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Ride diary

I've taken hundreds of bike rides, and had some fantastic moments; but my chances of remembering any of them are pretty slim. So, from the launch of this site on, I'll be jotting down a few notes about each ride right here. Some will be uneventful, but others will surely be really special -- and I'll have something to remember them by!

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Thursday, January 1, 2009 at 11:00 am

Duration: 0 hours, 40 minutes
Distance: NA miles

After getting turned off by Overcoming yesterday, I got my Road to Paris DVD out to take another look at Lance's team spirit. As I remembered, everyone was focused but comfortable joking around and being themselves. Lance doesn't get enough credit ... jeez!

Anyway, more time on the trainer today. Happy new year!

Thursday, January 7, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 45 minutes
Distance: NA miles

When I ordered this year's Tour de France DVD, I got a free bonus disc and chose the Tour of California. I've never seen footage of that before, but it seemed fun, with Levi repeating and Mario Cipollini making a short-lived comeback!

Turns out, it's a six-hour recording of a six day race. Hmm. I wouldn't mind lots of racing footage, but it's actually just a lot of filler ... lots of 3D maps and other previews of each stage. And who needs recaps of previous stages, on a DVD? Oh well, I watched the prologue today. It was cool to see Cancellara burn up the course, then stand behind the finish line and shake hands with Riis after Levi finished off the pace.

Thursday, January 9, 2009 at 11:00 am

Duration: 0 hours, 40 minutes
Distance: NA miles

More time on the trainer, continuing with the Tour of California. Started the first road stage, didn't have time to finish it. I felt like riding longer, but had to stop and get back to work!

Monday, March 16, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 56 minutes
Distance: 13.9 miles

Although I haven't been logging each ride, I've been keeping my new year's resolution of exercising twice a week -- except for one week when I was sick and another when I was traveling. I've been riding 40 minutes a time on the trainer -- while watching the 2008 and then 2007 Tour of California, both free gifts from World Cycling Productions and both longer than the racing justifies -- followed by two sets of upper-body exercises.

But today the temperature reached 60, the sky was sunny and there was no wind, so I pumped up the tires on my green bike and rode outside for the first time this year! I was a little chilly in shorts, long-sleeve jersey and headband, but it was fine after a few miles. I rode north through the sculpture garden.

I'm flying to Portland, Oregon tomorrow to do some house-shopping, since my wife and I managed to sell our condo this month and start a long-awaited relocation. It's been difficult to think about pulling up roots, but when I was cut off by drivers failing to yield the right of way at three consecutive intersections, I remembered one of the things I hate about Chicago!

But it wasn't all curses and doubts. At one point a pair of goose launched honking up from the north shore channel, and winged around parallel to me for five or ten seconds. It was a "winged migration" moment watching them churn the air right beside me. Oh, and a few minutes later I saw my first robins of the year. Hooray!

Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Duration: 2 hours, 1 minutes
Distance: 32.1 miles

Shawang! I live in Portland, OR now! My wife and cat and I arrived on May 3, but we've been focused almost exclusively on home improvements (well, not the cat). But today I finally unpacked enough bike gear to get outside and try some new roads.

Wow! We live near 24th and Ainsworth, so I went over to 33rd and took that up and over Lombard Ave. to Marine Drive, and alternated between Marine Drive and an adjacent bike path all the way to Troutdale. The whole way out, I had an amazing view of Mount Hood right in front of me, and the Columbia River on my left. It was so beautiful, and bike friendly, that it nearly brought tears to my eyes.

On a Sunday afternoon, there were lots of other cyclists to follow, but I still had to stop a couple times and read my map. Other than those stops, I would only have had to put a foot down two or three times. And that really rocks.

One of the things I had feared about moving here was riding over the huge bridges spanning the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. But I rode under the I-205 bridge, and it didn't seem very intimidating, so next time I will try crossing over to the Washington side. In the meantime, I'm just thinking -- this could be my new regular, after-work ride. Wow again!

Sunday, May 20, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 20 minutes
Distance: 14.2 miles

My last ride kind of wore me ought, so I wanted to get out again but didn't feel the need for anything too strenuous. At the same time, my wife has a new bike and wants to get some practice, so I offered to show her the route I discovered last weekend.

