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September 21, 2009

Why You Should Never Let Me Borrow Your Bike

Note: Ryan’s back with another guest post today….consider it a PSA to bike owners in the area.

Paul has written a couple of posts for me over on my Porsche enthusiast blog called PorschePerfect. Interestingly enough, the title of his three post series was “Why you shouldn’t leave your Porsche with me”. Well, I’m returning the favor with a post about why you shouldn’t leave your bike with me. Here’s my tale…

We were in Vancouver, BC recently, visiting a friend while on a little family summer vacation. At the end of a bike ride we had just taken, we were at the bike rental shop, a good 20 or so minutes away from our hotel. We had planned on driving to a suspension bridge outside of Vancouver after the ride.

Our friend, and tour guide who lives in Vancouver, came up with the idea of me riding her bike back to the hotel to grab my car while she and the rest of my family waited. Of course, in some strange way, this made sense to me since we’d save on a taxi ride back and it’d probably be quicker. Two problems: 1. I’m a fairly big guy; and 2. She has a GIRL’S bike that fits, well, a GIRL, and a pink helmet.The combo of those two things makes for a heck of a site in downtown anywhere.

I’m game though, get my bearings and set off. I’ll admit, I was a little more than nervous riding in a major metropolitan area, which I’ve never done on a bike…EVER. She tells me to just ride on the sidewalks. No one else is doing that, and of course, I get yelled at by some dude working for a different bike rental shop about 3 minutes into the ride.

I get over that, get off the sidewalk, and things seem to be going well….for about 4 blocks until I have to start cranking to go up a hill. Traffic is whizzing by. I’m dang nervous, feeling like I’m going to be the subject of one of those horrific bike accident stories at any moment. I know I look ridiculous with my too small girl’s bike and pink helmet that won’t even buckle. I’m just praying to the bike gods of Vancouver that I can make it back to the hotel in one piece.

As I start to crank on the bike, I literally make one solid move on the pedals and something snaps. I’m all of a sudden going nowhere fast with the pedals just spinning freely. I look down and pieces start falling off the bike (did I mention I’m not much of a bike guy?). I’m on the street, downtown Vancouver traffic careening by, and in the middle of an intersection, feeling WAY out of place with a bike that won’t go.

Somehow I manage to get off the bike, back onto the sidewalk, and onto my cell phone to call my friend to tell her I broke her bike. I have to say it was one of the more humbling experiences of my life. And of course I felt terrible about breaking her bike, even though the bike mechanic at a little shop across from the rental place where I started this little adventure basically said, “It’s a cheap piece of crap. What do you expect?”

I pushed the bike back, caught a taxi to the hotel, and picked up the car. The moral of the story? Beats me, but I know I shouldn’t be riding other people’s cheap department store bikes!

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September 18, 2009

Ride Through Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC

Note: This article was graciously written by my buddy Ryan for Pacific Pedaling. Ryan is a world famous blogger who can normally be found at PorschePerfect.com

Pretty much every summer we take a family vacation. All 4 of us are big roller coaster fanatics, so it’s usually an adventure that includes time at a theme park with some big rides to get the thrill on. This past summer turned out a bit different with kids in sports and my wife’s back all jacked up from a disc problem. No roller coaster craziness, but we did make it up north to Seattle, WA and on to Vancouver, BC.

I’ll be honest, I was not pumped about the Vancouver portion of the trip, but it turned out to be the best couple of days of our little vacation. We have a friend, Keri, who lives in Vancouver and we tasked her with showing us the best Vancouver had to offer in only a couple of days. One of the things on her agenda was to rent bikes for all of us and take a ride on some of the trails in Stanley Park.

Situated darn near in the middle of Vancouver, Stanley Park has riding trails that run through the park as well as around the outer edge. You get some great views of the city as well as the harbour, beaches, and more. There’s plenty to do in the park, but for this particular Sunday, time in the saddle was what was on the agenda.

After a great outdoor breakfast at a local restaurant, we made our way to the bike rental shop (determined by who had the best coupon!), rented our bikes and took off. I’ll tell you up front, I’m really not a huge bike rider. I don’t mind it, but it usually doesn’t come up at the top of my list of things to do with spare time either. This ride was simply amazing.

sp1

Our first stop was for a quick photo of downtown Vancouver across the harbour. A great view of the city. That’s my family on the left, and Keri on the far right. We’re standing across the trail from a totem pole “park” of some sort. Sorry, we didn’t go in, so no more info other than that.

