Bike Craft in Portland
 

RIDE NEWS: Wildfires and Riding

Wildfires are burning all throughout our region. At one point, 44% of all US fires and 50% of all firefighters were in Oregon. With the recent blaze in the Columbia River Gorge, this number has likely increased.

No matter where you live in the region, chances are you are affected by the fires that are burning.

Air Quality

Air quality is an issue for many parts of the state. It is not recommended that you exert yourself in such conditions. As much as you might be eager to clock those miles, now is not the time to be out riding your bike all day.

If you must ride your bike, wear a particulate filtering mask,. They’re inexpensive and easy to purchase at any hardware store. Plan to swap out your mask every two days if you have a long commute. There are many types on the market. We like this handy guide to safe masks and what to buy.

Tracking Air Quality With an App

You can track the air quality in many ways. WeatherBug is the app we recommend. You’ll be able to see a smoke overlay on maps and easily determine the severity, then re-route your weekend riding plans if necessary.

The app is robust, but be sure to disallow bluetooth and close the app when not using it – otherwise your battery will drain in ho time.

If you’d rather check on your computer, we like the site Real Time Air Quality Index.

Ride Updates

Unfortunately some rides have been canceled due to the fires, but others have decided to proceed.

Vineyard Tour – Umpqua Valley – Canceled
Cycle Oregon – Central Oregon – Canceled
Ride the Rim – Crater Lake – Not canceled
Arthritis Bike Classic – Willamette Valley – Not canceled but there will be some route adjustments
Harvest Century – Washington County – Not canceled
Oregon 12/24 – Bend – Postponed until October 14/15
Cascading Rivers Ride – Estacada – Canceled
Jensie Gran Fondo – Marin County – Not canceled

As far as we know, all other rides are proceeding as planned. If you have additional information not listed here, please share it with us.

Stay Up to Date

  1. Check the ride website and contact the organizers
  2. We’ll keep this post updated as info becomes available
  3. Follow us on Twitter

Stay Safe

When in doubt, stay inside and stay safe. As much as we’re all eager to squeeze in a few last rides before winter is here, your long term health is much more important.

Watch the Video

The Columbia River Gorge ablaze.

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How to Help Your Friends Ride Bikes

This article is presented by the Harvest Century, a huge celebration of an awesome riding season. The event is every September in Hillsboro.


For those of us who love to ride, there’s a strong pull to get our friends and family on bikes. Perhaps it’s evangelism, but perhaps it’s merely that we want to be able to spend bike time in their good company.

If you’ve got people in your life you hope to inspire onto a bike, here are some ideas. An inspire ts a carefully chosen word here – forcing, guilting or other negative approaches are approaches fraught with failure and the potential to damage friendships.

Get the bike set up

Find out what is the condition of your friend’s bike with a quick phone call to go over the basics. Are both wheels on? (good sign) Do the brakes touch the handlebars? (no good). If you determine the bike is basically rideable, plan a visit to your friend’s house with plenty of time to get the bike set up. Bring a helmet, lock and lights if your friend doesn’t already have these items.

When you visit, pump up the tires, oil the chain and give the bike a look-over. If it looks safe to ride, plan a short trip. If the bike needs work, suggest taking it to a shop – TOGETHER. If possible, go on a weekday or early weekend morning when the shop is less busy and can give you more thoughtful attention.

Plan a Short, Fun Trip

We know, you WANT to take your friend bikepacking or on a long adventure, but if he or she is newly getting back on the bike, it’s best to start with a short trip that will end in glee, not frustration. This leaves a much better biking impression. Here are a few of our favorite starter rides:

  • Head out in the morning to a breakfast place nearby.
  • Ride to a farmer’s market. YOU bring the carrying capacity and let your friend ride free (unless she/he is ambitious). Afterwards, make a snack from the treats you gathered at the market or stop for coffee.
  • Head to the store and buy fixins for a BBQ, then head home and enjoy the bounty you gathered.
  • Arrive at your friend’s house with EVERYTHING necessary for a picnic! Ride to a nearby park and enjoy a summer day on two wheels.
  • Join in on a fun event, like a Pedalpalooza ride or other free short-ride event. The energy of a crowd is infectious! Your friend will be inspired to see so many other bike loving people.
  • Head to another friend’s house for a visit, something under 3 miles.
  • Cruise around a neighborhood you like and stop for a beer, wine, coffee, window browsing.
  • Plan to ride together to an event for which your friend would have otherwise driven, but something closer than 6 miles away. Meet together at his/her house and ride together.

