best bike rides in Oregon

Welcome to the future: 2013

It’s a brand new year, and here at ORbike.com we have a few predictions about what it’ll bring. We may still be a ways off from flying cars and holodecks, but there are some pretty cool products in the works.

From fat bikes to better cycling infrastructure, we’re pretty sure 2013 is going to be awesome.

Bike Trends

Fat Bikes

Will 2013 be the year of the fat bike?

Hailing from Alaska, these wide-wheeled beasts were originally created by Mark Gronewald of Wildfire Designs Bicycles for biking in the snow. His fat-tired designs excelled in some of the crazier Alaskan endurance races (think Iditarod for bikes), and over the last few years they’ve started to catch on in the Lower 48 and beyond.

So what is a fat bike? They’re essentially mountain bikes built to accommodate tires as wide as four inches. The width of the tires and low tire pressure gives them the traction and floating power to tackle snow, sand and other terrain that regular bikes can’t handle.

Fat bike advocates are busy hammering out best practices for sharing trails with other users and working out details of their use on public lands. The 2nd Annual Fat Bike Winter Summit and Festival will take place January 25-27 in Island Park, Idaho.

Wildfire Designs still makes their FatBikes (which are handmade by DeSalvo Custom Cycles in Ashland, OR), but Surly and Salsa have taken the lion’s share of the market with the Surly Pugsley and Salsa Mukluk (as well as newer offerings). Head over to Fat-bike.com for a complete list of manufacturers.

Inspired? Your fellow Oregonians are fatbiking in Seaside, Mt. St. Helens, the Oregon Dunes, Bend and anywhere else that looks like fun.

E-bikes

Electronic bikes are huge in Europe and Asia, but so far they’ve been slow to catch on in the US. The sales gap might be a byproduct of how we look at cycling—in the US, the cultural association of cycling with sport rather than transportation has put a stigma on riding e-bikes that doesn’t exist overseas.

Slowly but surely, however, e-bike sales are growing. They picked up slightly when gas prices spiked to $4 a gallon, and seem poised to gain momentum as an increasing number of people get into bikes as a means of transportation – both for themselves and their cargo. In fact, Pike Research (a market research and consulting firm in the green tech industry) predicts that e-bike sales will grow by almost 50% in 2013.

E-bike manufacturers like Prodeco and Currie Tech are putting out a variety of designs for everyone from commuters to retirees to athletes, while cargo bike company Yuba offers a pair of cargo bikes, the elMundo and elBoda Boda, which have electric assistance to make it easier for people to ditch their cars and take up utility cycling.

As cycling for transportation becomes a bigger trend in the US, it seems only natural that e-bikes will be a big part of that equation.

Is your interest sparked? For a comprehensive guide to e-bikes and conversion kits, as well as the stores that sell them in the US, check out Electric Bike Report. In Portland, shop e-bikes in person at the aptly named eBike Store at 201 N. Alberta.

Fashion Trends

Neon! Really.

Folks, that fluorescent commuter jacket you’ve been rocking for years has just become fashion-forward. Did you notice those eye-burning pops of 80’s throwback color that the kids were wearing last summer? Well, it’s not over yet.

Road.cc’s roundup of fluorescent yellow 2013 gear features everything from shoes to helmets to locks. We’ve even spotted toe clips. Whether your color of choice is highlighter yellow, neon lime green, safety orange or all three, be prepared for the slew of compliments you’ll get from the fashionistas this year

(If we’re bringing back the ’80’s, can I please put in a request for hypercolor bicycle frames? Thanks.)

Not neon

On the other end of the fashion spectrum, neon is totally out. As more people take up cycling as part of their daily lives, clothing companies are beginning to take note. The overwhelming success of Iva Jean‘s recent Kickstarter campaign shows that women, especially, are looking for chic clothes that transition easily from the bike to a professional environment. Companies like Betabrand and even Levis have launched lines aimed at the casual commuter.

Even as apparel companies angle for a slice of the cycling clothing market, more people are realizing that there doesn’t have to be anything particularly “bike-specific” about their wardrobe in order for them to enjoy cycling. A growing number of cycling fashion blogs and tweed rides are popularizing the idea of people wearing their everyday clothes on bicycles.

Social trends

Cities will prioritize cycling as a means for economic growth

Studies like this one from the League of American Bicyclists have shown that cycling and economic prosperity go hand-in-hand, and around the country local governments are starting to take note. Yes! Magazine recently featured a trio of cities—Minneapolis, Washington D.C. and New York—that have been attracting good jobs as a direct result of their focus on better cycling infrastructure.

