Harvest Century :: September 28

Cycle Oregon Photo Gallery


Cycle Oregon’s Weekend Ride cruised through the countryside around McMinnville this year. Though riders faced everything from heat waves to rain to lightning, it’s clear a good time was had by all. Below are some of our favorite photos.

If you missed the ride, don’t worry: There’s still plenty of time to sign up for the gorgeous week-long ride which starts in the Dalles. September 6-14. MORE INFO >>

(click for a larger view)

What Did You Think?

Did you ride the Cycle Oregon Weekend Ride? What did you think? Leave your comments below.

A Trail from Post Canyon?


Want a trail from Post Canyon directly into the Gorge? Northwest Trails Alliance, the Portland-based trails organization, is spearheading an effort to make this vision a reality.

Here’s a note from the organization:

Imagine bike packing from Hood River into Post Canyon, down to the new Historic Highway to Wyeth, camping at one of the new hiker/biker campsites and then riding the new 30-mile CLIMB mountain bike trail before licking your wounds on the three-mile EasyCLIMB. Vision turns to reality with your help.

NWTA and HRATs are working toward the vision one step at a time and are an active member of the Gorge Recreation Coalition and we also have representation on the Oregon State Parks Advisory Committee. Now is the time to set the plan in stone by providing your comments to Oregon State Parks and Recreation as part of the Gorge Parks Planning process. Those of us in the advocacy world know two voices might get the ball rolling, but 100 voices can make things happen.

Parks makes giving your input easy, just review the recommendations:

  • OPRD Current Recommendations
  • Email comments to gorge.parksplan@state.or.us
  • More details >>

We have reviewed the plan information in detail and are working with Parks on the following ideas. The original recommendations did not have much Mountain Bike opportunity and your comments will help, so feel free to borrow and modify from below

Parks plan should include more soft-surface biking trail opportunities in the Parks in the Gorge to respond to the strong demand in the Gorge and close proximity to a large user-base that could reach them via the major state investment in the Historic Highway.

Develop a trail connection between Post Canyon, Wygant Trail and Mitchell Point trail head. This would be accomplished by rerouting the existing Mitchell Point trail and combine with Wygant Trail west up the next drainage to create a more sustainable and gentle trail suitable for bikes that has sufficient turns to keep speed low. The trail would connect to the Post Canyon trail via Mitchell Ridge at some point in the future when land ownership and access agreements are resolved. Parts of this trail exist but are in poor shape and need our eager hands to help.

Integrate trails suggested in the “Lower Post Canyon Trails Project” on Parks property into the planning process. A multi-agency group extensively studied the area and developed recommendations trail improvements that should be taken to the next level: Lower Post Canyon Trail Plan

Show your support for hiker-biker camping opportunities and facilities for bike packing adventures in the gorge.

NWTA/HRATS are deeply involved in advocacy to ensure you will have places to ride and build for the next 20 years? You are probably a member, but is your buddy? NWTA and HRATS could use your help, join, donate and volunteer and forward to your buddies.

Questions? Contact Andy: andyj@nw-trail.org

Thank you,
Northwest Trail Alliance

A Perfectly Portland Day


Feel like a kid again as you cruise the streets of Portland on Sunday Parkways, the streets-freeing event that opens a network of neighborhood streets for walking, rolling, biking and strolling once a month.

Don’t let summer pass by without making it out to at least one Sunday Parkways. If a day cruising through the event doesn’t renew your faith in humanity, nothing will.

Watch (or join!) a sea of people from all walks of life and of all ages moving to the beat in a massive Zumba class at the park, ride alongside tottering tots learning to ride (grinning ear to ear) and hang out on the vibrant green lawn of
Portland’s parks as you enjoy a Perfectly Portland day.

This month Sunday Parkways takes place on July 27 in Northeast Portland.

We’ll be out there live Instagramming (@ORbike) so join us, follow along with the fun, and tag your photos #SundayParkways.

Event Basics

Jump in anywhere on the route
Food, activities, slow pace
Route map >>

Sometimes it Rains


Oh these lovely summer days with cool mornings, hot afternoons and breezy evenings. Sipping beers, dipping in watering holes and harvesting the garden’s bounty. There’s nothing quite like the secret summers of Oregon.