Keep at it

If your friend says no or gives excuses but is still expressing a desire to ride more, help with gentle pushes and AWESOMELY fun opportunities. We like this sort of approach: “Hey, a group of us is going to ride down to the Waterfront Blues Fest together. We are planning to meet first at XYZ bar that’s around the corner from your house. Why don’t you meet us for a drink and we can all ride down together?”

Keep it Fun

During the ride, avoid criticism or correcting. Instead, lead by example. Smart people will catch on to what you’re doing with respectful and safe riding behavior. Be open to answering a million questions (hopefully your friend asks!) and approach all inquiries with an enthusiastic and friendly response.

Go slowly on the road, avoid making harsh maneuvers, don’t squeeze through yellow lights.

Make your turns known in advance. “In two streets, we’re going to turn left.” Knowing what’s coming makes the ride much ore comfortable to a new rider, who likely has a lot of thoughts rushing through his or her head.

Whatever you do, keep your approach lighthearted, fun and positive. Hard pushing creates resistance. Inspire!

Seal the Deal with Rewards!

We’re never too old to love rewards. Sure, a 3 mile ride may not seem like a big deal TO YOU, but it might be for your friend, even if she/he doesn’t act like it. It’s not so much the distance as it is the fact that you did it – you got out on a ride. So celebrate!

Beers afterwards. Go out for dinner. Stop for a snack. Something!

How will your friend remember your ride? Hopefully as a tasty and fun day spent with a good friend.

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Cycle Oregon 2017 – The Classic – Canceled

It is with a heavy heart that we report Cycle Oregon 2017 has been canceled due to the wildfires ravaging Oregon right now. After carefully monitoring the worsening situation for the last few weeks, the event has come to this difficult decision.

AFter consulting with state and regional agencies, Cycle Oregon decided to declare their first-ever ride cancellation.

“Fifty percent of individuals fighting fires nationally are in Oregon and Washington.These fires are spread throughout the entire state, with the heaviest fires being in central and southern Oregon – encompassing our 2017 Classic route. Currently, fires are impacting five of our seven days with smoke and air quality levels ranging from unhealthy to hazardous.”
– Executive Director Steve Schultz.

This is a Big Deal

The wildfire situation is a big deal, and Cycle Oregon is a big deal. Cycle Oregon isn’t “just another supported bike ride.”With 2,500 participants moving camp every day in some of the most rural places in our state, Cycle Oregon is a huge undertaking. The event also brings much-nedd support to rural communities through their grant program. With a long history in the state, we have Cycle Oregon to thank for pioneering many innovative projects like the Scenic Bikeways.

The Impact

Riders come from all over the world for Cycle Oregon. The event typically sells out well in advance, and many people made their travel plans back in the spring. Hundreds of volunteers and support personnel re-arrange their schedules take time off work, buy extra supplies and otherwise coordinate their personal efforts to be nearly off the grid for a week.

Cautious Planning

Cycle Oregon is a ride that happens out in some of Oregon’s most rural areas, where significant impact from natural conditions is par for the course.

Care for the riders, the communities through which the event travels and the environment that surrounds the ride have always be of utmost importance to Cycle Oregon. The event has weathered many a storm in its 30 year history. Wildfires have caused mid-ride re-routes in the past. Torrential downpours have flooded campsites. Sometimes both of these burdens have happened at the same time (Cambrdige 2015, anyone?). But never has the ride encountered such destruction as is currently occurring all around the route.

From the Director

Executive Director Steve Schultz summed it up best in this recently released letter.

Wildfires in Central Oregon Force Cancellation of 2017 Cycle Oregon Classic Ride

Oregon is in crisis.

Forty-four percent of acres burning nationally are in Oregon. Fifty percent of individuals fighting fires nationally are in Oregon and Washington. Eight of the highest trained firefighting teams in the nation are working on the fires in Oregon. These fires are spread throughout the entire state, with the heaviest fires being in central and southern Oregon – encompassing our 2017 Classic route. Currently, fires are impacting five of our seven days with smoke and air quality levels ranging from unhealthy to hazardous. Previously designed alternate routes are now affected with fire and smoke from both new and existing fires. Statewide weather forecasts for the foreseeable future are for more hot, dry and windy weather with an associated increase in fire activity and smoke production.