We rode up 33rd again and onto the Columbia River path (no need to consult the map this time) and rode almost as far as the I-205 bridge before she was ready to turn back. Nice and slow and easy and enjoying the nice day. She has a cool Fuji Newest 3.0, by the way, a pretty respectable road bike and she feels good on it.

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 38 minutes
Distance: 22.6 miles

I have a lot of new routes to explore here in Portland, but today I decided to check out Mount Tabor, which I had visited (on foot) with friends during a visit last summer. This is one of the few volcanoes within a city limits anywhere in the country, and it's now a park with several roads spiraling to its flat (blown) top. Actually, my goal for today was just to find a good route to it, and get familiar with the different options for climbing it.

The trip out was just fine -- Alberta to 72nd was quiet, neighborly and flat. Turning south, I faced about an eight-block steady climb that was enough to get the blood flowing. There were a few shorter hills crossing through the middle section of the city. But when I turned right on Yamhill to approach Tabor Park -- ay ay ay! I didn't expect a hill like that. I moved into a comfortable, seated position and started turning a reasonable gear, but about halfway up I thought, "What is that strange sensation in my chest?" Aha -- I highly elevated heart rate! Something I haven't felt in a while.

After climbing that, turning and climbing again, I was pretty tired by the time I entered the park, and figured I'd only make it to the summit once. But the road within the park wasn't quite as steep, and the switchbacks added variety, so it wasn't too bad getting to the top. I stopped to check the view and study the map, and decided to try climbing it two more times. Actually, I just went back to the park entrance, even though the hardest section of climbing was further down. Oh well. I climbed the same section again (it was just under a mile long), then went down and tried coming up a different way -- on the east side -- which I think was a bit steeper. Mission accomplished!

Then, however, I tried finding a road that was notated as a bike route on the map, and ended up criss-crossing around the base of the volcano and climbing those steep lower ramps once or twice more anyway. I ended up deciding that Hamilton was the best route back (alternative to Yamhill) and rode home happy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 15 minutes
Distance: 17.4 miles

After Mount Tabor, the second squiggliest portion of my Portland bike map is Rocky Butte, another extinct volcano that I haven't heard about before, but is a little closer to me. I decided to try that one today and was not disappointed. It seemed like a similar steepness and a similar length, although the side that I descended seemed much steeper -- more of a straight shot down without switchbacks. Although it is not a park like Tabor, I didn't see any cars going up, and I only saw one cyclist, coming up the "steep" side while I came down. Anyway, it was surprisingly quick getting to and from this ride, and it seems like a perfect workout -- 20-30 minutes warmup, then as much climbing as you want -- so I imagine this will become one of my regular routes.

Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 47 minutes
Distance: 21.6 miles

My sister is in town, and that can only mean one thing -- lots of fun, outdoor activities. After yoga in the park with Sally this morning, she still had the energy for a ride with me. She wasn't sure about her road riding capabilities, so I planned a relatively easy route: up 33rd to Marine Drive, then west to the I-5 bridge, across into Vancouver, WA, east on various roads to the I-205 bridge, then back to the Columbia River bike path and back home.

I tried this loop once before (and forgot to log it here, apparently), but had two problems. One, those bridges were as terrifying as I thought they might be. The I-205 bridge was a sensory assault -- all uphill, into the prevailing wind, and surrounded by high-speed traffic on both sides. The worst part is that the bridge gradually curves to the right, giving the sensation that you are riding off the edge into the river. The second problem is that my Portland bike map was totally unhelpful in finding the route between the bridges on the Washington side. It showed a road and then a path linking them, but didn't show any other roads or landmarks in the area, and I was never able to find the path that the road supposedly led to. But I did figure out how to access both bridges, and confirmed -- I had hardly believed it -- that they both had bike facilities.

This time I planned to try the loop in the other direction so that I could start with the path and then find the road. We found the path all right, but when it ended we were nowhere near the road. So we ended up doing quite a lot of zig-zagging to get back on track, and when we finally reached the road there wasn't much more riding until the bridge, and my sister didn't seem very impressed.