And then come the rains. There are always a few rainy days in the summertime and it can be easy to get caught off guard. Here are some tips for your bike commute on those dreary days.

Light Layers

Just like winter, layering is good in the summertime. Keep your under layers light since the weather is warmer. A tank top, long sleeve and a rain jacket. You might want to tuck your work shirt in your bag since even the most breathable rain jackets still increase the likelihood you’ll sweat on your ride.

Keep Riding

You’re tempted to drive, but don’t give in. You’re on that summertime roll of biking consistently, so keep it going. A little light rain in the summer is no big deal, and you’ll feel better if you just suit up and hop on the bike.

Air it Out

Just like in winter, your gear needs to air out to dry if you want to avoid the stink. Ensure there’s plenty of airflow around your gear and it should dry out pretty quickly in the summertime.

Fenders Off

Chances are good you’ve removed your fenders for summer, and that’s okay. OF course you aren’t going to put them back on just for a day of riding. Avoid the bigger puddles if you can, wear rain pants even if you don’t prefer them and keep your distance from other riders. IF you have a rear rack, a piece of cardboard or other barrier strapped along the rack can act as a quickie rain stopper. You might also want to own a clamp on seatpost fender, which is an easy quick-release method of installing a little fender on the back.

What are Your Tips?

What do you do when our suntastic summers are interrupted by rain? Share your ideas below.

Not Just for Beginners…


I’m honored to share with you all my first book which was just released this June: Bicycling Magazine’s Big Book of Cycling for Beginners.

It was a joy to write and I’d love to share a bit of it with you for a few reasons. One: If you’re a beginner cyclist (or you know one) this is a great place to start. Two: If you’re not a beginner but have enjoyed my regular ORBike columns, this is like getting ten years of columns in one sitting. Three: No matter who you are, there’s always a little something we can learn.

This book covers everything, from how to figure out what kind of riding you want to do, to how to buy a bike, how to dress, take care of yourself, take care of your bike and how to be a great rider – in terms of skill and in personal interactions.

Please enjoy the following short excerpts and if you like them, you can find my book online through my website (which will get you an autographed copy by the author!) or at other online and brick and mortar (my favorite) book shops.

Everything in Balance: Beginning Riding Position

Whether it was the Karate Kid or Luke Skywalker, the wise men of 1980s movies learned that to do anything well, you have to start from the basics. “Wax on, wax off” and “feel the force” were the building blocks—without them, your opponent would handily beat you down.

First off, remember that the bike is on your side—although gravity may be your foe, your bicycle is not. Its spinning wheels naturally create a gyroscopic effect due to their centrifugal force. This effect makes it extremely difficult to tip over while in motion. So the first key to balance is having enough momentum to keep upright. As long as you’re moving around 5 to 6 miles per hour (which is a very average walking pace), your bike will keep moving forward, usually in a straight line.

When it comes to balance, three is a magic number for points of contact with the bike. Your body contacts the bike at the handlebars, the seat, and the pedals. Of these, the handlebars and pedals are the most important part for staying balanced and in control of your bike—which is why it’s easier to stand up and pedal than to ride with no hands.

Your handlebars are a no-brainer because they obviously are used to steer. The body weight resting on your pedals through your feet is just as important though, because that downward pressure—especially when it’s applied evenly—will also help to keep your equilibrium. Just like in the movies where the heroes spend countless, mindless hours getting the basics down pat before they move on, you’ll want to practice these skills often if you’re just learning to get comfortable with a road bike.

Pleasantville: The Nod, the Finger, the Wave, the Smile

You’re riding a long and you spy an oncoming cyclist. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know him, or that he’s in full pro kit, or his bike is an upright clunker, or it’s just a kid riding to her neighbor’s house. The friendly thing to do is say hello.

The road is an unruly place sometimes, so add a little brightness to your day and hers by acknowledging her existence and the shared joy of being on a bike at the same time. A long held cycling adage is that it’s always better to have a crummy day on the bike than no day on the bike at all, so keep this in mind when you
see others on two wheels.

If you’re in a pain cave and can barely make out that a bicyclist is in your field of vision, a gentle nod and smile will do. Hands need to be on the bars for safety? Just lift your index finger and flash those pearly whites. Riding along on the flats? Go ahead and give a nice friendly wave and a grin. It helps not only to connect but is always a good reminder that we should never take cycling (or ourselves) too seriously.

