Petal Pedal Bike Ride in Oregon

Pack Right and Light

This article is presented by WEEKENDER, two days that will make your whole summer.

If you’re headed out on a supported ride, you want to ensure you’ve got what you need for the day. If it’s a multi-day ride, that gets tricky. Even though the ride is supported, you can’t bring it all.

That’s why we love Cycle Oregon’s packing list. It has just the right balance of essentials and a few of the little things that go a long way toward comfort and fun. You can check out the list here.

Being light weight is key. So is going without. If you brought the entire house. that’s no fun; you may as well have stayed home!

For heavy items, look for lighter weight alternatives.

The ORbike Towel Trick

Standard towels take up a significant amount of space.

Flour sack towels, commonly used in the kitchen, as one of the best towel options out there. They pack small, dry quickly and are ultra absorbent. We think they’re worlds better than pack towels. Most people will want to bring two, though it’s reasonable to only bring one, especially if you have short hair.

One Cup to Rule Them All

If you need to bring your own dishwear, where can you combo up? A stainless steel pint glass works for coffee, camp drinks and beer as it washes out clean without the residue of other beverages. Pop a beer cozy on that sucker and you have “One Cup to Rule them All” as your hand is protected from coffee’s heat transfer.

Team Up

Chat with your traveling companions. You’ll probably find that there are a few items you can all share, such as a portable speaker or other such communal item.

How Minimal Can you Go?

Think about what you’re truly going to use, and what can be left behind. It’s fun to play the game of “how minimal can I go?” But it’s also fun to add in surprises that will delight your fellow travelers, such as festive hanging camp lights or homemade cookies.

Cinch Sacks Work

Cinch sacks are a low-cost item that allows you to bundle similar items, socks and undies in one bag, t-shirts and shorts in another, then squeeze out all the extra air. This keeps your luggage compact and organized – a big win. Be sure to buy your cinch sacks in different colors so you can easily keep them organized.

Invest in Good Gear

If you find yourself venturing out on such journeys a few times a year, it’s worth investing in the lightweight, durable gear that will make your adventure more compact and rewarding. Gear is a huge, complex issue with plenty of subjective facets. Spend time talk with friends and doing your own personal research to find what works best for you.

How do You Pack Right and Light?

What are your favorite packing tricks?

WEEKENDER a ride by Cycle Oregon, is July 7-9, 2017. Bring your friends. Bring your neighbors. Bring your family. Bring your bikes. Everyone is welcome for Cycle Oregon’s two-day bike bash! Linfield College campus is home base for a weekend of great rides, live tunes, and activities galore. Choose from a short, medium or long route through wine country, then camp under the stars or crash in the dorms. It’s two-wheeled fun for everyone!

What to Look for When Buying a Mountain Bike

If you want to purchase a mountain bike but have little to no idea of what you should be looking for, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Acquiring the right mountain bike can make all the difference in your riding experience. It doesn’t matter if your budget is small or large, you want to find a bike that suits your riding style.

Establishing what You Need

Mountain bike prices range from $500 to more than $5,000.

If you are a beginner in this domain, choosing the right bike might be overwhelming, but it’s not impossible. It’s not a bad idea to spend a little less the first time (we hope this will be the first of many) so that you can experiment with it and determine what you like.

If you’re a pro, you may be looking for something pricier and sturdier. Renting, testing, demoing and borrowing bikes will help you narrow down your selection.

Price Ranges for Mountain Bikes

The beginner’s choice

If it’s your first time purchasing a mountain bike, there is no reason to go for the high-end stuff. If you get bored with the bike, you won’t curse the day you threw away thousands of dollars. So, for starters, we would recommend getting a mountain bike that costs under $1,000.

A decent hardtail can be found at this price. Stay away from second-hand pieces because with mountain bikes they tend to sustain a lot of non-discernable damage. In this price range, full suspension is not a good option; at this price they’re just not well made.

Be sure you’re looking for the type of wheels that will suit your riding style. Not all mountain biking is the same.

