Category Archives: Cycling

Stories about me and my bike, or something in that general area

My first long bike ride – the Banks – Vernonia trail!

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Friday, 07-Aug-2020

 

Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve gone on a long bike ride?

I think it was fall of… Man, I don’t even know at this point.  I just spent like 20min searching through the archives of this blog looking for it, but couldn’t find any details.  It was the fall of “a long time ago”, when Daniel and I did a long ride around the small towns surrounding Boston… clocking roughly 35 miles between various small farms.

Why’d we go between farms?  For apple cider donuts.  Duh.

 

Today, I didn’t go between apple cider donut farms.  Instead, we took a gloriously chill ride down one of the “Rails to Trails” bike paths.  Fairly flat (sort of), nicely paved (for the most part), and pretty empty (until later in the day), it was a glorious chance for me to stretch my bike-legs, and see how I’d do after pulling a nerve in my back earlier this spring.

Man, did we enjoy the ride.

Like I said, the route was mostly flat… but actually, was really on a slight incline the whole way out.

Which, you know what?  I’d vastly prefer that over the alternative.  We worked hard to get to the end, and then on the way back?  We just cruised.  Seriously – I think I cranked the pedals like… twenty times in nearly 10 miles.  Like I said, glorious.

The ride was beautiful – mostly farmland and forests, with a few small roads that we had to cross.  One big trellis bridge, one steep section, but mostly just lovely cruising.  Just the right intensity that we could hold a conversation… with a few random pauses to catch our breath.

I loved it.

 

We started near Banks, about three miles into the trail, and cruised as far as we could before some trail maintenance blocked our way.  From there, we turned around and headed all the way down to Banks for a quick bite of lunch at a small cafe that we found.  Outdoor seating and hamburgers were our requirements, and they ticked off the boxes for both pretty handily.

Interestingly, the burgers didn’t come with fries.  They came with tater totes mixed in with mac and cheese, and baked with a cheese crust.  Never had it before, but they were definitely pretty solid… if a bit heart-attack-ish.

 

From the cafe, we turned around and headed back – almost exactly 30 miles total under our belts.

Not bad at all for my first big ride of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

Ohh, you wanted to know about the highlight of the ride?

The best part?

By far the coolest thing on the whole trail?

 

We saw three goats, a sheep, and their sheepherd dog.

Hanging out on the side of the trail.

Eating leaves.

I stopped to take a picture, and then when I started biking?  THE DOG FOLLOWED ME.  AND THE GOATS AND SHEEP FOLLOWED THE DOG.

They were just chilling, no cares or worries.  It was… glorious.

A Passover biking adventure – 08-Apr-2020

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Wednesday, 08-Apr-2020

 

Well, we’re not doing an in-person Seder this year, I’ll tell you that.

Instead, We’re going low-key – Matzos Ball soup and roast chicken for dinner tonight, possibly even with Latkes and asparagus on the side.  Then, this weekend, we’ll do a family Seder via Hangouts (or Zoom, or whatever video conferencing technology the cool kids are using these days.

 

For today, though, I took the day off from work.

The plan for the year involved quite a few major trips – Sarah and I hadn’t gone on any full-week climbing trips last year, so this year was supposed to make up for that.  I’d gotten an extra two weeks of vacation as a benefit, and we were planning on burning those vacation days up in Colorado, Joshua Tree, New Hampshire, and who knows where else.  Friends would visit, we’d visit them, and we’d be all-around jet-setting cool kids.

Instead… COVID-19 hit, the stock market imploded, and we’re under stay-at-home orders when I’m not going into work as an essential employee.

So I took a day off.

And you know what?  It was an amazing decision.

 

The weather seemed to know that today was a day for being outside, and being calm.  No wind, no rain, just beautiful sunlight and clear skies.  I took my bike out from the garage, and went for a long ride down the empty streets.

With the city being under semi-lockdown, there wasn’t traffic, and almost everyone I saw (and it wasn’t very many) was simply sitting.  Some kids were quietly playing, and a lot of people were mowing their lawns… or more accurately, a lot of people had yard workers mowing their lawns for them… but still, the sound of lawnmowers was ubiquitous.

It was gloriously calm and serene, just slowly pedaling around the city.

 

I don’t think have any other words to describe how relaxing it was, so I’ll fill in the details with photos.  Sit back, relax, grab a glass of iced tea, and enjoy.

Portland Autumn by bike

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Week preceding Sunday, 29-Sept-2019

As you may recall, my Bike had been stolen back in May, after mother’s day.

Insurance had been difficult, as had been bike shops in general – it turns out that not only is Portland much more expensive than Boston when bikes are involved, but that sales people aren’t always the most knowledgeable… After searching through half a dozen bike shops, being told that my budget was impossibly low, and being told that my previous bike had never existed (sales people… Arg!) I gave up.

After giving myself a few weeks to cool down, I threw down.

I went to the neighborhood bike shop, and told them that I wanted a bike. I told them every specific that I wanted, then handed them my credit card and told them to go hog wild.I mean, I also got a quote, compared them to other shops in town, and discussed a lot of options. But that doesn’t make for good reading, so let’s just pretend I acted like a badass instead, and just threw down.

Anyways I got a new bike. Just in time for the Portland Rain to hit. Exactly in time, actually, and I biked home in the rain.

You know what? That’s fine, because I biked. And that’s exactly what I’ve been waiting to do!

Thankfully the rest of the week wasn’t quite as rainy, and I got to take a few after-work rides around town. It’s amazing how much different Portland is when traveling by bike… I’ve noticed so many more murals, but I’ve also just how quiet our neighborhood gets early in the evening. It’s kind of creepy – it’s as if everyone is on exactly the same schedule regarding when to eat dinner and then when to go home.

Still, though. I’m enjoying being back on two wheels, getting to poke around and take pictures of all the pretty streets and ridiculous hipster stores full of artisanally-crafted, single-sourced, small-batch, super-expensive chatchkes that are fun to poke and prod.

I’ve even been able to bike to the gym again, and bike to the local taco spot, and bike to pick up my car… I’m biking again!!