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?

Keep Hope Alive in Winter: Actually Prepare

Step 2: Actually Prepare for Winter. Suddenly Commuting isn’t so Hard!

Obvious in retrospect, but when I was in college I rode my carbon race bike (my only bike for a while) everywhere. There was no room for fenders in this SUPERFAST frame, so I would show up everywhere very wet. Now that I am older and (a bit) wiser, I realize that there is no gear more stylish than the crinkly clothes that go “swshswshswsh” because you can shed them like a wet snake skin when you arrive at your destination. The trick is you have to cover actually every part of yourself. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize, but this means jacket, pants, boots, gloves, and a hood or hat. If you want to commute like a professional, here are some recommendations from our staff with over 5 years of Portland commuting experience…

 

Lights

The #1 essential you should always shoot for is a spectacular pair of lights. Lights are good to have through all seasons, but especially so when the days are darker and shorter. I usually carry one high quality, USB rechargeable set, and one cheaper, disposable battery set as a back-up. The higher quality lights will be on my bike, with the back-up set in my bag. Be sure to remove lights from your bike when you lock it up, as these tend to be thief-bait. My favorite lights in general, and that we carry in the shop, are by Light & Motion.

Light & Motion Urban 650 Headlamp
Light & Motion Urban 650 Headlamp

Pictured above is the Urban 650 at $80. I’ve had this light since I started commuting 5 years ago and it still works fantastically. Cheaper lights I’ve bought have had a much shorter lifespan. We carry a variety of Light & Motion lights up to 800. The Urban 350 is fantastic for city riding, especially if your commute is already lit. If you’re like me, and have very dark commutes with no lamps, the 650 is a good go-to.

 

Raingear

The first thing you want to do before you ride is check the weather report. What’s today’s high/low? What are the chances of precipitation by the hour? I like to think of “percent chance” of rain as actually being “percent volume”. But most telling: How many centimeters or inches is it supposed to rain today?

That last question helps me really decide how much gear I need each day. For example, if it’s going to rain 0.3in or more in one day I will definitely grab my pair of rain pants and rain boots. Here’s how I personally categorize rainfall/day:

  • 0.0in – 0.3in: A light drizzle, just a rain jacket will suffice (sometimes I’m stubborn and even go rain-jacket-less, but that’s just me. Like I said, I’ll always have it handy regardless).
  • 0.3in – 1in: Depending on what hours percent-chance is highest, this could be a getting soaked situation. If it rains 1in in the course of one hour, that’s very heavy rainfall. If it rains 1in over the course of a whole day, that’s more of manageable-medium rainfall. These are the things I pay attention to so that I am prepared for my ride.
  • 1in-4in+: This is more of a flash-flood situation, be prepared to be soaked.

 

Other Gear

Fenders are essential, unless you are a fan of mud stripes down your back. Depending on your commuting situation, you may also consider upgrading to all-weather brake pads, upgrading to wider tires with more grip, or covering your bike up if you park it outside to prevent excess wear. Come by the shop and we’ll be more than happy to help you get set up for year-round riding and turn that frowny commute upside-down. Plus, if you come in before December 31st, all our accessories are 25% off, so you’ll save on your lights, fenders and other gear!

 

 

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.

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.”

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!

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. The GeoOrbital E-Bike drop-in wheel 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 Bike Tours and Rental on your list!

Here at Cycle Portland, 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 the Independent is an excellent place to start when planning your trip to the Pacific Northwest!

Cycle Portland Bike Tours & Rentals specializes in putting together fun, creative rides that are great for people looking to explore Portland, OR by bike!

Sign up for Laura’s 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