Portland Century Time!

In Oregon, century rides abound but only one truly celebrates the beauty and bounty of this special place we call Portland. The Portland Century, August 19, is a premier ride to honor this premier city, and starts and finishes in the heart of it.

Get the royal treatment on this lush ride with 40, 80 and 100 mile routes. The day starts out with locally roasted coffee and a fresh breakfast before you embark out on a gorgeous course that visits Portland’s favorite areas. Watch large ships loom in the distance at Kelley Point Park, the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers; take in the serene quiet of Smith and Bybee lakes, the largest urban wildlife wetland preserve – and that’s just within the first 15 miles of the course. Your riding only gets better from there on out.

Lunch and snacks are served on the course, and you’ll be treated to free Hot Lips pizza on the 80 and 100 mile courses. Dinner features a gourmet dinner of wild Keta salmon and teriyaki chicken prepared on site and served under the shady tree canopy of the Portland State University Gardens. Hopworks, Portland’s own award-winning organic craft brewery, is hosting the beer garden. All these incredible features of the Portland Century are included in your ride pass so don’t miss this opportunity to showcase your velo love of Portland.

HOT TIP: Beat the lines and attend the Pre-Ride Party at Hopworks (2944 SE Powell) on 8/18 from 2-4pm where you can check in and register for the ride.

Twilight Criterium Racer Roster

Exited about the Portland Twilight Criterium?

Here’s a partial list of the racers, as of 9/9/2012 at 2pm. Many racers will register through tonight online, then again at the event.

Mark Adamski Portland OR
Aaron Aikin Portland OR
Adam Angert portland OR
Austin Arguello Hillsboro OR
Erik Bakker Portland OR
Steven Beardsley Portland OR
Kevin Boje Aurora CO
zach Bowden vancouver WA
Byron Breeden Hood River OR
Chris Bright Lake Oswego OR
Christian Buesch Corvallis OR
Neil Byzick Corvallis OR
Molly Cameron Portland OR
eric cockrell seattle WA
Aaron Coker Tigard OR
Joel Crouch Portland OR
Clint Culpepper Portland OR
Casey Davidson Portland OR
Edward DeLisle Portland OR
Peter Drake Portland OR
Brian Engelhard West Linn OR
Edward Ewing Seattle WA
Tyler Fought Portland OR
Jeremiah Freeman Salem OR
Eddie French Portland OR
Aaron Gallardo los angeles CA
George Gardner Portland OR
Leland Gilmore Portland OR
Norrene Godfrey Vancouver WA
Erin Goodall Portland OR
brian gumpert portland OR
Bradlee Haley Burien OR
Chris Hamilton Portland OR
Davis Hand Portland OR
John Hartnett Portland OR
Mike Henry Damascus OR
Tom Hill Portland OR
Cole Hilton Corvallis OR
Brian Hitchcock Seattle WA
Patrick Jacks Beaverton OR
kent johnston Lake Oswego OR
Scott Jones Gresham OR
Michael Kath portland OR
Joseph king Portland OR
Cole Lalomia portland OR
William Laubernds Portland OR
Josh LeBus Portland OR
Matt Lee Portland OR
Joshua Liberles
John Lombard Portland OR
Chris Mahan Seatac OR
Dickie Mallison portland OR
Grant McElroy Portland OR
Jamie Mikami portland OR
Todd Mion Greenville SC
Douglas Murphy Beaverton OR
Eric Nelson battle ground WA
Will Niemann-Ross Seattle WA
Stephan Niquet Portland OR
William O’Donnell Corvallis OR
taylor pilant Spokane WA
Mark Porcella Portland OR
John Prosser Hillsboro OR
James Randall Portland OR
Tim Reinhart Portland OR
zach rotstein portland OR
jared Roy Portland OR
Kelly Ryan Portland OR
Ted Schwartz Los Angeles CA
Joel Schweiger Seattle WA
Aaron Shaw Seattle WA
David Sherman Portland OR
Brad Sigurdson Keizer OR
Evan Siroky Portland OR
Chip Sloan Vancouver WA
Jonathan Stierwalt Porltand OR
Mike Stockton Salem OR
James Stuck Portland OR
Rob Thompson Portland OR
James Thompson New Westminster BC
zachary utz Portland OR
Jonathan Vinson Portland OR
Emerson Webb Portland OR
Paul Zagacki Lake Oswego OR
Ahmed Zuhairy Portland OR

Bike MS – A Full Weekend Getaway

Bike MS Ride takes you on an unforgettable, two-day journey through the picturesque Willamette Valley. As many as 600 riders will customize a course based on their personal fitness levels and interests. Day 1 includes route options of 32, 60 and 103 miles. Day 2 offers 34 or 50 mile routes. Cruise along scenic figure-eight courses that lead you back to the Western Oregon University campus.

