WACANID | September 12-17 – Washington, Canada, Idaho
Cycle the International Selkirk Loop on this six-day journey that covers 370 miles and showcases the loop’s spectacular scenery – majestic mountains, beautiful lakes, rivers and North America’s longest free ferry ride. There are a few hills for extra reward, and the scenery is well worth every bit of climbing you’ll conquer.
It’s such a thrill to ride through two states and two countries on this exciting ride. The support is top notch and the other riders are friendly. WACANID is your chance to truly get away from it all on a ride you’ll remember for life.
- Designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation as one of the “Top 10 Scenic Destinations in the Northern Rockies”
- Named “Best of the Roads” by Rand McNally Road Atlas
- Named the “West’s Best Scenic Drive” by Sunset Magazine
The weather is mild, the traffic is light and most of the ride occurs on secondary highways whenever possible. You may not see a car for miles and miles as you pass through friendly communities. If you’re looking for a new ride this year,
we think we’ve got just the one.
BARREL TO KEG | July 17 – Philomath to Newport
This brand new ride is a chance to ride from Philomath to Newport on backcountry roads that snake through tiny hamlets on a course that few have ever traveled. The first 44 miles traverse a gravel wonderland with lush trees towering
overhead and world so quiet you’ll quickly leave behind the hustle and bustle of the city.
You’ll explore the Corvallis Wetland Wild Animal Refuge and encounter the Yaquina River when it’s just a trickle of a creek, then follow the twists and turns of the river as it swells into striking Yaquina Bay in Newport on the Oregon
The ride is 67 gorgeous miles with some early climbs then a nice smooth downhill cruise for the final 49 miles. There is plenty to see and do in Newport, so plan to make a weekend of it and enjoy a coastal getaway.
We’re huge fans of using the right bag for the ride, and if that means having a ton of bags in the gear closet, so be it. One bag to do it all is only an option if you don’t mind carrying a big waterproof bag around all the time, which we certainly don’t. That’s why we’re fond of the BettleBag, a lightweight summertime option for fun in the sun adventures.
The BeetleBag easily loops over your frame for quick installation on the bike with simple Velcro straps. You can mount the bag even if you don’t have a rack, though you could certainly secure it to a rack, too.
The bag has simple straps so you can carry it as a backpack once you get off the bike. It also features a mesh pocket in the center that works well as a water bottle holder.
Our one disappointment with this bag is the loud jangle of the zipper pulls as they bounce around in transport. Perhaps the manufacturer will consider dampening them with rubber or some other solution in future releases of this bag.
The base color of the bag is a dapper heather-like grey which gives it a cool look common with outdoor gear these days. You can select from four detailing colors: forest green, coral red, charcoal black or ocean blue.
Okay, but here’s where we think you just might love the BeetleBag. You know all those trips when you want to go far, want to go fast, want to go light, but also want to be able to slip out of your bike shoes and into your sandals when you arrive to your destination? The BeetleBag is just about the perfect solution. Add to the mix your swim apparel, a lightweight towel and a book – cause it’s beach time in Oregon!
Selecting a light for your bike isn’t easy. There are plenty of options out there, and it can be exhausting to wade through all the options. We tested out the Fenix BC21R. It would be cooler if it had a better name we could easily remember, but in all other ways this light performed very nicely.
The BC21R has side red lights for increased visibility, particularly helpful when being approached from the side.
At 880 lumens, the light is plenty bright to both keep you safe and illuminate the area in front of you as you travel at night. At the brightest setting, it will last for an hour and 20 minutes, long enough to get you home. Easily recharge the battery with a micro USB cable (included). We like that the light has a battery life indicator with three levels of batter life recorded so you know how far you can push the light before you need to recharge.
The Fenix comes with a universal mounting strap that can readily be transferred from bike to bike. Sometimes these straps are frustrating because with daily use they can wear down over time and eventually snap. The Fenix helps solve this problem by making it possible to remove the light from the strap, meaning you don’t have to be tugging on the strap every time you remove your light. From what we could tell in our several months of testing, the strap seemed sturdy and should hold up well over time.
Some lights are all too easy to accidentally turn on. The Fenix doesn’t have this design flaw, the power button is easy to press but not too easy. This makes it a no-brainer to always pack your lights. The light is also very waterproof. It’s got a rating of IPX-6, which basically means you can get it very wet and so long as it is not fully submerged in water it should stay water tight. Heavy splashing and rain should be no problem for this burly little light.
The Fenix is aluminum, which we liked because all too often we drop plastic lights and they crack, but this light felt more durable. Extra weight? No problem, we’re not weight weenies around here.
Sure, the days have gotten longer, but they’ve also gotten more fun. If you’re out on a Pedalpalooza ride, remember to always pack your lights. You never know who you might meet and where the day may take you.
You can find out more about Fenix bicycle lights and make purchases on their website.
Summertime is in full swing here in Oregon and these warm, sunny days have the streets and trails filled with bikers. Nothing ruins a lovely ride more than mechanical failure so it definitely pays to get your bike tuned up regularly and give it the TLC it needs to stay in tip-top shape.
That means you need to have a preferred go-to bike shop, and we’re here to help you find it.
START WITH HOME MAINTENANCE
Adjusting your brakes, overhauling a hub and truing a wheel might not be for you – and that’s okay – but there are some basics you can easily do at home. Why bother? Well, you wipe down your counters, you wash your clothes and you sweep your floors, so why not take care of your bike with a few similar basics?
Here’s what’s top of our list:
1) Air up your tires to max pressure (it’s written on the tire).
2) Lube your chain.
3) Wipe down your rims and remove excess grime all around.
Seriously, it’s that simple. You, a couple beers, and your buddies, sitting on the front porch with your bikes… the work will be finished before the six-pack is.
For additional home maintenance tips, read through our Maintenance Archives.
KEEP IT LOCAL
It’s important to build a relationship with your local shop. They’ll be there to help you in a pinch. Once you form a relationship, they’ll know your needs, riding style and your bike, which means they’ll be able to provide you even better service. And if you’re good to them, they’ll be good to you. They may even go out of their way to help you in an emergency even if the shop is swamped.
According to BikePortland.org, Portland alone has 73 bike shops to choose from.
MY SHOP DOESN’T HAVE IT
If your neighborhood bike shop is lacking something you need, the first step is to make it known to the management. Any well run bike shop is eager to know what customers want so they can provide relevant supplies and services.
If it turns out that what you need just can’t be provided by your neighborhood shop, it’s time to broaden your distance and look for another shop.
Take these tips into consideration:
1) A shop close to work.
2) A shop close to where you are on a regular basis.
3) A shop that caters to your particular type of riding.
4) A shop that gives back to the community through programs, donations, sponsorship, etc.
FIND THE SHOP THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU – AND BE CONFIDENT
Location, stock and logistics aren’t everything. Your go-to bike shop should also be extremely comfortable. Don’t be afraid to ask all the questions you have. In fact, we are advocates of bringing a list with you to the shop. It’s easy to get flustered by the shiny objects and busy environment, or even the intimidation factor. With a list, you can glance down to job your memory and ensure all your questions get asked.
Don’t let anyone bully you or make you feel stupid. You’re at a shop for a reason: Because you can’t do it yourself. You don’t need to know everything; you’re not expected to be an expert. Go in with confidence, get your questions answered, and don’t be afraid to leave to mull over your options before making a decision, even on maintenance work. Be sure you’re agreeing to work that you fully understand and are prepared to pay for.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
1) Call first to ensure you can get what you need and verify their hours.
2) If you’re bike shopping or know you’ll have in-depth questions or needs, plan to visit during off hours when the staff has more time. You’ll get better service, they’ll be more relaxed and helpful and you’ll be able to start a relationship with the shop.
3) If you’re visiting with a big service job or a last minute need, a tip is definitely in order. Beer and cash are generally never turned down.
4) Value the service you receive. People are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for auto repairs, but for some reason balk at the highly technical service they receive for their bikes. And we think that’s crazy. Bike mechanics work hard and the best ones draw upon many years of experience to diagnose odd issues and provide creative fixes to the most maddening of maintenance issues.
5) Read our article on additional ways to prepare for a visit to your mechanic.
The Oregon Triple Crown series is widely regarded as one of the most gorgeously grueling races in the region, comprised of the most challenging courses on three separate races: Oregon Gran Fondo, Willamette Gran Fondo and the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic.
One of the coolest feature of the race series is that each event is open to non-competitive riders who want to enjoy the routes, even if they’re not contending for the Crown. That means you can opt to ride simply one, or all three.
We wanted to know just what takes to conquer this incredible race series and come out on top, so we sat down bend racer Thomas Hainisch, last year’s overall winner, to steal some of his secrets.
“Each race had a new diverse group of strong riders who were riding in the event that suited their strengths. From a riding perspective, the downhills sections of the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic were challenging with the loose gravel and tight switchbacks. I keep getting dropped from the lead group on the downhills and then climbed my way back to the group on the uphills.”
Thomas says that what surprised him most was how competitive the events were. “People definitely came to race, especially those at the font of the race. I didn’t expect that from a gran fondo.”
Those these events traverse some of Oregon’s most beautiful landscape, Thomas says there’s no time to soak it in during the grind of the event, “I often say I will need to come back and ride the events at a more leisurely pace and ‘absorb’ the scenery.”
Each race caters to different riding styles, and Thomas says the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic was definitely his favorite, “I am mostly a mountain biker and love to climb so the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic suits my style of racing more. I went into the first two events hoping to finish with the lead pack and not lose too much time. But I knew the Gravel Epic would split up and have larger time gaps than the other two races – it’s harder to draft and ride in a peloton under those conditions.”
If you’ve considering vying for the Oregon Triple Crown, sign up for the next two races in the series to give yourself some training for the 2017 season. Thomas adds this additional advice: “Just do it. We only look back with regret on the things we did NOT do. And generally, as we age, it only gets harder. There is no easier time than the present!”
Pro Tip: Thomas recommends wider tires for the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic. “I went with 40mm tires and did not regret it at all. Some of the sections are quite rough.”