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8 Tips for Effective Cycling

roadwinding

By cycling instructor Sandee Cano

Have you mastered the basic skills to riding effectively on the road? Perhaps you have just purchased your first road bike, plan to enter a few fun rides this summer, or you have been riding with friends and decided to take your cycling a little more serious but are unsure of technique. Consider the following tips to riding better.

1. Shifting gears

The key to smooth shifting is anticipation. Shift a few seconds ahead of time. It makes taking on a hill more effective. At the bottom of a hill, shift to easier gears while you still have momentum. The shift should occur during one crank revolution.

Ease up pedal pressure as you move the lever, time it right, and you shouldn’t lose significant speed. Until you have mastered the timing, simply push a bit harder for several strokes before lightening the pressure on the shift stroke.

2. Maintain on uphills

The goal here is to maintain your current work level and to conserve energy. Shift gears to maintain your cadence. By staying in your seat you will save energy for the long ride, but don’t be afraid to get up out of the saddle if you’re looking for more of a workout, it’s great for strengthening your core.

3. Downhills

Don’t “ride” your brakes. Your tires and rim could overheat which will cause a blowout. The safest technique is to tap the brakes, applying small amounts of pressure. When riding in wet weather, this technique works best.

4. Braking matters

For quick stops, slide your fanny to the very back of the saddle and apply firm pressure the brakes. This keeps the rear of the bike down so that you don’t flip over the handlebars. Always, always brake evenly. Never grab only your front brake. If you find yourself inclined to do that (dominant hand or for other reasons), you need to spend you miles of riding training yourself out of that bad habit.

5. Know your gears to protect your knees

Avoid pedaling in high gear for long periods. The best cadence for most cyclists is 60 to 80 revolutions per minute (rpm). Racers rpm will range 80 to 100 rpm. Pedaling for long periods of time in a high gear can develop injuries such as biker’s knee. It can increase the pressure on your knees and lead to overuse. Protect you knees by shifting to a lower gear and faster revolutions (rpm).

6. Mix it up for a happy body

Change your body and hands position frequently. Different muscles will take on the pressure as you shift your body. You will change the angles of your neck, back, and arms. This is important for any ride over 5 miles. If you ride regularly but never think to change positions, think again. Just because you’re comfortable in a certain position doesn’t mean your body wants to sustain that position day in and day out.

7. Downhills need pedaling, too

Avoid coasting downhill. Lactic acid has been building in your muscles as you climbed up hill. By pedaling constantly with some resistance (even just a little) while coasting downhill you will help remove the lactic acid and reduce cramping.

8. Learn from other riders

Seek out someone experienced to go riding with. Experienced riders or group of riders can teach you so much about how to ride different terrain and how to be a defensive cyclist. See the ORbike calendar for listings of free rides that are open to the public and organized rides that provide support and guidance.

Now you’re ready to ride!

Technology and Innovation

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Guest article by Carla Dawson

Technology and Innovation are Bike Necessities Nowadays

Digital transformation, the incorporation of new technology, is no longer an option in current business culture – it is a necessity. As information transcends continents across fiber optic cables at the speed of light, the sole way of staying competitive is to undergo constant processes innovation. The digital era is disrupting the way the world does business and incorporating new technology into products and services is essential to survival. Take bikes, for example. Bikes embody childhood. They form part of the familial foundation and act as the metaphorical vehicle transmitting lessons from parent to son and daughter. Yet even bicycles, which we might think of as being the simplest ways of getting around, have changed. Two wheels connected via a rusty chain is just no longer enough for the modern traveler. The ways in which the bicycle industry is adapting to the digital era exemplifies how even the most elementary of products are incorporating technology and innovation to meet the demands of today’

Until recently, the classic idea of the bicycle was the only idea of the bicycle that existed.
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People are now looking for really specific bicycles like e-bikes.
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With the digital era comes massive segmentation. Consumers have an overwhelming amount of options. Purchases are decisions informed by hours of research. Consumers don’t just search for “bicycles,” but for “e-bikes,” “folding bikes” and even “electric folding bikes.” These types of searches did not exists even just 10 years ago. While people have always been interested in niche products, it was only with the age of the digital era that people were given unprecedented access to these markets. Prior to the internet people had to settle for “massive consumer products” found at their local stores. The world wide web and technology have simplified getting niche products because now consumers can get as specific as finding “red electric bikes” with little effort.

