Gravel Bikes: What’s All the Hype?

For a few years ORbike has promoted gravel rides for your cycling adventures—from the Cycle Oregon’s Gravel to The Art of Survival Century There are endless opportunities to find your own adventure on unpaved roads in Oregon and a growing number of supported rides. So much so that ORbike declared 2018 “The Year of the Gravel Ride.”

With increases in road traffic, no lack of gravel backroad options throughout the state, and a new style of bike to take you there, 2019 is shaping up to be event better as people seek out quieter biking spaces.

 

What exactly is a gravel bike?

Depending on where you live (and which bike company’s marketing you’ve read), gravel or “adventure” bikes are one and the same. Designed for comfort, versatility and the ability to get further away from modern comforts, it’s a road bike that came back to its touring roots with some modern tweaks to make them even more versatile.

Over the past few decades, bike companies somewhat started to realize that average riders aren’t road racers. They’re customers wanted a road (or drop bar) bike that wasn’t designed for racing and could handle longer fitness rides with more comfort for the rider. Eventually these developed into “endurance” style bikes that were very similar to road bikes but with a more stable geometry and slightly more upright position.

Simultaneously, as endurance bikes became more popular, routes and races that were further afield also grew in popularity. Many included gravel, so bike companies (and inspired custom builders) took notice and started designing bikes that could take riders farther, longer with less fatigue.

The rise in bikepacking (camping by bike) has led to an entire series of bikes that are suitable for going off road and carrying gear.

Thus, the gravel/adventure bike was born.

 

How does a gravel bike differ from a cyclocross, endurance or touring bike?

Gravel bikes combine aspects of cyclocross, endurance and touring to create one new magnificent style of machine!

From the cyclocross bike, the gravel bike borrows wider tires which create greater stability on rough, loose, sandy, or dusty roads to keep you from skidding or sliding out. The governing body of international racing limits cyclocross tire width to 33mm, but only the frame or fenders limit the larger tire sizes of gravel bikes, which can boast over 48mm tires. Gravel bikes have wider frame spacing to accommodate those tires, as well as wheels that are stronger to take those lumps and bumps and are compatible with tubeless tire technology so you can ride lower tire pressures without worrying about pinch flats.

From endurance bikes, the gravel bike borrows newer road technologies of light suspensions built into the frames, seat posts and handlebars for a smoother ride quality, as well as a more upright and stable geometry.

From the touring bike, the gravel bike borrows room for fenders and extra frame bosses and eyelets (the places where you can attach water bottle cages or other gadgets) to help you be out farther, longer, in any kind of weather without needing to re-supply.

From all three, the gravel bike often borrows the dependability and superior braking power of disc brake technology, A few lower cost options come equipped with cantilever brakes traditionally found on classic touring or cyclocross bikes.

Essentially, the gravel bike takes the best from the most popular modern bicycle types and combines them into one, super versatile dream bike. Can you go for a long (or short) fitness ride on it? Check. Can you race a local cyclocross race on it? Check. Can you go for a multi-day tour on it? Check. Can you comfortably ride on or off pavement? Check. How about the kind of rides ORBike promotes, from extended, supported adventures to fun rides around town? Picture perfect for those, too.

Should you own a gravel bike? The answer is probably yes. N+1…

As you’re getting your body ready for a season of riding, consider a DEXA scan to track your progress.

So if you’re in the market for a new, do-it-all ride, gravel bikes are the way to ride— no matter how far or what the road is made of.

 


Tori Bortman is ORbike’s resident bike mechanic. She is also an educator, consultant and the owner of Gracie’s Wrench. Tori is the author of The Big Book of Cycling for Beginners published by Bicycling Magazine.

 

 

The Quietest Ride Around

It’s quiet here.

May 25+26 – Tulelake, CA

(Just outside of Klamath Falls)

The Art of Survival Century is a world away from the daily grid, the chaos, hum, buzz and cacophony of daily life. Out here, things are different. Roads are paved, some are gravel, and all of them snake through an otherworldly landscape with Lava Beds, petroglyphs and birdlife that calls this their favorite place to feel safe. Mt. Shasta watches over you at every turn.

