Friends, with benefits

Ladies take to the trails in weekly Post and Pinot ride

Post Canyon offers ample opportunity for Hood River locals and visitors to enjoy nature, and while there are plenty of groups taking to the trails on bikes, foot, and horseback, the weekly Post and Pinot group ride brings an energy and exuberance to the forest like no other.

Post and Pinot is a weekly all-ladies mountain bike ride that cruises the trails of Post Canyon on Wednesday evenings (when weather and daylight cooperate). If you’ve ever been in Post Canyon after work when the women are riding, it’s possible you’ve heard the spontaneous whooping or even seen them cruising around with big grins on their faces.

Post and Pinot was born in response to the popular Thursday evening coed ride Post and Pint, hosted by Dirty Fingers Bike Shop. Some women did the coed ride and realized how fun riding in a group was, but thought that making an all-women’s version would provide a more supportive and relaxed environment.

Heather Pola, one of the group’s leaders believes what makes the ride unique is “the friendships made and company to be had on a weekly basis along with a good energy that permeates the entire group.”

She says the women are simply there “to hang out and have fun playing on bikes. We hoot, holler, and giggle. We egg each other on to try a jump we thought we’d never dare and ask each other how to turn better going fast downhill.”

It’s a very supportive atmosphere where riders push each other to improve, but is also a no-pressure environment.

The group has had over 20 riders on occasion, but most often consists of about a dozen women. Rides don’t have specific routes each week, and the group often splits up based on what trails people want to ride and by rider ability. Each group has a sweeper to ensure that no one gets left behind or lost, making sure that the experience is positive for everyone.

“With the sweeper, we eventually are all together at certain checkpoints,” Pola explains. “The ability range is very diverse. We have the I-just-like-to-play-on-my-bike-and-ride gals to pro-level riders. We ride in this group to have fun and inspire each other.”

Pola admits to having been a little nervous a few years ago when she decided to try it out. “I had only had a mountain bike less than a year,” she said. “Regardless, they encouraged me to show up. I admit, the first ride I was nervous as to whether or not I could keep up since I was pretty new on my bike. I was so relieved when I realized how chill and fun it was.”

After riding, the group reconvenes back at Dirty Fingers (corner of State and 13th streets) to chat, sip on beer from the shop and wine from Naked Winery, and take part in a raffle drawing that has prizes from many local and national businesses.

“The guys at the shop are at least a little entertained by the giddy post-ride crowd mingling in the shop,” Pola admitted. “It also gives us all an opportunity to learn more about our bikes and that more than lip gloss should go in your hydration pack.”

One of the regular riders, Lorri Epstein, says “It is great for riders of all different skill levels. There’s always someone to ride with whether you want to push yourself or just go for a mellow ride. Everyone is super friendly and just there to have a good time. I meet someone new every week and many of the women I’ve met have become good friends.”

n Join the fun: To join the group, simply show up with your bike and gear on Wednesday evenings. The women leave for Post Canyon on bikes from Dirty Fingers at 5:30 p.m. sharp, and a second meeting place is at the Post Canyon trailhead at 6 p.m.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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