After all, at the end of the day we’re really just big kids on bikes.

Lubrication Equals Love

There are a lot of moving parts on your bike, but nothing gets put through the ringer like your chain. You’re entirely dependent on it to make your bike move forward, so it’s working constantly with every push of the pedals. If you take a close look at the chain, you’ll notice it has plates on the sides, and little rollers in the middle with pins through them holding it all together. When you lubricate your chain, you’re trying to get oil into all the little parts inside of it where metal meets metal to help it move effortlessly.

The most common problems are:
You don’t oil your chain enough (or at all).
You put way too much oil on.

Both of these can cause your chain to wear out before its time—though not oiling your chain is the worst thing you can do.

Tori Bortman is ORbike’s resident bike mechanic. She is also an educator, consultant and the owner of Gracie’s Wrench

Looking for an excellent maintenance class? Tori is an expert instructor. Her small-size classes offer plenty of instructor interaction and opportunities to learn repair in a supportive setting. Learn more on her website.

Beginner’s Take on Mt. Bike Racing


The idea of racing a bike has always been so intimidating to me. There are rules, etiquette and tactics. You have to be reasonably coordinated – which I’m not – and all the men and women lined up at the start look way tougher than me.

But underneath all that, I’ve got a bit of a competitive streak – and racing was starting to look very fun.

I’m a pretty novice mountain bike rider, but I’ve developed a smattering of skills and I put a lot of faith in my new mountain bike, a Raleigh Eva 27.5″ hardtail. For some reason, I decided to not only check out the Eva, but to combine that with checking out the Portland Short Track mountain bike series at Portland International Raceway.

(Full disclosure – my husband is a bike rep, so we get to act as foster parents to a lot of sample bikes, the Eva included.)

Though my July has been packed with travel, I managed to get out and race twice. It’s a great workout, and everyone there is really supportive of newcomers. There’s even a clinic before every race where newer racers can work on skills and train for the more technical parts of the course.

The Eva has been a fantastic bike for me. It’s really stable, handles great and the 27.5″/650b wheels make for a smooth, fast ride. The geometry is pleasantly aggressive while still being comfortable – it feels just as good to do a long fire road climb as it does to bomb the trail afterward.

I loved the hardtail for racing, and for most of the trail riding I’ve done – although for anything super rooty and rocky it can buck you around a bit.

If you’re interested in getting onto racing, here are a couple tips from a fellow newbie.

  • Read through the FAQ of whatever race you’re wanting to do to see what’s required. You’ll need an OBRA license for any races sanctioned by that organization, but don’t let that deter you, it’s only $5 for a day and you can usually take care of that and your registration on site at the start line (arrive early).
  • Check to see if the race offers a clinic beforehand to teach you basics of race etiquette and help you work on skills. Or, check out the weekend clinics at Otto’s Ski and Bike in Sandy. There’s one coming up July 19-20. I loved the clinic aspect, because it gave me a comfortable place to ask my dumb questions.
  • Take time to ride the course beforehand. It’ll help you get a feel for how the race might go, and if you find a particularly tricky section you can ride it a couple of times to choose the best line.
  • Bring some snacks and fuel to keep you going, and to eat after the race – especially if you’re anything like me and turn into a ravenous beast after a ride.
  • Bring a change of clothes, especially if it’s a muddy day.
  • Bring layers – you’ll heat up while you’re racing, but you’ll probably want something to keep you warm when you’re cheering everyone else on later.
  • Racing is about endurance as much as it is having the technical skills. Take it easy at first, and don’t burn yourself out on the first lap.
  • Arrive early. You will want plenty of time to park, unload your bike, suit up and familiarize yourself with the area. That also gives you time to potentially ride the course during open periods.

Oh, and don’t feel bad when the 12-year-old boys pass you. Everybody’s got to start somewhere.

What are your tips?

Are you a new or experienced mt. bike racer? What has worked well for you?

Jessie Kwak is a writer who loves to type about the good life: travel, outdoor adventures, food and drink, and (of course) cycling. You can find her at Bictoro: Bikes and Crafts.

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