Speeds

It’s just a week and a half until Society of Three Speeds will be holding our annual fall (or spring, if you are in the Southern Hemisphere) challenge! Some of you may have completed it last year (thanks!) and some of you will be totally new. Full details will be published on the blog by this Friday, September 22nd. So hold your horses–er, three speeds!

First off, the Three Speed October Challenge will happen from Sunday October 1st through Sunday November 5th, 2017. Five full weeks to complete the challenge. The basics will remain the same: Ride your three speed, three times a week, for three weeks, each trip at least three miles.

So here’s what’s different:

  • Forms and online registration. It was too much a pain in the ass to look at flickr, or Instagram, or a blog to keep tabs on everyone’s progress. So this year, there will…

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Next Three Speed Ride: Sunday October 8!

Society Of Three Speeds

37097720402_8f1f1c7d9d_o(blows off dust)(coughs)

Yes, it’s been a pretty quiet summer on the Three Speed Front, especially since the last Three Speed Ride in June was pretty much a bust. But that’s about to change! I’ll be releasing deets about Three Speed October very soon. But first, details about the next (and probably last) full Three Speed Ride of 2017.

This ride will happen Sunday October 8 at 11:30 AM. We’ll meet at the Paul Bunyan Statue in the Kenton neighborhood of North Portland. This is at the intersection of N Interstate and Denver Aves, near Argyle St and just across from the Kenton/N Denver Ave MAX station on the Yellow Line.

13569909673_75097c9b1f_k Meet here. Yes, this is not a three speed.

We’ll depart from Paul at noon. We’ll then depart on a 20 mile leisurely cruise around the lowlands of the Columbia River. We’ll do a tea stop (byo tea and…

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Save the Date: Coffeeneuring Challenge Starts October 13

Yes! Another year of this awesome challenge. Looking forward to doing it. And you should try it this year!

Hello readers, the Coffeeneuring Challenge is back for the 7th year (SEVEN!) and you are going to love it! And it kicks off on Friday the 13th, too, so you won’t forget when to start pedaling.

Here is a mini-Q&A teaser for you:

  1. Has the challenge changed much in the last year? No.
  2. Why no big changes? Because we need some predictability in our lives.
  3. Does routine make it boring? Only if you let it.
  4. Does the Coffeeneuring Challenge still have rules? This is not a real question. Of course there are rules.
  5. Are the rules hard? Yes. No. No!
  6. What are the rules? Coming soon, but the general game is ride your bike to 7 different cups of coffee over 6 weeks. Ride a bicycle at least 2 miles round trip, and take a picture (or do something else to document it) each time. Do it by yourself or…

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The best laid plans…

37097720402_8f1f1c7d9d_oRight now I’m technically on vacation. But at the moment it sure doesn’t feel like it.

When I planned on taking this week and a half off, oh so many moons ago, I had more ambitions for it. I wanted to do a good bike tour. And I had a great idea for one, one that concentrated on Southern Oregon. But the big problem became the fires. Seems like most of western Oregon (along with much of California and some of Washington) is on fire right now. Well, it’s not all on fire, but when you factor in all the smoke and closed areas, it makes trying to do a bike tour hard.

So I had a back up idea of something closer to here, something along the Cascades in Washington and northern Oregon. Then the fires hit here too. For instance, Indian Heaven Wilderness, the place where I had my first backpacking trip in late August? It caught on fire barely a week after I went! And the biggest tragedy: my beloved Columbia Gorge caught on fire on Labor Day. Now there’s a big fire (48,000 acres) that’s threatened much of the attractions here, in what is probably the most accessible “playground” to Portland. It’s going to be a long time before we’ll be able to access some of these areas. 😦

Because of all the fires, air quality in Western Oregon has been really bad, the worst I’ve seen in all my years living here. There have been several days of thick smoke causing low visibility. It’s as bad as some cities in China. And since the fire started in the Gorge, we have gotten ash falling in the city. It’s surreal, and not good.

So I then changed my plans to have a bike tour along the coast somewhere, maybe not the Oregon coast since I’ve been out there several times this year. But maybe the Olympic Peninsula, since it’s been seven years since I did a circuit here.

And then the rains showed up on Sunday, the first significant rainfall in three months! Now this is a very good thing. Remember all those fires I’ve talked about? Well, the rain is going to help put them out. Also, it vastly improved the air quality in Portland. No more orange-tinged sun in the middle of the day. But for bike touring? It’s not exactly the most fun experience. Especially since the areas I’d be touring would see more wet. Especially since the wet is supposed to hang around until the weekend.

So, I’m not going, not this moment. I’m also realizing that there are several projects I’d like to get done, projects I’ve pushed back during this busy summer. I’m going to use these rain days to get some of them done.

But it doesn’t mean I’m not going to do anything. I’ve got eleven days off. This weekend Emee and I will head up to Lake Cushman on the southeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula to hang out in a friend’s cabin! And from there, I’m going to take a few days to do a li’l tour of Hood Canal and Puget Sound to Seattle, where I’ll catch the train home. The weather is supposed to be better next week, anyways.

But while there will be a few more nice days before fall really hits, it’s the end to my default summer wardrobe of straw hat, seersucker shirt, shorts, and sandals. And honestly, I’m glad.

