A Sunday Ride to Oaks Park

Care for a dance?

Sunday rides are a ritual for me, even in winter.  But today’s glorious sunshine accompanied by a warm spell (60 degrees!) made getting out on a bike today a real delight.  I often ride out Springwater Trail, along the Willamette River, to visit Tadpole Pond, and the wetlands of Oaks Bottom, accompanied by a swing through Portland’s bustling Sellwood district.  Today, I decided to stop in at Oaks Amusement Park, one of the oldest continually operating parks in the U.S.

Being an amusement park, there are fun rides, including this swooping roller coaster which now induces a slight feeling of nausea, even though I once relished joining my pals for a spin on this magnificent, multi-colored joy machine.

But in addition to having the option to get sick, Oaks Park also offers picnic areas along the river, an historic wooden-floor roller rink complete with a Wurlitzer pipe organ, and is the home of the Herschell-Spillman Noah’s Ark Carousel, which is itself listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  I like visiting the park in the winter, when it’s closed, to enjoy the quiet river views and to marvel at the nostalgia-inducing feel of the place.

I’ve been riding my 1975 Centurion Semi-Pro, which I converted to 650b about a year ago.  I re-used the Sunshine Pro-Am hubs, laced to V-O rims, and installed Mafac Raid brakes to accomplish the conversion.

The Grand Bois Cypres 650b 32 mm tires are holding up well.  They are a nice alternative to tires offered by Rene Herse and Pacenti.  However, it appears that these tires are no longer available, although some models can still be purchased on eBay.  Below are photos of the bike’s features and current components.  In addition to re-using as many of the original Dura Ace pieces as made sense, I tried to stay true to the bike’s 1970’s roots.

Original Dura Ace FD

SunTour thumb shifters with bare helical casing

Stronglight 99 with 47/34 rings

Mafac black washer RAID calipers

Fender spacers – split to facilitate the installation of wider tires

Frame transfers – Dura Ace, USCF, and Tange Champion #1 tubing (faded)

Wrap-around seat stay, chromed

Jim Blackburn rear rack

Tange Falcon headset

My ride was capped off by watching a hawk flying overhead, chased by a murder of crows, only to land nearby with its prey in its talons.  My iPhone camera was no match for that photo opp, but the memory of that scene will live on, accompanied by many other memorable Sunday Rides.

 

Cycling Along the Columbia Slough to Smith & Bybee Lakes

Winter cycling can bring surprises.  Recently I wanted to try a different route out to Smith & Bybee Lakes involving less street cycling and more options for fewer total miles.  I was yearning to spend some time in nature, and especially wanted to enjoy the wintering birds which populate this watershed of the Columbia River Basin.

I did some research to see if there were some alternate routes which were new since I last ventured out this way.  I found the above map from the City of Portland site, which shows a possible 24 mile loop beginning up in North Portland.  I didn’t choose the recommended starting point and instead drove my bike out to the Smith & Bybee Lakes parking lot, but used the map as a reference for choosing as many off-road trails as possible.

From the parking lot I first ventured east, and stopped at one of the Smith Lake viewing spots.  This experience changed my whole outlook on the ride.  I took a few videos with my iPhone, shown above, which depict the Lake’s natural beauty and teeming wildlife.  There are over 200 species of birds which have been identified in this area, and it is a destination point for birders.

Continuing east I crossed Portland Road and continued along the off-road path which is best described as “occasionally paved”.  Fortunately, the 32mm 650b tires on my 1975 Centurion Semi-Pro worked well for this road surface.  The route is almost completely flat and passes by a sewage treatment plant (not pictured!) and a golf course.  Bald eagles flew overhead while I observed snowy egrets and great blue herons hunting on slough’s banks.

40 years ago, I regularly rode my 1976 Centurion Pro Tour from my house in SE Portland out to Kelly Point Park and back, so it seemed fitting to take the Semi-Pro out for this ride.  I’ve got it set up with Northroad bars for a comfortable but reasonably vigorous riding position.  Back then, the entire route was on streets and highways, and I’m glad now to have the option to explore this region without having to deal with the stress of road cycling.  In those days, there were no cell phones to contribute to distracted driving, and no gigantic SUVs and trucks to kill you instantly.

I cycled out to the end of the path at Vancouver Avenue, then turned around and headed west back to the lakes.  I was saddened to see the trash around the campsites which line the slough near the Vancouver Avenue overpass, but upon returning felt rejuvenated as the skies opened up and delivered a touch of blue.  I continued on toward Kelly Point park, then circled back to stop again at the Lakes, which cannot be explored by bike.  Dismounting is required to protect the natural areas.  I walked my bike slowly along the trails leading to the view points, but a rack is provided at the trail head if you prefer to lock your bike up.

Smith & Bybee Lakes offer a respite from city cycling, even though they are surrounded by industrial lands and were once a dumping site for toxic waste.  If you venture out here on your bike, be sure to stop and take in the sights, smells, and sounds.  You won’t be disappointed.

1947 Camille Daudon – Component Details

After many years of stops and starts, I’m finally completing my restoration of the 1947 Camille Daudon that came into my possession about 5 years ago.  The above photo shows its condition when I first acquired it.  The frame had been re-chromed, but the rest of the bike hadn’t been overhauled.  There was seemingly not that much to do, but one thing that hadn’t been set up by the previous owner was the Cyclo derailleur, which uses a one-piece cable set up that can be challenging to master.  There were a few other mishaps that made the process longer than I imagined – but that is kind of the norm when it comes to restoring bicycles from this era.

I’ve previously written a great deal about this wonderful bicycle, but haven’t yet described its components, so I’ve included a compendium below.  The bike as pictured weighs about 20 lbs, and as you will see, all components were selected for their quality and light weight.

Wheelset – Pelissier Plume hubs on unbranded 650b alloy rims with Huret drilled winguts

Bars – Unbranded alloy city style bars, with wood dowels.

Stem – Camille Daudon lugged stem with hidden tool kit.  The stem clamps directly to the steerer tube.

Brake calipers – LAM Super Dural Model H with original pads.  The interchangeable hardware allows for reversing the direction of the cable (for mounting on a mixte-style frame).  The caliper arms have no up-down adjustment, meaning that brake bridge and fork length precision was required.

Brake levers – Unbranded alloy levers 

Headset – Stronglight – model unknown

Cankset – Stronglight 49 with Rosa 42 tooth ring, 165 mm arms, anodized blue.

Bottom Bracket – Unbranded alloy with hollow axle and reverse thread left side threading, weight 197 grams.

Derailleur/shifter – Cyclo Standard, Daudon modified shifter

Freewheel – 4 speed J. Moyne – 14-24 (identification thanks to reader Bruno)

Grips – Original Velox grips replaced with Felt Grenoble

Saddle & Seatpost – Ideale Model 65 with duralumin frame and alloy clamps (broken).  (The broken clamps spurred an unsuccessful years long search for a replacement, and I ended up modifying some clamps designed for tubular rails).  Unbranded alloy stem with closed top.

Pedals – Unbranded with alloy cages

Camille Daudon was known for modifying existing components and creating his own. It is possible that many of the unbranded pieces were created by him.  These Daudon-created parts might include the seatpost, bottom bracket, brake levers and maybe even the pedals and rims.

The final step is setting up the Cyclo derailleur and shifter – a daunting task.  Fortunately I recently discovered a technical guide dating from the 1930′s on the disrailigears website, which has proved very helpful.  Stay tuned for the results of the last step in restoring this wonderful machine!