The Stoke Report: 2018

Welcome to the Stoke Report, a celebration of incredible supported bike events in the Oregon region.

From gravel to dirt, forest to wide open road, urban to rural, we are so fortunate to have a wealth of bike events big and small that cater to every bike interest.

Cheers to the hardworking event managers who coordinate these events, to the volunteers who donate their time, to the riders who register and support the rides and to the dreamers who come up with the creative concepts in the first place.

Oh how we love dreamers!

So how did this year go for rides in Oregon? Let’s consult with the ORbike Stoke Report.

What got you stoked this year?

What did you love about the events this year? Be sure to add your Stoke Points below in the comments.

Special thanks to Mike Ripley for dreaming up the concept for The Stoke Report.

ORbike Holiday Gift Guide For Cyclists

Shopping for people isn’t always easy. Fortunately if they are cyclists, it is. There are a wealth of clever gifts out there for cyclists, and any one of these is sure to delight!

We put together a list of our favorite items, from splurge-worthy to modest and everything in between. The are a million cool gadgets and gear ideas for cyclists, but these are the few that have us most excited.

Oregami Luggage


Perfect for multi-day supported bike trips like Cycle Oregon. The multiple compartments make space for your helmet, and keep your chamois and your toothbrush very, very separate.

Oregami Luggage is based in Oregon and they understand the intricate needs of the bike obsessed, and they aim to make life on the road easier.

MORE INFO >

Walnut Studiolo Little Lifter

Walnut Studiolo Bicycle Accessories
Walnut Studiolo us known for their fine leather bicycle accessories and the Little Lifter is one of their most clever. This tiny number packs a punch. The durable leather is made to last and is comfortable to hold, making it easy to carry your bike in style whenever you need a little boost.

MORE INFO >

Sugar Wheel Works Wheels

 

The wheels on your bike are one of the most important investments you can make. Most people ride the wheels that come stock on their bike, and replace them when necessary by machine built wheels from a bike shop.

When you ride sub-par wheels, you’re missing out on sweeter rides.

Sugar Wheel Works is a wheel building shop in Portland that ships worldwide. They work closely with all of their customers to design a wheel to meet the customer’s riding style, aesthetic and budget. Most hubs can be re-built over time, making these wheels an excellent investment in your bike life. Owner and Master Wheel Builder Jude Gerace is widely regarded as one of the world’s most knowledgeable wheel builders.

For holiday gift giving, Sugar Wheel Works offers gift certificates.

MORE INFO >

Showers Pass Waterproof Socks

 

Whether you commute to work or tear it up on the trail (or a combo of both), you know that not many things ruin a ride faster than cold, soggy feet. That’s why we love the bullet proof waterproof socks from Showers Pass.

The company, based in Portland, is known for their well waterproof gear that is made to last – even when enduring the rigors of everyday cycling.

MORE INFO >

Anker Solar Panel


When it comes to finding durable gear that lasts under the most rigorous conditions, we turn to Bikepacking.com, an excellent source of authentic info by people who truly ride – hard, remote and rugged.

The Anker Solar panel is a compact, reliable way to keep devices charged while out on the open road.

READ BIKEPACKING.COM’S FULL REVIEW >

Maker Made with Love – Bike Craft

Bike Craft is a holiday bazaar packed with maker made bike themed items, one stop shopping for all the bike lovers in your life. From small to large items, you’ll find a little of something for everything.

If you hate shopping, don’t worry: Bike Craft far more fun than the stale chaos of the mall or seclusion of online shopping. Filmed by Bike is styling out the event with music and a popup theater showing favorite bike movies from over the years while serving up their creative PedalPop popcorn.

MORE INFO >

Give the Gift of Rides!

Gift certificates to rides are the perfect way to ensure you have all your favorite riding buddies along for the ride!

Contact the individual rides to inquire about a gift certificate.

Happy Holidays!

From all of us at ORbike.com


Article headline photo courtesy of Walnut Studiolo

Calling All Filmmakers!

Filmed by Bike film festival in Portland

Filmed by Bike is a film festival that features the world’s best bike movies. Every May they host an expansive festival weekend in Portland with 80 juried films on screen. Top picks from the festival are added to the Filmed by Bike touring program, which travels to countries all over the world throughout the year.