Five full catered meals, generous amenities, stunning landscapes, an on-site three-day beer garden, nightly entertainment, field trips to area attractions and plenty of cycling support will make for an incredible weekend. You can choose from plush LEED certified dorm rooms, camping or RV options – all directly on site. Non-riding friends and family are welcome to join you for the festivities all weekend long (meal tickets are available).

Riders raise money to support multiple sclerosis research, programs and services dedicated to improving the quality of life for the over 7,400 individuals affected by MS. Bike MS rides – formerly known as MS 150 – happen all over the country, and the Oregon ride is well known as a fantastic weekend getaway. This year’s new basecamp at Western Oregon University is guaranteed to be a relaxing, shady retreat in between rewarding days of riding.

Petal Pedal: Cycle on the Summer Solstice 6/23

Petal Pedal (June 23) is a magical journey along the Willamette Valley’s roads less traveled. Immerse yourself in blooming fields of flowers as you soak in the sites, scents and sounds of the serene landscape. The ride starts and ends at The Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon’s state garden featuring 80 acres of beauty.

The ride features excellent support and all of this is included:

  • Garden admission.
  • Gourmet dinner served on the garden patio.
  • Hopworks beer.
  • Breakfast with freshly brewed coffee from Nossa Familia.
  • Lunch and snacks on course every 15 miles.
  • Support vans, just in case.
  • Event hotline you can call with questions while on the course.
  • Expert mechanics at the start line, rest stops and riding along side you.
  • $25 off purchases of $50 or more and bike discounts at Western Bikeworks at the Pre-Ride Party (6/16).
  • Free bike checks, beer and appetizers at the Pre-Ride Party.

Plan to make a weekend of it; Silverton is the friendliest town in Oregon. There is an on-site boutique hotel for a relaxing night after the ride, and also a special opportunity to camp at the historic Greer Farms. Camping includes a farm-fresh breakfast on Sunday morning.


Lighten Up, Costumes are Fun

Lycra helps you go fast, so do streamlined cleats, an excellent diet and tons of training. But is that fun? People sometimes call it that, but I don’t think it is. It’s something positive, but more akin to “rewarding” than “fun” It can even be “enjoyable” or “exhilarating,” but fun just isn’t the right word.

So if you’re looking for good old fashioned bike fun, look no further than the costume. Pedalpalooza has taken over Portland and Vancouver with 251+ creative bike rides and activities.

Read through our selection of top pics with commentary and you’ll know we’re big fans of thoroughly indulging in the ride’s theme. And yes, that means donning a costume. Don’t be shy. We guarantee you won’t be the only one out there in wacky attire.

Tips for biking in costume

  • Make sure you can see out the head piece. This is especially important for nighttime rides.
  • Capes flutter in the wind and look rad-tastically dramatic. Highly recommended.
  • Wear your wig OVER your helmet – it’s hilarious that way and much more noticeable.
  • If your get-up is complex, test ride around the block. You do want to enjoy the ride and your costume shouldn’t take away from that experience, it should add to it.
  • Plan ahead, give yourself extra time to complete your costume, mount your steed and casually pedal to the meeting point. Costumery nearly always causes delays so start early.
  • Bring your camera and take pictures. When you’re having a grouchy day, browse the collection and sink back into your goofy ride.

Bee photo by Tubulocity from the Worst Day of the Year Ride 2012.
Robot photo by Revolbike from the Rocky Butte Sunset ride of Pedalpalooza 2012.

Maintenance Arsenal

Stock your bench and know when to grab the big guns.

There are a few basics that every shop bench should have for basic bike maintenance, but it can be tricky to decide what to stock in your arsenal. Here’s how to decide what to grab and when.

Basics: Every shop should have all of these close at hand.

Rags for all purpose cleaning: Old t-shirts, underwear and retired towels work great. You can also buy fancy ones from the hardware store. Bike grime won’t wash out of these, so if you use a rag up, throw it away and grab a new one. There is too much grease left in the rags from cleaning and they’ll destroy any washer you try and clean them in.

Toothbrush: You need a new one anyways, right? It’s the perfect tool for getting into tight spaces for some scrub-a-dub-dub.

Stiff bristled brush: Park Tools, Pedro’s and many other brands make great ones that also are useful for getting into nooks and crannies.

Pokey tool: Basically, a sharp scribe to help pick, poke and finagle out the dirt from small crevices. Dental tools work well.

Degreasers: This list goes from least toxic and powerful to most.

