geese, a cargo bag and a ring

A few updates from the past week:

Every morning I bike south along the willamette river on the beautiful Waterfront Park to get to work. Just after I pass under the Hawthorne Bridge there is a large open grassy slope running down to the water, which recently has been full of geese! I snapped a quick photo for you all.Yesterday was my birthday, and in true birthday fashion, Sam and I planned a bike picnic. I dropped by Trader Joe's, with only my messenger bag (Timbuk2's Extra Large is HUGE, btw) and found that I could fit the following with room to spare: (the load was mildly uncomfortable only due to it's weight)

bike pump
crescent wrench
drawing pens/pencil
Pedaling Revolution by Jeff Mapes (which i highly recommend)
Digital Camera
wallet/spare change
wool hat and gloves
bike lock cable

4 pack of Reed's Extra Ginger Brew
4 pack of Virgil's ever-famous root beer
1/2 Gallon Orange Juice
1 Loaf Rosemary Bread
1 Wedge Three Creme Brie
1 piece Halvarti Cheese
1 Apple
1 bag Incredibly delicious Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels
1 tin chocolate Biscotti
3 Cliff Bars
1 bottle Trader Joe's Shampoo
1 ring to propose to Sam with.

The picnic, overlooking the bluff with a view of Portland's skyline, was needless to say, wonderful.

I highly encourage you all to bike, eat good food and enjoy the beautiful parks and evening sun.



Four kids? No problem!

I just saw this on NY Times, and thought it worth posting. And for those of you interested, or familiar with the critical mass story, George Bliss, the creator of these bikes is also the man who coined the phrase 'critical mass' in the documentary 'return of the scorcher'. (watch it! only 30 minutes long)
I've always disliked minivans. (why the word 'mini' shows up in such huge vehicles I'll never know) This dislike probably comes from my mother who, looking at her growing family that could no longer fit in our ever smaller Jetta, swore to never own a minivan, and instead began looking for alternatives. Volvo Stationwagon to the rescue! In any case, I've grown up knowing there was an alternative, and this is one great example of how, with a little ingenuity, a family can live car-free.
Thanks everyone!
Remember to bike!



rowdy kittens and the 100 thing challenge

Today I spent some of my down time reading old posts on some of the blogs I have subscribed to over the past few months. One that I had glanced over before, but never really delved into, caught my attention today and led me to discover several great websites I'd never seen before. (and made me think a bit too!)
The first site was delighted by was rowdykittens. There are lots of great useful posts that I found really helpful. Tips for buying a bike. A neat trick on 'renting' a bike for free anywhere. Fun photos and great links and discussions.
Second, and this ranks in there with the 2 mile challenge, is walkscore.com Find out how walkable your area is! It generates lists of useful businesses and services close to your home. Check it out. You may be surprised by how much is located in your close vicinity!
This last one made me think the most and has me itching to sit down in the middle of my room and go through all of my things, making piles around me. Dave Bruno, author of guynameddave, created what he calls 'The 100 Thing Challenge' Read about his year with only 100 things here! And here's how this relates to me:
In April I packed my things and moved to Portland. I didn't have a car, and still don't, so it took some time figuring out how to get me and my things up to Oregon. I don't consider myself to be very materialistic, but trying to move all of my possessions 800 miles in what looked like would be a carpool, was difficult. A friend of mine from Seattle offered to take anything I could fit in her Vanagan up to Seattle and then we could work something out later from there. (she was doing some family road tripping and not going through Portland) In the meantime, I found a fellow student who wasn't apposed to me strapping 2 bikes to the back of his car and chipping in for gas. Knowing that there would be 5 of us in the car going up, and not knowing exactly how long I would be without the rest of my things, I had to reduce what I brought with me to what I could essentially carry in a messenger bag. Some clothes, sketchbook, pencils, bike helmet, lights, lock, wrench, pump and a few other essentials was all I could carry. Over the next 2 weeks I was delighted to find myself hardly missing anything and living quite well with what I could carry. (thanks in great part to generous friends, especially Sam) I did finally get my books and other things from Seattle, and I was grateful to have them again, but many (months later) are still in boxes, unused. The 100 Thing Challenge is really tempting, especially with some international travel in the near future for me, and a desire to reduce my possessions, but regardless of whether I actually decide to attempt reducing down to 100 (or any arbitrary number) I will definitely be looking to donate the things I use the least this week.
Thanks for reading this uncharacteristically wordy post!



Hawthorne Bridge and the Citybikes Worker's Bucket

This week saw yet another trip to Citybike Workers Cooperative, that ever reliable used bike part haven on SE Ankeny. It was an exceptionally hot day and by the end of the ride I was wishing I wasn't wearing a collared shirt and dress shoes (I came from work) I decided to cross the famous Hawethorne Bridge(cool video here) instead of the Steel Bridge which I normally take on the way to St. Johns.

The shop was buzzing with people looking for advice and help with bike repairs, including two very friendly travelers camped outside on the sidewalk, fixing a broken spoke amongst 2 huge piles of gear they apparently had been hauling for some time. (Turns out they started in Northern Washington and were on the first leg of their trip to Cuba! I had to turn down their unexpectedly tempting offer to join them :-)
The purpose of dropping by citybikes was to buy tape for my bars, a Schwinn brake lever for Sam's new handlebar set up and to check out Citybikes famous bucket pannier. I'd seen many around town; a 4 gallon square bucket outfitted with straps and hooks for attaching to a rear bike rack. Waterproof, recycled plastic, and with lots of open space for bumper stickers (a constant issue for pro-bike bumper stickers! Where do you put them without being either ironic or a hypocrite?) I thought it was a good buy at 28$. Compare that to any other pannier out there price wise and it will pretty much beat all of them. (excepting maybe the home-made ones I have yet to experiment with)
Here are a few pics to convince you.

Sam and her friends are watching Gene Kelly work his magic and I'm off to draw comic books.
Till next time,



This is a Bicycle

Sam's bicycle to be exact. I was waiting at a bus stop with 2 bikes and not enough energy to ride them both home and decided to draw.

happy riding

let me introduce you to my mobile pen

The Bike N Sketch ride was great last Friday. I went climbing at the Circuit beforehand, so I missed most of the part where the participants admired the great drawing exhibits up at the Portland Art Museum, but I did catch up with everyone outside. They weren't hard to find. Masses of bikes and clumps of people all hunched over sketch pads in the park. I tacitly joined them and when someone stood up and begin getting ready to ride, I assumed he was in charge (turns out he was, and also turns out his name is Ed) and followed suit. Even though large masses of people on bikes isn't uncommon in Portland, as some 20-30 cyclist/artists we did draw some attention and get a few questions. We biked from park to park drawing and talking with each other and locals. I brought along a full bag of Trader Joe's Peanut butter Filled Pretzel Bites (I have become something of an addict since moving here) and the evening was beautiful. This sketch was at a park in the Pearl District I cannot remember the name of. A neat child friendly fountain and waterfall. Ed, the organizer collected e-mails. The ride is apparently monthly and I definitely will do it again.

I hope you all carry paper and something to doodle with in all your bike travels.
I'll post any other bike sketches worth looking at.

remember to bike!