Rest assured a more thorough accounting of my travels will follow once I've had ample opportunity to order my thoughts and curate my photos, but here's the short version:
Lush, verdant forest trails just a short jaunt from downtown?
A fancy new bridge for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit on which cars are not allowed?
Freak bikes as everyday transportation?
Yes, everything you've heard about Portland is true, and as steadfastly as I resisted its many charms I'm afraid I failed in that regard.
Incredibly the sun was shining upon the Emerald City, and as soon as I arrived in town I fled it by boat to Bainbridge Island:
Where I visited Classic Cycle, whose ad you may have noticed over there in the right-hand margin:
In addition to containing a full-service bike shop Classic Cycle is also an endlessly fascinating bicycle museum. If you ever find yourself in the Seattle area you'd be nuts not to visit it (if not for the ferry trip alone) and so profound are the shop's charms that they will be the subject of a future post.
Then I boated back to Seattle, where the weather had returned to its default setting:
Indeed, this person is taking advantage of a brief downpour to wash his hands with a bar of soap in a sidewalk puddle:
Yes, the inhabitants of Seattle are forever battling seasonal affective disorder, which is why in addition to a helmet law they now have a balloon law:
The idea is that if everyone rides around with balloons they can lift the collective spirit of the city from "blah" to "meh."
Speaking of Seattle, I'm pleased to introduce you to my newest sponsor, EH Works:
No, EH Works is not what a Canadian mechanic says when a repair job is good enough. ("Eh, works, that'll be five hundred loonies.") It's Erica Hanson, who makes these beautiful tool rolls, and she was kind enough to present me with one at my Seattle book signing:
I'd been meaning to get a tool roll for my travel bike, since until now I'd been awkwardly stuffing everything into a droopy saddle bag:
Sure, it all fit, but when you want a specific item you've got to fish it out with two fingers like someone in skinny jeans looking for a quarter.
So as soon as I got back to my room I transferred everything to the EH Works tool rool:
Thus upping my convenience factor by about 10 and my aesthetic factor by about 100:
I like to think Eric the Chamferer would approve of this strapped to the rails of his handiwork.
The last stop on my mini-tour was Walnut Creek, CA, where I was the guest of Rivendell:
As with Classic Cycle, if you find yourself anywhere even remotely near Walnut Creek and you don't visit Rivendell you're out of your freaking mind, and I'll share more about my own visit in a future post. In the meantime, I'll just note that my visit was one of many firsts: first visit to Rivendell, first ride on a tandem bicycle, and my first time trying a Campagnolo rod shifter from the 1930s:
If you ever get a chance to try one of these I highly recommend it, if only because it will put all this fussing over the differences between Force and Rival or whatever else the Freds worry about into its proper perspective.
I'll also add that the post-signing ride was positively sublime:
Oh, and also there were hatchets:
So please bear with me as I re-insert myself into my daily routine and come to terms with being back in New York City, where the riding and the landscape is a bit more...prosaic. And where they only give water to cyclists in helmets: