Bike USA: June 4, 2000 – Eugene (written by Max)

high tech redneck

This is my recap of the past few days. Oregon is allergy central. Since arriving in Portland I’ve had asthma, a rash, and severe nasal congestion. But it sure is green and beautiful. The past few days have been sunny and hot. Skin crisping hot. Plus not starting to ride until noon isn’t that smart either. Damn we are lazy bastards. My burn was made even worse by wearing a t-shirt the next day and getting my forearms fire engine red.

The fairgrounds in Rickreall was the pits anyway. It was no loss that they didn’t allow non RV’s.

Corvallis, home of da Vinci Days (pumpkin cannons and kinetic sculpture races), is full of weirdos on recumbent bikes. Very educated community with delicious goth chicks to boot. The burritos were 13″ long and only $4.50! Bike shops to this place is like Starbucks to Seattle. Eric (Erik?) Haluzak (Hazuluk? Haluzuk?) from Peak Sports let us crash at his uncle’s house. His stepdad builds bents down in Santa Rosa. Erik was biking up one summer, got an injury, collapsed at this uncle’s doorstep, fell in love, and never left Corvallis (except to tour).

Brian the house bike dude was an earmuff wearing dreadlock loon, but hella cool. He plans to start selling a line of geosite (maybe the name is not quite right) mobile bikes – complete with bathrooms and dinettes. How could he wear earmuffs in 85 degree weather? I bet he’s got tiny ears like me.

Paul's Bicycle Way of Life

So now we are in Eugene. I thought there was going to be a large group leaving from Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life but it turns out that it’s just me, my brother, and two others arriving Tuesday via Green Tortoise. Paul is actually shacking us up at his beautiful contemporary but cozy house in the hills. Hot showers, futons, strawberry lemonade, free internet connection, damn these past three days we’ve been spoiled. We’ve decided to stay for a day to try and get a hold of the Tuesday group. Eugene has a great bike path system, complete with a scale model of the entire solar system. Pluto is hella far dude. The sun and gravity seen in a new light. Paul gave us the grand bike tour. We went to two of his shops and the Center for Alternative Transport. CAT makes all sorts of bikes, especially recumbents and cargo bikes. By sheer luck, Jan (pronounced yawn) was there to show us around. They do some great stuff with youth and community.

Paul started the bike business on a five dollar bet. He started teaching at Urbana-Champagne because his wife was there. I’ve come to realize that many people don’t really have plans for their lives. Or that women basically run men’s lives.

Yesterday we dropped by Bike Friday and I got fitted. Michael showed us around the manufacturing floor and explained the Bike Friday philosophy. That’s three bike manufacturers in three days! Cool beans. I’m kind of looking for a folding bike, but I think a grand is a bit much. I saw numerous chainless bikes today. One Dutch and two Chinese ripoffs. Maybe I’ll just wait until I get to Shanghai and get a junker.

Tomorrow the biking begins in earnest with the first day of climbing the Cascades.

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