Saturday, May 30, 2009

When Bike Commuters are Also Marathoners: SRAB Goes to the San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon

Bob and I landed in San Diego early this afternoon, quickly got our bags and hopped a bus to downtown's historic Gaslamp District where we had reservations at the Horton Grand Hotel. No rental cars or Marriott for. We purchased the day pass for $5 each and boarded a clean bus with a friendly driver who asked us if we were in town for the Marathon. Yes, indeed, we replied, and encouraged her in her future aspirations to take up running.

We arrived at 4th and Island in no time flat and found a small, Victorian hotel with a courtyard in the center, balconies looking out on to the street, and a carved wooden staircase. Quaint but with amenities like Wi-Fi. A must!

The Running Bob and I bonded over running and work and have run five marathons together, as well as several half marathons. Unfortunately, I am down for my 8th month recovering (I hope) from a herniated disk. The first several months of not running was pretty miserable, and I missed not having a goal to work toward, especially one to share with Bob. Nonetheless, I am determined to be a good sport and cheer him on. He has trained hard for this race and supplemented his training with swimming, and of course bike commuting.

Most of the people we know in Flag who bike commute are interested in sports and fitness anyway and also run. As we've nurtured those friendships, I am excited about returning to running in the next few months and reinvigorating my commitment by running with people who share my enthusiasm for it but also run a bit closer to my pace. While I felt like a pretty strong runner in Louisville, I am strictly a novice at 7000 feet! Flagstaff is a well-known training ground for world-class runners. In Flag, even the average runner can kick my butt. San Diego is at sea level so I find myself wondering what time I would post if I had been able to train for the last several months? With all the hills I've been pedaling lately, I wonder how I'd do if I got cleared to run tomorrow?

Anyway, for the next few days I'll be posting from San Diego. We only walked around the area long enough to grab a late lunch and collect Bob's packet at the Convention Center. Haven't seen much bike culture yet; certainly not the number of bikes locked to bike racks and sign posts that we did in Portland but there is a bike rental place close to our hotel and we plan to rent some for at least a day and tool around to take in the sights. We had anticipated Southern California's famous sunshine but a cloudy, wet weather system arrive just before we touched down so things feel a bit like they have in Flagstaff recently, which has been uncharacteristically rainy for May. So far, the people are, just as I've always been told, very friendly and gracious.

For any San Diego readers who are running tomorrow morning, don't forget to carbo load, stay hydrated, get to bed early, and have a great race tomorrow. I'll be doing a little posting on the race and shooting some video for the The Running Bob so hop over to his blog and catch his perspective on the race and San Diego!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Relationship Between Bikes and Pizza

The day began with sunny skies so I was definitely riding the Expedition to work. Since I worked a bit later last night I decided to start my ride around 7 a.m. and go straight to the doctors office for a consult on my back. The trip took me a mile or two past my office and up a pretty big hill so the decision was obvious.

We're eating pizza tonight!

Ah, yes. Reason #3.5 to bike commute. We get to eat well and stay in good shape(even just reasonably good shape. I will admit that the Running Bob and I like food. A lot. Not just eating for the sake of eating but eating really good food. Even a ham sandwich must be thoughtfully prepared and taste heavenly. We also have a tendency to put on weight if we aren't careful but are sufficiently vain that we devote a good deal of time to exercise, so having bike commuting as a regular part of our daily lives is a real plus for us.

Pizza for us these days is the at home variety. Bob grew up with strong Italian-Hungarian-German roots in the kitchen and has high expectations of his pizza. This year he took to preparing 10 - 12 pizza crusts that he froze on circular cardboard trays and stored in the freezer for later use. We pull out the frozen crusts when we are wanting something quick but delicious to eat and prepare what he calls, cocktail pizzas, usually eaten on the porch or in front of the fire over Scrabble or Cribbage.

This evening I did the preparation using onion, red and green peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, and eggplant, all caramelized and dusted with mozzarella. We used a nearly a whole stick of butter in the process; a matter I don't take lightly that caused me to repeat over and over in my mind "I pedaled hills, I pedaled hills, I pedaled hills". Bob observed and critiqued my work throughout as he feels it his responsibility to challenge and encourage me in the kitchen, and make sure I don't cook too healthily. I will give it to him that he took my dietary needs into consideration when he prepared this last batch of pizza dough by making them with whole wheat flour. Thanks, Running Bob.

