Wednesday, December 2, 2009

To err is human...

Sorry for the really long delay in posts, I really want to keep this thing up and running all the time, but like a squirrel in a jewelry store I keep getting distracted (squirrels like shiny things right?) Anyways it is now December and the end of the decade is nearing which still blows my mind. You know how you do those "where will you be in ten years?" Well I have been thinking about that a lot recently and I can 100% without a doubt guarantee you that Portland was not even on my radar when I was 15, hell I wanted to change to a technical school and do construction when i was 15. Now I am working for a recycling company, heading the IT department, living car free, and located 3000 miles away from where I imagined I would be. A little over a year ago I didn't even know if I could even survive out here being how I was broke, jobless, friendless, and living with strangers. Well like most of lifes great mysteries not only am I surviving but I feel as though I am thriving. Adaptation is the key to life, ask any Dodo bird you know. Portland has changed me in a million ways and only a few are disheartening to me. Mainly the only things that bother me about my change out here is that I dont think about people back in Baltimore as much as I should and I dont talk to people back home ever. Seriously I have about 4 people I consistently talk to back home and it will be a weird homecoming with the people I have not spoken to in over a year, but that what beer is for right?

Not much has changed on the landscape of Portland since my last post, which is both good and bad. My commute gets more and more taxing as the days get shorter, which is probably true for most of America. Take today for example, I am cruising to work and some mope in a minivan not paying attention just starts drifting in my direction causing me to be forced into a sewer grate (of course one of the ones facing the wrong direction to be safe.) This causes my front wheel to get stuck, throwing me over the handlebars and bending my fork. So then my wheel wouldnt spin and I had to walk my hapless bike the rest of the way to work. But that wasnt even the worst part. The driver in the van didnt even stop or even slow down to see if I was ok, he just drove away like nothing happened. Also some goof was delivering some mass produced, over processed food products to the local convenience store and saw it happen. What did this man do? He stopped his hand truck and laughed like he was at a Bill Cosby show, what a dick. I did manage to bend the fork back while at work but since this is the second time I have bent it I am unsure of the structural stability anymore and it will need to be replaced.


Anywho I do return to Baltimore in a few short weeks and it will be good to see the fam, the dogs,a nd the old crew again. I just need to find someone with a bike so I dont get the shakes while I am back east. I find that when I go places and can bike it makes my time there much more enjoyable and bearable, the bicycle has become my stress reliever. A few weeks ago at work I was having a horrible day, so I just left got on my bike for an hour and came back a new man, it was very nice to be able to do that.

OK, so I will attempt to start doing more updates and I hope everyone out there is still around for that. Tis the season.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thirsty Thursday

Sorry about the delay in posts, whenever my lady friend comes back in town it seems to occupy most of my free time. So there is a lot of news in the land of Ports, not to mention the weather has been exquisite for riding recently. It seems the bicycle advocacy groups have been itching for change and are hungrier than Crocodile Dundee at a vegan cookout. Well it looks like the landscape if finally starting to shift around, moving the masses from cars to bikes. A new "cycletrack" has opened in SW Portland, a cycle track is where they bump the lanes over and bikes get the entire right hand lane with the next rightmost lane being utilized for parking. Genius idea, because now there is not only a buffer to protect bikes form cars but also a line of parked cars for added security. Of course when i went to try it out the other day a UPS truck was in between the parking and the curb blocking the whole cycle track, ugh. Change in this city is inevitable, the culture demands and feeds off of it. Hell most of the people desired change that's why we all left our respective home states and moved to this great place.

This was SW clay before the cycle track was installed, notice how parking is against the curb. And I cant figure out how to show the new images, double dang. Head over to to see the photos.

Another new addition is this little diddy which I am still on the fence about my feelings in regards to the "zebra strips."

A couple problems arise from these guys. First, what happens when you need to pass someone in the bike lane, for instance I was riding downtown the other day and got stuck behind the soup cycle. The soup cycle is an amazing independent pedal powered Portland business, the guy who owns it makes soup in his kitchen and you subscribe to the service where he then delivers a couple quarts of delicious soup to your home or work weekly, so good. But if you need to pass someone you have to dodge the zebra strips and cut into traffic and back in to the lane. Sketchy. Also, getting in to the lane is tricky in traffic, I came from the opposite side of the road from the coffee shop and weaved through traffic and these diddies to get into the bike lane. But still it is a great step forward into "Copenhaganizing" Portland. Of course it seems that all cities are pretty similar in their ineptness at consistency. Portland has been doing all these amazing things for bikes and trying to make downtown car-free, but then they eliminate buses in fareless square. before you could ride any public transportation downtown and it was free, not you can take the MAX, streetcar, and the trolley for free but have to pay for the bus? What gives Sammy Adams, why you gotta do us like this?

In other news, I finally received my trailer from CycleTote and boy is this thing a doozy. I could literally put my roommate the Great Dane, 6 bags of groceries, and a cooler in it without any space issues. All though we did put Mick (the dog) in it last night and his legs were shaking worse than Keith Richards at a dry wedding reception. So that is a no go, besides I picture him taking off at a stop light and pulling me, my bike, and my trailer with him if he got the chance. But I am pleased with the trailer it will make grocery runs a lot easier and not to mention I am rigging an awesome stereo up to it powered by a car battery, it is going to be so great.