It is always impressive to see the caliber of films that make the cut for the festival. With hundreds of submissions, it’s not easy to make it past the jury, so we thought we’d share a few top tips.

Locals Rule

Good news, PNW filmmakers! This year Filmed by Bike has a focus on local films so you just might have a better chance of your film being accepted if you’re from the region which they generally define as Oregon and SW Washington.

In the early years of Filmed by Bike, the vast majority of the films shown at Filmed by Bike were from Portland. As the festival has grown in international popularity over the years, submission now flood in from all over the world. But Filmed by Bike wants to honor local filmmakers, too, so they’re making a consorted effort to recruit regional films.

Shorter is Sweeter

Short films are what Filmed by Bike is all about. Edit and re-edit until every shot is stunning and necessary. Films longer than 10 minutes are rarely accepted.

Reach out to the Festival

It turns out, the team of Filmed by Bike is extremely accessible! Run your ideas by Films Manager Guthrie Straw and get suggestions and advice directly from the source.

Tell a (New) Story

Beautiful adventure footage is inspiring… to a point. But after a while, those films all start to look the same. So what is your story? Why should the viewers care? Bring them along on your journey by weaving through a story.

Have Fun With it

Filmed by Bike receives surprisingly few humorous films these days. A well executed funny one has a good chance of getting in.

What Would You Do?

Are you a filmmaker? Or a die-hard Filmed by Bike fan? What are your tips for the World’s Best Bike Movies?

Submit your Film

Filmed by Bike submissions are due 1/20/2019. In fact, they’re due January 20th every single year. When you’re ready to send in your film, visit the Submissions Page on their website for all the details you need.

Fingers crossed!

Vote for the Best Supported Bike Rides!

2018 was an incredible year for supported bike rides in our region. The weather was splendid – though a bit warm – and the season for fine riding was luxuriously long.

We’d like to congratulate and thank all the ride organizers who provide fantastic riding experiences in our region. We know your job isn’t easy and we sure-do appreciate your hard work to create fantastic rides.

We work year-round to support event organizers and help get more people to rides. But now, we’re taking a break to hear from you!

What Were Your Favorites?

Finally, you get to have your say! Declare your favorite supported rides by voting here.

Is a Ride Missing?

Don’t see your favorite listed above? Write it in on the form.

Criteria

  • Paid rides
  • Supported (Offers regularly stationed rest stops and a finish line celebration)
  • Not a race. Non-timed (or extremely casual about the timing – we’re flexible)
  • Has at least one  distance option of more than 20 miles
  • Is located in the Greater Oregon Region – a start location most Oregonians can reasonably drive to.

2017 Favorites

See the results from last year’s awards here >

COMMENTS (not votes) Below

We love hearing from riders about this season’s rides! But just remember: don’t use the comments section to vote – it won’t count.

Photo Gallery

Remembering Gary Dunkley

Have you ever had one of those rides where you thought you just wouldn’t make it across the finish line?

If you were one of the fortunate ones, you had Gary Dunkley by your side. The stalwart volunteer spent many rides not socializing with friends but instead riding sweep, ensuring every single rider made it across the finish line. He was content to creep along making small talk or simply quietly rolling along with riders needing support.

It is with a heavy heart I report Gary Dunkley has passed away. His body was found along an embankment in SW Portland. According to The Oregonian, no foul play was suspected and further details are not yet available.

“Gary was unique in his love to help the very last rider,” says Neal Armstrong, CEO of Axiom Event Productions. “At points of struggle and fatigue, Gary would find riders who needed encouragement to finish those final miles. With an easy style and a million incredible stories, he would keep them going. He embodied the role of keeping people safe and motivated people to finish their goals.”

My own memory of Gary is of a guy who just kept showing up. At first he was a stranger, some random fella who signed up to volunteer for ride along support. But very quickly, Gary was always there, and events just weren’t the same without him.

