Loss of a Fat Tire

This week has had some ups and down. Seth’s Surly Pugsley Fat Tire bike was stolen on Monday from in front of his work at Mountain Hardwear in downtown Portland.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As you can see from these pictures, the bike has insanely HUGE tires on it! Bigger than most people have ever seen on a bicycle. In fact, the Surly frame had to be built special for the big tires.

There is a reward for getting the bike back. So far what is known, is that a guy and girl who are known drug addicts were seen dragging it (the wheels were locked to the frame) looking to sell it cheap. Any further information is appreciated. 

Notify Clean and Safe at 503-224-7383

The Issues Around Driving and Licenses

You go to take a step in one direction, but get told you can’t until you take steps in another one.

When I got my permanent residency, the lady who aproved me for it told me that I could now go get a state driver’s license. So earlier this week I went to the DMV to get a license, going prepared with everything I thought I would need, but the fellow at the front desk told me that now with a PR card I was eligible for a Social Security Number and thus could not get a driver’s license without first getting an SSN.

Back at home I searched the net to find out what I needed to do to get my SSN. In my searching, I printed out a form to fill out, and discovered that with the same form I could apply for a number for our daughter! So I filled everything out and the next day little Rinny and I rode Chester (my bicycle) across the river to the Social Security Department, where I first had to go through security twice because I had forgotten about a little knife that I keep in my purse/diaper bag. It was 1/4 inch too long, so I had to take it out to my bike then go in and through security again. On the other side, we found a row of seats with room for Marin to play while we waited. Oh my goodness, that little girl can sure make a racket with just her happy sweet voice! There were squawks and squeals and all sorts of high-pitched noises coming from her as she played with items from the bag.

At the gate/window Marin continued her cheerful one-sided bantering as I tried to hear what the thankfully good-natured fellow on the inside was asking me. He quickly understood the difference that Rinny and I were in, being from Canada, but I think he probably deals with immigrants quite often! Anyways, despite having thought that it was going to take a boringly long time to accomplish, the wait and the cheerful help at the window, coupled with having gone prepared with all possible necessary documents, came to a surprisingly quick culmination. Before I knew it we were walking out the door with receipts and the expectation of receiving our cards in the mail within a week!

Now back to the driver’s license…. well….. we still have to wait until the SSN cards come before I can pursue that any further. In the meantime, after having briefly perused through the driving manual they gave me, I’ve noticed more often than before the crazy drivers out there who through neglect to follow the rules of the road would cause collisions and crashed were it not for the awareness of the drivers around them (who are saving their own necks by yielding their right-of-way to the crazy person).

People out there! Drive safe! Suck up your pride and browse through a manual to brush up on the little things that you don’t even realize you have forgotten! Otherwise, you might end up being the one who gets the rude gesture from me on my bike. I’ll do it!

 

 

Life Or Death In Portland

Everybody says that cycling in Portland is easy and safe for the most part.

I agree.

But sometimes you get reminded that you are still just riding two wheels with no bodily protection while the other road users are rushing around surrounded by a metal roll-cage and sometimes they don’t give a damn about you.

Seth and I were out for a ride with our new baby seat attached to the back of my bike, and it was Marin’s first time riding in it. We had a nice enjoyable trip out, but on our way back we, no kidding, nearly died. With our road going straight through and the side road having a stop sign, fortunately we naturally slowed down a little bit, because a fellow in a black pickup truck flying high as a kite gunned his machine of terror through the stop sign and straight into our lane, missing us by mere inches. He swerved away into his proper lane without slowing, careening down the street to the next intersection where he ran another stop sign, narrowly missing getting broadsided by a thankfully more attentive driver who had the right of way but braked just in time to save himself. Even after the crazy dude was out of sight, while we were standing in shock trying to catch our breaths and calm down, we could still hear his tires squeal around corners as he drove like hell was on his tail, around an elementary school and it’s quiet neighbourhoods.

