We are continuing to checking things off our lists. This trip was really all business and we’ve been making a plan for months now. All those little things that we would buy in the US, and Oregon more specifically (no tax), that we can’t easily get back home in Valencia.
Jeff had ordered some recumbent bike parts but when we went to the store to pay for them and pick them up, the store was closed and they didn’t answer their phones. Booo! So we needed a plan B and fast. Luckily, we’re in the recumbent bike/trike capital of the world. We found a place in the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood of Portland and headed down there to see what they had. Bonanza!
Recumbent pdx – recumbentpdx.com is amazing and they have trikes that made even me think of converting to reclining cycling. The store was packed, literally, to the ceiling with trikes of every stripe. Jeff was hopeful. And the shop dogs were friendly too. But the real gem of the store is Janet, one of the owners. She was incredibly helpful right out of the gate, found what we needed, and then took us down to the basement and showed us all their stock and work shop.
Janet and her husband are transplants from Evanston (near Chicago) 7 years ago. They’re semi-retired and this is their hobby and passion. Take your pick. But what is even weirder is that Janet is from San Francisco originally and after comparing notes on where we’d lived there, found out we have mutual friends from my days at Nordstrom Corporate in Seattle. It really is a small world.
Her enthusiasm is infectious. Once she found out we were visiting from Spain and had a very limited time to gather all the parts and pieces Jeff required, she was all over us to take a ride.
‘These trikes are just sitting here. Lets go for a ride.’
We hadn’t even considered that when walking into the shop. But Jeff had spotted some trikes he had always wanted to try out. ‘Why not?’. But I had never ridden a trike so Janet gave me a little tutorial, picked out some helmets and we were off. We rode down through the neighborhoods of my childhood. I hadn’t been in Ladd’s Addition in 30 years and it was still as lovely as ever. The trees and the rose garden traffic circles were still in bloom. Only in Portland would you see the homeless people who camp in the rose gardens doing yoga.
We rode down to the new Tillicum Bridge that opened 3 years ago for cyclists, foot traffic, and some mass transit. No cars allowed. And the bike trails to get there and back are equipped with their own bike lanes completed with green signal triggers for cyclists. I’d never seen that before. We had a blast! And I learned why Jeff loves his recumbent trike so much. Its zippy and maneuverable and a great workout! And it’s soooo fun.
The views didn’t disappoint and it was great to see how the neighborhood there has changed, but also stayed the same. Janet was a wonderful tour guide but our time was limited. We went back to the shop up a long hill that was surprisingly easy to climb. She got us checked out. We spent ALOT of money but left smiling. The best kind of shopping.
I was almost sad to say goodbye. Meeting people unexpectedly that instantly become friends is like that. And so are the best experiences. The gems that fall, out of the blue, into your lap. It’s what makes waking up and greeting the day so fun. Always so many possibilities.