Feeling Fresh: Delivering hops by bike

By Adam Newman

I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for a bike ride with a theme, especially when it involves a liberal dose of libations. Last fall I joined a dozen or so like-minded cyclists for a relaxed ramble through the countryside south of Portland. Our mission was to pick up as much hops as we could carry and return them to Base Camp Brewing Company for a special fresh hop brew.

The concept for the Fresh Hop Century was sparked by a conversation between Base Camp’s Ross Putnam and Phillip Ross, who builds Metrofiets cargo bikes in Portland. When the two realized they were close enough to the hop farms to pick up hops by bike, an idea began to ferment.

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One of the four key ingredients in beer—along with the wort, the water and the yeast—hops are used as a balancing and flavoring tool. They were first introduced into the beer brewing process in Germany in the Ninth Century. Soon their use spread through Northern Europe, to Britain and on to the New World. In 1972 the U.S. had its first home-grown hop variety: the Cascade, developed by the USDA in Oregon, and the rise of selective hop cultivating parallelled the burgeoning craft beer scene in the 1980s and ‘90s.

While most hops are dried and used year-round, in the 1990s brewers began experimenting with hops that go straight from the bine (that’s not a typo, these aren’t grapes) to the wort, the liquid that makes up beer before fermentation. For a beer to qualify as a true fresh hop, or “wet hop,” the beer must be brewed with hops that have been picked within the previous 24 hours. This means the brewery needs to be pretty close to the farms where hops are grown but some breweries have gone as far as employing chartered airplanes to deliver the goods. “Time is of the essence,” Putnam said.

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As customers grew to love the hoppy flavor it fueled the rapid proliferation of India Pale Ales in the American craft beer market. Now fresh hop ales have a following of their own, with dozens of varieties available every fall in North America. If you need your fix in the spring, there are beers made with hops harvested in the Southern Hemisphere. Compared to a traditional IPA, fresh hop beers are characterized by their sweet, vibrant flavor with hints of citrus and freshly-cut lawns.

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About 15 riders, including nine or 10 aboard Metrofiets cargo bikes, departed Portland under looming rain clouds. By the time we broke free from the urban gridlock to traverse the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley, the skies had cleared like the head on a pilsner. Our destination was GeerCrest Farm, a working farm and agricultural heritage center that hosts school groups, summer camps and workshops on topics such as soil dynamics, wool working and goat butchering. Our hosts Cayla, Patty and Adam shared with us the history of the property, the second land claim in Oregon (when it was still a territory) in 1848. They followed it with an amazing meal prepared almost entirely with food grown on the land they cultivated. We camped beneath the stars with tired legs and full bellies.

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The morning brought more delicious food and hot coffee from Trailhead Coffee Roasters’ amazing coffee-brewing cargo bike. We loaded up and headed off to our next destination, Goschie Farms. A fixture in the Oregon farming community for more than 130 years, Goschie Farms grows wine grapes, sweet corn, wheat and other crops, but it’s the hops that get the most attention. With more than 500 acres on the bine, representing as many as 10 varieties at a time, Goschie is one of the state’s leading producers, innovators and researchers of hops.

Gayle Goschie took us through the processing barn, where huge hooks carry the bines up from the trucks that deliver them, hang them from a ceiling 50 feet in the air, and strip the hop cones themselves. From there we visited the storage barn, where small forklifts sorted and arranged piles of radiant, glowing green hop cones piled high above our heads. The aroma was intoxicating, especially when they were being bundled into huge bales with tiny flecks floating down like rain from the beer gods.

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Unlike our fresh hops, most of the crop is dried using a special drying rack that’s as big as a tennis court. Warm, dry air is floated through the cones and their moisture content is carefully monitored. What used to be done just by the feel of the hand is now measured with carefully calibrated machines. From here things got a bit silly as we carried a few of the cargo bikes up to the drying area to fill them directly off the conveyor belt and hammed it up for the photos. We couldn’t actually transport them this way, so we filled 30 pound sacks with Cascade hops and loaded up the bikes for our trip home. Back at the brewery they were added to the brewing process just at the right time to create the Bretta Livin’ sour beer.

