Bike Craft in Portland
 

Are You Ready for WEEKENDER?

Every summer needs that one epic weekend – you know the one we’re talking about. You’ll tell your kids about what really happened, but only when they’re older. You’ll gush to your coworkers the next week. You’ll try new experiences. Your entire family might all be together. You’ll rally a posse. You’ll definitely meet new friends.

And MOST CERTAINLY you’ll be on your bike.

That’s what WEEKENDER is all about. Spend your days riding to your heart’s content and your nights reveling in the magic of being surrounded by a sea of fellow bike lovers who understand your passion for pedaling.

The routes are extremely well selected, the food is amazing and the nightly entertainment is the perfect way to cap off the day.

WEEKENDER by Cycle Oregon is July 7-9 out of Linfield College in McMinnville.
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5 Points Every Mountain Biker Should Know Before Exploring New Trails

Article by guest contributor Amanda Wilks of Mountain Bike Reviewed

Mountain biking is a thrilling sport, which is why it attracts such diverse fans as the rugby star, Nicolai Geometron, the rock star Duff McKagan, and even, somewhat surprisingly, former president Bush. There is nothing quite like the thrill of going down a new trail, but there are a few points every mountain biker should keep in mind before exploring new sites.

Let’s discuss the important details to keep in mind before exploring new trails.

1.    Trail Difficulty

Like ay sport, there is always a risk of injury when mountain biking, but some trails are harder and more dangerous than others. The difficulty level of a trail depends on how rough the terrain is, how many plants or other obstructions are in the trail and how much room it leaves for errors.

The difficulty of the trail should determine how bikers ride it, since they can manage the risk through riding behavior. Simply slowing down and carefully watching for hazards can make a dangerous trail manageable. It’s also worth going along with someone who has already been down the trail and knows the rough spots. There are some trails that are simply too hard for some riders, but don’t let that thought discourage you; there are always easier trails out there and you can train up for the more difficult ones.

2. Safety

Safety should always come first, especially on a new trail. A biker’s inexperience with the area introduces new risk factors, and taking steps to manage those risks is essential.

No biker should ever go on a new trail without a way to call for help. Remember that not all trails will have a cell signal. A signal whistle of similar tool is necessary as a backup, or for trails without reception. It’s also important to bring a map, since it’s easy to get lost a new trail if it ever splits or turns. Most importantly, bikers should inform a few different people where they are headed for the day so those people can get help if the biker fails to get home on time.

3.    Weather

All bikers should check the weather report before they head out for a trip, especially if they intend to spend a long time on a new trail. Bad weather brings reduced visibility and poor trail conditions, so it’s even worse for people who are on a new trail than those who are on an old one.

Most trips down a new trail will be fairly long, so it’s important to look up a detailed forecast in case the weather is going to change part way through the trip. Hourly forecasts that are released on the day of the trip will be the most accurate. They’re also the most useful, since they can provide a specific range of time when the weather is likely to be good.

4.    Physical Limits

Every mountain biker knows that biking is an intensely physical sport that takes a lot of energy. The ACSM Health and Fitness Journal found that the challenges of biking over uneven terrain lead to a full-body workout that also trains coordination and good decision-making skills. That physicality also means that bikers need to take their endurance and physical limits into account when picking trails. Biking down a trail that is too long or difficult means turning around early, and nobody enjoys that.

The biggest factors to consider are the length of the trail and how many slopes it features. It’s important to remember that any trail which isn’t a loop also includes the journey back to the starting point, which doubles the workload to bike it. Biking back is unavoidable, even for people who get tired and stop early, so planning for it is vital.

Bikers who aren’t sure if they can handle a trail should train their endurance before they try it. The best way to do that is to start out on smaller and easier trails. That’s also the best way to discover limits, so it’s a good idea to start small and build towards bigger challenges.

5.    Bike Design

Mountain bikes come in a lot of different shapes and sizes, and bikers should make sure that their bike is suitable for the trail. The bike’s suspension is usually the most important factor. Some mountain bikes, like cross-country models, are fine for relatively smooth trails but can’t handle extremely rough terrain. Using them on a rough trail is an exercise in discomfort, so it’s best to check for compatibility before heading out.

The bike’s weight will also matter on some trails. Some of them include serious obstructions, such as shallow water or fallen trees. Bikers sometimes need to carry their bikes over or through those obstacles. That’s much easier with a light bike than a heavy one. These obstructions are rare, so it’s usually easy to find out if a trail will feature them in advance.

