best bike rides in Oregon

What’s Your Event?

ORbike is a resource that promotes cycling in Oregon. We love to help riders find new events, and help organizers get more people to their events.

From fun coastal woods rides like Coast Hills Classic to mt. bike festivals like Mt. Bike Oregon, road rides, film fests and more, we’re here to help get the word out.

Do you have an event coming up? Add your event to our calendar! It’s free, and an excellent way to reach a broad audience of bike enthusiasts.

How to Crush It On Gravel

How to bike on gravel best bike rides in Oregon

Exciting times are here! We’ve declared 2018 the Year of the Gravel Ride.

Riding gravel roads is nothing new; motorcyclists and adventuresome cyclists have been hiding themselves on these off the beaten path routes for generations. But as cycling has risen in popularity, proficient riders have started to become weary of sharing their serene time with cars, traffic, noise and debris. So many have taken to the back roads, where sure, the surface might at first seem challenging but the reward is so very sweet.

The Year of the Gravel Ride

So why is 2018 The Year of the Grave Ride? Because no longer an underground or emerging-in-popularity riding discipline, supported rides are popping up in our region that have nothing to do with competition or racing – they’re simply pleasure cruises on the back roads with support. It all started with the Art of Survival Century launching a second day of their wildly popular Memorial Day Weekend ride out in the remote hinterlands on the border of Oregon and California. Day one is a traditional century ride. Day two is all about gravel – a gorgeous route through the Butte Valley in California, snaking up to hidden Juanita Lake (with pancakes at the rest stop there!).

And now the heavy hitters of Cycle Oregon are launching the aptly named October ride: Gravel. This event is sure to be an awesome weekend – Cycle Oregon truly knows how to treat their guests very well.

Support Rides To Help You Get Started

In the past if you wanted to try riding your bike on a gravel route, you were pretty much on your own. But now with these supported rides, it’s a little easier to break into the scene. Sure, the courses are rather remote and you should still come very prepared to be as sufficient as you can, but you won’t be carrying your overnighting gear and there are rest stops (ahhhh… rest stops!).

Now with a few tips, a little gumption and a thoughtful approach, you’ll be good to go. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Tips for Riding Gravel

Your Bike Matters

If you don’t have a gravel-ready bike, you can probably make a few adjustments to your current bike to help get ready to at least dip your toes in the grit and see what you think, before you invest in an all-road/gravel bike.

Go really fat on the tires and consider your bike’s geometry. Make any of the adjustments you can to reduce an overly aggressive position.

If you are considering getting a gravel-specific bike (also sometimes called all-road), here are some suggestions from Bikepacking.com.

Wheels Matter

Wheels matter more than most people ever realize. A great wheel set can make for a buttery ride.

Consider custom wheels from Portland-based Sugar Wheel Works for a life-changing ride experience. These hand-built gems are designed specifically for your riding style, your budget and your aesthetics with experts to guide you through those decisions. Plan for something light weight, sprightly and resistant to pinch flats. Maybe even go for tubeless tires, but that’s a personal choice. (Read more about tubeless from our Resident Mechanic Tori Bortman of Gracie’s Wrench here and here.

Maintain Your Speed

Forward motion creates balance. When you’re nervous, this seems counter-intuitive, but maintaining your speed will help you float through the gravel. Stay in control and if you feel you’re going to fast for a descent, lightly feather your brakes to reduce your speed. Definitely never slam on the brakes – that’s a recipe for skidding out and wiping out.

Become One With Your Bike

Feel the bike, know the bike. Allow your bike to fishtail and sometimes slosh through the gravel. It’s going to feel radically different than pavement and you’re probably going to doubt your stability – but don’t. Trust your skill and balance and keep moving forward.

Riding gravel is a more dynamic experience and you know, that’s probably a big reason so many people are attracted to it.

Get Out There and Clock Some Miles

We could go on and on about how to prepare for gravel, but the best way to become more comfortable is to get out there and clock some miles. Sign up for Gravel (October 5-7) and commit. Then head out on some approachable gravel routes to familiarize yourself.

The best cheater intro ride in the Portland-area is Saltzman Road. It’s an approachable not-really-gravel-but-kind-of-gravel route through Forest Park that will wow you, and truly help you get comfortable 101 style… especially if you like a sustained (but totally do-able) climb. You can see the route here.

Training and Stretching for a Distance Ride

Our friends at Cycle Oregon operate some of the best rides around. And they also have some of the best experts on their team. They bring along veteran physical therapist Megan Moseley, PT, LMT, of Bodywise on their rides to help riders feel great every pedal stroke of the way.

Cycle Oregon sat down with Megan to find out more about her approach to physical wellness on the bike, and we thought we’d share this expert advice with you.


