Archive for January 2007

Non-Cycling Fun

January 29, 2007

Every once in a while even the most avid cyclist needs to hop off their wheels and take to their feet. That is exactly what I did today. It was a bright, sunny and chilly day in the greater Portland area – including the Columbia River Gorge.

We did an eight mile hiking loop that started at Wakeena Falls and the steep set of switch-backs that await you. Once you plateau above Wakeena Falls the hike follows a beautiful stream and a host of gorgeous waterfalls.

Along the way we met another kindred soul of a hiker. His name was Dick. A very nice chap who was really into hiking, talking and telling us all about the baby girl from China that he and his wife recently adopted. Dick showed us a new route that had us gain more elevation but were eventually rewarded with an outstanding view of the gorge from “Devils Point.”

From there we headed toward Larch Mountain and to find a sunny spot to eat lunch. Our new friend Dick decided to hang with us to grab a bite to eat. After a hardy lunch of PBJ sandwiches, all three of us started the decent down toward Multnomah Falls and the end of our hike. The trail and bridge immediately underneath Multnomah Falls were terribly icy and made for a fun “ride” down the last quarter mile.

Once reaching our resepective cars, we traded email addresses with our new hiking friend. It was a very good (non-cycling) day – great weather, beautiful scenery, new friend and good training hike to prepare for our upcoming New Zealand adventure.

Tomorrow it’s back on the bike!  Ride on ->

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Amsterdam Daydream

January 26, 2007

During my cycling commute to work this morning, my thoughts turned to Amsterdam. What provoked this you might ask? The daydream inducing catalyst actually bolted from the ear-buds of my iPod. It was the song Amsterdam by Griffin House. That very distinctive song elicited vivid memories of my visit to Amsterdam during the summer of 2005.

Amsterdam

As has been previously reported on many Portland blogs, Amsterdam is the foremost cycling city in the world. I was fortunate enough to witness this firsthand. Many people believe that Portland should aspire to the cycling standards of Amsterdam. Count me as one of those people.

There are certainly many signs that Portland could become “Little Amsterdam” instead of “Little Beirut.” Take for example the commitment by the City to achieve Platinum status as bestowed by the League of American Bicyclists, the great advocacy work of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), and the beginning of a Dutch bike invasion – like jog&olif and others.

Auto Planter

We have a long way to go before we approach the standards of cycling in Amsterdam, but Portland is a unique place, and we have a good start. One measure of when we have achieved cycling parity with Amsterdam is when a scene like the one to the left appears in Portland. This was a creative way for one Amsterdam resident to make use of a car that was apparently no longer needed.

Ride on ->

Lance & LiveStrong Back to Portland in 2007!

January 23, 2007

As a rider in the past two Lance Armstrong LiveStrong Challenges, I received advanced notification that the event will be back in Portland this year.

“We’ll kick off this year’s Challenge in Philadelphia, PA., Aug.
25-26, before heading to Portland, Ore., on Sept. 29-30.
The events culminate with a joint Challenge and Ride for
the Roses celebration in Austin, Texas, Oct. 12-14.”

I rode the 40 mile route in 2005 and did the 75 mile route in 2006.  It appears that LiveStrong has scaled back the number of cities to three in 2007 instead of last year’s five – dropping Denver and SoCal.

“First, by reducing the number of locations this year, our limited
staff can focus resources on providing you with an event that
leaves you transformed – energized, inspired and empowered
to make a difference. We purposely chose geographic locations
that are easily accessible from across the country.”

In 2006 all riders were required to submit a $50 registration fee and then raise a minimum of $500. There are changes to the fund-raising requirements in 2007 as well.

“As before, all Challenge participants pay a one-time $50
event registration fee. This year we’ve reduced the minimum
fundraising level for cyclists to just $250 and eliminated it
altogether for walkers and runners.
 “

Finally, what would a LiveStrong ride be without Lance…?

“Lance is coming! He was so inspired by your hard work
and commitment in 2006 that he doesn’t want to miss out.
He’s making plans to participate in each Challenge city.”

As a veteran of two LiveStrong rides, I certainly can testify that…
It’s Not About the Bike.”

 Ride on ->

Winter Magic on Sauvie Island

January 21, 2007

What a glorious morning it was today biking on Sauvie Island. I often ride Sauvie Island but never before in the winter. In many ways the island is a cycling haven. Lots of flat country roads with little traffic and great scenery. The weather this morning ranged between a chilly 39-45 degrees.

At 26,000 acres, Sauvie Island is the largest island along the Columbia River. It lies about 10 miles west of downtown Portland, between the Columbia River to the east, the Multnomah Channel to the west, and the Willamette River to the south.

Today was especially impressive as the island was magically alive with waterfowl.  Both Snow geese and Canada geese by the thousands darkened the sky and filled the air with a surreal chorus of “honking” sounds.  We spotted well known Portland naturalist Mike Houck giving an impromptu lecture at one of the islands many wildlife viewing stations.

After spending a couple of hours and cycling 35 miles around the island, I left feeling that this is a special place and the people of Portland are very lucky to have it so nearby.

Ice Bike

January 18, 2007

The past few weather days in Portland have certainly raised awareness in our community about “winter biking.” In further researching this topic, I came across a fascinating web site dedicated to winter biking. IceBike.Org claims to be “dedicated to the winter cyclists, who brave ice and snow and cycle for transportation, recreation, or competition in winter.”

A few people were joking yesterday about “…yea, if only you could put studded snow tire on your bike!” Well check this out – the Nokian Extreme W296 studded bicycle snow tire! There are others as well but this one happens to be my favorite. Not only does this delicious site spotlight studded tires, but tire chains, snowcat rims, performance lights, extreme weather computers, mirrors and other “specialized stuff” – all for winter biking!

If only I had know about this site a few days ago 🙂

Let in snow!

Rules Were Meant to be Frozen!

January 16, 2007

Well, it has happened once again, the yearly snow day in Portland!
Mark the date -> January 16, 2007.

Snow Day!

Is the above photo fact or fiction? Mere PhotoShop wizardry or true cycling insanity!?!

Actually the photo is legit but the scene was staged. I admit to being a cycling fanatic but I am not crazy! 🙂

Although there are apparently many hardy souls [view here] in Portland that braved these conditions as reported on BikePortland.

Have fun out there kids!

Wage War on Bike Makers?

January 15, 2007

It seems a professor from MIT is advocating suing bicycle manufactures to force them to make safer products. Professor David Gordon Wilson made his remarks during a recent keynote speech at the Thinking on Two Wheels advocacy conference in Adelaide, Australia. You can read a summary of his remarks here.

Do you think his suggestion to litigate is a good one?