Mark your calendars!
WORST DAY OF THE YEAR RIDE | February 12 – Portland
When wintertime comes around, bikers all over the Portland region are overcome by a giddy excitement and a somewhat clinical madness.
Doctors scratch their heads at this wild desire to don a costume, hop on a bike rain or shine and consume truckloads of doughnuts. The epidemic, which is headed our way this February, is known as Worst Day of the Year Ride Fever. Symptoms include euphoria, an insatiable desire to talk with strangers, a craving for beer and the strength to pedal for miles, even in the rain.
This beloved event is a Portland tradition 16 years in the making. New this year, the event includes an indulgent chocolate fountain at the finish line.
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This winter, we’re on a mission to make your rainy cold riding more comfy. That’s why we love this overview that our friends at ECHOS Communications put together. It’s a handy guide to all the items you need to be safe, warm and dry on your bike, including a few of the local brands we love like Showers Pass and North St. Bags.
For Your Bike
A. State Bicycle Elliston City Bike – Ride in style, come rain or shine. The Elliston features a time-less flat black finish with chrome accents, a slick leather saddle, mustache-bars and larger tires for a cushier ride. Whether you’re going for a joy-ride around town or racing to work, get ready to own the streets with these polished set of wheels.
B. LOW MKII CX – he hustler at its core, the mkii features disk brakes for quicker stops, and fully internal shifter and brake cables for reliable performance and a clean, streamlined look. It’s sleek beauty is composed by a blend of proprietary and beautifully hand-shaped butted aluminum tubing and precision handling & strength with quality workmanship and smooth welds.
B:Showers Pass Refuge Pant – Outlast the nastiest weather with these reflective rain pants. Made with their highest performing Elite waterproof fabric that lets you breath while staying dry.
C: Showers Pass Hi Viz Elite – Why stop at pants? Here’s your one-stop, all-purpose Hi-Viz jacket this winter. Designed for maximum outdoor use, featuring Elite 3-layer, fully-seamed performance fabric and extra-long core vents to prevent overheating.
D: DZR H2O Shoe – Never deal with another rain-soaked commute or trail ride again with these first-ever fully seam sealed waterproof SPD compatible Sneakers. Wrapped with DWR treated supple sheepskin leather and a stiffer rubber traction outsole for excellent power transfer and grip. The H20 guarantees that you arrive at your destination with dry and happy feet.
E. Speedvagen Ichico Pit Boot – New for the 2015 CX season, Army Green pit boots with the SV shield. The boots are US made and insulated for cozy feet while standing in the mud at the races.
A: North St. Morrison Backpack Pannier – The perfect companion for light day trips, the work commute or cafe with friends. Easily go from road to shoulders with the simple mount and hook bike attachment. Features include a waterproof liner, reflective accents and zippered front. Made with military-grade nylon shell, this backpack provides quick access while keeping elements at bay.
B: Showers Pass Cloudcover Transit Bag – Embrace the elements with this fully waterproof, lightweight and self-supporting bag, featuring highly reflective integrated LED lights for exceptional visibility. Made with strong welds and aluminum hardware to withstand even the most foul weather.
Lights and Fenders
A: Blackburn Central Fenders – Simple, clean design to keep both you and your friends dry. With 4 popular sizes to choose from, easily install on a wide variety of bike sin no time.
B: Blackburn Design Click Front / Rear USB Light – Free yourself from the hassle of batteries! This small but essential accessory makes you visible to traffic. Bright side beams throw off additional light, and the silicone mount fits almost any handlebar. A Micro-USB cable makes it easy—just charge, click and go!
C: Blackburn Central Front Smart Light – Focus on the road, let these lights do the rest. Ride through dark to bitch black with this auto adjusting focused beam.
D. Blackburn Design – Barrier Mud Guard – Stay shielded from grime, dirt, and crud with the ultra portable and top performing front mudflap. The Barrier Mud Guard by Blackburn Design features a sleek minimalist design that is lightweight, portable, and offers total coverage. It mounts with ease with reusable hook and loop straps and is exactly the protection you need when the trail gets sloppy.
A: Blackburn Switch Multi-tool – Travel in confidence with this handy compact kit and high functional kit. Includes T25 and T30 torx bits, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, and 6mm allen bits and a flathead screwdriver. Individual T or L handle tools let you access tight places and give you more leverage on bolts and screws.
C: Feedback Sports Ride Prep Tool Kit – Fine tune your bike before or after a ride with this set of essentials. Perfectly sized to keep on the bench or in the car.
B: SILCA T-handle Folio – The Sliding T-Handles combine fully forged single piece main bodies (not welded!) with sliding, oversized cross members featuring end stops AND a center detent to lock the handle in the T position (something lacking on most sliding T’s). The kit bag is made from 12 oz. Waxed Duck Canvas, computer quilted with premium reflective thread.
A. Urban Armor Gear Monarch Series Phone Case – Premium design and precise engineering to provide a case that meets double the
B. Paul Components Stem Cap Light Mount – The Stem Cap Light Mount lets you mount a light, phone, or handlebar accessory right above the center of your stem. (Actual anodizing colors may vary).
C. North St. Bags Pioneer 9 & 12 – Pioneer Packs, Hip Packs, Waist Pouches, Lumbar Bags, or even Fanny Packs. Whatever you call them, it’s handy to have your quick access gear at your side when you need it. Working equally well as a Phone case, Camera bag, Dopp Kit, Travel Cube, Bike Handlebar Bag, or a Saddlebag, our Hip Packs are ready for whatever great adventure you have planned.
