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Thursday, July 05, 2007

an extra special ride report from Urban Adventure League correspondent Mykle Hansen!

NAME OF RIDE: The Pedal Potluck Picnic with special secret guest
GLORIOUS LEADER: Shawn 'Adventure!' Granton
START TIME: 6:30 or so, by the Alberta St. Co-op
DURATION: hours and hours
APPROXIMATE DISTANCE: 10-15 of your earth "miles"
NUMBER OF RIDERS at least 30

Conditions were excellent, and everyone was festive. We had
emissaries from both East Van and Santa Cruz on
board, we had both hot & cold insulated pouches ...
we were ready for ADVENTURE! We stocked up on picnic-ables
and threaded through the neighborhoods to 42nd,
then over the overpass down to Columbia.

We crossed Columbia and entered Slough territory
proper -- passing Whittaker Pond and crossing a
slough bridge. The next stretch of Cornfoot was
a bit narrow and we mutated from a rolling mass
to a long single-file line to let the FedEx trucks
and Air National Guard hatchbacks pass us. Slightly
hairy, but nobody seemed to mind. When we reached
the golf course we regrouped, and I gave a little
mini-lecture about the Columbia Slough area and
its unique mixed-use layout.

Then we continued up Alderwood to Cascades Pkwy and
famous Stanley Park, in CascadeStation, just outside
the not-yet-finished IKEA. This was an excellent spot,
and will remain so until the day IKEA opens. Shawn
and I gave tag-team historical commentary on the unique development
process that allows the Port of PDX to level protected wetlands
here in order to create box malls. =)

We picnicked in a grassy boulevard by the MAX stop, utterly unbothered
by any other traffic. I'm having trouble remembering all
the food -- there was a ton! first course through dessert,
largely but not entirely vegan. delicious stuff. we discussed
the need to keep using this park after the cars come. I met
a lot of nice people who I've never seen on a ride in
Portland before.

After dinner, some folks took the light rail straight home,
and the rest of us set off on a meandering twilight ride
along part of the Columbia Slough trail. It's very
pretty. When we reached the secret BMX tracks, Shawn
pointed out that the Columbia bike path would be a
much prettier and only slightly longer ride home. So we
had a brief democratic process and took off that way.

The Columbia trail was just gorgeous. In delicious weather,
with full stomachs, light hearts and the sun just setting,
we rolled all the way back to 33rd before splitting up to
head to various homes and bars.

HIGH POINTS: No, really, I was totally sober this time.

LOW POINTS: I have to mention the bicyclist who yelled
'form two lines!' at us as he sped past on his time-trialer --
since when do bicyclists yell at bicyclists? -- but we
just laughed.

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? Oh no! I hate good food and nice people.
And bicycling. And beautiful parks. Yuck. Never again, no sir.

WHAT WOULD WE CHANGE? Well, we could ask the city to improve
the bike paths out there -- there's really not a direct way
to get to there from here that doesn't involve riding on
Columbia or Cornfoot. But I know they're working on it.

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