When You Randomly See Your First Bike

I was walking home from birthday dinner with friend Kelly when what should I see but a Trek 820 mountain bike.

Okay, this wasn’t my first bike. My first bike was a banana seat with two much pink and streamers. But the Trek 820 was the first bike I bought myself. It was also the bike that got me into bike commuting. I felt sturdier on the knobby tires then the 10-speed skinny tires on the bike I had been riding. (I wouldn’t figure out the commuter tires thing until the third bike I bought.)

I loved my little green Trek and I’m surprised to find I can’t remember what happened to it. I might have sold it after I got my next bike. But I’m pretty sure we parted in Massachusetts.

So this isn’t my bike. But it’s exactly like my bike. Good memories.

New Bike Old Bike Things Must Go

O! If only all the things worked together!

The new bike’s rack is a different gauge than the bike rack on the old bike. So these two sets of transporting options must go. I’m sad to see them go. The panniers I spent a bunch of money on. In my mind, they were still shiny and new, but they did have a lot of wear when I looked them over. I advertised them on Craigslist for $20, but no takers, so I switched them to free and someone stopped to pick them up.

The bike buckets went fast at $20 total. I advertised that they came with “authentic Portland street grit” and that helped, I think. Quality products, those bike buckets are.

I also sorted through a bunch of bike things and set bits and bobs out on the parking strip. They were gone before the end of the day.

And here’s my great find. Not only is zoned travel long-gone from the TriMet map, they stopped accepting those tickets years and years ago! Money down the drain! And look at this change I had been sitting on for so many years. I had been thinking of buying those cord corrals, so that was a bonus find.

I think these things might have been from our big bike trip to Eugene in 2011. My guess is that I never fully unpacked that bag and hadn’t used it since.

The Bike Trade-In

Having procured an ebike, it is now time to send my trusty blue bike to a new home. I called my local bike shop, Kenton Cycle Repair, and the following conversation ensued:

  • Me: Hi, this is Patricia Collins and I’m wondering if I can bring my bike in to see what needs to be done and also get an estimate of what I could sell it for?
  • Rich: Are you the owner of that really great GT step-through mountain bike?
  • Me: That’s the one!
  • Rich: Well, I’m sorry to hear you are selling it, but yes bring it in and we will take a look.

Color me amused that my local bike shop owner has matched my bike to my name. I explained why I was selling it and made plans to bring it in.

Here’s this winner, one last time.

When I got there Rich said it was in great shape, which wasn’t a surprise since I had it tuned up in February 2020 and then was laid off, so bike commuting went out the window. He then told me I could probably sell it for more than he was offering but offered me a chunk of store credit that was $25.00 less than I was hoping to sell it for.

I left the bike with Rich, confident he would find it a good home. When I asked him why he liked that bike so much he said that they just don’t build them like this anymore.

It’s been a good decade-plus with the blue bike. We’ve had some solid adventures and I hope the new owner also loves its many charms.

Tern: My New Ride

After years with my fun step-through mountain bike, I have find a new bicycle companion. This is my Tern GSD S10 ebike!

I’m super excited to supplement my bike riding with some pedal assist. While I think the bike itself is kind of ugly, I love how much cargo capacity it has, and that it folds down to be a bit more compact, and can stand upright on its own.

This bike cost me as much as some people pay for a used car, but I hope to use it for years to come.

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.