That title makes this sound dramatic, but its not. Here’s a recap of all the stuff we were able to squeeze into our time in Portland – well, my time in Portland. Two days after arriving I flew to LA for a 2-day work trip, so I missed a couple of days there.
The Bike Bar
Our Alberta crew headed out to eat something and we ended up at HUB – the Hopworks Urban Brewery, aka The Bike Bar. Everything in the place was catered to and organized around bicycles. And not that penny-farthing olde school fixie tweed aesthetic that is more fashion than cycling (which is still really cool, btw), but the stuff here was straight up legit turn yourself inside out bike racing culture. The beer taps had Euro or US head badges on them, the lights hung from chopped down bike frames, the food had a cycling theme to the naming scheme. All in all – beer and bikes – rad. It was a great pub with good food and normal, aka not bikey, people just enjoying themselves.
There are two stationary trainers outside that are electrically wired into the building. There’s a sign that says “For every minute at 75 watts HUB can pour four pints.” So we all took a turn winding that thing up. I wanted to go down in full club kit and do it for an hour – thought that would be funny.
Coffee Drinking in the Fog
Portland is an empire of bikes, beer, and…coffee. Caffeine and sugar are the drugs that best combat the lethargy and melancholy of chronically overcast rainy weather. Well, those two staples and crack or crystal meth, too. The Pacific NW has these things in spades and PDX is no exception. Despite the availability of what I’m sure was some truly great crack we opted to caffeine ourselves into optimism and vitality. It totally worked. The first espresso I had, at River City Bikes, right out of the car, had my mouth bone dry in ten minutes. I was literally shaky and vibeing all over the place. I bet I was super annoying. Although not as super annoying as when I eat a bunch of cake. We hit Powell’s Books – a LEGENDARY book store. The sci-fi section in there is a nerd’s paradise and its located right next to the cafe. You can coral up some finds and hit a bench with a latte to inspect your finds. Awesome.
I felt it polite to not drink my coffee alone, so I always purchased something sweet and usually vegan, locally sourced, and delicious to go with it. I tell ya, I could sit on a stool in Portland, Oregon with a book and a latte for many, many hours, just watching the street roll by. A very nice balance to riding and racing your bike. You go all out and then you go all in. Like, all inside the warmth of a cozy little cafe.
When England’s much polarizing purveyors of fine threads for the road experience were setting up a base of operations in the USA they chose Portland, of course. Actually, they put a shop in San Fran and, I think, for a little while NYC, and then set up their office in Portland. This makes total sense. I’d chose Portland over SF as well, if you can believe it. We went in there to process a return and met the guys running the show there – really nice dudes and a cool little loft space right about a flower shop. You had to enter through a little garden. I snapped a couple of blurry photos and then we had to jet to get me to the airport so I could leave the fog and green of PDX for the sun and dust of LAX.