UPCOMING EVENT: Ride to the Light Sanctuary Century

September is my favorite month for cycling. What with the BTA Bike Commute Challenge rolling out the entire month, cyclocross right around the corner and my annual fundraising century! 2013’s “Pedaling for the Pasture” fundraising ride was a huge success. I learned a lot in the process of organizing  and riding my first event like that. After participating in 2012’s “Sanctuary Century,” my first organized century, I was determined to provide support to the animal sanctuary even though the original organizers decided to no longer host the ride.

I can understand why. It’s a lot of work to throw this thing together. It’s not just planning a bike ride. If that’s all it was, that’s easy. You plan a route, advertise what day it’s going to be and hope people show up. But it’s first and foremost a fundraiser.

IMG_4895We’re raising money for Out to Pasture Sanctuary in Estacada, Oregon just 35 miles outside of Portland. I had the opportunity of visiting the sanctuary for the first time during the ride last year. The work that they do is really fantastic. OTP began in 1988 and since then has evolved and grown, but their dedication to providing for abused, neglected and abandoned animals has stayed the same. They work and network with other agencies to name just a few: Northwest Miniature Pig Association, NW In Defense of Animals, Oregon Animal Rescue, Friends of Shelter Animals and area feral cat groups. And if you come on the ride this year with us, you too may get the chance to snuggle a pig or skritch a resident cat.

This year, I have the pleasure of working with my great friends in Monkeywrench Bicycle Club. During 2013’s century, several members of MWBC participated, which ended with some stellar friendships and later membership to their club. Now we’re working together to bring you this year’s fundraiser! I can’t even tell you how excited I am to be working with such a group of dedicated, passionate cyclists and advocates.

If you are want to donate to the cause every dollar helps and goes directly to OTP. Last year I was informed the money went to ensure that the pigs had better coverage for the winter due to our funds. Don’t let piggie feet (they’re actually called trotters which is wicked cute) freeze!

If you want to ride, check out our official website for more details.
You can also keep up to date there as well as show support by following us on, you guessed it; Facebook!

Event Recap: Salsa Demo Day

KODAK Digital Still CameraFriday (8/1/14) morning I had to work. Which would have been a pretty bummer waste of a gorgeous day if not for a speedy “Bonnie & Clyde” style get-away staged by my boyfriend, Brad, followed by an hour and a half drive due east into the depths of weekend camping traffic and the looming Mt Hood.

We were headed to the Sandy Ridge Trail System  on Highway 26 just 40ish miles outside of Portland, Oregon for a day of playing with Salsa’s 2015 fat bikes and mountain bikes line-up.

I’m pretty good friends with one of the Salsa reps, Chuck and had just met the other rep the night before; Ben – so was pretty excited to hang with these guys for the day. The demo was also held in association with Universal Cycles, which had a strong presence of at least four employees either spending their day off enjoying the rides or helping out with the demo. Some people from Mountain Shop were also in presence displaying their rental Salsas all decked out in frame bags. Fat Tire Farm also had their hands in this. They’re really great good folks and I’ve worked with them personally during some jump jams when I used to work at Lumberyard.

Let’s talk about the bikes and the ride. The bikes that they had that they for demoing were the Mukluk, Spearfish, Blackborow, Beargrease, Buzzsaw and Horsethief. I am going to be talking about just the Buzzsaw, Horsethief and Beargrease.

We arrived on-site a little after 1:30 after picking up burritos for ourselves and the reps, ice for the cases of water and our cooler (gotta keep everyone hydrated!), and gassing up the car. After shoving food in our face, it was go time. Which was a little slower than expected because there were so many people there for the demo! Had to wait my turn for a free bike.

Before I begin with my reviews and all, let me give you some background on myself. I don’t mountain bike. I don’t downhill. I don’t even really like riding on gravel. Unimproved roads kind of piss me off a little bit. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I am terrified of heights. Because I’m not. I could stare out of windows from a 60-story building all day long. I am terrified of plummeting to my death from a narrow ledge with unsteady footing. I have short track and cyclocross experience. Hell, I even have slick-rocking experience. But as far as really off-roading; my old mountain bike was a heavy Mavic. I loved it and it was great 10+ years ago when I was using it. Had amazing control of it. But recent experience has been pretty minimal.

