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Monday, March 26, 2012

Not a bad weekend

Almost at 5,000 miles!
The last time I checked in, this blog was full o' gloom and doom. The Brooks saddle on my Cycle Truck got jacked, the weather was craptastic, and I didn't get a job that I'd been hoping to get, one I had been waiting for weeks to hear back from. (I didn't mention that last time, as the news happened on the same day as the saddle theft discovery. I figured there was enough gloom and doom in that post that it really wasn't needed.)

But things have been decidedly better here at Urban Adventure League HQ in the past few days. No, I didn't get the saddle back, nor did another job fall into my lap. But finally, finally, the weather has been less craptastic. The change started ironically enough on Thursday, as it stayed sunny all day. And Friday and Saturday as well. (It was cloudy on Sunday, but it didn't rain.) We reached a high of 64F/18C on Saturday. While not as balmy as the "March Midwestern Heatwave" of last week, it has been definitely the balmiest day of 2012 here in Portland. Shirtsleeves weather, finally.

And April and I made sure we took advantage of it.

On Friday we decided to take a nice little ride using the popular Springwater Corridor multi-use path to the I-205 path for a stop at REI at the Clackamas Town Center. About 20 miles of riding altogether.

Saturday was an even more adventurous day, as we headed up to North Portland to participate in Jenny's Biking About Architecture Ride in the University Park and Portsmouth Neighborhoods. Ten participants rode around these two neighborhoods (a six mile/ten kilometre jaunt) to check out interesting architecture. Some of it nice:


And some, uh, interesting.

Seriously, I think this is possibly the ugliest house in all of Portland. It looks like a lunar landing pod from the planet 1976. The mansard roof thing definitely got overdone in the '70's, but much of it was more restrained than this. Wonder who thought "making the whole freaking house a mansard roof" was a good idea?

Roger is non-plussed.

And the funniest thing is that underneath all that shingled mansarditute is a classic foursquare house from about 1904. Maybe someday someone will unremodel it. For now, this house can serve as a warning to future generations, as a monument of bad taste.

Anyways, the ride ended at the Twilight Room, where we all enjoyed beer and "burgers".

After that April and I rode up to the Expo Center where the Portland Bike Show was going on. To be honest, I have not been that impressed with the first two shows. While I was hoping for a more organic and Portland experience, it seemed like a weird mis-mash of trade show and whatever. People selling package tours and/or charity rides, god-awful bike jerseys, and energy bars/drinks dominated. While these elements are still present, there were more bikes here this year, which seemed under-represented in the past (despite being a bike show), along with some good crafters like Deller Hats and B. Spoke Tailor. While this is a good trend, I would still like to see more local bicycle builders (most were larger bicycle companies from outside the area) and just more Portland stuff, to differentiate itself from just another trade show.

While at the show April test-rode a crabon fibered Felt road bike. Her response? "It's soooo light!"

Will she be tempted by the cult of crabon? You can read her musings here.

After all that business, we rode down to the Hollywood District for Velo Cult's grand opening party. Velo Cult is a commuter/tourist oriented bike shop that moved up from San Diego. Besides being a bike shop, they will also be serving beer and Mexican food! I managed to get a sneak preview of the shop a couple weeks ago, as Sky the owner is part of the Tweed Ride planning committee. As for the party, it was a bit off the hook. We arrived at 7pm (it started at 6 pm) and there was maybe 200 people inside. (Free beer and bikes creates a crowd in this town.) I saw a lot of familiar faces, including Russ and Laura, who just got back to town.

While waiting in line for beer, I spotted another familiar face:

Yep, that be Earl Blumenauer, our Congressman and "bike guy". But it took me a second to recognize him, as he was sans famed bowtie and bicycle pin (the one that fascinates the British press) and instead in t-shirt and jeans. A couple of us chatted him up for a minute. He was impressed that a bike shop with all of its employees packed up and moved to Portland. And then he left. I commented to someone else in line that if we spotted Carrie Brownstein the party would be complete.

(Wonder if he was trying to cut into the beer line?)

We stuck around the party for a few hours and took off when they ran out of beer when we were done for the night. But before that happened we took advantage of their photobooth and managed to look nauseatingly cute.

And we also drooled over Meghan's new custom built MAP city bicycle. See the photos here. Man, I'd love a custom bike someday.*

After a stop at "The Carts" for pizza and Whiffies, it was back home. Thirty miles of riding altogether on Saturday, not bad!

Ah, spring. I hope for more days like this. Sun, bikes, beer, what's not to like?

*Builders: Feel free to build me one. Someone loaded with dough: Feel free to buy me one.


  1. I'm glad you guys had a better weekend this go round! Read April's post about the bike as well ("you guys have me surrounded in stereo" I mighta said,LOL :p).

    BTW,"March Midwestern Heatwave",it hasnt just been mid-western...we hit 80 degrees more than once in the last 10 days (a bit colder and wetter over the weekend,though) :)

    Good read,my friend!

    The Disabled Cyclist

  2. Nothing like sun, warmth and a day spent on a bike to lift everyone's mood. Sounds like a good day.

  3. Nice post, made me want beer on a work night. I'm gonna have bad shingle dreams now though.

  4. That shingled house doesn't even register with me. I grew up in California in the 70s. EVERYTHING looked like that. It's horrible, but you just tune it out. I will take some pictures of the... vernacular architecture in McMinnville for you. I call it "bizarchitecture." Weird shed growths sprouting like tumors from the roofs of otherwise appealing 1910 farmhouses.
    If I'd stuck to my original plan for Saturday, I would've seen you at Velo Cult or the Pedal Nation show.


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