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The beer we contributed to wouldn’t be available for a few weeks, but out on the Base Camp Brewing patio we raised our glasses to an excellent adventure and new friends. If only every ride could end this way.

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Building a bulletproof Bikeshare

By Adam Newman

We’ll just admit it: Bikeshare bikes aren’t exactly sexy. More of a passenger bus than a Ferrari, they are simple, utilitarian and sturdy. But it turns out there is a lot more to their design than meets the eye.

When Nick Foley joined Social Bicycles, the company that provides the bikes for Portland’s Biketown bikeshare system, it was trying to adapt existing bikes to a sharable model. Even when built on the industrial-strength Worksman Cycles that are typically used in warehouses and factories, they were coming up short. It was clear that a ground-up design was in order.

Foley, now the vice president of industrial design, started with a traditional Dutch bike design and started bulking it up with a heavy-duty frame, stronger wheels and even replaced the chain with a shaft drive that is nearly impervious to the elements.

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“Mainly [it’s] making a bicycle that’s one size fits all,” he said. “With a really comfortable handlebar position, regardless of how tall you are, a really big seat adjustment range, making it strong enough to withstand a rider that is much heavier than a consumer bicycle rider in a lot of cases. Just taking all the concepts of a traditional bicycle and making them bikeshare-grade.”

Because the bikeshare contracts typically require the bikes to meet minimum standards that are far higher than typical consumer bicycles, the frame, fork and other components needs to be designed, constructed and tested to a higher level.

“Whenever we’re designing new components and running those tests we’re very frequently running a familiar test to the bike industry, but with two or three times the loading on it, because we know we need to withstand maybe a reasonably large person riding it in a reckless manner. That’s a relatively normal user for bikeshare.”

But even while the bike got heavier and stronger, it was important to maintain the ride quality, he said. The program would never be a success if the bikes were terrible to ride.

“I think the core of it really comes down to getting a bicycle geometry that gives a ride experience that is both approachable for new riders but also somewhat nimble and responsive for experienced riders, and making that true across a wide range of heights and weights. And making that true even with a bike share bicycle that’s maybe 50 pounds.”

While the frame and fork are constructed to Social Bicycles’ specifications, the components to make it roll need to be sourced from all sorts of manufacturers, and most of them were never designed to handle the kind of use and abuse that a bikeshare bike endures. Some off-the-shelf components like the tires work great as-is, but many do not.

“Almost all the components on the bicycle are [derived from] taking a consumer bicycle component as a starting point and then replacing the key materials or finishes or coatings, in order to make it last as long as a bike share bike needs it to last.”

Examples include using high-grade stainless steel fasteners instead of typical zinc-coated units, choosing grips and saddles that can withstand thousands of hours of UV exposure without fading and even choosing industrial grade paint that is much more sturdy than what’s found on a typical bicycle.

“Basically any contact point on the bicycle you can’t really use a consumer grade part, because it’s just not meant to be used with the frequency that a bikeshare bike experiences,” Foley said. “That includes quick releases, seatposts, seats, grips, all of those things just go through too many interactions to withstand what a consumer bike would be able to handle.”

Foley said each bikeshare contract includes specifics about how long the bikes and their components are expected to last before needing to be replaced. Consumable parts like tires are replaced as needed, and many components have a one- to three-year expected lifespan, and unless it’s damaged, the frame can be repainted and used indefinitely. According to Foley, the frames could potentially last decades.

“On a practical level, I think these bicycles will last a very long time,” he said.