That being said, the first bike I hopped on was the 2015 Buzzsaw. This is a full-suspension aluminum frame and was sporting fat 26″ Surly Nate tires. It also had the new Rockshox Bluto fork on it, which I’m not a mountain biker and even in short track or at the Lumberyard use rigid forks because I hate my wrists so couldn’te tell you how amazing it is.

What I can tell you is that even though the first run I did was the “Homestead Loop” which everyone was calling the “Parking Lot Loop” and is only 0.75 miles, I perhaps should have brought my personal short track bike from home (such as my friend Dave did do to a test run), or at least do a walk to see what to expect. Because I was expecting trail riding. I was also expecting people to follow directions and enter from one side and exit from the other. But you know, you can’t even get fuckers to do that on the city bus.

That part was stressful. Never having ridden a fat bike before, focusing on unexpected berms and pavers (thanks for telling me guys!), and then having people coming at me from the opposite direction and negotiating which person is supposed to stop to let the other person pass. (HINT – it’s you, you salmoning ass.)

And then there was the bike itself. The Buzzsaw to say the least SCARED THE FUCK OUT OF ME. I rode the 15″ which felt like a really comfortable frame size. Maybe the tire pressure was too high for someone of my weight class. I don’t know. I’ve talked to a couple people after the fact and we’ve ruminated on different things. It’s impossible to fine tune these things for every person demoing bikes. However, when I first started riding on the trail, I felt the bike was really “floaty.” Like I wasn’t getting that tacky grip on the dirt and it was too bouncy. Like riding a clown bike. Which was pretty scary when I would pick up too much speed, go to brake and would then feel those finely tuned hydraulic disc SRAM Guide RS (coming out in 2015) pull my rear wheel to the left. This was only slightly concerning when the trail abruptly sheered off to the left of me. I just took it slow and focused. Remembered to breath and not panic. It was super helpful when Brad reminded me of something that was in the back of that muscle memory. “Lean into it!” He called out to me. About halfway through that loop I was able to find that balance point on the bike and really enjoyed it. Carefully.

I was ready to be done by the end of the loop, though. Even 0.75 miles was too far for me on that fat bike. I really wish I could take it on a cute little kid’s pump track that’s you know, like 100′ long. That’s a much more achievable goal for me. And then I would do it many times to get the hang of it.

After abandoning the fat bike, I snagged the 2015 Horsethief 29er carbon with split pivot. It’s got that bouncy full-suspension with a couple different fork options. I rode the Rockshox with those SRAM Guide RS. 1×11 drivetrain. I plopped on an available 18″ and with the seat tube pushed down all the way it was a very similar sitting position as a commute bike. Such as the life of demo bikes. I usually prefer between 15 – 17″ so that I can get that bum-wiggle room on this type of bikes (while road & commuter bikes are 48 – 50cm [18-19"] so I was right at the upper end of my extension.)

I went up with three of my friends to “Laura’s Trail” and did pretty well for the most part. Again, I had some issues with braking. I think it was my lack of experience with disc brakes in general. And good brakes all around. (I prefer the toe-dragging technique) – there was some salmoners; especially on some pretty crucial switchbacks. I started off super strong, but towards the end I spooked myself. Especially when I braked too hard on a hillside and endoed the bike. Not myself, but the bike. It was then really hard to get back on the bike to get the rest of the way down the hill.

Both the Buzzsaw and Horsethief had the Thomson Elite Covert dropper post. I was too focused on being safe with the Buzzsaw to actually push the little button on the handlebar and see how it worked. That would have been the bike to test it on. Unfortunately when I was riding the Horsethief the seat was already at the lowest point and when you push the button to lower it and it’s already low, it shoots the seat strait up your crotch. Just putting it out there. It can be pretty awkward to get the seat back down if you’ve never messed it with before. Especially if you’re mid-down hill.

But I had a lot of fun. And when I remembered to sit properly and had a clear window to enjoy myself without S-curves or anything it was great. I actually really like rollers so those weren’t the problem so much as the berms for an inexperienced rider. But I still had a lot of fun.

