Cabin camping at Stub Stewart, 18-19 Feb 2017

My new schedule has started! I now work Tuesdays through Saturday. That means more opportunities for weekend adventures with others. And what better way to start my Sunday-Monday weekend with a camping trip? Peter decided to rent a cabin at Stub Stewart State Park and put out the call for participants. And it just would work out in my favor, for once.

Stub Stewart is one of the closer camping destinations to Portland, about 40 miles as the crow flies. But if one takes the MAX light rail out to the end of the line, it’s just 22 miles to the park, half of it on a bike trail. This makes it quite the popular bike camping destination. However, I don’t go out to it that much, not as much as I feel I should. In fact, the last time I was out there was December of 2014. (And not until I dug through old posts on this blog did I realize it had been that long!) But the cabins are nice, especially in the off season, which is when I usually end up going out there. (Go here to read about my other times at the park, and for more thorough descriptions of what can be found there.)

Of course, the biggest issue with this weekend adventure was that I still work Saturday mornings. I managed to get out an hour early at 2 pm, but up until the minute I stepped foot inside the cabin, it was a continual hustle. I made good time because I had to, there was no time to pause for anything but essentials, like a stop at the market in Banks. (Thankfully, the weather was decent.) I got to the cabins right about 6 pm, when the last light of day had faded. Adventures like this will be easier in summer, when the sun stays up past eight.

In the cabin was Michelle, Dean, Tom, Cassie, and of course Peter. Tom and Cassie would be sleeping in their camper van, so it would be only four of us. (Technically, the sleep limit on a cabin is five, which is how much bed space is provided. But we were in a deluxe cabin, which could have easily slept eight.) We chatted for a bit in the warmth of the cabin, and thought about starting a fire but never got around to it. (And I had an invite to another cabin where some other cyclists were staying, but never made it.) I was pretty beat, so I was in bed by 10. That’s also when it started to pour outside, perfect timing.

It was still wet in the morning when we woke. I made some breakfast on the front porch, huddled over my storm. The rain let up by 10, so I packed up and left. The first eight miles of riding from the cabins is all downhill, and it’s very easy to get very cold in the winter, so I bundled to the max and stayed warm.

But that wasn’t the problem. About a mile outside of Banks the skies opened up, and opened up good. Not only that, there was a pretty stiff headwind, and the rain stung my face. By then I was in open farmland with no cover, and didn’t feel like riding back to Banks, so I soldiered on, slowly getting soaked. Of course, the rain stopped right before I got to Hillsboro. Oh well. Thankfully the copious amounts of wool I wore meant that I didn’t get that cold, just uncomfortable. Nothing to do other than get on the MAX and go home.

Thanks Pete, for putting this together! I should get out to Stub Stewart more often, hopefully this summer. And I need to do more “cabin” camping in the winter, too. They are affordable, at about $45 a night plus a booking fee. I always end up going with other people, but it would be nice to splurge on one myself sometime…

First Three Speed Ride of 2017: Sunday April 2!

Society Of Three Speeds

Me and the Raleigh Superbe at Westmoreland Park. Me and the Raleigh Superbe at Westmoreland Park.

Yes, my friends, it is a new year. Time to get some Three Speed Rides out there! I still plan on doing one in June as part of Pedalpalooza, and another one later in the year. And there is the possibility of another campout–or two. And a pub crawl! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about the first one!

  • This ride will happen on Sunday April 2. Meet up at 10:30 am, leave at 11.
  • We will be meeting at Khunamokwst Park at the corner of NE 52nd Ave and Alberta St in the Cully neighborhood. This park is brand-spanking-new, so you ain’t going to find it on an old map. Khunamokwst has a small picnic shelter (yay!), water, and a bathroom that may/may not be open.
  • If you drive, there is limited street parking. And the ride itself…

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Pre-riding.

If you have been following this blog long enough, you know that not only do I go off and do my own solo bike adventures, but I lead bicycle rides around the Portland area. Yep, I’ve been doing this for thirteen years now!  And I’ve cataloged a lot of the streets and areas of the city in my almost sixteen years here. I can often design a bike route by simply opening up Ride With GPS and plotting the route. And I’d be fairly confident with what I had created.

But there still is great advantage to the “pre-ride”, a test of the route by bike. Sometimes things have changed since the last time you were out there. Or, you get a burst of inspiration and decide to reroute a stretch because you found a better way, or there’s something more scenic or interesting. In any case, it’s always good to test the ride, no matter how familiar you think you are with it!

