Monthly Archives: April 2013

Three Capes 300k: another awesome ride:)

Have I mentioned I really, really love riding my bike? I really love riding my bike. And then I take a ride like yesterday’s Oregon Randonneurs Three Capes 300k, and I fall in love with it all over again.

Gosh. I almost bailed on this ride, actually, because the 6am start in Forest Grove meant that I got up–that’s right, I set my alarm and then got out of bed–at 3:30 am so I could bike down to Sellwood and catch a ride with a fellow I’d never actually met who turned out to also be from Sacramento and sort of know my brother! I love random shit like that. (Thanks, Dylan!:) But yeah, the 3:30am thing wasn’t awesome, and I felt a little bad to be missing a Saturday 1-year-old birthday party for my favorite small child. So I thought–for a few seconds at least–about not riding this one.

But of course a bike ride almost always wins out. And I’m so glad it did! :)

Like most of the rides I’ve taken with the Oregon Randonneurs, the route is pretty amazing. I realized after the fact that most of the ride was actually along water of some sort, which is perhaps why I liked it so much: first along the Wilson River on Highway 6 out to the coast, then south along the Pacific Ocean on the scenic Three Capes route, then back along the Little Nestucca and Yamhill Rivers, and then all the wetlands around Fern Hill right by the end. Add to that the timing–everything green is sprouting right now, and the world is tinged in springtime–and it was quite a lovely day.

Cape Lookout(showing off some springy green at Cape Lookout:)

Even better was that some early-morning showers and mud-splattering ultimately gave way to perfect biking weather: not too hot, not too cold, mostly dry, beautiful clouds with just enough blue sky to remind you that better weather is on the way. It was an amazing day to dedicate to many miles of pedal-spinning.

pacific ocean(blue skies! ocean! biking! so fricken lovely!:)

When I start these rides, I’m always fully prepared to ride by myself. Thirty two riders, the number of people who started yesterday, is not very many when you spread that out over almost 200 miles, and even though I generally end up biking with several people for at least part of the time, I ultimately spend a lot of time by myself. Which I like, actually, because I’m pretty happy going at my own pace and letting my mind wander.

This time, though, I was surprised to bike basically the whole way with a fellow, Tim, I met at the Timber Rd turnaround. Whether we were actually always going the same pace or inadvertently matched ourselves up to each other as we went, it was a new experience to spend that many miles with one person. Nice, though–a good reminder of the awesome people out there in the world, just waiting to chat on a long bike ride. :)

Another fun surprise: I finished the route way before I was expecting, I think in part because it was way flatter than I was expecting, too (and there was way more tailwind than I would ever dare hope for again). But all those extra hours of daylight at the end of the ride just make me want to bike and bike and bike, farther, farther, farther.

Like I said, I fricken love riding my bike. And days like yesterday just feed the beast.

Tim Fern Hill Rd(so sunny near the end of the ride; Tim rockin’ it to the finish:)

It’s always a little weird to be on a ride like this and know that there are thirty or so other people out on the same route, some in front of you and some behind, and yet have no idea what their experience of the ride is. That’s often mitigated by chatting with people either at controls or at the end, but this time I didn’t stick around the finish long enough to see too many others. I hope it was great for all of you, though:)

If you’re curious about the route itself, the OR Rando page linked above has details, or Susan Otcenas actually has a map posted here, if you want a visual–thanks, Susan!:)

And, of course, pictures, though not very many, are here.

Innovative hauling, without anything special

Once upon a time, I had a friend who lived in New York. We’ll call him Ricardo–which, coincidentally, is his real name:) He had a bike that he rode sometimes, and then it was stolen.

Last summer, Ricardo came to visit Portland. We rode all around the city and out to Oxbow to camp, and we had a grand old time. I don’t know if riding here helped or if he just got all fired up about biking again on his own, but when he went back to New York, he bought another bike.

A few months pass. Ricardo moves to Los Angeles, which I was afraid would mean the end of his biking and the beginning of car culture (such is my perception of LA, perhaps unfairly). BUT! Lo and behold, he’s been biking all over Los Angeles. He hasn’t bought a car. He’s finding bike lanes. He’s making it happen.

But the best thing is that he keeps sending me pictures of all the awesome stuff he’s been doing with his bike. For anyone who doubts the carrying capacity of a modest bicycle, check it out:

kale bike

Okay, so the old panniers-exploding-with-produce trick may not be the most innovative thing ever. But it’s still pretty darn awesome (and very wholesome:)

But how about a back rack full of gardening supplies and new houseplants for his apartment?

garden bike

Or, perhaps, a huge barrel that’s destined to become a garden pond? (Plus some very happy sunflowers and who knows what else inside the barrel.)

pond bike

Or perhaps my favorite, some new furniture?

furniture bike

I love this because he’s not doing anything crazy. He hasn’t required any specific equipment that he didn’t already have on his bike. He’s just getting creative with bungee cords and his back rack to get what he needs back to his home.

