Tour de Lab - Portland's best bike ride and a benefit for DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital
 

Explore the Portland Splendor

PORTLAND CENTURY | August 19 – Portland

Entries are still being accepted for the Portland Century sweepstakes we announced in a special newsletter yesterday. If you haven’t yet entered, check your email and put your name in the hat before Friday for a chance to win two free tickets to this awesome ride.

Portland Century is a luxuriously relaxing day on the bike – plus a whole bunch of rewarding climbing for those of you who opt for the full Century Ride challenge. But don’t worry – if 8,100 ft. of climbing over 100 miles isn’t your jam, you can always opt for a shorter route.

But we say, go big! Portland Century offers top notch support so if you’re going to challenge yourself, this is the way to do it right – with a team at your back. Plus, the finish line beers will taste even better after those gorgeous views and epic climbs.

PRO TIP:
Save $5 when you register online and use code ORBIKE-EBA18

ROUTES + MAPS→

EVENT INFO→

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An End-Of-Summer Tradition

HARVEST CENTURY | September 23 – Hillsboro

The Fall Farmland Cruise

It’s one thing to hop on your bike and go for a ride, but it’s an entirely different experience to sail along well-sculpted routes that carry you along a magical journey.

That wondrous experience is what you will be treated to on the Harvest Century, a ride well known for having incredible routes and top notch support.

The excursion takes you through the quiet farmland on the fringes of Hillsboro, past fields of dahlias resplendent in vibrant beauty and across the Canby ferry for a mini nautical adventure.

The lively finish line party is in the heart of Historic Downtown Hillsboro – directly in the middle of Main Street with live music and a tasty end-of-summer BBQ.

ROUTES + MAPS→

EVENT INFO→

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Life is Short: Ride Like a Dog

Tour de Lab | September 2 – Portland

Nothing says summertime like cruising around on your bike at Tour de Lab, an awesome celebration of bikes and fun.

This annual tradition sends you on a tour of the city on low traffic roads with plenty of fun stops along the way. It’s always hilarious to see the creative costumes people come up with, and we suspect they’re not just getting gussied up to try to win the costume contest.

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, the Big Dog Course is a hill climb exxpedition into the west hills.

All dogs gather at the finish line dog park, a festival of beer, snacks and a finish line party.

Tour de Lab is a fundraiser for DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, a 24-hour resource for little furry friends in need.

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Framebuilders Bid Farewell to Velo Cult

Strawberry Bicycles Andy Newlands handbuilt bikes handmade bike show portland oregon

Handmade bike builders from Oregon, Washington and Australia (!) will showcase their beautiful bicycles for road, mountain and gravel at a special final show at Velo Cult Bike Shop + Tavern. The much-revered bike shop and community gathering space recently announced plans to shutter the doors of their massive Hollywood space, and instead focus on their online business.

Simultaneously, the Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association decided to cancel their Handmade Bicycle Show for 2018. This event is a fitting set off for Velo Cult and a way for people to check out what the many regional bike builders are working on these days.

Hopworks will provide free beer and there is no cost for entry.

Cheers to one last party at Velo Cult, an amazingly wonderful venue we are sad to see close. Portland won’t be the same without it.

 

PHOTO: Bespoked

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5 Easy Tips for Gravel Grinding

It seems like these days nearly every group bike conversation eventually turns to gravel. But if you’re one of the many people half-heartedly nodding along while quietly harboring inner dread, you’re not alone.

Riding on gravel can be intimidating, but with the right bike set up and a good mindset, there’s nothing too complex to worry about. 2018 is the Year of Gravel, so you may as well get used to it, or you’ll soon find yourself missing out on a whole lot of group ride fun.

To help you get started, here are five easy tips.

1) Invest in your set up

Is your ride at least 25% gravel? And is some of that a descent? If so, it’s worth riding a gravel-ready bike. Depending on what you’re riding, you may not feel as nimble on pavement but you’ll feel much better on the gravel. Especially when descending.