I recall one time when he was scheduled to ride support for Jackson’s Ride the Gorge, a former road ride in the Gorge with steep climbs and strong winds. Right before the ride, Gary’s bike suffered a major mechanical. Without enough time to get it fixed, Gary grabbed his mountain bike and showed up bright and early to the start line in Hood River – like it was no big deal. I recall him saying something to the effect of “Well, I said I’d be here and I didn’t want to leave you hanging.” Gary slogged through that entire ride on a heavy old mt. bike, like it was no big deal, happy to take in the gorgeous views, honor his volunteer commitment and be there for the fellow riders – his clan – who might need him.

But to those of us who were the event organizers, it was a big deal.

“Gary was a stand out person who always committed to supporting riders through every mile,” says Event Director Brad Nelson. And, like Neal, Brad emphasized, “Gary always had an interesting story to tell.”

Gary, from Portland, loved being active – paddling, bike riding – and enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people through these activities. He was dedicated to his interests, and he will be sadly missed

“Gray was one of the strongest people I have met,” says Brian Hinsley, who often worked the events for which Gary volunteered. “He would not quit on anyone.”

The weather is gorgeous right now. If you’re out on a ride, think of Gary. Do something nice to support someone else, in Gary’s honor. He would have liked that.

 

Easy Clean Up on the Trail

This gorgeous fall weather has meant the trails are in prime condition for adventure resplendent with color and the perfect temperature.

But no matter how lovely the day, getting muddy and dirty comes with the territory… and that’s sort of what we like about a day in the woods. Sort of. When it comes to cleaning up for snack time, post-ride beer time or whatever else encourages you to remove the trail from your skin, a wipe is a convenient way to make magic happen.

But what kind of wipes should you use? Most of us don’t want something overly fragrant. And it has to be safe for the environment. We like Combat Wipes, a 100% biodegradable option for staying tidy on the trail. These wipes are good for you, and good for nature. That’s a match made in trail heaven.

Better still, these wipes come in the perfect size package that makes them easy to pack, and not only when you’re on the trail. If you’re a bike commuter, these wipes make it a snap to do a quick post-ride clean up before heading to a meeting. Handy both on a hot day with a sweaty brow, or rainy days with road grit face spray.

We tested these out on finicky kids who usually have to be pried away from splashing in puddles and climbing in trees in order to wipe down their hands and faces, but the easy-to-use package makes it simple to quickly pull out a wipe, knock off the fuss, and send your little ones on their way.

Combat wipes can tackle oily, sticky messes as well as standard dirt and grime, making them a must-pack item for your next adventure.

 

3 Tips for Shooting Better Photos by Bike

Taking photos while riding a bike is hard! Dangerous even. I’ve been taking photos on my bike with an iPhone, cheapo digital cameras and DSLRs now for many years.

There are plenty of gadgets you can spend your whole paycheck on to make better pictures, but the best and cheapest way to improve your photography is thinking and learning.

Here are three tips I’ve found extremely helpful when shooting photos by bike.

Camped in Paddler's Meadow on Steens Mountain

Camped in Paddler’s Meadow on Steens Mountain

Take lots of photos

Best advice I have is take photos. Lots of photos. That camera isn’t doing any good in your backpack, pannier, desk drawer. Have it accessible and stop and take photos constantly. This unfortunately involves lots of racing ahead, stopping, shooting, and then hurrying to catch back up. I really like the Peak Designs Capture Camera Clip on my backpack strap for super quick access. Porcelain Rocket makes a nice padded handlebar camera bag too. Look at them all and choose the best by looking at the bad designs to note what makes the good ones good and the bad ones bad.

Use a large memory card and don’t fret about the editing you’ll have to do later – it’s worth it.

Eula Ridge, Oakridge Oregon

Eula Ridge, Oakridge Oregon

Move around

I’m not a professional photographer by any means, but what I’m lacking in technical knowledge I make up by running around a bunch. I squat, lay down, climb trees and jump in creeks to try to get a unique crop. Being able to identify the aspects of what makes a scene interesting is crucial. Find an angle that includes the neat clouds, an out of focus branch in the foreground, a rider, or some natural elements that frame your subject. Sometimes it works out. (the Oakridge shot from above I literally scrambled 20′ up a downed tree to get). Bonus: you’ll be a stronger riders, as a result.

Spend time looking at photos you love and think about what makes them attractive to you, then try to emulate that set up as you move around shooting.

Stormy sunset, Syncline Trail System

Stormy sunset, Syncline Trail System

Photos are just light

Photos are light bouncing and soaking. Pay attention to what’s going on with it. Are the shadows crazy? Is your subject backlit? Is there some strange fog or weather system? Before I got the above mountain bike shot of Syncline, the weather was wet and dreary all day long making for some pretty flat photos. But right before the day drew to a close, the sun popped out and lit up the trees and grass on the hillside before disappearing again. I didn’t have time to grab more than that one underexposed shot before the moment had passed, but it works!

How do you take photos?

Do you love to document your bike adventures? How do you manage to take photos while riding? Share your ideas (and questions!) below.


Gabriel Amadeus is an expert bikepacker who has explored much of Oregon’s rugged outback. He is a designer, explorer, photographer and writer. Gabriel is also one-third of Limberlost, the adventure tour company on a mission to share a richness of life.

Weigh In on New Options for North Tualatin Mountains

NW Trail Alliance wants you input on an expanded opportunities for people to enjoy and explore the North Tualatin Mountains.

From their most recent newsletter:

Last fall our partner in recreation, Metro, initiated a land use process with Multnomah County. This is an important step in delivering on the plan to offer a parking area, trailhead and about five miles of new trails at Burlington Creek Forest. Metro hopes to obtain approval from the county early next year and break ground for trails as soon as summer 2019.

Please review Metro’s application and provide comment to Multnomah County on the project here.

Comments from mountain bikers like you, supporting Metro’s application will help ensure this project comes to fruition!

A few highlights to consider including in your comments could be:

  • Metro is recommending trails optimized for off-road cycling to meet the existing and growing demand for this type of nature based recreation and it’s important to provide a variety of opportunities for people to experience nature in different ways
  • Throughout the planning process, Metro has taken an approach based in science and shaped by community input that ensures healthy habitats and provides meaningful experiences.
  • With careful planning, it’s possible to create opportunities for people to enjoy nature while also protecting it. Well-designed and constructed trails will limit habitat impacts by minimizing erosion and stream crossings, by providing corridors for wildlife to move, and by leaving the canopy intact.
  • The shared trails will be family friendly and designed for beginning and intermediate riders. Northwest Trail Alliance will be a key partner for Metro in the maintenance and monitoring of these trails.
  • Make sure to share a brief story of why you enjoy cycling on soft surface trails and how you, your friends and your family connect to nature.

5 Mind Blowing US Bike Trails You Have to Experience

Exercise enthusiasts crave long, outdoor bike rides. While soaring through beautiful landscapes, it’s almost too easy to forget about the heart racing, the lungs pumping and the legs burning. Once that glowing sunshine hits your skin, and the wind breathes fresh air into your sweaty clothes, you will never want to return to a stationary bike in a dark, crowded gym.

Preparing for the Trails

In order to make the most of an outdoor biking adventure on vacation, you must nourish your body. Pre-workout meals should provide enough fuel to accomplish the journey, so fill up on complex carbohydrates and lean proteins such as sweet potatoes and grilled chicken. Choose whole grains and foods high in fiber, so the body can digest the food easily, but slowly. For longer bike rides, pack nutritious snacks like nuts and dried fruits for an extra burst on energy while on the move.

Looking for more ways to enjoy your vacation time?  Visit this link to signup.

On a practical note, always hydrate in preparation for a bike journey. Pack sufficient water in lightweight, refillable water bottles as bike trails sometimes have water fountains. Also, dress accordingly for the elements, in ways such as wearing sunscreen and breathable cycling gear in the heat, or wearing water-resistant clothing in inclement weather. As long as you take the necessary steps to prepare for a long bike ride, you can fully enjoy the experience without worrying about logistics.

1. Shark Valley Trail


(Photo: Bonnie Gross)
Located in Everglades National Park of Miami, Florida, this trail is ideal for beginners. 15 miles of flat, easy road gives bikers the chance to soak in the sunshine while catching a glimpse of some Florida wildlife like birds, turtles, and alligators. Winter is the best time to visit, as the warm temperatures and blue skies are comfortable; Florida’s summers are a bit too scorching hot for an enjoyable outdoor exercise.

