Sep 30, 2009

Sacred Morning Ritual.

Even though they were out riding until midnight the night before, Ben and Caleb still showed up for Friday's 7:15am Breakfast on the Bridges.

Caleb was, as usual, all smiles, despite having torn his kneecap open just seven hours earlier. Ben was a little grumpy.

Love these guys.

Sep 19, 2009

Stranger than...

"Excuse me," this fellow says, approaching me on the city sidewalk this morning. "Could I ask you a favor? Take my picture and email it to me, so I can update my resume?"

I thought he might have been homeless--sweaty but clean, lugging all his worldly possessions in a huge duffel bag and fanny pack. His forced smile seemed troubled and harried; perhaps sleep-deprived.

I pondered the randomness for a second and then obliged.

"Okay," I replied. "Sure." Since I had my camera in my jeans pocket (as I pretty much always do), it was a convenient request.

"Oh man, thank you," he said. "Maybe a close up, then a full length body shot, then one without the bags?"

"Yeah, no problem."

He added, "How bout a profile shot?"

The stranger reviewed the pics, expressed his approval, and then wrote down his email address. When I asked his name, he simply added the initials M.A.

I told him I would send them off in a half hour. And I did. A quick google search for his email address turned up this expired Portland Craigslist ad, still lingering in the search engine cache:

Date: 2009-07-18, 5:29PM PDT Reply to: I'm looking for a driving job, something that takes me out of the portland metro ...

Feels like a true, sad mystery. Glad I didn't blow him off.

Hope the photos help him.

Sep 16, 2009

A new Thursday flyer from DBZ.

(It's a reference to this.)

Come ride bikes.

Sep 14, 2009


These dorky little bikes are unbelievably fun and even somewhat practical.
When Jaime (my wife), in search of a simple bike with upright riding position, purchased this black folder a few years ago, I became immediately obsessed with it. The tall handlebars, high center of gravity (almost directly over the rear axle), twenty inch wheels, and narrow wheelbase create a geometry that is addictively nimble and comically twitchy. Carving and swerving produce wonderfully pronounced g-force sensations; because you're sitting straight up, the full force is transmitted squarely through the seat, not the leg or arm muscles.

It is bliss.

Minimal: just a front brake cable and coaster brake.
Fenders, rack, kick stand.

But scarcely a week had passed before Jaime wisely forbade me from riding her bike. (She caught me practicing front brake endos in her mother's driveway.) I would have to get my own.

The red bike was cherrypicked from the cluttered yard of a rural junk sculptor, who was delighted to get twenty bucks for it. The handling is even more squirrelly and thrilling than Jaime's bike, for one major reason: sixteen-inch wheels.

The fundamental circus bear ridiculousness is further enhanced by the bike's generally rickety condition; the complicated folding mechanism, with its countless pivots and connections, is incredibly creaky. You can clearly feel the frame flexing beneath you as you pedal. On two occasions, I've accidentally folded the bike in half while riding.

(Note the black bike's single, sturdy hinge.)
The final reason the red bike is so great is its utterly practical three-speed hub. (Jaime's bike has a one-speed coaster brake.) After a little research, I got the shifting dialed in, and the thing climbs mountains like a ski-lift.

Post-Script: A Little Story:

My teenage brother-in-law Trey and I have been systematically exploring Portland's nether regions late at night. The foldies are so easy that we basically just pick an interesting spot on the map and ride.
Trey on the left.

One recent evening, we were exploring the sprawling, paved, industrial peninsula on the Willamette River's East bank called Swan Island, hoping for a closer view of the massive cargo cranes looming in the distance. At the dead end of a winding road, we came upon a bewildering construction site. I stood on a bike rack and propped my camera on the fence, trying for a stable shot down the gaping maw of a strange, alien war vessel.

As I hopped down, security approached. "Taking pictures of anything in particular?" he asked.

"Just trying to get a decent shot of that crazy ship," I answered.

"That's a navy ship," he responded. "You definitely can't be photographing that. I'm supposed to take your camera from you now..."

But he was overpowered by our wholesome, innocent faces. "Aww, I guess it's alright," he said. "Have a good night."

We pedaled away, glowing with victory and a sudden ravenous hunger. Hit up the Voodoo Doughnut maple-bacons on our way home.
Immediately googled "FSF 1" and read all about it. The thing is awesome.

I feel pretty comfortable posting these pictures up, since it's not, in fact, classified...

Sep 11, 2009

Thursday Night Street Ride #5.

Mob. [Piff photo]
Dances with wolves: Tony Tuominen... [Caleb Ruecker photo]
...and Nick Morris. [Piff photo]Ruecker, DBZ.Ben Piff, proper damn clicked. [Ruecker photo]
Nick, PGE Park. [Piff photo]
DFG rolls in. (Play structure previously noted here).[Ruecker photo]
Richie Johnson jam-whips the worst bank in Portland. [Piff photo]
Brad Barker, wallride from flat to flat. Five minutes later he Wasson wallrode from the bank, over the post, and back into the bank, first try. [Piff photo]

Ruecker, Tony.
The night is young. [Ruecker photo]
And it's still summer.

Sep 8, 2009

The Fabled Sk8/Sno/Srf One Day "Hat Trick."

Willamette Week writer Shawn O'Bryant hit powder, 'crete, and sea in a single frickin' day.The project, chronicled here.

O'Bryant's blog about Portland skate spots, here.

Sep 6, 2009

NoBikes in Portland.

Yesterday, after a morning of heavy rains, the sun came out and dried the pavement, and we went downtown to meet up with out-of-towner Aaron Gates and crew.

Aaron runs the incredible Alaska riding blog NoBikes. He relocated to Connecticut recently, where he's starting work as a
financial actuary, but that didn't stop his summer roadtrip through the freaking Yukon and down the West coast, in hearty NoBikes style.

Poached these photos at an hour-long
Arvey wallride sesh.
Aaron in green, Richard Gregory from NZ in white.
Andrew Lazaruk, flatty.
CJ Evans, un-turn.
Parking lot.
Caleb Evenson, background.
Caleb, foreground.
Nate Delp, Tony Archibeque, Andrew Lazaruk, Aaron.
Aaron, Caleb, Ben.

These clips are going to NoBikes video #7, which--as I understand it--will take the form of some kind of
roadtrip documentary, heavy on the bears, mountains, and wallrides.


Sep 2, 2009

Ben Piff vs Eggs Benedict.

Ben's been riding the crap out of no-bikes-allowed Ed Benedict Skatepark, occasionally busting out the iPhone to film a little web video. Today's edit is particularly good and casual.

Alley-oop feeble across the axle-high sub!

Sep 1, 2009

Thursday Night Flyer.

I never expected to see Ruecker in white denim. But I get it. I guess.

This week marks the fourth Thursday night street ride in a row. Summer 2k9 will be one for the ages.

The rendezvous point.

Fresh spots welcome.