Even though the bikes are overbuilt and sturdy, they still require regular maintenance to keep them running. Hubs wear out, tires go flat and bearings need checked and lubricated. At Biketown headquarters, the mechanic’s stations are outfitted with exactly the right tools needed to work on the bikes, including special wrenches for the anti-theft bolts used throughout the bike.

“Everything that we do to make the components on the bicycles hard to steal also introduces extra complexity when you’re trying to fix a flat tire. But I will say that on a practical level, using even a high grade puncture resistant tire brings flats down into a very, very manageable level for all our operators.”

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Unlike a typical bike shop, these mechanics know exactly which bike is going to come through the door each day, and they become incredibly familiar with its design and weak points. Their feedback is used to constantly improve the bike’s design.

The Portland Biketown system isn’t even a year old, but Foley says he’s thinking ahead to the future of bikeshare programs. What is he looking forward to?

“Really streamlined, totally integrated, silent, wonderful to ride, electric bikeshare. I think that’s going to be the thing that really takes bikeshare to the next level.”

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Oregon to become first state in the nation to tax new riders

By Jeffrey Stern

For a state that prides itself in being one the most bike friendly across the country, the Oregon state legislature passed $15 bike tax on new bikes sold with wheels 26” and larger for more than $200 earlier this month.

Awaiting an expected signature from Democratic Governor Kate Brown, yet opposed heavily by cyclists, advocacy groups and small business owners, the tax is apart of a new $5.3 billion transportation package and is the first of it’s kind.

The imposed fee is expected to pay for approximately $1.2 million per year in bicycle and pedestrian related infrastructure projects around the state, while costing around $100,000 to implement.

The tax, collected directly by retailers and filed in quarterly returns with the Department of Revenue then deposited in the ConnectOregon fund, will help build multi-use trails, bike paths and hopefully increase the accessibility as well as bicycle users across the state.

However, cycling activist and Portland blogger of BikePortland.org Jonathan Maus said it’s “an unprecedented step in the wrong direction.”

“We are taxing the healthiest, most inexpensive, most environmentally friendly, most efficient and most economically sustainable form of transportation ever devised by the human species,” Maus continued.

Rather than charging cyclists for doing some much good for their communities by using alternative modes of transportation, many believe the state should be incentivizing those who ride.

Maus knows that the people of Portland, a city that is often known as the cycling capital of the nation’s, want more people on bikes not less. “This is like a culture war kind of thing,” he said.

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Although Oregon has yet to collect a cent of tax from the thousands of cyclists across the state, another cycling hotbed, Colorado, is also considering proposing a similar fee to collect money based on their plan.

“We will be proposing something similar (to Oregon), they use the roads also” Colorado Republican Senator Ray Scott said in a post on Facebook in a call for a tax on bicycles to help pay for Colorado road maintenance. “Maybe it should just be a license plate? What do you think?” Senator Scott continued on his Facebook page.

Consensus among those opposing this new tax is that demand for bicycles will not increase, but rather suffer from this preposterous legislation. However, only time will tell if and when this levy goes into effect and what the ultimate consequences will be on Oregon’s enthusiastic cycling population as they set a precedent for transportation policy across the nation.

What do you think of the proposed Oregon cycling tax?

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Path Less Pedaled x Bicycle Times: Chris King Factory Tour

Ed. Note: Path Less Pedaled x Bicycle Times is a video series by Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of The Path Less Pedaled. Stay tuned to the Bicycle Times website for more of this regular collaborative content. 


In this edition of Path Less Pedaled x Bicycle Times, we get a tour of the Chris King factory in Portland, Oregon, from Jay Sycip. Jay walks us through the production process of the components and Cielo bikes.

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Path Less Pedaled x Bicycle Times: Bantam Bicycle Works

Ed. Note: Path Less Pedaled x Bicycle Times is a video series by Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of The Path Less Pedaled. Stay tuned to the Bicycle Times website for more of this regular collaborative content. 


