The trip to Portland for last weekend’s Alley Sweeper, was worth a load of adventures. Especially for Tammy, since this was her first (dis)organized ride.
Arriving at the start of the ride was pretty telling, the whole street was filling with rough tire motos, of one sort or another. There were costumed riders, riders on vintage two-stroke enduros, monkey bikes and mopeds, in addition to the pile of modern dual sports and adventure bikes. It was easy for us to get staged with the van, since there weren’t many cars parked in the area. As we finished getting ready, the street filled in with riders and motos, anticipating the announcements and rider’s meeting.
Tammy has only been riding for a couple years and her experience is mainly riding Vintage bikes on dirt. She had been out in the woods riding a couple weekends ago, so she was ready for more. McQueen, her 1971 Triumph T100C Trophy was kitted with Diablo Tank Bag and Mojavi Saddlebag. What she had limited experience with, was riding in city traffic and she had never ridden pavement in the rain. She was pretty nervous about the wet pavement, until I reminded her to treat it like dirt and expect a little slipping and sliding. She got the hang of wet roads quick, but she still had a sharp concern about getting into and out of car traffic, as we filtered through the streets to reach the next set of alley ways.
The alleys were as diverse as the bikers, paved, gravel, mud, grass and puddles. The alleys were surrounded by yards in every state of trim and disrepair.
Here was one little piece of “city rock” that caused us to pause and double check McQueen’s engine case for oil leaks! Luckily, Tammy rode right through without getting dumped off, when she hit that one.
Occasionally we saw residents, out watching the parade, or trying to instigate some contention with riders. Tam and I came across one such alley, with a few discontents waving a phone camera at us and trying to engage us. We took the high road and turned onto the street, rather that have our enjoyment interrupted with meaningless debate about access to public right-of-ways and the city permitting required to stop us from riding on “their” public road. As we got deeper into the route, there were other creative residents, parking trucks across the alley ways, preventing us from continuing through several of the designated alleys. As we had already found the need to be “flexible” with the routing, we were able to pick up the next alley, without loosing too much track.
Tammy was tired after we had completed the sections of North route, so we decided to wrap up our participation and headed back to base. She was thrilled with excitement from completing the stages we did and she was totally beat from all the concentration and effort needed to handle her Triumph in the alleys and city traffic. The Honda XR650R, kitted with Mojavi Saddlebag, Pannier Pockets and Possibles Pouches, performed predictably for me. It was easy to spy upcoming alleys, while standing in its tall cockpit. Thankfully the Honda was not as coldblooded as usual and fired up second kick, every time. Tammy’s Triumph was easy to start all day, too, but got a bit hot after several long sections of slow muddy alley way, so it got a cool off break half way through the ride.
The guys at Sang Froid Riding Club had done a good job with their map and route plans, but they did a GREAT job on their ride Tshirt. Tammy was very happy to see such a cool Tshirt, as her first ride commemoration and bought me one too. I’ll get a proper pic of the Tshirt(thought I had one) and add it to this post.