Well, downtown is a bit farther than I’d thought it was. I rode about 21 miles there and back today. I’m currently feeling a bit sore.;)
I’d decided that I wanted to get fenders for my bike, and so I rode to REI downtown to take a look at what they had, and get a feel for what I was looking at. So I got online and printed off a bike map of downtown and surrounding area, and had a route all planned out. Then I went in, and discovered that they were working on the Broadway bridge, and it was closed to cars. I wasn’t positive it was closed to bikes, but it looked like it was. (For those that aren’t familiar with the Portland area, the Willamette River runs right through the middle of the city, and there are several bridges that cross it. Some are better than others for bikes.)
So I went on, to take the next bridge. Apparently, I was supposed to turn somewhere to cross the Steel Bridge, but I ended up riding past it without finding the access. I was heading for the Burnside Bridge, but wound up on Lloyd Boulevard heading East along 84. I noticed the river was getting further away, so I consulted my map and took MLK back to Burnside and crossed. Of course, I was now a bit further south than I’d planned to be. So I wandered in the general Northwest direction, heading towards 14 & Johnson. Of course, I didn’t know the best way to get there, and ended up passing through the area the homeless congregate in, at one point passing a whole row of about a dozen homeless men, all lined up sitting against a wall. It’s funny how in situations like that you feel like you should check the map to make sure you’re heading in the right direction, but don’t want to stop and get out the map. I didn’t really feel unsafe, but I didn’t want to stay around for that long. At any rate, I got there, and started looking at their fenders. They only had a few, but I didn’t understand how to determine how to apply the measurements given by the packages to my bike. After a conversation with a salesman, I discovered that they don’t make full fenders for the wider tires my (mountain) bike came with, and that I can either buy partial fenders, without the sides, which won’t keep as much water off, or I can buy new tires, and likely new tubes, and then the full fenders. New tires seemed to run in the $20-$30 range at REI, but I understand they’re cheaper elsewhere. But if I was going to get the full setup at REI then, I was looking at $100+. I’d set out thinking about $30 or so. I decided I’ll think about it. As it stands, I haven’t done too much riding in the rain, and so I don’t know if it’s worth the cost. Of course, until I get the fenders, I won’t really feel like going anywhere when it’s wet. We’ll see how this pans out. My uncle lives in Portland, and does a lot of cycling, so I think I’ll try and get in touch with him sooner or later. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while, but can never seem to get the e-mail right, and so it sits on my computer, unsent. I think I’ll call him, and then I don’t have to worry so much.
It’s funny how much correspondence can build up on you. I have a few people I’ve been meaning to contact, including my uncle Ron, and I just can’t ever get it done. He actually reads this blog, so by writing this, I commit myself to doing something. He invited me over to his house for dinner some time, and I have yet to accept the invitation.
On a somewhat related note, I have not been impressed with the Kryptonite Lock Exchange service. You may have heard about the U-locks that they made. Someone discovered that the round keyhole is just about the size of a Bic pen, and you can pick the lock with a pen. So the company has promised a free exchange for all owners of a Kryptonite lock with a round key.
They have a website, and I visited it a few days after the exchange started. They had an e-mail address on the site, and you were supposed to send an e-mail to them, and they would send an automatic reply with information back to you. Seemed like a silly way to do it, but I e-mailed them. No reply in a week or so, so I went back to the website. They’d changed it so you put your information in a web-form, and they’d e-mail you a postage pre-paid return label.
So I tried to fill out he form, and I realize that they only have one line for the address. I live on campus, so my mail is delivered to the campus address, but then needs my dorm and room number on it. So I tried to put it all on one line. But they’d limited the number of characters I could type in the field, so there wasn’t room for that. So I found a toll free number on the site, and called that. After a while on hold, I spoke with a lady who understood the problem, but had to put me on hold to figure out what to do about it. She came back on a few minutes later, and had decided to take down my information by hand. She must have had bad handwriting.
Exactly two weeks after I called, last Monday, I still hadn’t received the e-mail I’d been promised. So I called back, and they told me that they weren’t sending the emails until they had the lock they were going to send me in stock. Makes sense, but it wasn’t on the website, and they hadn’t mentioned it before. The e-mail showed up Tuesday, with a link to a UPS label, and I was supposed to print it. I did, and then I noticed that they had my return address as Iannetti Blvd, rather than Willamette. At first I was going to just correct it right on the label, but then I realized that they had it wrong in their database, too. So I called about 4:30 Tuesday, and a few minutes after 5, was still on hold. Then I got hung up on, as their office closes at 8 eastern, or 5 my time. And apparently if you’re on hold when the close the office, they don’t care about you.
So I called Wednesday, and got a guy who changed the info. I’m currently waiting for the new label, but I’m betting I’ll have to call them at least once more.
It’s gotten quite late all of a sudden, so I’m heading off to bed.