After discussions with numerous authorities including the Oregon Department of Forestry, the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Oregon Department of Transportation and others and conducting on site personal meetings with Incident Commanders at the fires, we have come to the most difficult decision to cancel the 2017 Classic event.

This is an enormous disappointment for all of us. We as a community rise to challenges, but sometimes the risks far outweigh the potential benefits. We have exhausted the options and possibilities of doing anything but cancelling. The one priority that we won’t jeopardize is safety; we feel we cannot go forward without doing just that.

We are sensitive to the current struggles throughout our communities and our state. Right now, Oregon needs our support; Cycle Oregon will not add to these already challenging times.

This situation is unprecedented in Cycle Oregon history; we are in uncharted territory. As we work on next steps, we ask for time as we determine the best path forward. We realize you have many questions and we are committed to answering them. We will focus our current efforts on taking care of our communities as they deal with their struggles, being as generous as possible to our riders and partners, and supporting our state and those standing up and fighting these perils on our behalf. Cycle Oregon is something that we all embrace, and want to experience, but there are much bigger things at play here.

Over the next number of days, we’ll be working on how we stop this freight train and assess. We will reach back out to you by next Wednesday with our next steps.

Cycle Oregon is more than just a brand or a bike ride. It’s a way of being. We will move forward. We will embrace the environment that surrounds us – good or bad – find meaning in it, and remember that we are here to make a difference. And we will ride on.

Steve Schulz
Executive Director

Fire Map

At the time of ride cancellation. Click for a larger version.

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California Dreaming!

JENSIE GRAN FONDO | October 7 – Marin County

The Jensie Gran Fondo on October 7 in Marin County is just the type of bike ride we dream of all year long. The routes features the most striking views and the course is well designed for a rewarding day.

Ride along the world-class roads of Marin County with notable views of Alpine Dam, Mount Tam, Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Point Reyes and Tomales Bay. Select the Shut Up Legs Route (100 miles, 8,055 ft of elevation) to experience some of the very best climbs in all of California. Other routes include a 70-mile with 4,445 ft and a 40-mile with a mere 2,520 ft.

This cool ride is well worth the journey to California. There are bike rentals on site (reserve in advance) or you can ship to the event with BikeFlights. An everyone knows, when the weather in the Pacific Northwest turns sour, it’s time to treat yourself to a ride elsewhere. The Jensie Gran Fondo is a perfect choice.

MORE INFO→
ROUTES+MAPS→
BIKE SHIPPING+RENTAL→

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Century Ride Gear Tips

This article is presented by the Harvest Century, the huge celebration of an awesome cycling season. This beloved ride is every September in Hillsboro.


Too often our gear becomes a burden. The cost, storage and maintenance of gear can be quite a hassle. Here are our tips for making sense of it all so you can spend more time riding your bike all year long, and less time worrying about your “stuff.”

Storage Tips

  • KEEP IT ACCESSIBLE – tuck away what you won’t need this season. Keep the rest at your fingertips for easy access.
  • CREATE A ZONE – make it easy to hang up wet gear and dump dirty stuff into a laundry basket. An absorbent and washable rug under your coat hooks makes it easier to hang up drippy rain gear. If your bike is stored inside the house, protect your wall and put a thick towel under the wheels in rainy months.
  • WHAT DO YOU GRAB EVERY DAY? – Keep lights, lock and helmet in an easy spot, such a small shelf next to your bike or a depository bin right near by. What else do you need on a regular basis? Find a way to make this super easy to grab.

Maintenance of Gear

  • WASH WITH CARE – infrequently launder your gear with gentle detergents and line dry whenever possible to preserve the integrity of the fabric.
  • SEASONALLY ASSESS YOUR GEAR – sit down to review everything. What can be repaired? What should be replaced? Get that taken care of in the off season so when the torrential downpours or bright sun hit, you’ve got the gear you need.

Invest in Your Gear

  • QUALITY GEAR IS WORTH IT – high price tags can mean special features, durability, aesthetics or all of the above. Investing in quality gear means a more comfortable ride and less frequent gear replacement, plus the reliability that comes with knowing your gear is going to be able to hold on long rides or for an aggressive training regime.
  • KEEP A LIST – know what gear you want and keep a running list. Hunt for sales and tell your friends what you’re in the market for so they can keep an eye out while they’re also seeking treasures and bargains.