We made our way around the edge of the park and passed a lot of other cyclists as we went along with a huge number of people walking. It was definitely one of the outdoor hotspots of the city on this Sunday afternoon. The weather, as you can see from the pics, was perfect.

sp2

We’re actually riding the opposite way on the trail for this photo, but you can see the walking path on the right (our left) and the riding path on the left (our right). Was a great setup for walkers/runners to share the space with those on bikes. Much of the 6 mile loop that takes you around Stanley Park was next to the water.

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Above me is Lions Gate Bridge, one of the bridges connecting Vancouver to the North Shore. The path led us right under the huge suspension bridge. As you can see, I have my game face on. I’m in “go mode”!

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We rode for about 10 or 15 more minutes on the path, came around a corner and were presented with probably the coolest thing on the ride. A bunch of rocks balanced on top of each other. It was one of the strangest things I’ve seen in a long time.

There’s an old guy (you can see him in one of the pictures) that comes out to this same spot every day and balances these rocks on top of each other. Every day most of them get knocked down by the rising tide or by people. We watched him for quite a while and he stacked up a couple of towers of rocks while we were there. It was just crazy seeing rocks of all different shapes and sizes balanced and standing up on end on their own. In your mind, you’re thinking “this just isn’t possible.”

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I can’t remember exactly how long he’s been doing this, but it was around 20 years. He was selling postcards of his rock “art” and taking donations. He would walk around, looking for rocks to balance and drag them to different places on the beach to set up. Pretty amazing and WAY more patience than I have.

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We rode past a number of other great sites including Second Beach, an outdoor/public beach that is very popular with families, and more views North of the park. In total, we rode for about two and a half hours which was pretty good for us, especially with my wife’s back hurting. Course she was leading the pack!

On our way back to return the bikes, I had to try the old superman move on the bike. Here’s my terrible attempt:

Cycling Superman from 72mm Blogs on Vimeo.

As I mentioned earlier, Vancouver was amazing and far exceeded my expectations. I can’t wait to go back and spend more time in the city. It’s a beautiful place with lots of activity and we loved the active nightlife and busy streets.

One thing I would tell everyone visiting Vancouver, BC though is, you HAVE to take a couple of hours and ride around Stanley Park. There’s tons to see and do, and it will give you a side of Vancouver that a lot of people staying in the city miss.

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September 4, 2009

OREGON BICYCLE RACING ASSOCIATION AWARDS 2009 & 2010 CYCLOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIPS TO SALEM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 5, 2009

Contact: Kenji Sugahara, Executive Director, 503-383-1228, kenji@obra.org

OREGON BICYCLE RACING ASSOCIATION AWARDS 2009 & 2010
CYCLOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIPS TO SALEM
Event brings back championships to Salem after an absence of over a decade.

Salem, Oregon (September 5, 2009) – The Oregon Bicycle Racing
Association (OBRA) announced last Saturday at the Oregon State Fair
that the organization has chosen the City of Salem, Ore. to host the
2009-2010 OBRA Cyclocross Championships.

This two-year commitment brings the Oregon championships back to the
state capitol after an absence of more than a decade. The last
championships in Salem were held at Wallace Marine Park over ten years
ago. The Oregon State Fairgrounds has been chosen as the new venue
for the event.

“Salem is the perfect location to hold the championships in Oregon.
It has a central location and a rapidly growing base of cyclocross
enthusiasts,” said Kenji Sugahara, Executive Director of OBRA.
“Oregon has a reputation as having the best cyclocross community in
the world and I am excited to bring that to the Cherry City.”

The 2009 championships will be held on November 7th and is expected to
attract approximately 800 competitors with an additional 300-400
visitors including staff, spectators and families.

“We at the Oregon State Fairgrounds are thrilled to have a part in the
OBRA Cyclocross State Championships,” said Lydia Blackburn, the Sports
and Recreation Coordinator for the Oregon State Fair. “This
opportunity is a perfect fit in our objectives to open the State
Fairgrounds to our bicycle community, and of course it will be a lot
of fun.”

Jeff McNamee of Buy Local Cycling and Chad Cherefko of Bicycle
Attorney Cycling, promoters who directed last year’s Heiser Farms
cyclocross race will serve as race directors for the championships.
“We are thrilled to be working with the Oregon State Fair for the
championship. Our Mountain Bike Short Track series in August was a
success thanks in large part to the Oregon State Fair,” said Jeff
McNamee.

About the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association:
The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association is a non-profit organization
dedicated to the sport of competitive cycling. For more information
contact OBRA at 503-383-1228 or visit www.obra.org.

# # #

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September 3, 2009

The Dangers Of Commuting By Bike

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I know, you were expecting to come in and see me all road rashed up, weren’t you. Sorry to disappoint! I got back to the office after lunch, felt like something was in my helmet (actually felt that way for about a mile or so) and ran my hand through my hair to have this little fella fall out! I’m really surprised he didn’t sting my head or my hand.