In this episode of Path Less Pedaled, Russ talks with Bob of Bantam Bicycle Works, a one-man framebuilding operation based in Portland, Oregon. Bob has been building bikes for over 13 years and is currently focusing on bikepacking and adventure builds.

Check out Bob’s shop and learn about his framebuilding operation, what makes an adventure bike an adventure bike and more.

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Courting disaster

Words by Adam Newman, photos by Howard Draper

This is it. The Big One. With no warning the Cascadia Subduction Zone begins to shift, resulting in a massive earthquake and tsunami that ravishes the Pacific Northwest. In Portland bridges are unsafe to cross, gasoline is being rationed and electricity is spotty. Luckily the city is filled with cyclists who can transport water, food, medicine and other relief supplies quickly and easily.

Ok, so the massive earthquake that threatens Western Oregon hasn’t happened yet, but if or when it does the local cycling community will be well prepared thanks to events like the Disaster Relief Trials (DRT). A checkpoint-based bike race with a cargo-hauling twist, it’s designed to promote resilience in the face of the inescapable. In a handful of cities on the West Coast, the event simulates a supply run on cargo bikes (or whatever bike can handle the load).

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I joined dozens of other first responders, cargo bike fanatics and curious participants for the Portland edition of DRT, which fanned out 30 miles across the city. From a central hub we raced to checkpoints where we picked up supplies including a case of food, a big bucket of water, a wooden pallet and a fragile egg. Along the way we had our manifest checked off and our cargo inspected. Different categories separated payload weights along with e-bikes or team efforts.

Cooperation was key in many respects, of- ten for route finding but also to lift the bikes over a four-foot wall and push them through a difficult uphill dirt section. All the participants were eager to help each other and the volunteers manning the checkpoints were helpful and friendly.

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The variety in bicycles represented was astounding. I’ve certainly never seen such a collection of longtails, bakfiets, trailers and trikes. Most were Yubas, Bullets and Surlys but there were also quite a few handmade bikes. I borrowed a beautiful, Portland-made Metrofiets for the event and, despite my limited experience piloting such a craft, it turned out to be a great platform for the day. Even with a massive front end, the bike handled well and shrugged off my 100 pound payload. All I had to do was pedal—and remember that the Shimano Alfine 8 shifter is backward…

Event founder Mike Cobb said he felt a wave of emotions after an earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010. While the quake itself was unpredictable, the secondary disaster of homelessness, famine and disease that followed was entirely preventable. Fueled by “anguish motivation,” Cobb knew he had to do something. Intimately involved with the with cargo bike com- munity (Cobb’s day job is at Splendid Cycles, a Portland-based cargo bike shop) he began to brainstorm how a cargo bike democratizes disaster relief. Professional disaster response teams are reliant on infrastructure to complete their duties, but bicycles can aid in citizen-led community resistance.

“I was suddenly struck with incredulity,” he said. “Why aren’t cargo bikes considered a top tool of community disaster resilience? Why isn’t ‘Do your neighbors have cargo bikes?’ one of the common questions posed to communities seeking resilience?”

“There are always resources not too far away from a given disaster but the normal infrastructure that allows you to transport recovery resources is usually destroyed and there is never a budget big enough to have emergency tools in place to overcome all infrastructure obstacles with a motor when the time comes. I just envisioned a decentralized approach in addition to the massive traditional approaches.”

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Cobb said that most people’s supplies will run out after about three days, and “Day 4” supply runs are where bicycles excel. Whether it’s fetching clean drinking water from a community drop point or providing pedal power to charge radios, lights and mobile phones, cargo bicycles are perfectly suited to infrastructure-independent self support.

“They are inexpensive, small and light, they require very little maintenance, and so they lend themselves to mass distribution across the landscape,” he said. But Cobb knew getting buy-in from policymakers would be difficult.

