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

Touring Checklist: What to Bring on a Bike Tour Pt. 1

When planning what to bring on a bike tour, gear is not the least of your concerns. Luggage may not be as exciting as your choice of route or companions. However, preparing thoughtfully for your trip can make the difference between comfort and a grueling slog, or between a minor hiccup or a total breakdown. With our combined touring experience here at the shop, we’ve learned what works for us. It can be incredibly valuable to make a checklist in order to help prepare for your tour. Ultimately what you decide to bring will depend on the style and length of your trip, as well as your personal traveling preferences.

What to Bring on a Bike Tour

Riding Gear

The first decision to make is how much you are willing to “rough it”. If you will be biking from hotel to hotel and eating in restaurants, a credit card will be your most important piece of equipment. If you’re riding farther afield and camping, you’ll need carry everything you’ll need. Keep things you’ll need during your ride in smaller bags or in jersey pockets. Otherwise you’ll be digging through your panniers looking for your squished banana.

  • Water bottles: 2-3 can be mounted on your bike. Crushable bottles like Platypus are good for extra water storage if you’ll be riding long stretches between water sources.
  • Sunscreen
  • Money and Identification (I like to keep it in a small plastic bag in my jersey pocket)
  • Phone, charger, and any foreign sim cards or solar panels you may need to make it work
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Toiletries (still important to brush teeth on a bike tour!)
  • Any other comfort items (like chamois butter)
Bike tour riding gear

And last but certainly not least…

Tools

Unless you are doing a supported ride with a follow car to pick you up, you’ll need to be self-reliant. At the minimum, you will need to be able to fix flat tires and tighten/loosen all bolts on your bike. If riding with others, you will probably only need one set of tools between you, with the exception of tubes.

  • Spare tubes: 2 or more(make sure they are the correct size for your tires, especially if you have different tire sizes)
  • Tire Levers: 2 or 3
  • Patch kit
  • Mini pump (we reccomend Topeak Morph pumps)
  • Set of hex keys, in a multi-tool or separate (check every bolt on your bike to make sure you have a tool that fits it)
  • Lock (U locks are the most secure, but heavy. If you’ll mostly be stopping in rural areas or are riding in a group, a cable lock will probably suffice.)
Bike tour tools

For longer or more remote riding, consider bringing extra tools. Hopefully you won’t need them often, or at all, but the little extra weight can pay off when stranded in the middle of nowhere.

  • Extra spokes: at least one per wheel (each wheel side requires a different spoke length, so make sure you have the correct lengths!
  • Spoke wrench (also wheel-specific)
  • Chain breaker (included in some multi-tools)
  • Spare tire (foldable tires are much easier to carry)
  • Duct tape (I like to wrap it around my water bottle so I don’t need to bring the whole roll, but you could use your seatpost or anything else)
  • Small bottle of bike lubricant
  • Lights, especially if you’re not riding during summer
  • More general tools like pliers, knife, screwdrivers, etc. – a lightweight multi-tool is a great way to get most of these functions in one small package.
  • Cable Ties – For some of our staff, cable ties are the new Duct tape, and very useful in a pinch!

What else?

Is this all I should bring on my bike tour? No… But, these are just the most bike-specific things you’ll need to pack. You’ll find our checklist for other supplies including camping gear, clothing, and more in our soon to come post Touring Checklist: What to Bring on a Bike Tour Pt. 2.

Bike Food Part 2: Food to Take on a Bike Tour

On long bike rides, your body needs lots of food. Buying all your food from restaurants can leave you broke. Trying to subsist on granola bars alone can leave you unsatisfied and wondering why you decided to go on this trip in the first place! With a little creativity, however, choosing food to take on a bike tour can become part of the adventure! If you haven’t read Bike Food Part 1, make sure to give that a read as well.

When I toured down Highway 101 from Washington State to California, I tried to live on $10 a day or less. I came across enough grocery stores that I was able to restock almost every day. You may need to save room in your bags for a few days worth of food, depending on where you are going. Adventure Cycling has excellent maps that can help with planning routes, indicating spots to pick up food, get bike maintenance and camp.

Food to Take on a Bike Tour

To help you better understand what food to take on a bike tour, here is an example menu for one day. I’ve left recipes pretty loose because you never know exactly what you’ll be able to find. You can always add a little flair with sides like a bag of hot potatoes or a roadside peach.