She did like the road riding, though -- she kept mentioning the sensation of speed -- and had no problem keeping up with me, so if we have time for another ride tomorrow, we'll take a more challenging route.

Sunday, June 1, 2009 at 8:30 am

Duration: 1 hours, 47 minutes
Distance: 21.6 miles

Cyndi has to leave today, and I have to work, but she was up for an early morning ride combining Mount Tabor and Rocky Butte. All right! She's riding Sally's new road bike, by the way, and it's a great fit (during her last visit she road my second bike, which was a bit too big).

The day started a bit rainy and cool, but no matter ... it felt good to be up and out, and having fun while everyone else was going to work. The section to Mount Tabor was uneventful, and Cyndi wasn't even very bothered by the climb. I was sad that we couldn't see Mt. Hood because of the clouds. I would have stopped for a few of the city, but we had to keep moving to keep to our schedule.

Unfortunately, the section from there to Rocky Butte wasn't so good. My Portland map is really letting me down ... it showed the I-205 bike path, but following it as it crossed from one side to the other was a challenge, and it gave us no warning that the road we needed to exit to was inaccessible on an overpass. We wasted so much time finding the route that we almost headed home ... but Cyndi decided to push the timing a bit and go for it. So we climbed Rocky Butte, too ... the same way I had done before, up the curvy side and down the straight side. Whee!

I think she had a good time; I sure did. I almost always ride alone, but it's nice to have a riding partner once in a while, especially when I get to ride with my sister.

Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 9 minutes
Distance: 16.7 miles

I don't think it has really been two weeks since I've ridden, but I haven't been very good about logging my rides. The bike is all the way in the garage now, so I have to remember the values from the cyclocomputer ... yeah, whatever. Anyway, my lack of enthusiasm for logging does not reflect my enthusiasm for riding!

Today I went to Rocky Butte again, but I decided to try what appeared to be the steep side. In fact, I decided to climb it from that side, then back down, then up from the first side, then down and home. It turned out the straighter side wasn't really steeper. Although it was pretty gut-busting, and since I don't know these routes in detail yet, I don't know how to pace my efforts. I did switch to a rear wheel with slightly smaller gears, but I was right down in the smallest gear anyway. Oh well. The second pass was also hard, but it felt like a good challenge, a great workout, and an excellent regular ride. I'm looking forward to getting to know these climbs and being able to push myself without starting at a pace I can't sustain.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 26 minutes
Distance: 24.1 miles

I'd been considering going to a blues jam tonight, but when the evening rolled around, I had a strong preference for riding, so I did that instead. I've been feeling guilty that I haven't done enough playing since moving to Portland. But I had to admit, riding seems more fun. And after a hard day of work, it seems more relaxing, too.

Tonight I went to find a route that our realtor had driven us on a few months ago, with stunning views along the Willamette River toward North Portland. That's Willamette Boulevard, and it seems to be pretty popular with other cyclists around here. I followed it all the way up past St. Johns, connecting to Lombard, and out through a long stretch of industrial parks to Kelley Point Park. From there, I was supposed to find (as suggested by my lousy map, which cuts off a mile or so before the park) a path leading back to Marine Drive. In fact, the park was a bit scary looking, with no signage, and a path that led in the wrong direction. I followed that all the way around, almost crashing on a big crack in the asphalt, and ended up back where I started, getting a bit frustrated by the coming of dusk. Then at the edge of the park I saw two other cyclists, one heading down a path parallel to Columbia Boulevard back toward the city. I guess that was it. I jumped on and had a really nice cruise, with a tailwind, alongside Port of Portland container facilities that I'd love to get a closer look at some time.

When I crossed the peninsula path -- an option for a shorter version of the same ride -- and my path jogged up to the river, I had an "a ha" moment about living in Portland. Mount Hood was right up the river in front of me, a freight train was crossing the river to my left, and to my right was a beautiful path leading me home. I thought I'd never want to live in a smaller or bigger city again. Having the resources of a big city, but being able to ride any number of routes without tons of congestion, just felt perfect.