The frame should also be made of a decent quality material. At this price, aluminum or steel are your best bet. Don’t expect a better material at this price. If you see a bike with a frame made out of a “fancy” material at this price point, you are probably getting yourself involved in something dodgy.

Also, check the distance from the bars to the saddle. If you can reach the bars and be comfortable while riding, then it is a good sign.

Keep this in mind: do not buy any bike until you try it. Test it with a pair of sports shoes and go for a spin. If it is comfortable and suits your riding method, then you may have found what you’ve been looking for.


Now we are getting to the cool stuff. At this price point, you might even get a mountain bike with a full suspension system. Again, don’t be fooled by the used ones. They are often not worth your time or money. This type of mountain bike will set you back $1,000 – $2,000.


At this stage, expect to pay anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000. In this category, you will see mountain bikes with frames made out of carbon fiber or titanium. These bikes will probably outlast you – so ride ’em hard and have some fun!

What Type of Bike Do I Need?

When it comes to mountain bikes, you will also need to know what type you want to purchase. For example, affordable bikes are mostly rigid, that means they have no suspension features. Compared with the bikes that come with a suspension system, the rigid ones are less comfortable.

A hardtail is an interesting beast. The front wheel is connected to a suspension fork, and the impact is absorbed by the suspension system. However, the rear wheel is rigid; it doesn’t have a suspension system hence the name hardtail. These bikes come at an affordable price and do the job just fine.

Hardtails can be used for cross-country riding and mountain trails; just don’t use them for downhill trails. They are not in the affordable category for nothing. A full suspension bike can soak many bumps, increase traction and diminish the impact on the rider. It costs a little bit more than a hardtail, but you can do a lot more with it.

Other Aspects to Take into Consideration

If you are planning to buy a mountain bike for your kid, go for the 24 inches tires. These small tires will help your child control his bike more quickly. If you are planning to buy one for yourself, the 26 and 27.5-inch tires are the way to go.

If you want to move on different terrains with no problem, the 29 inches are the tires you are looking for.

Another thing to look out for is a helmet. Going on any trail, be it in the countryside, mountain, on hills, etc., will require that you get protection. A decent helmet won’t cost you a lot, but it will make a world of difference, especially if you are a beginner.

Gloves can also help you keep a firm grip on the bars. Speaking of which, always look if the braking system is working propery. You can upgrade it later, but for now, you must make sure that you’ll be safe.


These are the many factors you will need to take into consideration when you want to purchase a bike. If you have a friend who knows more about mountain bikes than you do, take him with you when it’s shopping time. He might give you valuable advice and help with the details so you can pick the right bike for your needs.

John T Lyons grew up riding the canyons of San Diego on his singlespeed Huffy. After a stint working for Shelby American in the automotive industry and then in the aerospace industry, JT found his true calling and founded Moment Bicycles. JT developed a “better way to buy a bike” using his engineering problem-solving skills. Learn more at

Arthritis Bike Classic – Route Overview

Sink into the landscape on the Arthritis Bike Classic this September 16-22.


You’ll relax at each overnight stay for two nights, which means more time to settle in and less time repacking every day!

Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeways… and beyond! Overnight along the amazing McKenzie River.

A wine country cruise with three wineries and spectacular scenery. Return to the same camp for another awesome night.

Bike along the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway through historic towns on isolated country roads where sheep outnumber humans. Pool side camping in Albany with mini-golf and other fun activities.

Time stands still today as you settle into the ride and cruise through some of the smallest towns on secluded roads. Return to your luxury campground for another night of end-of-day bliss.

It’s a mostly flat day as you ride country roads back into wine country and an overnight stay at Champoeg State Park.

The final day is a luxurious pedal through more wine country, past hazelnut groves and around beautiful Haag Lake before returning to Champoeg for a final night celebration party.


Free Entry to Gigantic Bicycle Festival

This summer, head to Snoqualmish for an incredible party that’s all about music, camping and two-wheeled fun!

