Register Your Bicycle! It Just Might Recover Your Bike Someday

Bike theft is a great example of bad things happening to good people. We hear a lot of cases of this from people who come into our shop. Yesterday a preschool teacher told me both her wheels had been taken off her bike in broad daylight outside the school where she worked. This is among the lowest of crimes, but it need not be inevitable. That said, I’m sure if your bike is stolen, you’ll want to recover your bike.

Register and Recover Your Bike

Before you do anything else, register your bike! Seriously, open up a new tab and go to bikeindex.org. Make an account and register your bike. A photo is super helpful, and the more detailed description of your bike the better. At least include the make and model of your bike. But the key is the serial number. This is your bike’s unique number that can be used to positively identify it in the event it is stolen. To find it, turn your bike upside down and look for a number stamped into the frame near your crank. On your, the code may be at any of these locations.Upside down bike

serial code close up
It’s that code closest to the crank on this bike

We run serial numbers of bikes that come into the shop. From time to time we do find that the bike is listed as stolen and we are able to return the bike to its owner. What is more discouraging is when we see a bike with many signs it has been stolen, but searching the serial doesn’t find anything because the owner failed to register the bike before it was stolen. The only thing better than not losing your bike is the amazing feeling of relief and content when you recover your bike! When your bike is gone it is too late to record the serial number!

Now That You’ve Registered, Lock Your Bike

Practicality plays a role, sure. You aren’t going to ride everywhere with a vault and armed guards to protect your bike. Good news is you can prevent the vast majority of bike theft with basic equipment and vigilance. While no security is absolute, bike theft is usually committed by opportunists looking for the lowest hanging fruit.

The first thing you’ll need is a strong lock. We recommend a U-lock as a minimum precaution. We carry Kryptonite locks in a range of security levels and sizes. I’ve heard plenty of stories of shocked ex-owners who insisted they locked their bike. When pressed, they usually admit they used a cable lock. The same preschool teacher I mentioned earlier told me she once woke up to find a shopping cart locked to her bed with a cable lock. She was able to cut it off using a basic pair of scissors and a little persistence.

If you’d like to protect your wheels from getting stolen, using a cable to secure your wheels in addition to a U-lock is a good idea. Just don’t use a cable lock by itself. For even more security, consider replacing quick-release skewers with locking skewers. We carry several kinds, ranging from skewers that can be removed with basic tools to ones that require unique keys (the most secure option). We use locking skewers for all our rental bikes and recommend them for anyone looking to keep their wheels safe.

At the very least, Make sure to capture the main triangle of your frame and your rear wheel with your U-lock. Believe it or not, I’ve seen bikes in downtown Portland with only their wheel locked to a post. Once I even saw two bikes zip-tied together around a post. Don’t let this be you.

Best Bicycle Phone Mount: Rokform iPhone Pro Series

Are you tired of not having your phone in front of you while biking? Ever wonder of a more convenient way to view your messages and calls while logging in your miles on strava? Well now there’s a secure way to do it and look awesome with this bicycle phone mount from Rokform

Here's what it looks like mounted
Here’s what it looks like mounted

Rokform Pro Series iPhone Case (Headset Mount)

Rockform distinguishes itself from other companies making a bicycle phone mount with not just one, nor two, but three ways to make sure your phone doesn’t detaches itself from your steed. The bicycle phone mount uses a clip-on design most people are familiar with. The case then uses a magnet right under it to stay in place. And if you’re feeling antsy on top of that, you can tie a lanyard to the mount and wrap it around the handlebars. Extra protection for your precious lifeline to the outside world.

Rokform bicycle phone mount on headset
Rokform bicycle phone mount on headset

The case I’m reviewing today is the iPhone model with pro series mount. The mount itself attaches onto and replaces the top cap of the stem. It’s quite light and made of solid aluminum, another big plus is that they’re all manufactured in the US! The phone case is durable and shock absorbent, fairly standard stuff. It has a magnet that slides in on the backside to provide extra security when clipping it on the mount. The mount attaches with a four-prong slider, which took me a bit of getting used to.

One thing you’ll notice is the price, the mount and case go for $99 as a pair. Considering they make the mount here in good ol USA, it’s understandable. The finishing is beautiful in an almost silver blue, with a magnet attached to the underside hidden from view. If you’re worried the slide mount isn’t enough or if it’ll ever wiggle free if it ever does, the very same magnet is strong enough to hold it in place! I’ve tried in multiple ways to see how well it does in common situations such as running over potholes, dropping off a curb, sliding into a fall, and it holds it firm as ever.

