autobiography Blog

History of Bikes: Portland Bike

We have reached the last post for Bike Week at Falling Rock National Blog. Today I talk about my current bike.

My bike is a Trek 7200, good for riding around downtown as well as some trails. While I’m sure fancypants bike riders, like the ones I saw in Boulder with $4000 bikes and $1000 worth of clothes and gear, would guffaw at this bike, it suits me just fine. It fits into the category (I hope) of “nice enough to ride, not so nice it will get stolen.”

When I got a job in Portland, the first order of business (almost before food) was buying myself a bike. This is the first time I’ve needed fenders to shield myself from wet streets. It has a back rack, too. A real commuter bike.

I am truly humbled by the bike riders here. Yes, Boulder has an active bike riding community. But most of those people are into long distance road rides. You’d see them on the mountain roads, riding for most of the day whenever it was sunny. Here people ride bikes as a job. There is a tough, small clique of bike messengers who make bike riding part of their identity. Long pants are almost unheard of, even in winter. They have walkie talkies and are in constant communication, even if they work for different companies. There is even a bike messenger race. They set a series of “pick ups” that each rider must make, then they all converge at one house and get incredibly drunk. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. There’s drinking beforehand as well. Nothing like riding full speed through the streets of Portland in the rain while hammered. So I hear.

While not as hardcore as the bike messengers, I do ride to work and to run errands. I also have a couple of favorite rides. One is FlavourSpot. This is a cart located in the parking lot of a video rental store in North Portland. They make waffles, then wrap them into a cone and put delicious fillings inside. Nutella, ham and cheese, sausage and maple butter. It’s the best. Even better is riding your bike there so you can eat even more and not feel bad about it later.

To get to FlavourSpot, I ride north to the St. John’s Bridge, cross the river, then ride east along Lombard. On the way back I go on the bluffs overlooking the industrial sites on the river, then cross the Steel Bridge and ride through the new, fancy Pearl district to get back home. You get to see so much of the town this way.
The Springwater Corridor is a long trail that begins downtown and heads east all the way to Boring. Boring, Oregon is a real place. I really need to get pictures of their City Hall sometime. My wife and I will take the Springwater if we want a ride that doesn’t involve traffic. One of the odder things you pass along this trail is a fair, which seems to be permanent. You can see the Ferris wheel as you go by. Then the trail turns and you’re left to wonder how that came to be there.

Thanks for sticking with me for Bike Week. One never knows what tomorrow will bring for Falling Rock National Blog, you can rest assured you will be the first to know.

I’ll leave you with this picture from Tucson. A bike with wings:bike_with_wings

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