I didn’t get a chance to ride the Beargrease, but Brad did. He has over 20 years of mountain biking experience and works in the bike industry. He took this bike on a couple runs on Laura as well as Homestead so got a great feel for it. It’s a rigid construction carbon fiber fat bike that was running 26″ 45North Dillinger tires. He has never ridden a fat bike before so had nothing to compare it to, but said that he had a lot of fun riding around that day.

  • “Adapted easily, not too much of a learning curve.
  • Definitely something that makes you want a fat bike. I’d have fun with one.

And to make a day of mountain biking complete, my friend Brennan ended up with 14 stitches in his knee. Dave biffed it right after he got there on his own bike and got a little trail rash on his knee and elbow. There was another guy that bumped his jaw a bit but for the most part and for the amount of people that went through over the course of the 6 hours, I saw a lot of smiling kids, women and men.

Event Recap: XIII Dreams: Atir Cycles Art Bikes & More

atir_artFriday, August 1st, 2014 – after we came home and washed the dust off from our afternoon of demoing fat and mountain bikes we made our way to the recently former trophy shop turned sporadic art space; One Grand Gallery for the ATIR Cycles pop-up art show.

Not to make light of real and serious mental health conditions and trauma, but I feel that I now suffer from PTHSD. You know, post traumatic hipster stress disorder.

For an event that was highlighting bikes, bike art and benefiting Community Cycling Center there was a huge lack of, ummm bikes parked around the event. Not only did we have to fight through a smog of cigarette smoke at the entrance that was in no way in compliance with Oregon’s 10′ rule, after they checked our ID, but didn’t bracelet or hand stamp us (was not aware this was a 21+ event) we made it into the hot, overly crowded gallery for the pop-up art show.

I’m no Fire Marshall, but having been on both sides of the event permitting and the building violating, I had my concerns.

Regardless, once we were able to elbow our way past handlebar mustaches and oversized plastic sunglasses the bikes were pretty cool. What was the most interesting part was that behind most of the bikes, they had corresponding art pieces that matched the bikes. Pretty awesome and a great juxtaposition.

I also really liked seeing Paul Sykes’ wood fenders there. I had never seen them before or associated him with them and they’re really quite lovely.

We didn’t hang around long enough for the raffle or see what beer was going around. A friend of mine apparently won a voucher for $150 off a bike. At $600 to begin with these art bikes were already pretty affordable. I really hope they all got sold. Especially for such a great benefactor.

EVENT Recap: Oregon Manifest Reveal Party

KODAK Digital Still CameraA couple of months ago a friend put out a question asking if someone would be willing to volunteer at the Oregon Manifest for bar service. Actually now that I think about it, I believe this is the same friend that I did the recent podcast with. I owe her cookies or skeptical glances or something. She’s a tricky one.

What I didn’t realize for about two seconds was that my: “Sure, why not? I’m free and have an OLCC card!” equated to a self-proclaimed title of “Bar Czar.” I’m claiming it. I want a pin, sash and/or tiara that says as much.

Before I begin writing about the event itself, I want to say this: thank you so much to the people that made it happen. In case you weren’t really in the loop with what was going on with this year’s Bike Design Project; while we were having our reveal party in Portland there were four other parties simultaneously happening in Seattle, San Francisco, New York and Chicago. (Adjustments for timezones applied.) So, I lied. They weren’t exactly simultaneous. But still. That’s a huge undertaking!

We were collaborating with our event coordinators from Oregon Manifest, the amazing folks at Deschutes Brewery, the already busy Industry peeps and the ever wonderful Community Cycling Center. And who am I? I got that question a lot on Friday night? “Oh, are you a volunteer with CCC?” I guess technically you could have called me that. I was volunteering in benefit of CCC. But in all actuality, I was just me. I was there to coordinate and train beer servers and alcohol monitors to be in compliance with OLCC regulations. In addition my job included assuring both the indoor and outdoor bar functioned efficiently and ensured the volunteers were happy, safe, well-informed and weren’t in need of anything. (Because when you’re the server, who serves you?)

