Survival Century Gravel Ride

Natural nutrition for cyclists

Have you ever checked out the nutrition information on the back of your favorite cycling snacks? Too many commercial foods are loaded with calories from sugar, salt, and fat, and packed with chemicals to enhance flavor and prolong shelf life. When you’re riding hard you need to eat, but prepackaged foods aren’t always the best option.

Whether you’re out for a couple hours of fun riding or taking on a century, fuel up with these natural alternatives. They’ll sustain your energy, maintain your focus, and—bonus—you won’t be left with non-decomposable foil wrappers in your jersey pocket.


Mother Nature has already provided athletes with awesome value-packed nutrition in snack-sized packages. Bananas are a popular cycling snack for a reason: they’re chock full of glucose, fructose, water, and potassium, and they travel easily. Sliced apples, orange wedges, and dates all makes great on-the-road snacks as well, since their low glycemic index score means they provide sustained energy rather than blood sugar spikes.

Sweet potatoes are another fantastic source of energy for cyclists—they’re packed with beta-carotene (which aids recovery), fiber, and essential minerals like potassium, manganese, and vitamin A.

Taking them out on the road requires just a few minutes of preparation. Slice one large sweet potato (with the skin still on), spread the slices over a baking sheet, give them a quick dash of salt, and then bake for about 35 minutes at 250 degrees. The goal is to dry them into convenient, chewy snacks that are easy to carry.


If those commercials with athletes dripping beads of Gatorade weren’t enough to turn you off of sports drinks already, check out the labels. The 90 calories in Gatorade’s G Series Thirst Quencher come mainly from its 21 grams of sugar. According to the American Heart Association, that’s 80% of your recommended sugar intake for the day.

Skip the artificially dyed and flavored sports drinks and go for plain water. It’s just as hydrating as the sports drinks, but without the extra calories and chemicals. Dissolvable tablets like Nuun are a great way to add minerals, salts, and flavor to your water without all the extra stuff—one 16-oz bottle of Nuun-enhanced water has only 6 calories, and no sugar. For more information on hydration, see our Hydration Station article.


Colorful packets of energy gels, bars, and chews may make great end caps and register displays in sports stores, but many are packed with chemicals and sugar—not to mention expensive.

Take granola bars, that staple hunger-quenching snack. After checking the label on a Clif Bar and finding it had 23 grams of sugar, I began experimenting with making my own granola bars. The upside is that they’re incredibly easy to make, and can save you tons of money over buying individually-wrapped granola bars at a dollar a pop.

My basic recipe is posted on my blog. It’s easy to modify, inexpensive, delicious, and best of all you know exactly what’s in it because you put it there yourself.

Energy gels can be great for giving you a quick boost, but they can be pricey. Try this recipe for making your own, then pour it into a nutrition flask like this one from Hammer. It’s a great way to cut down on waste, too.


After a long ride, your muscles need protein and carbs, and your glycogen stores need to be restocked with good sugars. Chocolate milk and rejuvenating smoothies can do wonders to help your body recover, and they’re delicious to boot.

Have you been following our Watermelon Recovery series? Check out the minted watermelon shake or a watermelon recovery smoothie for some delicious, all-natural recovery drinks.


What are your favorite alternatives to packaged cycling snacks? Sound off in the comments below.

Jessie Kwak is a writer who loves to type about the good life: travel, outdoor adventures, food and drink, and (of course) cycling. You can find her at Bictoro: Bikes and Crafts.


15th Annual Filmed by Bike

May 5-7, 2017 – Hollywood Theatre

About the Festival

The 15th Annual Filmed by Bike film festival features the world’s best bike movies May 5-7 at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland. After the Portland festival is over, Filmed by Bike On Tour brings the best of the fest to cities around the world.


Tickets are available for all shows online and at the festival. See the Box Office schedule below.

