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Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Wayfarer Saga, part 5: The Inaugural Ride!

Warning: Lots of gratuitous Raleigh shots ahead!

Thursday was my "official" first ride on my Raleigh Wayfarer. With the weather beautiful (sunny, high 54F/12C), and no obligations, April and I decided to make it a Raleigh Bike Ride Date. She lubed and inflated her trusty 1961 Raleigh Sports the night before in preparation. What fun we were going to have!

And of course, there had to be a slight "derailment" (ha, ha) in our 3 speed plans: April's front tire was flat. A quick tube change and we were on the road!

I opted for a rambly route through the neighborhoods in NE and N. We took a brief break at Wholesome Blends on NE Sandy and 46th. We heard rumo(u)rs that the owner was a British bike afficianado, so we were hoping to run into him and impress him with our two vintage Raleighs. Alas, he was not there. So we enjoyed our beverages outdoors, soaking up the sun. And April "schooled" the barista about her mixte framed bicycle, creating another convert in the process.

The Raleigh ride was quickly turning into the "smug west coast winter weather riders" as we were riding in shirt-sleeves and admiring the flora, while thinking about places like Boston who were under like 30 feet of snow or something. A few examples of plant life from the Rose City Park and Alameda neighborhoods:



Brussels sprouts!

After a shallow ascent of the Alameda Ridge we made our way westward to North Portland Bikeworks. Kim was there, who I haven't seen for a long time! I ordered a new alloy CR18 rim in the 650A/590mm/EA3 size. This will be the rim for the new front wheel to be built for the Wayfarer. Keith has offered to do this! Awesome! I'm also buying a dynohub from my friend Ed, so I will have generator lighting on the Raleigh.

April ended up buying some bike stuff as well, including a black Schwalbe Delta Cruiser to replaced the beat front tire on the Raleigh.

We headed over to Overlook Park which has a steep promontory to view the rail yards below and the city in the distance and eat most of the snickerdoodles April made the night before.

The "Stone House" of Overlook Park

Sun setting over West Hills and Albina rail yards.

The big madrona of Madrona Park

Then it was northward! A stop by Madrona Park, then on to Kenton for some pizza and beer, then the dreaded Interstate Bridge crossing. The double span drawbridge is one of the two routes across the Columbia River into Washington State. The Interstate Bridge (I-5) is the older of the two, with very narrow (3 feet wide) sidewalks. The Glenn Jackson Bridge (I-205) has a wide bike path in the middle, but is three times as long and drops you off in East Vancouver Suburban Nowhereland. The Interstate Bridge is much shorter and drops you off in downtown Vancouver, where we wanted to go.

Our 'Couve destination was Niche wine bar, owned by Ms. Bike Me Vancouver Leah Jackson. We enjoyed a bottle of house and met up with Mr. Dutch Biking of Vancouver Todd Boulanger, where we schemed about bike stuff.

During the shooting of shit, it was revealed that Leah had a Dutch city bike that she wanted to sell, so we went back to their apartment to check it out. It was a RIH, not as well known as the Dutch bikes being imported to the US now, but still a decent bike. April took it for a li'l test spin, while I marveled at the bike collection. The most interesting specimen I saw was this:

Yes it is a Trek. But it's a Trek sold exclusively for the Dutch market, hence the design and features. It's an aluminum frame so it was lighter than the RIH. If Trek makes this bike for other markets, why can't they sell it here?

April returned from the test ride with stars in her eyes and Dutch bike lust in her heart (thanks a lot, Lovely Bicycle!) Who knows, she may just buy the bike!

It was getting late, so after a burrito stop we rode back into Oregon. We got to the Yellow Line MAX Expo Center Station (the end of the line) and April struggled to buy a ticket while the train left. Urgh. The next train not leaving for a half-hour, we decided to ride the several miles to the Rose Quarter station, where we would have better luck catching a train this close to midnight. On the way there, I noticed the bike was making a squeaking sound when I pedaled. Pedal? Crank arm? Bottom bracket? Chain? Rear hub? The raving bike fiend will have to do an inspection.

Catching the late train home from the Rose Quarter, I reflected on my day. I really enjoyed the ride (over 20 miles on the 3 speed!) and the bike handled superbly. There's going to be some tweaks, but it's safe to say the Raleigh Wayfarer is going to be a keeper. And this ride had an added effect: it made April fall in love with her Raleigh Sports again. She's thinking about fixing it up and riding it more! So there will definitely be some Raleigh Bike Ride Dates in the future!


  1. Man, I love those old Raleigh 3 speeds. Beautiful bikes and a great ride report.

    That Trek is an interesting bike although, from what I can see in the photo, it appears that they didn't bother enclosing the chain like most Dutch bikes.

  2. what a gorgeous bike! so glad she loves it now. what a lovely bicycle date too, so much food involved! but good times right?! can't wait to see that raleigh in it's full effect when april fixes it up.

  3. The Wayfarer is looking particularly good with those cream tyres. The frame geometry gives the old Raleighs a lovely ride quality. Nice to hear that April's Raleigh Sports has been given a new lease of life too.

  4. Sounds like you have a great time! The Raleighs are gorgeous. Love those matching white fender ends.

  5. The Wayfarer looks great! Beautiful shade of blue and I love the cork grips. You and April are so lucky to have days like this to ride!!


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