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s speech at a protected bike lane ribbon cutting directly linked cycling infrastructure with economic growth, and issued a challenge to Portland and Seattle. “I want them to be envious because I expect not only to take all of their bikers,” he said, “but I also want all the jobs that come with this.”

According to Bikes Belong, protected (green) lanes doubled in 2012, and is set to double again in 2013 as more cities begin to take note of their neighbors’ successes.

Bike share programs are big part of that vision. New York will see the arrival of the privately funded and operated Citi Bike in May 2013. Houston is set to expand their bike share program from 3 kiosks and 18 bikes to 24 kiosks and 200 bikes. Milwaukee, Los Angeles and Columbus also number among the cities due to launch bike shares in 2013. Even colleges like Wellesley are implementing bike share programs. Portland’s bike share program is in the works, though as yet no date has been set for its launch.

How about you?

What are you most hoping to see in the new year? Share your ideas 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.

Cargo Bikes Abound

Considering a cargo bike? It used to be there was only one readily-available option in the region, the bikes built by CAT in Eugene. These days, there are plenty of options with even more available in other countries.

Where to go

Locally, Clever Cycles and Splendid Cycles have positioned themselves as the cargo bike experts. Both of these shops have friendly staff and extensive collections of bikes. Clever Cycles was the first shop to start importing Bakfiets, traditional Dutch cargo bikes.

Where to start

Start by looking around the web at the variety of cargo bikes that exist, many of which are listed below. Ask around to friends to get their opinions. If you know someone with a cargo bike, take it for a test ride. Once you’ve honed in more on what you think you want head to the shops to ask questions and test tide.

How to buy

A cargo bike is a big investment, one you’ll want to have for a while. Take your time selecting the bike that is right for you. It’s okay to test ride them all, and ride them more than once. When visiting shops, bring a list of questions and don’t leave until you have all the answers you need.

Examples









Worst Day of the Year Run and Ride

You know a bike event has truly become a tradition when it spawns an all new event – one that doesn’t even take place on bikes.

The Worst Day of the Year Ride on February 10 is Portland’s favorite wacky wintertime ride. New this year, runners are invited to join in on the action with the first-ever Worst Day of the Year Run on February 2. The run takes place at the Expo Center.

Brave Souls!

The Worst Day of the Year Ride started with 250 brave souls who dragged their bikes out of the garage, pulled on bright yellow rain jackets (that’s about all there was back then!) and trudged out into a gloomy day. After a foggy morning, the skies lifted, the sun shone and those 250 riders were laughing like crazy, vowing they’d come back year after year. They have, and so has that sunshine. In all 11 years of the Worst Day of the Year Ride, it has barely ever rained.

Bring the Whole Clan

The Worst Day of the Year Ride is a fantastic excuse to get get your mom, coworker, husband, lazy son, nervous neighbor or group of friends on bikes for a day of circling the city in costume while supporting the Community Cycling Center.

What’s Included

* Coffee and doughnuts at the start line.
* Snacks and hot drinks on course.
* Finish line soup lunch with all the best fixings.
* Expertly chosen routes, a scenic course on mostly low traffic streets.
* A well-marked course easily guides you at every turn.
* Dedicated support phone number you can call with questions while on course
* Booming beats from the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers.
* Support medics and mechanics on course riding alongside you
* Support vehicles that are dispatched upon request
* Huge start line and finish line parties
* Gigantic sea of friendly, energetic riders dressed in ridiculous costumes
* An opportunity to bring all your friends together for the day in support of the Community Cycling Center
* Interactive route maps online

MORE INFO

WORST DAY OF THE YEAR RIDE >>

WORST DAY OF THE YEAR *RUN* >>

Lawfully Yours

Recently I was peppered with questions relating to bicycling in Oregon, and I hardly new the answers.

It’s in the cards

A friend introduced me to the deck of “Rules of the Road – Oregon” cards which showcase vexing traffic scenarios.” These 50 clever question and answer cards are the work of the nonprofit organization Animated Traffic Law. The project was a partnership between longtime local cyclist advocates, Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton Attorneys and Cycle Oregon, so I knew the correct answer on the back of each card would be legally legit.

How They Work

Each question concerns either bicyclists or pedestrians and their rights and duties as road users according to Oregon law. I thought, I’m a cyclist and a pedestrian, this should be a cinch!

Time to Learn

My friend read me a card from the deck: “Does a bicyclist have to dismount before entering a crosswalk?”
I paused. Such a simple, straightforward question, yet I wasn’t 100 percent sure of the answer. “”No?”” I questioned, more than answered.
The answer, it turns out, is: “No.”

