Photo by Dan Sharp / Discover this ride on blackriver.cc
We are lucky to be living in the Pacific Northwest, with so many places and ways to bike, along with its moderate climate allowing us to ride nearly year-round if we choose.
To me as a cyclist, Portland is a particularly great place to live. I love being able to ride my bike to work and back, ride with my daughter and friends around town, and get out to the surrounding areas for recreational rides and tours. Bikes are so ingrained into our lives here that it’s hard to imagine living without them.
What is one of the biggest issues many people complain about these days? There is too much traffic, especially during commute hours. To me, this is a way to “create time” by using the bike instead of the car and commuting is a great way to stay in shape for your weekend rides. Plus, riding daily is great for your physical and mental health.
I had many memorable rides in 2016, but my favorite was one that was completely unexpected. In August, I was at a business meeting in Los Angeles for one of our bike suppliers. Upon hearing that we would face a six-hour ordeal to get to the airport, only 50 miles away, I negotiated one of the display bikes from the meeting with the intent of riding to the airport. I learned it was surprisingly easy to make up bike routes even in foreign-to-me and supposedly hostile territory like Los Angeles. I made it in plenty of time for my flight and my plan was to simply give the bike away at the airport. Sure, it was $400 but that would’ve been a small price to pay versus a cramped van ride on congested freeways, but I found a bike shop carrying the brand near the airport and left it with them. What an excellent adventure that afternoon turned into! The power of the bike impresses me once again…
So, what are your plans for 2017? One of my goals for 2016 was to ride with others more often. I would say that was accomplished, but I will try to ramp that up some.
One goal you might consider is to learn something technical about your bike that you don’t know today. For example, many of us use disc brakes that we may not know how to adjust or change the pads on. I’m kind of guilty of this one and it is one of my goals to learn more about my brakes for this year. Just about everything is learn-able on a bike, and the more you learn to do on your own, the more comfortable you will get.
Another goal you may consider is to try to mix up your riding a little. If you always ride on the west side, try the east. If you’ve never done a tour, try doing a “credit card” style tour close to town and spend a night or two out on the road. Feeling adventurous? Head to Mt Hood or out towards the coast. If you’ve not been mountain biking in a while, try going to Sandy Ridge or even Powell Butte.
I’m looking forward to spending a few days up around the Mt St Helens area and really getting to know it better. It is so close, and so amazingly different than almost anywhere else in the world.
Whatever the New Year brings, please commit to being safe and courteous on the bike. I like to feel good about myself when I’m riding, and refining those habits are an important part of that.
Founder & Owner, River City Bicycles