8 New Bikes Finished at Chain Reaction

Right before I walked into the basement room of the Estate Hotel to join the last night of March’s session of Chain Reaction, an innertube had exploded. When you inflate an tube toward triple-digit PSIs, in case you haven’t had the pleasure of this experience, and something proves to be imperfect with your installation, the rim, the tire, or anything really, the resulting noise resembles a gun shot, and the sonic effect, as you would imagine, is significantly more resonant indoors.

I didn’t realize this had just happened when I entered the former underground storage space and was introduced by the Matthew to the budding mechanics. I was there to help with last minute repairs, safety checks, and test rides of these newly refurbished bikes, and had arrived late after just getting off of work.

When each bike finished the checklist at the end of the zine-style Chain Reaction curriculum Matthew produced for the cohort, it was ready to reenter the world with its new owner who built the bike back up from the scraps of nearly as many previously functioning bikes as their are components to a bike. When my role there was established I was introduced to each of the 8 budding mechanics, their bikes in and out of the stands, and how close we were to the completion of each.

B–‘s single-speed Univega was ready to go, but the innertube of the front tire just burst after he tried to bring it above 100 psi to make sure everything was as prime as possible for his bike ride. Whenever I can I encourage folks not to worry so much about inflating their concerns about tire pressure. If you take the time every couple of weeks to bring yourself up to 50 psi, there’s nothing to worry about, and the squish will soak up the bumps before they impact your poor wrists. I don’t however want to be held responsible for pinch flats by anyone riding on a flat tire: if you can squeeze your tire easily, find a pump!

Matthew wasn’t sure if there was a usable 27″/700c tube for B–‘s sleek, thin tires, but he directed him to the hanging collection of tubes to find out while he juggled the needs of the other 7 bikes. I checked in with F– about the shifting on his bike. He had it pretty finely tuned, and the chain ended up where it needed to be eventually. I told him that as long as the upper and lower limits were set right, which it seemed he had done, it would pass a safety check since neither the front or rear derailleurs would throw the chain off course. If he wanted to make the chain react in seamless conjunction with the shifter, I told him, he would have to talk to Matthew.

B– had found a tube, but it was evident it had a hole in it. With each inflation, the air quickly breathed back out, like a lung receiving then expelling air. I could either do a test ride or help him learn how to patch a tube. It seemed logical to me to help those further behind in the process to make sure everyone could finish for the evening around the same time, so I helped B– find a marker and a patch kit to get the tube ready.

It wasn’t until I started working with B– that I remembered what it means to blow a tube. Years ago, I was riding a bike my friend had lent me, and suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the back tire exploded, making an awful, massive noise, and deflating instantaneously. Not only was it startling and viscerally upsetting, but, worse, I was no longer able to ride the bike, a couple miles from home. And you can’t patch a blown tube. It looks as though someone ripped a knife through it. I suddenly realized that in the moments before I entered the space, everyone just experienced a fairly traumatic experience, with B– catching the worst of it. I thought at first I knew what that meant, that now we needed to find another tube to put in the tire, but then remembered what it really meant: the enthusiastic effort to put air and give life to the tire turned wrong and made an overwhelming sound that will likely trigger everyone in the room into a sudden flight or flight impulse. B– needed to start over in a very literal way, just another moment in a long series of having to let go and begin again. But the steps were apparent and real, and I knew how to explain them to him:

1. Identify where the air is leaking out, and circle the hole with a sharpie, putting an X through the circle. This helps you identify where the hole is when the tube deflates and everything on the surface becomes indistinguishable.

2. Rub the surface where the patch will go over this hole with sandpaper to reveal a surface that the patch will easily mold to.

3. Squeeze vulcanizing fluid onto the sandpapered area and rub with the tip of the tube to distribute over the area.

4. Wait five minutes, take foil backing off patch, and squeeze onto the tube, rubbing outward from center of patch in all directions

I set a timer for five minutes and told B– I would be back when we were ready for the next step. I checked in with Tristan meanwhile because I saw he had pliers for his rear shifting cable. I asked him if we wanted the cable cutters, but he explained he was trying to get a kink out the cable by bending it back with the tip. I understood the principle, but I didn’t know you could do that. Working with bikes is like that sometimes. There are all these tricks that you encounter, but you can’t really recommend them until you’ve tried them a few times on your own without catastrophic results, or someone you trust tells you it’s sound advice. Having said that, I can’t recommend trying to remove a kink as such from a cable, but I don’t think it would compromise the cable too much, and you might just get it a little straighter.

It was about then that Matthew had diagnosed that F–‘s chain was stretched, and was skipping the cogs of the rear cassette because of the worn chain’s difficulty engaging. The chain was broken and laid out on the concrete floor next to a replacement, used of course, but usable. The easiest way to replace old parts, housing, chains, or whatever, is simply to replicate what was on there before. You could put a new chain on and eventually find out exactly how long it’s supposed to be, or you could just measure it against the old one. It’s always a lesson in hubris and haste when you’ve dismantled something to replace without memorizing or taking a quick picture of what it looked like before.

There’s always something to improve on a bike, especially an old bike cobbled together with used parts, but there’s always the urge to call it early and get out on the road. Especially if you’ve been working almost three hours ironing out the shifting, braking, and that ever-evasive sweet spot between no play and smooth as possible. That qualifier “as possible” could drive a person crazy as they go back and forth between loosening to the point play arises, and then tighten again to find the smoothness to be wanting.

The machine of Chain Reaction was inspiring to see. Each of the four stands was its own unique universe, like a hub, bottom bracket, or rear derailleur, pedal, headset, or caliper brake. But the thing moves together. Those finished with their bikes, Matthew and myself included, can consult as individuals voice doubts, concerns, or needs. We get tossed like chain by a derailleur to a new situation and fall in with its flow. But the conversation flowed between the 10 individuals present fluidly. A couple had established themselves as the jokers, giving everybody a hard time, quoting Cheech and Chong to each other from opposite sides of the room while they waited for their bikes to be safety checked and test rode. D– waxed lyrical about the perfection of his ninja bike, and how he owes his impeccable style to consulting with ladies instead of men. Tristan was trying to replace his grips, and figuring out how to get the old ones off the handlebars. B– was now applying a fourth patch to his tube, after identifying a fourth hole after the third patch. Everything was running smoothly so I took R–‘s Huffy coaster out for a test ride. I was shown the elevator and took the bike upstairs, past the woman at the front desk who asked if I was there for the NA meeting when I arrived, and outside to see how this bike held up out of the stand. A crowd had gathered around the entrance to the building. Someone had their phone hooked up to a boom box and was blasting music. I turned right on Couch and realized it was 9pm on a Friday, and all of this was happening out here, lines for the clubs, suburbanites finding parking, the sidewalks full of excitement. I crossed third and fourth, alternately accelerating and pushing back on the pedals to brake like I did on my first bike. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked.

I realized I would enjoy riding this bike around, and came back. “We got another bike,” Matthew called out to cheers. I test ride more and more as the party developed outside. At the same time B– found a fifth hole to patch. A despair that would have cracked someone else an hour earlier began to settle on B–. It was now 9, when the session is supposed to end. Half of the folks had left with their bikes, a month of commitment fulfilled.

B– had mentioned “The Bike Gods,” previously, in what seemed like jest. But hanging over a pile of scrapped frames, on the opposite end of the room from the rest of the tubes, was a single tube. At the peak of frustration B– noticed it. 27 x 1.25″ with a schrader valve. It held air. It even had a dust cap on it. Maybe the Bike Gods do exist, or at least the bike bunny. But why did it have to happen this way, with so much agony before the ease of what needed to be done could occur? Part of me thought, well, that’s how you learn something, somebody convinces you of the necessity of doing something five times in a row. B– can definitely patch a tube now, and he will always be able to recall the night he learned. But that kind of lesson has to sink in.

I instead asked what he plans to do with his new bike. He tells me he’s going to ride every morning, crisscrossing the bridges. There’s an AA meeting he likes on the east side. He chose his pedals so he could ride barefoot in the summer. I told him where I worked so he could stop by whenever he wanted to. He hasn’t been on the new bridge, Tilikum Crossing, yet, and he hopes to ride over at soon as possible.

 

The Clinton Street Greenway of 2016

The following is a B4HPDX volunteer’s reflections on bicycle infrastructure in Portland and does not represent the views of Bikes for Humanity PDX. Rather B4HPDX welcomes conversations about cycling conditions as a means of engaging and empowering commuters, and fostering community around bicycling. 