2. Big Sur

With up to 100 miles of scenic coastal road, this California bike trail stretches from Carmel to Cambria, and is perfect for advanced bikers. Blessed with wonderful weather year-round, Big Sur provides consistent photo opportunities with its stunning cliffside views. Be sure not to drop your camera as you push your bike up the mountainside, which is full of long inclines.

3. Valmont Bike Park

The diverse mountain terrain of this bike park in Boulder, Colorado, has trails for bikers of all levels. Full of easy rides like “Escape Route”, difficult rides like “Corkscrew”, family-friendly tracks, and various obstacles like jumps and slaloms, Valmont has something for everyone. Visit in the spring or fall for that perfect breezy weather and explore the 42 acres worth of trails.

4. Cady Hill Forest

(Photo: Josh Matta)
For some classic New England fall foliage, take your bike to the mountains of Stowe, Vermont. Summer provides bikers with warmer temperatures, but September and October decorate the forest tracks with crispy, multicolored autumn leaves. The area covers about 9 miles, and the single and double tracks of the mountainous terrain make for great intermediate level rides.

5. Captain Ahab

(Photo: Moab-Captain Ahab Trail in Utah, Bureau of Land Management)

Located in Moab, Utah, the advanced mountain landscape of Captain Ahab challenges skilled bikers with steep climbs and technical turns. As a reward for the difficult ride, the rich red rocks and the sweeping views of surrounding rivers and forests create an exceptionally scenic ride. Spring and early fall are the best times to tackle this 4.3 mile trail.

Getting Back in the Saddle: Reclaim your confidence

We often talk about getting back in the saddle as if you need the motivation to ride more, but in some cases it’s not about finding the motivation to exercise, it’s about finding the confidence to ride again. If you’ve been off your bike a while, whatever your reason may be, you may be consciously or unconsciously nervous about riding basics, and that’s completely understandable.

IT’S OKAY TO FORGET HOW TO RIDE A BIKE

How many times have you heard the old adage “It’s just like riding a bicycle. Once you learn you never forget!”? I help people learn to ride bikes and I often hear from my clients that they once knew how to ride, but have forgotten. They might know the basics of how to ride, but they can’t recall with confidence how to start, stop and steer. While it’s true that it’s hard to forget how to pedal, it’s the getting rolling and stopping that (literally can make people nervous. You might even feel this after a winter season off the bike.

STEP ONE: BIKE CHECK BY EXPERTS

First off, if your bike has been sitting in storage, pull it out and take it to your local bike shop to make sure everything is running properly. Bikes with flat tires are extremely hard to pedal and steer, and if your brakes don’t work, you’re in trouble from the get-go. Bike shops will gladly help you air up your tires and give your bike a free look-over for safety. They will advise you if you need any pressing work. Be sure to take it in well before you expect to go for your first ride in case your bike does need some repairs; at this time of year shops are pretty booked up.

While you’re at the shop, have the experts give your helmet a once-over. You might be surprised to find your helmet is older than you think.

ADJUST YOUR SEAT HEIGHT

Ask the bike shop staff to also check your seat height to make sure you feel comfortable. The optimal height for your seat is usually judged by full leg extension when pedaling. However, this means you may be farther from the ground than you’re comfortable. It’s okay to start off with your seat a bit lower until you regain your confidence. Don’t be surprised if the bike mechanics don’t think to suggest this, and don’t be shy about asking them to put the seat low enough that you can comfortably get on and off. You can always raise it later when you’re feeling more confident.

Speaking of getting on and off the bike, make a habit of squeezing at least one brake when mounting or dismounting. That way the bike can lean to one side and you can comfortably step off without the bike moving forward and backward underneath you. Often when people tip over, this is caused by the bike moving around as they attempt to mount or dismount.

FIND THE RIGHT BIKE

As you regain your biking confidence, having a bike you’re comfortable on is key. You might love your current bike, but if you don’t, consider borrowing a bike from a friend while you practice your skills. An upright bike will help you feel most comfortable and stable. Many bike rental locations offer upright bikes, and this can be well worth the investment. As you become more comfortable, you can revisit your bike and thinking about what you might like to change about your bike. Armed with that knowledge, you can talk with a bike shop expert who can walk you through your options of modifying your current bike or perhaps investing in an entirely new bike set up.