Dish Soap in water: Works fabulously in a bucket for quick general frame and wheel cleaning. Use with a gentle hose rinse or if you really like to get close to your bike, in the shower.

Citrus or Eco: Citrisolve, Simple Green, Finish Line Citrus Degreaser, Pedro’s Bio-Degreaser are all examples of non-toxic (when used as directed) biodegradable cleaners that kick butt on grease and grime. Generally, you’ll want to spray these on and wipe clean. The main caution to have with these is that despite bring “eco friendly” they are strong enough to eat through clear coat and the anodized coating on parts if used with too much elbow grease or not immediately wiped off. If you have some really tough grime, you might want to move up to the next level.

Petroleum/Chlorine Based (warning: use gloves or skin protection): WD-40, White Lightening Clean Streak. These are the big guns. They are in no way eco friendly, bio-degradable or good for your lungs or skin. However, if you’ve got serious built-up, tarred-on grime, this is the quickest way to get chains, cassettes and chain rings clean.

Lubricants: The bike runs better when you lube regularly, most importantly after cleaning.

Chain Lube: Many believe a household oil will suffice, but a good quality chain lube is formulated to penetrate and not leave too much behind. If you live on the wet side of the state, stick to a lube that’s oil based and a medium or wet level. If you live on the sunny side, a dry lube may work better. Use it on your chain and pivot points of the derailleur. Chain lube is sold at bike shops and a small amount goes a long way.

Bicycle Grease: Most threads on your bike require lubricant before they’re screwed in. This is also great if you’re servicing your bearings. (Note: if you notice threads on a bolt have a red or blue plastic substance on them, do not lubricate! It’s likely a thread locking component, so grease is not necessary.)

Pedalpalooza: 251 (mostly) Free Bike Events

PEDALPALOOZA | June 7-30 – Portland/Vancouver

Every city should be so lucky to have an festival like Pedalpalooza, when bikers come out in droves to revel in summertime cycling silliness. Over the course of 24 days, 251 mostly free events will jam-pack the calendar.

Food focused events abound, like the Austro-Hungarian Ride (9th), Food Cart Tour (17th) and reservations-required Epic Pizza Ride (27th)

Some rides are delightfully absurd like the Candlelight Can delight Vigil (12th) which honors now-closed drinking holes and offers an opportunity to share bar tales of woe. The Cute Warm and Fuzzy ride (11th) promises ice cream, cupcakes, slow riding, no hills and prizes. The Fake Mustache Ride (14th) simply yet hilariously celebrates the wearing of synthetic facial hair.

Hot tip: Pick up a printed version of the calendar, which will appear in the Portland Mercury on June 6. Pin it to your wall and circle all the events you want to attend. If you’re an over-worker, put the calendar above
your desk at work of a constant reminder of the fun to be had and why it’s important to clock out on time (or early…).

( ORbike favorites, with hot tips and side commentary )

( Visitor info )

( Full calendar )

Hey Kids! It’s Pedalpalooza Time!

Riding with kids isn’t always easy, but Kidical Mass makes it easy to learn from others as you help your little one navigate street riding.

Portland Kidical Mass, a riding group for families, is hosting a special circus-themed Pedalpalooza ride.

Put on your bearded lady getup or dust off your bear suit, brush up your juggling or tame a bakfiets of tiny lions. The organizers promise plenty of surprises for kids along the way. Kids must wear helmets.

The group rides very slowly for little tykes. Is this ride right for your young one? Kidical Mass requests that riders be able to ride in a (reasonably) straight line and start and stop as required. If your rider is at that level, then get your costumes ready and be prepared to join the large group of families riding bikes together.

Favorite Pedalpalooza Ride Description

The events of Pedalpalooza are diverse, but one aspect is pretty common across the calendar: simple, short descriptions. Some of the entries read like an exciting teaser, leaving the reader in hot anticipation of the event, but in most case they just don’t paint a complete picture of the event, or the event’s potential.

Perservere through the 251 event listings, however, and eventually you’ll stumble upon some gems. These wittily written, excitement-building listings describe wildly innovative and creative concepts which you may or may not care to attend.

It is with great reverence that we award the following listing with not only Best Written Description, but also Most Awesome Ride Concept.


Tuesday, June 12
New Old Lompoc, Northwest, 1616 Northwest 23rd Avenue
(It’s closed, but that’s the point.)

Come take a tour of Portland’s recently-closed bars, and join us in remembrance. We will provide opportunities for everyone to share their favorite memories at each stop. Is this where you met your boyfriend? Discovered your favorite microbrew? Found your stolen fixie? The ride will end at the hole-in-the-ground formerly known as the Candlelight Room, where we will hold a candlelight vigil. Candles provided. We’ll then honor the fallen bars somewhere that still serves beer.

