In the parlance of the Bike Shop, a Wizard conjures up creative solutions to unique problems. Once on a multi-day endurance event I witnessed a Wizard repair a broken spoke and re-true the wheel with a link of chain. Because bikes have been around for over a century with many different manufactures and few if any component or frame standards, unique situations and the need for wizardry come up quite often.
Living in the rainforest of the Pacific Northwest, fenders help prolong the life of your bike and also keep the wet road grim off of you. Given the above mentioned variations that have come with the evolution of bicycles, fender installation often requires wizarding skills. Such was the case with an old Trek 1420 that a customer brought into the shop the other day.
After converting this old road-bike frame to a commuter, our customer wanted fenders so she could commute throughout the year. Adding wider commuter tires limited the space to install the fenders- not uncommon for this type of conversion. The big issue (and where the wizardry comes in) was securing the rear fender behind the bottom bracket.
Many commuter bikes have a bridge between the chainstays to which you secure the fender, but this Trek did not have a chainstay bridge and without it, the fender would sway and rub against the tire- noisy and not good! Utilizing a few spare parts (never throw anything away in a bike shop…), our resident Wizard was able to develop a solution that both looked clean and served its purpose!
Unique problems require creative solutions, and we are certainly glad to have our resident wizard here at Cycle Portland! Stop by and let us see what wizardry we can work for you!
Most cyclist have a special relationship with their steed- giving it a cute yet meaningful name, buying it little gifts like a cool new bell, etc… In essence, your bike is an extension of yourself (or at the very least, on the same level as a beloved pet). This is why bike theft is such a horrible, gut-wrenching experience for the unfortunate ones who suffer this egregious transgression… Unfortunately, the only 100% way to protect your baby is to never let it out of your sight, but that is hardly feasible given the size of most apartment bathrooms… There are things that you can do, however, to protect and deter and lessen your chances of becoming a statistic.
At Cycle Portland we stock all of the accessories you need to help you avoid bike theft. First and foremost, you need a high quality U-lock that is big enough for you to easily secure your frame, but not so big that a thief could use a tool to pry it open. We carry U-locks by Kryptonite and PDX Lox. Both are more that adequate to secure your steed! We are happy to help find the right size lock for your bike and walk through some best practices with you. On a side note, we DO NOT recommend using a cable lock for bike theft prevention; they are easily cut with the most basic bolt cutters.
For your wheels, the component we see most commonly stolen, we highly recommend locking skewers to secure your “go-discs” to your frame. Pin-Head Anti-Theft Skewers are uniquely keyed and provide the best wheel protection. There are other locking skewers available that use either a specific key or a hex wrench to removed the wheel which also work well, but Pin-Head provides the greatest piece of mind.
You should secure other parts of your bike as well, depending on the value you place on them (both actual and sentimental). Basically, if it is not welded to your frame, a thief given enough time and opportunity will steal it. Locking headset caps, locking seatpost collars, and saddle leashes are also great tools to secure the littler bits.
Also (and perhaps most importantly), it’s always a good idea to register your bike’s serial number and info over at Bike Index so that bike shops like us can keep an eye out for your precious baby if fall victim to bike theft. They’ve helped recover well over 3,000 bikes through the program, and even if you just get your frame back… well, that is half the battle right there! (By the way, your serial number can usually be found stamped into the metal on the underside of your bottom-bracket and is usually comprised of eight or more letters and numbers)
A couple of other little things you can do help prevent bike theft are secure your bike in a well-lit, highly visible area with lots of foot-traffic. A thief needs time and privacy to break a high-quality lock, and by robbing them of those (pun intended) two elements will usually cause him or her to pass on to a bike in a more secluded location. Secondly, if you are parking your bike on a rack with other bikes, try to park in the middle rather than on the ends of the racks as a thief will go to a the bike most easily accessed. Lastly (and our favorite), personalize your ride! Stickers, reflective tapes or colored electrical tapes, nail polish… all little things you can use to permanently “individualize” your bike. A thief wants a plain, unadorned bike that they can quickly unload. A bike covered in stickers or googly-eyes or miniature statuettes of liberty won’t unload so fast on the “black market…”
Head over to our friends at Bike Portland for more suggestions and a more complete list of precautions to keep your baby safe from bike theft! If you have more questions, stop on by the shop today and ask one of our helpful employees for advice on which security options will work best for you and your bike. After all, it’s your baby and no one likes it when babies are stolen.
