I'm new to the forum. my name is Mike and I'm a Portland native. 46 and riding, seems like, all my life. i commute daily 20 miles rt, mostly flat, all weather. My commuter bike has been a Specialized Allez Epic - screwed-and-glued old school carbon fiber with aluminum (i think) lugs and steel dropouts (I know cause i bent the crap out of my rear hanger a couple years ago overshifting and sticking the chain! Bent back good as new.). it's been a fine bike for the $220 I paid on Craigslist, but we've never really bonded like the Bianchi limited I wore out before (frame is in the basement waiting for a fixie conversion). I'm a steel guy, for sure. I also have a pre-Trek Bontrager Race that doesn't get nearly enough trail time but makes me grin every time I saddle up. I have been thinking about cyclocross off and on for years, ever since the first races in Portland out at Delta Park, but never committed myself and now it's exploding. Still, this fall I'm in as a complete newbie, and I HAVE to now that I bought a new POPRAD! This is my new commuter, fun tour, do everything bike. Still dialing in the fit, but I'm enjoying the heck out of it. First time with disc brakes and I'm thrilled to no longer be grinding my rims.
Funny/scary story: last week, third day on the bike I hit the lightrail track in light rain and lost it; crashed the new bike! riding right by me was a guy on the most gorgeous bike I have ever seen (the burnt orange Vanilla tourer you can see on Sacha's Vanilla website.) Anyway, embarassed (and sore) as hell, but not a scratch onthe bike. Whew! I think I threw my body under it. Feels lie it. ground down a brake cover and skewer, but that's it. Crossed there hundreds and hundreds of times on the Specialized and never fell. I think maybe the combo of new bike-ness and the intimidating presence of the Vanilla just prostrated me.
The day i purchased my Poprad, the first NEW bike I've bought in probably 20 years, i bought a second bike, a Nishiki Riviera on ebay for $106 including shipping. Hasn't shown up yet, but I'm psyched to get it. Looks in good condition, classic Japanese lugged tourer, full braze-ons and rack/fender mounts and canti brakes. This is gonna be the family pickup truck, I think; the bike I won't be afraid to grocery shop with and lock up outside the store.
Future plans/dreams: ride cyclocross this fall, learn to build my own frame someday.