Midsummer Trip to the Grotto

I needed an afternoon off, so I rode my bike to the Grotto, where I passed a very peaceful couple of hours. Some things I saw:

This statue, which I only took a picture of because Matt’s brother is named Thad.

This great brass casting.

The difference between the stones in the labyrinth. The lighter ones are the path, the darker ones are the lines.

Lions Wearing Masks? And Other Signs of the Times

I’ve been taking afternoon bike rides (which are lovely) and enjoyed finding these two figureheads setting a good example for the neighborhood.

I like how stylish their masks are.

The bridge on Willamette right before the turnoff to Fred Meyer has been a landing place for signs.

While every death like George Floyd’s is heartbreaking, Breonna Taylor’s murder hit me hard.

Quality bike parking at the EMSWCD

I went to pick up the native plants I ordered from the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District and I found this hearty and well-covered structure.

Way to do it right, EMSWCD. I forgive you for interviewing me twice and then never officially telling me I didn’t get the job. I didn’t get it right? Because if I did, I’m 12 years late.

Biking update: paying for supplies

When I started biking to work again, I needed to invest in some bike-worthy clothing for the winter months. While getting to work via bike is much cheaper than via car, it does have its costs. The trick, as with all saving money things, is to keep them below the cost of other ways to get to work.

(The only thing cheaper than bike riding would be walking to work, as it only requires a decent pair of shoes and something to keep the elements out. It does take substantially more time, though.)

In my case, I can pay $5 per day to ride the train round trip, or I can bike and pocket the cost of the commute. When I make a big bike purchase, I like to see how long it takes to pay it off. This keeps me in economical bike gear as bike jackets can be very expensive.

While I was riding to pay off my bike gear, someone stole my bike light and I had to pony up 6 more days of biking to break even on that.
I spent $115.00 on gear. Here’s what I bought:

At Goodwill, I went to the men’s section and bought three sweaters/sweatshirts. I was hoping for wool to keep off the rain, but no wool sweaters were to be found. I also bought four long-sleeved long-johns-type shirts for a base layer. Also, because my job involves walking to the bank to deposit checks, and not wanting to wander the city in my biking outerwear, I bought a second work coat to leave at work, which cost $30.00. Goodwill in Portland tends to be a rather expensive endeavor, considering it’s all used clothing that are donated.

My plan was that I would have the base layer and the heavy sweater and that would be enough to keep me warm. When it rained, I would use my bike poncho. However, I forgot something important: pockets.

Unless it is very cold (which doesn’t happen very often in Portland, even in the winter) I start my commute wearing those small stretchy gloves one can buy at every discount store in the winter. Halfway through the ride, my hands warm up and I take off the gloves and shove them in my pockets.

No pockets meant I lost some gloves, because they fell out of my basket. Also, I wasn’t adequately lit, which meant bringing along a reflective vest which was yet another layer to put on and take off.

So I had to pony up some more cash and return to my trusty affordable jacket to wear while biking (as opposed to a bike jacket.)  The orange monstrosity you see, is a flagger windbreaker. I previously had one in yellow, which I wore for many years. I was very excited to see that now I had the option of orange. This jacket costs around $40, is a nice layer against rain and cold, is obnoxiously reflective and also has pockets. I recommend such a jacket to all economical bike riders. In fact, I wish more people would wear them because I feel 20% dorky in mine and if they were more ubiquitous, that feeling would probably fade.
As the winter wore on, I realized I had overbought. I could have easily done with two sweaters and two base layers, which would have reduced my cost by about $20.

Overall, I’m happy with my biking clothing choices and feel that they served me well during the cold season. I’m looking forward to using them again next year, when they will be “free” to use.

Of note: I don’t factor in the cost of annual tune-ups to my bike commute costs. My tuneup this year cost $250 which means it would take 25 weeks of twice-per-week biking to pay it off. That’s too depressing to think about. I’m going to have a bike even if I don’t commute to work via bike, so I’m looping annual tuneup price into my “general vehicle expenses” category.

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.