Handlebar Mounting Option

It also comes with a handlebar attachment that is just as secure. Instead of the magnet, it uses a lever to keep it in place. If you don’t have any room left on your handlebars, go for the headset attachment. If space is not a concern, both are excellent choices.

Rokform mounted on handlebars
Rokform mounted on handlebars

As for the Rokform Phone case, it does the job well holding my phone in place. With a hard resin plastic backing, it gives the case a much desired support together with the rubber sides. It is a bit bulky, but considering it is meant to be used outside, this is pretty average. The other thing is unless you have a waterproof phone, there is no weather proofing whatsoever on the case. Which is not such a big issue if you’re a weekend sunny day rider or casual commuter.

Overall, I the Rokform bicycle phone mount is a great option for anyone looking for a solid way to mount their phone on a bike. Many other designs are less secure or cover part of the screen. This mount is a good marriage of convenience and security that I would reccomend to anyone looking for a better option.

 

 

 

Portland Valentine’s Day Dinner Bike Ride

What is your Portland valentine’s day dinner missing? Are you looking for something fun, adventurous and delicious? Cycle Portland is now offering a romantic afternoon around the town by bicycle! Stop on in and pedal your heart out with a loved one. You’ll have dinner, dessert, and a knowledgeable tour guide for a full experience in the beauty of Portland. Sign up now (signups now full) for your Portland Valentine’s Day Dinner Bike Ride!

Hawthorne Bridge at dusk
Image courtesy of Ian Sane under Creative Commons 2.0

 

Portland Valentine’s Day Dinner Journey

Limited to only 6 participants, prepare for an amorous afternoon! First, you’ll start at Cycle Portland Bike Tours & Rentals where you and a significant other will be fitted on your bikes for a comfortable ride through the city. Next you’ll make your way down the west side of the Willamette waterfront to the historic Hawthorne Bridge. Although thousands commute daily by bike over this bridge, only few do so with a loved one next to them. While biking across, take in the amazing view overlooking the city. Following this lovely view you’ll pass below Portland’s newest and most bike friendly bridge, the Tilikum Crossing. After that, you’ll make way toward Clinton Street to ride the legendary bike boulevard.

Alas, you will arrive at your first stop, Pastini Pastaria, for a delicious dinner! The Pacific Northwest is abundant in sustainable farms, beautiful vineyards and incredibly clean water. Notably, Pastini brings responsibly sourced food to your table with delicious made from scratch meals. With over 3,000 dining options throughout Portland it isn’t easy to stick out amongst the crowd. However, Pastini has become an amazing option. Emphasizing fresh, local ingredients, Pastini and its owners are personally involved in every aspect of the restaurant. Happily share in this classic romantic Italian style dinner. You’ll receive one delightful dinner entree per person but feel free to recreate scenes from lady and the tramp!

Bike next to a heart
Image courtesy of @markheybo under Creative Commons 2.0

Next you’ll burn off some of those calories biking through the remarkable Ladd’s neighborhood. Pass wonderful American Elm Trees and craftsmen style houses before in chocolate with dessert at Alma. Historically, chocolate has been associated with passion, and Alma knows their stuff. Significantly, this Portland icon plays host to delicious hand dipped bon bon’s. Their combination of single origin cocoa paired with locally sourced flavors make this an excellent way to round out an affectionate afternoon.

Signups Full For 2018

Join us for a Portland Valentine’s Day Dinner Bike Ride! Our tour will depart 3pm from our shop on 2nd and Couch.

 

Tesselate hearts
Image courtesy of Ms. Pheonix under Creative Commons 2.0

What Should I Oil On My Bike? (And What I Shouldn’t)

Bicycling takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears. It also requires a bit of oil and grease to keep your bike moving smoothly with all the blood, sweat and tears you’re getting on it. You might ask “What should I oil on my bike?” Every so often and just once in a while? What should I never oil? Although we’ve had a similar post in the past, we wanted to dive into this question in more detail. Here are our mechanic recommendations on what to oil, grease and what to keep nice and dry. If you’ve got any questions we don’t cover here, give us a call or email.

What Should I Oil on My Bike?