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Article: Guest Speaker on BikePortland Podcast: The Great Blinking Light Debate

If you’ve been following along with my blog the last week, you may have read my two very lengthy articles; “All Lit Up Redux” and “Seizures & Epilepsy – Dispelling Myths” regarding epilepsy and bike light research. You may also be familiar with the original BikePortland article which spurred my interest to compile this data all into one spot. It was something that I wanted to do for a long time, and at one time I had a file cabinet full of amazing stats, figures and studies on lights, helmets, bike lane and all those kinds of bicycle transportation planning goodies. If this cabinet still exists, it’s about 800 miles away and no longer accessible to me.

Such is life.

bp_podcastAfter some tweets (seriously, don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty certain the topic came to fruition through Twitter) an email came through asking if I would be available to be a guest on BikePortland’s July podcast.

Umm yeah.

Even though I felt uber prepared after all the recent research, it’s still nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing to be recorded for me. So of course it’s something that I want to push myself to do. I do really well in written interviews or highly edited format and have a history of sounding like an idiot on badly edited or unedited footage. (Not going to provide you direct fodder, but there’s some interesting stuff over at my Article archive if you want to peruse that.)

So it happened. I felt that it went pretty well. What I liked about the experience is that it didn’t feel like I was at a job interview or doing a presentation. It was three people that I have been friends with for years and we were all sitting around talking about things that we talk about pretty much every day all the time.

I mean, yes – there was structure to it. And thankfully some of my flubs were edited out.

To all the fans of my vagal nerve stimulator: (I know you’re out there!) If you listen at 17:47, it’s hardly noticeable unless you’re used to hearing it, but there’s a warble to my voice. THAT IS MY VNS DEVICE ACTIVATING! Kind of sounds like I need water or am talking into a fan, doesn’t it? If I hadn’t pointed it out, no one would notice, I’m sure. But this is the kind of blog where it makes sense to mention it.

I did say something in error at about 16:24 in the podcast. I corrected my mistake in the comments, but I want to apologize and correct it again. I said that 10% of people in the United States are afflicted with epilepsy. That would majorly suck and the already long waits to see neurologists (sometimes 6 – 8 weeks even for established patients) would quadruple. What I meant to say was that 10% of people in the United States will experience a seizure sometime during their lives. I apologize for bungling terms when I just wrote an article differentiating them!

Doh!

Then I went on to say 2 – 4% of those with epilepsy have photosensitive epilepsy. That number is actually 3 – 5%! I really botched the most important part of my guest appearance! No one called me out on that point.

Maybe because no one cares to point out when the stats are actually higher and more detrimental to safety. 

Also in the last week while I was writing the other articles and doing the podcast, I have received several personal emails and comments through my Contact Page from other cyclists with epilepsy or that have family members and friends with photosensitive disorders. Thank you for sharing your personal stories with me and I look forward to speaking more with you in the future. Maybe a guest profile feature in the future!?

More tidbits I found but wasn’t able to fit anywhere in other articles, though seems topical here:

  • Epilepsy accounts for 0.5% of the global burden of disease, a time-based measure that combines years of life lost due to premature mortality and time lived in states of less than full health. Epilepsy has significant economic implications in terms of health-care needs, premature death and lost work productivity. (source)
  • At any one point in time, between 2.2 and 3 million people are treated for epilepsy and it’s the 4th most common neurological condition that affects more than 65 million people worldwide. (source)

brain_tshirtNot only did the podcast launch yesterday, but when I got home from work, in the mail was a stellar package waiting for me!

A twofer!

The day after the BikePortland article on July 8th, one of my favorite websites, woot! offered a daily t-shirt and tank top deal. I didn’t even have a choice but to purchase it. “Enlightenment,” a glow-in-the-dark design available in both men and women’s sizes and shipping is free.

Unfortunately the tank tops are unisex (t-shirts come in male & female sizing though and fit great!) so even purchasing a small; my small frame is inundated by shirt. Conveniently I am in need of a bathing suit cover next month and this fits the bill in length and looseness. I could always run it through the sewing machine or alter it into a skirt this fall or some other bright idea, I’m sure.