Sunday, June 28, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Duration: 2 hours, 1 minutes
Distance: 32.1 miles

I had wanted to ride Thursday, and then Friday, but ended up working until midnight both days. Then yesterday was a yardwork extravaganza. Finally my moment came today! 85 and sunny, although Portland should have adopted Chicago's "windy city" motto rather than its "city that works" motto. Oh well. I wasn't up for a big challenge, so I did the I-5/I-205 loop again today. Instead of using the Portland bike map, I just consulted Google maps before my trip, and that made it much easier to find the route. (Hints: Riverside connects Old Evergreen Highway with Evergreen Boulevard. And when you come to a turn that looks like it's going to take you onto the Highway 14 freeway, it's not.)

This is actually one of the first rides where I've had enough time to explore a bit, so I started with West Hayden Island, which looks like a big park and beach on the satellite image, but is actually a private, secured area owned by the Port of Portland. Oh well. I then crossed over to the Washington side, and, feeling better about my navigation, took a couple detours to the north when I was curious about what lay beyond, or when I just wanted to test my legs on a climb. And although the I-5 bridge was as terrifying as before -- I found myself thinking, "why do I do this?" -- the I-205 was a rush, popping up to a great view of Mt. Hood and Portland (and Rocky Butte) with a long downhill to take it all in.

Unfortunately, the last leg along the river was a bit abusive, with a strong headwind, a swarm of bees (that had all the terror of the bridge packed into a few seconds) and a steadily diminishing energy supply. So what I had intended to be relatively low-key ended up being a good, challenging ride.

Oh, by the way, I wore my CSC jersey in honor of Fabian Cancellara (yes, his team is called Saxo Bank now), who won the Swiss national road race championship today. He's a six-time time trial winner, but today he won a sprint to take the road title, so he'll get to wear that jersey all year long.

Sunday, July 5, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 45 minutes
Distance: 27.1 miles

I noticed on the way to a lunch with friends this morning that the wind was blowing from the south for a change. That plus my continued discomfort with the Columbia River bridges inspired me to try a different route today. I rode east on Killingsworth to the I-205 path, then south to the Springwater Corridor path, then north along Springwater and continuing to the East Bank Esplanade, then back home on Williams and Killingsworth. Hey, that was the whole east side of Portland, in less than an hour, including a windy (but surprisingly well-marked) detour off the 205 path, and several stops to read my map. Whee!

The wind turned out to be perfect, giving me a moderate start, a tough middle section, and a fast, fun ending. I had a better workout on the 205 section, because the Springwater section had more usage and more road crossings. By the time I reached the East Bank section I was basically sightseeing and looking for places to ride with Sally. But I wasn't sure I'd have time to ride at all this weekend, so this was just perfect.

Also, the Tour de France started yesterday, and Sally went with me to St. Honoré Boulangerie in Northwest Portland to watch it on TV (at 6 am). After a couple hours of Lance/Alberto speculation and a couple crashes, it came down to a perfect sprint by Cavendish, as everyone expected. Nice work, Cav. I've decided my next jersey will be a Columbia jersey, but I haven't decided whether to get the brand-new design (without the fake abs) or the understated blue version from last year. Decisions, decisions....

Friday, July 10, 2009 at 4:00 am

Duration: 1 hours, 40 minutes
Distance: 23.1 miles

I think this is a new record for the earliest ride I've ever done. Sally has a new job that starts at 5 am, and she's been doing the 1-hour commute by bike. I've been trying to get up with her each day. And having failed to get a bike ride in this week, I decided to ride to work with her, then come back on my own, either on the Columbia riverfront or via the Rocky Butte climb.

My concern was that it would be too dark to ride in either of those areas, but by the time I dropped off Sally it was starting to lighten, and it was really no problem riding up Rocky Butte. In fact, I got there just after it opened at 5 am, but there was a crowd of people up there for some kind of event.

When I got home, I put on the Tour de France (from and had breakfast and took a shower, then started work around 7 am. What a nice way to start the day!

Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 22 minutes
Distance: 22.3 miles

Sally is out of town this weekend, so I've been busy around the house, but planned to take a nice ride this evening. However, about 15 minutes from home, heading north along Willamette Boulevard, I bee or wasp flew between my legs and stung me hard. I didn't see it, but it must have been a wasp, because I stopped to look for a stinger and had three distinct welts. Ouch! It hurt pretty intensely for a while, as if my leg would stiffen right up, but I kept riding and within a half hour the pain had subsided. The worst part was the embarrassing moment swatting at my crotch just as a group of cyclists approached from the other direction! When I got home I loaded up on cortisone and then had a relaxing evening.

Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 12 minutes
Distance: 20.4 miles

I was looking for something a little different today, so I rode along the Marine Drive path to the I-205 bridge, then just climbed the bridge up and back. It's not a real steep climb, but it is long and there is often a headwind. My goal with climbing is always to find a good gear I can stay on top of and I did that ... too bad the pavement was bumpy enough to make it heard to pedal smoothly. Oh well, this was a pretty low-key ride overall. I've been working lots of hours and next weekend I'll be out of town, so I was just happy to get outside.

Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 47 minutes
Distance: 27.0 miles

Man, I have been wanting to ride really bad lately, but I've been working sooo many hours, and taking a trip to Memphis for another Will Shade event didn't help. I had planned to get up early and ride today before catching up on yardwork, but it was cloudy and cool. So, I organized my bike tools in the garage -- long overdue -- and cleaned my bikes instead, then moved on to my typical Saturday cleaning and weeding. When Sally retired for a nap around 3:00, I was tired, too, but then I figured it was my best chance to finally get out, so I did.

I felt a few raindrops as I started, but then it was just cloudy and 76 degrees, not inspiring, but good for a low-key ride. I did the East Portland loop: Killingsworth, I-205 path, Springwater path, and East Bank path. The Springwater path is pretty disappointing considering its nice name -- a rough surface with lots of intersections to stop or slow down for. But the East Bank is cool. There were tons of people enjoying the cool weather at the Oaks Amusement Park, and there seems to always be a festival downtown, across the river. One of these days I'll cross over and see what's going on. As for today, I wanted to get back home, eat some dinner and do a couple more house things. Mission accomplished.

Friday, August 21, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 17 minutes
Distance: 21.9 miles

I was in San Francisco last weekend for a jug band festival, and didn't get to ride (I did get a bit of exercise hiking the path down to Crater Lake on the way home), then had a busy week, but at the end of the day today I was finally able to get out. I did my North Portland loop of Willamette Boulevard to Kelley Point Park and back home on Marine Drive. Now that I know the route better, it was uneventful.

Actually, I realized that the hilly routes around here would be easier if I switched the chainrings on my two bikes. My commuting bike has a 39 tooth while my main road bike as a 42 tooth, and I swapped them recently. That does make a difference on the climbs, but on flat roads I seem to constantly be on the border between the small and large chainrings. Argh ... I guess I have to get strong enough to push the large chainring on more of the flat routes ... but I don't see that happening any time soon.

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 48 minutes
Distance: 13.8 miles

It's going to be a long workweek and I need to spend a little time outside to stay sane, so today I took a break in the late afternoon for a quick ride. I just took Killingsworth to the I-205 path, then north to the Columbia River and back along Marine Drive and 33rd. Whew, that felt good.

The river was noticeably lower than a couple of months ago, by the way ... it had receded from the shore by 20 feet or so, leaving sandy patches that fisherman were using. I haven't been here a whole year yet, so it will be interesting to see how different that is in the springtime.

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 16 minutes
Distance: 17.9 miles

I wanted a short, medium-effort ride but I've ridden to Rocky Butte several times recently, so I decided to go a little further south and try Mt. Tabor again. I was pleasantly surprised to find that with a little more familiarity with that route, it doesn't take much longer to get there. The time above includes the ride there, up the mountain on one side and down on the other, then back up and down again the way I came.

As before, the climb up to the edge of the park was at least as hard as the remainder of the climb within the park. Actually, the four or five solid blocks of climbing on Yamhill were okay, but when the street jogged through an awkward intersection (a momentum killer) and then continued another couple of blocks, that was tough ... and then entering the park and beginning the climb there was real tough. I still haven't had the nerve to descend -all- the way back down and do it again.