Coming up soon I will have a slew of different rides on the calendar. Earlier this week, the weather finally got pretty nice, low 50’s and sunny, though the east wind was pretty fierce. I decided to get out there and do some riding in the service of future rides.

First up was Monday and the Tweed Ride, which will happen Sunday April 9. Despite me feeling like I was “done” with this ride a couple years ago, I’m still helping out because it’s fun! This is the first year that I’m truly creating the route. (Last year I picked it up after the initial route creator baled.) This year we’ll be starting from Westmoreland Park in SE, the first time the ride would hit up this neck of the woods. Much of the route I had plotted worked okay, but I did make some changes due to on-the-ground reality and also because I got excited about some other options.

Tuesday started sunny again. Originally I had planned to go on a hike in the West Hills. But I wasn’t moving that fast in the morning, mostly because I had a bit too much fun at a dinner party the night previous. But the weather is too nice to stay inside, what should I do? Then it came to me: pre-ride the upcoming Three Speed Ride (Sunday April 2)! This ride would be hitting up some areas on the eastside that I’m not super familiar with. And it was a good idea to do a pre-ride, as I found some interesting nooks and crannies out there while tweaking and finessing what I already had.

These rides, along with other ones in the pipeline, should be fun, so I hope you can come if you are in the Portland metro area! And if you ever decide to lead rides of your own, remember the pre-ride!

Chehalem Range Ramble! Sunday February 26!

2014-11-22 14.32.03Yes, I am finally getting around to rescheduling the Chehalem Range Ramble! Woot! With my new schedule of Sundays and Mondays off, it’s a lot easier to schedule this stuff. And my bike should be fine this time. Just really hope the weather is good, but damn it, I’m going to do this ride!

The basic details haven’t changed much since October when I originally scheduled this ride. But here ya go:

  • This ride will happen on Sunday, February 26 at 8:30 am. The sort of meet up spot is the Hatfield Government Center MAX station in Hillsboro, which is the west end of the Blue Line. We won’t actually “meet” there though.
  • We’ll actually meet at 8:30 am at Diversity Cafe, 230 E Main St in Hillsboro. This is about two blocks east of the Hatfield TC MAX station on the Blue Line (the end of the line.) Yep, we’ll have a nice sit down breakfast before a big ride! You can check out their very breakfasty menu via the web, but BE WARNED, IT’S ONE OF THOSE WEBSITES THAT STARTS PLAYING MUSIC, ETC WHEN YOU OPEN IT! Looks like they stopped the music thing, whew.
  • If’n you aren’t into a full breakfast, just meet us at the cafe by 9:30 am. (There is another coffee option nearer the station if you just want something quick, but I ain’t naming names. Hint: There’s a mermaid on the cup.) Please note that we won’t be going by the MAX station after breakfast, so meet us at Diversity Cafe.
  • The ride is about 50 miles round-trip, and you can check that out here. We can shave off about 10 miles by cutting out the gravel loop around Gaston. I’d prefer to keep that loop, but if we’re too beat or the weather starts to suck, it’s an option. The biggest difference between this ride and the one in 2014 is there will only be one crossing of the Chehalem Range, not two. Also, we’ll be hitting up Forest Grove and straight-shotting along Baseline back to Hillsboro. Yeah, it’s not ideal, but it allows a dinner stop in FG (see below) and really, most of the riding right outside of Forest Grove on the south side is sub-par, so it’s six of one, half-dozen the other…
  • This route also has a bit more Bald Peak Road than before. It’s paved, but there is some traffic. We’ll descend via Laurelwood Rd through the community of the same name. I’ve always wanted to check out this town!
  • As for breaks and food, Bald Peak is at about mile 19. I plan on taking a good break here and making coffee. While there’s an outhouse, there is no water here, so make sure you have enough for the ride, esp. if you want to make coffee here. At about mile 27 is Gaston, which has a store and probably a pub/restaurant. We’ll pass through Forest Grove on the way back, so we can stop by the Grand Lodge for dinner and drinks.
  • While this ride does not stray that far from the fringe of the metro area, it has a surprising lack of services. After leaving Hillsboro, the next food/water will be Gaston at mile 27 and then there may be a country store or so before Forest Grove. So be prepared!
  • I’d say about 25% of this ride is gravel. I think the ascent to Bald Peak is a good deal of gravel, and the Gaston Loop is I think mostly gravel. Note I said “I think” as the maps don’t tell me. But most of the climbs over the Chehalem Range are gravel, so it’s a good guess. I’d say you should be good if you have tires north of 32 mm in width. Nothing super-technical, so you don’t need to ride your full-sus MTB unless you want to!
  • And as indicated in the last bullet point, I have only ridden some sections of this ride, not all. So expect a degree of mystery!