PRO TIP: See it all! Come and go freely when you purchase a Festival Pass [ Info ]


Friday, May 5



7:00 -World’s Best Bike Movies – Program A [ Full Detail ]
+ Speed Raffle, Presented by Sidekick Socks

9:00 – World’s Best Bike Movies – Program B [ Full Detail ]
+ Speed Raffle, Presented by Sidekick Socks

Friday features


  • Base Camp Street Party [ Info ]
  • Amtrak Mainstage [ Info ]
  • Speed Raffle, Presented by Sidekick Socks [ Info ]
  • ABUS Bike Parking Arena [ Info ]


Saturday, May 6



6:00 – Bike Love [ Full Detail ]

8:00 – Adventure Night [ Full Detail ]
+ Awards Ceremony [ Info ]

Saturday features


  • Filmed by Bike Lounge: Velo Cult Bike Shop and Tavern – 10am-10pm. [ Info ]
  • Awards Ceremony: Immediately following the 8:00 show. [ Info ]
  • ABUS Bike Parking Arena [ Info ]



Sunday, May 7



5:30 – Triumph [ Full Detail ]
+ Filmmaker Q+A [ Info ]

7:30 – Race to the Finish [ Full Detail ]
+ Filmmaker Q+A [ Info ]

Sunday features


  • Filmed by Bike Lounge: Velo Cult Bike Shop and Tavern – 10am-6pm. [ Info ]
  • Filmmaker Bike Ride + Chris King Tour and Chef-Hosted Reception – 12:00-4:30 [ Info ]
    A leisurely paced ride with a brewery stop and a tour of US manufacturing at the Chris King World Headquarters factory.
  • Filmmaker Q+A Sessions [ Info ]
  • ABUS Bike Parking Arena [ Info ]

COOL ROUTE: Rood Bridge

This is a nice shorty spin for people new to road riding. You could easily repeat the loop, combine it with some time at Rood Bridge Park’s many trails and features or simply add some additional roads to your ride.

We like this route because it’s a chance to see the fertile Tualatin Valley where Oregon grows much of it’s awesome food.


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


5 Top Spring Cleaning tips from Gracies Wrench

Spring has sprung and it’s time to get your bike in tip-top shape for a summer of awesome riding.

No more excuses, expert mechanic Tori Bortman of Gracies Wrench is here to share her wisdom and make it easy to get your bike ride ready. Follow her easy tips and you’ll have a smooth ride all season long.

Five Easy Tips for Spring Cleaning

  1. Clean your Frame: Everyone looks better with bling!
  2. Clean your rims: This helps you stop rain or shine.
  3. Oil your chain: Nothing runs like a well-oiled machine.
  4. Air your tires: The fastest way to a smooth ride.
  5. Get your bike in for work while the deals are on: Take advantage of early spring sales!


Cleaning your Frame

Start with what people see first, your frame. Brush the large bits off while dry with a soft cloth or brush, follow with a spray-on cleanser (Cirtisolve, Simple Green, 4O9) and wipe it down. For really grime crusted bikes, using a hose, a sponge or soft brush and a bucket of soapy water can be a great option. Careful to not get soap or water into bearings and wash away the valuable grease. Never use a high-pressure hose or sprayer that can force dirt and water into your bearings. When using a hose, use water pressure comparable to your grandma’s watering can. Gentle.


Not sure where the bearings are? Any part on your bike that spins (wheels, pedals, etc.) have them inside. Look carefully for places where the spinning actuates and completely avoid soaping or spraying those.


Cleaning your Rims

Next up is removing the black, dusty build-up from your rims—pay special notice to the surface that the brakes contact. Keeping your rims clean will increase power, the life of your wheels and brake pads and quiet your brakes.


A dry cloth works best because this insidious black stuff has a tendency to smear if you start off with cleanser. If your wheels are coated and you have no other choice, get the big bits off with the dry cloth then use a light spray-on cleanser to clean the braking surface and the top of the rim between the spokes. If you used the hose method to clean the bike, you can get this off with scrubbing and rinsing but it may take multiple passes.


This can be done as regular maintenance each time you lube the chain (see guidelines below).