Is Portland good for cycling in? Yes. Just keep your eyes out for the crazies and use common sense, ’cause you’re the only one protecting yourself from the cold metal terrors of the road.

Crazy And We Love It

Last night I had another one of those “my family is awesome” moments. 

Marin and I had cycled across the river to meet Seth as he got out of work and then we were going to check out the concert by the Weezers that Microsoft was putting on. 

The trip started with a delay by the princess, so Marin and I were a little tight pressed for time to stick to our prearranged schedule with Seth. That meant that I couldn’t take my time riding downtown, I had to push it. Do you know what it’s like to ride a slow, loaded three wheel cargo bike from 39th to Pioneer Square in 30 minutes? Your legs get a wicked burn just going up little inclines like the ramp from the esplanade up to Hawthorn bridge, and did you ever notice that most of the bridge itself is an uphill ride? 

I forget which road we turned up from the river side (maybe Taylor?), but the first light you hit is always a red. Once you get the green on that though, if you can keep your speed up it is a straight shot with constant green all the way up the hill to the square. I love that shot. It is a small adrenaline rush for me, surrounded by traffic, pushing the muscles hard to stay with the flow and not miss a light.

Breathing gets fast and heavy, calves yell with the effort and that’s when Seth called on my cell! Fortunately I keep my phone in a little pocket on the bike just below te handlebars, so I could access it without breaking rhythm. 

“Hey, I’m out of work.” Seth told me.

“Great! Sorry I’m late, but I’m almost there. On 5th and coming your way.” 

I think it was easy for him to figure out from my heavy breathing that the conversation had to end right about there, as I was too busy to focus on chatting about anything else, so he said bye and went out to the street corner to wait for me.

Huffing, puffing, smiling big and giggling, I found my man and we took some time to let me catch my breath before grabbing a bite to eat at Freshii and exploring around the concert area for a while then we both at the same time called it quits and said we were uninterested in the music they were playing. 

Somehow we almost always seem to be on the same page with stuff. We like similar styles of food, with each of us coming down to the same two dishes we want to try at restaurants, so we just get both and share them! Or like last night, we were both curious about the concert, but both lost interest at the same time. Then on the ride home we stopped to admire some live-aboard sailboats and we both liked the same one. Sometimes I think we must be a crazy couple, but then, it’s probably better to be crazy and love it, then sane and hate it!

Sunday’s Adventure (also happened to be Father’s Day)

Father’s Day. Yeah, everybody is writing about it aren’t they?

Well, I think Seth had a decent day. It started by chatting with the house guests that arrived almost unanounced the previous night (they turn out to be pretty cool people) and then off we went as a small cute little family to check out a Pedalpalooza group focused on riding bicycles with small children. We had thought that it was going to be everyone riding their bikes with kids, but we found it was more of a sit down talk session at one of the bike shops where a lady gave was explaining the diferent options for carying kids. So…. we continued on down to the weekend market instead. I’m sure we probably could have picked up a few tips or something, but Marin is fairly well set in her carseat on the trike, so we didn’t feel the need to stick around.

Downtown is a weekend market that consists of artsy-fartsy craft people of high caliber, so we always enjoy checking out what they have and grabing a bite from one of the food carts.

To add to the downtown atractions, there was also a Gay Pride Parade going on as well, so of course we had to stop and watch them for a little bit and marvel at the dress code. Or at least, marveled at the dress code or lack thereof.

Then it was off to work for Seth, so we said goodbye beside our bikes and parted ways, except that after wandering around the crowds for a little while longer, Marin and I went to visit him at Mountain Hardwear for a short bit. I like the staff there, as they are all very suportive of Seth and have no problem with me stopping by and taking advantage of their little sitting area to get off my feet and nurse Marin. I think Seth enjoyed having us there, being able to peek around the corner when he didn’t have a customer to talk to, and see Little Marin fascinated with her own reflection in a full length mirror. She was able to walk right up to it and touch it, not knowing what to think of the cold hard thing getting in her way of touching the other little girl that looked just like herself.

Seth and Marin being goof-balls
Seth and Marin being goof-balls

Yet again, we had another family adventure on bicycles in Portland!

Cargo Bike Rally

My husband Seth has done a little bit of work with Tom LaBonty building cargo bicycles, so when we heard that there was a Pedalpalooza event based on Tom’s bikes, we HAD to go!

Everybody met at Hawthorne’s Lucky Lab pub for, as they say, “you can’t have LaBonty without the Lab”. 

Games ensued…. I think? I actually didn’t get there until well over an hour after their start time, but there was a “slow race” with a bunch of the bikes, to see who could ride the slowest without falling off. I wasn’t allowed in because I showed up on a three-wheeler and that just wouldn’t be fair!

After the games and getting to know people, we all headed out for a group ride up to Lucky Lab’s northeast location way up on Who-Knows-What Street. That was the first time I’ve ever ridden with a group that all came together because of one type of gear. As you can see from a previous post I have ridden in a larger group, but it came together because of one LACK of gear!

At the north end of the Eastbank Esplanade there is a bicycle switch back that I never really thought much about before, but riding with a bunch of people who had 8 foot long bikes, it makes you wonder how they all got up there without crashing into the walls on the corners first! Embarrassingly enough, I hit the wall on the first bend. Oops!

Then there was the corkscrew. One bike at a time. All the way up the bicycle version of a spiral staircase, across a bridge over a busy road, then down the other side on another corkscrew. Riders were doing everything from cussin’ to laughin’ and everything in between.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At the NE Lab location the bikes all piled up together and looked pretty cool sticking out from the bike racks and half hanging out into the street. Jammed and crammed.

Seth was able to meet us all at the north location just as we got there, so drinks all-round and Tom and him didn’t take too long before they started talking business again. They love it though!

After all that hoopla and fun group riding up, it was a pretty quiet ride going home with just Marin and I on the trike, Seth on his speedy city bike, and a new friend Kathleen on her bakfiet who knew the roads to get us home safely. We even had time to check out some free cycle piles!

Us and the World Naked Bike Ride

Us and the World Naked Bike Ride!

I think I know what you’re thinking.

“WHAT???”

Every year during Portland’s Pedalpalooza, the WNBR (World Naked Bike Ride) throws an event that draws thousands of people. People line the streets cheering cyclist on and giving high-fives to the participants. Bikes and other means of human-powered transportation are lit up with regular lights and intricate, crazy, multicoloured, cool lights.

Cyclist wear shoes. That seemed to be the one and only thing that every participant agreed to wear. Police asked everyone to also wear helmets, but you know people…. some of them skipped that safety item. There were guys in top hats and vests, girls in princess and fairy costumes. Naked people in wheelchairs and on skate boards, riding on cargo bikes and just plain running.

The only down side to riding with no clothing is if on the off chance you have a spill, there is nothing to protect your skin. I saw a cyclist crash when he ran into the edge of a cement lane divider. I didn’t see the in-line skater crash, but I did watch him get back up with a purple/red bruise the size of a cantaloupe on his buttox.

Despite the risks, people were in high spirits. There is a thrill in being naked with thousands of other people, in front of thousands more fully clothed people. Exhilaration and freedom!

Seth and I stopped about 2/3 of the way through the course and just watched the other cyclist go by. Everyone so unique and different. An education to be sure!

Where was Marin during this family adventure? Bundled up cozy warm and fast asleep in the front of the trike. She fell asleep right after we left the house and didn’t wake up at all until we were back home and putting her to bed.

Unicycles, tall bikes, cargo and tandems. Hispanic people, Asian, male and female. It was a night for every make, model and size, both for bicycles and people!

Proof we were there and I wasn't just making all of this up!
Proof we were there and I wasn’t just making all of this up!