In more disturbing but humorous news. I have been referred to as a hipster by roughly five people last week who had no idea who I was, I guess its time to re-evaluate my clothing choices. Or I could just run with it and starting dressing like this guy.

Well maybe not...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rough days carry over

Man, yesterday was a bad day. Not like Walker Texas Ranger re-runs bad, but bad nonetheless. I lost a good friend yesterday, Alfredo the black lab. Probably one of the nicest, happiest, healthiest, most exuberant four legged companions I have ever known. This dog lived a life like Richard Branson and I am sure he is telling some good stories to the likes of Spuds Mackenzie and Lassie up in the sky right now. Ugh, and I received some disturbing news by means of electronic carrier pigeons from the wrong coast that still is not sitting well.

On a lighter note I took the old single speed to work today, gosh that's a sweet ride. So on bike today there was a story related to a older NYT's article on how expensive used bikes here in Ptown are. Now this guy apparently has some credibility in some media circuit because he gets clearly gets paid to bash our biking prices. I read this a few weeks ago and after perusing his posts I did not see another one related to bicycles so I wrote him off as uninformed. Of course this article being posted on BikePortland stirred up quite the hubbub, being how many people in Portland are:

Cyclists, whether commuters, recreational riders, racers, mechanics, etc.

Unemployed, thus leaving them plenty of time to comment on blogs

Constantly looking for a chance to prove why Portland is better than all other US cities

Always looking for an avenue to explain the good deal they got on their "track" bike

This brings me to a point which has been bothering me recently. First off I love the fixed gear, it is a fun way to master your cadence in between race seasons and great for the velodrome. But, on the street in Portland I don't get it. People choose to commute miles and miles on some crap roads (Portland is great for biking, but the roads have other ideas) on a bike with no brakes. I don't get it, I just don't. Maybe everyone thinks they look super cool and that is the driving factor, the simplicity of a good track bike is beautiful, but then again so is coasting home downhill after a rabble rousing night at the bar. I guess my biggest peeve is the dropouts, fixed gear bikes need rear facing dropouts, ask any kid on a BMX and he will tell you. Just because you bought a cheap ass Raleigh off of good ol Craigslist and put on a rear track wheel doesn't make it a track bike. Ugh.

Now these are clearly not your typical Portland fixed gear aficionado's. Notice the board shorts, clip in shoes, and 3 to 5 cycling cap ratio. Oh no, this will not do. In Ptown there would be way more chuck taylors, tight pants, and neon sunglasses

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Loose Planning reaps no rewards.

Super amazing bike ride in to work today, except for the whole cat and mouse game I play for three miles with a Tri-Met bus. Another "heat wave" is on us here in Portland meaning there will be plenty of whining and complaining but not much heat. Lets do a little example here, I have had Oregonians complaining to me about the heat and have had no Baltimorons complaining, so it has to be cooler in Baltimore now right?

I don't even understand how this is possible, seriously. Oh well it is indeed a beautiful day outside and I am looking forward to biking around later and blowing off some steam from this day at work. yesterday was trying for myself, I have been in a funk as of late towards what I want to do with my life. Last night I started making some plans and figured I could keep them tentative until I realized that those types of plans really don't benefit anyone, it just breeds insecurity, questioning, and disappointment. There was also a conversation that I was involved in that made me realize I really don't have it bad at all, and my whole quest to free myself from having too many possessions resulted in me realized I don't actually own that much. I do have four bicycles, which I believe I could have more, but they all have their own purposes. I guess I am just stuck in a rut and I plan on shaking it soon enough, not hard really. I do plan on leaving this country in the future it is just up in the air as to when, where and why. But one day those questions will be answered. It will be on a bicycle however, that is for sure. They make so much sense and it still blows my mind that in America they are considering child's things and a second rate form of transportation. Well I guess that also partly explains our obesity rate but hey who am I to judge?

This is one of the beautiful things about this city, Hawthorne Bridge Bicycle rush hour. Sure it sucks to be stuck in it, because there can be a real back up at the light in the bike lane. But when you are stuck in the cyclo-commute traffic it can be more enjoyable than hearing that they are making another Rocky movie:

This one should be good, I bet the bear wins until the last round. So anyways, the commute has been fine, I cancelled my insurance today and turned in my title to my car so now it is official. Next is a way to figure out how to shed my student loans without actually having to pay them off...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bear with me while I find my way.

My name is Noah and I am your typical mid twenties "young professional." I have a good job, steady paycheck, I live in a condo, I dress like an east coast prep school dropout, and I always thought this was fine, until something changed...

This is going to be a hard eye opener to convey;

I have came to the conclusion that my previous mindset was a mere ploy to surround my self with objects and utensils used to provoke thoughts and ideas about who I am to those who don't know me.

I am over this mental deprivation, for good.

This all started with my decision to live sans car and see how it affects my life, but once I started considering this revelation I realized there are other things I need to shed from my life to free my mind. As they come to fruition I will analyze, comment, and describe them fully in this fine little piece of real estate on the interweb.

Dont get me wrong, i am a happy individual. A happy individual who knows there is more out there and way more people that need to influence my life, in one way or another I will figure all of this out and give myself roughly a year to do it. Lets hope all goes well, and starting in 3 the adventure will begin.