These past few weeks, riding the stretch of Clinton between 12th and 21st, I have been so excited about the new diverters placed at 17th, that I didn’t notice until yesterday that there’s no longer a stop sign for bike traffic. the four-way has become a two-way stop, and cars heading north or south have to wait until the bikes are clear to carry on. But while that’s the beginning of a new era of the Clinton Street Bike Boulevard, that’s the end of the story to be told here. So let’s go back a little.

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1924 map of streetcar system from http://myplace.frontier.com/~trolley503/1924Map.html

For anyone regularly commuting on Clinton in the last few years, it surely has felt like a rollercoaster of conditions. Ten years ago, 2 blocks to the north, Division Street was a quiet thoroughfare easily navigable by car. The old Division Line Road—representing the southern boundary of the original square mile plats established south of Section Line Road (now Stark) by the Willamette Stone marker in the West Hills—has an over century-long history of getting folks east and west by privatized non-human power. Clinton Street has an adjacent history which featured the Richmond Streetcar, quiet neighborhood usage, and what would ultimately become the iconic bikeway of SE Portland.

In lieu of the Mt. Hood Freeway or any other late-20th-century form of car-only freeway through Southeast Portland, drivers make their way downtown from the eastern suburbs by way of Powell, Division, Burnside, or heading further north to the east-west freeway that was built through Sullivan’s Gulch. Division and Burnside both have free car storage at the edge of their roads that suddenly become tow-away zones during rush hour. As a long-time volunteer for the IPRC at 10th and Division, I can testify to how frustrating it is for a person to come out of whatever they started doing at 4pm when the street was full of parked, and to find no car at all, least of all theirs. And for those driving east on Burnside in the right lane after rush hour, it can be quite a shock to suddenly find a parked car where you expected to roll on at 35 miles an hour.

Letting folks drive their cars successfully during peak hours on these east-west arterials is obviously a delicate dance. It is built on a combination of state, local, and federal transportation policy, daily habits, and unexpected changes. One such change is the dramatic development along Division. Nothing throws a wrench in the commute of a stream of cars like someone trying to parallel park, a family crossing the street to do some window shopping, or the wait at an internationally recognized restaurant spilling into the street. Sleepy Division has become a destination, for tourists and new arrivals alike, and a model for Hales-era mixed-use density. Blocks that previously housed a dozen or so folks in single-family homes, now hold stories of apartments, letting dozens more live where only a few did before. The old model—gas-powered thruway on Division, people-powered greenway on Clinton—began to flip a little as Division became an affluent pedestrian’s paradise, bike corrals began to replace parking spots, and as cars began to choose Clinton over Division because of ubiquitous construction, parallel-parking tourists, and general living, breathing city hubbub.

However dramatically Clinton has changed as adjacent Division has developed, the changes that have occurred only in the last month, the first of 2016, cannot be understated. I moved out to the end of the Clinton Street Bikeway in the summer of 2013 and rode it nearly every day. However, my 3-9pm job on the west side took me down the hill at a quiet time in the afternoon, and back up it at an even quieter hour. The bike-centric infrastructure at Cesar Chavez made the whole experience even more pleasant as I would trip the signal approaching the light, and wouldn’t even have to decelerate before it would change for me, forcing any cars to turn off Clinton. As my schedule began to change and I would ride at variable times, I could see that not all was well on Clinton after all. One Friday night climbing east it felt like I was in the parking lot of a festival, with doors swinging open, cars 3-point turning and trying to park, and pedestrians crossing the street en masse on their way to experience Portland’s newest destination.

An organization of Southeasterners formed to stand up for bicyclists, residents, and families who had become used to a Clinton without heavy car traffic. The expectation of a greenway is what I often see on Clinton: folks of all ages on the sidewalks, runners comfortable enough to opt to run in the street and give pedestrians wider berth on the sidewalk, bikes fully taking the lane, and the occasional car driving a block or two before opting for a more explicitly car-centric space. However, with construction on Division, new residents, and more visitors, this was decreasingly the reality. There was nothing to prevent a car from driving along Clinton from 38th to 12th, and going 15 miles an hour behind a cyclist may easily be considered more pleasant than stopping and starting that whole way and averaging about the same speed. And so Bike Loud PDX was formed, and their guerrilla diverters installed. Jonathan Maus, founder and editor of BikePortland, received a phone call at 4:33 in the morning saying he should come down to 34th and Clinton and check out an example of direct citizen involvement in neighborhood planning.

By the time he got there, Maus writes, “City of Portland crews were busy removing six large steel drums that had been placed in an arc on SE Clinton. The drums were placed on their sides and they stayed in place thanks to square steel rods welded onto them. A hole was cut into the middle where soil and plants had been placed. Each drum was hand-painted with an array of colorful scenes. One of them had ‘Don’t drive, fly a kite,’ scrawled on the side.”

Around this same time, members of the community looking at that same intersection, wanted to take out a lane on the stretch of 34th connecting Division and Clinton. Nothing seemed to come of those efforts either, and time passed. In the summer of 2015 the mayor started to ride his bike to work, and the first commute started at 26th and Clinton. With his entourage of half a dozen cyclists, Hales was spared any dangerous passes for the 5 block stretch to 21st and the Ladd’s Addition jog to the Hawthorne Bridge, and there the story of a safer Clinton stagnated.

Suddenly stagnation became action as the new year began. Paint lines marking extended curbs began to be cut out of the street, and those marking future diverters at 17th forbade something positive for bike commuters. What was most exciting, especially for Bikes for Humanity volunteers and clients who rely on Clinton to ride from the west, and 34th coming from the north, was what I saw riding down Clinton on January 6th:

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Automotive traffic was no longer allowed from Division south to Clinton, and bikes received a prominent sharrow for the ride south. The only complication is at the Division end cars are still allowed to enter the street to access the parking lot at the other end for a drive-in style restaurant turned noodle house, whose entrance you can see here in the foreground:

CYEuWhcUsAAd-M4Look to this BikePortland article for a detailed analysis of this 50-foot stretch before the bikeway takes over. Things got even more exciting as the diverters at 17th were put in, but those at 32nd seemed instead to incite confusion, from bicyclists and drivers alike. When I first saw them on January 11th a group was asking cyclists to sign a giant thank you card to PBOT, which I was happy to do. There was a celebratory feeling in the air in front of the Clinton Street Market on 34th, free cookies, and the David Bowie memorial ride ended there. In the next week, every ride I took past the new “semi diverters” at 32nd, I saw either curious onlookers, confused cyclists, or a car deciding to cut through past the temporary blocks anyhow.

In this last case it seems the infrastructure had turned cars into the scofflaws that bicyclists are notoriously labeled. Had the tables turned? Were these cars politically conscious rule breakers seeking to make a point? Was this a peculiarly American form of civil disobedience fighting for the rights of free mobility in the way that critical mass once flipped the script of automotive dominance?

One could easily argue, no, of course not, but an incident the following weekend would be more instructive. A cyclist was headed down Clinton, headed west from 34th, about to enter the intersection when 34th when it became apparent the car was going to illegally continue east by skirting into the oncoming lane around the barrels of concrete. PJ happens to be a bike activist, “a reluctant loudmouth activist” in his twitter profile, “loudmouth” because what he speaks up for seems ludicrously obvious. “I wish I didn’t have to complain about stuff,” he says, “and I wouldn’t if it weren’t broken. That’s why ‘reluctant.'” With this in mind, and being of a community which has spent years of trying to get functioning diverters in this spot, PJ refused to yield to this car, offering a second chance for it to make the legal choice to turn north or south on 32nd. Its driver refused, creating yet another January stand off in our fine state of Oregon. But unlike two armed groups on two sides of a wildlife refuge, there is a huge imbalance between a bike and a car: one is violent and the other is not. As PJ writes, “until we understand the asymmetry of power in travel modes, we will get nowhere.”

The only statement made by someone driving a car where they are not supposed to is that the safety of others exists beneath convenience, while a bicyclist who rides where they are not “supposed to” makes a point of the danger inherent in urban spaces handed over completely to the car. PJ’s front wheel-to-bumper stand off with this car symbolizes this disconnect between the perceptions of drivers with those who ride exposed next to them, or in this case in front of them. When the driver attempted to communicate by accelerating into PJ, it may have felt like a stern request that he be let through. But to PJ this felt like assault, and very likely would have been legally considered as such had the bystanders been on PJ’s side instead of imploring him to let the driver through. Ultimately, instead of choosing to run over PJ and his bicycle, the driver turned around, another minor victory for Clinton Street Bike Blvd.’s legacy as a viable greenway.

What PJ would liked to have seen instead, he says, was something along the lines of 16th and Tillamook in Northeast, in which a strip of concrete and planters force cars to turn right, with a little strip of raised cycle track that only bikes could fit through. The first example I had seen of this was when I first visited Eugene in the fall of 2004. I was walking with a friend through a park back to their house and encountered this peculiar piece of infrastructure. It was explained to me and my mind was blown. I didn’t even realize we were allowed to cut off car access to certain roads to make more livable spaces, much less actually make it happen. But we can. And I know in a few minutes when I head down Clinton, I won’t have to accelerate into the stop sign at 17th to prevent a car from passing me and stopping suddenly at the intersection. I can ease right through it knowing that some simple infrastructure will prevent the driver from continuing to let a ton of metal and explosions pursue me down the street.

 

Steven at the peak of Joy Mountain

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If anyone needs inspiration for bike-related resolutions for the year, we have received another dispatch from Steven’s bike adventures. He made it to the top of Taiwan’s highest point, Hehuanshan, also known as “Joy Mountain,” a serious ride on its own, much more so after three months of continuous touring and constant on-the-road repairs. “After two days of repairing a flat tube, blown tire, and broken spoke, plus steep climbs and camping in near freezing temps, I finally reached the main peak of Hehuan Mountain (3412 meters elevation), just above Taiwan’s highest elevation highway point of Wuling.”

Steven realized during the ride that biking to its summit is not to be recommended because of “the downhill buses, trucks, and cars pass each other at narrow sections illegally at reckless speeds.” He wrote, “I had one would-be head-on close call that quite scared me.” The way to do it, apparently, is to hitch a ride for the ascent. “The whole way up, I did not see any bicyclists ride up, but saw quite a few cars carrying bikes going up and some bicyclists coasting down.”

Whatever bike adventures you have planned for 2016, we at Bikes for Humanity wish you the best! And of course, we’ll be around to help you choose a bike, get some gear, or learn how to maintain and fix your ride. Happy new year from B4HPDX!

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Polite British Bicycle Trolls

One of the great joys of maintaining Bikes for Humanity’s presence on the internet is checking in to see what’s happening in the wide world of bicycles through twitter, from Portland on outward. I personally enjoy the Bicycle Lobby’s tweets, and other activists who use parody or other forms of satire to bring to light bikey issues. Another method of course, is to retweet folks not so thrilled about increased biking infrastructure, and to point out a bias, fun fact, etc. As it is with twitter, such differences of opinion can quickly become confrontational with the original tweets deleted and the ensuing conversations thus gone forever. This one luckily has not been deleted (as of 12/28), from the day before Christmas, as a driver stuck in London traffic looks longingly at the unused bikeway:

 

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I was very happy to find that, in spite of the negativity of the original offending tweet, bicycle advocates remained quite civil when taking issue with it. There are many implicit arguments in the motorist’s perspective to take apart here, and a couple dozen users and lovers of bike infrastructure relished in sharing their counterarguments:

  1. Just because there remains one unused vestige of public space not dominated by a single interest, does not entitle that single interest to just because they have used up their own finite resources. “look at the sky too, that is completely empty,” from @tallmoner. The same logic can be extended to the barely used pavement, as @Mindful_man writes, “The pavement is hardly being used. Shall we scrap that too and turn the city into a giant car park?” In other words, just because folks are not enjoying the sidewalks and bikeways in full force on one of the shortest, coldest days of the year, doesn’t mean that making a viable and safe bike option is a “superwasteofmoney.”
  2. Another fun and polite argument to raise is that a bikeway is not a waste of resources, but rather a means of empowering individuals who are not wasting resources, in that they are human-powered, and not taking up a space meant for five people, what one may term a responsible and reasonable allocation of resources, compared to using a car to transport a single human. “What is absurd is all those cars with one person in them, queuing to go where they need to. The folk on bikes are already there.”
  3. Along those lines, one might as easily argue that the bikeway is not “unused,” it is simply a functioning means of transportation, and so, in this stretch where there is no intersection, there are no bikes clustered together struggling to make forward movement. One user was helpful enough to upload this video from the perspective of someone riding this route on a busier day, passing clusters of cyclists at intersections. Another writes, “the absurdity of drivers sitting in a traffic jam of their own making.” As it turns out, contrary to the motorist’s assumed logic, increased capacity does not reduce congestion. What instead we have found by handing over more and more lanes and space to cars over the last century is that it just provides more space for more cars to sit in traffic, and, in some cases, increased congestion. A Swanky Bicycle Being puts it nicely, “its not ‘unused’ it’s clear because cars cause jams, not bicycles,” and also adds the helpful observation that it is not safe to drive and take pictures on your phone. This addendum was a little less civil, though: “Put your damn phone down, idiot.”
  4. Of course folks with completely opposite perspectives and ways of life could argue back and forth forever, which is why it is important to remember that we are all just humans making transportation choices that change from trip to trip. A viable bikeway simply allows the option for folks to ride a bike. Having one less lane on which to temporarily idle your car does not suddenly create safe mobility that prior to did not exist. For the multi-modal, bicyclist/transit-riding drivers, these truths are obvious. “It’s views like this that proliferate an ‘us & them’ mentality which only damages road safety. FYI 80% of cyclists have cars.” That strikes me as a British statistic, but all the same: “Ironically cyclists are MORE likely to have cars than the overall population average.”

Whether urban areas should be freely accessible to cars, or instead geared toward public transport, bikes, and taxis as London has become, is an argument to be made at a later date, and that question pertains more to London than any American city at present. Civil, empathetic, and positive discourse will be necessary as we make future decisions. What I’m presently not sure of interested in answering is whether this is a parody account of a hypothetical “cars in the streets, EVERYDAY!” motor enthusiast, or someone who really, sincerely wants more cars on city streets:

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Not all questions are answerable.

The Bike Adventures of Steven

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For over ten years the face of Bikes for Humanity was its founder and lead volunteer, the unique and amazing Steven Kung. The organization began as Community Exchange Cycle Tours, dedicated to using bicycles to create community. Inspired by his experiences of touring around the world, Steven wanted to replicate the feelings of welcoming and collaboration he felt when arriving in a new town on his bike. In single moments friends are made and someone in a position to help lends assistance to someone in need of it.

From this original idea have come a series of spaces hosting free mechanics classes for the community, and hundreds of group rides between friends who were strangers moments before–bike moves of everything essential to a bike shop to dozens of Sunday Parkways and other events, to a group ride up the Historic Columbia Highway featured in this movie about Portland bike culture from almost a decade ago:

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Since Steven has retired from the organization in September, he has ridden his bike west from Portland, south along 101 through the redwood forests, the Bay Area, Monterey and Big Sur, on through southern California to Ensenada, Baja California, back to Los Angeles, and on a plane with his bike to Taiwan to see family and enjoy the holiday season.

Cycling in Taiwan as he describes it sounds amazing. Touring on bike is safe and common there, with a network of bike infrastructure surrounding the whole island.

He met fellow cyclists such as Mr. Yu, “who was traveling with only a nap sack on his back going in the same direction, and he rode with me for many hours. He had started riding south that day at 12AM from Tauyuan, and met me after he had ridden continuously for 120 miles. He then decided he would ride past his own destination and accompany me until I reached mine that day, bought me lunch and beverages along the way, and help me find lodging for the night, before he turned around to ride back home.”

Steven’s finding his philosophy to hold true, it seems: bikes bringing people together, breaking down barriers, and encouraging those who can help to give to others. Mr. Yu sounded like an incredible character, as Steven continues to describe him.

Mr. Yu rode extra 75 miles beyond his original route that day for a total of 220 miles over 21 hours continuously!! For the 6 hours or so he was with me, he drank only a small bottle of Coke and a cup of green bean smoothie, ate no food, smoked 4 cigarettes (lit them while riding), and did not visibly sweat. Turns out he is 11 days older than me (52 yo in Jan. 2015), and has been doing this type of endurance recreational riding  for years. He has just rode from his house to visit his mom in Tauyuan 145 miles north the same weekend and was on his way back home so he can go back to work Monday morning. He was very impressed with all the luggage I was carrying, and I was floored with his physical endurance. Without him riding along side me, I probably would have not ridden the full 100 miles and stopped much earlier. (He was actually trying to encourage me and ride with me 30 miles more to reach Kaohsiung so I can arrive at my mom’s home the same night! It would have taken another 3 hours, but I was already exhausted obviously. If we had done that, it meant he would have ridden 280 miles for more than 26 hours straight when he got home; he was fully capable of doing that from what I saw.)

While I could write a few thousands words about all of Steven’s adventures, I will leave it at that for now and add some pictures he has sent along.
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Steven’s camping set up on Fonggang Beach on the coast of Taiwan

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A fisherman Steven met at this site

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His catch

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Mr. Young and his mobile shoe shop.