Here’s how I see it: We’re spending hours bent over, pedaling away… overusing some muscle groups (quads, hamstrings, hip flexors) and over-stressing certain joints (knees, cervical and lumbar spine). It’s critical to recognize that our bodies are machines, and in my opinion, it’s our responsibility as their owners to understand how to operate them properly.

My philosophy is that everybody is created equal, and likewise every body is created equal. What I mean is, while it’s true that we come in all different shapes and sizes, there are some things that are universally true. I call these Every Body’s Rules.

Think about it: Everything we buy comes with a set of instructions, warnings or rules. We all know that if we read the instructions, heed the warnings and follow the rules, we’re going to get the best results. The same idea applies to our bodies. If we know how to operate and take care of our bodies, we can make them last as long as possible and get the most out of them. We can’t expect our bodies to continually perform, and not break down, unless we invest the time to understand and maintain them. These 10 rules are the foundation you’ll need to Become Bodywise.

Create Personal Space

Just as we humans function best when allowed our personal space, every joint in our bodies has what is called “joint space.” When a joint’s space is decreased, it can’t work the way it is meant to. This leads to degeneration, inflammation and pain.

Listen Within

Pain and inflammation happen for a reason. They’re our body’s way of telling us something is wrong. Give up the “no pain, no gain” attitude. Pay attention to your body!

Don’t Be Rigid

Contrary to popular opinion, it is not “normal” to feel stiff in the morning or after sitting for a while. Stiffness is a sign of inflammation. Using our bodies in ways they’re not meant to be used creates joint and muscle trauma, which leads to inflammation. By changing the way we move, we can stop the trauma and relieve the stiffness and pain.

Know Your Limits

Our bodies are amazing structures, but they have a limited ability to adapt or compensate. I think most people “get away with” poor posture and body mechanics for a while, but at some point they catch up with us. When our bodies can’t compensate anymore, the result is inflammation and pain.

Find Balance

Our individual joints and bodies as a whole work best when they’re balanced. This position of balance is called “neutral alignment.”

Change for the Better

Do you have a habit of slumping when you ride? Could you use some help in the posture department? Don’t worry—chronic postures and bad habits canbe changed. We simply need to learn better ways to hold and move our bodies, then practice them to form good habits.

Be Flexible

Good flexibility of the muscles and connective tissue provides our bodies the opportunity to achieve neutral joint alignment and good posture.

Get Organized

The organization of movement patterns occurs when all the muscles around a joint work together as a team, each one doing its job to fire at just the right time. This organization allows the body to balance and maintain neutral joint alignment during activity.

Strive for Equality

When we move our bodies, it is important that all the joints do their fair share. If for some reason this doesn’t happen and there’s decreased movement in one area, there will be increased movement in other areas to make up the difference. The joints that move too much are the ones that become inflamed and painful, and degenerate too quickly.

Age Gracefully

Have you heard this one? “You’re getting older; it’s normal to have pain.” I’m not buying that, and neither should you. The aging process does not have to be a painful one. We simply need to learn how to operate our bodies properly.

That being said, the exercises I’m recommending take into account these 10 rules, and are detailed on my website.


You can see the entire calendar of statewide Cycle Oregon events on their website.

Explore the Portland Splendor

PORTLAND CENTURY | August 19 – Portland

Entries are still being accepted for the Portland Century sweepstakes we announced in a special newsletter yesterday. If you haven’t yet entered, check your email and put your name in the hat before Friday for a chance to win two free tickets to this awesome ride.

Portland Century is a luxuriously relaxing day on the bike – plus a whole bunch of rewarding climbing for those of you who opt for the full Century Ride challenge. But don’t worry – if 8,100 ft. of climbing over 100 miles isn’t your jam, you can always opt for a shorter route.

But we say, go big! Portland Century offers top notch support so if you’re going to challenge yourself, this is the way to do it right – with a team at your back. Plus, the finish line beers will taste even better after those gorgeous views and epic climbs.

PRO TIP:
Save $5 when you register online and use code ORBIKE-EBA18

ROUTES + MAPS→

EVENT INFO→

An End-Of-Summer Tradition

HARVEST CENTURY | September 23 – Hillsboro

The Fall Farmland Cruise

It’s one thing to hop on your bike and go for a ride, but it’s an entirely different experience to sail along well-sculpted routes that carry you along a magical journey.

That wondrous experience is what you will be treated to on the Harvest Century, a ride well known for having incredible routes and top notch support.

The excursion takes you through the quiet farmland on the fringes of Hillsboro, past fields of dahlias resplendent in vibrant beauty and across the Canby ferry for a mini nautical adventure.

