I'm one of the fortunate people who is able to ride their bike to work every day. Every morning and afternoon I get to enjoy the best part of my day from the saddle of my bike. A few days ago I took the camera along, so prepare yourself for a barrage of photos. This was also the first morning riding with my new, super-badass Camelbak H.O.S.S. I'm not sure what that is supposed to stand for, but it's got tons of space, a rolltop dry-bag type main compartment, and rad little pockets for wallet, phone, tools, etc. Thanks for hooking it up Jimmy! Today I'm also bringing some tapes up to the shop to try to stave off FM radio overload.
So, bag packed, tires topped off, I roll out on the trusty Steamroller, headed North up Mississippi Street. I take a left on Killingsworth to head West.
Killingsworth takes me all the way to land's end where I'll take a left on Willamette Boulevard, an appropriately named road that runs above the Willamette River and the associated industrial and shipping centers on the north side of Portland.
It's a fun, curvy road with lots of nice views and very little traffic. Speaking of curvy, I'm field-testing a new handlebar setup today:
We have tons of old steel flat bars laying around the shop from old crappy mountain bikes, so Robby (the owner/bossman) thought it would be a good idea to bend this one into a fun, sweepy shape. It's pretty comfy, but I'd need a really long stem to not be sitting super-upright on my bike. Maybe for a laid-back neighborhood cruiser. Here's the obligatory on-bike self portrait:
Flattering, no? Here are some pretty flowers:
And lest you forget that bicycle commuting is no game and that every street is not a flower-lined boulevard but a blood-smeared battlefield, allow me to give you some insight into the intense level of competition you find between cyclists on the mean streets of North Portland. I approached another rider from the rear and was instantly convinced that this guy was looking for a fight, what with his battle flag, hiked-up socks in leiu of combat boots (clearly a savvy gram-counter), and ordinance-carrying rack. However, I had the element of surprise on my side, and with my stealthy-silent fixed gear drivetrain and sniperlike breath control I was able to sneak up within inches of his wheel and linger in the draft for a single pedal stroke before rising out of the saddle and leaping to his left to put the hammer down and totally school this namby-pamby urban warrior wannabe:
Slightly winded from my effort but assured a glorious victory, I settled into a comfortable pace for the rest of the ride along Willamette. The road eventually veers back in a Northeasterly direction and drops me into downtown St. John's, a little city of its own way out on the peninsula between the Willamette and Columbia rivers in North Portland.
Almost directly across the street from this sign lies the storefront of our competition:
Here's the main drag, Lombard street:
Across the street from our shop, shaded by a purple awning and adorned with lovely hanging baskets we have Plew's Market, purveyors of fine snacks, candy, soda pop and other delectables to keep us going through a hard day:
And here is our little storefront - still very much a work in progress - but with some bikes in the window:
Whew, made it. Another foe bested, another ride to work completed. Time to unlock the doors, stop sweating, wash my face, pull on a fresh t-shirt, pour a cup of coffee from the thermos and get crackin!