Tour de Lab - September 6

Tips for Crushing it on Bike Scout


Bike Scout Scavenger Hunt is a game, on two wheels, on the streets of Portland, and it’s no ordinary scavenger hunt.

The event is limited to only 30 teams, known as troops, so the competition of fierce and fun. Groups of bikers will be weaving through sector of Portland to hunt for treasures, conquer challenges and document experience on this strategy-based game.

Simply making it to the finish line or checking off all the items on the list is not enough. We’re giving you some insider tips for how to get ahead in this fun game.


Tips for Winning Bike Scout

  • Bonus points are an essential way to win this game – find all the opportunities you can to earn them, starting with anything that can be accomplished in advance.
  • Follow @BikeScoutScavengerHunt on Instagram for opportunities to earn bonus points before the event.
  • Instagram pics of your troop getting ready for the hunt. You can earn up to 12 points for posting with the hash tag #BikeScout. Be sure to screen shot your posts to claim your points with the judges at the finish line.
  • Troop spirit counts for a lot. There are generous points for both the Best Troop Theme and Best Individual Costume. Be bold and have fun.
  • Ensure the judges know how awesome your theme is. It’s a good idea to showcase your glitz and glam to them. In 2014, one participant brought a treasure chest of vintage Girl Scout accessories to accompany her outfit. She spent time showcasing the personal relics to the judges – and she took home the Best Individual Costume prize.
  • Take your time at the beginning. As soon as the manifests are released, your troop will have a chance to review them, ask questions, make a plan of attack and potentially take some Challenge Cards for additional points. Once you’re on the street, you’ll want to be efficient and fast, not trying to make decisions. This advance time is key.
  • Challenge Cards are a great way to rack up some serious points, but if you don’t complete the challenge you will be docked the value of the card. Some Challenge Cards are simple, others are complex or might require additional riding. Choose how many you take wisely – there’s no returning cards once you’ve picked (randomly) from the pile.
  • Relax, and have fun! Above all, Bike Scout is a game and it’s really a lot of fun. Scouts who come back year to year have an advantage in strategy, planning and making the most of this fun day.

What You Can Win

Bike Scout offers generous prizes for the winning troop and for a few winning categories, such as Best Troop Theme. The prize packs are valued at $200-$500, but really that’s not that goal here. Bike Scout is all about bragging rights, fame and glory. There’s also a very cool Troop Trophy, a custom creation that is assembled every year by artist and coordinator (aka Scout Master) Matt Stefanik.

How Will You Scout?

Are you scouting? What’s your troop theme? Have you participated in the past? What’s the key to success? Share your thoughts below.

Cycle Oregon Tips: Corners/Descents


Going around a nice, gentle bend is easy, you really don’t need to think about it. But when you’re in a large group ride, you have a little more to consider. Add to that multiple days of riding, fatigued legs and perhaps a steep descent, and you could have a recipe for destruction.

If you’re riding in a multi-day ride like Cycle Oregon, being well prepped for these simple scenarios will go a long way.

So we thought we’d cover some top tips for two topics that often aren’t as straightforward as one might think: Corners and Descents.

How to Ride Through Corners

Whether you’re turning sharply on a flat road or making a swooping arc on a steep descent, here are the best ways to approach a corner:

  • Look ahead – always know what’s coming.
  • Slow down before the bend, then release your brakes to a comfortable level at the apex of the curve.
  • Watch for the riders around you – if you don’t know their riding style intimately well, don’t assume you know how they’ll handle the corner. Give plenty of space.
  • Lower your opposite pedal straight to the ground and push down for maximum stability. If you are turning toward the left, your right leg should be down.
  • Shift your weight slightly to the outside. If you’re turning toward the left, move your butt cheeks slightly off the saddle and to the right to maintain a rigid line of stability. Do so only as much as feels comfortable.
  • Never lean more or go faster than your comfort level. Being in control of the bike is always your number one priority.

