Keep Hope Alive in Winter: Plan Your Next Tour

If you moved to Portland a few months ago (like myself), you may have thought you were moving to a land of eternal summer, given 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.

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, such as a jaunt to L.L.Stub Steward State Park (The Banks-Veronia Trail goes straight through it) or a loop around the Columbia Gorge (Ainsworth State Park has a spacious bike-camping field), but longer tours might require a winter of planning.

I did not plan much for my tour into California, and 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. The first evening of my tour, as I was pulling into the campground I intended to stay, 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 and buy a metal seatpost.

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, abundant with 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 on a family farm/goat dairy and spent the winter eating the most delicious oranges and pomegranates I ever had while would-have-been-me shivered in the cold Olympia drizzle.

Welcome to Yolo

So 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 grey drizzle from seeping into your spleen (well known organ of hope).

 

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

New Portland Travel 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, and 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!

The Future of Bike Wheels?

Tired of spokes, putting air in your tires, and having to pedal your bicycle in the first place? You’re in luck! GeoOrbital has introduced a radical alternative to a standard front wheel, with a fully contained electric motor. It’s one of the quickest ways to set your bike up with electric power – all you have to do is put the wheel on and set up the throttle on your handlebars and you’re good to go!

The wheel has no spokes, instead the hub remains stationary while the rim rotates around it. This also means the wheel requires very little maintenance beyond regular charging. It never has to be trued, and with sealed bearings and motor components there’s little to no chance of water and grime working its way in. Plus, the tire is filled with foam rather than air, making it immune to flats.

GeoOrbital wheels haven’t made it onto our bikes yet, but we do have two models of electric assist bikes available. Stop by any day, or make a reservation on our website, and we can set you up to try one out! The e-bike revolution has to be ridden to be believed. Check the wheel out here.

“What to do in Portland,” put Cycle Portland on your list!

Here at Cycle PDX, we love to share a local’s perspective with Portland’s visitors. But even more than that, we love to get people on bikes and out riding! Laura Chubb’s article, “What to do in Portland, From Microbreweries to Third Wave Coffee,” covers all of your Portland essentials. From taking a bike tour around downtown, to window shopping, to the food cart scene, Laura’s list featured on Independent is an excellent place to start when planning your trip to the Pacific Northwest!

Sign up for our Essential Portland Tour here! Happy riding!

Cycle Portland & TourSpain – Tapas Tour PDX 2017 Available To Book!

Tapas Tour PDX 2017

We’re pleased to announce an exclusive tour in collaboration with TourSpain as we celebrate Spanish heritage and culture during Tapas Tour PDX 2017. The World’s Tapas Day is a worldwide event celebrated in 20 different countries on June 15th. In 2017 Portland has been chosen to be the center of our celebration in the West Coast of the US, for a series of events with the Spanish restaurants in Portland, on the week elapsing from June 12th to 18th. During that week, each one of the participating restaurants will feature a ‘tapa’ specific to a different region of Spain. Different events surround the tapas route to encourage both Portlanders and visitors to take part in this week of Spanish food celebration.

Visiting ten of the hottest tapas bars in town, this tour is available as an East side, and West Side variation. In addition, we will be joined at one location by a renowned Michelin Chef for our East side excursion.

The symbol of Spain, the Tapa represents Spain’s identity, gastronomy, and lifestyle. Tapas have become an internationally recognized hallmark of Spain capturing the focus of the most innovative chefs in Spain and around the world. The custom of tapas combines the pleasures of tasting small pates and sharing with family or friends.

With Portland’s presence as a gastronomic paradise, we’ll be visiting the best of the best, where quality, taste, and appreciation for culinary culture runs deep.

You’re In For A Treat

Our East side route starts with a visit to Bar Vivant, and from there navigates through Portland’s inner East side to Bar Casa Vale, Chesa, and finishes with a dual stop at Toro Bravo where we’ll also get to experience cuisine from Urdaneta after our first course.

Our West side route kicks it off with a stop at the Mediterranean Exploration Company before riding to Can Font, Conserva, Ataula, and ending at Pollo Bravo

Seats are limited on these special excursions, so grab your seat at the table before they run out!

Don’t Miss Out! Reserve Your Spot Today

Join Our East Side Tour:

Book Now

 

– Ride departs at 3:30PM Saturday June 17th and returns by 7:00PM
– 11 Miles of casual riding, some moderate hills
– Multispeed bikes and food included (drinks not included)
– Ride starts and returns to our bike shop

Join Our West Side Tour:

Book Now

 

– Ride departs at 4:00PM Saturday June 17th and returns by 7:00PM
– 6 Miles of casual riding, some moderate hills
– Multispeed bikes and food included (drinks not included)
– Ride starts and returns to our bike shop

To Solve Unique Cycling Issues, You Need A Bike Wizard!

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.

spare parts repurposed by bike wizard
Mike’s wizardly work

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.

repurposed spare parts connect fender to frame
Ant’s-Eye View…

 

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!

a vintage bike with rear fender installed
The finished project ready to roll

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!

Bike Theft- What You Can Do To Not Become A Statistic.

bike theft- bike frame missing key components
Ripping our heart out would hurt less…

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.

detail of the Saint Helens model of the PDX Lox
Locally sourced… from a volcano.

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.

the uniquely keyed locking skewers from HubLox
HubLox skewers with their unique keying system

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!)