Ride Options

DAY 1: Road or Mt. Bike
DAY 2: Gravel (30% gravel and amazing tucked-away routes)
DAY 3: Explore on your own

Three optional days, ride one day or two, explore as much as you want.

Make a Weekend of it!

This ride is the perfect Memorial Day weekend getaway! A little exploration, a little bike riding….

Nicely nestled near everything! Depending on where you’re coming from and where you’re going afterward, Tulelake is on the way to or from Bend, Crater Lake, Lake Tahoe, Oakridge, Summer Lake Hot Springs, Ashland, Mt. Shasta and so much more.

Camping and Ride Family

We particularly love that this event provides on-site camping. That means you can roll out of bed and roll on over to the start line, which is a dream come true for those of us who like to sleep in as late as possible!

After the ride, groups gather under the the shade of the trees as they tell tales from the road, share beers and settle in to their home for the weekend.

This isn’t one of those events where hundreds of people descend upon a location and take over for the weekend. The Art of Survival Century is a small ride, where riders get to know each other. And things are quiet and camp.

It is really, truly, a lovely experience. Well worth the journey to this tucked-away location.

Petal Pedal: Willamette Valley Delights

June 22 – Silverton

A colorful journey through the vibrant Willamette Valley landscape

Ride over covered bridges and cruise along gentle country roads line with flowers in bloom as you explore rural Willamette Valley on this gorgeous ride.

With varying route distances, Petal Pedal offers a little of something for everyone, including a stunning (optional) climb up to Silver Falls. 

Voted #3 ORbike Best Bike Ride in Oregon

EXPLORE THE ROUTES→

A GORGEous New Ride!

We’re so excited for the kickoff of this brand new ride!

Gorge Pedal
July 20
Cascade Locks

This gorgeous (GORGEous?) ride takes you on mostly off-road paths as you explore the Columbia River Gorge.

Perfect for all ages – there is even a family friendly 11-mile paved route.

The Columbia River Gorge is historic and majestic. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about this rich region from historians and volunteers as you soak in the striking view.

Don’t forget your camera or to keep your phone well charged – this day is going is going to be memorable.

This is the inaugural year for this stunning ride, and you’re going to want to be able to say you were there when it all started.

MORE INFO >

 

Bicycles: Why you need to get one

If there is one mode of transport, that a person knows that they can rely on, it is the bicycle. Why we say this is because this mode of transport has been around for nearly two hundred years. Moreover, throughout those years, people have used and abused them. That is why today we want to look at a few reasons why you should get yourself a bicycle.

Reasons to get a Bicycle

It gives you free work out

One of the best reasons why you should buy a bicycle is that it comes with a guaranteed workout. Every time that you cycle, you will be stretching your leg muscles. Therefore, instead of rushing off to the gym, get yourself a bicycle. As a gambler or sports betting fan, you can use the money you won from sports betting sites and buy a proper bicycle.

It’s cheap

As compared to that car that you want to buy, a bicycle is 10 times cheaper. A person can literally save hundreds of dollars every day by using a bicycle. This is factoring in the gym costs that you have cut off, the insurance plus the upkeep. You will see that with a bicycle you significantly reduce your transport costs.

In addition, with all the money that you saved, you can enjoy a few real money best payouts online casino games. Who knows, you might even win a jackpot or two.

It gets to squeeze into the tight spots

The other great thing about a bicycle is that it can squeeze through the tight spots in traffic. Furthermore, we can bet that you have never seen a traffic jam on the cycle track. That is why you should get yourself a bicycle.

Environmentally Friendly

Another great thing about bicycles is that they are friendly to the environment. This is because you will never find a bicycle emitting any gases that are deadly to the environment. Meaning that you can cycle in peace knowing that you are not indirectly killing the environment.