“I know most of the civil servant decision makers view bikes as toys,” he said. “I knew that the first task for making the case for cargo bikes’ relevance in disaster recovery was to display their abilities in dramatic style and to stimulate design technique by hosting a race. Competition is always a great way to stimulate design and technique, and I knew nobody was really working on optimizing cargo bikes for disaster recovery.”

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After a few years the event started to get the attention Cobb wanted. He secured sponsorships from the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management and assistance from FEMA’s Region 10 that covers Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska. Partnerships with Portland’s Neighborhood Emergency Teams and San Francisco’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams blossomed. Founded after the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, these community-based groups train and equip volunteers to take the lead in disaster situations and keep a small cache of tools and supplies.

“A cargo bike leverages the NET abilities by allowing you to survey your neighborhood faster, distribute tools and materials faster and by allowing you to go outside of your neighborhood to collect resources and bring them back to your neighborhood,” Cobb said. In the future he hopes cargo bike volunteers will get priority for training and given extra responsibilities suited to their bike.

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The Disaster Relief Trials is expanding to Memphis, Tennessee, this year, and organizer Cort Percer explained that not even his city is safe from seismic activity.

“Memphis is in the heart of the New Madrid Seismic Zone in which the last major activity of 8.1 magnitude was said to have rang bells in Boston. The zone is predicted to erupt every 200 to 300 years. The last major quake was in 1811.”

The city isn’t waiting around for that to happen before it gets to work. Percer said the response from local emergency management agencies has been positive and the event is attracting national sponsors.

“I think of bicycles and the DRT like an 8 mm Allen key,” Percer said. “Not every multi-tool has an 8 mm Allen, but when you need it not much else will suffice. And the 8 mm is a part of the whole, along with the Office of Preparedness, the Office of Emergency Management, FEMA, the Red Cross, the fire department, the parks department, the faith-based community, etc. They all make up the multi-tool.”

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Of course, racing full speed around the city with a giant pallet strapped to your bike doesn’t really simulate the hazards and challenges of an actual disaster situation, but it does help the visibility of the cycling community as a resource that should be considered in disaster planning. On hand were emergency personnel and first responders from several local agencies were practicing communication and operations while a disaster relief information fair was being held next door.

At the end of the day I was exhausted, sore and satisfied. I certainly hope I never have to put any of the experience I gained into use in an actual emergency but, in the meantime, I had a lot of fun.

“Fun is one of the most powerful ingredients in advocacy,” Cobb said. “Advocacy that’s entertaining is powerful.”

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IKEA launches pilot program in Portland to encourage bike sharing

Words by Jeffrey Stern. Photos courtesy of Spinlister. 

Aimed at individuals who use their bicycles to commute, run errands and get around town on a daily basis, the new program launched in conjunction with Spinlister hopes to get more people in the already bike crazy town not only riding, but sharing their new IKEA SLADDA bikes.

Starting on Earth Day last month (April 22nd), IKEA launched their one-of- a-kind SLADDA bike partnership with Spinlister in their Portland, Oregon at 10280 NE Cascades Parkway location.

Alessandra Zini, the IKEA Portland store manager said, “Portland knows its bikes. We think Spinlister offers a great opportunity for our customers to try SLADDA before they buy it.”

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With Portland already boasting the highest rate of bicycle commuters in America and Earth Day being associated with green initiatives such as alternative modes of transportation like cycling, this geographic specific test-launch doesn’t come as a surprise.

Details on the Portland launch running from April 22nd to July 22nd are as follows:

Portland area IKEA Family members receive a $150 discount on the SLADDA bike bringing the cost down to $349. Once the SLADDA is purchased, owners can list their bikes on Spinlister with 0% listing fees until the entire cost of the bike is recovered from rentals. Spinlister normally takes a 17.5% listing fee on the daily rental price. Sounds like an easy way to pay off a sweet new commuter, right?

Offered with front and rear racks, a cargo trailer and powered by an automatic 2-gear belt drivetrain integrated into the rear hub, it looks like quite a few Portland cyclists have taken advantage of the offer already, posting their bikes for $5/hour, $20/day or $100/week making the return on their investment quite swift.

