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Shawn Small of Ruckus Composites

shawn

In this new series, we’re asking Oregon area experts who love bikes to tell us a thing or two about what they know best. Do you have someone in mind we should interview? Should we interview you? Get in touch!

Ruckus Composites repairs carbon fiber to the highest standards. Forget high standards, did you even know you could carbon fiber could be repaired? Many people don’t, but Ruckus, based in Portland, is on a mission to change that.

The company dubs itself “one part mad scientists, one part bike racers” so we sat down with their lead mad scientist, innovator Shawn Small, to find out more about the scientific world of carbon fiber repair. Shawn is one of the leading experts in the field of repairing carbon fiber bikes.

Spoiler: this science-y stuff is complex so leave it to the experts to make the magic happen.

How did you get started in this industry?

Well it’s pretty simple, really. I started building high altitude rockets 14 years ago… give or take. Also, college stuff helped get me into it. My senior thesis was on inexpensive home wind energy systems. I was essentially trying to build a $1,000 kit that would nearly offset a home’s power demand.

People say carbon fiber can’t be repaired, but Ruckus begs to differ. Can you tell me how you do what you do?

Well, we can’t give away all our secrets! But, basically we’re the bike shop of the future, today. Think Willy Wonka but with epoxy. We repair and remake broken carbon fiber bicycle frames according to the latest aerospace and material science standards.

What type of damage is most common?

Seat stays and top tubes are definitely our most common repairs. Regardless of material, they are the thinnest tubes on any bike. People roof rack their bikes all the time. People knock bikes over. People turn their handle bars too quickly. These parts on bikes are thin and pretty exposed, and they get damaged a lot.

Why do you love carbon fiber?

It’s what we do and it’s the material of the future! Rockets are made out of it. The future is made out of it. It’s also incredibly strong, reliable and repairable. Carbon fiber advancement is a priority for the Space X mission to Mars, so that suggests we’re in the infancy of the movement still. It’s incredibly exciting to to keep discovering new potential for this material.

Okay, you’re the expert here. What else should we know?

We’re carbon based life forms and if we ever want to achieve Star trek status, we’re gonna need advanced materials.

We’ll leave it to you to close things out here, Spock.

Ruckus is an agile and innovative composite facility with extensive materials experience and opportunities. We constantly refine and rework the repairs of today in order to anticipate the needs for the bike shops of tomorrow.

The Ruckus Team

ruckus-composites-staff

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Your #1 Nutritional Tip

Trail-Mix-Bars-photo-260-annabel-karmel-3427-071624

Nutritional Tip #1: Plan ahead, bring snacks.

When you’re out on a long ride, either for training or for pleasure, having the right foods is the key to an excellent ride. What’s right for you may not be right for your riding buddy, so be prepared and bring your own.

Experiment with different foods that pack a nutritional punch such as trail mix, nutritional bars, fruit bars or simply a PB&J on whole grain bread. Keep these items on hand so it’s always easy to pack your pockets and hit the open road.

Emergency hunger pangs are the quickest way to break your healthy eating patterns. It’s one thing to be in your kitchen with a fridge full of fruits and vegetables, but when you’re out on the road, you never know what you’re going when your desperate for a snack. And when you’re with a group of people, you’re at the mercy of the group decision, which could land you at a burgers-and-fries place before you know it.

Snacking on healthy treats, especially treats that you know work well for your body’s needs, is a great way to stay on track. That when when you get stuck, you’ve at least had a portion of your positive nutrients for the day.

It’s worth saying it again: Plan ahead, bring snacks!

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The Best Bike Pumps

accessories_pumps

Not all bike pumps are created equal. I discovered this when an old housemate moved out, took my dual-direction pump and left his cruddy generic behind. Seven years later I’m still using that pump. And no, just because it lasted does not make it a good pump. I have to fight to disconnect from the valve, the connection is finicky and the gauge doesn’t work. Plus, it’s shraeder only and I’ve got presta. Yes, I have the adapters but… what a pain.

Am I being unreasonably difficult here? I don’t think so. I think everyone who rides regularly deserves a great pump – one that connects smoothly, disconnects without nicking up the knuckles, gauges accurately and *gasp* doesn’t fall over all the time.