The park was beautiful, though. There was a wedding in one of the clearings toward the start of the climb, and someone was sitting playing a Native American flute about 2/3 of the way up. There were a surprising number of everyday cyclists at the top, tooling around and enjoying the view. I stopped, too, for about ten minutes. Then on my way down I saw a really fast dude punching up the final ramp ... I felt like he was going as fast up the final stretch as I was going down it. We exchanged big smiled and I said "yeaaaaah..." out of a feeling partly of brotherhood and partly admiration.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 51 minutes
Distance: 15.2 miles

I worked over 80 hours last week and may reach that mark again this week, but the weather has been so nice, and someone mentioned that the rainy season would be here in another month, so I've been antsy to get out at least for short rides. Today I just went up to the Columbia River path and rode as far as the I-205 bridge, then came back to get some dinner and get back to work.

Monday, September 7, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Duration: 2 hours, 54 minutes
Distance: 48.9 miles

My favorite way to spend a holiday is with a long bike ride. I wasn't sure about today because I wanted to finish unpacking my music room -- an important event I haven't had time for since the move in May -- and the weather forecast wasn't great anyway. But as I flattened down the last box and swept the floor at about 1:00, and the forecast was for increasingly sunny skies for the rest of the afternoon, I decided to go for it.

Shortly after moving to Portland I bought a couple books of local bike rides, and started with page 1 of Road Biking Oregon, the "Sauvie Island Ramble." This was a 45-mile round trip from my house, and almost completely flat -- ideal for me today -- so I gave it a go. This would be my longest ride of the year so far, sadly. It turned out to be a little longer -- I guess I went further into the park than the book described, and stopped the odometer just short of 50 miles.

Unfortunately, the weather didn't follow the plan; I got pelted with a few raindrops just before the Sauvie Island Bridge, and by the time I entered the island I was in the middle of a steady shower that lasted for the next 10 or 15 miles. As always, it wasn't the rain or the chill that bothered me, but the thought of cleaning my bike afterwards ... argh! As it was, it never rained hard enough to puddle up on the road, and the rough/bumpy/uncomfortable asphalt past the Columbia County line effectively reduced the spray from my tires. By the time I got home almost everything was dry and I don't think the bike needs any special attention.

The biggest obstacle of the ride was the St. John's Bridge. This was my first time crossing the Willamette River by bike, and it wasn't as scary as the I-5 bridge, but it was still pretty nerve-wracking for me. You know that sensation when you fly in a plane, and you look down and all the cars, houses and people look like miniature replicas? This bridge is so high, it provided the same sensation. Damn ... I was too curious not to look, but whenever I did, I got a big wobble in my handlebars, which wouldn't have been bad if I'd been on the main roadway and not a narrow sidewalk elevated a foot up. Blah! I keep thinking I'll get used to these bridges eventually, but so far it's not getting any easier.

Anyway, all in all this was a successful day. I finished in my music room, got a good, long ride, and it's not too late to do a few more things around the house this evening.

Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 59 minutes
Distance: 14.6 miles

I took a quick ride to Rocky Butte today. My goal with these 1-mile-ish climbs in Portland has been to ride them at a good, steady pace the entire way up without losing control of my gear. I almost made it today, starting out moderately and catching my breath a bit when the climb flattens to go through a tunnel halfway up. Being more familiar with the climb helps. But it also helped predict the hardest part ... about 200 yards from the top, I always die. I tried to push through, reminding myself this was normal and I was almost there, but it was still pretty uncomfortable. I'll get it eventually!

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 49 minutes
Distance: 13.7 miles

Jeez, I haven't ridden for a while, and the rainy season seems to have arrived right on schedule ... but today was only partly cloudy, and the temperature was around 65, and I'm having a relatively light work week, so there was no reason not to ride. I took the Killingsworth / I-205 / Columbia River / 33rd loop and a pretty brisk pace and had a good time.