PRACTICE RIDING IN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Find a calm, open, flat place to practice. School running tracks and under used parking lots are usually a nice option. A very quiet road might also work, though these areas can be tricky as the surfaces aren’t even – they arc towards the curb – so they tend to be more challenging. While you might think your local bike path would be a good choice, paths are often narrow and of pedestrians, other cyclists, dogs on retractable leashes, children, and other unpredictable stressors. Your goal is to find a place that’s relaxing, free from distractions and has the smoothest pavement.

FORWARD MOTION CREATES BALANCE: LOOK FORWARD

As you start pedaling, keep your eyes up and look out. Our bodies naturally steer in the direction we’re looking so keeping your gaze down at your pedals or front wheel doesn’t work well. Look out at the world in front of you and keep your chin up. Take your time working on starts and stops. Pedaling will likely come easy, but the getting started and coming to a gentle stop are the harder parts. To help with both, put your bike in a low gear (the ones where you spin faster/it feels looser. If you’re not sure how to adjust your gears, have the shop show you and ask them to leave it in a low gear. As you come to a stop, relax and keep your feet on the pedals till you come to a complete stop. Freaking out and touching down on the ground early is the second most common way people fall down while learning to ride a bike. You wouldn’t jump out of a moving car, so why try to jump off a moving bike?

SHIFTING GEARS

Once you get comfortable with starts and stops, move on to changing the gear shifter on your right side. These are the gears you will use most often and they make the smallest changes, so it’s easier to start on that side. You’ll need to pedal and keep the chain moving to ensure a smooth gear transition. Reminder: keep your gaze up to maintain your balance. If you feel like you’re spinning too quickly and the bike feels wobbly, shift back to a gear that gives you a feeling of more tension and less spinning. This will help you balance much better.

When you master the right side shifter, play with the left. The chain has much farther to move on this side, so you often have to hold the button or grip longer to get it to shift. If you think you shifted but hear a lot of metallic noise, you are not quite in gear. You either need to nudge your shifter more or hold it longer, depending on what type of shifter you have.

ONE HANDED RIDING

Finally, if you want to ride in the road, legally you have to signal so one-handed riding is a skill you’ll need. When all road users understand where the others are headed, the road is safer. Unpredictable riding is a recipe for a terrible accident. When you’re ready to turn, simply point boldly right or left by extending your arm confidently out. Forget anything you’ve ever heard about a bent elbow with your hand pointing to the sky – that simply doesn’t make sense and comes from the days when cars didn’t have turn signals.

If you have a lot of weight on your hands, it can be tricky to remove one to signal your turn. It’s better to slow down and regain control of your bike than to haphazardly signal your turn and risk falling over. As your approach your turn, take a breath and prepare in advance.

The real key to riding one handed is to take a breath and engage your core when you lift your hand from the handlebar, which will stabilize your body and take some of the weight from the bars. While stopped, practice exhaling sharply and making a sharp “tsst” sound with tongue against your closed teeth. You will feel your core engage. It sounds a little silly, but will help you understand the feeling of engaging your core, which will start to come naturally. Start with small lifts and work your way getting your hand further and further from the bar until you can ride with your hand straight out. This skill also comes in handy when you need to look over your shoulder to check for cars that may be coming from behind.

HEAD OUT ON THE ROAD!

With a little patience and practice, you’ll soon have the skills back to feel safe and confident on your bike, ready to conquer a summer of fun. A closed street event like Sunday Parkways or the family ride course on a supported ride is great ways to get back on the bike in a comfortable setting. See the ORbike calendar for a list of season-wide events.

And of course, if you need a little extra help, I’m always available!


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

Learn More
Are you ready to take the plunge reclaim your confidence? Check out Tori’s workshops and classes and sign up today.

CONTACT US

Drop us a line at any time to find out how we can help promote your event!

Info@ORbike.com

If you have questions about an event, please contact the event directly. We do not host any events and cannot answer those questions.

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