Full potentially embarrassing disclosure: I’ve been dreaming of such a bike pump for years but I haven’t done anything about it. I also air up my tires less often than I should because of the hassle factor.

Now I’m ready to make the leap forward, to make airing up my tires a quick and rewarding task that doesn’t make me late for my appointments.

There are floor pumps, portable mini pumps and all sorts of varieties within the two styles.

The question is, what is that magic pump I seek?

What is your favorite floor pump? Share your thoughts here and help me select the best one as my birthday gift to myself (June 19th).

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POLL: Vote for your favorite rides!

ridevibesheadlinesize

2016 was an incredible year for bike rides in our region! We saw the advent of several really new and important rides, including:

Columbia Century Challenge – riding in a region where no other supported rides go, and it includes gravel!
Barrel to Keg – a cool ride to the coast on a lot of gravel.
Joy Ride – a new women’s ride from Cycle Oregon.
101 on the 101 – a chance to ride through the mist and thundering surf of the Oregon Coast.

What Were Your Favorites?

Did you ride any supported rides this year? What were your faves?

We’re also running this poll on the sidebar of our website so, yup, you’ll see it repeated over there >

What were your favorite supported rides of 2016? Choose up to *THREE*

  • Tour de Fronds (23%, 120 Votes)
  • Columbia Century Challenge (15%, 80 Votes)
  • Harvest Century (14%, 75 Votes)
  • Arthritis Bike Classic (10%, 55 Votes)
  • Ride to Defeat ALS (10%, 53 Votes)
  • Art of Survival Century (10%, 53 Votes)
  • Monster Cookie (9%, 45 Votes)
  • Reach the Beach (9%, 45 Votes)
  • Cycle Oregon - Week-long (8%, 41 Votes)
  • Ride the Rim (7%, 39 Votes)
  • CF: Cycle for Life (6%, 31 Votes)
  • Strawberry Century (6%, 30 Votes)
  • Petal Pedal (5%, 25 Votes)
  • Cycle Oregon - Weekend (4%, 19 Votes)
  • Pioneer Century (3%, 17 Votes)
  • Joyride by Cycle Oregon (3%, 16 Votes)
  • Beaverton, Banks and Beyond (3%, 15 Votes)
  • Oregon Coast Gravel Epic (2%, 13 Votes)
  • Worst Day of the Year Ride (2%, 13 Votes)
  • Portland Century (2%, 12 Votes)
  • Tour de Lab (2%, 12 Votes)
  • Bike MS (2%, 11 Votes)
  • The Gorge Ride (2%, 10 Votes)
  • Barrel to Keg (2%, 8 Votes)
  • 101 on the 101 (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Tour des Chutes (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Crest the Cascades (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Tour de Blast (1%, 6 Votes)
  • NW Tandem Rally (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Oregon Gran Fondo (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Tour de Cure (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Willamette Gran Fondo (0%, 2 Votes)
  • MAC 125 Ride (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 526

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Other Rides

Don’t see your favorite listed above? Add it in the comments below and we’ll count your vote!

Criteria

  • Paid rides
  • Supported
  • Non-competitive
  • Has a distance option of more than 20 miles
  • Offers regularly stationed rest stops and a finish line celebration
  • Is located in the Oregon region – a start location Oregonians can reasonably drive to.

Photo Gallery

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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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Home and Abroad: Four Events for the Avid Cyclist

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Guest Article by Ashley Smith

There are plenty of fantastic races out there for the rider or spectator, some just a stone’s throw away from home and others located across a few time zones. We know you’ve heard about some of the best in the area, but as the year advances we thought we’d share with you some intriguing ones. Here are just a handful of events that might inspire you to get off the beaten track and head somewhere else to either engage in or watch others cycle through interesting routes.

Credit: GrandBahamaCyclistsClub.com

Credit: GrandBahamaCyclistsClub.com

Tour of the Bahamas

The Tour of the Bahamas, held in Nassau, used to be the kick-off for many cyclists’ racing season, but it is no longer the case since as the last race was held in 2012. Just because it is not part of the professional season anymore doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of the warm climate and ride the route yourself. You don’t have to stick to the original route as there are almost 600 trails in Nassau and if you’re a beginner you’ll appreciate the fact that The Bahamas has some of the flattest land around so it provides plenty of easy cycling terrain.

