Bike Craft in Portland
 

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Knights in shining armor have nothing on bundled up cyclists who are equally protected against whatever comes their way. Rain, snow, sleet and wind can’t stop resilient bikers from making their ways through the streets.

To all of you who are riding this winter, we salute you!

And… we want to see your photos!

Are you biking, at least every once in a while, this winter? Share your photos with us. Pose, ask someone to take your photo, use a timer, take photos of friends, and share your photos with us. We are so eager to see your cute bundled-up pics!

Photo from Osprey Packs

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How do you Bike?

Bikes are fascinating. Two wheels, maybe. There could even be three (or one, if you consider unicyclists on our team, which we do).

You might just ride on distance rides, for health. Or maybe your bike is there just to get you from point a to b. Perhaps you race and push yourself hard competitively. Exploration might be your thing, taking in the sights and sounds of a region by bike. Or maybe your biking lifestyle is a combination of those realms and more.

More people are riding bikes, and the ways we ride are continually evolving, getting more complex.

In a recent article on BikePortland.org, editor Jonathan Maus discusses how bikes are becoming more like call. Read the full article here

So how do you bike? Tell us below.

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Cyclist gift guide

The holiday gifting season is just around the corner, so if you’ve got a cyclist in your life, read on!

What snow? Gifts for all-weather commuters

Just like the post office, all-weather commuters won’t be stopped by rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night. Here are a few ideas for these warriors.

A USB-rechargeable light

Perfect for commuters, since they’ll never have to worry about getting stuck at the office with a dead battery and no charger. (The rechargeable battery helps cut down on disposable battery use, too.) Stop by your local bike shop to discuss different options; when shopping, keep in mind the number of lumens (the measurement of light output as perceived by the human eye), weatherproofness, and battery life.

  • Cygolite has an impressive array of USB rechargeable lights. The Metro series (300 or 400 lumens; $60-75) is weather resistant, with 5 lighting modes and a wide light spread. The Expilion series (600 or 700 lumens; $100-120) has 8 lighting modes and a quick-release battery that can be switched out mid-ride to keep your path well lit. Both have a quick-release handlebar mounting system; Expilion 700 comes with a helmet mount, as well. Because both series have internal battery packs, they’re easy to take off the bike for safekeeping if it gets parked outside for any length of time.
  • NiteRider also sells USB rechargeable lights. The Mako (200 lumens; $65) is an internal battery pack light that attaches to the helmet with a quick release, while the MiNewt Mini (350 lumens; $110) has an external battery pack, and can attach either to the handlebars or the helmet. The helmet mount is especially helpful for mountain bikers on a night ride. NiteRider also offers the Solas 2-watt USB tail light, which features 4 modes, including a “group ride mode” for staying visible without annoying other riders in your group.

Quality rain gear

Key to a pleasant commute. Portland company Showers Pass has a great lineup of gear to keep your all-weather commuter out of the elements. Their rainproof jackets and pants all come in mens’ and womens’ styles, including the classy Portland Jacket ($200). It has all the features of a stylish (well, Pacific Northwest stylish) urban look, melded with hidden cycling features like a snap-down reflective rear flap, pit zips and zippered cuffs. Check out their selection of booties and hoods to help keep extremities dry, too.

Solid Waterproof Panniers

These will quickly become a bike commuter’s best friend. Seattle’s Detours Bags makes a large variety of good-looking bags for all types of commuting needs, with a priority on waterproofing, function and style. Go big and gritty with the waterproof Georgetown Dry Pannier ($105), get more lighthearted with the funky Fremonster Flap Pannier ($72), or land somewhere in between.

See our full pannier review post for more info. >>

Commuter stocking stuffers

  • Safety first! Look for reflective accessories like pant legs cuffs, decals or buttons. These days you’ll find an array of decorative items that are actually safety accessories.
  • Brrring! A novelty bike bell (like these ones from Nutcase – $15) will add some fun to a commuter bike.
  • Keep them on the road with a portable pump like the Topeak Mini Morph ($35), extra tube, tire levers and patch kit.

Chic in the rain: gifts for urban cyclists

Skies may be gray, but that won’t keep these classy folks from cycling in style. Here are some gift ideas for the urban cyclist in your life.

