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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Of Rain and Headsets

Why yes it's in Celsius.
If you've checked into rideblog this week, you know it's been wet here in the Pacific Northwest. "Duh," you may say to yourself, "Isn't that what it does all the time up there?" Well, according to Mz. Snarkypup Rideblog that answer is "yes". But I do remember a week with sunny days and temperatures reaching the high 60's F (which if you have to ask is near 20C) just last week. March is pulling its usual bullshit 'round these parts. On one hand, I'm glad that temperatures here stay fairly moderate even in the midst of winter: freezing temperatures are still somewhat of a big deal, and we can count on highs in the 40s to 50s from November through March. On the other hand, I wouldn't mind having some of that nice weather they are apparently having Back East. Mind you I don't want the extremes, but shorts weather sounds awful good right now.

In spite of this awful weather, April and I decided to have ourselves a nice little bicycle ride Wednesday. We've been trying to get better at "just riding" since we haven't had much excuse to do it since tour. And this Saturday I signed myself up for yet another randonneuring event, a 100 km "Populaire" put on by the Oregon Randonneurs. This particular ride is the Brew Pub Populaire out in Washington County, using a similar route to the Verboort Sausage Populaire that April and myself rode in November. I wanted to do a semi-long ride today so I can find out if there is anything wrong with the bike...or myself. Tomorrow I'm busy and Friday would be too late to fix bike stuff, so Wednesday it was.

I was hoping that we would get lucky and get a gap in the rain, as I did for my Sunday walk and for running errands Tuesday but no such luck. It was rain the whole time, alternating between light and not-so-light. Classic spring rain. Everything had a spring feel about it too, as things were starting to bloom. It reminded me about the early part of last year's Cross-Con Tour when we were biking from Portland to Vancouver, B.C. While warmer and bloomier, it was still off and on rain the whole week. God, I miss touring.

When we started the ride we had no real goal other than head down the Springwater Corridor for a bit. April had the idea of going to the Bi-Partisan Cafe in the Montavilla neighborhood, our old haunt. Bi-Partisan is renowned for pie, so it would be a fitting treat for 3.14, March 14th, Pi(e) Day.* But as we neared the I-205 Path junction where we would turn north for Montavilla, we decided to keep on heading east on the Springwater into our eastern neighbor of Gresham. We had the energy and continuing on to Gresham would be more distance.
April communes with goats, Sellwood, SE Portland.

Ah, Gresham, butt of many jokes. (I wouldn't say all jokes as Clackamas, Estacada, and the westside suburbs get their fair share as well.) Gresham is considered by some to be a land of uncouth and low class. But to tell the truth, downtown Gresham has become my second favorite suburban downtown of Metro Portland.** I've seen it go through a bit of change over the past few years. Besides the cute little organic market, my favorite addition is Nicolas' Restaurant. The SE Grand location has been the mainstay of Lebanese food in Portland since it opened in the mid '80s. It's very popular and very crowded. But 5pm on a Wednesday in Gresham we practically had the restaurant to ourselves, getting the same great hummus and falafel we would have gotten in SE. And so inexpensive! We got the Vegan Mezza platter for one, which costs $9 but even split between the two of us we got full! Ah, fresh bread, zaatar sauce, hummus, tahini, tabouleh, falafel, rice, garbanzos...heaven.

We got some coffee from the joint across the street and warmed up some more. Then we cruised back to Portland in the disappearing daylight, arriving home after eight. A bike ride became a bike date. Almost 30 miles on the bike, not bad. A little tired and sore and a lot damp. Everything seems fine except the handlebars, I'll think I'll raise them a bit.


Notice I wasn't stressing out about my headset? Well, after my complaining about how thrashed it was and I would need a replacement, regular reader, fellow SE Portland resident, and all around swell guy Andy contacted me Sunday to let me know that he had a perfectly decent headset on an old parts bike of his and he was willing to not only give me this headset, but would also remove my old one and install the new one. When could I come down, he asked? Uh, how about now? So on a wet Monday afternoon in a garage in Eastmoreland Heights Andy and I bullshitted while he did the dirty work. After a couple hours, a new-to-me headset was installed. Thanks a bunch Andy!

*I feel bad for y'all who live in countries that the typical date convention is day-month rather than month-day. You wouldn't be eating pie on 14.3, would you?
**Favorite would be downtown Vancouver, Washington. Just don't tell them they're a suburb.


  1. Sounds like an awesome date,in my book,my friend! Yep,here in the 'back east",we've had it a bit mild...a bit damp sporadically,but nice,sunny,and 70's this week otherwise (he says,sticking his tongue out like a little kid who got a lollipop,hahaha!) :P :) A good read,my friend,as always!

    The Disabled Cyclist

    PS:One grocery run,one trip shopping (not intending to be shopping,as it were,but I digress,LOL) on the panniers,loving them on the CX/go-to bike,didn't quite fit without heel strike on the new folders :)

  2. Sounds like a nice ride, yay for not letting The Wet stop you. Also: AWWW TINY GOATS!!

  3. I can understand the logic of writing the date in numbers as it would usually be spoken (March 14th, 2012), but generally I prefer the day-month-year convention because it lists the units of time in order of increasing size. As a sciencey guy, that appeals to me.


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