Meet Mr. Pig Cat

We recently came across this amazing cat, an adventurist extraordinaire. Mr. Pig Cat’s human companion is a customer of Walnut Studiolo, an Oregon company that manufactures handmade fine leather bike accessories.

We couldn’t resist sharing this dapper fella with you. Here’s the story he “told” Walnut Studiolo.

“A few years ago, [my human companion] Audrey watched a movie called ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ about a cat that got to go everywhere with his owner. Maybe it was the way I glanced pleadingly at her throughout the entire movie, maybe it was the way I drooled as I stared at the TV, maybe it was the incessant roar of me purring for an hour and a half, but eventually Audrey decided she would try taking me out and about to see how I liked the great outdoors, and of course I do.

Unlike many other cats, there is very little that scares me and I’m always up for a new adventure so get to go everywhere with Audrey. I love running at the park and also canoeing. But probably my favorite activity is camping. Audrey’s young cousins come along and during the hustle and bustle of setting up camp they play with me. This winter we’re thinking of taking a winter camping trip, and I think I might like it if the tent is cozy enough!”

READ THE FULL STORY >

7 Unmatched Benefits of Going to Work by Bike

A study compared, through a survey of more than 13,000 people, emotions such as happiness, pain, stress, sadness and fatigue that users have depending on the means of transport in which they move.

Happiness through transportation

After the cyclists, the next happiest are the passengers in the car and then the car drivers. ” Bus and train users experience the most negative emotions, although a small part of this can be attributed to the fact that public transport is used disproportionately to get to and from work,” the study authors note.

In addition to the proven benefits of physical exercise, this work shows that the mood of people can be affected in something as everyday as the means of transport in which it moves and its results can serve to improve the characteristics, frequencies and design of transport networks.

Nowadays, any time is good for exercising. And if we can practice it while we go to work, much better. For this the bicycle is one of the best transports to practice outdoor sports.

There are many other benefits of going to work by bike. If you are still thinking about it, consider it, we give you 7 good reasons to change your life.

We practice sports

One of the most outstanding benefits of going to work on a bike is that we do sports. We move, we do exercise and in the process we get fit. As it is something we must do every day, maybe it will not be necessary to go to the gym so much. The pedaling gives us strength and flexibility, not only in the legs, but also in the rest of the body.

We get thin

As a consequence of this daily exercise, we lose weight and fat. If we eat correctly and take the bike to work, we will keep a good figure and fitness without too much effort.

We enjoy the scenery and the good weather

Getting to work by bike allows us to enjoy good weather. In all times of the year, the bicycle is a good transport that makes us enjoy the cool, the streets, the people … especially when the days get longer. We discover new sensations and colors, and in the afternoon we benefit from the breeze and the open air, after hours being locked up. If you are a student who is working on an assignment, essay or dissertation, you can pick your stuff and pedal to the nearest park where you can focus on your work in nature and away from, something that you do not imagine if you have to go by car.

We spend less

Have you thought about how much you can save per month on gas and subway and bus tickets? Going to work on a bike allows you to spend less money. We will go free, we can park anywhere, and we will not waste time or money when using another type of transport.

In favor of the environment

The bicycle is one of the eco-friendliest transports that exist. In this sense, we are contributing to improve the planet, to be more sustainable and not damaging the environment. We do not spend on fuel and the atmosphere of the city is improved.

Discover corners of the city

Going on a bicycle to work is a real advantage. We can change the route to get to the office every day and we will always discover a new corner. Admire the architecture, the mountains, the new streets and squares, and gain health.

Arrive or reach earlier

As the use of the bicycle depends on oneself you will surely arrive at work earlier. You will save yourself from all kinds of traffic jams and you will not have to share space with the thousands of people that we find on public transport. It gives you a feeling of total freedom.

