bike commute notes:

  • maple trees continue to be too good for this world. The red!
  • the bike counter on the Tilikum Bridge that’s been offline for months was back on! I was bike/scooter #257 westbound this morning.
  • a longtime camp I pass was bare, caution taped, and big scorch marks up the side of the nearby building (a storage facility). Yikes. I hope everybody’s okay.
  • had the lower-level parking garage all to myself for leisurely hair-combing in the bike cage.

Anyway, pretty view from my office today.

view of buildings, autumn trees, river from 9th floor

January bike commute achieved!

Traveling, then coughing for a few weeks…even though the weather has been mild, I barely got one January bike commute in. And at that, my bike spent the weekend at the office. But today I pedaled home and preserved my bike commuter identity.

Not Commute Graffiti #1: (photo by Madi Carlson)

Sharrow with painted snake

Not Commute Graffiti #2:
hand-painted wooden sign: “Be where your hands are.”

When I pulled up at home, I thought for a sec my brakes were squealing, but the sound continued. Raccoons were having a screaming match in the holly tree two doors down. We just heard them again; kitty’s staying indoors this evening.

morning bike commute notes and Monday Magpie

morning bike commute notes:
I was cyclist #498 westbound at Tilikum Crossing– usually I’m a half hour earlier and in the 500s. It’s a shame, because it’s a beautiful morning with a touch of frost and more than a touch of sunshine.
today’s theme: people unexpectedly in suits, like, while jogging (not just to the bus stop), or with a backpack.

Monday Magpie:
ahahaha, Gifaanisqatsi

new bike 100 miles

Today I reached 100 miles of bike commuting (plus a few short errands) in May. I wouldn’t ordinarily keep track, but May is the bike commute challenge at work.

I am a lazy bike commuter– there’s secure parking in my building, so I ride in, leave the bike overnight and use my bus pass to get home, and ride the bike home the next day. It’s about 50 minutes to work and an hour home (homeward is uphill), and the one-way time commitment is all I really want.

I am loving my new bike, which I sprang for in celebration of completing 100 straight days writing on

stock photo of Priority Continuum Onyx bike

Things I love about my bike:

  • it has a kickstand
  • the lights are pedal-powered and integrated so I never have to decide whether to turn them on
  • the gearing is continuous so I don’t have to decide whether it’s worth changing gears or have a gear-shifting strategy
  • the belt drive is very quiet and grease-free
  • I can wear my normal clothes (hiking pants and running shoes, we have a very lax dress code) to commute

The gearing range is pretty small; I top out and bottom out on my commute. I’m slow, but I’m slow at lots of things so I don’t mind. In general, everything just works.

I like how absorbing riding a bike in the city is. I am busy and don’t have time to mull over something from work or whether I did the right thing six intersections ago. And my commute is on Clinton Street, which I love because the car diverters make it feel like Portland of 20 years ago except bike-centric, and then on the car-free bridge.

commute notes

hopscotch numbered from the top with tiny hopscotch beside it

I am pretty sure I’ve never seen a hopscotch grid numbered from the top. I kept trying to make sense of it after I had walked past, and ended up walking around the block to look again.

I have, however, seen a tiny hopscotch marked “for cats,” and I wonder if that’s what the smaller one is here. I can’t quite read the numbers.


orange racks ready for Biketown bikes

Portland’s Biketown (because co-sponsored by Nike) bikes arrive tomorrow! The racks have been in place for a week or so– people happily started locking their regular bikes up at them, and then the city sent out some grumpy tweets and added the CAUTION tape.

This rack is just outside my office, so I’ll try a ride down by the river on my lunch break sometime soon. I admit, I don’t really understand the customer base for bikeshare. Commuters would want their own bikes, right? Some tourists will use them, in good weather, if they’re not afraid of sharing the road with cars downtown. Maybe close-in bar hopping after the bus stops running? I guess we’ll find out.

We Met Violet Beauregarde

Sang and I went to Sunday Parkways in North Portland last weekend. We rode our bikes, and ate ice cream, and watched a magic show, and even stood in line for the free photo booth.

While we were waiting, a friendly blueberry came by to promote…eating blueberries, I guess. I asked her if she felt like Violet Beauregarde. “Yes!” she said, and showed me that she was chewing a piece of gum. She was psyched that I remembered the name, because a couple of people had called her Veruca Salt earlier.

She gets around! (And has a FaceBook page.) Here she is last summer at the Corvallis Farmer’s Market.

I am a mess of aspirations as usual

It is August, and The Librarian is off on adventures, for maybe two years. She has her tiny adorable netbook and her folding bike and vintage Volvo and will be reporting via blog and/or book. WOW. I’m sure I am not the only one feeling thoughtful at the sight of her actually marching off to pursue some dreams. And maybe even more so after witnessing a parade of other friends who came by to pick up stuff or help with house chores. She had a way of using help wisely and without fussing when it was offered, but still taking full responsibility for how things were going, and having the bandwidth to listen to and pay attention to people throughout. In short, there is more than one axis on which I want to be more like The Librarian. In the meantime, I now have a little experience painting a ceiling with a roller and putting down stick-on vinyl tile. And she saved the masking tape around the painted trim for me to tear down, because she knows I like that!

In order to get to her house, I got my bike out and cleaned it up for riding. About time now that it’s August, right? It’s a beater, with a little rust problem that’s never gone away since Burning Man, but it’s pretty smooth, fine for neighborhood trips. I’m not an enthusiastic cyclist, so I let myself count cycling mileage in my monthly training totals. (But not for the official Million Mile Ultra.) Aspiration: do this earlier next year and try some Pedalpalooza events.

This morning on the way to the bus stop I ate my first Himalayan blackberry of the season. Most of them aren’t ripe. Every year I say I want to make free-blackberry jam for Christmas presents–maybe this year! Any locals want to make a project of it with me? I’d probably be more motivated with someone to share the suffering and triumph.

I’m looking forward to finding a story to work on and finish– lately it’s been scraps and fragments, KFC assignments, stuff like that. Speaking of longer projects, remember the AlphaSmarts that people were typing their NaNos on back when, because they have like a 500 hour battery life and no internet and no big screen to suck you into premature editing? Well, they’re like $20 on eBay now. I’m tempted, for the next time I write something long. But that’s probably aspirational shopping.