The Gigantic Bicycle Festival, August 18-20, is one of the coolest events around.

The lineup of music is incredible with start headliners like Star Anna, La Luz and more.

An Extraordinary Bike Arts Fest

Spend the weekend reveling in the killer atmosphere of being utterly surrounded by a sea of other bike lovers! You can even ride your bike there through their organized ride from Seattle with various route distances. Add to the mix movies

The festival weekend features a diverse, multi-faceted and regionally representative mix of live music, hand-built bicycles, visual and performance art, film, supported road rides, cycle tours, comedy, guest speakers, workshops, sculpture, cyclocross events and interactive installation pieces.

Free Camping + Entry!

As an exclusive for ORbike readers, you can get free camping and entry when you use this link. That’s a $70 savings for ORbike readers!


Cycle the Willamette Valley for a Cause!


Explore the Willamette Valley on routes of 10, 40, 62 or 100 miles on this excellent ride, then get ready for an awesome finish line party. All riders are treated to Rogue Beer, regional wine, a t-shirt, lunch and live music.

You’ll snake along beautiful backcountry roads as you weave through the abundant hops farms and vineyards of this historic region. In the 1930’s, Independence was home to the “Hops Fiesta” and while production has declined since then, the region is still a key producer of hops. It is so fun to pedal among the towering hop vines in their monstrous orderly rows.

This ride while raises funds for the National Psoriasis Foundation.


Electronic shifting: What’s the buzz?

Many who have tried electronic shifting it say it’s the best thing since sliced bread. It sounds mysterious, doesn’t it? Maybe even a little magical. But all that aside, what actually IS electronic shifting?

Here’s the lowdown.

Most bikes since the invention of shifting use cables—called mechanical shifting. When you shift, your hand is physically pushing a lever that moves a cable that is pulling against a taught spring in your derailleur. This means you’re doing the work of making your bike shift. Though it takes such little effort you hardly notice, it is a system with a lot of room for error both by the operator (ahem) and from wear-and-tear on the cables and housing which come out of adjustment over time.

Electronic shifting changes the game with battery-powered shifting. By pushing a small button that takes as little effort as pressing a key on your keyboard, the shifters communicates with a motor in the derailleurs for you. Motors, of course, need power to run them, so electronic shifting requires a rechargeable battery that needs to be charged every few months.

Motors, of course, (even little baby ones like these) also do the manual labor for us.

If you’ve ever thought your front shifter was a pain, electronic shifting makes that a thing of the past.

What makes electronic shifting so great?

The shifting is supreme.
Since a motor and software is telling your derailleurs how to work, it simply works every time. People who have tried it literally gush about how good it is. And that’s not just hype.

It’s low maintenance: it doesn’t go out of adjustment.
After your shop installs it there are no cables to stretch or housing to get clogged with mud or road grime, you don’t ever have shifting go out of adjustment. It’s been said that it’s so reliable that a downside is you have to remember to keep all the other regular maintenance on your bike up!

It’s less susceptible to damaged by the elements.
Since all the wiring is sealed, there is no rust, dirt, debris or anything else to damage. When it was first introduced, this wasn’t always the case, but given a few years time, the reliability in adverse conditions has been top notch. It’s become the go-to choice for racing cyclocross and mountain bikes since it can take the dirt and cleaning sessions that follow. This is why I’m pretty certain that much like disc brakes, it will be the upgrade of choice for commuters at some point.

With Sram E-Tap or Shimano DI2, you can have multiple sets of shifters on your bike.
Both these systems offer options to add shifters on your bike to places you might have not thought of—like the top of your road bars if you like to ride up high.

A great option for smaller or disabled hands.
For those of us with small (or in my case, arthritic) hands (I’m also looking at you Donald) most mechanical shifter hoods on road bikes are unwieldy and can be hard to function. Since there’s less inside, the shifters are smaller for hands—and making your bike look sleeker. For front shifting, the motor makes the big effort a thing of the past.

Ok. If it’s so great and wonderful, why doesn’t everyone have it?