A good looking bag

A pannier that looks just as good on the bike as off it is crucial. That’s where Queen Bee Creations comes in. Another Portland company, Queen Bee features a fun collection of cycling bags. Their panniers ($124) are made of waterproof faux leather with cool appliquéd designs (both girly and gender neutral). At 830 cubic inches, they’re pretty spacious, too. Their front rack bags ($76) are made of waxed cotton with straps for securing it to a rack. Best of all? Everything’s handmade in Portland.

For the cyclist-baker, it doesn’t get better than the Pie Box ($35). This reusable pine box has a sliding lid and can transport a standard 9” pie in safety. Just strap it to your back rack and go! (Order by December 17 to guarantee delivery by Christmas.)

Fenders

Surprise your loved ones with some stylish fenders, a treat they probably wouldn’t buy for themselves. Sykes Wood Fenders (Portland) makes gorgeous sets in a variety of wooden designs ($150 for a standard set), as well as attractive water bottle cages ($65). Some complete sets are for sale at shops around the globe (check the website for local stockists), but your best bet is to order a gift certificate and give the gift of custom fit. That way the recipient can choose their favorite wood species, as well as provide the specs for their bike.

Stocking stuffers for urban cyclists

  • Walnut Studios is an Oregon company dedicated to beautifying the world’s bikes, one leather good at a time. In their online shop you’ll find all sorts of quirky accessories, from wine bottle carriers to u-lock holsters.
  • Magazine subscriptions always fit well into stockings. Try Momentum Magazine for the latest scoop on the cycling lifestyle ($20 for a year’s subscription).
  • Light up any bike with style; Fun Reflectors makes a variety of reflective decals from aliens and sharks to flowers and smiley faces. ($5)

Speed racer: gifts for roadies and racers

Ideas for the roadies and racers in your life.

Fenders, are you kidding me?

Your speedster’s not about to put a full set of fenders on a carbon fiber road bike, but sometimes a little rain protection can be useful. Portland Design Works makes an Origami Fender for both the front and rear ($20 each) that snaps on when you need it and packs down when you don’t. German company SKS makes a lightweight fender, as well. Their XtraDry ($15) features a wide design and an adjustable quick-release strap that fits around any seat post.

Merino Wool Jersey

It’s hard to go wrong with a sweet merino wool jersey. And better yet if it’s from Wabi Woolens, a Portland company who still makes their cycling jerseys in the USA. They have three mens’ styles: the winter weight cycling jersey ($165), adventure jerseys (sans rear pockets – $155) and a lightweight sport jersey in a long sleeve ($175) and short sleeve ($160).

Bike Fit

For someone who’s going to spend hours in the saddle, getting a good fit is incredibly important. Give the gift of a pain-free ride with a gift certificate for a bike fit at a local shop (between $100-350). If you’re in Portland, check out Molly at Portland Bicycle Studio, or Jack at EnSelle the Road Bike Shop. Otherwise, call your local road bike store—many offer fitting services as well.

Stocking stuffers for roadies and racers

  • Sock Guy socks ($10-13). Really. Can you go wrong with a pair of hot pink ultra-wicking socks with Lucha Libre masks on the ankles? These are the premier socks for bikers – durable enough to hold up well over time.
  • Goo packets and gels might help keep cyclists going on a long ride, but Honey Stinger Waffles ($1.40) are by far the most tasty nutrition out there. Inspired by Dutch stroopwafels, they’re made of organic ingredients, and fit nicely in a jersey pocket.
  • Chamois cream can mean the difference between a comfortable ride and, well. Chamois Butt’r ($16) and Hoo Ha Ride Glide (for the ladies – $22) are both good brands. Closer to home, Portland-made Cream of the Gods ($15) uses only 100% natural ingredients to keep your nether regions happy.

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.

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Waldo Lake Trail: EPIC

The Waldo Lake Trail has been designated an Epic Trail by the International Mountain Bicycling Association. The Greater Oakridge Area Trails Stewards (GOATS) are working with IMBA, Travel Oregon and other organizations on a press release to showcase the good news.

If you love Waldo, GOATS is asking that you share with them your anecdotes and photos: oakridgetrails [at] gmail.com.