Download BikePortland’s Art & Science of Bike Lights @ iTunes

Download the Podcast at Stitcher 

Seizures & Epilepsy – Dispelling Myths

lights1

NW Quimby & 16th, Twitter tedder42

Last week in the earliest fingers of the falsest of dawns, on what did we decide? Monday, July 7th? There once was a man. This man was equipped with a lovely shade of salmon and mango (you know, to match the dawn, or ironically. . . my website layout) rattle cans and very emphatically wrote a clear statement on a sharrow and in the bike lane between NW 16th – NW 20th and NW Quimby – Raleigh. This declaration, whether in rage at the lack of equal rights afforded to certain individuals with invisible disabilities, outrage at cyclist indifference or senseless hooliganism, we will never know. The words he etched: “FUCK YOU AND YOUR EPILEPTIC LIGHTS.”

People noticed. A few commuters took photos of it and tweeted to Jonathan Maus who subsequently wrote about it on his very popular Portland area bike news and online resource site: BikePortland. You can read the original article here. And as with any internet or news article, there came the comments. . . and the commentators. I generally stay away from such things, but I was called out in the article specifically for my article that I wrote back in January 2013 called “All Lit Up” regarding this very subject. If this paragraph sounds familiar, that’s because it should. You’re not going senile and there’s not a glitch in the Matrix. I stole it almost directly from an article I wrote a few days ago called, “All Lit Up: Redux” which is a twinsie article to this one. Speaking of the Matrix, Hugo Weaving has epilepsy!

What really stood out to me is the misinformation and judgement that people were throwing around in the BikePortland comments – I really, really hate to use this word, but it was a kind of NIMBYism that I was kind of shocked to see. When it comes to people with visible and intellectual disabilities such as wheel chair users, amputees, low-visibility, or perhaps someone on the Autism spectrum; the public will generally attempt to make considerations for their condition to make facilities more accessible. But sitting disabilities and invisible disabilities tend to be open to dismissive and sometimes angry resentment.

So what about those invisible disabilities? Bare with me because this is old, but a ‘1994-1995 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) found that 26 million Americans (almost 1 in 10) were considered to have a severe disability, while only 1.8 million used a wheelchair and 5.2 million used a cane, crutches or walker (Americans with Disabilities 94-95). In other words, 74% of Americans who live with a severe disability do not use such devices. Therefore, a disability cannot be determined solely on whether or not a person uses assistive equipment.‘ (source)

And that’s just talking about severely disabled. Disability is defined by the ADA as ‘a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual.’ (source) According to the ADA, to be considered disabled: ‘impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be considered a disability. . .an impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.‘ Thus people who are HIV+, suffering from PTSD, dyslexia or from drug/alcohol addiction can be considered disabled.

But enough about defining disability in general. Let’s talk about epilepsy!

SCIENCE!

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All Lit Up Redux

Sometime on Monday, July 7th or Tuesday (you know, the 8th) a very determined and irate dude went out in the wee hours of the morning and spray painted the bike lane  and sharrow between NW 16th – NW 20th and NW Quimby. What he wrote across the bike lane in  both a creamy pink and cheery orange spray paint was a very lewd: “FUCK YOU AND YOUR EPILEPTIC LIGHTS.”

I didn’t do it.

But what did happen is people that were commuting took photos of it and tweeted to Jonathan Maus who subsequently wrote about it on his very popular Portland area bike news and online resource site: BikePortland. You can read the original article here. And as with any internet or news article, there came the comments. . . and the commentators. I generally stay away from such things, but I was called out in the article specifically for my article that I wrote back in January 2013 called “All Lit Up” regarding this very subject.

I originally began writing an article regarding dispelling disability myths, but in the course of my writing, I began to bird walk into bike light data and safety. I have separated the two articles for relevance. (Will link the other one when it is completed.)

Let’s talk about bike riding, driving and seizures. Specifically dispelling some misinformation regarding ideals that people seem to have regarding seizure disorders. While I was reading the comments on the BikePortland article, there is as much contention regarding blinking bike lights as there is helmets and wearing headphones.

Unfortunately bike lights border into an ADA issue whereas the other two do not. There was a comment on the BP article where a person asked several questions. One of them was: What it actually takes to get a driver’s attention? 

Let’s look at that, shall we?