A gravel bike, sometimes also called all road, is a bike that’s well set up to handle gravel. It’s not a mountain bike, and it’s not a road bike. There are small tweaks and upgrades sprinkled throughout the bike that better handle rough conditions. A gravel bike will have a slightly lower bottom bracket and a longer wheelbase, to make it more stable over uneven terrain at higher speeds. Tires are usually 32mm or 35mm if not wider and often they’re tubeless. This allows you to run a lower tire pressure for better grip in a variety of surface conditions. All road bikes will typically come standard with disc brakes, too.

2) Lower your tire pressure

Even if you’re not riding a gravel-ready bike, lower your tire pressure. This will allow you to better grip the surface and more easily maneuver through the gravel. It also makes for a less bumpy ride. Arm and neck fatigue from a rough surface is a major source of exhaustion on a ride that would otherwise be going just fine, so do what you can to keep your upper body comfortable.

3) Relax and ride through it

You’re going to be tempted to squeeze your breaks and freak out, or tense up from nervousness. Just relax. Let your bike glide through the gravel. Watch videos of people cruising through gravel, and draw upon those images as you’re crushing it. Just remember that you can do this. You got this. Just roll and glide through it.

If your back wheel fish tails, keep pedaling. Momentum is your friend. Forward motion creates balance. Challenge yourself not to put your foot down and stop every time you feel ill at ease. Ride through it, and every mile gets easier.

4) Look ahead and find your line

You don’t need to be all over the road, but find a nice solid looking line, the best path in the gravel, and follow it. Stare ahead, see what is coming, and be prepared. If there are potholes, washboard or a deeper wash of gravel, slowly move to a better line and follow it for a while.

5) Enjoy the view!

Most people ride gravel because gravel roads are where some of the most gorgeous scenery is – away from the cars and deeper in the landscape. Sure, you may be freaking out a little, but take the time to breathe and soak in your surrounding. Take some pictures, and enjoy the ride.

6) BONUS! Strengthen your core

Core strength is essential for maintaining a healthy bike body and we will always recommend it. A strong core will help prevent lower back pain, tightened leg muscles and upper body fatigue. When riding gravel, it also gives you the upper edge on stability, which goes a long way when riding on an uneven surface.


Looking to test your gravel legs? Check out Gravel by Cycle Oregon, October 5-7 with a base camp in the Tillamook State Forest.

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Road Cycling Safety

Here at ORbike, we like to help people have a fun and comfortable bike riding experience,

Riding on the streets can seem intimidating at first, but it does not have to be – just follow these few tips. With a little bit of preparation and keeping your wits about you, you’ll be smooth sailing in no time.

Be a Road User

All road users should practice a lot of the same behaviors, such as no sudden moves, being visible, and of course being respectful. This works well for drivers of motorized vehicles, for skateboarders, walkers and cyclists alike. We can all share the road and get along! When it comes to more vulnerable road users like cyclists, there are some additional tips for keeping yourself safe since you don’t have a steel box to protect you from harm in the case of an accident. Read on!

Be Prepared

Know where you are going and be confident in your route so you can make assured maneuvers on the road. Wear the appropriate clothing so you are comfortable on the bike. Be well lit so you are visible.

Unsure? Just Pull Over Carefully

One of the most common mistakes people make is freaking out then coming to an abrupt stop. Instead, calmly survey the scene around you to know where other road users are, then cautiously pull over to the side of the road, get up onto the sidewalk or into the shoulder, and calmly bring yourself to a halt. The next step is vital: Take a deep breath and smile. You got this. Everything is going to be okay.

Ride Predictably

No sudden moves! Signal your turns by pointing where you are going with a confident, broadly extended arm that people can see. Don’t switch lanes or make turns quickly. Riding predictably is something all road users should do, and cyclists are no exception.

Be Your Own Rider

Don’t blindly follow other riders. If you’re not sure there’s enough time to get through an intersection or you’re not sure where you’re going, give some space, give some time and shout out “Stopping!’ and make the stopping sign (right arm at a right angle down, with the palm facing back toward anyone behind you. This ensures the riders behind you don’t crash into you. Make sure you PAUSE before actually stopping – remember – no sudden moves!

Enjoy the Ride

Riding a bike is fun! It’s an excellent way to explore a city, get to know your neighborhood (and neighbors!), see new sights and smell new smells. Plus, it’s good for fitness and mental health. When you’re having fun on your bike, the day goes better. And when you ride safely, your ride goes better. Have fun out there, be safe, smile and wave. We can all share the road and get along. You play an important part in making the road safe when you take responsibility for your riding behavior and ride confidently.

More Information

Need more ideas? You can find more info here.

 

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Who Will Win the 2018 Tour de France?

Known as the world’s biggest annual sporting event, over 170 of the best cyclists in the world flock to France to participate in the Tour de France. Now in its 105th edition and currently halfway through the tournament, there are six cyclists who have a realistic chance of winning. Here are the cyclists that you should be looking out for and who to bet your money on.

Vincenzo Nibali

Representing team Bahrain-Merida, one of the top cyclists in the competition to look out for is Vincenzo Nibali. With a string of titles to his name including winning the Tour of Italy and previously winning the Tour de France, there is every possibility that Nibali could win the title once more.

Chris Froome

As a Kenyan-born Briton, Chris Froome is another popular cyclist to watch out for. Representing Team Sky, Froome has collected many accolades including winning the Tour de France four times as well as being a hat-trick winner of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Romain Bardet

The French born national Romain Bardet has also been a three-time Tour de France winner, as well as securing second and third place in the Tour de France. Participating in the French cycling team AG2R La Mondiale, Bardet is one of the favourites to scoop the winning spot once more.

Rigoberto Urán

Colombian born Rigoberto Urán is another favourite to win the Tour de France. At aged 31, Urán has participated in multiple competitions across the world, including winning the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec as well as placing second in the Tour de France. Urán has also competed in the Olympic road race where he earned himself a silver medal.

Mikel Landa

Representing Team Movistar, Mikel Landa has racked up multiple titles to his name including the best climber and three-time stage winner of the Tour of Italy. Landa has also competed in and won the Giro del Trentino as well as finishing in fourth place in the Tour de France. At just 28, Spanish born Landa could be in with a good chance of winning this year’s Tour de France.

Tom Dumoulin

Dutch national Tom Dumoulin is another firm favourite to win this year’s Tour de France. Aged 27 and representing Team Sunweb, Dumoulin has enjoyed great success such as winning the Tour of Italy as well as being a two-time stage winner in the Tour de Spain and the Tour de France. He is also a winner of the world time-trial championship.

If you would like to know more on statistics and betting chances of the Tour de France, make sure to visit Toals where you will get more information on each player participating as well as daily updates to ensure you know where best to place your money.

Make sure to follow the Tour de France closely as the odds can change each day. It is important that you keep track of each player’s progress to ensure you make the right decision for a chance of winning!

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How to Pack for a Supported Distance Ride

Let’s say you’re going on a multi-day distance ride, like Classic by Cycle Oregon. First off, congrats! A supported multi-day ride is so much fun. Secondly, let’s talk gear.

Know the Luggage Restrictions

Every event is different. Cycle Oregon makes their guidelines very clear, and very reasonable. After all, someone other than you has to handle your luggage just about ever day, so it’s only fair to ensure it’s of a reasonable size and weight.

Lay it All Out, Then Cut Back

Lay out your dream gear then start trimming back to 90% essentials and 10% indulgent items and fun stuff (funny outfits, your fave after ride shirt, a cute adventure dress). Try to bring only one of anything that’s not going to get extremely dirty. If you can’t decide between a few items, select the ones that are more compact, warmer, breathe better, etc. Prioritize features over aesthetics. That remaining 10% is for your aesthetics.

Make sure you have plenty of space for the essentials like toiletries, sunscreen, a towel, etc.

Set Yourself Up For Success

You want to enjoy the ride, so don’t be too hard on yourself. If you know your favorite shirt is the perfect way to relax after a long day in the saddle, bring it. It will feel so good to slip it on after a shower. Consider many places have hot days and cold nights and bring what you need to account for all weather so you never have to suffer.

Remember: There are no bad days, just bad gear (and food?) choices.

Organize Your Contents

A system like Oregami Luggage makes it easy to separate dirty from clean, ride from hang out, swimwear from PJs and summer clothes from the cozy cold weather gear. After all, no one wants that dirty chamois touching… well… anything, really.

Consider stuff sacks (they’re inexpensive) or compression sacks to help organize and condense your gear. They work wonders on fluffy sleeping bags, puffy jackets, and most other apparel. You’ll be surprised how much room they can free up.

Know where everything is so that when it’s early morning and you’re hading out for the day, you can easily grab the day’s outfit without thinking. Or when you’re tired at night, you can hazilly throw on PJs without accidentally grabbing.., yup, you guessed it: that nasty chamois.

 

And on that note, have a great ride!

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Training Tips for the Hill-Averse

Every years, the Oregon cycling calendar is studded with inspirational, scenic century rides. In just about any part of the state a 100-mile ride is going to take you to some interesting places—both geographically and within your inner “landscape”.

With over 8,000 feet of climbing on tap, this year’s Portland Century has no shortage of scenery or physical and mental challenges. For seasoned riders who enjoy lots of climbing, the 100-mile route will scratch that itch. But for riders who are newer to the sport or feel discouraged by climbing, it’s never too late to get prepare for and have a fantastic ride through some of Portland’s best local riding.

Training for a century makes all the difference between cycling success and a ride home in the support vehicle. Here are a few tips to help put the Portland Century within reach.

Take Your Time

First-time century riders often don’t begin training early enough. If you’ve got a good base of fitness and have been logging miles consistently, you may be able to prepare in as little as six weeks. If not, you’ll need to work up to the century more slowly.

Once you’ve logged some miles to establish your base fitness, start to extend weekly rides gradually, adding 5 to 10 miles per ride.

Old-time trainers used to advise that you can ride in a day what you ride in a week. That’s not a bad formula to use to work up to a century distance but make sure you start adding the miles gradually in order to avoid overuse injury. The goal is not merely to finish the century ride, but to do so with confidence and comfort.

More: Petal Pedal: The Perfect Introductory Century for Oregon Cyclists

Mix It Up

Start to plan one or two long rides each week. In between the longer rides, do some shorter rides to improve aerobic fitness (did someone say Intervals?) During all your rides, work on your pedaling mechanics, which can make a huge impact on event day.

More: Training and stretching for a distance ride.

Incorporate High-Intensity Training

Interval training will improve your VO2 max which essentially means you’ll use oxygen more efficiently. When you are able to maximize your use of oxygen your efforts will feel easier, your muscles will be stronger, and your endurance will improve.

MORE: Turn Your Bike Commute Into a Training Ride

 

Get Out of Your Saddle

Hills have a way of demoralizing even the best climbers, so if you’re not one of the 217 people in Oregon who LOVE climbing hills, start making a point of seeking out the hills when you train. Even if the route you’ll be riding on event day is pancake-flat, regularly riding hills will make you stronger. It will also help you ride in windy conditions, sometimes referred to as the “invisible hill.”

Hill repeats are an effective—if sometimes monotonous—way to improve climbing skill. Hill repeats are exactly what they sound like; you ride up a hill to the top, descend, then immediately start climbing again.

Rocky Butte and Mount Tabor are two popular Portland spots for doing hill repeats; on any given day you’re likely to see cyclists going up and down, working on their climbing strength and skill. For a more scenic, longer option, there are numerous training routes in the West Hills to help prepare your body—and your mind—for climbing.

More: Ride the Portland Century and Explore the Cascadia Foothills

Mind Over Mountain

Training for a challenging ride isn’t just physical. A good deal of it is psychological, or what we like to say, “cyclelogical”. Challenge yourself with small-but-tough rides where your focus is more on what’s happening in your mind when faced with a rough patch. Courage alone isn’t going to get you through the event, but having a realistic—and optimistic—outlook is key.

If you’re still not convinced that 8,000 feet of climbing over 100-miles is doable, the Portland Century offers 50 and 75-mile routes that may be more approachable. The event is well-marked and fully supported with rest stops, food, snacks, hydration, moral support, and support vehicles if you decide that a day in the hammock is really where you need to be.

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Hip and Lower Back Release for Cyclists

BikeYoga Hip Flexor and Adductor release for lower back pain

yoga stretch for cycling lower back pain hip flexor image

Are your hamstrings tighter than a piano wire? Does your lower back ache like your grandma’s? Hip flexors feel as congested as I-5 at rush hour? 
When stretching fails to ease your lower back pain, myofascial release delivers flexibility, comfort, and ease.

It’s a common error many of us make—when we feel tight in some part of our body we tend to focus on that area—stretching, massaging, kneading, or strengthening. It’s sort of a spot treatment approach to improving flexibility, and it can be a real waste of time. For instance, you could stretch your hamstrings all day, every day, and still have low back or hip pain unless you also address tightness in the adductors and hip flexors.

One of the number one cycling related complaints is “tight hamstrings”. Most of us can confirm this tightness simply by doing a standing forward bend. If your hip flexors and adductors are also tight, you’ll probably feel it in your lower back too. Why? Because your hip flexors attach to the lower vertebrae. So, of course, you try to then stretch your lower back muscles.

This stretching can feel good in the moment, but without also releasing the hip flexors you wind up chasing discomfort from one area of the body to another.

A similar situation exists for many cyclists whose adductors compensate for hamstring weakness. Between these inner thigh muscles are fascial layers which help the different muscles glide against each other. If the fascia becomes dehydrated overworked or somehow damaged the tissues become sticky and nearby muscles begin to adhere to one another rather than glide. These sticky tissues—known as adhesions—are less responsive to stretching.

Stop stretching and start releasing.

Myofascial release can be achieved through a combination of bodywork such as Rolfing or deep tissue massage, passive stretching where the muscles are completely passive, such as yin yoga, or the dreaded foam roller. Nowadays you can find corrugated, knobby, textured, and even massaging foam rollers, but even the basic closed-cell foam variety will work. Foam rolling can be performed before or after a ride—or any time, really—to help release adhesions in the glutes, hamstrings, IT band, and adductors.

If you’d rather change a flat tire every five minutes than torture yourself on purpose with a foam roller there is an easy movement you can do to release your adductors and hip flexors and it requires no more effort than laying on the floor.

Less is more: passive release does all the work with less intensity.

Like a 3-in-1 yoga pose, the Adductor/Hamstring Release stretches the hamstrings and adductors, and releases the hip flexors and lower back all at once. It’s a passive release, meaning there isn’t any stretching sensation for most people. In fact, the vast majority of people will not feel any stretch in this pose.

Don’t be fooled into thinking nothing is happening if you don’t feel stretching; myofascial release can be very intense but it can also happen just by hanging out for several minutes in this shape.

For more cycling-specific stretches and strengthening tips, visit BikeYoga.com

Try the Adductor/Hamstring Release after your next ride. And the next. And the one after that. In fact, if you do nothing else, try working this movement into your life three times a week or more regardless of your riding schedule. Your lower back discomfort and hip tightness should improve faster than you can say “Foam roller? Ugggh!”


Üma Kleppinger is the author of BikeYoga. She cut her teeth as a bike messenger in New York City during her film school days and has been riding ever since. A professional copywriter and ghostwriter, Üma is the founder of Allied Independent, a creative services studio based in Portland, OR. When she’s not she’s not on her bike she’s on an open mic at The Moth and other storytelling and improv venues.

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