The lively finish line party is in the heart of Historic Downtown Hillsboro – directly in the middle of Main Street with live music and a tasty end-of-summer BBQ.

ROUTES + MAPS→

EVENT INFO→

Life is Short: Ride Like a Dog

Tour de Lab | September 2 – Portland

Nothing says summertime like cruising around on your bike at Tour de Lab, an awesome celebration of bikes and fun.

This annual tradition sends you on a tour of the city on low traffic roads with plenty of fun stops along the way. It’s always hilarious to see the creative costumes people come up with, and we suspect they’re not just getting gussied up to try to win the costume contest.

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, the Big Dog Course is a hill climb exxpedition into the west hills.

All dogs gather at the finish line dog park, a festival of beer, snacks and a finish line party.

Tour de Lab is a fundraiser for DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, a 24-hour resource for little furry friends in need.

Framebuilders Bid Farewell to Velo Cult

Strawberry Bicycles Andy Newlands handbuilt bikes handmade bike show portland oregon

August 18 at 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Handmade bike builders from Oregon, Washington and Australia (!) will showcase their beautiful bicycles for road, mountain and gravel at a special final show at Velo Cult Bike Shop + Tavern. The much-revered bike shop and community gathering space recently announced plans to shutter the doors of their massive Hollywood space, and instead focus on their online business.

Simultaneously, the Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association decided to cancel their Handmade Bicycle Show for 2018. This event is a fitting set off for Velo Cult and a way for people to check out what the many regional bike builders are working on these days.

Hopworks will provide free beer and there is no cost for entry.

Cheers to one last party at Velo Cult, an amazingly wonderful venue we are sad to see close. Portland won’t be the same without it.

 

PHOTO: Bespoked

5 Easy Tips for Gravel Grinding

It seems like these days nearly every group bike conversation eventually turns to gravel. But if you’re one of the many people half-heartedly nodding along while quietly harboring inner dread, you’re not alone.

Riding on gravel can be intimidating, but with the right bike set up and a good mindset, there’s nothing too complex to worry about. 2018 is the Year of Gravel, so you may as well get used to it, or you’ll soon find yourself missing out on a whole lot of group ride fun.

To help you get started, here are five easy tips.

1) Invest in your set up

Is your ride at least 25% gravel? And is some of that a descent? If so, it’s worth riding a gravel-ready bike. Depending on what you’re riding, you may not feel as nimble on pavement but you’ll feel much better on the gravel. Especially when descending.

A gravel bike, sometimes also called all road, is a bike that’s well set up to handle gravel. It’s not a mountain bike, and it’s not a road bike. There are small tweaks and upgrades sprinkled throughout the bike that better handle rough conditions. A gravel bike will have a slightly lower bottom bracket and a longer wheelbase, to make it more stable over uneven terrain at higher speeds. Tires are usually 32mm or 35mm if not wider and often they’re tubeless. This allows you to run a lower tire pressure for better grip in a variety of surface conditions. All road bikes will typically come standard with disc brakes, too.

2) Lower your tire pressure

Even if you’re not riding a gravel-ready bike, lower your tire pressure. This will allow you to better grip the surface and more easily maneuver through the gravel. It also makes for a less bumpy ride. Arm and neck fatigue from a rough surface is a major source of exhaustion on a ride that would otherwise be going just fine, so do what you can to keep your upper body comfortable.

3) Relax and ride through it

You’re going to be tempted to squeeze your breaks and freak out, or tense up from nervousness. Just relax. Let your bike glide through the gravel. Watch videos of people cruising through gravel, and draw upon those images as you’re crushing it. Just remember that you can do this. You got this. Just roll and glide through it.

If your back wheel fish tails, keep pedaling. Momentum is your friend. Forward motion creates balance. Challenge yourself not to put your foot down and stop every time you feel ill at ease. Ride through it, and every mile gets easier.

4) Look ahead and find your line

You don’t need to be all over the road, but find a nice solid looking line, the best path in the gravel, and follow it. Stare ahead, see what is coming, and be prepared. If there are potholes, washboard or a deeper wash of gravel, slowly move to a better line and follow it for a while.

5) Enjoy the view!

Most people ride gravel because gravel roads are where some of the most gorgeous scenery is – away from the cars and deeper in the landscape. Sure, you may be freaking out a little, but take the time to breathe and soak in your surrounding. Take some pictures, and enjoy the ride.

6) BONUS! Strengthen your core

Core strength is essential for maintaining a healthy bike body and we will always recommend it. A strong core will help prevent lower back pain, tightened leg muscles and upper body fatigue. When riding gravel, it also gives you the upper edge on stability, which goes a long way when riding on an uneven surface.


