Bringing Home the Freshest Kill

Posts in the bikes category

I continue to hate my fellow Portland cyclists.

One of the more militant ones rode by me tonight (are there any that aren’t militant?) and screamed:


I mean, where to begin. As if I didn’t realize this was the case. It’s like “Hey jerky, anything else I should pick up when I’m at the bike shop? Maybe a stupid, canary-yellow adventure spandex suit like yours?

God these people suck. It’s not funny, it’s not “quirky Portlandia stuff.” It’s fucking annoying.

BTW, I’ve seen this particular asshole yell about bike lights before, as though he’s the Official Hall Monitor of Portland Cycling. If you see him, feel free to tell him he’s an ignoble cunt monster. He usually rides with a cycling buddy in the area of SE Harrison and SE Lincoln.

Gym Shorts

Artwork by the great Ricky Sprague


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  • Daniel Kalder: “Right now it seems as if the leadership of the entire planet is coming up for election. At least that’s the impression I get from the news: there are changes of leadership everywhere, or at least in those places where the population is allowed to have a say in such matters. But when I look at the results, I can’t help thinking that the people coming into power are completely incapable of meeting the challenges of our times.”
  • Fred Guteri: “NASA climate scientist James Hanson has warned of a ‘Venus effect,’ in which runaway warming turns Earth into an uninhabitable desert, with a surface temperature high enough to melt lead, sometime in the next few centuries.”
  • Jim Romenesko: “Elmore Leonard liked Detroit Free Press reporter Tammy Battaglia’s piece about a roofer saved from electrocution, so he wrote her a nice letter. ‘I read your story the other day about the roofer narrowly dodging death and admire the way you wrote it,’ the crime novelist told the journalist. ‘What I admire the most is the sound of your writing, your effortless style.'”
  • More Kalder: “I would therefore like to make a modest proposal, a test for those lacking documentation of their tribal lineage but who would nevertheless like to advance their academic or political careers by claiming to be a Native American. Can you rope a steer while on horseback and then cut out and eat its liver, like Herman [Lehmann]? Elizabeth Warren, are you ready?”

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The wife and I have experienced an inordinate amount of bad customer service in Portland lately.

The most glaring and recent example occurred at the REI store in Clackamas a couple weeks ago.

The skinny: I went to REI (a store I’m not terribly fond of to begin with; it’s mostly overpriced, urban backpacker/adventure-wear for well-to-do kayaking dullards).

REI is Horrible

Anyway, the only reason I went was to replace my stolen bike with one authorized by my home insurance adjuster. My intent was to get in and get the hell out so I could rest my aching head, as I was suffering from an awful cold.

Enter REI Bike Store Guy to “help” me with my purchase!

Do you need some help?” he labored to ask.

Yeah, I need to look at a bike. Is there a bike guy around?”

Yeah,” he said, not bothering to elaborate that he was “the bike guy.”

Umm…is that you then?” I said for clarification.


Bike Store Guy was in many ways a typical Portland service industry person — zero social skills; totally aloof; monosyllabic…too cool to help. I should be thankful that I had the opportunity to buy a $600 bike from him.

What follows is a short list of his trangressions:

  • When my wife asked Bike Store Guy if the bike came in any different colors, he definitively said “no.”
  • When I requested to take the bike for a ride, his body language made it clear that I had crossed the line.
  • I told Bike Store Guy the handlebars on my old bike were slightly longer than the ones on the replacement bike. His response? “No, they’re the same.”
  • When it became obvious that I was going to purchase the bike, he asked…

Are you an REI member?”

Yes,” I said. “I think I became one when I bought the last bike. I don’t have my ID number or anything though.”

His response?

Well, if you go over to the customer service desk, they can help you.”

Even though I was astonished by the idiocy of this remark, I was deep in a Robitussin haze and didn’t really give a damn. Plus, I’ve come to expect so little from Portland service industry people that when they act like retards, it barely registers.

But finally, the goon dawdled back to the repair room with my bike to do some final tune-up work or whatever. When he re-emerged — maybe 3 seconds later — miraculously he had checked off the 10 or so items on the “pre-sale” checklist.

More Robitussin-tinged astonishment on my part.

You did all of this?” I politely asked.

Yeah,” he said.

Lastly, Bike Store Guy attempted to rush me through the sales paperwork. Since he was obviously in a hurry to do something — eat lunch, masturbate, take a piss — I pored over the paperwork like I was reading the Magna Carta.  I asked a clarifying question about the warranty, which rankled him.

He then spurted out the incredible line: “Just sign right there.”

Finally, when Bike Store Guy saw that I was dotting the last “i” on my John Hancock, he rapidly said something indecipherable and then raced upstairs to the bathroom or lunch room (or hopefully, nearest noose).

I stood motionless, perplexed. My wife, usually one to hold back her anger with customer service people, demanded we leave. My 5-year-old started crying.

Later that evening, as my cold improved, I experienced “retro-rage,” and I tweeted incessantly about the stupid ordeal.

As bad as it was, though, I’ve seen worse, namely Belmont Computers in Southeast Portland. Worst, most moronic service ever.

But that’s a tale for another day.

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