Cleaning your Chain

If you haven’t oiled your chain all winter, it may be crying out for lubrication. If you have cleaned it and you didn’t wipe the excess oil off, it may need a deep spring cleaning. To clean your chain, use either a degreaser (Citrisolve, Simple Green, etc) or solvent (WD-40). Please note, WD-40 is a great cleaner and a terrible chain lubricant. Chains MUST be oiled after using it.


Spray the cleaner on a rag if you plan on immediately lubricating the chain immediately after words, or on the chain itself if you can wait 24 hours for the cleaning agent to dry out. If you spray it directly on the chain and don’t let the cleaner evaporate, the remaining cleaner or solvent will break down the new oil. Scrub the chain with a firm brush to loosen caked on debris and wipe down thoroughly with a rag until your chain maintains it’s original silver color.


Chains need lubrication a minimum of about every 100 miles, but as is often the case in our lovely winters the chain gets wet. If you ride in rain or on very wet pavement, lube it as soon as you can when the chain is dry again.


Below is a step-by-step guide to oiling your chain. Chains need oil on the inside parts where metal meets metal, not on the outside. The lubes I recommend are ATB(Absolutely The Best) or TriFlow, because both contain a “conditioner” and “shampoo” in one, which can make your lubrication process a snap. If you use those products regularly, the cleaning above will be only occasionally necessary.


  1. Turn your bike upside down or put it in a bike stand. Your rear wheel will have to be off the ground for this to go smoothly.
  2. Hold the straw of the lube against the chain and turn the pedals 5 or 6 times until you’ve gone around the chain at least twice.
  3. Wipe the excess off. Wrap a rag around an exposed part of your chain and pedal 6-10 rotations in each direction. This is the MOST important part of oiling the chain. You need to spend 2-3 times the length of time it took you to put the oil on wiping it down. This cleans your chain (the “shampoo” mentioned above) with a small amount of solvent that is carried in the lubricant.


Inflating your Tires

As for your tires, inflate them every 3-7 days (or each time you ride if you don’t get out as often) to the higher side of the recommended range imprinted on the sidewall of the rubber.  For example, if your range is 45-85 PSI, you want it at or near 85. If you are very light compared to most people, you might want to go a little lower. If you’re carrying gear that adds weight, stay towards the higher side.


Surprisingly, this combined with oiling your chain can often make your ride feel brand new.


Get Your Bike in for Work While the Deals Are On!

March and April is the time bike shops will be ending deals on winter maintenance specials and hold their spring sales—parts, accessories and even new bikes are discounted. Check with your local bike shop for upcoming sales and winter maintenance specials that might be ending soon. Getting your bike in for service now can mean a quicker turn-around time and the possibility that the shop might have parts you need on sale..

Consider a class!

This is also a great time to get out and take a class to learn how to do maintenance and repairs yourself which can increase your confidence, independence and help you better navigate your favorite shop.

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.


Finding Balance: Ride Time With Life Time

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

We all know how it is. In an ideal world, you’d ride your bike to work, to run errands, for an intense ride on Saturdays then for a relaxing ride on Sundays. But, seriously, who has time for all of that?

Life: Work, family, friends and all the other interests that make us well rounded, interesting people. It tends to cut into our ride time. You’re a healthier person when you’re riding, and your life is more interesting when you foster your non-bike activities and relationships with friends and family.

So just how do you find that balance?

While there isn’t a magic formula, a few basic practices will help you find that balance.

1. Carve out time

Your ride time is your health time. It’s so good for your mindset, your body, for thinking through dilemmas and breathing in the (hopefully) fresh air. Make time for this. It’s important. The rest of your life will be easier, finding that balance will be easier, when you’re in a good mindset and of healthy body.

2. Be present

When you’re having family time, truly be present with your family. Engage actively. Put down your device. Make the most of that time, so that when you’re off on your bike you won’t fee like you’re leaving the family behind. Your family connections are stronger when you’re healthy.

3. What can you eliminate?

Maybe something needs to go. Maybe something can go. What can you cut out of your schedule? What’s unnecessary? Where can you free up some time.