If you are intending on going, please give me a heads up! urbanadventureleague@gmail.com

Coffee Outside, Fremont Bridge, Fri 10 Feb 2017

You may have remembered during my participation during the Coffeeneuring Challenge last fall that I hit up a new regularly occurring weekly coffee outside meetup, cleverly called PDX Coffee Outside. (Go here and here for reports.) Last time I participated was right before Election Day, and PDX Coffee Outside went on hiatus for a couple months. They started back up towards the end of January, and finally I managed to crawl out of bed on Friday at the god-awful hour of six am* to participate!

The morning was cloudy and cool but not cold, mid 40’s. There was the threat of showers, so the coffee outside folks chose the spot on the westside waterfront path under the Fremont Bridge as the meetup. When I arrived at seven, there were three other dudes, including Paul who is in town from the Twin Cities to go to UBI for a course. And since he didn’t have a way to make coffee, he wisely brought donuts!

Over the forty-five minutes I was there, Paul left and a few other people showed up. We moved from beside the bridge to under the bridge when the threatened shower did come through, though because the Fremont Bridge is so high, it didn’t provide much cover. Oh well. It was still fun!

And yeah, it is nice to get up early once in awhile. The ride down to the Fremont took about a half hour and was pleasant, despite the fierce headwind,** and the half hour ride from there to work was also nice. Since my regular bike route doesn’t go to downtown or traverse the regular bikeways, I see few other cyclists on a usual morning ride. But this morning, there were cyclists everywhere! And of course, it’s nice to hang out with other folks over coffee.

I hope to do more Friday Coffee Outsides from now on. And my Friday morning work schedule is shifting a bit, so it will be easier to do so. Now if spring would just get here. 😉

*No, I am not a morning person. And it took all my willpower to not hit snooze again and again and again until 6:45.

**This is why I brought the Trangia 27 Stormcooker stove set today!

The February stuff sale!

Hello all! Ok, it’s time to do my semi-regular shedding of accumulated goods. Most of them are of course bike related. If you would like one or several, please get in touch with me at urbanadventureleague@gmail.com

How it works:

  • If you are in the Portland metro area, we can arrange a meetup at either my home in NE (Woodlawn) or at work on SE Hawthorne. Cash payment preferred.
  • If you are not in the area, I will ship it to you, most likely via USPS Priority Mail. POSTAGE IS NOT INCLUDED IN THESE PRICES, so please include in your email your zip code so I can estimate shipping. Payment will be via PayPal.
  • And any items that are crossed out mean that they have been claimed, so please don’t ask if they are still available, because they ain’t!

Okay, what’s to be had? Since I switched out parts from the Crested Butte, some of them are from that.

UPDATE: 10 Feb 2017 New lower prices on some items. Get ’em now, because if some of these things don’t sell over the weekend, they’ll go on the Bay of E’s.

 

Shimano RD-M700 rear derailleur, Deore “deerhead” series. Circa 1984 early MTB derailleur. Still looks nice and works, but the springs are worn, so more to be considered a parts or rebuild project than a perfectly working derailleur.

Shimano BL-M700 brake levers, Deore “deerhead” series. Circa 1984 early MTB cantilever brake levers, design based on motorcycle brake levers. Still work fine. $25  $20 for the set.

Shimano BR-MC70 cantilever brakes, Deore “deerhead” series. Nice old high-profile cantis. Extra bits and used pads included. $30 $20 for the set (whole bike worth)

Greenfield rear triangle kickstand. Made in USA! More stable than a traditional kickstand, and don’t ruin your stays either. $10

 

VO Moderniste MKII Stainless Steel Bottle Cage. Looks similar to a King Iris cage, but it ain’t. 

Klean Kanteen bottle cage. Designed for Klean Kanteen bottles, but other similar diameter stainless steel bottles (like Hydro Flask) fit fine. Not as pretty or durable as the VO Moderniste, but no rattle! $5 each for both of them (two available).

Kenda Small Block Eight Sport tires, 26″ x 2.10″ Never been mounted! Got that semi-aggressive tread that is supposed to be good for mixed use. $25 $20 for the pair. (That’s less than ONE new!)

