The biking diameter

I’ve not been biking as much as I used to.  And I don’t love that.  But it’s so easy to take the car to short errands.  I’ve also learned enough about myself to know that if I decree “Must Bike Everywhere” I won’t do it.  So I’ve established a radius of one mile from my home.  Anything needed to be gotten in this area will be either walked to or biked to.

In a few months, I’ll increase the radius to 1.5 miles.

I spy an STP finisher

I’m not at all in a long-distance bicycling portion of my life, but I think I will be again, someday.  Which means someday I will complete the STP, just like this guy.

While I was waiting at the light, I could see hordes of other finishers crossing the intersection behind me, but by the time I got my camera the light had changed and I missed out on a great picture.

Bike ride.

I took the long way to St. Johns because it was such a nice day.  I got extra time to contemplate the nice day while I waited for the train to pass.  I came upon the train midway through and still counted over one hundred cars.
A view of the slough. (It rhymes!)
Don’t go here on the bike path.  Happily, I’m almost to my destination.
Yep.  The Willamette and Columbia are still confluence-ing here, at Kelly Point Park.  I like to go and check on them every once in awhile, just to make sure.
Blue skies and power lines just past Kelly Point Park.  Soon after that I took a wrong turn and made my ride longer than it needed to be.  But it was such a nice day, I was happy.

Vancouver Lake Bike Ride

I’m looking for some good swimming holes in the Portland Area. For when the hot weather comes. “You mean the one day of hot weather?” people comment when I say this. It’s been a very cold spring and last summer was more “Arctic” than “Summer,” as evidenced by the sad looks on the many urban tomato growers as we headed into September with nary a ripe tomato.

Portland does not seem to have an abundance of places to swim that are not rivers. I think this is because the mild summers don’t drive people to find or make bodies of water suitable for swimming. When 80 degrees is considered “hot,” sitting in front of a fan is enough to become “cool” again. Because I grew up in the hundred degree heat of Boise, Idaho summers, I am used to retreating to the water when temperatures shoot up.

I’ve already explored Blue Lake and found it lacking. There’s no actual swimming to be done there, just standing in waist deep water and chatting with your companions. So I headed out on the bike to Vancouver Lake to see if it might be a solution for a future hot day.

On the way, I stopped at the quiet Liberty Park for a bite of lunch.

It was quite a delicious lunch and I congratulated myself for creating it.

Heading out of Vancouver, I had to cross the Railroad tracks. This sign was funny because the way the tracks cross the intersection there is NO WAY you could turn right from this intersection when a train is present.

It’s not far to Vancouver Lake and these signs kept me appraised of just how close I was getting.

The Columbia River was flooding, spilling extra water into wetlands. The sky was blue, the wind was cold, it was a holiday weekend and no one was on the road with me. Not cars, not bikes. For a bit I wondered if the rapture had happened.

There were a few people at the crew club on the lake, but the park itself was also eerily deserted.

The lake too, showed signs of flooding. There were actually two people swimming in the lake, despite the cold. They were wearing wet suits. Verdict: It looks like a promising lake for a swim on a hot day.

One of the other reasons I wanted to visit the lake was because I am reading the Brothers K by David James Duncan. It’s set in Camas, Washington and Vancouver Lake is referenced. In the book, all the cows at the dairy near the lake die, and Alcoa is blamed for their deaths, due to the pollution in the water. Alcoa, however, buys a bunch of cows and sets them to grazing in the same spot to prove the water is fine. However, one of the characters has a classmate whose father is paid by Alcoa to drag away the dead cattle every day.

So I enjoyed this sign, the main gist of I will translate for you:
1887: Vancouver Lake was 20 ft. deep & full of fish
1976: Vancouver Lake was 3ft. deep & had no fish.

That sign was right next to this more official looking one.

Which here describes Alcoa’s donation of 112 acres. Later on in the sign it says, “Due to the generosity of…the Aluminum Company of America…Clark County was able to acquire and develop Vancouver Lake for your enjoyment.” This makes Alcoa seem quite generous. Except that the other sign references the 17 million dollars spent in 1983 to clean up the lake. So, essentially, Alcoa got to pollute for as long as they wanted, “donated” the land to the people and the people got to clean up after them. Good job Alcoa! So generous.