On a more positive note, two co-workers joined the team and had their first commutes of the month today. Great job Deanna and John!

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August 28, 2009

Scenes From Today’s Breakfast on Bikes

Tessa, leaving the Breakfast on Bikes with LUNCH for later!

Tessa, leaving the Breakfast on Bikes with LUNCH for later!

You never know what you’ll get at the local Breakfast on Bikes, as made evident by the photo above! Not only did the BTA folks provide another great morning of food and coffee, but for some, they even provided some lunch for later in the day with leftover pizza from the Commute Challenge kick off party! I told Tessa she needed a couple of zip ties to affix the slice to her bike somewhere and she pondered balancing it on her helmet to get it to work.

Eric and Robert chat with some of the great folks who stopped in to Breakfast on Bikes

Eric and Robert chat with some of the great folks who stopped in to Breakfast on Bikes down at 12th and Chemeketa.

This month’s breakfast was particularly fun. I met several new folks, and even sent a few people out on test rides on the Bike Friday. I think everyone was impressed with how solid the bike feels, and how well it rides.

Local bike commuters chat, help each other with bikes, eat pastries, pizza, fruit and drink coffee at today's Breakfast on Bikes in downtown Salem.

Local bike commuters chat, help each other with bikes, eat pastries, pizza, fruit and drink coffee at today's Breakfast on Bikes in downtown Salem.

The event was buzzing with people checking out each other’s bikes, helping tweak parts on bikes, and chatting about all the cycling events happening in the area these days. If you haven’t made it out before, you really need to stop in at the next Breakfast on Bikes!

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August 27, 2009

Bike Commute Challenge and So Much More Coming Up!

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Local bike information guru Eric Lundgren has once again deployed his wisdom and knowledge upon us with everything going on you would ever want to know about in the bike and cycling world. Enough of my rambling….I’ll let Eric take over:

Happily the sun has driven away the misty rains! I’m not ready for fall!

This weekend offers a crazy amount of bikey goodness! Don’t forget
the Bike Commute Challenge Kick-off Party tomorrow night and Breakfast
on Bikes.

BCC Kick-Off Party – Thursday, August 27th
Breakfast on Bikes – Friday, August 28th
State Fair Bike Parade – Friday, August 28th
Bike Racing at the Fair – Saturday, August 29th
Ginger Ninjas – Monday, August 31st
City Council – Monday, September 14th
Breakfast on Bikes – Friday, September 25th
Peach of a Century – Sunday, September 27th
Thursdays, ongoing – Keizer Family Rides
Sundays, ongoing – High Wheeler Rides

Bike Commute Challenge Kick-Off Party – Thursday, August 27th
Come on out to Indigo Wellness and meet some of your fellow commuters
over Widmer and Straight from New York pizza. We’ll have
opportunities to sign up for commute workshops and exchange tips and
hints. Folks will also be available to help with route planning. The
evening’s informal – so drop on in between 5pm and 7pm, 3276
Commercial Street SE. No bike, no beer! Thanks to Indigo Wellness,
Widmer Bros., and Straight from New York Pizza!
For more information see:
http://breakfastonbikes.blogspot.com/2009/08/bike-commute-challenge-kick-off-next.html
http://bikecommutechallenge.com/

Breakfast on Bikes – Friday, August 28th
We’ll be at 12th and Chemeketa between 7 and 9am. Thanks to Cascade
Baking, Coffee House Cafe, LifeSource Natural Foods, Willamette
University, and Salem Bicycle Club. For map and additional details
see:
http://breakfastonbikes.blogspot.com/2009/08/breakfast-on-bikes-august-28th.html

State Fair Bike Parade – Friday, August 28th
Kick-off the Sesquicentennial edition of the Oregon State Fair!
Parade meets at 5:30pm at Pavilion off Sunnyview. For complete
details see:
http://pacificpedaling.com/2009/08/20/oregon-state-fair-bike-parade-friday-august-28/

Short Track Bike Racing at Fair – Saturday, August 29th
The LifeSource Natural Foods Salem Mountain Bike Short Track Series
completes its final night of racing during the fair! Come out to the
races! There will also be BMX, Black Rock Mountain Biking Association
demonstrations, and other bike events. For information on the races
see:
http://www.buylocalcycling.com/2009/07/salem-mountain-bike-short-track-series-.html
For other bike events at the fair see:
http://www.oregonstatefair.org/things-to-do/sports-health-and-rec