Looking to test your gravel legs? Check out Gravel by Cycle Oregon, October 5-7 with a base camp in the Tillamook State Forest.

Road Cycling Safety

Here at ORbike, we like to help people have a fun and comfortable bike riding experience,

Riding on the streets can seem intimidating at first, but it does not have to be – just follow these few tips. With a little bit of preparation and keeping your wits about you, you’ll be smooth sailing in no time.

Be a Road User

All road users should practice a lot of the same behaviors, such as no sudden moves, being visible, and of course being respectful. This works well for drivers of motorized vehicles, for skateboarders, walkers and cyclists alike. We can all share the road and get along! When it comes to more vulnerable road users like cyclists, there are some additional tips for keeping yourself safe since you don’t have a steel box to protect you from harm in the case of an accident. Read on!

Be Prepared

Know where you are going and be confident in your route so you can make assured maneuvers on the road. Wear the appropriate clothing so you are comfortable on the bike. Be well lit so you are visible.

Unsure? Just Pull Over Carefully

One of the most common mistakes people make is freaking out then coming to an abrupt stop. Instead, calmly survey the scene around you to know where other road users are, then cautiously pull over to the side of the road, get up onto the sidewalk or into the shoulder, and calmly bring yourself to a halt. The next step is vital: Take a deep breath and smile. You got this. Everything is going to be okay.

Ride Predictably

No sudden moves! Signal your turns by pointing where you are going with a confident, broadly extended arm that people can see. Don’t switch lanes or make turns quickly. Riding predictably is something all road users should do, and cyclists are no exception.

Be Your Own Rider

Don’t blindly follow other riders. If you’re not sure there’s enough time to get through an intersection or you’re not sure where you’re going, give some space, give some time and shout out “Stopping!’ and make the stopping sign (right arm at a right angle down, with the palm facing back toward anyone behind you. This ensures the riders behind you don’t crash into you. Make sure you PAUSE before actually stopping – remember – no sudden moves!

Enjoy the Ride

Riding a bike is fun! It’s an excellent way to explore a city, get to know your neighborhood (and neighbors!), see new sights and smell new smells. Plus, it’s good for fitness and mental health. When you’re having fun on your bike, the day goes better. And when you ride safely, your ride goes better. Have fun out there, be safe, smile and wave. We can all share the road and get along. You play an important part in making the road safe when you take responsibility for your riding behavior and ride confidently.

More Information

Need more ideas? You can find more info here.

 

Who Will Win the 2018 Tour de France?

Known as the world’s biggest annual sporting event, over 170 of the best cyclists in the world flock to France to participate in the Tour de France. Now in its 105th edition and currently halfway through the tournament, there are six cyclists who have a realistic chance of winning. Here are the cyclists that you should be looking out for and who to bet your money on.

Vincenzo Nibali

Representing team Bahrain-Merida, one of the top cyclists in the competition to look out for is Vincenzo Nibali. With a string of titles to his name including winning the Tour of Italy and previously winning the Tour de France, there is every possibility that Nibali could win the title once more.

Chris Froome

As a Kenyan-born Briton, Chris Froome is another popular cyclist to watch out for. Representing Team Sky, Froome has collected many accolades including winning the Tour de France four times as well as being a hat-trick winner of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Romain Bardet

The French born national Romain Bardet has also been a three-time Tour de France winner, as well as securing second and third place in the Tour de France. Participating in the French cycling team AG2R La Mondiale, Bardet is one of the favourites to scoop the winning spot once more.

Rigoberto Urán

Colombian born Rigoberto Urán is another favourite to win the Tour de France. At aged 31, Urán has participated in multiple competitions across the world, including winning the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec as well as placing second in the Tour de France. Urán has also competed in the Olympic road race where he earned himself a silver medal.

Mikel Landa

Representing Team Movistar, Mikel Landa has racked up multiple titles to his name including the best climber and three-time stage winner of the Tour of Italy. Landa has also competed in and won the Giro del Trentino as well as finishing in fourth place in the Tour de France. At just 28, Spanish born Landa could be in with a good chance of winning this year’s Tour de France.

Tom Dumoulin

Dutch national Tom Dumoulin is another firm favourite to win this year’s Tour de France. Aged 27 and representing Team Sunweb, Dumoulin has enjoyed great success such as winning the Tour of Italy as well as being a two-time stage winner in the Tour de Spain and the Tour de France. He is also a winner of the world time-trial championship.

If you would like to know more on statistics and betting chances of the Tour de France, make sure to visit Toals where you will get more information on each player participating as well as daily updates to ensure you know where best to place your money.

Make sure to follow the Tour de France closely as the odds can change each day. It is important that you keep track of each player’s progress to ensure you make the right decision for a chance of winning!

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