And for non-bike stuff:

Eton Raptor radio. This is one of those do-it-all emergency radios, with AM/FM/WX. I wrote about this radio extensively here. Right now the antenna is broken. I have the replacement (included with purchase), but the broken-off bit of the antenna is deep in the radio. I tried, I tried. Maybe you can? $15 $10

R

Russian wind-up watch. I got this off the bay a few years back, when I felt like trying a wind-up watch. Works fine (though maybe slightly fast) and you have to remember to wind the sucker up every day…just like we used to have to! $10 $5

And get in touch if you have any questions!

 

20% off sale in the store for February

wp-image-2102175996jpg.jpgHello all! The cash flow around the Urban Adventure League headquarters has been a bit low lately, with all the money spent on the Crested Butte, the upcoming wheel build for the Bantam, and spring travel plans. So! I’m looking to get some more cash in the coffers. And what better way to do that then offer a sale?

Starting now and going until 11:59 pm Pacific Time on Friday March 3, 2017, all items in stock (plus the advance order for NEW OLD STOCK 2.125) will be 20% off! Yeah! Now is a good time to pick up a comic, zine, or sticker. Just use 20FEB17 when you get to the checkout to get the discount. And please note that the discount is only on the items themselves, not postage.

Check the stuff out in my Storenvy store.

Thank you for your support!

Working towards a semblance of a normal weekend

img_20170204_174752_639.jpgIt’s Sunday morning as you read this. You might be waking up late, having a leisurely breakfast while reading the New York Times. Maybe you’ll putz around the house for a bit, then go on a walk. You know, a Sunday.

Me? I’m at work.

In the almost 27 years of my work life (gawd, has it been that long?) rarely have I worked a normal 9 to 5, Monday through Friday type of job. I’ve worked too long in retail and hospitality, businesses that have night hours and weekend hours. I’ve been at the hostel for eleven years this month (gawd, has it been that long?) By no means is it a perfect job, but I still mostly like it. Or it’s just become too easy and familiar. Sure, I’m going to leave at some point, but not soon.

But the big problem is the lack of a “traditional” schedule. My days off fall in the middle of the week, Tuesday and Wednesday for the past several years. And while this used to not bother me that much, lately it has. It’s mostly due to the fact that most fun things happen on the true weekend. When I was younger, I would just say f– it and stay out way late at the party, get a few hours of sleep, and then show up for work Saturday or Sunday morning. As my body ages, that isn’t a viable option anymore. I need at least (at least) six hours of sleep, or I’ll feel like total shit the next day. Even six hours really isn’t enough, I’d like seven to nine.

And when I was younger and my friends were all younger too, working those same irregular jobs as I was, it was easier to find others that could do fun stuff with you on a Tuesday. Now? Not so. Everyone’s older with real professional jobs, and Saturday and Sundays off. That’s when people do stuff. Now it is true that if I know far enough in advance, I could get a weekend day off. But I don’t always know far enough in advance. And there’s those folks that don’t plan anything more than 48 hours in advance. Try rearranging your work schedule on the fly.

Over time, I started to build this…resentfulness and jealousy towards those that had weekends off. Especially when I would get reports of the adventures they had over the weekend, the time I’d be at work, not having an adventure.

Still, I tried to soldier on, and do fun things by myself on my days off. But sometimes it’s hard to motivate oneself. Sometimes I’d like to do stuff with others, especially when it’s things like camping in winter. (Solo winter camping can be pretty lonely.) Or sometimes I’d like my days off to feel like it’s a weekend. It’s easier to have that leisurely “sleep late, eat breakfast while reading the Times” when it’s a Sunday. On my Tuesdays or Wednesdays, I feel like I need to be productive, even if I have the right to do nothing.

But a change is in the works. In a couple weeks, my days off switch to Sundays and Mondays. While it is isn’t a full weekend, it is a hell of a lot better than no weekend. (And right now with manager coverage, I need to be around Saturdays.) Now, I will automatically have Sundays off, so I can easily plan fun things on that day. And I will be able to do whatever comes up on a Sunday. I can even go weekend bike camping with others, if the destination is close enough that I can reach it after working my Saturday morning shift!

And all of that makes me happy. While if something happens on a Saturday that I really want to do, I’d have to finagle the schedule, it’s nice to know that there’s one weekend day I can easily do stuff with other people. Even thinking about this, my mental mood has been lifted. I guess I didn’t realize how much working every weekend was mentally draining on me.

And I still get the bonus of having a weekday off. So that means being able to go to places when it’s less crowded, or doing errands easily.

Now that I have Sundays off, I need to plan a ride…