The original race route took competitors off the beaten path past the Clifton Heritage Land and Sea Park. Rather than just breeze past this great spot, take a breather to explore the winding nature trails and historical ruins or snorkel offshore over an underwater sculpture garden. Nassau also has an attractive harbor, a colorful blend of old-world and colonial architecture and some popular seasonal events. For instance, the Bahamas International Film Festival, the legendary “Battle 4 Atlantis“, a college basketball showdown, and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure should all provide plenty of entertainment after a long day in the saddle.

Credit: Airman Nathan Doza

Credit: Airman Nathan Doza

Milan-San Remo

This year’s Milan-San Remo was surprisingly won by Arnaud Démare after he outsprinted Ben Swift and Jürgen Roelandts at the Via Roma to take his first career win in a monument. The longest one-day race in pro cycling, Milan-San Remo offers an exceptional test of endurance early in the season and is one of the more competitive monuments to watch. Long and mostly flat, with just one big bulge where the road crowns the Passo del Turchino before plummeting down to the seaside towns of the Italian Riviera, this event usually offers a thrilling conclusion with a cluster sprint finish.

Key segments are the two small climbs, the most significant being the 4km and 3.7% gradient Poggio. After racing for 173 miles the riders are exhausted upon reaching this relatively straightforward climb; the competitor who breaches the summit first has a chance of rocketing down the descent and holding off the sprinters for victory.

The great thing about viewing a Monument is that one day of indulging your passion is usually acceptable to significant others who may not share the passion, and you can then spend the rest of your break discovering the most stylish city in the world. Obviously, there’s world famous shopping, but also cathedrals and galleries to explore, and you could even take in a football match at the famous San Siro Stadium.

Credit: Stefano59Rivaraforcommons

Credit: Stefano59Rivaraforcommons

The Paris-Roubaix

Another monument, the Paris-Roubaix, or The Hell of the North, is the best known and one of cycling’s oldest races. Its route across Northern France into Belgium is designed to try and use every single stretch of cobbles in that region. The uneven terrain creates an increase of incidents such as punctures, mechanical problems and crashes. Combined with loads of mud, this is always a remarkable spectacle. With 150 riders traveling down a wide stretch of tarmac at 31mph onto a cobbled path that’s only about seven feet wide and lined by puddles and potholes this race guarantees excitement and its fair share of controversies over the years.

The key segment here is obviously the what the French call secteurs pavés, the long cobblestone stretches that make this race so problematic for riders. This year’s race was won by Australian Mathew Hayman after Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan were hindered by crashes.

One of the best things about being a spectator for this race is that you can choose to spend your time on the Belgian frontier or head back to Paris. Both options offer plenty of activities to keep you entertained and some delightful rides if you’re able to take your bike with you.

Credit: Oregon Triple Crown

Credit: Oregon Triple Crown

The Oregon Gran Fondo

Much closer to home and less auspicious, though definitely worthy of your time, is the Oregon Gran Fondo. Registration opens early November for this event inspired by the French and Italian traditions of allowing the general public to ride a single stage of the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia after the pro race have gone through.

The Oregon Gran Fondo is a carnival of cycling that offers something for any age or ability and includes ex-professionals and elite racers lined up side by side with amateurs and young enthusiasts. At the Oregon Gran Fondo, teams and individuals who want to race have the chance to do so on the 117-mile Gran route. There is also the 71-mile Medio and the shorter Piccolo featuring a 15 mile out-and-back loop starting at the same time as the Gran and Medio routes.

The routes run through rural South Willamette Valley communities and the picturesque Siuslaw National Forest. From Bohemia Park, the Gran and Medio routes head west to the village of Lorane and from there continue west deep into the Siuslaw and Smith River watersheds. The light traffic and forest roads, hills, rivers and vistas make for an incredible day out.

Those who really want to go the extra mile will make the Oregon Gran Fondo one of the three races they compete in as they vie for the Oregon Triple Crown. The series is comprised of the three most grueling courses of three summer season races that also include the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic and the Willamette Gran Fondo.

Hit the Road

Here you have it: three cycling courses worth traveling for in different parts of the world, and one event closer to home if you don’t have the time or the cash to spare!

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