(We’d love to hear from you! Email us with some suggestions you might have for bike security or send us a picture of your individualized steed! (please put “My Awesome Steed” in the subject line) We love to see how people make their bikes their own and keep ’em safe!)
Even though we get to experience our beautiful City of Roses everyday, we always get a kick out of seeing our city through a visitor’s eyes, especially when that visitor is coming from another country. David Whitley with Travel Weekly out of the U.K. recently paid Portland a visit an wrote a great article we’d like to share with you!
David joined us on our Foodie Field Trip which visits Cup & Bar (a brick and mortal collaboration between Trailhead Roasters and Ranger Chocolates), Cartopia (featuring the 2016 Food Cart of the Year- Chicken & Guns), and Fifty Licks Ice Creamery (a uniquely tasty treat). Everything is included in the cost of the tour so all you have to do is ride though some of the historic neighborhoods of the Eastside and enjoy some of our culinary offerings!
The article speaks warmly not just of Cycle Portland, but also of Portland in general. “It’s not a place of big-ticket attractions, but it’s a fabulous city to delve into,” David writes. This is something we try to impart on our tours… that Portland doesn’t have an Eiffel Tower or a Taj Mahal, but what we do have are a 1001 unique things that when taken together do make Portland a world-class destination (and keeps us Weird!).
One of the things that David mentions in his article that caught our attention is that Delta Airlines will start offering seasonal direct flights from London to Portland beginning May of 2017! The addition of this flight will add to the small but growing number of international destinations to which one can directly fly from (or to) PDX. We are always thrilled to have world travelers join us on our tours, and by making the journey easier, we will hopefully be seeing more smiling adventurers in the future.
As Valentine’s Day approaches (whether you eagerly anticipate the holiday or dread it like the Plague), we have a great gift idea for you to either show your Honey-bunny some love or treat yourself to something extra nice. From February 1st through Tuesday, February 14th we will be offering our standard tune up (a $75 value) for only $50! We’re calling it our Sweetheart Valentine’s Day Tune-Up Special!! (We thought about calling it the “Be Our Bikentine” Special, but consensus around the shop was that was too hokey.)
A bike tune-up is a great gift idea for your Doodle-boo as we near Spring and our peak riding seasons. A box of chocolates as they say, ‘Once on the lips, forever on the hips’, but a well-tuned bike can help you or your Pookie-puddin’ be fit and trim by summertime! Flowers fade and wilt in time, but with our standard tune-up, you or your Cuddle-cakes’ bike will be purring for many months to come. Every time your Snooker-woobie shifts his or her gears with crispness, they will think of you. Every time you or your Love-nugget squeezes their brakes with confidence, they will think of you… Indeed, a great gift idea!
When you purchase a Sweetheart Valentine’s Day Tune-Up, you will get a gift card for the tune-up that you or your Smoochie-pie can redeem anytime throughout 2017, so you do not have to schedule the service at the time of purchase (plus it gives you something tangible to give to your Sugar-biscuit on the special day (maybe disguised it as a box of chocolates or in with a bouquet of flowers)).
A couple of fine points… The Sweetheart Gift Card does not include replacement parts. We do, however, have Cycle Portland Gift Cards that can be added with the Sweetheart Gift Card. Also the Sweetheart Gift Card must be presented to us when the bike is dropped off for the tune-up. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us here at the Shop or if you’d like to purchase Sweetheart Gift Card over the phone, we can get that going for you as well!
Whatever you decide to do for your Wiggle-winks or if you decide to treat yourself to something special, we here at Cycle Portland hope you have a special day and will Be Our Bikentine!
The third annual Base Camp Brewing Collabofest is coming up at the end of January, and we couldn’t be happier! Not only will we Portlanders be treated to some exceptional brews crafted specially for this festival (as well as some of the first brews of 2017), but most all of the breweries that we visit during our Brews Cruise Tour were selected to participate this year!
The first CollaboFest in 2015 featured only 10 local breweries, but it was such a success that they expanded the field to 16 breweries for the next year. All Portland breweries are invited to enter, and in October the final 16 are selected by a blind-draw. They are then split into pairs and tasked with developing 2 new, unique brews. The 16 brews produced for this year’s festival will debut at the main event Saturday January 28th at 2pm at Base Camp Brewery. While there certainly is a competitive spirit among the brewers, Collabofest is not a competition but rather an opportunity to showcase the creativity and innovation of some of Portland’s breweries and the camaraderie that exists between them.