As you can see Bob was one happy Italian when we took the pizza out of the oven. I had planned to take pictures of the pizza cut and carefully placed on our plates but got so excited by the aroma of the pizza I lost my head and just dove in. I can't say enough about caramelized veggies, despite the use of nearly a whole stick of butter. Just don't do it every night and find a way to fit 30 minutes of swimming into the next day. Oh, yes. And take a longer route in to work the next morning.

Life Update

Bob and I are leaving the puppy-chows in the good hands our trusted housesitters and taking off Saturday morning for the Rock and Roll Marathon in San Diego. I've never been to San Diego or southern California so I'm really excited. We're staying in the Gaslight District and plan to rent bikes sometime while we're in town. As I did with our Portland trip, I plan to document our trip with highlights of what we saw and did. If any readers have suggestions of things we should see or do while we're in town (until June 3) please pass on your tips.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Conscious Bike Commuting

No, I don't mean as opposed to bike commuting while unconscious or inebriated. Lately, I've found myself in the Element thinking "Darn it, I could have ridden my bike". When we got our bikes it was primarily to ride them to and from work or as a back up when we sold the Beetle last June. Neither of us realized at first how much we actually enjoy our commutes and the positive effect they would have on our mood and energy level, particularly in a year made stressful with the threat of layoffs. Well, bike commuting isn't just about getting to and from work. Who woulda thunk? We could also pedal the two miles it takes to get to the Flagstaff Athletic Center or the cinema. Come to think of it, we did both this weekend.

Recently, in someone's blog (I apologize, the name escapes me), the writer remarked on the irony of seeing people put their bikes on car bike racks and hauling them someplace to then take down and ride or to attach to a bike trainer at a gym. Thinking about it a bit, I found myself agreeing that I prefer just getting on my bike and riding. I don't have to go to the gym and ride a stationary bike. I can get on my bike, ride to the gym, swim, lift some weights, and then go to the movies. All that activity makes it totally acceptable to share a bag of buttered popcorn with my husband, too.

Since we expected rain, I decided to wear my Teva water shoes. I ordered them from Teva 2 years ago with a certificate Teva handed out at a race at the Flagstaff Nordic Center. Though two years old, they still look great, as I don't use them for what they are decided for - trekking across creeks and rivers. But they are cute, comfortable and perfect for summers in Flagstaff where at any moment one can find oneself in the middle of a monsoon and ankle deep in water. I like them because they go well with my favorite Columbia graphic tee. I can assure you, reader, both pass for high fashion in Flagstaff.
Fashion decisions resolved, we set out on the FUTS to Woodlands Boulevard, a pretty good incline that we tackled from the sidewalk due to heavy holiday traffic and the lack of a bike lane. By myself, I might have stepped off the Expedition and walked up the steepest part of Woodlands but I would not allow Bob to out-do me. Remembering we live at 7000 feet I forgave myself for being out of breath by the time we reached the FAC. I had made it, my ego in tact. And now the pool!

While I have been recovering from a back injury and unable to run, Bob has been training for his races by himself and recently decided to do his first triathlon. He swims 2 - 3 times a week and assured me running and bike commuting in no way prepare one for swimming. Despite deep fear of humiliation on many levels, I decided I'd work swimming and (a bathing suit) into my exercise routine (at least until I can run again). On this, my second day of swimming in 4 years, I can attest that the Running Bob was not exaggerating. Hats off to Michael Phelps and Dara Torres! Really, they must be mutants. The whole holding your breath thing while propelling yourself across water . . . I'm not a wimp but I felt like one. I only swam for 15 minutes but the water kicked my butt. No worries, Bob reminded me. Swimming is tough and it was time to get ready for the movie portion of our trip.

Harkins Theater sits not 1/4 mile from FAC on our return route home. No bike lane but the traffic was lighter so we took our lane and were shortly locking out bikes to a sidewalk rail, as the bike rack was full. A good sign.

