A First Timer’s Guide to Bikepacking for Beginners.

I am both an avid biker and backpacker but I never thought to combine the two into one experience until recently. This summer I came into possession of a fuji touring bike and decided to give bike packing a shot, and I thought I would write this post with some suggestions about bikepacking for beginners.

For my first trip I wanted to do a simple one night out and back trip, and after consulting an incredibly helpful Willamette Week article about bikeable campsites in the Portland area, I settled on taking a trip to the gorge and staying at Ainsworth state park. This was ideal as the park provided specific bike camping spaces with bike racks right next to the sites. while hilly, this route is both route scenic and do-able for the semi-experienced rider. I rarely felt unsafe even when on unprotected roads.

My Campsite at Ainsworth State Park’s bike packing area.

 

Preparing:

Food:

As someone who has been avidly backpacking for the last 10 years, the most crucial information I can pass along is that the bulk foods section at WinCo is your friend. For this trip I grabbed some of the bulk falafel mix. The falafel can be a bit dry, so I would recommend grabbing some hummus ( which you can get away with not refrigerating for a couple days if you keep it sealed), and pita bread.

For breakfast I went with the old standby of instant oatmeal with peanut butter; easy and quick but also great for a full day of biking. for lunch I would personally recommend something simple like apples and cliffbars.

Gear:

If you bike regularly in the city you probably have much of the needed gear already, such as panniers and bungie cords. However, I did have to go grab some gear from REI, Like a 2 L water bag (I used it to refill my small bike water bottle that I out in my down tube cage), and para-cord for hanging up my food bag.

For just a one or two night trip you can get away with a small gas canister for your stove, but if your traveling with more than one person it never  hurts to go with something a bit larger. I also found that the REI half dome is great for camping as it comfortably fits 2 and is light weight enough for solo trips as well. For further gear info I would recommend checking out an article one of our staff wrote about packing for touring on our website.

Getting There:

There are several ways to make your way to the town of Troutdale, the start of the historic gorge highway. Personally I recommend making your way down Marine drive as it is the flattest, most scenic, and most protected pathway there. However, East Burnside is also a very viable option.

My Route from Cycle Portland to Troutdale

The Ride:

To be perfectly honest the ride is not easy. There is about a 900 foot elevation gain to vista house, the halfway point, and no bike lane. With that said if you are in decent shape and bike regularly it is certainly doable, the drivers are pretty good about giving you space, and the shoulder of the road for the most part is close to bike lane sized. Also, the view from vista house and the subsequent downhill  makes the climb well worth it.

Suggestions:

Personally I would recommend turning this into a multi day trip instead of a one night out and back. Starting in Warrendale the historic gorge highway turns into a walk and bike only path, that runs through most of the gorge. Next time I am planning on spending a night at Ainsworth, popping into hood river for a beer and an afternoon on the beach, then continuing on and camping in the Dalles.

 

Conclusion:

While just a short trip, I’d my trial bike packing run a success. I am looking forward to getting back out and I hope to see you on the road!

 

Buy Caviar Bags in Portland!

Calling all Portland food couriers, big news at Cycle Portland! After receiving a massive shipment from Caviar we are (quite literally) drowning in caviar bike bags! Buy caviar bags in Portland for cheaper!

Here’s what we have in stock (modeled by ex-food courier Sam):

Caviar Delivery Tote Bag:

Price: $4

Dimensions: 9″ x  12″ x  15″

The Caviar Tote Bag is perfect for smaller food deliveries, and is versatile enough to fit in bike bags and backpacks to provide a thermal lining. It is the ideal bag for entry level couriers!

Sam’s Speculation: 

This is my go to bag for when I’m out and not sure if I wanna do deliveries.  Fits in my backpack when I’m not using it, but can hold pretty large orders.    

 


Caviar Delivery Pizza Bag:

Price: $6

Dimensions: 9″ x 20″ x 20″

The Caviar Pizza Bag is perfect for car deliveries. Possessing straps to accommodate multiple holding styles the pizza bag can hold up to 4 20″x 20″ pizza boxes!

Sam’s Speculation:

Feels like 30% precent of all delivery requests are for pizzas.  This is the only bag that can actually hold one without it turning into lasagna by the time you go to drop it off.  It can hold up to three pies, and straps to a rack if you have a bungee.  

 


Caviar Delivery Bike Bag:

Price: $30

Dimensions:  13″ x 13″ x 17″

The Bike Delivery Bag is our favorite here at Cycle Portland. The padded backpack straps make even heavy loads comfortable, while the rigid inserts inside help to keep your food secure. In addition the bike bag has reflective material positioned in visible areas and a side pocket for your gear!

Sam’s Speculation:

For the lunch and dinner rushes.  It has dividers so I can keep multiple orders separate (my record is 4 orders at once).  Also good when I got hot and cold items.  I also use it when I’m biking to a picnic or BBQ.   


As you can see Cycle Portland is the one stop shop to buy caviar bags in Portland!

Work at Cycle Portland!

Job Title

Tour Guide & Bike Shop Staff

 

Company/Organization

Cycle Portland

 

Job Description

Status: Full Time, seasonal position with the possibility of staying on year round. (Minimum of 35 hours/wk required during training, 30-40 hours available weekly after completed training depending w/semi flexible scheduling) Must be available weekends.

 

Compensation: $13/hr starting ( plust tips! ) with possibility of performance raise based on 30-day evaluation

 

Location: Portland, Oregon

 

Who We Are

Cycle Portland works to support and inspire visiting cyclists and local commuters alike though quality repairs, guided bike tours, and affordable well maintained bike rentals. We continue this mission today as we look for tour guides interested in showcasing the city we love. As part of our small team, you’ll have the opportunity to advise travelers about your favorite local attractions and hotspots, lead guests around town as part of our easy-going cycling excursions, and lend a hand a the shop as we continue our goal of providing excellent service to our community through our full-service bike shop in downtown Portland, OR.

 

While primarily focused on tour guiding, this position is multidisciplinary by nature. This position encompasses guiding up to two tours per day (4-5 hours of outdoor time) on our Foodie, Brewery, or City excursions. During time at the shop you’ll help guide clients through our bike rental process, answer general questions about the products and services we offer, and assist in keeping the shop running smoothly. You’ll also get the opportunity to dive deep into the history our our city in both past, present, and future as we work to keep our tours engaging, fun, and informative.

 

Knowledge and skill in the following areas is preferred (but not required), and represents core strengths as part of this position.

 

This position is suited to individuals who are objective oriented and enjoy sharing their knowledge and experience with others. Our tour guides interface directly with the public, and comfort with giving directions, route assistance, and helping clients plan their visit to Portland is highly valued. While we’re sometimes known as a tour & rental shop, we deeply appreciate our connections to our local riders, friends, and commuters formed over the last 10 years. In this position you’ll get to continue those relationships with our cycling community, while forming many new ones as we meet a host of amazing travelers looking to learn more about the city we call home.

 

How To Apply

Cycle Portland is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.

 

As part of your resume please include a brief paragraph about why you’d be a good fit for this position, and your weekday/weekend availabilities. This is a full time position, however part time can be considered based on merit.

 

Email to: [email protected] (or)

Drop off: Cycle Portland 117 NW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR

Favorite Bike Path in Portland – Hawthorne to Tabor

A good bike path is predictable and unexpected. A good bike path is popular and inconspicuous. A good bike path is simple and adventuresome. Despite the minimalist nature of this quadrant cutting bikeway, there seem to be endless opportunities. Consequently, in Southeast, in all its natural and man made beauty, I have found a favorite bike path in Portland.

The Bike Path

Beginning from its most western point, the path starts at the food carts at Hawthorne and 12th, known as Cartopia. Most folks would confess that it’s not good to start your bike ride with a big meal. But I am a character of contradictions.