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Event Report: The Bike Fair

This last Saturday, June 28th was the last day of Pedalpalooza! For those of you not from Portland or not “in the know” that is a 3 weekish long bike event that usually has up to almost 300 layman-led bike rides/events. Is that the right way to say that? Anyone can put a ride on the calendar! It always starts with the Kickoff Ride and ends with the Multnomah County Bike Fair. This year we have re-branded it is simply “The Bike Fair” for a variety of reasons. For one, Pedalpalooza actually isn’t “countyist.” (Get it? It’s a joke. Like being racist. Come on people.) Some rides will go into all of the tri-county area. And that’s awesome. Let’s not limit ourselves! Also, it’s kind of stuffy. While that’s what we’ve called it for something likebikefair2014 10 years and it brings the idea of carnivals and funnel cakes, the re-branding gives it a breath of fresh air. To accompany this one of the organizers; Ashley Thirtyseven created a woodcut and created the most beautifully serene poster. Unfortunately at the event she was injured and, such a trooper (I of all people can understand her pain, was like that for the following two days) was directing from a chair. Even if I had to remind her to go back to the chair sometimes.

Skipping ahead a moment because I love this woodblock design so much. Ashley and our other organizers (whom I will name throughout the article) did an amazing job. The poster was then designed I believe I recall by Mike & Sonja of Bike Punk Design. What then happened towards the end of the event was magic. Mike & Sonja have a 3D printer. They made a cut-out of the tree/bike and attached it to a hammered copper display and presented it to Ashley. I tried to get a photo but was shooed away.

I meant to show up about noonish to help set up but was having sound system issues. I didn’t know how spread out the site was going to be this year. Sometimes when the venue is more spread out it’s good to have music in your booth if you can’t hear the main stage. Awkward silence is well. . . awkward. I like to jam out if I’m gonna be jamming out all day. Soooo, I didn’t get there until a little before 2pm. Thankfully the event starts at 2pm and usually it’s not so busy right at the start. Also it starts sprinkling. I actually stopped riding on the way to Col Summers Park from my place and pulled out my rain jacket. Which is silly since I was wearing bootie shorts and tights, but better to not be completely soaked, right? I also stopped right BEFORE I got there to put my rain jacket away because the rain had stopped, crank up the tunes and pull out my cowboy hat. Gotta arrive in style.

Me = Showboat.

It was glorious. The last couple of years had been great and fine and everything, but the location were not that official. It’s more of a hassle to have beer (thanks to fabulous Hopworks Urban Brewery) and deal with OLCC, checking IDs, fencing and all that. But all in all, on a personal opinion – and coming from a background of marketing to demographics; we had several food vendors and other vendors. I think we could have attracted more. When we show our successes from this year, I think that next year will be even bigger. I feel that maybe vendors may have been reluctant to commit to the event because of our last couple of years in being in an unofficial capacity but will be more likely to get on board with us in the future.

And about 2:30 the monsoon arrived. Thankfully everything as far as I could tell had been set up for the most part and not many guests had arrived yet. Those that were there dived under all the pop-up tents regardless if you were part of that bike club or business. It was a forced “get to know the people you are sharing a tent with” bonding exercise. And while the rain only really lasted about 10 – 15 minutes, it was a really cool moment where you got to chat with people that you knew and some people that you didn’t know. All activities stopped and nothing seemed quite so urgent for that moment. And when it stopped we all went back to the tasks that needed to be finished.

Then it got hot. It was already kind of warm, but now to add wet in the mix, it became muggy.

Thank goodness I wore like three different outfit combinations in anticipation for the day. I was planning on being backup relief for the Beer Czar, Kahlil who was a rockstar to our volunteers at the beer station. I was mostly heading up the Shift swag booth selling some fantastic 2014 Pedalpalooza shirts as well as some from years past. The Bike Fair is really your only chance to get them. We don’t sell them online and maybe at one or two other events throughout the year so they’re super rare!

I knew I wasn’t going to joust this year. My back has been hurting too much recently and the last couple times I’ve jousted have either ended up really hurting myself or really good. Plus, I no longer have any gear and borrowing a helmet and padding doesn’t always end well. Here’s a flickr set from my 2012 1st joust.