My friend picked another: “Three bicyclists are traveling together. They are alongside one another within a single lane. As long as they do not impede traffic is this legal?”
I paused, then declared, “Yes, take the lane, like a car!”
I was wrong. The answer is: “No. It is illegal for more than two bicyclists to travel alongside one another on a roadway.”

Now my friend was on a roll: “If a bicyclist is traveling at the speed of traffic is she still required to use the far right side of the roadway?”
With a tip from the previous card’s answer, I went with, “No?”
Finally, I was correct. “No. The assumption behind the law insisting bicyclists travel on the far right side of the roadway is that they won’t be traveling at the speed of traffic. If they are, the law is irrelevant.”

Expanding my Vocabulary

My friend queried: “As you approach an intersection you notice painted in your lane a line of upside down triangles. What do these mean?”
What? no clue. “Oy. The rest of the arrow has worn off?” I knew my response was a long shot.
The answer: “This line of upside down triangles is known as a ‘yield line.’ At the point of the triangles, you are to slow your vehicle (bike or car) and yield if necessary.”
This and several other questions from the deck that expanded my bike vocabulary. I learned fog line, the legal definition of a bike lane, sharrow and more.

Wake Up Call

These scenarios provided me with a wake-up call for road riding, particularly if I have a trailer in tow and may be gliding through a crosswalk or traveling slower than the speed of traffic. Thanks to all parties involved in creating these cards; I’m a better cyclist for having played this game.

You can view the full card series here.


Angie Marsh is a lifelong Portland cyclist. Her random thoughts can be found on Twitter at @angieSuMarsh

Orp!

A bike light that does it all – swaps easily from bike to bike, charges via USB for people on the go, and makes an alert sound in varying degrees of intensity. It sounds to good to be true.

Well, it is. Sort of. The Orp light is in the concept phase and the industrial designer behind it, Toren Orzek, launched a Kickstarter campaign to help make the light a reality.

There is no other light out there that functions as this one does. It is truly revolutionary, and combines convenience, safety and practicality. A match made in biker heaven.

Check out the video from Toren’s Kickstarter campaign:

Vintage Bike Posters

Looking for a creative way to decorate your home, office or cubicle while showcasing your bike loving pride? Three words: vintage bike posters.

Where to Find Them

Check out collections on websites like AllPosters.com or poke around to see what you can find. So many styles and varieties exist.

Prefer Modern?

For a more modern look, ArtCrank is an annual poster party that travels to various cities. Each city features exhibitions of local bike-themed posters in limited edition runs. In Portland, the event typically happens in October.

An Amazing Collection

Check out this amazing collection of some of our favorites.

Meet the Community Cycling Center

The Community Cycling Center is a non-profit organization in NE Portland that was founded in 1994 to help neighborhood kids from low-income families repair their bikes. The founder set up a repair stand on the sidewalk, and the rest is history. From those humble beginnings to where they are now has been a long, thoughtful journey exploring what cycling means to all Portlanders.

This past December, the Community Cycling Center celebrated another year of making bicycle dreams come true for underserved youth through their Holiday Bike Drive give-away program. But simply giving away bikes is not the core of what the organization does these days.

It’s high time we re-introduce you to the Community Cycling Center, an impressive non-profit organization doing increasingly vital work in our community. We sat down with Communications and Marketing Manager Melinda Musser to learn more about the revitalized organization.

A Healthy, Sustainable Portland for All Residents

The Community Cycling Center turned a crucial corner when then recognized that “simply giving away bikes is not enough to create lasting change,” as Melinda explains.

“We are moving in a direction now where we are working collaboratively with community partners to overcome barriers to bicycling while building community capacity and developing neighborhood-based solutions. We are looking at ways to create pathways to employment and engagement within the growing bicycle movement, including jobs as educators, advocates and mechanics. We do this so that the promise of a healthy, sustainable Portland is possible for all residents.”

Everybody Rides

The Community Cycling Center believes that “all Portlanders, regardless of their income, education or ethnic background, should have the opportunity to choose healthy, active transportation.” They want to make it possible for people to use bikes to get to work, get to school, spend time with friends and family or simply explore the city.

This dedication to inclusion is at the core of the work they do.

Understanding Barriers to Bicycling

In 2008, the Community Cycling Center took a hard look at the work they were doing to determine what impact they were having. Their conclusion: “We could do better.”

That led to the Understanding Barriers to Bicycling project that breaks down what people what were people interested in and concerned about as it related to bicycling. “We learned that the barriers to bicycling are complex; simply giving people bicycles is not enough to support ongoing bicycle usage,” the organization explains.