10 Safety Tips for the Bicycle Riders

Learning the rules and safety tips for biking is as important for the students and bikers as writing papers on different subjects. 1. Use the helmet: The studies carried out so far indicate that the use of the helmet can reduce up to 85 percent. It is important that the helmet is properly adapted to your needs and that it is approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation. 2. Clothing: Clothing should be light in color, or reflective if it is worn during sunset in times of poor visibility, and close to the body to prevent it from getting caught on the bicycle. If you carry a load or a bag, make sure it is secure. 3. Right lane: Always drive along the right lane in a single lane and respect traffic signals. Never go from one lane to another or cling to the back of a car or truck that is towed. Also, do not forget to make the correct hand and arm signals to communicate the maneuvers you are going to perform. 4. Traffic attention: Seven out of ten collisions between bicycles and cars occur at intersections and exits. Therefore, look well in both directions before entering a street or an intersection. If there is a lot of traffic, walk next to your bicycle. According to James, an assignment helper, “once I was thinking about my work and nearly hit the car in front of me which suddenly came to a halt. From that moment, I always remain attentive on the road.” 5. Road condition: The roads or streets can bring unpleasant surprises. Pay attention to sewer grates, puddles, stones, potholes or broken glass. Before dodging them, make sure you can do it safely and take advantage of a free space in transit. 6. Lights: If you drive at night do not forget to turn on the rear and front lamps of the bicycle. Always use reflective clothing, especially on the extremities (ankles and wrists), on the back and the helmet, especially if you drive at night. 7. Bicycle lanes: Drive along the paths and paths reserved for bicycles that are marked with special signs. 8. Check the condition of the bicycle: Make sure that the bicycle adapts correctly to your size. The feet should touch the floor when you are sitting on the seat and the handle should be fixed and turn easily. Verify that the wheels and all the elements of the bicycle are well secured. 9. Use the brakes: The brakes allow to control the speed, so it is important that they work correctly. If the brakes are hand-held, use the backs immediately before using the forwards. In addition, it moderates the speed when the terrain or road conditions are dangerous since sometimes more distance is required to stop. 10. Do not listen to music with headphones at a high volume while riding on the bicycle, since it prevents you from perceiving the presence of other vehicles and prevents you from controlling the traffic on your back. So, make sure you have done your homework before you hit the roads.

6 Best Places to Travel on Bikes

There is something inexplicably exciting about using a bicycle to explore a strange city, the streets pulsating with life. The glass and steel of buildings gleam with a certain magic, street life seems to be more vibrant and the smells and sounds of a metropolis at full slope hover to engulf your minds. While riding on a bicycle, you can completely feel alive and engrossed in that particular moment.

Biking trips are a remarkable way of getting to know a city closely. This is also considered as an eco-friendly way of exploring it. With the progress in the climate today, more and more cities are making an effort to boost other, green options for the ones who love traveling.

Have a look at some of the bike-friendly cities across the world that will assure ultimate cycling adventure.

1) Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is considered to be the first ‘bike city’ in the world. There are over 390 kilometers of bike lanes in the city and the number is only increasing. Nearly half of the people living in Copenhagen travel to work by bike. Copenhagen is known for its eco-conscious bike culture all over the world. The cycle superhighway, which is a pathway from a suburb that leads into Copenhagen’s city center was also created in the city. This gives the bikers an easy way of getting into the city. The superhighways are a part of future construction plans having 28 different routes. According to William Lucas, who is an expert of writing a college essay, Copenhagen is the most bike-friendly city in the world and he daily paddles to work.

2) Amsterdam, Netherlands

The next city that is considered to be the most bike-friendly city in the world is Amsterdam. The city has over 800,000 bikes, which is much more than the number of people staying in the city. Around 40% of the traffic in this city alone is biking. For the people in Amsterdam, biking is the way of life. Rental bikes are also available throughout Amsterdam, for the tourists to explore and travel across the city. There are about 240 miles of bike lanes in Amsterdam and the locals tend to take advantage of the green lifestyles of the city and enjoy.

3) Portland, Oregon, United States

Portland is one of the best cities of America that comes under the environment friendly part. Portland has about 315 miles of biking lanes and has a maximum number of people who travel through bike to work. Another significant feature of Portland is that it allows a bike-share rental program that is open for everyone. This exciting feature inspires more and more people to pedal around the city.

