After a very long period of time that can be best described as “fake summer” in Portland, the weather on Saturday was more akin to what we normally see for Vernal Equinox: a high in the mid-upper 50’s, a 50% chance o’ showers. It just felt…right, especially the moodiness of the sky. (I could have done without the stiff wind from the south, though.)
Eight folks (including myself) showed up at Overlook Park. Mostly familiar faces, but a new member, Michael, showed up with his new-to-him green Raleigh Sports. Nice one!
The beginning of the ride involved riding into that stiff headwind (sorry!) down to the Eastbank Esplanade. A quick stop to adjust some stuff with Michael’s bike provided a good opportunity for a group photo.
From there we continued southward, stopping to observe the brand-new Tillikum Crossing Bridge, then we rode the new bike path/lanes that parallel the brand-new (and not yet open) Orange Line MAX light rail to SE Holgate, then over the mighty Brooklyn rail yard to get to Reed Canyon where we did a quick circuit of the Reed Canyon.
This is when it started to rain. At first it was a light sprinkle, so we were lulled into a sense of nonchalance. But we forgot what spring rain usually means: a brief (10-15 minute) shower that starts out light and then ratchets up the frequency of drops to something closer to downpour. Thankfully by that point we were in Westmoreland Park so we found an appropriate tree to shelter under. (While there was a picnic shelter right next to this tree, it was fenced off for some unfathomable reason. This is the weird thing about Portland: for a city so famous for rain, there is a dearth of covered picnic areas in its parks, and many of those are closed to public access. What gives, Portland?)
We waited for the shower to pass, and made our way further down Crystal Springs Creek to Johnson Creek, a small obscure park where both streams meet. This was our picnic stop, so stoves and food was broken out. Once again Dara and Tomas win in the presentation department, especially their Optiums brass stove. (Though even after much fuss the stove wouldn’t light. Thankfully there was enough stoves to go around!)
We cruised along the Springwater Corridor eastward, the most serene riding of the tour. (Well, there was the second shower, where we found another appropriate tree.) Then northward on the I-205 path where we took a quick sidetrip to visit (and pet) the
Belmont Lents Goats, who will be moving again since the lot had sold. Alas.
More riding up the 205 until we reached Montavilla. This was the site of the first “challenge” on the ride, the obligatory Rough Stuff, a few blocks of gravel/dirt streets. That got people ready for the bigger challenge, a bit of pass storming up the shoulder of Mount Tabor via SE Taylor St. Five blocks at 6-8% grade to test people’s low gear (or in the case of half of the participants, their feet!)
But what comes up must come down, and we were rewarded with a thrilling descent down to Biddy McGraw’s at NE 60th and Glisan for post-ride libations and conversation.
Besides the headwind at the beginning and the couple spots of rain, a great ride! Thanks everyone for coming. And remember, there will be more rides!
Ride With GPS route here.