Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pedal Power

Last Sunday, Troubadour and I tried to figure out what we should do for the day. We thought about taking the motorcycles out, but couldn't predict what the weather was going to be like and also didn't have a destination in mind.

We decided that since we hadn't taken our bicycles out of the garage this year, we would ride them downtown and have a late breakfast of a pecan sticky bun at New Morning Bakery.

We suited up in warm clothes; long underwear under our jeans, extra warm socks, layered shirts and jackets and found our gloves. You'd think it was as cold as Richard was experiencing instead of the 46˚F it actually was.

Troubadour then got the bikes down off the ceiling hooks in the garage, we gave them a quick wipe down and he started up the air compressor and made sure the tires were inflated properly. By the time we left it was after 11 am.

We headed north towards the fairgrounds and the start of Campus Way. Campus Way is a multi-use path that runs through the Oregon State University Research Fields from 53rd Street to 35th Street on the west side of campus. It is the safest way for bicyclists or pedestrians to get from the west side of Corvallis to campus and beyond campus to downtown.

We pass fields of llamas and sheep as well as the back side of the OSU Research Dairy. We were hungry and didn't stop to take pictures of the animals.

Part way along the path is the Irish Bend Covered Bridge.

Originally built in 1954 to span the Willamette Slough by Monroe. In 1975 Irish Bend Road was rerouted and the bridge fell into disrepair. In 1979 the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It was eventually dismantled in 1988. Through negotiations with Benton County and Oregon State University an agreement was reached to reconstruct the bridge on OSU property. This was completed in 1989.

From there we continued along the path and cut through campus into downtown Corvallis. The roads we took pretty much landed us at my work. A good place to store the bikes without having to lock them up outside.

We stored the bikes inside, used the facilities and walked a few blocks to the bakery. We each ordered a pecan sticky bun and a coffee. I realized I had left my camera in the basket of my bike. Doh! No food porn pictures to be had. The buns and coffee were tasty and because the sun had decided to come out and play we decided to wander a bit downtown. We went into several local bicycle shops and looked at what they had.

We walked back to the office to retrieve the bikes and set off towards home. There is a bit of an incline when heading west through campus. This was really noticed when only having three gears.

We made a few stops for pictures on campus. The first was at some structures made of willow branches. There was no plaque to tell us about the project or the who, what, when, and why they were there. It looked as though the branches were stuck in the ground and some of the branches were green.

We rode around campus a little more only stopping to take a picture of the Memorial Union Quad. The Oregon State University Memorial Union was the first student union in the state.

Here is a link (<---- click) to the quad's webcam for a better view. The bottom of the page also has interesting webcams placed around OSU's campus and even their marine research facilities at the coast.

While riding home we realized we were not that enthused with our bicycles even if they are rather retro and funky looking. The few times we've ridden them, since we bought them a few years ago, we've enjoyed them but they aren't as multi-use as we'd like them to be. Three speeds is not quite enough and the coaster brakes are no match for actual brakes. It has us thinking about selling or trading them in. I wonder if we'd ride them more if they were a bit more functional.

Naaa..... I think I'd rather take Max. Maybe I'm just getting lazy wanting an engine to propel me, but I feel more stable and safer on Max that I did on the bicycle.

- Au Revoir

"Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." ~ Albert Einstein


  1. Three speed bikes with coaster brakes! Not at all what I expected. While you were at the bike shop, you should have tried a lightweight multi-speed bike. You'd be amazed at how much easier it is and you may want to ride more. I like the covered bridge and the weird willow branch structures.

  2. I have a beach cruiser with 7 gears...still, I never used the bike once this year...wherever I had the occasion, I opted for Honey Badger (my XR...)

    So my (unrequested) piece of advice to you is: don't spend money on a new bicycle!

  3. I love the willow branch sculptures. Bikes and my knees don't get along, so there is at least one temptation averted.

    There is something special about covered bridges. I don't know what the draw is to them, but it is strong.

    Thanks for the share.

  4. @Richard - We looked around at the lightweight bikes and were offered test rides but just didn't feel like it at that point.

    @TuscanFoodie - I think I am inclined to agree with you on the probably not riding the bicycle. I'm actually thinking of selling the beach cruiser since it has just been a garage ornament. Honey Badger - love the name of your XR.

    @CircleBlue - Our knees were getting to us too. We figured it was just the gearing of the bikes, but we might be starting to show our age. I hit 40 this year, so you never know. I too like the covered bridges. We are lucky in Oregon, we have dozens of them. One of the guys on our local forum has made it a point to ride to every covered bridge and take a picture of his bike at every one. He even got special permission to ride his motorcycle to the one on the bike path.

  5. Nice blog! I too enjoy mixing my motorcycling with cycling my push bike, although I prefere the mountain bike to road cycling. Give it a try, cycling off road is great fun, mind and not fall off though!


  6. @Mike - thanks for stopping by. I had a mountain bike several years ago. Luckily I only went over the bars once on a downhill when I hit some gravel. I am not so good on the uphills but it would be fun to try again. I checked out your blog (and linked it here) and it looks like you are having great fun with your push bike. Nice videos.

  7. Fun cruiser bikes! You know those are much harder work than some weight-weeny road bike, so consider that you are stronger than you think! The willow structures are interesting. I haven't seen them before. Wonder what the story is?

    Perhaps a couple of nice little scooters might fit the bill for Saturday morning bakery runs! :)

  8. As much as a pain those coasters might be, they are so much prettier than conventional bikes. I like them, and they would be the only real option for me if I were into pedal biking (which I am not...).

    The bicycles in front of the bridge are so lovely, and the willow sculptures would inspire me to tell some dark tales meant to scare little kids (he he).

  9. @Bluekat - they were hard to ride. Made us think we were out of shape. I am sure an expensive light weight bike would be much easier. Troubadour googled willow structures at OSU and it came up with a story of an artist holding a lecture while making the structures. Here is a link to what was found:

    @Sonja - I like your thinking about telling the scary stories. Good plan. Scare them while they are wandering through them.

  10. Cool - thanks for posting the link, I'll go check it out :)

  11. good on you for getting out on the bicycle. Mine has been largely ignored in favor of a motorcycle or scooter the last few years.

  12. @Chris - don't feel so bad. This was the only day we had our bicycles out this year and I'm not so sure we had them out last year even.