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Stocking a Trailer

I have a distinct and unpleasant memory of being unprepared, on a bike, with a child in tow in a trailer. It was during an annual Bridge Pedal ride, and somehow I was in the middle of a logjam (bikejam?) of bikes, all at a standstill due to some unknown stoppage up around the bend of the route. My child shrieked from inside the trailer – long, piercing shrieks that could not be simply silenced with a sippy cup. Some cyclists gave me the stink eye; others may have done the same from behind their sunglasses. The extreme riders dismounted and steered their bikes away from us. Hmph.

In my quest to avoid reliving this scenario, I developed a near-foolproof plan for venturing out with my sweet young shrieker. It centers around stuff. First and foremost, if at all possible, the child should be well-fed and well-rested. These days, she should be highly encouraged (even pleaded with) to use the “potty” before leaving home. Once the trailer is hitched to my bike and we roll down the driveway, my goal is to not turn back because of shrieking, so I do what it takes.

1. Small board books

She technically can’t eat or choke on these books, and often seems more interested in The Cat in the Hat than the scenery going by her mesh-view of the world.

2. A helmet with a design

It’s much more appealing to her when I say “Let’s make the bunnies jump onto your head!” than “You have to wear this for safety and protection and I’m not taking no for an answer!”

Note: Stickers on a helmet can also work well.

3. A sippy cup or mini water bottle that does not leak

Let me emphasize the “does not leak” part. Many a toddler does not like being wet, and a gushing water bottle could trigger shrieking and/or crying. Be sure to fill it with water. I once discovered a discarded water bottle full of milk in the depths of the trailer from a week prior, and the smell was far worse than dirty cycling socks.

4. All kinds of clothing and accessories

Depending on the season, this can include: sweatshirt, t-shirt, pants, undies, swimsuit, swim diaper, sunglasses, mittens, scarf, fleece vest and/or socks. Why the swim gear? Well, if you happen to ride past a fountain or “sprayground” at any Portland park, the shrieking requests to “Stop! stop! Wanna go in DAT!” could be accommodated with the right gear and enough time to stop and smell the sprayground.

5. Blanket and/or towel, plus pillow

The blanket can encourage a little one to cozy up, relax and enjoy the ride – and possibly drift blissfully off to sleep. As for the towel, see #4. No kiddo wearing a soggy swimsuit has ever been enticed back into a trailer. Add to this list a pillow larger than your hand (see photo for perfect illustration of an ineffective pillow). I’ve upgraded to a mini pillow pet for trailer use, which doubles as a stuffed animal for added entertainment value.

6. Snacks

This could easily be #1 on the list. A reusable lunch sack does the trick to keep food contained, and our favorites include cut-up oranges (which we’ve also also been known to share with random kids who ask for some at the park) and our throw-it-together mix of Cheerios, slivered almonds, dried cranberries and chocolate chips. Just make sure to have something; even a single string cheese stick could tide the kiddo over until arriving home.

7. Safety items

I keep a standard, stocked first aid kit in the trailer as well. Thus far we’ve only needed to use the Band Aids, which have replaced Band Aids she peels off her body and sticks to her pillow pet.

A reflective vest on hand is good for wearing at dusk, when the small flag on the trailer is harder to see.

If all the preparation and packing hasn’t exhausted you, you just may be able to embark on that ten-mile ride. What? You used to ride centuries? Those days are over (for now). In a good way.


Angie Marsh is a lifelong Portland cyclist. Her random thoughts can be found on Twitter at @angieSuMarsh

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Winter Training

Winter can really take a toll on you, physically. If one of your primary reasons to ride is that you enjoy being fit and healthy, the rain of Oregon winters does not have to be a deterrent.

Now is a good time of year to mix up your routine. That could mean you’re actually on your bike on the road less often, but maybe you’re out there for longer each time. You might not be commuting as much, but perhaps you’re taking advantage of the rare clear days to indulge in a long ride. If the weather isn’t conducive to long days of riding, maybe you pack more of a punch into each ride by taking the more challenging route, intentionally climbing additional hills and working on your form.

You should also consider cross training. Indoor stretch-and-strength classes like Pilates, yoga and core strength classes can be an excellent way to work on your central strength and keep your muscles loose through the winter.

In short, cold and rainy weather don’t have to mean you’re going to pack on the pounds as you lounge on the couch. A certain amount of winter laziness can be a nice respite, but it doesn’t have to be your daily routine.

Share your story! Tell us what you do to stay healthy through the winter.

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