Ladd’s Addition

After stuffing face with Potato Champion fries or a Bottle Rocket  burger, look to the south to embark into Ladd’s Addition. Inspired by the French L’Enfant design, this section of Portland sticks out on a map like a positive drug test result at the Tour de France in the early 2000s. There is plenty of room for cyclists to pedal while enjoying the local scenery in this cozy neighborhood. Find comfort in the shade of the American Elms. Gander at the diverse homes. Inhale the fresh Portland air.

Then exhale and round Ladd’s Circle. Next, veer off right to exit onto Harrison. Circumvent the small neighborhood Rose Garden. Past this, heading east, there will be a stoplight. Perpendicular to your path is 20th Avenue, a popular road for cars to use. Consequently, this stoplight is a nifty piece of Portland bicycle infrastructure. Often, busy intersections are where car-bike and car-pedestrian related accidents occur. The light here ensures that all travelers are aware of the frequent use of this cross-section. Following the white crosswalk or green cross-bike, citizens can cross comfortably as cars come to a halt indicated by the blinking light and stop sign. It’s nice knowing a city wants to protect its citizens.

Additionally, there is no through traffic by car at this cross. In fact, there is even a barrier that allows only cyclists to cross 20th. This is part of a measure to prevent cars from traveling for extended periods of time on the Neighborhood Greenways of Portland. This development is a staple of Portland’s commuter transit. It is part of what separates Portland as one of the best biking cities in America.

Enjoy Southeast Neighborhoods

Alas, begin a gradual ascent up Harrison. A single speed nightmare, a commuters struggle, a cyclists bunny slope, this ten block hill offers scenic homes and foliage to enjoy until reaching another bike friendly intersection with yet another 4-way with flashing red lights. When free to cross safely, the ascent is rewarded with a rightward verge onto Lincoln that carries cyclists downhill. Following Lincoln through the heart of Southeast Portland, bikers may peel North or South to enjoy the sights and sounds of our popular districts.

Diverting North, Hawthorne Street exemplifies the weird and fun quirks that make Portland so… well… Portland. Shop at boutiques and thrift stores, enjoy fine dining and food carts, and explore Portland culture. Alternatively, turn South and check out Division Street, a newly flourishing part of Portland offering some of the best food and neighborly feels. Occasionally, if I opt to skip Cartopia beforehand, I’ll stop at my favorite brunch spot Trinket for the ambiance and neighborhood vibes. Ultimately, orient back to Lincoln, continue along the Greenway passing puppies, pedestrians and parks while following signs to Mount Tabor.

Ascend Mount Tabor

https://www.ritani.com/blog/engagements/places-to-propose-in-portland/attachment/mount-tabor/

After crossing another well maintained and safe intersection at Lincoln and 60th, the Mountain will be to the left. Tabor’s main road to the summit offers stunning views to the East. Making way up the volcanic cinder cone, Portlanders can get their fix of mountains, trees and greenery within city limits.

Finally, the summit. Take in the city of Portland, enjoy a snack and watch the sun set behind the city with others. Share in the beauty of Portland. Share in the beauty of bicycle infrastructure. Share with me my favorite bike path in Portland.

Sock Donation Portland Rescue Mission

“Portland doesn’t turn its back on the less fortunate” claims Cycle Portland staff member Jesse Levy. During the month of December, Sock Hop, Cycle Portland’s sister company, donated a portion of their sales toward purchasing socks for the homeless of Portland, Oregon. While the weather gets colder, our hearts (and feet) warm at the notion of helping the homeless with a sock donation. Join the cause!

Sock Donation

Leaders in Portland’s emergency service operations, the Portland Rescue Mission provides clothes, shelter and resources for Portland’s homeless population. The PDX Rescue Mission is a close neighbor of ours. Customers purchase more socks from us for the holiday season. We decided to do a little giving of our own. Through December, Sock Hop and Cycle Portland contributed a successful sock donation. Over 60 socks and assorted clothes were given to the Rescue Mission and homeless of the city. Furthermore, Cycle Portland is looking to continue to build our relationship with the community.

