I had several goals upon arriving in Portland, all of them hopelessly quirky, an adjective often used to describe me. While an obsession with ballet flats probably is not that odd-ball for many women, my latest obsession has been the Nutcase bike helmet in assorted styles and colors. They are nowhere to be found in Flagstaff and I didn't care to order one on-line since I was concerned about fit. However, I'd already visited several websites for Portland bike shops and knew I could find the Nutcase brand in during our stay.
Our first morning we hit the street in search of atmosphere, subject matter for our mutual blogs, breakfast and bike shops. It didn't take us long to find what we were looking for. One of the most charming features of the city, really wasn't a city feature at all but the many groups of pint sized school children holding hands (the buddy system) escorted on school outtings with their young and energetic teachers. I'm not really a kid-person, but they were pretty adorable and gave Portland an overall wholesome feel, which in my book is a plus.
After some time trying to figure out on our own the correct direction to the river, the Running Bob and I finally asked a passing stranger directions. Cheerfully, she and her boyfriend (our walking their funny little dog) pointed us in the right direction. And was it ever! No we still did not find the river but we did find Bike Gallery! Despite a herniated disk, I sprinted to the front door, threw it open and immeidately found the object of my desire - helmet display filled with Nutcase bike helmets in more lovely styles than I could possibly count. There it was, the Hula. And then the Sunburst. And Sunflowers. How does one decide? I grabbed as many as I could carry and headed to a mirror. Isn't 90% of it really about how it looks anyway? Completely shallow thinking yes, but I have to be honest. Appearance does influence my spending decisions heavily. The mirrow did not lie; it would be between the Hula and the Sunburst. But I needed the advise of a higher authority. Not, the Planner Guy in this case but the twenty-somthing sales clerk, who clearly knew her way around bikes and street fashion. She preferred the Sunburst. As I'd hoped she would. Sale!
The Nutcase Sunburst helmet cost $49. If our stay in Portland had ended right there I could have gone home a happy woman, certain that not another person in Flagstaff owns the same helmet. Fortunately, Bob and I had other items on our "to do" list. Riding Dutch bikes. We resumed our search for the river and the Hawthorne Bridge.
Reason #2.5 That Portland Rules
Hmmm . . . is it just me but have I seen an unusual number of Smart Cars? Not since visiting Vienna in 2005 have I seen so many Smart Cars on the street. They take up half a parking space. Although, we are now a 1 car family, if we lived in Portland or another large city with good public transit, we'd drive the Smart Car. Only saw one (not very smart) Hummer.