If you don’t mind some late-night riding on a Tuesday, join host Adam Moore and his band of solemn cyclists on this reverent ride around Portland.

Bar None

Bar tape

You know you’ve got a new bike at your fingertips by feel. The smooth, unsullied touch of clean, unblemished bar tape is incomparable. Yet it’s one of the most easily over looked parts of your bike when it comes to replacement. I’ve seen otherwise pristine bikes with shreds of sweaty, stinky, bar tape crying out to be replaced.

It’s not as difficult as it looks, so here are a few tips to getting it done right.

1) Choose your look and feel

Thick, Squishy, Gel Tape: This is what usually comes stock on new bikes. It’s comfortable, helps absorb shock and is fairly easily installed due to the fact that it’s got some stretch to it. Light colors quickly turn grey with use and are not easily cleaned.

Old School Cork Tape: Similar to gel tape but without as much elasticity. If you pull too hard when installing it easily tears—leaving you to buy another set. Not quite as shock absorbent as the gel, but less water absorbent – something to consider in the Pacific NW.

Ultra Thin Tape: This tape is often perforated down the middle. It looks extremely slick on the bike and is easily cleaned, even after heavy use. There is little cushion, but that is usually fine if you wear gloves. This is a good choice for cyclocross bikes that will be covered in mud every weekend.

Grippy Tape: Similar to the ultra thin tape, but slightly more shock absorbent with a tacky element to the feel of the tape for better grip. This is also easily installed because of how elastic it is.

Cloth Tape: Another throw back to track bike era that has made a comeback with the resurgence of fixed gears. Easy to install, very affordable and comes in a variety of colors. Has zero shock absorbency and is the closest to riding on a naked bar. Least expensive, but wears out the quickest and looks inexpensive.

To adhere or not to adhere?
Some bar wraps come with a sticky tape on the back to ease in installation. The downside is that when you go to replace it, some brands leave the center strip of the bar wrap behind with it, leaving you to spend 20-30 minutes scraping chunks of old tape off before you install the new stuff.

Others come with silicone grip or no grip to help the tape hold tight on the bar. This makes it harder to install because overlap and tightness of the wrap are integral to keeping your wrap in place over time.

2)Get Ready: Scissors, electrical tape, bar ends and you.

Once you have a clean bar, get ready by having your first piece of bar wrap out of the box. If it comes with adhesive, partially remove the protective backing. Usually the box will also contain a short piece of wrap to put around the bottom of the brake lever. Peel off any adhesive and stick it to the bike where you can reach it, and do the same with your roll of electrical tape for finishing the wrap. Put the scissors in your pocket or within easy arms reach. (If all these tools are out of reach, you’ll loose all your work when you have to let go of your wrap to grab them.)

3) Wrap it up

Start at the bottom of the handlebar, so test the fit of the bar end cap you’re using. If it’s tight in the bar, you’ll start with the bar tape overlapping the edge by a few millimeters. If it’s loose, you’ll start with 1″ of the bar wrap end tucked inside the bar.

Starting from underneath the bar, wrap towards the outside and over the top of the bar. For loose fit caps, overlap 1/3 of the tape one wrap around the edge, for tight fit caps overlap 1-2mm tightly so the edge of the tape grips the end of the bar. As you continue wrapping, the wrap should angle like one side of an arrow pointing forward.

Continue wrapping over-lapping the edges by 1/3 – 1/4 of the next wrap. This will keep your wrap from appearing lumpy. Make sure to keep a constant, firm pressure pulling on the tape from all directions to prevent gaps or a wrap that comes loose.

When you get to one wrap short of the brake lever, slap your bonus piece (already on the bike where you can reach it) under the metal part of the brake lever. Leaving that one wrap under the brake lever bare, wrap under the lever towards the inside of the bike, over the top of the back of the lever towards the outside of the bike, under back towards the inside of the bike (crossing over your first under wrap), then around underneath the front of the brake lever. Finish this figure 8 by heading around the back of the lever one more time, then up over the bar and continue your wrap. Criss. Cross. Criss.

When you reach the largest diameter part of the bar, grab your scissors. Finish your wrap by holding the tape out from the bike on the angle you wrapped it on, then cutting a 4″ diagonal across the tape to cut it to length. This cut should be perpendicular to the bar.

Wrap the end on the same angle you’ve been wrapping and your perpendicular cut should make a nice, straight finish on the bar. Grab your handy electrical tape and finish the end with 3 wraps that do not touch the handlebar but completely cover the end of the wrap.

Pop in your bar caps and admire your handy work!

Tori Bortman is a bike mechanic and the instructor/owner of Gracies Wrench.


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