It’s expensive.
While your old bike can be retrofit with electronic shifting, it might mean routing cables on the outside of the frame (modern frames hide the cables inside). So even if you can afford it, you might be looking at a better deal just by investing in a whole new bike. Which again, is expensive. But if you’re already in the market, it’s something to consider.

It’s really expensive.
Yeah, I mean it. This bears repeating because the cost is currently the main the barrier to why more people don’t have electronic shifting. It will take a few more years before this system becomes affordable and you start seeing it on more entry-level bikes. In the meantime if you crash hard enough to damage the shifters or derailleurs, you’ve got a big replacement cost on your hands.

An electronic shifting group is much cheaper on mountain bikes, but even then it’s still hundreds more, instead of potentially thousands. If either of those quantities seems like a lot to you, then you’re not alone, and electronic shifting may be a few more years out before considering.

Should You Make the Shift?

To many of us our shifting is a thing that just kind of works. Meaning we not only don’t understand how it works, but we also don’t always appreciate if it’s working properly since we wouldn’t know the difference. If that’s you, electronic shifting probably won’t impress you too much.

That being said, if you are in a bike shop or somewhere you get an opportunity to experience electronic shifting in your own hands, I’d recommend checking it out. Not only is how it works pretty cool, it makes a rad “pew, pew, pew” noise when it shifts that sounds like you’re driving a spaceship.

And no one can argue with that advancement!

Tori Bortman is ORbike’s resident bike mechanic. She is also an educator, consultant and the owner of Gracie’s Wrench. Tori’s book, The Big Book of Cycling for Beginners, is out now from Bicycling Magazine.

Ride to Defeat ALS!

Ride to Defeat ALS – 7/8 – Mt. Angel

Many of us hop on our bikes without a second thought, but for those who can’t pedal, there’s Ride to Defeat ALS, an opportunity to raise funds and awareness for people living with ALS, also known as Lou Gerhig’s Disease. This devastating
disease eventually takes people’s lives after a long and painful decline in mobility.

But there is great hope! There is so much that can be done to support people living with the disease, to make their lives more comfortable, to provide them with increased mobility options and to to support their loved ones who tirelessly
care for them. Those good efforts come thanks to the National ALS Association and Ride to Defeat ALS is your opportunity to support their impactful work.

This ride is a gorgeous odyssey through the hushed open landscape around Mt. Angel on the edge of Portland. Sign up for this important ride and be a part of the movement for those who can’t.



Cycle the Selkirk Mountains

WACANID | September 11-16 – 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.


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COOL ROUTE: Ultimate PDX Tour

Check out this Ultimate PDX Tour – the best of Portland all in one ride! Fall in love with the city all over again, or take visitors for a ride. You’re going to love this easy cruise from start to finish.


This route comes from the Best Bike Rides in Portland book by ORbike editor Ayleen Crotty and published by Falcon Guides.

Columbia Century Challenge


Sometimes the best routes are hidden in plain sight. The two year old Columbia Century Challenge unveils a network of stunning riding routes that are just on the edge of Portland. Journey through the bicycle-friendly back roads of old Oregon timberlands – Clatskanine and Vernonia – and charming tiny towns like Mist and Apiary. You’ll pedal along historic farm roads through the open fields and pastures along the Columbia River.

The ride snagged second place in our Best Bike Rides of Oregon riders’ poll, and it’s little wonder why, though such accolades are rare for a first time event.

This ride really caters to variety of riders. Though there are purely-pavement routes on the Columbia Century Challenge, this ride is also perfect for riders who like a mix of pavement and gravel grinding. New this year, the ride includes an optional route that is 55% gravel – perfect for riders who like to journey off the beaten path.

This event is an awesome opportunity to test out your gravel skills in a well supported setting. If that 55% is too much, the ride also includes an optional hard pack gravel stretch along the historic Crown-Zellerbach trail, a very approachable 12 mile flat stretch.

This is one of those rides that makes us think, “Wait, why haven’t we been riding here all along?”


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