We ended up seeing Angels and Demons. I will only say that it reinforced my fantasies about living in Europe and reminded me that Bob and I have some Italian CDs we have yet to use. Disappointingly, Tom Hanks didn't ride a single bike in the movie (although the camera briefly panned by a row of them) and spent most of the time rushing around in the back of a black Mercedes with a beautiful Italian scientist. I'm not sure if we were supposed to vicariously experience sexual tension between the two but there didn't appear to be any, although sexual tension might have been inappropriate anyway given the fact the the movie is set at the Vatican. If Tom Hanks and the Italian scientist had been on a pair of Dutch bikes though, who know what could have happended between the two.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Bike, An Airport, and A Front Porch

We slept in this morning and upon waking Bob asked if I would run out and get the paper. I had been pondering that very idea, wondering if I could just pick a Daily Sun and the Arizona Republic at the Flagstaff Airport. Going to the airport just to pick up the paper might sound a bit odd but we live just down the road from the little municipal airport, which is a very charming place with mountainesque architecture. We've even joked about just leaving our car in the garage when we go on trips and walking to the airport as the urban trail leads right to the entrance and is a mere 7 minute run from our front door.

I told Bob that I thought I'd just ride my bike up to the airport and see if they have any newspapers. Surely they have them in the cafe (they have a happy hour for heaven's sake, why not newspapers?). Planner Guy looked dubious. Wouldn't it be just as easy to ride to the Circle K, he asked? Easier yes, but the airport is beautifully landscaped with Ponderosa pines, Aspens, and desert scrubs; the terminal, as I mentioned, is a fine example of thoughtful mountain design; and light aircraft sit adjacent to the driveway. The Circle K, on the other hand, has a big plastic logo over the doorway, lots of unadorned asphalt, and a host of big, ugly trucks and Hummers pumping gas at the not particularly visually appealing gas pumps. You tell me which ride sounds more scenic?
I dressed and set out on my airport adventure. The road was free of traffic so I decided to take my lane rather than use the FUTS. In 5 minutes I pedaled up to the door and, finding no bike racks (I must speak to Martin about that) locked my bike to a sign behind an Aspen.
A TSA officer and the cafe hostess were sitting at the counter drinking coffee as the morning flights had departed. Oh goody! They had both the local and the Phoenix paper! Come by any time, said the friendly hostess. We have a really good happy hour, too! Don't mind if I do, said I. My husband and I will be back next Saturday for pancakes prior to our flight to LA. And off I went.

Bob seemed surprised but impressed by my quick and successful trip. We should go for happy hour, he remarked as he prepared the coffee, Eight o'Clock Coffee, which we love and is inexpensive. I made some breakfast tofu a la The Bluebird Cafe in Athens, Ga. Anyone who ever lived or went to school at UGA will know about breakfast tofu, a concoction of tofu stir fried with veggies and covered with nutritional yeast and a dusting of Swiss cheese. My classmate Rosemary worked there and shared the recipe with me. A symphony of flavor! Along side the tofu, I served banana bread that I baked the night before. A morning feast fit for a king and his queen. We carried our feast to the front porch.

Milo, Splash, and Jade followed us out and assumed their usual places around Bob's cozy chair, waiting for him to share some tid bit of his meal. He is a soft touch when it comes to the dogs but that's why I love him.
There is almost no place I love in Flagstaff, or on Earth, more than our front porch. Planner Guy and I rarely see our neighbors on their front porches and are a bit saddened by this. Front porches are for "setting", sharing coffee (or a glass of wine after work), and chatting with your neighbors. We sometimes wonder if our neighbors think it's strange that we're always out on our front porch. It's not as if we don't have things to do but surely there is time in life for sitting back and contemplating the tree tops over the porch rail. The the other night we actually met a young family from down the street, the children being interested in our three dogs. Their mom must have noticed us and came over with their new puppy. The dad mentioned they came by this past Halloween. I reminded the children that I always have good candy (a true statement). They were very nice, and I think we all were a little less afraid of one another.

Anyway, I'd like to see more people on their front porches. That's why they are there - to encourage a sense of community - a notion possibly lost of the developer. The houses were constructed so that the front porches are often blocked from one another by garages that jut out in front of the residence, preventing the time honored tradition of neighbors sitting on their respective porches and talking. I see this type of design all over the suburbs and frankly, it is so suburban. My husband has neighborhood planning and design books that strongly discourage this type of design in favor of the idea that the front porch and doorway should be the most important element of one's house from the street because they are inviting and reinforce that the architecture is about people rather than cars.