The Community Cycling Center isn’t the only organization taking this thoughtful approach; organizations across the country are doing similar research and they are all learning from each other.

New Projects

As an extension of their research, the Community Cycling Center launched a new Bicycle Repair Hub.

In just 10 quick days, they transformed a vacant lot into a bike repair space at New Columbia, an 82-acre mixed-income community in North Portland. A committee made up of New Columbia residents, many of whom are low-income, were the driving force behind the project.

This project exemplifies the Community Cycling Center’s approach to partnering directly with the community they serve to ensure success and relevance.

And a Bike Shop, Too

Some non-profits are tucked away in downtown high rise buildings, doing their good work behind the scenes. Not so with the Community Cycling Center. Since their inception, a community bike shop has been the face of the organization.

They operate a full service repair and sales facility at 1700 NE Alberta Street where they strive to create a welcoming environment for all people who ride bikes.

How You Can Help

The Community Cycling Center relies on the support of the cycling community to continue their good work. Here’s how you can help:

  • Make CCC your bike shop. Proceeds from the shop go directly into their programs.
  • Volunteer. From wrenching on bikes to photographing events, there are positions for a variety of skill levels and interests.
  • Make a donation. Your contribution is tax-deductible.
  • Ride the 12th Annual Worst Day of the Year Ride on Feb 10.

For more information on the Community Cycling Center, and how you can support their impressive work, see CommunityCyclingCenter.org. You can find them on Twitter at @CommCyclingCtr. View more photos of the organization in action on the Flickr site.


The Worst Day of the Year Ride is a wacky wintertime ride with 16 mile (flat) and 40 mile (hilly) route options, costumes, belly-warming treats and a finish line party at the Lucky Labrador Brew Pub. MORE INFO >>

Photos by: Dan Sloan (iRide), Ben Latterell (youth repair), Lucas Balzer (adult rider)

2012 Bike Memories

What was your favorite bike memory of 2012? We asked our followers on Twitter and heard from you some great stories. Here are our favorites:

@beelnite: #bike2012 First run with my 5yr old son on the new Ventura Park pump tracks.

@pdxpedpow: Portland Pedal Power bicycle fleet worked over 5000 hours in #bike2012

@gizm0_0: Biked the Dolomites! Both sides of Stelvio and the Zoncolan. Trained with great friends. #Bike2012

@jenniobike: eating at the finish lines! savoring. job well done. victory. #bike2012

Share your favorite memories below!

Make Smart Biking Choices in 2013

The new year. Ahhhh! What a time to embrace change and embark on new paths. If those new directions relate to your biking life, move forward with confidence.

Be an educated consumer

Do a little research before you buy, and before you even go into a shop. Don’t let the word research scare you, it can be as simple as asking your biking friends or putting the word out via social media. Gear, bike and training options are all very personal, so keep that in mind as you listen to friends’ advice. Armed with even a little knowledge you will get much more out of your shop experience.

Keep it local

Do you need a new rain jacket? A better bike? A new training routing? A new event to participate in? Local options abound. Oregon’s many bike shops are overwhelmingly friendly and staffed by knowledgeable people. Supporting them is good for our bike economy. There are a growing number of bike events, trainers, places to ride and resources to help you stay on your bike in 2013.

Have fun!

Maybe you’re planning to do more on your bike this year, and you want a carrying device that’s stylish and practical. Options abound (we are in love with Bates Crates). You want a new bike that’s speedy, but not the same one your buddy has? No problem. You want to ride more often, but you don’t like traffic. If you want to have your cake and eat it to, you can. Oregon is the land of bicycle dreamers; get creative and have fun with your biking challenges this year.

The more we seek out innovative options, the more companies will innovate for us. Bicycle products are evolving to meet the modern biker. And if you don’t like bumble bee yellow rain jackets or 10-speeds, you know what I’m talking about.

Happy New Year, from all of us at ORbike. Here’s to wonderful bicycle adventures in the new year.

Share Your Photos

Knights in shining armor have nothing on bundled up cyclists who are equally protected against whatever comes their way. Rain, snow, sleet and wind can’t stop resilient bikers from making their ways through the streets.

To all of you who are riding this winter, we salute you!

And… we want to see your photos!

Are you biking, at least every once in a while, this winter? Share your photos with us. Pose, ask someone to take your photo, use a timer, take photos of friends, and share your photos with us. We are so eager to see your cute bundled-up pics!

Photo from Osprey Packs

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