Monday, May 17, 2010

Bikes Outside: YES! (Postcard from Portland)

I have been back in Hartford for less than one day as I type this, having spent the past three weeks taking classes at United Bicycle Institute in Portland, Oregon. When teaching new languages, there are many who feel that full immersion is the best and quickest way to achieve fluency. I think full immersion would be an accurate term to describe my sojourn in Portland. My days were spent studying, disassembling, reassembling, riding, modifying and intently geeking out about bicycles to a hitherto unknown level in my life. It was pretty freaking cool. While I am far from fluent in the language of bicycles and bike repair, the past few weeks have made me a bit more conversant, or at the very least less effluent.

Pictured at the top is the sheltered bike parking area used by the students at UBI and the employees of Queen Bee, located one door down. Also, we have a random pile of kids' bikes, a ridiculously heavy-duty cargo-hauling reverse trike, and a forlorn red Radio Flyer that had its handlebar swiped. How shady do you have to be to steal components off a kid's tricycle?

I found bike racks to be in abundant, if not downright decadent supply in Portland. The sheltered ones were somewhat less common, but were much-appreciated during the first two rainy weeks of my stay. Many businesses had signs inviting customers to park their bikes inside. One bike shop had a remote switch behind the counter that held the front door open as you wheeled your bike through. I may have cried a little at that one.

I saw a lot of older bikes locked up and in use during my stay, with a surprisingly large amount of Chicago Schwinns and French-made road bikes among them (the second bike from the front of the pictured rack is a 1970's Motobecane mixte, for instance) This post would be crammed full of many more street-seen bike pics if my camera had not bitten the dust a few days into the trip. I took a few more with a single-use film camera from the supermarket, but it will likely be a while before those get developed and scanned, so you shall be spared. Thanks to Schleppi for picking up the Bikes Outside slack for me. I have procured a substitute camera for interim use, so your man-in-the-street will be scoping out some local iron once more. It's good to be home.


Schleppi Longstocking said...

I'm kinda hurt you didn't steal the reinforced cargo trike for me. It looks perfect for hauling feral kittens home.

Interstatement said...

Kittens? Do you see the leaf springs on that monster? You could transport a half dozen cat ladies and a case of Fancy Feast in that thing.

Schleppi said...

What would I want with cat ladies? They're crazy. Just the cats, Fancy Feast, and lots of litter. Maybe a vet.