Over the course of the next few months, I'll probably post quite a bit on life on the front porch. I believe front porching goes hand-in-hand with bike commuting. Both are about quality of life, as much as economy. I'd like to hear comments from readers about whether or not they spend much time on their front porches and how they perceive the sense of community where they live.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Rainy, Rainy Week

One problem faced by this bike commuter is bike commuting in the rain. Monsoon season arrived a bit early in Flagstaff. We never don't need the rain in Arizona. Often this time of year is as dry as a matchstick. The forest rangers and the Flagstaff fire department are on alert for brush fires caused by untended campfires and dry lightening that the wind can quickly turn in to wildfires. Our first year in Flagstaff, locals warned us to keep a bag packed in the event of an emergency fire evacuation, and at the sight of any lightening over the west side we imagined that our roof had been struck.

While we biked in to work twice this week, the morning sky had been relatively clear and it didn't matter than much if we ran into rain on the way home, which we did on Monday. We just stopped for a hot latte at the Campus Coffee Bean to take the chill off. After a 20 minute coffee break we continued on our way home. Even if we hadn't stopped we certainly could shower at home. Not so easy at our work, where we don't have shower and changing facilities. If it were only a matter of having a dry change of clothes it wouldn't matter. I wish I had the type of hair that I could just pull into an easy ponytail but unfortunately my baby fine hair requires a blow drier, a flat iron, and product. Does this make me a bike commuting whimp? How do the rest of you deal with vanity and bike commuting in wet weather? I've overcome my fear of cold but not rain.

Anyway, Bob and I rode in twice, one night after dark following drinks and appetizers at Collins Irish Pub with our friend and coworker, Dave and his lovely wife Kendra. Dave is a snappy dresser but never allows fashion to prevent him from daring bike maneuvers. Pictures will follow but unfortunately for the moment my Blackberry won't send the pics to my Yahoo account nor have I been able to download them to my computer. I hope to rectify this situation today so an edited version of this post might appear before the day is out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More Flag Mountain Cycle Chic Revealed!

Very Flagstaff mountain cycle chic. Slim cropped pants, a light sweater, and some cool shades because the sun is really intense at 7000 feet. Perfect for a ride down the urban trail followed by dinner and drinks at Mountain Oasis. This is the look here. Suits tend to look at bit awkward here. Can't explain it.

Messenger bag, slim henley tee, and green fatigues. I kinda think she had it goin' on and the bikes really cool, too. Again, your typical Flagstaff fashionista is anything but high fashion.

The season for thunder and dry lightening has returned. The days can change from hot and dry to dark, windy, and cool in nothing flat. Monsoons might not arrive until mid-June or July so lightening strikes are particularly threatening. Still, I worry less about getting struck while on my bike than getting caught in a cold shower on the way to work. This morning the dark clouds psyched me out and I suggested to Bob that we just drive in. Other than a few cold sprinkles on the way in nothing really naterialized beyond dark clouds and wind. The evening before we took cover from a light rain at the Campus Coffee Bean on University and Milton and warmed up with a latte. A nice excuse to stop and indulge our tastes for expensive coffee. Tomorrow we'll show more commitment. As Planner Guy likes to remind me, you can't be a committed bike commuter only when the sun shines. I'd feel a little less guilty if we had been able to catch a bus in. Maybe guilt is the wrong word. I just am not in as good a mood when we have to drive. When we bike to work I am inevitably happier and more upbeat all day long. Even taking the bus wakes me up in the morning as it offers people watching a chance to catch up on sitting back and thinking about nothing at all (oh, how I miss having a bus stop half a block from my front door). When we drive I just think about worries. Does anyone else experience car-driving dysphoria?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bike to Work Week - In Review

Monday, May 11

The bike to work part of Bike to Work Week began on Monday with a bike parade downtown beginning at City Hall, crossing Route 66 and riding down Butler bordering NAU and returning downtown to Heritage Square for a continental breakfast and social time. With perfect weather for a morning bike ride the parade participants represented families, seniors, members of various nonprofits, City staff, employees of NAU, and several elected officials. Seeing so many community leaders supporting the ride and bike commuting was heartening and hopefully inspire more local employers to facilitate bike commuting to their staff and support inclusion of more bike infrastructure in future development.

Also inspiring was cyclists modeling how easy it is to ride in normal work clothes, ready to get started when they arrive at the office.

Tuesday, May 12

BTWW continued with a Tuesday group ride beginning at Altitudes Bar and Grill south of the railroad tracks and Rt 66. The ride took several dozen riders accompanied by stalwart Officer Dave through NAU to the FUTS running through Sinclair Wash, most of which Bob and I had never explored either running or on our bikes. Pedaling down the gravel dirt path I wished my morning commute took me over this route.

