Sunday, December 23, 2007

Beefeaters, Big Ben, and a Bulldog.

Beefeaters, Big Ben, and a Bulldog.

Meet the newest addition to my stable - a single-speed Specialized Langster "London." It is a truly ridiculous bike, from the red-rimmed wheels to the white-painted chain, but I think it will be pretty fun to ride. It has a flip-flop rear hub, so I can run it as either a fixed-gear or freewheel, depending on how much work I feel like doing.

A local newspaper held an eBay auction to benefit a local charity called Sisters of the Road, which provides services to Portland's homeless population. The Langster was one of the auction items, and because I had been contemplating getting a fixie for lunchtime rides in flat, flat Salem, I decided to bid on it.

I did not bid very high, because I don't really NEED another bike, but I still managed to win the auction. I had the option of paying a little more than my bid to get the "London" ediiton, and it made me laugh so much when I saw it that I just had to go for it.

I Agree, It's Ridiculous

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Getting Better All the Time

This weekend I rode both Saturday and Sunday, about 35 miles each day. Still no long climbs, yet, but I am definitely getting back into gear. Literally.

Wastelands and Wetlands

Today Lynne came over to my side of the river for a ride. Sort of like the country mouse cyclist comes to the big city, she said, after I nearly gave her a heart attack with an abrupt turn through a bicycle pass-through she didn't realize existed . . .

Anyway, we got a late start because we wanted to let the temps rise high enough so that black ice wouldn't be a problem. Little did we realize that the temps weren't likely to rise much at all. . . Right when Lynne was about to leave her house for mine, it started snowing.

Spidey Snow

I called her:

"Um, Lynne - it's snowing at my house."

"Yeah, it's snowing at my house, too!"

"I still want to ride."

"I still want to ride, too!"

45 minutes later, my doorbell rang, and there she was, in one of her second-warmest jerseys. A Hanukkah present, I believe. Pink, of course.

And we were off.

I am still not ready to ride up "real" hills, so I chose another of the flattest routes I could find. This one wound through North Portland to a multi-use path called The Peninsula Crossing Trail.

The Peninsula Crossing Trail

It links Willamette and Columbia Boulevards, and then continues on past Columbia Boulevard to some really interesting wetlands, and finally to the Smith & Bybee Lakes wetlands.

Smith Lake

From there, we rode along Marine Drive to Kelly Point Park, the westernmost part of the City of Portland, which is at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.

A bit deranged . . .

Lynne Contemplates the Confluence

From Kelly Point Park, we rode through an industrial wasteland characterized by freight shipping terminals, back through North Portland and then through the Alameda district (Stately Mansions "R" Us) to Hollywood.

We stopped for hot cocoa and grilled cheese at the Daily Market,

The Daily Market and Cafe

and then we went searching for the Hollywood Max stop so Lynne could get back over the hill to home. It turned out to be all of about 6 blocks from the cafe. By this time it had started sprinkling again, so it was a good time to end the ride and head home!

After a hot bath and a hot cup of tea, I was thawed out enough to make dinner - Roasted Butternut Squash Soup from the Vegan With A Vengeance Cookbook, and whole wheat "no knead" bread.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Can't Hardly Wait!

There's a rumour going round that a certain frame is next in line for powder-coating and a certain kandy-kolored heliotrope streamline baby may be coming home next week . . . . .

Saturday, December 01, 2007

On the (Slow) Road to Recovery

I'm baaaaaaaaaack.

Well, sort of.

Let's put it this way - by the time I take delivery of the Heliotrope Wonder, I will be ready to ride it. I may not be ready to ride it more than 30 miles, and those would have to be flat, but at least I won't be forced to sit and stare at it with unrequited longing.

Anyway, today I went out for my first REAL bike ride in 5 weeks. I had done 30 minutes on a stationary bike on Thursday with no ill effect, and so figured I was ready to try something short and flat. I considered going out to Hillsboro for the Velo ride, but the forecast was for snow above 500 feet and I didn't feel like driving my car over the SW hills with all the Portland numbskulls who don't know how to drive in snow. Yes, my years of living in Illinois and Vermont DO make me feel a tad bit superior in that arena, thank you very much . . . .

Plus, I know myself too well - if I rode with a group I would kill myself to keep up, even if my leg were screaming at me to stop. So I decided to take a solo ride on the flattest course I know, the
Springwater Corridor, a local Rails to Trails project. My goal was to go to Gresham and then turn around and come back, but I stopped at Paesano Park, or whatever it's called (where the Barlow Century starts) because it was starting to snow and I was getting a headache from bouncing on the chipseal (my favorite part of the Springwater is when it crosses the city line into Gresham and the pavement turns to nice, smooth asphalt . . .). On the way home, the snow started falling fairly heavily, but the ground was far too warm for it to stick. It didn't snow for long, but it sure was pretty while it did - nice, big fluffy flakes.

I decided not to go all the way home on the trail - out and back rides are SO boring - and so turned off about halfway back and took city streets the rest of the way home - it snowed again briefly, but there was very little traffic, so I was not worried. What WAS worrying me was that my hands had suddenly gone completely stiff and numb. I have Raynaud's and cold weather does a number on the circulation to my extremities, and I have yet to find the perfect glove - I had on my warmest, Descente Wombats, but they were not doing the trick. Braking and shifting suddenly became a much more difficult proposition . . .and there was one pretty steep downhill on the way back. Yes, I managed to pick a route with no climbing, yet still got to go downhill fast - my kind of ride!

Checked my stats when I got home - I was out for just under 2 hours and rode 27 miles. Kind of slow, but I expected that - the chipseal certainly didn't help my pace. My leg felt okay. I made sure to stretch well once I got back, and it still feels okay - the torn calf muscle is sore, but not extremely so, and the hamstring seems fine. Of course, the pain in my hands when the blood finally started flowing back into my fingers may have masked any pain in the leg!