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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A couple things I did last week.

Hello friends! Another update on interesting things I did this past week, at least of interest to you fine folks reading. I mean, I did laundry on Friday, but I doubt most of you would find that riveting.

On Tuesday October 16, I headed down to big bad Bike Gallery downtown. Adventure Cycling Association was having a presentation about mapping. You know I love maps and bike touring, and also refreshments too! I ran into Heather there, and we filled out that elusive "under 40" bracket for the presentation.

The hour long presentation talked about the history of Adventure Cycling maps. The first versions were hand-drawn on top of USGS topographic maps and were printed in three colors. As the years went on and the technology improved, the Adventure Cycling maps were drawn with computer programs. In the past few years, ACA has moved to the next level: maps drawn using GPS software. The first route to be completely created with GPS is the Sierra Cascades route. Slowly but surely they'll redraw all their maps with the new software.

The other big thing they talked about was the creation of a new route: Bicycle Route 66. This route will follow historic US 66 as close as practicable, from Los Angeles to Chicago. While I don't know if I'd ever ride this route, it's cool to see it come to fruition. Adventure Cycling puts a lot of work on routes, so any new route takes years of planning.

The other "thing of interest" was my attendance of the annual Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show. After a year away (in Bend), it came back to Portland, in the very appropriate location of an active shipyard on Swan Island. In fact, it was in a restricted area that normally I wouldn't have permission to go, so of course I took some photos.

I didn't bother taking any photos inside (boo, hoo) because I knew there would be plenty taken by others, and the lighting inside coupled with my mediocre camera wouldn't have done any bikes justice. (Just go over to the obligatory Bikeportland post to see all the details and beautiful photos.) Overall, I was quite...underwhelmed with the show. There wasn't that much there, and many of the bikes fell in the modern MTB/road category. While this is to be expected, it wasn't my thing. There were some usual suspects (Ahearne, Bike Friday, Co-Motion), and it was cool talking with Becky from Bikeasaurus, Curtis of North St. Bags, and the dudes from Velo Cult. The two new bike builders that managed to catch my eye were Littleford with their nice city bikes, and Winter with another cool city bike, this time a cool twin top tube job.

The most exciting thing about the show happened upon departure. Just as I was about to leave, the sky opened up. Now you all know that it rains a lot in Portland, but pouring/stormy weather is not the norm. We typically see this type of weather (clouds/sun/downpour with/without hail) during the rainy season's transitional times, usually in spring, but it can happen a little in fall, just like right now. Thankfully I had an awning to hide under while the pouring did its thing. (And thankfully the canopy above me didn't blow away in the wind!) But after fifteen minutes, the rain tapered off and the sun came back out, giving us a nice rainbow to end the day.

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