- Great routes
- A free weekend
- A new region to explore
- A destination location
- Route distances and elevation
- Friendly + plentiful support
These days, there are so many great rides to choose from. How do you pick? The Art of Survival Century on May 27 is a ride that ticks all the right boxes.
So just what makes this ride so special?
Tucked Away Where People Are Nice
For one, it’s tucked away. We mean really tucked away. Located outside of Klamath Falls on the border of Oregon and California, the ride is a hidden gem. You’ll go miles without seeing a car, and when they do come by they give cyclists a wide berth. We asked one of the rest stop volunteers about this last year and he said that’s nothing special, “That’s just how the drivers are here.” Out in the country. Where people are nice.
Our Ride Experience
We rode this event last year and can’t say enough good things about it. Rest stops feature homemade granola bars, the volunteers are outstanding, the routes are serene and the birdlife is extraordinary. The region is wildlife refuge and bird sanctuary. Driving there in the early evening prior to the ride, a sea of birds dove all around our car along a four mile stretch we had all to ourselves – and the birds.
We camped on site at the fairgounds, and were treated to a restful sleep, hot showers and few other campers. Best of all there was no charge and we were just steps from the start line.
A Ride You Can’t Forget
This is one of those rides you simply can’t forget. Make a weekend of it, take the time to get there, and plan to explore after the ride.
The Art of Survival Century was named the Fifth Best Bike Ride in Oregon in ORbike’s riders’ poll and it’s no wonder why.
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.
FARMER’S MARKET MAGIC
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.
ALTERNATIVES TO GELS AND ENERGY BARS
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.
WHAT’S YOUR FLAVOR
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.
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
- Base Camp Street Party [ Info ]
- Amtrak Mainstage [ Info ]
- Speed Raffle, Presented by Sidekick Socks [ Info ]
- ABUS Bike Parking Arena [ Info ]
Saturday, May 6
- 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
- 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 ]
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.
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
- Clean your Frame: Everyone looks better with bling!
- Clean your rims: This helps you stop rain or shine.
- Oil your chain: Nothing runs like a well-oiled machine.
- Air your tires: The fastest way to a smooth ride.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.