Essentially, you want to make sure all moving parts are oiled/greased appropriately. Be sure to use bicycle lubricant, not WD40 or another solvent. Putting anything other than bike lube on your components can cause them to corrode faster. I’ve had customers tell me they’ve used motor oil, baby oil, coconut oil, vegetable oil, etc. Sounds like a good idea right? Actually it’s not, it ends being more work to clean up since it picks up more dirt onto the drivetrain. Besides the nice scent of the non bike oil of your choice, the only thing you are left with is a bunch of parts needing replacing often. We use Tri-Flow at our shop and it’s a fantastic lube to use for almost anything that needs it, plus it smells pretty great! As for grease, we use Phil Wood Waterproof Grease, great for all the threads and keeping your non drivetrain parts and bearings working smooth.

A bottle of Tri-Flow and a bottle of Phil Waterproof Grease

Things to Oil

Look at all the buildup!

Things to Grease

 

 

What Should I Not Oil?

At best, excess oil can collect dirt. At worst, it can make your bike less stable or safe. Even after you oil something like a chain, its a good idea to wipe off the oil from non-moving parts (like the faceplates of the chain).

So the next time you’re looking at your rusty steed and a bottle of lubricant, refer to this list and ask yourself “what should I oil?”

Closed for the Holidays!

Dear friends!

As we approach this holiday season we will be closed on December 24th – 26th and again on December 31st – January 1st. Thanks for stopping in for bike mechanic work, accessories, rentals, tours and our new Sock Hop business which is now open via the interwebs! Make sure to come in before for that last minute gift (or after if you forgot some people). Our socks make the perfect present for family, friends or yourself!

Happy Holidays!

The Cycle Portland Staff

Our Year in Review: 2017

A Year in Review for Cycle Portland: 2017

What a year 2017 has been.  As the newer members of the shop (Frederick, Jesse and Quoc) write this post, we reflect on our time since joining the Cycle Portland team, and some of our accomplishments along the way. Cycle Portland has truly opened up our eyes to the versatility of businesses in Portland. The story of this shop is an interesting tale and we are all glad to be part of its telling.

Cycle Portland
What a year. What a shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cycle Portland is always evolving, and has hit a great stride for 2017. Today, in a full service bike shop, our ability to quickly fix bikes and get them back to their owners is something to be proud of. As the Cycle Portland mechanic, I (Quoc), lover of all things bikes, come into the shop every day with an enormous grin on my face. I’m always happy to explain what issue a bicycle is having and how to solve the problem in the future.

This year also brought some exciting tours! With visitors enthusiastic about riding, learning and sharing, we (Frederick and Jesse) have found ourselves in the right place. Leading bicycle tours has its ups and downs (those are the hills), but it’s always a blast to share this wonderful city with others! Delivering tours on history, food and beer bring our favorite parts of Portland to visitors and locals alike. I think what we both enjoy so much about our tours are that each one is different. We are able to share what we have the most experience with and love most about the city.

We’ve also seen huge growth in the socks displayed in our window and throughout the shop! The expansion of our sock boutique, Sock Hop, has added more to its collection and just launched online. Our collection of funny, sassy, awesome socks fit right in with the Cycle Portland culture (and right on your feet). We’re excited to see where it goes!

In less happy news, one of our go-to microbreweries, The Commons, closed its doors at the end of this year. We’ll miss their old-world brews, but are looking forward to mixing it up with new routes for our Brew Tour! We are also excited to announce that starting in 2018 we will be serving two beers on Tap at the bike shop. Why not stop by some time to check out some socks, talk bikes, and enjoy a cold brew?

New Portland Guide Book – Featuring Cycle PDX!

Cycle Portland featured again! – in Portland Family Adventures! Looking for a handy guide book to find your way around Portland? Jen Stevenson’s Portland Family Adventures is the perfect companion for traveling families looking for museums, hikes, tours, and more. With all the guides and recommendations available for visiting Portland, it’s hard to figure out which ones have done the research and exploration necessary to really know our multi-layered city. Stevenson has clearly done that hard work. You can trust her recommendations to steer you to the very best family friendly attractions and activities!

 

Our city tours are another great way to get your bearings and see some of the businesses, monuments, and neighborhoods that make Portland so special. Our guides are always happy to answer questions and give you their advice on their favorite spots around town. You can set up a reservation anytime on our website, or give us a call at 844-PDX-BIKE (844-739-2453) if you have any questions!