4. Integrate your activities

It’s not always easy, but when it works ride, it’s golden. Headed out of town with the family? Maybe you can get a head start and leave on your bike, then have the fam pick you up along the way. Headed out on a long ride with friends who can’t slog through 60 miles? Maybe you can clock your 30 before you meet up with them. Or drop them at the bar at mile 30 then loop around for some additional miles.

Look for supported events with multiple distance options where you can all meet up at the finish line. The Weekender, by Cycle Oregon, is a great opportunity for this. The route distances vary and it’s a full weekend away so you can all spend time together at night and enjoy your vacation together.

5. Rock the combo trip

If you need to run errands, get to work, get across town, etc., combine this with a bike ride. It’s not always as rewarding as hitting the road on your superfastandlight bike without panniers or gear, but it’s still a fantastic way to clock some miles and get outside.

6. How do you find the balance?

How do you balance your ride time with life time? Share your ideas below.

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!


Watch This >

The 15th Annual Filmed by Bike film festival features the world’s best bike movies May 5-7 at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland. After the Portland festival is over, Filmed by Bike On Tour brings the best of the fest to cities around the world.


A Jam Packed Weekend of Fun!

  • Base Camp Street Party on opening night
  • main stage of outdoor entertainment
  • free Vibram Sole Factor cobbler service
  • coffee from Nossa Familia
  • free bike parking and complimentary BIKETOWN rides plus a special pop-up BIKETOWN bike share station at the festival
  • Chris King Precision Components factory tour + chef-hosted reception
  • Filmmaker Bike Ride
  • Awards Ceremony
    + much more!

PRO TIP: Buy a Festival Pass for the full festival experience and deep savings. [ more info ]

Watch This

To get you excited for the festival, we’re sharing some of the festival’s best movies from over the years.


Come For the Ride, Stay For the Playground

About the Ride

Located on the Oregon/California border, the gorgeous Art of Survival Century on May 27 takes you on a journey through scenic farm country and spectacular sites including the first US National Wildlife Refuge, the Pacific National Monument and the Lava Beds National Monument where amazing geology and geography surround you on all sides. The ride was named the 5th Best Bike Ride in Oregon, and it’s no wonder why.

Still, most eople don’t know that some of the best riding in the Western United States is tucked long the border of California and Oregon, starting around Tulelake in California. The Art of Survival Century is a chance to be one of the few people let in on this well-kept secret. But not for long – the ride is catching on in popularity and will soon be a notable destination event.

The organizers established the Art of Survival Century to highlight the complex history of the region, which was the site of the largest and most turbulent World War II internment camp. They also hope to bring much-needed tourism support to the small towns around Tulelake.

About the Routes

Get ready for a stunning day on two wheels, no matter your riding skill level. There are plenty of options for everyone on the Art of Survival Century.

Choose from routes of 20-109 miles along mostly flat terrain and the quietest of rural roads, perfect for getting lost in the landscape. The ride snakes along hushed farm roads where you’ll go miles without seeing – or hearing – a car. Sink into the landscape, stop to take photos and relax in the saddle as you enjoy a day away from the grind of the city,

Bring the entire family for a weekend getaway. The 20 mile route is family friendly and there’s even a mt. bike route through the Modoc National Forest. For those who prefer to stay off the bike, there is plenty to see and do in this recreational region. Hiking, sight-seeing and birdwatching opportunities abound and the local guides will help non-riders tap into activities throughout the weekend.

Special Ride, Special Features

The Art of Survival Century highlights the rich history of Northern California with special ride features that make it a must-do ride.

Ranger and Historian tours at each rest stop offer insight into the landscape and history of the region. They’ll let you know what you’ve passed in the previous leg, and what to look for on the road ahead. From soaring flocks of birds that blanket the sky to stunning peeks in the distance, the rangers will help demystify the sights that delight you at every turn,

Make a Weekend of it

After a long day of riding, put your feet up and relax without having to drive home. Discounted lodging in the region include a ranch stay, camping or standard hotels. See the website for details.

This event makes for a perfect weekend getaway with activities that include cave exploration, the Lava Beds National Monument, Crater Lake, a zip line, wildlife viewing and additional road or off-road riding all within the area.