But Sysfail, the DJ called for “Tall Bike Ring Toss” for an event. Two riders tossing as many tires as they can onto cones within 2 minutes? No chance of combat? I was totally in on that. And I did well, too. While waiting, I stripped down of my Black Star belt pouch and cowboy hat so I’d be more streamlined. Then I realized that I would be going up against Carl who was wearing a pink cowboy hat. My hat went back on. If you’re going to have a showdown you gotta do it right. Carl was one of my co-organizers (and friend) from the WNBR. He also helped out with the Bike Fair and has been a long-time bikey person of note. He’s also a big fat cheater.

ringtoss2014We ended up tying on the first round and so we had to face off for a 2nd face-off. Immediately instead of, as the name of the game describes, toss, Carl proceeded drop his entire tire load off at a cone and then hurried to the other cone and tall-bike block me! Not full contact, my ass! I hurled a tire at him. Needless to say, he ended up winning the coveted pink money sign glasses, but it was close. I think I ended up losing by 3 points.

They also had a “Slow Race,” which in the last person to cross the finish line without going backwards or sideways wins. A bike limbo, “bunny hop” competition, tall bike jousting, pie jousting and more!

BikePortland wrote about it here. BP also wrote a special article because it happened to be the Sprockettes 10th anniversary. It was super cool because they had a lot of retired members come and perform or just show up to support them. Jonathan’s wife used to perform with them and he now has two daughters whom I assume go to their summer camps. Because you know, Girl Power!

I also found a great photo article on the Dingo Dizmal blog. I didn’t even see him taking photos. I assume Olive was because he was MCing for a great deal of the day. If you don’t know who are these dynamic duo are; they’re a fantastic clowning tall-bike couple. They do weekly public kid groups but also are available for birthday parties to make balloon animals and paint faces, etc.

All in all it ended up being a fantastic day. Weather ended up being super warm. Tons of people. Great events. Great vendors. Highly successful from my perspective and super thrilled to be back at Col Summers Park.

7 Months Later – VNS Device Surgery

Well, it’s been a long road (I say, as if I’ve reached the end of it, but really, I’m like 2 blocks into a journey) – as of May 23, 2014 I have had my vagal nerve stimulator implanted for 7 months! That’s right. I became a cyborg on November 23, 2013. You can read about it here. Complete with video!

The reason why I don’t talk about my specific medication is because I am not a doctor or a health care professional. Everyone has specific needs and diagnoses. While I totally encourage research when your doctor talks to you about a new option, your body and individual cocktail is going to react differently than mine. Positive and negative side effects or reactions are based on your own personal chemistry, allergies, diet, exercise, sleep and more. I don’t want you becoming biased (if even unconsciously) due to something that happened to me. I DO recommend that you check out the community forums at Epilepsy.com if you want to ask or read about specific medications and numerous other sites.

Now onto the good stuff.

My most recent tune-up was on the 2nd of June, a couple weeks ago – which reminds me that I need to get some blood work done this week to check my new levels for my antiepileptic meds. At that point we lowered my meds again. We’ve been lowering my main antiepileptics for about 2 months now very slowly. I still have my “emergency pills” in case my VNS device fails or I need additional support. These generally are a quick acting anticonvulsants. However, I have been maxxed out on my main meds for a long time. Like, concerningly maxxed out. To toxic levels. So, in 2 months I have gone down 20% for my nightly dosage and 40% of my morning dosage!  My neurologists have told me that I will probably always have to take meds, but this is substantial!

So what about my VNS device? Again, same as medication, people’s devices are set to what is therapeutic to them. This may be higher or lower than what mine is at. I am going to provide you with my settings only because I have a lot of engineer friends and it’s pretty cool information! If you’re reading this and have a much lower setting or a much higher setting, remember that there are other factors – medication, body size, seizure frequency, tolerance, etc.

Output current: 2.5mA / 20Hz / PW 250 microsec
Impedance value 3050 ohms
Magnet current: 2.75mA

*NOTE: For some reason this video filmed mirrored, which is apparently a common issue with my laptop. I didn’t have a program that would do this simple flipping task. I realized that it probably only annoys me. My sleeve tattoo is on my left arm and the device is implanted on the left side.

WNBR – Portland Official Count!

I got the email the other night and kept my mouth shut. It was so difficult. I was so excited. Waited on bated breath. But finally we released it via Twitter yesterday! So many happy people this year! You can read my post about WNBR here!

wnbrcount