Basic Riding Skills — Effective Shifting

July 9th, 2009
Shift smoothly AND with maximum style

Shift smoothly AND with maximum style

Shifting a bicycle is easy, but shifting it well — so you aren’t throwing your chain, putting undue stress on your drive train and making HORRIBLE grinding noises as you change gears can be a bit more of a challenge. Here are a few articles I’ve found to make the learning process a bit easier:

This one is from an old-school mechanic and is rather amusing.

This one provides a little more deal (and talks about cross-chaining and trim).

This one is for the layman.

This one covers a lot of other basic skills as well.

Read them all.

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Rules of the Road

July 9th, 2009

More helpful tips from our friends at STRADA

PelotonBicyclists may travel on any public road in the State of Oregon, except urban freeways or where non-motorized travel is otherwise prohibited. When riding your bicycle on the street, you are part of the traffic system with similar rights and responsibilities as motorists. Laws governing bicycle use can be found in the Oregon Vehicle Code. Bicyclists are required to obey all rules of the road insofar as they apply.

1. Obey all regulatory signs and traffic lights- Bicycles must be driven like other vehicles.
2. Never ride against traffic- Motorists are not looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. Ride with traffic at all times.
3. Use hand signals- Hand signals tell motorists what you intend to do.
4. Follow land markings- Do not turn left from the right lane. Do not continue straight in a lane marked RIGHT TURN ONLY.
5. Do not pass on the right- Motorists do not expect a bicyclist to pass on the right, and they may not see you. Pass on the left side of vehicles.
6. Choose the best way to turn left- There are two ways to make a left turn: 1) as an auto: look back, signal, move into the left lane, and turn left. 2) As a pedestrian: ride straight to
the far-side crosswalk, then walk your bike across.
7. Watch for cars pulling out- Make eye contact with drivers. Assume they do not see you until you are sure they do.
8. Scan the road behind- Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving left. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.
9. Avoid road hazards- Watch out for sewer grates, slippery manhole covers, oily pavement, gravel and ice. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
10. Ride a well-equipped bike- Always use a strong headlight and taillight when visibility is poor.
11. Dress Appropriately- Wear a hard-shell helmet whenever you ride and wear light-colored clothes at night.

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Pre-ride Bike Check

July 9th, 2009

882checklist (Small)One of the advantages of riding with others is that, should a problem arise, you can count on your riding partners for assistance. Problems on the road are inevitable and expected. That said, a lot of hassles on the road can be avoided if every rider shows up prepared with equipment in good working order.

BIKE CHECK

Before The Ride

Please check your bike and gear to ensure that you are properly prepared for
the days ride. The following is a quick bike checklist.

1. Check tires – Inflate tires to recommended pressure (printed on the
side of the tire) before each ride. Inspect tires for possible cuts and
items that may have become embedded.
2. Lube – Chain and derailleurs.
3. Quick Release Lever – Check to assure that it is tightened
appropriately.
4. Brakes – Pads should be aligned with the rims and not in contact with
the tire.
5. Shifting – Move through all of the gears to assure smooth shifting. If
they don’t shift smoothly, cable tension may need to be adjusted.

Carry On Your Bike

1. Tube and Patch Kit
2. Tire Irons
3. Pump or CO2 cartridge
4. Multi-tool
5. Water and Food
6. Identification and Money

Checklist courtesy of our friends at STRADA

 

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Logie Trail/Rocky Point Loop

July 9th, 2009
When you get back to your car, you'll wish this place was still open

When you get back to your car, you'll wish this place was still open

This is a great ride to test your climbing prowess. The start is at the corner of Skyline and Germantown Road. Start by heading south on Skyline. Plunge down NW Thompson on your way out to North Plains. Enjoy the descent — it will be your last one for a long while. When you reach the corner of NW W Union and NW Glencoe Rd. take inventory of your water and food. If you are going to need to stop and replenish, turn left and go to the gas station before heading the other direction towards the hills.

The first real climb is Mason Hill Rd., followed by a nice stretch on Jackson Quarry Rd. Turn Left on Helvetia then Left again Logie Trail. Then climb some more. Once you reach Skyline, you can either turn left for a nice out-and-back to Rocky Point or just go right and head for your cars. You’ll go downhill a bit more, but, once you cross Cornelius Pass you get even more climbing.

Note: While Map My Ride seems to be pretty good, I’m only now just beginning to play with it. We have already discovered that the turn-by-turn directions aren’t always perfect. I recommend you take maps with you as a backup. You can print maps from Map My Ride for a small fee. You can also download the route onto a GPS device, which is very cool.

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Pygmy Goat Ride

July 9th, 2009
One of the nicest rides in the area AND Pygmy Goats

One of the nicest rides in the area AND Pygmy Goats

This is a beautiful ride with a lot of climbing (some gradual, some steep). The majority of the ride takes place on some very rural, very scenic roads with much bucolic splendor. There is a fun section on Springwater Rd. that looks like it is slightly downhill for several miles when, in fact, it is a touch uphill (1-2% grade). This will explain why something seems amiss.

It is about 70 miles, so plan accordingly. DEFINITELY stop in Estacada to refill your water bottles (and take lots of water bottles). After Estacada the ride gets really remote, really fast. And there is enough climbing that you go through water at a serious rate. Next time we do this ride, we are going to stage a car filled with ice and water (probably on Porter Road somewhere).

The ride starts in the parking lot of Bi-Mart at S.E. 174th and Powell. The area is sketchy looking and you might want to park near one of the restaurants where people are coming and going. Otherwise, drive the first quarter mile of the route and park by the side of the street.

Update: This ride is a LOT harder than it looks on the Map My Ride profile. If you look at the elevation chart, it makes it seem as if it is a nice steady climb to mile 35 then a nice gentle descent (more or less) to the finish. Bullshit. The climb at mile 28 has several sections that are between 10% and 15% grade. One spot was 17%. In fact, there are lots of 10%+ sections throughout.

After mile 35, there is some downhill, but there is still plenty of  climbing left to do.

Map My Ride also says total ascent is 3307 feet. According to my computer, I climbed nearly 4,000 feet before the 40th mile.

The ride IS beautiful but it is also a cruel, cruel bitch.

YMMV

Soaking up some shade on a mercilessly hot day

Soaking up some shade on a mercilessly hot day

Refills from a hose in some nice people's lawn saved lives this day

Refills from a hose in some nice people's lawn saved lives this day

Note: While Map My Ride seems to be pretty good, I’m only now just beginning to play with it. We have already discovered that the turn-by-turn directions aren’t always perfect. I recommend you take maps with you as a backup. You can print maps from Map My Ride for a small fee. You can also download the route onto a GPS device, which is very cool.

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