Ginger Ninjas – Monday, August 31st
Look for the Ginger Ninjas Pedaling Revolution Bicycle Music Tour on
Monday evening. We’re talking xtracycle-powered music! They’ll start
at the State Fair about 6pm and then move downtown for some
semi-secret shows. (Hints: Venti’s, Coffee House Cafe, The Space, the
f-stop, and possibly Riverfront Park.) They played Sunday Parkways in
Portland a couple of weeks ago.
http://gingerninjas.com/tour/bicycle-music-festivals/

City Council considers Commercial Street Striping – Monday, Sept 14th, 28th
Be sure to put September City Council meetings on your calendar!
Public Works will be introducing the plan to restripe Commercial
street downtown to accommodate bicycles, and there will be debate.
It’s important for bicyclists to attend Council and show that bikes
matter! More details will be forthcoming.

Breakfast on Bikes – Friday, September 25th
B on B will be on Winter street in front of the North Mall Office Building.

Peach of a Century – Sunday, September 27th
The final event ride of the Summer for the Salem Bicycle Club! It
offers 62, 75, and 100 mile routes in the rolling hills and farmland
around Salem. Registration’s open now! For complete details see:
http://salembicycleclub.org/content.plx?page=majrides

Thursdays ongoing – SBC Keizer Family Rides
September’s the last month for the Salem Bicycle Club Keizer Family
rides on Thursday evenings. Meet at Cummings Elementary School at
6:30pm.
For calendar and details see:
http://salembicycleclub.org/calendar.plx?id=1

Sundays ongoing – SBC Introductory High Wheeler Rides
Every Sunday at 1:30pm meet at the red lot for a short introductory
club ride of 25 to 30 miles. No rider left behind.
For details see:
http://salembicycleclub.org/calendar.plx?id=1

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August 25, 2009

LifeSource Natural Foods State Fair Race Parking Info

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I know you’re waiting for a race report, but Jeff over at BuyLocalCycling.com posted some information about parking for the 4th and final race of the series, and I’m still keeping an eye out for results. When I get them, I’ll post the report. Suffice for now to say that Monday was a crazy day personally leading into the race, and I wasn’t even sure if I’d make it in one piece by the time of the race, but it turned out great, and felt really good to ride!

If you haven’t already, mark your calendars for the 4th and final race in the LifeSource Natural Foods MTB Salem Short Track Series at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. Here’s what you need to know if you’re coming as a racer or spectator:

“Ideally, racers should attempt to park in the lot South of the Monster Truck area outlined below.  If this parking lot is full try the lot to the West of the Monster Truck area or to the South of Sunnyview Rd.  Please check in at the gate/tent outlined in the picture below.  You’ll receive a free one day pass to the Oregon State Fair at this time.  Sorry, spectators will need to purchase a ticket for themselves.”

So, if you’re coming to race, you don’t have any a fair entrance fee, but if you’re coming to watch, you need to be prepared to pay for fair entrance which according to the State Fair website is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for kids, and free for kids $5 and under. You can shave a couple bucks off if you pay in advance too.

I heard that this sports arena drew hundreds of people last year, so there could be a decent crowd. Also remember that race times are slightly different for this last event, and 10 minutes longer for each category. From the Buy Local site:

Race # 4 Start Times & Race Durations
5:30pm – Course open for pre-riding
6:00pm – Kiddie race – racing for 5′ (this race is FREE, but registration is required)
6:15pm – Cat 3 Men, Cat 3 Women, Junior Men & Women: racing for 30′
6:50pm – Cat 2 Women, Cat 2 Men, & Singlespeed: racing for 40′
7:40pm – Pro Men, Cat 1 Men & Pro/Cat 1 Women: racing for 50’

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August 24, 2009

LifeSource Natural Foods Short Track Series Race #3 Tonight!

Racers round the bend and head into a straightaway in last Monday night's race.

Racers round the bend and head into a straightaway in last Monday night's race.

The fun at the Oregon State Fairgrounds continues tonight with the 3 rd race in the LifeSource Natural Foods MTB Short Track series. Everyone from beginners to pro racers are welcome to attend, watch, or race – with categories for any skill level. Registration and course pre-ride begins at 5 pm, with the best entrance to the track on the Sunnyview side of the Fairgrounds.

Spectators can watch from the bleachers or grass, play in the sand volleyball area, or bring a skateboard and drop into the halfpipe. You can read our recap from a previous week here, and see a bunch of photos on Flickr here. Also be sure to see some other great photos and videos Matt took over at the Buy Local Cycling site.

Hope to see you tonight!