Again, a local bike commuter proved you can bike in a skirt.

New community members Karen and Sala (please forgive the likely misspelling) road tandem and in style. Married and from California and France respectively, Flagstaff's mountain community was quite a change. Sala bemoaned the lack of cloth napkins in area restaurants. Bob and I suggested he give Josephine's for cloth napkin service and fine dining mountain style.

Another stylish couple on tandem.

Post ride Planner Guy and I ponied up to the Altitudes bar with fellow bike commuters David and Martin, who is also the City's multimodal planner and staff liaison for the Bicycle Advisory Committee. Group bike rides and bikes in general, in my opinion, often lead to communing with friends and coworkers over beer and wine. The appreciation for human interaction go hand-in-hand with the ease of more relaxed pace of bike commuting. It just feels a little easier and natural to make time for one another when we aren't securely locked and belted into a car.

Time to go home to start again the next day. Bob and I road home well after dark. The streets were quiet and the experience somewhat surreal.

Wednesday, May 13

Bike commuters were treated on Wednesday morning to breakfast stops located all over town. I indulged in hot bagels from Biff's while watching the train roll past the Amtrak station at Jack's stop. On my way to City Hall, I met Martin and Conner who stopped at New Frontiers Natural Food grocery for waffles and quiche. They strongly suggested I pedal over there instead of waiting for yet another train to pass. No time as I was already slightly late for work. Next year for sure.

At City Hall David and Maggie manned a breakfast station, proving that looking fashion forward can mean anything you want.

Later than evening, I accompanied Planner Guy to Flagstaff High School for the Bike Forum. Planner Guys Bob and Martin were joined by fellow Planner Guy Dave (not to be confused with David) to talk to the public about bike commuting and other transportation issues relating to both the Regional Plan and the Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization. While perhaps many wives would rather wash dishes than hear about their husband's jobs, I feel I scored a major coup in the husband department by landing an urban planner and was delighted to listen his talk with the public about how important their input was to the Regional Plan, especially if they wanted to see continued and greater accommodation to the needs of bicyclists and people who depend on public transit. Indeed, I am a planning groupie. I love this stuff.

Thursday, May 14

Thursday BTWW activities included a Bike to School segment, which as Bob and I don't have kids we skipped. I will note, however, we witnessed a disturbing trip down very busy Milton Avenue by a mom and her several children twice earlier in the week. Disturbing because on both days we saw either no helmets on the children and mom or helmets on only half the children. While I am not a helmet zealot, if young kids are going to be on a busy road without bike lanes (this choice I had to question, as well) for the sake of safety they really need to wear helmets.

But this blog is not for finger shaking, but to preach the religion of looking good on a bike. Team Housing demonstrated how it's done, as did my friend Nicole. I think we can all agree their regular clothes look so much better than spandex.

Friday, May 15

As Planner Guy had to dietarily prepare and rest for his Run Up the Mountain 1oK on Saturday morning (for details see The Running Bob ), we skipped the student bike film contest (on which I hope some reader who attended will post a comment) and biked with Running Dave to his house for a pasta dinner prepared by his lovely wife, the Running Kendra. Running Dave lives on the other side of town from us and took us on yet another route over the FUTS that we were unfamiliar with (goody, I love new experiences!). We stopped at the very nice Cedar Avenue Safeway for garlic bread and a bottle of wine (contraindicated, I am sure, he night before a 10K). The ride was rather hilly most of the way but nothing we couldn't manage as regular cyclists.

We shared wine and pasta on the deck of Dave and Kendra 70's ranch, overlooking their rambling, brambling back yard. I admit to feeling significant yard envy as I look down into a yard I could see hide horticultural treasures soon to be uncovered by Kendra. Their yard had that magically quality of my Grandma's old New England garden, where fantastical kingdoms arose under large flowering bushes and large trees with heavy hanging branches. As an adult I would definitely appreciate their secluded yard as the perfect place to curl up in a hammock with a cup of tea, a good book, and a blanket. Yes, I have digressed a bit here but again, my blog is about the art of simple living as much as about bike commuting and fashion.