Gear for Multi-Day Supported Rides

  • KEEP IT ORGANIZED – make it easy to grab your kit in the morning and your PJs at night
  • KEEP IT CLEAN – create a system for storing the dirty laundry you won’t wash until you’re back home
  • KEEP IT DRY – if you’re going to be rinsing out chamois during the ride, create a system for drying your laundry, such as a mesh bag clipped to the outside of your luggage
  • INVEST IN GOOD LUGGAGE – such as Oregami Luggage, which is specifically designed for mult-day sport adventures.
    (PRO TIP: Save 50% on Oregami Luggage when you use code ORB50)

 

Most importantly, enjoy the ride and have fun out there!

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How to Use Your Bike Commute for Training

This article is presented by the Harvest Century, a huge celebration of an awesome riding season. The ride takes place every September out of Hillsboro. Don’t miss it this year!


These days, seemingly more than ever, people’s schedules are filled from the moment they wake until their heads hit the pillow at night. The rare lucky ones get to ride their bikes whenever they like. For the rest of us, finding time to train is often a case of making the most of the time we have.

One way to accomplish this is to use your bike commute as training time. The average bike commute in the US is about 30 minutes each way. Once you add up your full day’s ride, it amounts to some pretty good training time. Depending upon the resources you have at your workplace, there are many different ways to make your commute double as training time. If you can take the long way in (or home) that’s great. However, when time is short, it pays to optimize.

USE YOUR COMMUTE FOR RECOVERY

The most pleasant training commute is to use your commute time as active recovery time. Cycling events mostly happen on the weekends, so an easy, ambling Monday commute is just what those tired legs need to help them loosen up and recover. Keep your cadence high, but your effort level low – you should be able to do this in your street clothes without breaking a sweat. Think of it as a gentle massage for your legs.

MAKE YOUR COMMUTE A STRENGTH TRAINING RIDE

Another way to make your commute more effective training is to use it for strength training. Take one of your commute days and make it a low cadence, high force interval day. For example, start in a big gear from every stop light or sign and pedal your way up to speed over 30 seconds. Once you’re done, spin easily until the next stop and then do it again. Incorporating five or six of these sets into each direction of your commute will help you build power without becoming drenched in sweat. Think of this as a weight-lifting session on your bike.

PRACTICE YOUR TECHNIQUE

Your commute is a great time to work on technique. While working on technique is often tedious in a normal training session, it is much easier to handle in a short session. Concentrate on your pedal stroke and focus on spinning in nice, smooth circles. Imagine your feet floating on the pedals. You may even want to do some spin-ups while you’re at it. These are short sessions where you start at one cadence and gradually increase it to 100 or 110rpm over about 30 seconds before resting for a bit. They’re like the strength intervals mentioned previously, but without starting in a big gear.

When you’re thinking about technique, it’s also worth remembering your position on the bike. Keep your elbows bent, your neck relaxed, and try to bend from your hips and not your back. After a long day at work, it’s easy to get hunched over the handlebars.

THE PAYOFF

Making your commute useful training isn’t difficult, and it has a lot of benefits. Besides letting you optimize your time, it allows you to do two workouts in a day. This makes for more efficient training and a better training response. You’ve got all day to recover between sessions, and so you can make your second session more effective. If you work on your feet, consider doing your hard work on your way to work, and using the ride home for recovery. Remember to have a good, protein and fruit-rich breakfast, and stay well hydrated during the day. This will help you keep your energy levels high, allowing not only for better workouts, but also for a more pleasant day overall.

Most of all, have a great ride and be courteous to your fellow commuters. Sometimes when we get into our heads, whether we’re thinking through ideas or focusing on our pedal stroke, it’s easy to forget about the people around us. Using your commute for training and focusing does not get you a pass in the courtesy department! Sharing the road always reigns supreme.


Adnan Kadir is a USAC-certified Level 1 cycling coach who believes that in sport, as in life, it is important to strike a balance between the various aspects of what one does. Adnan has been a competitive cyclist and triathlete for nearly 25 years. His full-time coaching practice can be found at AeolusEndurance.com

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