This is why I love bicycles:) And why I love Ricardo. Way to make it happen:)

Portland to Bend (and other places), sans car

Of the bike questions I often get asked, “how do you carry things without a car?” has a very close competitor: “what do you do when you want to get somewhere really far away?”

The answer to that one is, usually, ride there on my bike! Things that seem far often don’t actually take that long to get to on two wheels–and honestly, the ride itself is often just as fun as wherever I’m going.

But for the times where it really isn’t convenient to bike, there are a few options.

Of course there are the car-sharing options. Zipcar, Car2Go, even the peer-to-peer Getaround–all of them offer you cars when you need them, without having to actually deal with owning a car yourself. To be honest, I’ve only ever used Zipcar and then only super rarely, but I do really like the idea that in a pinch, I could have a car available.

Without getting any sort of car-sharing membership, though, there’s mass transit. Trimet, of course, is great for getting around town. And it will even to take you to far-away exotic locations like Sandy:) But even aside from Trimet, there are options to get you the heck out of the city for (usually) not super expensive.

Recently, I took the CoBreeze, which runs daily between Portland and Bend–twice daily, actually, during peak seasons between June and September and then again between Thanksgiving and New Years. It’s a pretty sweet bus that for around $40 will take you from Union Station all the way to Bend, with stops at the Portland Airport, Gresham, Government Camp (can anyone say skiing??:), Madras, and Redmond.

CoBreeze(the Portland CoBreeze stop in front of Union Station)

Sadly, it doesn’t have a bike rack, though they say they will take your bike as long as you box it.

There are also other options to get to you Mt Hood. Sadly, the Greasebus is no longer operational, but there’s still Sea to Summit–which I’ve never personally used, but I’ve heard decent things. Or, if you want to go the other direction, The Wave will take you from Portland to Tilamook, or between Tilamook and other various places along the coast. And of course there’s always Greyhound or Amtrak.

Of course, your route options get increasingly smaller the further away from Portland you get–but then again, that’s why I like to bike there anyway:)

(I’m sure I’ve missed tons of transit options, mostly because I don’t generally use them. Feel free to add on to this list if there’s anything you know of that I should have included:)

Cycle Wild Sunset Falls Camping!

A bunch of people and their bicycles, huddled under a roof to wait out a downpour…

heisson store(the bitty Heisson Store, last supply stop before our campground)

Must be a Cycle Wild trip in April! :)

This weekend’s camping trip with Cycle Wild, a group dedicated to helping people get out camping on their bicycles, left from Portland in the sunshine on Saturday morning and became increasingly gloomy and wet as we made our way to Sunset Falls in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. But whatever, right? Who actually expects nice weather in April? Despite the wet, it was a rockin’ good time.

Cycle Wild is a good deal, especially if you’re curious about bike camping but not totally sure where to start. They plan the route and the campground and give you a cue sheet to get there and back; you provide your own bike, gear, and food; everyone has a chance to chat with other awesome people and you make your way out to the campground together.

It’s a really nice, supportive way to try bike camping if you’re curious about it but perhaps still a little intimidated. And even if you’re a bike camping pro, it’s a really nice way to meet other cool people and get outside for a weekend. I’m into it.

You can find a whole list of routes and maps for nearby camping on the Cycle Wild website, although it looks like this route to the Sunset Falls Campground isn’t on there. Regardless, it’s sort of like going to Battleground Lake, but then adding on a whole bunch of awesome biking along the Lewis River.

lewis river(ye old Lewis River. We took an unpaved biking/hiking path along this that was absolutely spectacular)

lucia falls(breaktime to check out Lucia Falls. Super awesome to have all these loaded bikes in one spot!:)

We got to our campsite around 6pm, plenty of time to set up our various tents/bivys/hammocks/whatever, change into dry clothes, check out Sunset Falls, try to build a fire with wet wood, make dinner, and otherwise hang out. Though we all biked out together, people left at different times in the morning according to how early they woke up and how long they wanted to hang out. I’ll admit that basically everything I owned was pretty darn wet by the time I got home on Sunday, but, again, that’s basically what I expect from a camping trip in April in the Northwest. I’m super psyched to have been out this weekend to inaugurate the camping season.

My camera stopped working partway through the trip, but I do have more pretty mediocre pictures here.

Awesome work, Cycle Wild! :)