Our meal ending and the three runners all in need of a good night's sleep before an early rise, Bob and I pedaled home. Dusk arrived by the time we got back to the west side of town so we turned on our head lights. I was glad I had pack both our headlights as it was quite dark by the time we came to our street. Riding at night twice in one week! It didn't seem like such a risky thing anymore but something perfectly normal. Nothing scary or bad happened and wrapped in the darkness and quiet with my Planner Guy I felt relaxed and confident.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Return to Portland Rocks, Day 3

Returning to the Hotel de Luxe late Friday afternoon, we decided that after a short nap we would find a nice bar to watch televised basketball and enjoy a drink before dinner. Our rented Dutch bikes were stored in the hotel garage for the next day's adventure so we chose to walk up the hill to the Rose District or the Nob Hill area.

While waiting for the light to change at the street corner, Planner Guy asked the woman waiting next to us for a bar recommendation. "I'm going to a one right now", she said and invited us to follow her. Along with way we exchanged our stories. We were visiting from Flagstaff and loved the Pacific Northwest and she, Amber, had lived in Portland for several years and loved it. Amber gave us the run down on the neighborhood and some suggestions on places to eat and visit while we were in town - it seems everyone in Portland has a long list of things the visitor should see and do. Once we arrived at the packed little pub, she asked us what we did in Flagstaff. We told her that we both worked in local government. "Then you must meet my friend John! He works for the Portland Development Corporation and loves to talk about Portland". Before we knew it we had made plans to meet her and John, who she contacted by cell, at the Cup and Saucer, located back in Hawthorne, where we would be going anyway to return our bikes. We expressed our amazement to Amber that she was offering her time to two complete strangers. She laughed and said "That's just the way people are here."

The next day, Amber arrived at the Cup and Saucer with John, who does indeed work for the PDC in public affairs. As described he couldn't have held Portland in any higher esteem and seemed to have his finger on the pulse of everything that was happening and on the horizon. Since PDC is a major planning and economic development arm for the City of Portland, Planner Guy and John had no end of stories and ideas about city planning and economic development to exchange. Like the cities where we came from in the Midwest, Portland has very distinct neighborhoods with which the City has actively worked to maintain bragging rights as the bike commuting capital of the US. The distinction was years in the making, 10 - 15 years, giving me hope for Flagstaff (and that other city where I once lived).

While we chatted we made no short order of polishing off our breakfasts. Amber told us the Cup and Saucer served a really good breakfast, and that wasn't the half of it! My ginger buckwheat pancakes (stack of two huge pancakes) were so good I completely forgot that I would love to loose 8 pounds. Along with turkey sausage (seasoned with something I couldn't put my finger on), I ate every last bite and forgot to offer Bob a single bite. Not that he was paying any attention. He ate a fragrant egg concoction, with delicious home fries (which I did sample), and biscuits. Coffee? Yes. Lots of it and at just the right strength. I felt no guilt or shame. In fact, nobody at the Cup and Saucer seemed at all worried about diet or their waistline (and really, when you bike and walk everywhere, there is little reason to worry about weight and fitness).

After a couple of hours of great conversation, we said our goodbyes and thanked them for their company. Is everyone this friendly in Portland? Could be . . . only the day before another, complete stranger had stopped on his bike and inquired if we needed directions (we did). We wondered why on earth we hadn't made plans to stay until Monday? John had offered to introduce me to the author of a Portland bike commuting blog I follow! If only we had rented the bikes for 2 days instead of one.

With an hour to go before the bike were due, Bob and I stopped at an Italian grocer before heading back to Clevercycles. The Italian boy cannot be separated real prosciutto. "Are you getting pictures of this?" he asked anxiously. Why would I do anything else.

Pedaling down Hawthorne Avenue, it started to rain lightly. Though the tiny droplets slid down my sunglasses I had no difficulty seeing and the considerate drivers actually slowed and gave me extra room on the road.

Ahead of me Bob pointed to the right corner. A zoobomb?! I believe it was. Thank God for digital camera and roomy memory cards. It was hard to picture life sized adults flying down the hill on these tiny bikes and surviving but apparently this is what happens. A definite must see for the next trip to Portland

Upon checking in our bikes at Clevercycles we walked back over the bridge and back up to our hotel. We stopped by Powells for browsing, Stumptown Coffee for a warm up, the Saturday open market for some local color, visited the world's smallest park, and finally refueled with Italian, as Bob couldn't get pasta out of his mind. We ate exhausted but satisfied.