Muesli

For breakfast, you want something simple you can prepare ahead of time.  In the morning, muesli is delicious served in a cup or bowl with some milk and a banana. In a pinch, you can also have it raw or with water. One travel trick I like to use is to put quick oats in a cup and find a place with drip coffee, like a bank or drive-thru cafe. Pour a little coffee into the oats and you’ve got delicious caffeinated oatmeal!

I buy these ingredients when I find a good bulk section at a grocery store.

Roadside Wrap

Your lunch spot usually chooses you. Your legs may yell at you for a break or you may come across a hilltop park to have your bike food with a view of the sea. Either way, you’ll want something you can put together without too much effort. Wraps are pretty easy and are a good way to use fresh vegetables you may come across.

Or, if I have the good fortune to come across a berry bush, I like to make a fresh tortilla “smoothie”:

Campfire Food

After a long ride, it feels real good to sit and not move your legs. Your dinner possibilities will depend on where you’re stopping for the night. If you’re able to make a fire, cooking can be a nice way to wind the day down. If you’ve got a stove and a pot, go ahead and whip up your instant pad Thai. However, people have been cooking with nothing but fire for thousands of years. Here are a few examples of things you can cook over coals:

For more bike food tips for your trips check out Bike Food Part 1 : How to Make Your Ride Delicious and stay tuned for Bike Food Part 3. Stop in the shop sometime, we’re happy to chat with you and give tips on how to plan food to take on a bike tour!

Bike Food Part 1 : How to Make Your Ride Delicious

If you’ve ridden a bike much, you may have noticed there are few kitchens on the side of the road. You also may have noticed you are hungry. You are not alone. But with a some preparation, a positive spirit and burritos, you’ll find there is bike food out there suitable for all cyclists.

Bike Food

I always carry at least a granola bar in my saddle bag. “Bonking,” or running out of energy on a bike ride, is at best an avoidable bummer. At worst, it can be a health hazard, especially if you are far from civilization or riding in cold weather. Fueling your ride can be either a chore or a delicious picnic. It’s easy to find a place to get food in a city like Portland where food trucks are around every corner! But when traveling longer distances, a little planning and attitude makes all the difference.

Your body does require more calories and electrolytes while exercising, but don’t be intimidated by sports food marketing. “Electrolytes” is basically just another way to say “salt”. Calories and electrolytes exist in literally all food. This is what makes it food. Over my experience on longer rides and tours, I’ve found a few favorite foods that fit well in a jersey pocket or saddle bag and add to the pleasure of riding a bike. Then again, everything tastes better after a long bike ride.

Burrito!

A perfect pocket-sized sandwich. I used to have a shirt that said “53 miles per burrito,” which is pretty accurate. The real advantage of this food is the near ubiquity of taco trucks in some parts.  Many times have I been saved from hunger by some middle-of-nowhere taqueria. Remember to bring some cash when you ride, if you dream of burritos.

Trail Mix!

I guess on a bike it would technically be a “road mix,” but the principle remains the same. You can make it as fancy or cheap as you’d like, but I like to buy a bunch of ingredients in bulk and mix them into bags to take with me. Here is a rough recipe I like:

Harmonious Pairs

Snacks don’t have to be complex. Some of the most satisfying road foods I kept going back to were pairs of things that go together. This is partly because its easier to find just two things at a random convenience store in the middle of nowhere. But also you don’t want to spend all your time planning food when you could be riding. Here are a few of the pairs I kept going back to on longer rides:Apple and Nut ButterHummus and chips

Beverage

Water is the best beverage, but sometimes you want something else. You can get fancy powders that magic your water into a smoothie or a sports drink. I prefer to use a little lemon juice or hibiscus mixed with honey, or even coconut water. On long trips with friends, I like to hide a bottle of beer in my pannier. When you arrive at your destination everyone is tired, but a little surprise at the end can turn “ugh, what a ride…” into “wow, what a ride!”

Bike food is important for the mind, body and spirit. As important as it is to take care of your bike, it’s probably more important to take care of yourself! Put the right things in your body and you’ll get the best out of your bike and yourself! Stay tuned for more bike food tips in part 2 and part 3.

Keep Hope Alive in Winter: Plan Your Next Tour

If you moved to Portland a few months ago, you may have thought you were moving to a land of eternal summer. Just look at all the yards growing banana plants and the abundance of patio seating! Now that the weight of your misunderstanding is sinking in, you may be looking for ways to keep  hope alive through the long drizzle season. A cyclist does not run on burritos alone, after all. Here we will encourage you through the winter time by planning for your next tour.

Banana Plant

Step 1: Believe Summer Will Return

Don’t get your head in the clouds, summer doesn’t have clouds. Instead, spend your indoor-time dreaming of all the bike tours you will embark on next year. Weekend tours can be planned fairly spur of the moment.  Maybe a jaunt to L.L.Stub Steward State Park (The Banks-Veronia Trail goes straight through it)? Or perhaps a loop around the Columbia Gorge (Ainsworth State Park has a spacious bike-camping field)? Longer tours might require a winter of planning.

I did not plan much for my tour into California. While it mostly worked out in the end, you might benefit from spending your pent-up energy planning more obsessively than I did. I left Olympia, WA with no destination except “South.” I took the carbon road bike I raced in college, since that was the only bike I had. As I pulled into the campground I intended to stay on the first evening of my tour, I went over a speed bump and my rack fell off. Don’t try to tour with a carbon seatpost and a clamp-on rack! I was then told the campground was closed. So I carried all my gear on my head while I looked for a bridge to sleep under until it was light enough to hitchhike to the nearest town. The next day I bought an aluminum seatpost.

So Plan Your Tour

You can spend a whole winter deciding on a destination, but the journey itself is really the important part. Highway 101 is an ideal touring route. It has abundant views, quaint seaside towns and world-class parks. Some 800 miles later, I ended up in Yolo County in a town of about 150 people. I spent the winter on a family farm/goat dairy and eating the most delicious oranges and pomegranates I ever had.

Welcome to Yolo

If you’d like some help dreaming up your next bike tour, why not stop by the shop for some tea? From our combined wealth of experience, we can suggest routes through the San Juan Islands, Glacier National Park, across India, and beyond. You might just keep the drizzle from seeping into your spleen (well known organ of hope).

 

Coming next: “Step 2: Actually Prepare for Winter.”

Highlights from an afternoon with the NZ Herald

Shandelle Battersby crossed the dateline and the equator back in August to experience the best that summer in Portland has to offer.

We occasionally take it all for granted out here in the Upper Left–plenty of hoppy beers, ideal cycling environment, and beautiful scenery. Shandelle Battersby from the NZ Herald came to visit Cycle Portland this summer to bring the good news back to the lands down under. After signing on to our 2pm Brews Cruise, the group set out to explore some of the exquisite beer culture that peppers the different neighborhoods on the east side of the river.  Read about her time on a typical brewery tour and check out the list of our favorite breweries to explore on your own while visiting Portland! Just swing by our shop to pick up a bike for the best way to explore town.

“On a sunny Sunday afternoon in mid-August, the 35C+ temperatures of the past few days have eased slightly and our group of four — me, two girls from California, and Guthrie Straw, our affable and knowledgeable guide — set out from Cycle Portland’s Old Town HQ for the shadier eastern side of the river.”

“I think these Portlanders might really be on to something with this beer and bicycling thing …”

Brews Cruise
Brews Cruise Guests

Foodie Field Trip: Chicken & Guns Guest Post

a visual pun of chicks with guns
image by Duncan Bayne

Portland is known for many things, Rain, Beer, Bridges to name a few, and most people who come to visit us in Portland know that our food carts (of which we have over 500) are another thing that puts us on the map, so to speak.  During our Foodie Field Trip tour, we visit one of our better know Food Cart Pods, Cartopia in which you will find an amazing treat- Chicken and Guns!  This award-winning food cart specializes in Latin spiced chicken, served with either their crispy potatoes or a farm fresh vegetable salad year-round in generous portions.Without further ado, here’s their guest blog post, along with a couple of photos to get your mouth watering!

chicken and guns store front with firepitChicken and Guns opened in Cartopia in June of 2015 with the goal of introducing Portland to our brand of smokey and spicy Latin American style chicken. We were influenced by dishes we found in Peru, Mexico, and Argentina and we wanted to bring these flavors along with a strong commitment to using only fresh local products and a unique aesthetic as well. We imagined it to be more of a tiny restaurant than a typical food cart. We built the cart out of reclaimed barn wood, recycled materials and installed a large wood bar and seating out front so that people could sit at the counter and see all the magic happen. Cycle Portland has been a great supporter of ours from the very beginning and we cant thank them enough for continuing to bring new guests to try us out.”

 

Our stop at Cartopia is the second of three stops we make during our Foodie Field Trip.  If you would like to know more about this Tour or any of the other tours we lead, visit our home page for more information.

Bon Appétit!