The NY Times—as part of their longtime fixation on Portland—has an article arguing that the price of bicycles is inflated in Portland. There definitely aren't easy deals there, but having now seen the $200 junk bikes that are for sale on the street in Williamsburg I think they are exaggerating. I'm pretty sure that a if they got a ZipCar and drove out to Beaverton they'd find all kinds of deals on jenky bikes.
But here's some of my thoughts (which you can also find on page five or so of the comments):
- Bikes in Phoenix and Austin are going to last a lot longer due to the difference in climate. Seattle and Portland get much more rain that'll rust bikes locked up outside.
- Having bought a bike from Costco back in the day I can tell you that it's either un-assembled or incorrectly assembled, and probably unsafe. Knowing that I'd send my friends to a bike shop.
- You're shopping in the summer. the worst time to buy a bike in portland is when the weather's nice. Wait until the week after the rain starts back up and you'll find a lot more deals—you'll also have a lot easier time finding places to lock your bike
Dan, my best friend since high school, has been up staying with us for the last few days. He was making the final preparations before starting his cross-country bike trip. Today, on our way out to Etta's cousin's wedding, we dropped him off in Seaside Oregon and wished him well. I'm so envious of the journey he's about to set out on. Through good and bad it'll be an amazing experience. As Brad and I said on our own TransAm: "You either have good times or good stories."
It was great having Dan in town, we ate a bunch of food and drank a bunch of cheap beers. I realize I eat a lot less than I used to, keeping up with him got to be a bit of a challenge. The other thing that kept us busy was screwing around with these little remote control helicopters. Etta's bought me one of the generic knock off models a while back and after it broke I bought one of the Air Hogs at Target. Dan and I had so much fun with it that I dropped another $30 so we could try to dog fight with them. It's the kind of toy I'd have killed for when I was younger. I think I know what all my little cousins are getting for Christmas.
Tomorrow morning Etta and I hop on a plane to Nicaragua. We'll be down there for five days. I'm not sure how much if I'll be able to do many blog posts while we're down there but but I've got eight or nine rolls of film so I'll have some photos to show for it.
Yesterday I finally made it out to the velodrome for a race. It was the kilo individual time trials and I was in no way ready for it. I haven't been riding much and I haven't been out to the track since the cyclocross race. I bought some cheap pedals to put on the bike (my old ones were on the John Deere) at about 4pm on the way to pick up Etta. I managed to get a decent warm up in before hand but the eighty gear inch was way more than I'd been used to. I started out pretty strong and felt really good for the first two laps. The third one hurt and the last one was just vicious. I over heard the announcer saying something about the monkey on my back. My time ended up at 01:29.90 which was only slightly worse than the 01:29.79 that I turned in last year.
It's been a pretty full weekend. Saturday morning I went with Etta on a 7 mile run. That's a new distance record for me and I felt surprisingly good. This morning I went for a forty or fifty mile ride with Steven out to Sauvie's Island. I'm feeling beat after that. Tonight Etta and I had a date to go to the symphony and I was afraid I was going to be snoring in the middle of it but with the help of a cup of coffee I managed to stay awake and enjoy it.
Well the good news is that I'm still drunk enough that it's still a bit funny. The bad news is that the John Deere that you may know and love is gone. Stolen by, quite literally, by thieves in the night. I'd picked it up at the Veloshop at 5pm, rode it across the river to the Rose and Raindrop on SE Washington and Grand (for a Drupal meetup with Dries), and locked it up (with a U-lock) to a sign post.
I never got around to writing up the cyclocross race at Alpenrose last week so you should go read Etta's write up.