Heron. A sign along my way described the many heron nesting spots around the lake.

I rode on to Frenchman’s Bar. On the way, I stopped to read this sign, which pointed me to the view of the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.

I then captured this view of said confluence. On the Oregon side of the river, you can see this at Kelly Point park.

I saw three cats on my journey. One was obviously feral, but I’m thinking this one and the other one–who did not pose for a picture–lived at the Frenchman’s Bar caretaker house nearby.

The mighty Columbia rolls on. You can see the flooding: the bushes are partially submerged.

More ship, more sky, more people over here at Frenchman’s Bar.

Apparently it was the place to go to fish, because that’s what all the people were doing.

Riding back, I can say I was within the limit.

When we hit that speed zone I was still okay.

Red Rosie is gone

I just sold my road bike.

It needed to be done. I’ve got the blue bike, the workhorse, and the road bike was taking up space I don’t have. I put her up on Craigslist at 4:00 and she was gone before 8:30. I’m $125.00 richer, which is nice, and I hope that the woman who bought her likes her as much as I did.

I bought her in the winter of 2002-2003, when I was getting serious about long distance road biking. I wanted a lighter frame than my mountain bike, and also toe clips and to be bent over the handlebars, like a serious long distance biker. We went on a lot of long rides around Portland, while I was increasing my distance. I named her Red Rosie as we rode over the St. John’s Bridge and the first time I saw the Kenton Neighborhood, I was with her. We were resting on a bench on a beautiful day in a park and I looked around and thought, “There are some nice houses here. It would be really nice to live here.” The park was Kenton Park which is just down the street from my house and I walk by that bench all the time.

I loved how clean her lines were, how light she was and how she had that old school Trek logo on the front. I loved how I felt fast when I rode her and how she continued the tradition of my owning and loving Trek bicycles. I love that she had old-school down tube shifters, because she reminded me of a bike my dad had growing up, and it was like she was something that was handed down to me, rather than bought, shiny new–though I actually did buy her at City Bikes.

She hung in my studio downtown, in the apartment Matt and I shared, and most lately in our house, where she had her own shed. She took me all over Southwest Portland when I trained for the triathalon and then 18 miles during the triathalon and I can still remember how good I felt when I conquered Hillsdale and Multnomah Village’s steep grades early one morning while training before work. When I first bought her I walked two blocks to an incredibly boring job, but when I went to graduate school, I rode her every day to my two student teaching placements. First we traveled just over the Hawthorne Bridge to Environmental Middle School, then farther across the Broadway Bridge to Grant High School. I looked at her longingly when I had my post graduate school boring job–too far away to bike commute–and we were happily reunited when I rode the one and a half miles each way to The Emerson School, and then 4 miles each way to from the new house.

In the end, she was just a little bit too big for me. When I rode her my neck was at an angle that was just a little bit wrong and I ended up with chronic pain. During those last few months, it was hard to ride her at all, both because it hurt and because she needed a tuneup. We were both in need of something new. I hope she likes her new owner and the new owner likes her. I will miss her.

“Fuck your light and your bright jacket.”

The above was what was yelled at me tonight from a man in a car across Interstate Avenue while I was bicycling as fast as I could to yoga class. My first thought was, “was he making fun of me?” and my second was “was my light too bright in his eyes?” All in all, it seemed entirely unprovoked–I was on the completely opposite side of the street from him and there were Max tracks in between–and left me confused and unsettled.

This is my problem with communicating from cars while driving. Most of the time, I can only make out syllables a la adults on Peanuts. This man gets points for projection and clarity as I could understand every single word. Still. Not very nice.

Sunday Parkways.

This happened in June, but somehow got missed in the blogging queue.

Sunday parkways which took place on one Sunday last year, expanded to three Sundays in three locations this year. I volunteered at the North Portland one, for which I got to spend a lovely morning moving barriers for cars to go by, waving at people walking and on bikes and taking pictures.

Mid-shift, these two crazy runners came by.

As they got closer, I could see that they were Matt and Jeff, clowning around.

The day started a bit cold and overcast, but then the sun came out.

Kenton Park had food and some fun activities such as this bike obstacle course.