We are getting ready to take off later this week and had the opportunity to learn a lot about bikes as well as experience a unique part of Portland we have never experienced before thanks to our friend David Gunther.
We met David through a mutual friend a few weeks before we headed out to hike the Appalachian Trail earlier this year. He has kept in touch and been really into helping us with adventure ideas. He is also into bikes. Prior to last night’s gear session with David, our bike knowledge was extremely low. Julie started reading our bike maintenance book earlier in the day but was frustrated because she didn’t know much about even the basics of part names or how to manipulate them in the simplest ways. That all changed quickly with a few hours of hands on experience.
We took our bikes apart (at least the wheels and brakes). We each took off our front and back tires, flattened them, took the tubes out, and then put them all back together again. We also figured out how to use the cheap bike pump we bought – this took longer than the tire change because of the poor instructions with the pump (or user error). We also learned the names of the bike parts along with all sorts of common problems and how to go about fixing them. As a result, we feel way more comfortable in the event that something happens on the road. We were imagining being out in the desert with a flat or a broken chain and having no idea what to do. Now, we have a good working knowledge and we know how to handle the bike better. We were afraid to be tough with the bike thinking we might hurt it. Now, I’m comfortable working it a bit in order to get what I need accomplished.
We also got to experience the Portland food cart scene. This is something we’ve heard of before but never actually experienced. We picked one in SE Portland close to David’s and walked on down. For those that don’t know much about this sort of thing, it’s basically a parking lot with a big tent in the middle with tables and chairs, all surrounded by little food carts. The one we went to had maybe a dozen different carts, all with different types of inexpensive but tasty food. I had a chile relleno burrito for $5 and we had a delicious veggie burger with fries from an all veggie food cart. We had a chance to talk with the owner of the veggie cart and while it is hard work, he said it is he and his wife’s baby and they love working it.
After working on the bikes and having a good meal, we visited a bit more and talked some about boats and sailing before we sailed off to sleep. This morning, David rode with us over the 205 bridge back to WA and then we parted ways. Thanks for the knowledge, the company, and the good experience David.