Sports scientists at Rutgers University report that sipping on black tea helps speed recovery between intense workouts and reduces soreness. Decaffeinated tea can steep overnight in the fridge and be placed in one of your water bottles for easy consumption. So long as it is decaf, you can drink it in place of of in conjunction with water before, during and after the ride.
Salmon and Tuna
Omega-3s have endless health benefits for everyone, and even more so for cyclists. They increase blood flow and may help wash out inflammatory cells in damaged muscles that cause pain and swelling. Two excellent sources are salmon and tuna.
Tumeric is another way to increase blood flow and reduce inflamation, two steps in the road to painless recovery and healthy muscles. This powdery yellow spice has a mild flavor that can be easily added to chilis, soups and marinades.
It’s cherry season in Oregon, but cyclists will want to reach for a jar of juice for extra added health benefits. Tart cherry juice helps repair micro tears in muscles. Don’t skip the Rainiers and Bings, though. While they might not do much for your muscles they’re a seasonal treat you don’t want to miss.
While gels and bars are quick foods to fuel your ride, it’s easy for cyclists to get in a rut. Your body craves real food. Keep your plate full of color with at least half the plate filled with vegetables and smaller portions of whole grains and lean meats or tofu.
It’s all about perception.
Ode to the rainy days! When we’re all geared up with our comfy outer gear shell and our brain on fire from the blood surging through our system, we can conquer anything.
Winter riding is awesome.
To think otherwise is to drive yourself into the dark corners of your brain, and that’s not a pleasant place to hang out.
Get your bike tuned up, keep your gear accessible, and make choosing to ride an easy choice. Once you’re out there, you’ll be glad you are. With the right gear to keep you warm and dry, your ride can be rather pleasant, if not exhilarating.
But still, as a reward for being a crappy weather badass, you still deserve to treat yourself. Fill the mug with a hot toddy, sip hot cocoa, eat an extra cookie and put on some cozy socks – you earned it.
Here’s to a fantastic winter for all! Share your winter riding tales with us. We’re here to support you every mile and raindrop of the way. Follow us on Instagram for even more inspiration.
Let’s face it, all the signage and training in the world will never prevent accidents from happening. How many times have you dropped, forgotten, knocked over or done something stupid in your daily life and thought “what just happened? I don’t usually do that.” Mistakes happen.
There are jerks out there from all types of road users, to be sure, but we can’t place all the blame on them for accidents and near misses.
No one can hold your hand through the process of navigating the road on your bike. You can’t pad yourself in a protective coating, you just can’t. So what can you do?
- Take responsibility for your own safety. Don’t rely on signage or other people to keep you safe.
- Stay alert to your surroundings. Know what other road users are doing.
- Think ahead and anticipate the maneuvers of other road users.
- Drop the attitude. It’s excellent that you’re riding your bike, but you’re no better than anyone else when your attitude gets you crushed. Don’t try to prove anything out there – you can’t win against the magnitude of a car.
- Give yourself ample room to stop, move, get out of the way, stay safe.
- Choose your route wisely. Know where you’re headed and what the terrain is like. If you’re confused, pull over and figure it out.
- Be visible. Have lights. It’s ridiculous to surprise car drivers and pedestrians then be upset they didn’t see you. No ninjas!
- Ride predictably. Signal your turns (confident and clear: a straight arm right or left, depending on which way you’re turning) and avoid unexpected moves like jutting out into traffic.
Have fun and be safe out there. We want to see you smiling, riding your bike and practicing #FriendlyCycling, a movement that encourages cyclists to set the tone by being extra respectful and friendly on the road. Take the higher ground, and protect yourself when riding your bike.
Summer in so glorious in the lightweight clothes we wear, the feeling of sweet summer air on our skin and the carefree rides late into the night.
Winter’s a different story. And instead of complaining about the weather, we may as well just gear up and go for the ride.
Here are some tricks for making winter gear much easier.
Invest in Quality Gear
Try what you currently have, but when it’s time to buy new gear, invest in well made gear that will last over time. You’ll save money in the long run, and you’ll have a much more pleasant ride. With a wealth of local manufacturers in Oregon, you’ll also know you’re supporting quality businesses that care about their employees and are keeping jobs in Oregon.
Care For Your Gear
Most gear doesn’t need to be washed with regularity, and in come cases over-washing can damage the fabric. Read the label carefully and follow the instructions.
Letting your gear fully air out and dry out prevents some of that funky winter stink from forming and will your gear last longer.
Avoid using the dryer for your gear as much as you can. In some cases it will outright damage the fabric, and in all cases it will slowly degrade the performance fabric. Plus, a dryer uses about 40% of the energy in a typical home, so reducing your use can increase your electricity bill savings rather easily.
Give it a Home
When you come home, where does your gear go? How about somewhere where it can dry out nicely. And hey! What if that’s also an easy spot for getting geared up in the morning? Make gear grabbing easy and you’re much more likely to ride. We suggest a drying rack with a towel under it, or, if you’re fortunate, a spot in your garage right next to your bike.
If you’re a regular commuter, your gloves and shoes very well may not try out over night. Boot dryers with enough space for both shoes and gloves are a great way to gently dry out your gear over night. Bonus: Configure your gear set up so the rest of your gear hangs well above the boot dryer and benefits from the residual heat that wafts upwards.