Monthly Archives: June 2013

Kings Valley 200k. Not my favorite.

Wait, what?? A ride with the Oregon Randonneurs that I didn’t love?

Well, I did love some things:

  • being on my bike all day
  • getting to spend some quality bike time with Asta, who I think is awesome and who is one of the few other ladies I know who consistently does these rides
  • riding to and from the start of the ride in Newberg, OR. The 4:30am departure that that entailed may sound heinous, but the world was so beautiful so early:

Willamette River early(the Willamette River as seen before the sunrise)

  • fruit! Since this route goes through a bunch of the Willamette Valley, I loved the plethora of fruit stands. I may have eaten an embarrassing number of berries
  • sun!! I didn’t even have to wear any warm layers when I rolled out at 4:30. Granted, that meant that it did get pretty hot, but it was nice to not have to worry at all about rain for a change

deer family(I also saw a lot of excellent wildlife, including this deer family and way too many awesome birds to keep track of:)

But then again, a few things I didn’t love:

  • so much riding on busy highways–definitely not what I think of as the typical rando ride. This may have been exacerbated by the 50 or so extra miles I spent on 99W biking to the start and back again, but I was pretty done with traffic by the end. A lot of it felt more like a head-down commute than a joyride
  • a start in the middle of suburb-land Newberg, when there’s a perfectly cute, actually-containing-local-businesses part of Newberg just a mile or two down the road
  • No sense of community on this one–not even one set location at the end where everyone could sort of gather and debrief the ride. Most of use ended up at Burgerville since it was the first business after the road that indicated the end of the ride, but I thought it was kind of lame to not have a real finish where a real person would collect your brevet card and you knew everyone would be hanging out. It was also a little lame that the end was back in suburb-land instead of in the area of Newberg where you could actually support a local business.

I know. It’s always nice to bike around Oregon and see all the little towns that no one ever really stops in (Independence and Amity both get big points for having lots of the aforementioned fruit; Lafeyette gets big points for the women at Redtail Espresso who insisted on filling both of my waterbottles with ice:) And it was nice to see some familiar faces and meet a few new ones.

Kings Valley 200k(happy familiar faces:)

I’m glad I did it. But I did spend a lot of the ride wishing there were fewer cars. And I always like a true loop ride better than a ride that goes back and forth on many of the same roads (especially when those same roads are, say, 99W). And I wish the start and finish were in cooler places than “behind the Travelodge” and “anywhere east of Elliot Rd, Wendy’s recommended.”

It was still a good day on a bike, and even in the copious sunshine I even managed not to get sunburned. And I’m super glad to have gotten in some serious riding time (and yet still have been home by 5:30 for a civilized dinner and everything:) But I don’t know that I’d do this particular route again.

As usual, more pictures here if you want to re-live the glory yourself:)

The crazy days of summer

This may be revealing what’s behind the curtain or something, but back at the end of January this year, I made a resolution to post to this blog at least three times a week. It had to do with intentionally making time for what I love and what’s important to me–in this manifestation, the intersection of biking and writing.

With only a few travel-related exceptions, I’ve kept to my three-times-a-week goal.

sisters high five(though you’ve probably noticed that sometimes I cheat by just posting random bike-related pictures like this one;)

I mention this only because now that my summer work schedule is in full swing, it’s becoming much more difficult to keep up.

During the summer, I spend a lot of time taking kids camping. It’s basically the best job ever, but it does mean that a typical work week from June until the end of August is somewhere between 60 and 70 hours. I say that not to complain (because let’s face it, how fricken awesome is it to get paid to teach kids about nature?? And to get paid to camp??) but just to give you an idea of how often I’m away from home. Camping, you may realize, generally involves being out in the woods somewhere in a tent, not in your own house. So I spend a lot of the summer in my tent somewhere, away from my computer, and away from bike adventures.

All that to say that posting on a blog three times a week is more difficult when several evenings of the week are already spent away from home, and the other evenings have quality-time-spent-with-the-sweetie written all over them. Then add to that the fact that I keep scheduling my weekends away: there are just so many amazing things to do in life, and I get so excited about them, and then when I stop to take a breath it’s already August and I wonder how I still managed to miss so many of the wonderful things that happen around here during the summer.

(This is one reason why I’m so crazy glad that I commute everywhere by bike, because if it weren’t ingrained into my life that anywhere I go takes two wheels and some pedaling, I think I would spend a lot of time being unhappy that I’m not getting enough exercise.)

oxeye daisy(though while I’m not biking I am learning a shit-ton about edible wild plants! More here:)

So forgive this post that’s more introspection than anything actually bike-related, but I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how to balance all these things–biking and writing included–that I want to do with my time during these glorious summer months. As always, I’m optimistic that I can basically do everything, including keeping up with ye old carfreerambles, but forgive me if I seem to disappear sometimes.

 

That being said, if you call me and want to go for a bike ride, especially at unconventional and I’m sure seemingly random times, I’ll still want to go with you. And some of the time, I’ll probably even still be able to go:)

 

Hauling by bike: the saga continues…

Remember Ricardo and his awesome bike hauling adventures? I got an email from him the other day with another excellent example of what you can strap on your bike with nothing more than a normal rack, a few bungee cords, and some imagination:

Manny 2(hey there, buddy!)

Okay, so it’s slightly creepy, especially at first glance. But hey. If you need a mannequin, it’s good to know you could get it home by bicycle, right? :)

 

Family bike adventures!

I guess that title’s somewhat misleading, since I’m not actually taking a bike adventure with my family. BUT my brother is currently on a bike adventure, and it makes me super happy. Kind of irrationally happy.

My brother’s a professional athlete, but he generally sticks to rock climbing. So of course this trip of his definitely involves climbing–but this time rather than driving between climbs, he and his friend are biking between them. I know it’s not entirely because of me or anything, but I can’t help but feel that I at least planted a seed at some point.

Either way, I’m super proud of my little bro. Awww.

alex bikey

I poached this picture from his travel buddy Cedar Wright’s instagram–you can find the original here. But how rad is that? They’re traveling to and climbing all the “14ers” (the mountains whose peaks are at least 14,000 feet above sea level) in CA and I’m so psyched for their adventure. AND if all goes well, I may even be able to join them for the tail end of their trip. Which would make it actually a family bike adventure. Which would be amazing.

Go Alex! :)