Sunday, July 13, 2014

Location: - Still Portland OR Miles Still = 0, Ave MPH = 0, Cum. Miles = 0, Cum. Ave MPH = 0

Thursday July 10th - Portland

After spending the night at the airport and getting a decent breakfast my aim was to "touch base" with the first Warm Showers people that would be hosting me, Liz and Curtis,  and then get to the bike shop to start the process of getting the bike fitted. I thought if I could get these things accomplished I could then crash later for a nap due to my lack of sleep. 

I used the term "touch base" relative to Liz and Curtis because I couldn't actually use the term "meet" as I never did ever meet them. You see when I requested lodging in Portland Liz wrote back and said they would be glad to host but they would be out of town, but if I was willing to pick up the key from their place of business that I was welcome to stay at their place. Now isn't that HOSPITALITY!!!!

I arrived at their place of business which just happened to be a pannier manufacturing factory (panniers are saddle bags for the non-cyclist). I received a very enthusiastic tour from Aleia and Sarah. Aleia explained the process in detail and that they are getting into lean manufacturing. We had a great discussion about the merits of lean which included pull systems, JIT, 5S, and Standardized Work.

Aleia and Sarah

Two days later, after doing a fair bit of pannier research and comparison shopping, I ended up buying a pair of front panniers called Route 7 from North St Bags. Simply put these bags had the best design and best quality at a competitive price.

Then it was on to check out my new bike at Universal Cycles. I had picked Universal Cycles because they had the Kona Sutra touring bike in stock that seemed best suited for long distance cycling. It comes with fenders, racks and most importantly disc brakes for the mountains for $1499 and has a great reputation. It is similar to the Surly Long Haul Trucker Disc but is less expensive.

Well here it is with Nick my salesman:

After selecting a few additional items I left the bike with Nick and headed to Liz and Curtis' apartment to be greeted by Smallcat the absolute coolest, friendliest cat in the world - In the two days I was there I fell in love with Smallcat. He could have been named Harley because his purr is similar to a Harley at idle.

At about 5:30 pm another Warm Showers cyclist Nael (pronounced Nile) called to check in on me and to make suggestions on where to eat. I told him after I napped a few hours I would meet him at Halibut II to get something to eat and check out some blues music Portland style. Well the 2 hour nap stretched into 12 hours and I woke up at 7:30 am the next morning. Sorry Nael as I said in my text. Thank you Liz and Curtis for a most comfortable bed that helped me recover from the past two days of minimal sleep.

Friday July 11th - Portland

Friday was for the most part was a run around and pick up all the stuff I didn't want to bring on the plane type of day. I also picked up the bike and spent time fitting the aerobars and a set of  additional bars which help me to have five different hand positions while riding which I find important to prevent my hands from getting numb while on long rides (will show a photo and explain in later blog). In addition to that there was the addition of two computers and a modification of the front racks to accept my new panniers.

Here are a few photos:

Portland skyline in one direction:

Portland's verion of Charleston's Ravenel Bridge (under construction)

All kinds of cycles can be seen in Portland:

Bicycles outside of a tavern where in most cities it would be motorcycles:

In the next blog I will go over my first 45 mile trial ride in Astoria area, dipping my wheel in the Pacific (what a pain), riding on a bit of the Lewis and Clark Trail, and meeting my new Warm Shower hosts.

Until then......

The Usual Disclaimer: 
And finally please remember the cause -  I will go into this in more detail and perhaps some level of haranguing later on, but for now here is the link .... and an additional link for donation   SoldiersBestFriend - Donate Please :):)  As you donate please enter my name in the appropriate spot so the folks at SBF can tally the results to encourage me and let me know WE are getting something done TOGETHER. Oh and I would be a lot more comfortable if you use the "honorarium" option vs the "memoriam" option - you'll understand when you click on the link:):).     I will be inserting this call to action in all of my blogs so I hope you don't mind.


  1. I must say I am very attracted to your new bike, what a great choice! Good to see your off to a great start :P I have shared your blog as its important for as many people to see this as possible, you are doing a great thing for a great cause Neil!

  2. Thanks for your encouragement Brandon - you were/are and inspiration to me.