The only problem is my tires were a bit soft when I started, and I didn't bother filling them, and sure enough about a mile from home I got a pinch flat. I don't recall a bump, but I was going pretty fast, merging, about to climb the last hill to put the finishing touch on my ride, when I felt the rear of my bike bouncing and then grinding down to the rim. Argh. The worst part is that I couldn't find the source of the flat for a long time -- my little pump was too weak to fill the tire faster than it could leak out, and passing traffic was too loud to hear it -- but when I got home I found the tell-tale snake bite. Okay, okay ... no shortcuts on tire inflation.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 10 minutes
Distance: 20.3 miles

I thought winter was here after several rainy days last week, but we're expecting sun and mid-60's all this week, so I'd better get some riding in. Fortunately my workload is shifting back to normal after an over-booked summer, but I'm still getting up early with Sally, so that leaves some time in the afternoons for music or house stuff or ... biking. I went out today and rode over to and across the I-205 bridge via the Columbia River path ... a steady, 1-mile climb into the wind. I was happy with my pace.

It's funny, I just read an article about blind people being concerned about the silent operation of some hybrid cars, and carmakers placing recordings of engine noise into their cars so they can be heard by pedestrians. When I was surrounded by the roar of interstate traffic, it wasn't the engines I heard but tires on pavement and the whoosh of displaced air. Some noises like that would create a much better simulation.

Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 17 minutes
Distance: 21.9 miles

Our grace period before rain continued today, so I took another ride ... in fact, I've been looking forward all week to today's 70 temperatures as possibly my last chance to wear short sleeves in a while. I got out in the early afternoon and was not disappointed.

Portland drives continue to be unfailingly polite. Today I came to one of those construction areas where they've close one lane, and are controlling one-way traffic in the other lane with a flagger. These are always a rush because I wait my turn, then get into the line of cars and try to keep up for the length of the closure. But today the flagger saw me and waved me over to a path they had set aside for the use of bikes. Aw shucks.

The road out to Kelley Point Park was different today, though. I've always gone in the evening when the acres of warehouses and shipping facilities and the wide roads connecting them are deserted. Today, as I figured it might be, it was one truck after another moving containers around. It made me wonder how much of the cost of our products covers shipping them around the world. It must be a complicated process.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 19 minutes
Distance: 20.4 miles

Oh boy, I thought the warm days were over, but halfway through my work day I realized I was getting overheated under my fleece ... opened the window and noticed lots of sunshine ... then checked the weather and saw that it was 68. When I reached a natural stopping point in my work a little later, I figured I'd better get out there!

My first thought was to ride around the 205/Springwater/East Bank loop, but I didn't think I'd get home before dark. Then I considered just riding down the East Bank and back again ... but an out-and-back is less fun. Finally I made the slightly risky decision to ride down to the Rose Quarter, take the Steel Bridge across to Waterfront Park, find a bike path that should take me to the Sellwood Bridge, and then take the East Bank home again. I say risky because finding a new route could cause delays and keep me out after dark, and because I'm still terrified of these Portland bridges and this would take me over two new ones.

Well, as it turned out I found the route just fine and got back exactly when I predicted. As for the bridges, the Steel Bridge was scarier than I thought considering it was so low -- that's still a lot of water to go over. The Sellwood Bridge was surprisingly less scary. It just has one narrow sidewalk on one side (fortunately no cyclists came from the opposite direction), but the car traffic was going slowly and there wasn't much in the way of barriers jutting out to surprise me. Also, it was kind of hard to see down, so I just focused on the path ahead. Once I reached the peak, it was a short drop down and then I was done. Whew.

When I passed the Steel Bridge on my way back, the drawbridge had been raised, so I stopped to see what was happening. There were cyclists everywhere tonight, and from my vantage point I could see them all up and down both sides of the river and buzzing over several bridges. On this bridge, they bunched up on either side waiting for it to reopen. Eventually a tugboat pushing a barge rolled through. It gave a toot after it passed, the drawbridge immediately lowered, and soon all the cyclists were back on their way. I thought I'd miss all the historical bridges and cool industrial scenes from Chicago, but that was a pretty cool scene at the Steel Bridge, with the grain elevator in the background and the barge coming through.

What a nice ride!

Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 52 minutes
Distance: 13.7 miles

The forecast for today was for periods of rain and sun, so I checked and planned a ride for one of those periods of sun. Unfortunately, the timing was off -- just as I was pumping up my tires to leave, it started to sprinkle, and before I'd ridden 10 blocks it was raining hard. Fortunately I brought a rain cape, and I was pretty comfortable as I rode to the Columbia River path, then to the I-205 path, then to Killingsworth.

Actually, by the last couple of miles, the rain stopped and the sky had cleared. The weather sure does change quickly here, but's hour-by-hour forecast isn't to be trusted.

Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 48 minutes
Distance: 12.9 miles

I didn't have much time to ride today before dusk (daylight savings time ended last week) but I wanted to try something new, so I decided to explore the Columbia River Slough path marked on my city bike map. I took Ainsworth west as I often do, but turned north on Denver, and had a good time riding what seemed like two miles of downhill toward the river. The path wasn't marked, but I eventually found it on the left side of Denver just after the ramp for Schmeer Road.

This was kind of a weird path, wide but a bit too gravely to go very fast. It ran between the slough on one side and either parking lots, storage areas, a golf course or a water treatment plant on the other. But it was all right for a change and completely empty. Eventually I came out onto the Peninsula Path, which I took north to the Columbia River path, where I was greeted with a glorious view of Mt. Hood for my last segment home.

Friday, December 4, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 53 minutes
Distance: 14.0 miles

I hate riding in cold weather, and by this time in the midwest I would have long since given up on the outdoors and set up the indoor trainer. But it doesn't get as cold here in Portland, so if I can lower my threshold a bit, I could theoretically ride outside all year. Today with mostly sunny skies and a temperature in the low 40's, I figured I'd give it a try. Plus, I hadn't ridden for a few weeks and was really missing it.

I put on basically all my layers -- everything but the outer shell and full booties -- and it wasn't really bad at all. My arms were a bit chilly in the first few blocks, but I soon forgot about that. And my toes were numb when I got home, but I hadn't noticed. In the last section with a tailwind I actually broke a sweat. All right!

I could probably go down to the mid-30's if I added the booties and outer shell, both of which would also be helpful in wet weather. I was a bit too stiff (from the cold and from the layers) to navigate a difficult route, but I took the same low-traffic route as my last ride and that was just fine. I'm still not enthusiastic about the cold, but after another week of cabin fever I'll probably want to do it again.

Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 53 minutes
Distance: 11.6 miles

The weather forecast was pretty accurate today! It predicted rain in the morning, then a break from noon to 3:00, then rain again. I had a house project planned for the morning that I expected to finish around noon, but when 2:00 came and it still wasn't done I figured I'd better pause it and ride while I had a chance. I had lunch and watched the sky grow darker as I suited up, and about six blocks from home it started to rain.

Oh well, I can't complain since I'm riding in late December without really feeling very cold. The temp was around 46 when I started, and once I warmed up, I didn't think about that again.

I was originally going to ride up Rocky Butte, but after the house project got more strenuous than I thought (organizing the basement, which involved moving lots of boxes of books and CDs) I decided to take it easier. I rode over to Vancouver and then down the East Bank Esplanade. I had planned to come back the same way, but then I noticed that one of the bridges was pretty low and unintimidating ... the Hawthorne Bridge. I decided to give it a try, and come back on the Steel Bridge. Sure enough, it was my least scary bridge experience so far ... the sidewalk was nice and wide and the altitude was perfect ... not so high to trigger a fear of heights, and not so low to trigger a fear of drowning!!! So I ended up with a nice loop, and now I have a good route to take Sally on if we manage to get out together.

Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 8 minutes
Distance: 12.0 miles

I wanted to show Sally the downtown loop I discovered last weekend, and she was up for an outdoor activity today, so we geared up (there was a bit of light rain) and went for it. Riding together was fun, but her bike was acting up again -- the clip-on fenders kept moving and rubbing the tires. ARGH. We had to stop and adjust about five times. But other riders were out, we had a nice holiday/relaxed vibe, and it was nice to get yet another view of our new city.

© 2002 Arlo Leach, all rights reserved.