Categories:
Pro/Cat 1 Men & Women
Cat 2 Men & Women
Singlespeed
Cat 3 (Beginner) Men & Women
Junior Men (10-14, 15-18) & Women
Kiddie

2009 MTB Categories vs. 2008 MTB Categories:
Pro 2009 = Pro/Elite 2008
Cat 1 2009 = Expert 2008
Cat 2 2009 = Sport 2008
Cat 3 2009 = Beginner 2008

Race # 1-3 Start Times & Race Durations
5:00pm – Course open for pre-riding
5:45pm – Kiddie race – racing for 5′ (this race is FREE, but registration is required)
6:00pm – Cat 3 Men, Cat 3 Women, Junior Men & Women: racing for 20′
6:30pm – Cat 2 Women, Cat 2 Men, & Singlespeed: racing for 30′
7:05pm – Pro Men, Cat 1 Men & Pro/Cat 1 Women: racing for 40’

Race # 4 Start Times & Race Durations
5:30pm – Course open for pre-riding
6:00pm – Kiddie race – racing for 5′ (this race is FREE, but registration is required)
6:15pm – Cat 3 Men, Cat 3 Women, Junior Men & Women: racing for 30′
6:50pm – Cat 2 Women, Cat 2 Men, & Singlespeed: racing for 40′
7:40pm – Pro Men, Cat 1 Men & Pro/Cat 1 Women: racing for 50’

Course Description:
All races will be held on the BMX track and adjacent grassy field at the Oregon State Fairgrounds; Salem, OR. The course will include a combination of grassy flats, twisty singletrack and bumpy dirt track (BMX course).

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August 20, 2009

Oregon State Fair Bike Parade, Friday August 28

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Looking for a great bike-centric way to kick off the Oregon State Fair this year? How about taking yourself, or you and your family out to the the Oregon State Fair Bike Parade! The parade starts at 6 pm, and riders are encouraged to meet in front of the Pavilion off of Sunnyview Road at 5:30 pm.

The parade route will be 4 miles long , down to the Oregon State Capitol Mall and back. The entry for the parade is FREE and costumes are definitely encouraged, with ribbons awarded for Best in Show, Best Vintage Bike and other categories. For more info, contact alex.phillips@state.or.us or 503-986-0631.

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August 17, 2009

LifeSource Natural Foods STXC Series – Race #2 Tonight!

Racers round the bend and head into a straightaway in last Monday night's race.

Racers round the bend and head into a straightaway in last Monday night's race.

The fun at the Oregon State Fairgrounds continues tonight with the 2nd race in the LifeSource Natural Foods MTB Short Track series. Everyone from beginners to pro racers are welcome to attend, watch, or race – with categories for any skill level. Registration and course pre-ride begins at 5 pm, with the best entrance to the track on the Sunnyview side of the Fairgrounds.

Spectators can watch from the bleachers or grass, play in the sand volleyball area, or bring a skateboard and drop into the halfpipe. You can read our recap from last week here, and see a bunch of photos on Flickr here. Also be sure to see some other great photos and videos Matt took over at the Buy Local Cycling site.

Hope to see you tonight!

Categories:
Pro/Cat 1 Men & Women
Cat 2 Men & Women
Singlespeed
Cat 3 (Beginner) Men & Women
Junior Men (10-14, 15-18) & Women
Kiddie

2009 MTB Categories vs. 2008 MTB Categories:
Pro 2009 = Pro/Elite 2008
Cat 1 2009 = Expert 2008
Cat 2 2009 = Sport 2008
Cat 3 2009 = Beginner 2008

Race # 1-3 Start Times & Race Durations
5:00pm – Course open for pre-riding
5:45pm – Kiddie race – racing for 5′ (this race is FREE, but registration is required)
6:00pm – Cat 3 Men, Cat 3 Women, Junior Men & Women: racing for 20′
6:30pm – Cat 2 Women, Cat 2 Men, & Singlespeed: racing for 30′
7:05pm – Pro Men, Cat 1 Men & Pro/Cat 1 Women: racing for 40’

Race # 4 Start Times & Race Durations
5:30pm – Course open for pre-riding
6:00pm – Kiddie race – racing for 5′ (this race is FREE, but registration is required)
6:15pm – Cat 3 Men, Cat 3 Women, Junior Men & Women: racing for 30′
6:50pm – Cat 2 Women, Cat 2 Men, & Singlespeed: racing for 40′
7:40pm – Pro Men, Cat 1 Men & Pro/Cat 1 Women: racing for 50’

Course Description:
All races will be held on the BMX track and adjacent grassy field at the Oregon State Fairgrounds; Salem, OR.  The course will include a combination of grassy flats, twisty singletrack and bumpy dirt track (BMX course).

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