Tag Archives: Sweetpea

On Shoes and Sweetpeas


One year ago I purchased a pair of Vibram FiveFingers shoes (left) in Missoula, Montana. They were too cold for Oregon’s wet winter but now that our skies are sunny and the world is dry, I’ve been wearing them out in the world once again. A lot.

I assumed these shoes were old news in Portland, but I don’t have to travel far to encounter people who want to talk about my feet.

Once I was held up for several minutes at the Happy Valley New Seasons because the woman behind me in line was curious about my experience with the shoes. After two recent conversations with random strangers in less than 12 hours, I suggested to my mom maybe I should try not to wear them in public anymore. Less than five minutes later, we encountered one of our neighbors at his workplace who—you guessed it—asked me about my shoes.

Just today while waiting for an early-morning MAX train, a man who spoke little English stood in front of me, pointed, and said “Shoes!” with a thumbs up and a smile.

When I go out in the world on Sweetpea (below) I wear more traditional shoes, but I find myself getting stopped just the same.

Recently I was attempting to make a detour from my usual route and took a wrong turn in the Lloyd District. As I attempted to move back on course, I signaled and moved left into a turn lane. When I realized I wanted the next street up, the light turned red and I was unable to get back over to the bike lane before cars approached from behind.

“Oh boy,” I thought, dreadfully. “Once the light turns, these people are going to be upset I’m slowing them down and not in the bike lane.”

The driver in the car to my right rolled down his window. I tensed.

“Hey, nice bike you got there!” he said.

As we waited a few minutes for the light to change, we talked about Sweetpea and my dread lifted. I told him about how this bike had all but eliminated my former hand pain and the breathing problems I experienced on previous frames. As the light turned green he complimented the bike again and wished me well before we both took off.

Even last summer, I ran into a man observing the Missoula Marathon who recognized the bike “in the wild” and we chatted about Sweetpea and her builder for a few minutes.

Normally I don’t identify as a person who randomly converses with strangers. In Missoula things were different (everyone is so friendly), but I’m enjoying the experience of being back in Portland and having people approach me. Talking about Sweetpea and FiveFingers is enjoyable because I’m passionate about them both and enjoy encouraging people through sharing what I know. It also makes me wonder if maybe the black cloud that often follows me in public may be breaking up a little bit.

Purple is a truly magical color, is it not?

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Filed under Bicycles, Montana, Oregon

Gone Biking

Tomorrow morning Sweetpea and I leave for our first multi-day bike trip! I’m so excited.

(The link isn’t to a Pointer Sisters video. Please, just humor me and click on it, would you?)

In preparation for this trip, we’ve gone to many interesting places together the last couple of weeks:

Mt. Tabor (636 feet)
(via the steeper east slope)

Smith and Bybee Lakes/Kelley Point Park
(a 40 mile round trip from home)

Mt. Scott (1091 feet)
(for the first time by bike!)

Rocky Butte (612 feet)
(for the second time ever, and first time by bike!)

…and of course, some bike shops. But tomorrow we will travel to Eugene, and with any luck, over the next few days we will propel ourselves over the Coast Range, down the Oregon coast, and back over the Coast Range to Eugene.

Wish us luck, would you?

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This Shower Cap Is My Destiny!

As Pacific Northwesters are well aware, parking one’s bike outside can often result in a wet saddle due to our ever-present rain. Even in summer. Many of us deal with the problem by carrying a plastic bag or shower cap to put over our saddle while we’re away from our precious bike. Sure, you can get a fancy saddle cover at CleverCycles…but why?

In December 2009, expecting my Sweetpea to be delivered forthwith, my mom gifted me a very stylish shower cap for Christmas. For the bike. While the shower cap wasn’t a perfect match with the whole package, it did work with the frame and had some serious character. Bonus—besides protecting my precious Brooks B17 Special from the rain, since this shower cap wasn’t clear it could also potentially thwart thieves, who also like to steal Brooks saddles. Can’t be tempted to steal what you don’t know is there, right?

Anyhow, I’ve been using this shower cap for about two years now—a year longer than I would have liked. Toward the end of my time in Vancouver BC, I noticed small holes that were starting to let rain permeate now and again. When I was home briefly in April I searched high and low for an exact replacement, to no avail. During the summer I searched on Ebay, trying to find something that would look just as splendid. Nothing.

(Although if I could have found where to get one in the US, this Hello Kitty/Union Jack shower cap would have been great.)

Whipped around in the wind for more than 20 hours to and from Montana on the back of my car this summer, the thing was really looking shabby. And sporting a large rip (left).

Knowing something needed to be done, Monday evening I went to check out the shower caps available at my local Fred Meyer.

Pink. Purple. Some barely discernable textured flowers on them. Yawn.

But wait…what was that?

My shower cap! Just one. In the very back of the bunch. This shower cap was my destiny! I quietly shrieked, snatched it, took a photo, and sent it by text to my mom: OMG OMG OMG OMG.

The new shower cap looks great, and now I know how to keep myself supplied. It may be just a $2 shower cap, but it’s the perfect solution to my practical needs and my wish to be inexpensively stylish.

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