Companies now have to learn to give people/consumer what they really want and to use technology and the internet to market their products. So what do people want these days? Here is one way to look at it;

Consumers want what they have always wanted except now they don’t have to settle for what’s found at their local stores. They can now choose almost any product in the world and technology is something consumers want these days.

Gi FlyBike and Go Pro are great examples of extremely innovative technology products that provide detailed features that make them more than simply a bike or a camera.

GoPro is a fantastic example of how a small innovative company launched a successful niche product because it included technology and innovation. GoPro is only a 10 years old company yet it quickly managed to excel past large camera brands thanks to great product development, a niche focus, marketing and timing. There are many mainstream camera companies that should have beat GoPro to market but they didn’t. Surviving the digital revolution is a huge challenge for bike companies – and it is all about being innovative.

In a world that is changing more quickly than ever before, companies that adopt cultures of innovation to keep their products fresh, relevant and interesting will be the ones to succeed in the modern market. We love that the bike industry is a big part of this innovation.

Clocking 100 Miles

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In the cycling world, a century ride (100 miles) is the pinnacle distance to achieve – a crowning moment of pride. If you’ve never completed a century but think you’re up for the challenge, we’re here to be the tailwind that helps you cruise through those miles.

Organized rides are a great way to achieve a century. Support along the way means you don’t have to carry much of anything and rest stops will keep you well fueled. And the finish line parties most rides have are a great motivator to keep you cranking.

It’s easiest to reach your 100 mile goal with solid riding and some training. Start by riding nearly daily, even if it’s just to work and back. Head out on the weekends of for longer rides. Going the distance doesn’t require going fast, but it does require stamina. Keep riding and push yourself to go further than you have before.

Reward yourself! This means your muscles, body and your mind. Stretch gently after your ride, nourish yourself with healthy foods and reward yourself with tasty treats. Don’t be shy about taking an extra serving of pie.

Consider rides in other places. Traveling for a bike ride is a very fun way to see a new part of the country while riding your bike. You’re sure to meet all sorts of interesting people. Once you sign up for the ride and make your travel plans, you’re committed. That means you’re more likely to train and get ready for the ride.

Riding in another location can also be more interesting. If you ride a lot in your hometown, the same routes can start to become mundane. A new location gives you the opportunity to explore a new area and see new sights. This can make the 100 miles much more intriguing.

And here’s the dirty little secret no one wants to admit: 100 miles can be boring. It’s true, though not for everyone. A course that varies with hills, curves, vistas and descents helps keep things interesting. Rest stops placed frequently on course (every 20 miles or so) can make it easy to break up the ride. But sometimes you hit that 75 mile mark and start to dread the fact that you still have 25 more to go. And while we can’t tell you one magic technique for making those final 25 miles fly by, we can offer some tips.

Think through a project. What’s that kitchen remodel going to look like? How are you going to save for your grand adventure? What should your business plan look like? What should you do to celebrate your anniversary? What’s going in the garden this year? Is is time to quit your job?

Time spent on the bike is often a uniquely clear-headed time, free of the clutter of daily life. This can be a great time to brainstorm. And that brainstorming can be an incredible distraction from the miles ahead. They might just fly by!

You can also focus on the scenery. What are you seeing? How does that differ from where you usually ride? Don’t be afraid to stop and take pictures – capture those awesome scenes and settings so you can later share them with others.

Focus on the finish line. Will you enjoy an amazing smoothie, a piece of pie, a burger or a massage? How will you relax afterward? Thinking about those pleasurable moments can do wonders for keeping you motivated!

And don’t beat yourself up for struggling through the final miles. Most of us do, and that’s all part of the experience.

You can do it! We look forward to hearing from those of you who are riding your first centuries. Tell us about it on Twitter @ORbike or send us an email, Rides@ORbike.com.

PHOTO CREDIT: Arthritis Bike Classic

Are You Feeling Lucky?

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This year has been a great year to be a cyclists. There are more supported rides than ever in our region. The weather has been good. The hot days were bearable, the rain was mild and quite often there was a tailwind. Well, that was my experience, anyway.

Where did your riding and travel adventures take you this summer?

If you escaped this summer without major aches, pains or injuries, you’re one of the lucky ones. Riding a bike is a sport just like any other. And while it’s generally extremely gentle on our bodies, injuries do still happen. This time of year is when you want to assess how things went for your body this summer. If you have pains, of your shoulders became fatigued at mile 70, if something just wasn’t quite right with your left knee, if you developed back pain or if any other ailments crept up on you, a bike fit is in order. An expert fitter can help assess what’s happening in your body on your bike over hour and miles.

Biking is a delicious sport because the gentle motion means we can ride blissfully into our older years. Those of us who are stubborn often feel that a little pain is par for the course, but it doesn’t have to be. Specifically sharp pain. A bike fit expert can help eliminate discomfort and keep you happy on your bike.

Yes, it’s going to cost you. A very good bike fit should run $125-$300. And I’ve never encountered anyone who regretted his or her bike fit afterwards.

Once you get your initial assessment, you should be prepared to make some adjustments to your bike. This may be as simple as moving your saddle and adjusting your cleats, but chances are you may need to swap out handlebars or buy new parts.

You ride. You love to ride. You want to ride more. You want to go further. And you want to be more comfortable.

A bike fit is well worth the expense. You very well may get quite a while out of your bike fit before it’s time for another. So take the plunge! Invest in this expert service that’s going to give you a more comfortable ride.

Traveling With Your Bike

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Even if you’re not planning a grand bike adventure, taking your bike along on your next trip just might be exactly what you need to stay sane on your vacation. Whether you’re headed out for business of for pleasure, bringing your bike along can be worth the extra expense and hassle.

It’s fun to go places where we sit around, relax and indulge in rich meals and lazy days. But sometimes those moments are even sweeter when balanced out with some active time on the bike. Riding a bike can be one of the best ways to explore new place, too. From the vantage point of your saddle you’re afforded quieter moments, broader views and occasionally special interactions with people you may not otherwise meet.

Car Racks for Your Bike

If you’re driving, it’s easy to bring your bike along. A roof rack is going to be your best option, but for short distances a “trunk rack” with strap mounts will work. These are inexpensive racks that are easily purchased at bike shops and most big box stores that have outdoor gear. A trunk rack can mount to a variety of car styles, but it will loosen up over time. If you’re ‘using this style, be sure to cinch down the straps every time you stop to ensure it stays secure over the long haul.

A better option, and well worth the investment, is a more durable rack from a reputable company like Thule, Yakima or a similar brand. There are racks for your roof in various easy-to-use styles, or a hitch-mount rack that attaches to a standard car hitch. If you have difficulty lifting overhead or have an extra high roof, the hitch mount can be a great way to go.

Your very best option is to chat with rack experts who can take into consideration how you intend to use the rack, what your budget is and what style of vehicle you have. In Portland, Re-Rack and Rack Attack are both great options for talking this through with real people.

Flying With Your Bike

Taking your bike on an airplane isn’t impossible, but it’s also not all that easy. The first step is to inquire with your specific airline as each of them has a different pricing structure and may have different guidelines.

You’ll want to ensure your bike is boxed extremely well, and this involves removing the handlebars, pedals and sometimes other parts. It’s a hassle, there’s no doubt about that. If you’re mechanically inclined an you regularly work on your bike, you might disagree, but the common rider will probably want to leave this step up to the experts.

So you’ve got to box your bike and ensure it’s safe. A bike case works best for this, though a bike shop can also provide a used bike box for this purpose. If you don’t think you’re going to be doing this all that often, the bike case winds up being pretty expensive.

This process starts to add up: The boxing and unboxing of a bike (by your or a mechanic for a fee), obtaining a free box or buying a case, the airline fee, the transporting of your bike to the airport…. Yes, there is a better way. There are services out there that will transport your bike for you. They’re dialed in for this specific purpose and your bike is handled with extreme care. The hassle factor is nil and it’s often worth the expense. Bike Flights is one of the most reputable services out there.

Renting a Bike

If you don’t plan to ride an extensive distance, you might be happy enough on a rental bike. Call around to bike shops where you’re headed and inquire about the types of bikes for rent. You might also be able to hop on bike share rental bike for a daily or hourly fee.

Spinlister is a sharing economy platform that helps people rent out their bikes. By searching through their system, you can locate a variety of bike styles where you’re traveling – with everything from cargo bikes to race frames. In addition to being a handy way to rent a bike, it can also be a fun way to test out a different style of bike that you might be interested in.

What to Consider

Taking your bike along on vacation isn’t an easy process, but it does get easier each time you do it. Some aspects to take into consideration include:

  • Where will you be? Is there good riding there?
  • Have you scoped out some routes? Are you fairly certain you’ll actually ride?
  • What is your itinerary on the trip? Will you realistically have time to ride?
  • Are there other people on your trip to take into consideration? Will they mind if you ride and they don’t?
  • If you’re going to be traveling to an urban location, would it be easier to use bike share and is that an option?
  • Are there any local clubs you can join up with for a day?
  • Are there any cool rides happening while you’re there?
  • Will you be near woods with killer trails for some gravel grinding or mt. bike action?
  • What do your days look like? Will you be sitting around a lot, craving some pedal time?

What Does Your Trip Look Like

Maybe you’re going to walk or ride the city all day, then chill on the couch and hit up a relaxing activity like All Slots Canadian casino, hoping you’ll get lucky, maybe win a little vacation cash. Or maybe you’ll hit the town for evening entertainment. Being able to sneak out on your bike gives you a freedom to explore the city on your own terms. Navigating transit, rental cars and Uber can be a hassle. Sure, selecting routes to ride can also be a challenge, but perhaps one more in line with your interests. Free up some time so you can relax with a movie, video games, reading a good book or All Slots casino instead.

Relax and Ride

Whether you’re headed to the beach, All Slots casino, a city exploration or a woodsy getaway, bringing your bike along on your next vacation can be a fantastic way to combine downtime with one of your favorite activities. Through it’s not the easiest process in the world, it’s often well worth the hassle and expense.

Mt. Bike Trails in Portland!

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We are so excited about the Gateway Green project to bring outdoor recreation, including mt. bike trails, to a large unused swath of land where I-205 and I-84 intersect. We’ll be bringing you updates along the way.

With information from Tribe 503

Time to Build

It’s crunch time! Dirt Lab at Gateway Green needs you! Three years ago, the community got the Gateway Green project started by funding plans and design work. Now, if you can help put us over the top, we can break ground this fall to have mt. bike trails in Portland.

What is Gateway Green and Dirt Lab

Dirt Lab is a community crowdfunded project to develop mountain biking and hiking trails at Gateway Green, an open swath of land between I-205 and I-84 in East Portland. This project will improve environmental quality at the park and will certainly encourage much-needed civic and economic revitalization in East Portland.

If you’ve ever taken the MAX from the airport towards downtown Portland, you’ve passed right by this currently wide open area. The land was once part of Multnomah County’s Rocky Butte Jail property, and now lies fallow and unused, but we’re getting ready to build a multi-use park with unique mountain bike features. Now is our chance to transform a parcel of public right of way into a regional recreation destination.

A few years ago, generous community members came together to fund the initial designs needed to obtain building permits and public funding for the whole park. Thanks to the demonstrated support from hundreds of enthusiastic people, Metro awarded Gateway Green an impressive $1 million matching grant; now we need to finish raising the funds to meet the match so we can start building.

Building a Much-Needed Park

Your donation to this crowdfund will catalyze construction of off-road bicycle trails and a skills area this fall, while helping us meet our match. So, every dollar also builds natural areas, walking and hiking paths, nature play areas, and provides a places for bike camps and environmental education for kids of all ages and cultures. East Portland is one of the most diverse of our neighborhoods, and is attracting families of all ages and cultures. It is also one of the most park deficient areas in Portland. Gateway Green will improve access to parks, nature, and activities to keep our community physically, socially, and environmentally healthy and vibrant.

Watch the Video

Make a Donation

You can securely and easily make a donation to Gateway Green through their website.

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