I knew when I awoke to the sound of pouring rain around 5 am on Saturday morning, October 11th, that only the hardy–and hearty–will be out for the Three Speed Ride. Oh sure, the heavy rain was early, and it mostly didn’t rain during the entire day (a couple brief sprinkles were felt). But even in the rainy Northwest, people wuss out when it comes to rain, especially the first substantial rain of the season. All of the sudden all those totally eager to ride their Triumph two days beforehand find that they now need to have a six-hour phone call with their mom instead.
But I digress.
In any case, there was a hearty–and hardy–crew of five for the ride, waiting dutifully at the Paul Bunyan Statue on Saturday morning. An interesting assortment of bikes and riders: Ethan brought a Schwinn-made Western Flyer balloon tire bike, Tim his yellow Azuki with an AW hub, Dana and her black Raleigh Sports, and most interesting of all, Tom with his Dawes with a two-speed Schlumpf bottom bracket. Technically not a “hub”, but I made the exception, because how often do you see these?
This ride was more about length, less about meander. We immediately took off and headed for Kelley Point Park, the most north-western point on Portland’s east side, where the Columbia and Willamette Rivers meet. We used the paths along the Columbia Slough to get there, with a brief pause at Smith and Bybee Lakes. At Kelley Point, we had the brew-up. Tim brought his GSI espresso maker, Dana some tea from a thermos, Tom a titanium stove for tea, and myself a Trangia 27 stove with teakettle. The teakettle is a necessary accessory!
We headed towards St. Johns, making a pass-through Chimney and Pier parks, while using the new pedestrian bridge across the railroad tracks. Onward to under the St. Johns Bridge where the executive decision was made: beer. Thankfully the taproom for Occidental Brewing was a mere two blocks away, so we enjoyed a pint or two while the very light sprinkle passed over.
From there, the rough climb back up the hill. Some walking and cursing was observed. But we got some of my favorite secret views once we reached the bluff-top, including the secret view of the old BN rail bridge. We headed back along N Willamette Blvd, soaking up the views, then terminated the ride right by Azteca tacqueria. 20 miles of riding ’round the peninsula, not bad!