Sunset Moonrise Ride for tomorrow is CANCELLED

Yeah, the scheduled Sunset Moonrise Ride for tomorrow, Wednesday September 6 has been cancelled for the obvious reasons.😞

Okay, to elaborate: This smoke and ash may still be around tomorrow, and I’d rather not have a “fun” ride in it. And even if it did clear up, looking east towards a burning Columbia Gorge just to watch the moon rise would depress me.😞😞

Anyways, I hope to pull off one more in October before the much appreciated rainy season kicks in.

Backpacking trip to Indian Heaven Wilderness, 28-29 August 2017

It’s done! I have finally accomplished something that I was worrying that I’d never do: an overnight backpacking trip.

Yes, I know what you’re going to say: “Isn’t that…barbaric?”  Yes, the beauty of the bicycle is that it becomes your pack mule, rather than you becoming a pack mule. And it’s not like I’m giving up bike touring anytime soon. But here’s the thing: In this part of the world, there are so many beautiful places in nature that are not accessible by anything but foot. I can get to some very nice places with a bike, but anything that says “Wilderness” needs to be accessed via foot. (Well, and horse, but I don’t own one.) Now if I lived hours from any appropriate outback experience, I may never consider backpacking. But when I can go a couple blocks down the street and see those mountains in the distance…

Anyways, I wasn’t going to make my first backpacking trip a solo expedition. My friend Steve was coming along. Besides being a three-speed aficionado, he’s done quite a bit of backpacking around the northwest. We decided to do something that would be beautiful, but not too tough. Indian Heaven seemed appropriate. It’s a wilderness area in Gifford Pinchot National Forest (the national forest along the Cascades in southern Washington, south of Mount Rainier to the Columbia River, and containing both Mount Adams and Mount Saint Helens), along a high volcanic plateau. The elevations of the hike ranged from 4,000 feet to just about 5,000 feet. And late August would promise loads and loads of wild huckleberries growing everywhere!

But of course, in the weeks and days leading up to the hike, I was nervous. Would I enjoy it? Would I make it?

I had been preparing for the eventuality of the hike for almost a year. While I had all the basic gear necessary for camping, I still needed two very important things: hiking boots and a backpack. I got a set of Alico Tahoe boots back in November, a very nice pair of traditional looking Italian hiking boots. I have worn them a bunch since then, so I knew they fit. I got a Gregory Stout 45 backpack in spring. 45 litres of capacity seemed right down the middle, not ultralight, not kitchen-sink, so perfect for what I’d want to do. But I hadn’t tested the bag out loaded until the Wednesday before the trip. It was…tough. I just walked five miles from my house to St. Johns, but I was beat and blistered. I needed something else. Wisely I decided to order a set of trekking poles. If anything, it would help me distribute my weight and be easier on my knees.

So how did it go? It went great! The skies were hazy, due to the wildfires in the area. But it didn’t seem to affect Steve and I that much. And it didn’t affect the views too much, as there aren’t really many views in Indian Heaven. We caught a glimpse of Adams on Monday, and saw the hazy outline of St Helens on Tuesday. But what Indian Heaven offered was abundant trees, high meadows, lots of lakes, huckleberries, and other hikers. Y’see, the Pacific Crest Trail runs down the middle of the wilderness, and we’d spend almost half of our seven mile one way hike on the fabled route.

We hiked in from Thompson Lake Trailhead on the west side of the wilderness, and called it a night at Bear Lake. It was a great camping spot, as the waters of the lake were clear and just the right temperature. Besides being the source of our (filtered) drinking water, it was a great spot for a swim. And there were a few other hikers camped out by the lake as well. We talked with a few of the PCT thru-hikers, who had been traveling since May, starting at the Mexico border! They had to skip a lot of the trail in Oregon, due to the large amount of wildfires along the Cascades.

Tuesday was simply a return trip to the truck. We had a leisurely breakfast at camp, where I made huckleberry pancakes. The return seemed to go faster, mostly because we stopped less since we were itching for the reward: pizza and beer at Backwoods Brewing in Carson. And it was a great reward! But I was so damn tired after it all, more tired than I’d ever been bike touring. It was futile to resist the urge to collapse into a heap when I got home. And it took a couple more recovery days to feel normal again.

Will I go backpacking again? Of course! I’ve just scratched the surface for options in these parts. And while much of the hiking needs access to a vehicle (a major hindrance to this carless person), there are many options that can be accessed by bus. I don’t know if I’ll be able to go out again this year, since there’s not much more of a season for this stuff. (Bike camping gives you more lowcountry options for the off-season.) Plus, so much of the Cascades seem to be on fire, at least in Oregon. One fire is pretty much in the Gorge, which is where most of the accessible backcountry would be. But next year, next year…


Sunset/Moonrise Ride, Wed 6 Sept

35459259870_248448111f_oYep, it’s time for another one of my fabled sunset/moonrise rides! Let’s get them in before the rainy season hits. And yes, it will be warm this Wednesday night, so no excuse to be inside!

Details: Meet at 5:30 PM, Wednesday September 6, at P’s and Q’s Market, NE Dekum St at 13th Ave. We depart at 6 PM.

On the day of the full moon, the moon rises right around the same time that the sun sets. We’ll ride about 5 mi to a good spot where we can see BOTH. Stock up on supplies and libations at Ps and Qs and of course bring an extra layer and lights for the ride.

Sunset 7:38 PM, moonrise 8:09 PM.

Hope to see you there!