Tickets are available for the event at two levels here. All proceeds benefit two non-profits. One of the NPOs is SheJumps, a national organization that provides outdoor education, youth initiatives and grassroots recreational gatherings for girls and women. The other beneficiary is the fund to maintain the Oregon Timber Trail, an iconic 650 mile mountain bike trail that runs from the Gorge down to the California border- one of the crown jewels of Oregon’s bike infrastructure.
Not that we ever need a reason to hoist a pint of local brew, but celebrating collaboration and helping out a couple of worthy organizations seems like a pretty good reason, nonetheless!
Here at Cycle Portland, the Essential Portland City Tour is our most popular tourist activity, especially during the summer months. With stops for photos and information along the waterfront, PSU’s campus and in the Pearl District, this tour helps orient riders in our beautiful city. You’ll walk away with a better idea of Portland’s layout, as well as an overview of the city’s history. From a sailors’ respite in the 1800’s to one of the most popular arts destinations on the West Coast, Portland’s history is written in its streets. Come explore and learn with our knowledgeable tour guides. Rain or shine, you’re in for a good time!
If you’re curious about the sights this tour has to offer, check out this footage from a tour this fall:
Biking in the snow can be a blast or a bit of a trial depending on road conditions, preparation, and confidence. Regardless of your experience level, here are a few tips & tricks to getting through your afternoon commute in the snow.
Take It Slow– Even if you’re feeling confident about your own ability to stay vertical, don’t forget that there will be drivers & riders on the road that might be a bit less reliable than usual, so a slow, defensive ride is going to be safest. There’s no worse feeling than not being able to stop when you want to, so brake early, and tap your breaks frequently to eliminate any buildup of snow or ice on your rims.
Lower Your Tire Pressure– By letting out a little air, you create more surface area in contact with the ground, which can help you maintain good grip with the ground.
Follow Tracks– If there have been other riders through your path, it’s a good idea to stick to the compacted tracks they leave. This will save you some energy in blazing your own trail, as well as helping to alert you to where other riders might have had trouble.
Layer Up– Layering for snow can be tricky, there’s nothing worse than sweating under your rain shell because you’re too warm. A good rule of thumb is to keep rain pants, a rain jacket and warm gloves in your panniers for the whole of the winter. Underneath your rain gear, keep your layers breathable and warm, and take the time to shed or add layers if you need to. It’s easy to get your core temperature out of whack when you’re sweating in sub-freezing temperatures, so pay attention to your comfort, and adjust as necessary.
Cold or Clean– One potential winter storage hazard is the possibility of freezing your gears or brake lines in place, which actually becomes more likely if you’re bringing your bike indoors for storage. Any thawed moisture left on your bike when you bring it back out into sub-freezing temperatures has the potential to become icy and hazardous. Therefore, some people recommend leaving your winter commuter bike in a cold garage overnight. If you’re not willing to saddle up a cold bike in the morning, the other solution is to be more vigilant about your daily wipedown, making sure everything is dry before you get outside. Click here to see our blog post on wiping down your ride.
With these tips in mind, have a safe commute, and we’ll see you on the roads!
It is rare that we have used bikes for sale, but this winter we are retiring a few of our handsome Multi-Speed rental bikes which means they’re officially up for adoption! These Breezers are amazingly reliable and have been well-maintained throughout their tenure in our fleet. If you’re looking for a gem of a commuter cycle, any one of these just might be your new best friend!
We’ve got a few multi-speeds for sale, all internally geared, giving you more flexibility in shifting at red lights etc. They’re also equipped with equipment for easy connection of Dynamo rear lights, an easy way to avoid changing batteries on your pedal-powered steed. Each bike is sold as-is, complete with a bell and a rear rack, should panniers or a milk crate for cargo be in your future.
The frame sizes on the bikes for sale range from 19″ through 23.5″, feel free to stop by or give us a ring if you have any questions about the bikes or would like to take a Breezer out for a test ride!
We have them listed on Craigslist as well as on display in out shop in Old Town. Here are links to the listing which will be updated as the bikes sell: