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5 Tips for Halloween by Bike



Halloween is here, our favorite time of the year at ORbike headquarters. Why? Costumes. People leave their day-to-day lives for a minute and become whomever they want, even if just for one (epic?) night. You can head over to a buddy’s for drinks, hit up a killer dance party, make pumpkin soup at home, trick-or-treat with the kiddos or curl up with a good book – but for bejeezus sake, however you partake in Halloween this year, please do so in costume.

There’s really nothing more thrilling than riding a bike around the city in a costume. Like that one time I dressed as Waldo from “Where’s Waldo?” and people kept shouting and pointing at me “There he is!” Grinning. Ear to ear.

New to biking in costume? Here are the basics.

  1. CAPES FLUTTER – Consider a costume that involves a cape so it can dramatically billow out behind you and make you look like the superhero you know you have deep down inside you.
  2. LONG DRAPEY FABRIC GETS CAUGHT – Be sure you have a way to tie up any fabric that could otherwise get caught in your wheel or gears. You want to be able to ride carefree.
  3. LIGHTS GALORE! – Not only are tons of lights super fun, being visible is even more important on a distracting holiday. Make yourself unmistakably visible out there. Bonus points if a lit up bike goes with your costume theme (is it your Starship Enterprise? You personal disco party?)
  4. RALLY FRIENDS – It’s way more fun to hit the streets in costume if you’re surrounded by an equally ridiculous lot – make yourselves a spectacle. Oh, and safety in numbers on dark nights with even more intoxicated drivers on the road.
  5. HELMET OR WIG? BOTH! – A wig is no substitution for a helmet, so we recommend you wear the wig on TOP of the helmet, and switch the wig to your head proper just before you head into the party. It’s way more ridiculous to ride around town with your wig showing, but the helmet is the smart way to ride on a dark night light Halloween.

What’s your costume?

So, how do you plan to dress for Halloween? Share your costume ideas below (and help me out, I haven’t decided yet!)

Photo courtesy of Bike Pretty

Traveling With Your Bike

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Traveling with your bike can seem intimidating, but once you arrive at your destination and hop on your familiar ride, you’ll find it is so worth the extra effort.

Though myths of baggage handlers damaging bikes through sloppy handling persist, people who travel regularly will tell you it’s not likely. A well packed bike will not sustain damage.

Cardboard bike box

The most accessible and least expensive option is to pack your bike in a cardboard bike box. This requires minimal disassembly. Bike shops will provide a free box, but call ahead to ensure they have them. Check out the video below for a tutorial.

PROS: Cheap, easy, accessible
CONS:You need to get the bike home in a box, too. So do you hold onto that same box or hunt down a bike shop in your destination city? Boxes are thick, but only provide minimal protection.

Hard case

Whether you choose a hard case or a soft case is mostly a personal choice. The case takes up more storage space when not in use and the case itself adds significant weight to your luggage. The hard shell provides optimal protection for your bike.

Soft case

A well constructed soft case is an excellent way to protect your bike. The case stores easily when not in use. Because the case is more modular, a few companies have come up with excellent designs that make packing your bike a snap.

Cost for airlines

Airlines have different regulations for shipping bikes, many of which are completely infuriating. In some cases, you can ship something larger and heavier and pay less if it is not a bike. Frontier has a very bike friendly policy that promises to not charge a special fee for bikes. Folding bikes can be put in smaller cases and if the airline does not know it is a bike, you may pay less. Some people travel with this as “exercise equipment” to avoid additional charges.

Given that some airlines charge upwards of $150, it’s worth asking the airlines about their fees before booking your flight.

Bike Assembly

If you know how to put your bike back together, that is the easiest way to travel. Be sure to pack your tools with your bike for easy access. Some tools may not make it past gate security.

If you are arriving to Portland airport, there is a bike assembly station downstairs at the end of Baggage Claim near the Max train loading.

Calculate the costs. If you are not particularly handy or are not in a position to lug your bike box around, it may work out best to have a shop dismantle and ship your bike to another shop that will build it back up in your destination city. Explore this option with your friendly neighborhood bike shop.

Cardboard Bike Box Packing Tips

Hard Case Example

Soft Case Example

5 Simple Nutrition Tips

Nutrition Tips for Cyclists

Getting the right foods for your body can seem overwhelming. There is no shortage of nutritional advice online, but what is right for someone else may not be right for you. If you’re riding a lot this summer, your body will thank you for a well-balanced diet to compliment the exercise.

  1. Keep it fresh. The less processed, the better.
  2. Ride to eat, eat to ride. If you’ve got cravings, go with it. Moderate intake of your favorite indulgent treats can be healthy when balanced with solid riding.
  3. Hit the farmer’s market (maybe a ride/drive out to Sauvie Island is in order…). Load up on the season’s abundant fruits and veggies while you can.
  4. Prepare ahead. Making a healthy dinner? Make double so you’ll have a meal ready to go for later in the week.
  5. Check your bars. Some snack/nutritional bars are formulated to give you a concentration of calories for training, but if you’re just casually distance riding they could lead to packing on the pounds instead. Others are loaded with sugar.

Bike Spa: Winter TLC for Your Bike

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By Tori Bortman of Gracie’s Wrench

Like you, your bike gets run down in the winter grit and grime. All those nasty little bits of dirt and grime have worked into the nooks and crannies of your bike– which make them hard to reach without taking your whole bike apart.

And that black stuff all over your wheels, brake pads and frame? It’s the aluminum from your rims slowly breaking down. Every raindrop is encouraging it deeper into the creases of your bike. Not only does it get everywhere, but it can be a pain to remove.

Now, you could just use a spray degreaser and a rag, but the Spa Method will cut your cleaning time in half, do a more thorough job and not leave a pile of debris to clean up on your floor. When you’re done, simply wash those cares away.

The Spa Method works great year-round and is especially effective on bikes that like to play in the dirt.

Basic Spa Service

What you’ll need:
• A hose (or shower for those who can brave bringing their bikes in their bathrooms)
• A bucket of warm, soapy dish water
• Large, soft sponge like one used for washing a car
• A hand-held, large surfaced, medium bristled car washing brush or a smaller dish washing brush
• Rubber gloves if you’re working outside. Keeps your fingers toasty!
• A towel for drying
• Chain oil

1. Rinse your bike gently with the hose or shower to loosen the grime. Gentle pressure is the key. Do not use a high-powered or strong spray or you’ll risk ruining your bike’s bearings by forcing water and dirt where only grease belongs. This holds true for the entire process.
2. Working one section at a time, scrub your bike with the sponge or brush. Get your brush into where the tire meets the rim and all the other hard to clean spots. Rinse after each section.
3. You can clean your chain this way as well, but beware ruining your sponge or brush, and never wipe the rims with the same tool after using it on the chain or you may spread dirty grease to them.
4. After you’re done, pick up your bike a few inches off the ground and drop it a few times to help shake off the water.
5. Dry your bike off with the towel or rag. This is a great opportunity to hit spots the sponge couldn’t reach. Finish with your chain.
6. Oil your chain to prevent rust. Always remember to wipe the chain down completely after applying the fresh oil.

Extra Special Add-on Services

• Spray degreaser, a rag, old toothbrush or scrub brush
• For extra shine: Furniture polish or window cleaner
1. Take this opportunity to clean your whole drive train with spray degreaser and a brush. You can remove the rear wheel to clean the cassette (gears in back), clean the moving parts of your front and rear derailleurs. And even get into the nitty gritty of your chain.
2. Finishing touch: Spray your bike frame down with furniture polish or window cleaner. It not only makes it look swanky, but also works to prevent new dirt from accumulating as quickly.

Refreshed. Beautiful. Ready to roll.

Tori Bortman is ORbike’s resident bike mechanic. She is also an educator, consultant and the owner of Gracie’s Wrench. Tori’s new book, The Big Book of Cycling for Beginners, was recently published by Bicycling Magazine.

The Inconvenient (Flat) Truth


It’s a beautiful day. You’re tired from riding — or maybe just heading out, trying to sneak a quick spin in before the sun goes down – and BAM! psssssss…… Flat city, baby. While it might be frustrating, knowledge is power and mastering flat repair with these tips will help you get back on the road in a jiffy.


Buying puncture resistant tires and keeping your tires aired up is the best line of defense against flats. Unless you regularly ride through blackberry bushes or an industrial zone, avoid self-sealing slime filled tubes and tire liners. Both are heavier and more trouble than they are worth. Replace your tires when the tread is flat, has a lot of cuts in it, or the sidewall is showing wear.


Always have at least one spare tube and patch kit with you. The tube will make things faster; the patch kit is an excellent back-up in case of multiple flats. Carry tire levers and some kind of boot in case the hole in your tire is so big it needs to be repaired as well. A foot length of duct tape is always a lifesaver. Did we learn nothing from MacGyver?

Pump, Pump it Up

Choose your inflation device wisely, and practice using it once before you hit the road.

CO2 Cartridge

Pro: Super quick if speed is your priority.

Con: You’re limited to the number of cartridges you can carry. After that it’s cell phone city. Also, the cartridge can be heavier than a lightweight pump.

Lightweight Hand Pump

Pro: Lighter than any other option and small enough not to add grams to your ride if you’re counting. Some come with a hose for easy use.

Con: Depending on design, your arms may tire before you hit the inflation you want. No bells or whistles here.

Touring Hand Pump

Pro: Can come with a gauge, foot stops and lots of bells and whistles. Easily attaches to your bike either on a frame mount or under a water bottle cage. Designed to be easy to use.

Con: Not the lightest. Some models have configurations that take some of the stress off your arms.


If you’re not confident to change the flat, find a clinic (I offer great ones through Gracie’s Wrench!) to help you learn how. Once you have the know-how, the flat-fear-factor goes way down so when it does happen, you’re not panicked. Take the opportunity to install your own tires when you replace your old ones, and practice flat repair in the secure environment of a class or your own home instead of stranded on the road. It’s good practice and will also give you an idea what it will be like to fix a flat on those wheels if and when the time comes.

Tori Bortman is a bike mechanic and the instructor/owner of Gracies Wrench.

Cool Routes: Adventure Climb

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Length: 24 miles with one big climb.

Summer is here and it’s time to challenge yourself with the final leg of the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, a 123 mile route. This ride starts from Brownsville, south of Albany, where there are several nice cafes, a bakery and a city
park with campsites.

Just south of Brownsville the climbing begins. Once you crest the climb on Gap Road and descend the other side, the rest of the ride is a gradual uphill to your final destination, the scenic Armitage County Park on the north end of Eugene.

The big climb is your challenge, but the rest of the ride is smooth sailing and the views are spectacular.

View the route and directions here.

This post’s route is from the Ride Oregon website.

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