As a result, assisting the homeless became a priority in our cause. “We’ve been involved with the community association for several years,” describes owner Evan Ross, “and wanted to continue to work on livability issues in the neighborhood.” In Downtown Chinatown, people have jackets, pants and often times even access to food. What they don’t have… are socks.

Despite access to many resources, the homeless struggle to find quality socks. Socks are a poor secondhand clothing item and should therefore be purchased new. As a sock retail store, Sock Hop decided to allocate some resources for the community. In a blog on the Portland Rescue Mission Website, Jesse states, “This issue is more common than most think and it is problem that can be fixed.”

Moving Forward

Portland doesn’t turn it’s back on those in need, and neither should you. Cycle Portland, Sock Hop and the Portland Rescue Mission encourage those fortunate enough to buy their own socks to contribute to the homeless community. There is a list of needed goods included on the Rescue Mission website. Finally, join us in building a better community, comfortable living situation and prosperous future.

Free Sunglasses from Sock Hop!

Lens me your ears (and feet). Cycle Portland is working with Sock Hop to provide sunglasses with each online purchase made from now until Valentine’s Day! Whether for you. your love, a casual acquaintance, a winter fling, the hilarious socks from Sock Hop are worth checking out. Buy now to claim your free sunglasses from Cycle Portland.

Free Sunglasses

Back in the summer, we released our Cycle Portland Sunglasses for in shop purchase. Not only are these shades suave and protective, but they are inexpensive as well. Wanting to share the LOVE with our sister company, Sock Hop, Cycle Portland is offering free sunglasses with each online purchase of socks. Now you can gaze with the spirit of Portland

Sock Hop

Sock Hop is a creative sock boutique selling affordable and silly/stylish socks. Looking for a taco-dinosaur sock? They got it. Looking for a pug pun sock? They got it. Looking for a unicorn sock? They got LOADS! Add 5, 10, 50 socks to your cart with FREE SHIPPING and get your FREE sunglasses with it.

If there’s one thing left to say, it’s that you should stock up on socks. People flock to our block to buy Sock Hop socks, but they need not. The prices will leave you in shock. Friends won’t mock, but they’ll certainly talk about your socks. Throw on these free sunglasses and remember… You rock.

Southwest Portland Bike Ride

If you’re looking for good views and an exhilarating ride the Council Crest Greenway Path is the way to go. See what makes the Pacific Northwest so beautiful on this Southwest Portland Bike Ride.

Southwest Portland Bike Ride

Marquam Hill

Unless you are looking to bike a couple hundred feet uphill (a great options with one of our E-bikes) I would recommend taking the OHSU aerial tram (tickets are  $4.90) to the top and starting from there. Once at the top of the tram, take the Gibbs/Marquam hill greenway road until it dead ends into Fairmont. Here you’re going to want to take a right on Fairmont followed by a left on Greenway, then follow the signs to Council Crest Park.

Council Crest Park

Historic Council Crest Park offers a 360-ish degree view of Portland with beautiful views of downtown, the Washington Cascades, Southwest Portland, and on a clear day, a breathtaking view of Mt. Hood. I usually like to stop here and take lots of photos as this is one of the best spots to see Portland.

Downhill

Next comes the fun part. From the top of the crest, head back down Greenway making sure to take a left on SW Talbot Terrace. This road is a bit thin and a little windy so be sure to be alert of cars. At the end of Talbot Terrace take a left on Fairmount Blvd. You’ll follow Fairmont for a while before hooking a right onto SW Chesapeake. Here you’ll have a quick succession of turns consisting of a right on Twombly, then a right on 27th, and finally a left on Sunset. The Fairmont to Sunset section is fairly steep and I enjoy bombing it as fast as possible, but ride at your own comfort level as it is enjoyable at any speed.

Sunset will take you to Hillsdale, one of SW Portland’s cute tucked away “mini towns”. Here there are many great restaurants, food trailers and shops to check out. But I prefer to head west on Capitol Highway to the Sasquatch Brewing Co.  SW taproom for a nice end of Southwest Portland bike ride beer.