How to Ride Fast Descents

Fast descents can be a thrilling way to experience a ride, but the increased speed means an increased risk of damage if you crash. Chances are you’ve worked hard to earn that descent, and we want you to enjoy it.

  • Always ride at a speed that’s comfortable for you. Being in control of your bike is always your number one priority.
  • Pass others with caution. Give wide berth. While it’s nice to ring a bell, sometimes making your presence known with bold words can be startling to someone who is nervously deep in concentration on a steep descent. Use a gentle alert such as a bell or words spoken loudly far in advance “Coming up on your left.” Never pass on the right.
  • Be mindful of wind gusts, they can be brutal on a descent. Lean into the gust for the best resistance.
  • Use your front break sparingly – you definitely don’t want to pitch forward on a descent. If you hit a bump your hand could accidentally grip harder, so be mindful of that.
  • Check your hands periodically. It’s not uncommon for hands to start to go numb on a multi-mile whizzing descent. When it’s time to grab your brakes, you need to know that your hands will have all the dexterity you need. Periodically roll your shoulders, wiggle your fingers and move your hands as much as you feel comfortable doing.
  • Loosen up on those brakes as much as you feel comfortable doing. You’re probably more stable than you realize.
  • Pull your legs together, knees in. This will give you a better center of gravity and prevent any sort of speed wobble.
  • You earned this descent – enjoy it!

We’re running a series of Cycle Oregon Training Tips all season long. Cycle Oregon’s week-long ride is September 12-19 and the weekend ride is July 10-12. Sign up today at

Read more tips on preparing for a multi-day ride here >>

Tour de Lab Rides Again!


Round up your pack and get ready to circle the city on a doggone fun puppy love adventure to support DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital. Tour de Lab on September 6 is an annual tradition that is not to be missed. There are two courses: 19 flat miles (The Puppy) or 41 hilly miles (The Big Dog).

About the Ride

Along the way, you’ll earn your dog nose and ears as you conquer each rest stop on your way to the big prize: The Dog Park Finish Line Party. Relax and enjoy the final dog days of summer as you sip on a Lucky Lab pint or two; the commemorative etched pint glass is yours to keep.

Bring Your Friends!

Tour de Lab is definitely a ride, not a race, and it’s meant to be a leisurely day of exploring Portland and having fun. The ride is even more fun when you come as a crew, so round up your friends. This easy, flat ride is perfect for people who are new to riding, and the perfect opportunity for you to help your newly riding friends have a great time on two wheels.

Free Passes

We give away passes to rides all year long through the ORbike newsletter. You can join the ORbike newsletter on the right hand side of the page here. Big congratulations to Deon Parmley from SE Portland who won this year’s passes to Tour de Lab. Deon says she and her “partner in crime” are excited to participate in their first-ever Tour de Lab. “We love dogs, bikes, and beer! Really…how could I not be excited!!? And it is for such a great cause! Hopefully this will be the first of many Tour de Lab rides!”

More Information


Bike Scout Scavenger Hunt


You’ve spent all summer being serious on your bike, riding hundos and clocking miles. Way to go.

Now it’s time to get silly on two wheels with the Bike Scout Scavenger Hunt, a ridiculous fun game on two wheels.

Simply getting to the finish line first will not make you the winner. Nor will checking off all the items on your manifest, a to-do list of riddles to solve, challenges to conquer and treasures to find. This unique scavenger hunt requires teamwork and strategy.

PRO TIP: Troop spirit and unity are highly rewarded, so start planning now.

We’ll keep you posted along the way with tips to help you win the coveted Troop Trophy, and the abundant baskets overflowing with prizes (most valued at more than $500).

This awesome event is hosted by Filmed by Bike.


Cycle Oregon Training Tips: Cadence


If you’re just heading on a casual ride for the day, cadence really isn’t something you need to concern yourself with. But once you’re looking to do a lot of riding, especially on a multi-day ride like Cycle Oregon, a thoughtful and intentional cadence can really help your legs and your ride in the long run.

It is widely believed that 90 rpm is the ideal cadence to avoid leg fatigue, but that number is really geared toward racers. Others say 60 rpm is just fine for recreational riders. Just like most aspects of body-related techniques, cadence is different for everyone.

“A super high cadence or a low cadence may or may not work for you,” says Jared Gell, the head coach of Competitive Instinct Multisport and director of retail at Pacific Swim Bike Run in Stamford, Connecticut. “But practicing riding at a higher than normal cadence does help your pedal stroke become more efficient. Ultimately, even if you continue to ride at 65 rpm, the increase in efficiency will allow you to ride faster using less energy.”

How to Measure Your Cadence

Competitor recommends this formula:
Basic: Count how many times your right knee comes up in 30 seconds. Double it.
Middle: Keep track with a simple bike computer that includes a cadence sensor.
Advanced: Use a CompuTrainer combined with SpinScan technology to show your output throughout a full pedal stroke.

Aim to have equal pressure for the entire 360 degrees of your pedal stroke, and don’t let your more powerful muscles (glutes) plus gravity create a “woosh” sound on the downstroke.

What is Cadence?
Cadence (or pedaling rate) is the number of revolutions of the crank per minute; roughly speaking, this is the rate at which a cyclist is pedaling/turning the pedals.

Avoid Mashing

Are you a masher? You might not even know that you are. Many people tend to hammer down on their pedals instead of achieving an even pedal stroke. They use their leg muscles to jam the pedal down, instead of employing hip flexors, glutes and other muscles to help out.

You can test to see if you’re a masher with this quirky exercise:
While clipped in, pedal with just one leg. Then try pedaling with the other leg. It won’t be easy, but if you find it’s wildly uncomfortable on the upstroke, chance are good you have a very uneven pedal stroke and could stand to work on not stomping down so hard on the pedal.

Increase Your Cadence

There are some potential health benefits to spinning faster. Some sources indicate that a faster spin will reduce the amount of work your heart is doing.

Many sources suggest attempting to increase your cadence by 10% every year.

When pedaling faster, if you’re bouncing in the saddle you’re risk injury. You need to find that balance where you increase your speed, but you are still firmly planted in the saddle with all of your muscles assisting. As you’re finding this balance, remember to also work on your pedal stroke. Keep your feet flat (not pointed downward or upward), pull your heel backwards on the upswing and have a smooth stroke.

Watch the Video

We’re running a series of Cycle Oregon Training Tips all season long. Cycle Oregon’s week-long ride is September 12-19 and the weekend ride is July 10-12. Sign up today at

Read more tips on preparing for a multi-day ride here >>

Vineyard Tour


The Umpqua Velo cycling club knows the Umpqua Valley in ways very few do. They’ve crafted a ride that carries cyclists along smooth roads with barely any traffic and spectacular views. Sink in and let these experts take you for a ride.

And sure, the riding is lovely, but just like the name sounds, the Vineyard Tour on September 12 is a very cool opportunity to explore a landscape densely enveloped in vineyards.

About the Routes

The ride features five routes with distances of 15-100 miles giving you plenty of options in the Umpqua Valley. The 100 mile route is an approachable 3,200 feet of elevation gain as you snake along the rushing Umpqua River. You’ll traverse low traffic, well paved roads, through covered bridges and take in beautiful views of forests, fields and mountains.

Wine Tasting

Each route features at least four vineyards you may visit along the way, with optional wine tastings and tours. You can pace your ride as you like and opt to visit the wineries you pass, or bunny hop to the next one. It’s sort of a choose your own adventure!

Finish Line Party Plus

Most finish lines feature some food, maybe drink, maybe even a band. But at the Vineyard Tour, when the riding is complete, revel in a finish line party complete with swimming and fishing options at the confluence of the North and South Umpqua rivers. This party is perfect for families so invite the entire gang to either ride with you (great route options) or simply hang out at the finish line.

Ride Basics

Saturday, September 12
More info >>
Route details >>
Register >>
Starts and ends at River Forks Park in Roseburg

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