Winter Riding

I’m blessed to live in a part of the world where riding 12 months of the year is an reasonable endeavor. While Portland isn’t exactly known for it’s sunshine it rarely rains hard and even less frequently dips below freezing. I ride errands year-round without even thinking about it. A few more layers and a 3-10 miles bike ride is doable. It’s the longer recreational rides that take some more thought and planning.

With the right set of gear one can ride in almost any weather. The right set of gear cost a fair amount of cash though, so I’m slowly acquiring all of the right stuff. This winter has already had some great endeavors so far.

One such ride was a 55 miles jaunt Southwest of Portland from Rubber to the Road Volume 2 that somehow was almost ENTIRELY up and down hill. It was 35 degrees when Annie and I set out. I’m not afraid of hills per se (see previous post) but in the cold one gets sweaty going up and desperately cold going down. Lungs ache. I burned calories faster than I could replace them so I ended up bonking (ran out of usable carbohydrates) at about mile 45. About halfway up a long hill. I was so shaky and weak I struggled to descend the downhill only holding on to a hot meal at the bottom. Annie locked my bike for me and I stumbled into Lake Oswego Creamery. Annie joined, we ordered sandwiches and I informed our server “I need ice cream NOW!” She brought a cup right over and despite the 40 degree weather I ate probably the best bowl of ice cream in my life.

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Annie thought this was hilarious and wanted to take pictures. I wanted no such interruptions. We reached a compromise.

It was the first serious ride I’ve ridden with my Great White bicycle since its reincarnation as a multi-speed sport riding machine. It handled the ride well, though the steep inclines made me wish I’d gone with a little lower gearing. It was also my first long day ride with my new Swift Industries handlebar bag. It was super convenient having snacks, map and storage right handy. Climbing all the hills with the extra weight up front made my arms extra tired though. Who would have thought riding a bike would be an arm workout? Pictures from that build will come up next.

This last weekend the weather was quite poor. It was very windy and had spats of heavy rain. Annie and I planned to ride Portland’s Leif Erickson Trail. I’d never actually gone trail riding on my Cross Check (Carl) before since I built it up for my cross-country tour. I purchased some used cyclocross tires from the Bike Farm, pulled the fenders and rack off and voila! It was ready for the dirt and mud. It somehow made the bike look “juuuust right”. I picked Annie up from her Saturday class and we parked at the trailhead. 20 miles of cool weather, mud flinging, and ear-to-ear smiles. From my youth spent riding horse and motorcycle trails I felt at home on the dirt. Annie was a little more cautious so I bounced around, sprinted out, backtracked, and generally made merry. Annie took a few photos at the end to show off our muddy endeavors:

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We rode 20 miles and had a blast. If we’d been on the road it would have been scary, frustrating fighting the wind, and ultimately disappointing. We’ll definitely be riding in the mud again.

Upcoming posts: running bar end shifter cables all the way up the bar, photos of the Great White bicycle fully built (okay…let’s be honest, it will never be complete as long as I own it…), and some of my little devices and fixes on my bikes.

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