(Keep in mind, I grew up in the very rural part of the state not near colleges or cities that might have had microbreweries or choices.)
I swore when I moved to Portland that I was not going to fall into the coffee obsessiveness that plagues the Pacific NW nor was I going to fall into the microbrew scene for the same reason. Clearly, I failed on both accounts as I love both – and am a snob about both now. For example, I do not believe Starbucks makes good coffee. It’ll do in a pinch, but give me a brew of a small coffee roaster any day.
I feel the same way about beer. My favorites are not the mass produced varieties even if they are local massed produced varieties – I like the micro-brews – the true ones. The ones where you can go and talk with a brewer about his beer and watch him get excited as he gives you a sample of his latest discovery. Where they will take you back in their brewing lair and let you watch as they add and mix whatever they are brewing at the moment.
Lucky Labrador Brewing is one such place. They have three pubs in the Portland area. They don’t bottle. And what I like the most is that they are embedded into the community and use their popularity to do good things for their neighbors. Tour de Lab is one of those “do good” moments.
Portland is bike friendly as well as dog friendly. I think on Garbanzo’s blog, he has talked about both as well as shown examples of how businesses and the city encourage both. Bikers can always find a place to ride. Bike lanes are everywhere. And when safety starts becoming an issue, the city gets creative in how they make it safe for the cyclists. Also, there are many areas where they are removing on-street parking and replacing it with large numbers of bike racks.
Dog-wise – almost any restaurant in the city is dog friendly in their outdoor seating. Some restaurants will actually bring a dish of water for your dog. Parks all have off-leash dog areas. And on the weekends, most people have their dogs with them when they are out and about.
Tour de Lab is Lucky Lab’s way of getting cyclists together to raise money for the local emergency animal hospital – Dove Lewis. Dove Lewis is a great place offering 24 hour nonprofit emergency and ICU pet services. They also have a huge range of specialists for your pets as well as technology to help diagnose any issues. In addition to that, they offer many programs such as training for animal assistance programs, “Read to Dogs” programs for kids, blood bank, and pet loss support. It is always a good cause.
Today, Garbanzo and I rode the “Puppy Ride” or 18 miles. The ride had three legs and started/ended at one of the Lucky Lab locations. It was a fun ride – a ride where the second leg kicked my ass. It was uphill – up the big hill. In fact, the hill we went up is where the local teaching hospital is located and is simply referred to as “the hill”. While it wasn’t as long of a climb as the Big Dog (30 mile) riders had – but it was pretty damn close. I actually was pretty happy with the climb though. For one thing, I think I was one of the few riders that did not have to stop and rest or walk up parts of the hill. I rode the whole damn thing – and I passed people on the way up. As I explained to Garbanzo after wards, I felt like I had the rhythm going up the hill. As long as it wasn’t disrupted by someone, I was good. The third leg was almost all downhill which was fun. It was one of those times where I wished I had a bike computer or something that could tell me how fast I was going because I had some good speed.
Each stop had a hand out to the riders. The first stop it was dog ears. The second was a dog nose. The last stop was pint glasses. There were over 1500 riders on the course today which should mean a good donation to Dove Lewis. We also spoke with a local nonprofit adoption and pet store that is in our neighborhood. They use the pet store to raise money. I told Garbanzo we should start going their for our beasts. It’s a small operation – and the passion they had as we spoke with them made you want to help them anyway you could. And, as Garbanzo pointed out, our animals do like to eat, so helping should be easy.
I don’t have many pictures from today. But, I do have what ended up being a pretty funny picture. A total accident too. I was going to take a picture of Garbanzo in his bike shorts. I did…..look at how he was holding the bike pump…
Oh, yeah, and this is also Mr Self-Deprecating when you say he looks good.
There were many dogs on the bike ride. If you saw a Burley (kid bike trailer), you had a 50-50 chance of seeing a dog in it versus a kid. But one dad that gets my “dad that rocks” award was the guy who was going up the hill with me during the second leg. That guy was on a mountain bike pulling his kid behind him in a Burley, and he was kicking everyone’s ass going up that hill. I liked riding behind him – gotta love bike shorts. 😉
We got finished about 2 hours after we started. Not bad given we traveled through downtown Portland four times. Gotta love stop lights. We ate our hot dogs, drank our beers, then came home for a relaxing afternoon of football. It’s all good.
And, as a bonus for everyone, I will also include the other picture I took of Garbanzo. I don’t think he realized I took it. I guess he will now. Consider it a Sunday bonus.