4) Utrecht, Netherlands

Utrecht is a very biker-friendly city. Every day over 100,000 people ride bikes to work, school or anywhere for leisure. Over 59% of the people travel to the city center by bike, as it is the most popular place. The city has planned to push the green movement from 12000 to 33000 bike (bicycle) parking spots at the Central Station by 2020. This may not be the largest city, but, still, efforts are being made to progress in the coming time.

5) Seville, Spain

Seville has recently become a major bike-friendly region of the world. The city has around 160 kilometers of bike lanes. This city is rapidly walking on the path of shifting to green travel. Around 70,000 bikes being used every single day in Seville. While pedaling around the city, you will come across the most beautiful landscapes ever.

6) Nantes, France

Nantes in France is on the shift to make itself a biker-friendly city. Biking around the Nantes Island, a historic center in the southernmost part of Nantes or along the Loire river are best places to bike around. You would be able to see beautiful panoramic views.

These are some of the best places that you can explore by biking. If you are a student who is looking for the best place to write your assignments and get good marks, then paddling to any of these places would help. You will be able to see the best beautiful landscapes and views around them and complete your homework promptly.

Top 5 Worst Day Ride Costume Ideas

WORST DAY OF THE YEAR RIDE | Portland February 10 Lucky Labrador Brew Pub Every year, Portlanders get a fresh start on the cycling season not by hopping on trailers, not by suffering through intervals, and not by counting calories. They do it the Portland way: on a bike, in costume. The Worst Day of the Year Ride is an annual tradition that pit cyclists against the elements and the cyclists always win. Always. This fun day is a hilariously good time on two wheels, complete with a hot soup finish line party and tasty rest stops all along the route. To fit in, all you need to do it show up in a costume. The wilder, the better. Here are our Top 10 favorite costume ideas, from years past.

1) Sasquatch

Whether you call him the Abominable Snowman, Yeti or Bigfoot, this hairy fella is always one that gets the laughs. Bonus: You can talk people into getting their picture taken with you.

2) Where’s Waldo?

“I found him!” If you like a costume that encourages people to point at you, this is the perfect one! Simply don a red and white striped shirt and some dark rimmed glasses, and everyone will know who you are. Bonus points for a red stocking cap on top of your helmet – that’s what really seals the deal.

3) Tutus Go With Everything

One year, I found myself riding behind a strong rider. He’s usually a Boulder mountain biker but he found himself in Portland and joined in on the ride. As a visitor, he was at the mercy of his hosts to find him a costume, so they tossed a tutu his way, and he wore it all day long. Riding behind this powerful riders, I watched as he climbed up Old Germantown Road (part of the gorgeous Challenge Route), letting his tutu bounce along the way. This was not at all a look he had every before rocked, but he seemed perfectly at ease to fly the tutu as he coasted effortlessly up the hill (the climb is not so effortless for most of us, especially early in the season). There was a kind of joy and vibrancy in that tutu that is unmistakable, and that’s what the Worst Day of the Year Ride is all about.

4) Group Costumes

No matter what the theme, group costumes are always a hit. Though they can take a little more effort to coordinate, nothing says “We Love Bikes” like a unified troup of buzzing bees, Team Zisou from Life Aquatic, a simple band of ghosts or the cast from your favorite show. Bonus: It’s like being in a club for the day, and the photos are priceless.

5) Aloha Attire

Let’s face it: winter in our region is dreary and challenging. There just isn’t enough sunshine and color, so why not create some for the day? Brighten up the street if Portland and make people smile with your luau finest. Maybe you slip on a Hawaiian shirt, a lei or a grass skirt. If your bold, rock a coconut bra – that’s always good for some laughs. Bonus: You can probably easily find everything need for this look at the Goodwill.

Ride – Have Fun!

However you dress for the day, have fun with it! The Worst Day of the Year Ride is all about getting more people on bikes by making it fun. It seems strange but it’s true: You’ll feel even more out of place if you come dressed plain. REGISTRATION + INFO >

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