Preparation Counts!

While it seems fun to just “wing it” and embrace the adventure, a little preparation goes a long way – and you’ll still be in for plenty of unexpected delights on the trail. That’s the beauty of mt. biking.

There is always some risk for a mountain biker when exploring new trails. Most problems arise from carelessness, when people don’t stop to think about whether they can handle the trail. Researching the trail and preparing for its challenges does take some effort, but the reward is a safe and pleasant outing.

There you have it! Cross every point off your list and… what are you waiting for? Your trail adventure is out there!

Amanda Wilks is a veteran mt. biker and the author of Mountain Bike Reviewed.

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COOL ROUTE: Swimming & Trolley Trail

We love this route for the mostly off-road paths. You can stay on the I-205 bike path most of the way unless it’s under construction, as it was when we rode this route last.

VIEW THE FULL ROUTE HERE >>

This route comes from the Best Bike Rides in Portland book by ORbike editor Ayleen Crotty and published by Falcon Guides.

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Barrel to Keg

Barrel to Keg on July 23 is a gravel grinder’s delight (with a pavement option, too). The ride begins in Philomath and ends in Newport.

Snake along the river and through the woods on backcountry gravel roads for 44 miles on your way to the Oregon Coast. The final stretch of this incredible ride is on pavement as you emerge in Newport for a total of 67 miles and 3,200 ft. of elevation gain.

New this year, you can opt for an all pavement out-and-back route starting in Newport. Riders begin the journey along the Bay Road which meanders along the Yaquina River and climbs into the town of Toledo. Enjoy a lovely rest stop at Elk City Park directly on the river, and start looking for gravel grinders; this is where they join in on the ride. This new route enjoys low traffic, nice shoulders, scenic views, a couple of great climbs and 45 miles of road bike worthy pavement.

The finish line party is at the Yaquina Bay Yacht Club for craft beer from Rogue Brewery, food carts and sweeping views of the bridge and bay.

A return transportation option is available.

MORE INFO→
ROUTES + MAPS→

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Pack Right and Light

This article is presented by WEEKENDER, two days that will make your whole summer.


If you’re headed out on a supported ride, you want to ensure you’ve got what you need for the day. If it’s a multi-day ride, that gets tricky. Even though the ride is supported, you can’t bring it all.

That’s why we love Cycle Oregon’s packing list. It has just the right balance of essentials and a few of the little things that go a long way toward comfort and fun. You can check out the list here.

Being light weight is key. So is going without. If you brought the entire house. that’s no fun; you may as well have stayed home!

For heavy items, look for lighter weight alternatives.

The ORbike Towel Trick

Standard towels take up a significant amount of space.

Flour sack towels, commonly used in the kitchen, as one of the best towel options out there. They pack small, dry quickly and are ultra absorbent. We think they’re worlds better than pack towels. Most people will want to bring two, though it’s reasonable to only bring one, especially if you have short hair.

One Cup to Rule Them All

If you need to bring your own dishwear, where can you combo up? A stainless steel pint glass works for coffee, camp drinks and beer as it washes out clean without the residue of other beverages. Pop a beer cozy on that sucker and you have “One Cup to Rule them All” as your hand is protected from coffee’s heat transfer.

Team Up

Chat with your traveling companions. You’ll probably find that there are a few items you can all share, such as a portable speaker or other such communal item.

How Minimal Can you Go?

Think about what you’re truly going to use, and what can be left behind. It’s fun to play the game of “how minimal can I go?” But it’s also fun to add in surprises that will delight your fellow travelers, such as festive hanging camp lights or homemade cookies.

Cinch Sacks Work

Cinch sacks are a low-cost item that allows you to bundle similar items, socks and undies in one bag, t-shirts and shorts in another, then squeeze out all the extra air. This keeps your luggage compact and organized – a big win. Be sure to buy your cinch sacks in different colors so you can easily keep them organized.

Invest in Good Gear

If you find yourself venturing out on such journeys a few times a year, it’s worth investing in the lightweight, durable gear that will make your adventure more compact and rewarding. Gear is a huge, complex issue with plenty of subjective facets. Spend time talk with friends and doing your own personal research to find what works best for you.

How do You Pack Right and Light?

What are your favorite packing tricks?


WEEKENDER a ride by Cycle Oregon, is July 7-9, 2017. Bring your friends. Bring your neighbors. Bring your family. Bring your bikes. Everyone is welcome for Cycle Oregon’s two-day bike bash! Linfield College campus is home base for a weekend of great rides, live tunes, and activities galore. Choose from a short, medium or long route through wine country, then camp under the stars or crash in the dorms. It’s two-wheeled fun for everyone!

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What to Look for When Buying a Mountain Bike

If you want to purchase a mountain bike but have little to no idea of what you should be looking for, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Acquiring the right mountain bike can make all the difference in your riding experience. It doesn’t matter if your budget is small or large, you want to find a bike that suits your riding style.

Establishing what You Need

Mountain bike prices range from $500 to more than $5,000.

If you are a beginner in this domain, choosing the right bike might be overwhelming, but it’s not impossible. It’s not a bad idea to spend a little less the first time (we hope this will be the first of many) so that you can experiment with it and determine what you like.

If you’re a pro, you may be looking for something pricier and sturdier. Renting, testing, demoing and borrowing bikes will help you narrow down your selection.

Price Ranges for Mountain Bikes

The beginner’s choice

If it’s your first time purchasing a mountain bike, there is no reason to go for the high-end stuff. If you get bored with the bike, you won’t curse the day you threw away thousands of dollars. So, for starters, we would recommend getting a mountain bike that costs under $1,000.

A decent hardtail can be found at this price. Stay away from second-hand pieces because with mountain bikes they tend to sustain a lot of non-discernable damage. In this price range, full suspension is not a good option; at this price they’re just not well made.

Be sure you’re looking for the type of wheels that will suit your riding style. Not all mountain biking is the same.

The frame should also be made of a decent quality material. At this price, aluminum or steel are your best bet. Don’t expect a better material at this price. If you see a bike with a frame made out of a “fancy” material at this price point, you are probably getting yourself involved in something dodgy.

Also, check the distance from the bars to the saddle. If you can reach the bars and be comfortable while riding, then it is a good sign.

Keep this in mind: do not buy any bike until you try it. Test it with a pair of sports shoes and go for a spin. If it is comfortable and suits your riding method, then you may have found what you’ve been looking for.

Mid-priced

Now we are getting to the cool stuff. At this price point, you might even get a mountain bike with a full suspension system. Again, don’t be fooled by the used ones. They are often not worth your time or money. This type of mountain bike will set you back $1,000 – $2,000.

High-end

At this stage, expect to pay anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000. In this category, you will see mountain bikes with frames made out of carbon fiber or titanium. These bikes will probably outlast you – so ride ’em hard and have some fun!

What Type of Bike Do I Need?

When it comes to mountain bikes, you will also need to know what type you want to purchase. For example, affordable bikes are mostly rigid, that means they have no suspension features. Compared with the bikes that come with a suspension system, the rigid ones are less comfortable.

A hardtail is an interesting beast. The front wheel is connected to a suspension fork, and the impact is absorbed by the suspension system. However, the rear wheel is rigid; it doesn’t have a suspension system hence the name hardtail. These bikes come at an affordable price and do the job just fine.

Hardtails can be used for cross-country riding and mountain trails; just don’t use them for downhill trails. They are not in the affordable category for nothing. A full suspension bike can soak many bumps, increase traction and diminish the impact on the rider. It costs a little bit more than a hardtail, but you can do a lot more with it.

Other Aspects to Take into Consideration

If you are planning to buy a mountain bike for your kid, go for the 24 inches tires. These small tires will help your child control his bike more quickly. If you are planning to buy one for yourself, the 26 and 27.5-inch tires are the way to go.

If you want to move on different terrains with no problem, the 29 inches are the tires you are looking for.

Another thing to look out for is a helmet. Going on any trail, be it in the countryside, mountain, on hills, etc., will require that you get protection. A decent helmet won’t cost you a lot, but it will make a world of difference, especially if you are a beginner.

Gloves can also help you keep a firm grip on the bars. Speaking of which, always look if the braking system is working propery. You can upgrade it later, but for now, you must make sure that you’ll be safe.

Conclusion

These are the many factors you will need to take into consideration when you want to purchase a bike. If you have a friend who knows more about mountain bikes than you do, take him with you when it’s shopping time. He might give you valuable advice and help with the details so you can pick the right bike for your needs.


John T Lyons grew up riding the canyons of San Diego on his singlespeed Huffy. After a stint working for Shelby American in the automotive industry and then in the aerospace industry, JT found his true calling and founded Moment Bicycles. JT developed a “better way to buy a bike” using his engineering problem-solving skills. Learn more at MomentBicycles.com

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