Other nearby highlights and en route locations include Crater Lake, Bend, Oakridge, Mt. Shasta, Summer Lake and Lassen National Monument.

Ride Basics

Date: May 27, 2017
Start: Tulelake, California
Cost: $25-75, Depends on the route.
More info:
Routes: 109, 86, 40, 20
Terrain: Very flat road riding, with an optional 20 mile mt. bike course
Summary: A lovely bike ride that you probably haven’t done (this is the fouth year) and that you certainly don’t want to miss. The local folks are so very friendly ad the route is so very flat – making it a perfect ride for those who are new to distance rides. And for the hardcore riders, you get to claim an awesome time for your century ride on this one!

PRO TIP:Register early for the best price.


An Artist Clips in to DZRs

Artist Carla Bartow is well known for her woodcut-style illustrations that have been the basis for bike culture posters like the Tweed Ride. Fitting with her artistic style, Carla takes a casual approach to her cycling apparel. But when she started a new job that required a long seven mile commute across town, she began to re-asses her apparel and opted for cleated shoes.

Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 2.14.25 PM

We’ve long been proponents of dapper bike shoes, something that’s nearly impossible to find. The best ones made by Specialized in 2009 were never made again. The leather options usually only come a few large sizes, typically for men’s feet, and come with a hefty price tag. The Specialized Recon is almost awesome, but because it’s made for all terrain it has too much of a sole than we’re looking for. Our goal is a solid everyday bike shoe that doesn’t look like a bike shoe, it just looks like a good looking shoe. You can walk straight into that meeting. This shouldn’t be a lot to ask.

So we sent Carla off with a pair of DZRs. The brand has a more casual style and spent some time making shoes specifically for bike polo. They first caught our attention back in 2013 or so and we’ve always liked their style, though we’re disappointed that some of the coolest styles are only available in larger sizes that typically fit men’s feet.

Carla spent some time giddily pedaling to her new job, and says the DZRs made her ride awesome.


  • I wear a women’s size 8 1/2 and the size 40 fit fine.
  • During the break-in period, the heels’ upper cut into my ankles while walking, but it went away after continued wear.
  • I have wide toes, and did not feel cramped in these shoes.
  • Cleat clearance on these shoes was nice and generous, allowing easy clipping in and out.
  • The sole of the shoe was stiff enough to give a lot of power, while retaining some flexibility for walking.
  • The shoes were comfortable enough to wear at work or cook dinner in.
  • I really enjoyed the aesthetic design of the shoe. The leather end to the strap and heel made them appropriate for dressier occasions.
  • The Velcro seatbelt strap makes for easy on and off, and is incredibly durable.
  • The multi-layered canvas shoe is warm. I ended up waxing the canvas for my rainy commutes.

Get to Know Carla

Check out some of Carla’s impressive work here.

Photo Gallery


We Like These Rain Pants

Zip it like a regular jacket but on your legs.

Rain pants are not all created equal and too often we don’t put them on because they’re a hassle.

That’s why we were so pleased to try out the Legs Jacket rain pants from VEAR. What we love most about these pants is that the waist comes together with snaps and then the zipper goes from the waist down to the ankles. It’s hard to describe, somewhat like the way a diaper is affixed. Basically, it means you don’t have to take off your shoes, don’t have to struggle to get your rain pants over your regular clothes. It’s easy.

Click to Watch


The pants also come with simple shoe covers, just enough to keep the tops of your shoes dry in a standard commute.

This Kickstarter-funded product far exceeded their goal and is now in production for pre-orders.

The Drawback

These pants are like the Art of Survival Century: Flat, flat flat. If you’ve got a belly or a booty, they probably won’t be all that comfortable.

You can read more about it here.


COOL ROUTE: Two States/Two Bridges

Take an awesome spin from Portland to Vancouver using the I-5 and I-205 bridges. This is a cool ride that sneaks along the historic Evergreen Highway. We love the hidden roads and exploration of this ride! Even that wacky bike crossing on the I-205 is a thrill.


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


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