“We’re thrilled to be able to introduce the SLADDA bike from IKEA to the Spinlister community,” says Marcelo Loureiro, CEO of Spinlister in a press release from IKEA.

“Providing sustainable and affordable urban transportation is a core facet of the Spinlister platform, and partnering with IKEA offers us the opportunity to share that vision with more riders. By adding their new SLADDA bike range to Spinlister’s global marketplace, IKEA is staking a bold position at the forefront of the bike sharing economy,” he continued.

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Typical bike rental prices run upwards of $25 or more per day on Spinlister, so the SLADDA price is a good deal that should entice more users to the bike sharing platform based in Santa Monica, California.

It’s important to note that the actual location of the IKEA Portland store is not easily accessible by the current bike routes in the city. Perhaps if the pilot is successful, not only will more stores around the country be featuring the Spinlister SLADDA deal, but it could spearhead better bicycle infrastructure in the surrounding neighborhoods as well; a win-win for all parties involved, getting more economically friendly bike options on the road throughout the country.

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Path Less Pedaled x Bicycle Times: Gladys Bikes

Ed. Note: Path Less Pedaled x Bicycle Times is a video series by Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of The Path Less Pedaled. Stay tuned to the Bicycle Times website for more of this regular collaborative content. 


Laura of Path Less Pedaled stops in Gladys Bikes, a female-owned, women-focused shop in Portland. She chats with owner Leah Benson about what makes this shop unique and what it was like to start a bike shop.

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Review: Orp headlight / bell / smile machine

What the heck is Orp? Well, it was born in an industrial design studio, was incubated through a crowdfunding session, and now represents a really fun and useful way to stay safe on your bike. The idea started as a horn, a 96-decibel electronic noisemaker, to be exact, that emits a rather obnoxious sound to alert drivers, pedestrians and wandering animals to your presence. It can also emit a friendly bell sound if you’re feeling pleasant. Press up on the Orp’s tail for the happy sound, down for the angry sound. Both sounds also flash the built-in light.

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The LED light is more than bright enough to make yourself visible and can be turned on and off independently of the bell sounds. It can operate in steady or blinking mode, emitting 70 lumens on steady and 83 lumens when flashing. The Orp’s plastic body is water resistant, and generally “accident proof” to make you “splatterproof,” and comes in eight fun colors. The whole unit straps to your 31.8 mm handlebars with its built-in stretchy rubber mount, and the packaging includes a rubber shim to fit smaller-diameter handlebars.

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The Orp isn’t always on. Because it relies on battery power, you do have to remember to turn it on and off. Because the light and horn operate independently, I found that if the light is off the battery has enough juice to last a week or more if you forget and leave it on. There is no indicator light to tell if it is on, but a quick press of the tail will let you know. It also has a cute power-up or power-down sound. With the light on, Orp claims three hours of run time with the light in steady mode and 11 hours in flash mode.

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The best way to make the Orp super practical is to pair it with the “Remorp,” a wired remote that places the controls at your fingertips, either on flat bars or drop bars. It plugs into that black port you see above.

I only had to charge the Orp every couple weeks with the included Micro-USB cord and found it super fun to use, finding excuses to ring the distinctive happy bell sound all over town. If it’s not cute enough for you right out of the box, you can add Orp’s mustache stickers to personalize yours. Stop taking cycling so seriously.

The Orp sells for $65, plus $15 for the remote.
More info: orpland.com

 

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Nike signs on to sponsor Portland bike share system

Despite being known as the most bike-friendly large city in America, Portland, Oregon, is also one of the few major cities without a bike share system of its own. Now, thanks to a $10 million commitment from Nike, its bike share system will launch this summer with 1,000 orange bikes bearing the classic swoosh. The color is the same shade as the original Nike shoeboxes from 1971.

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The system and the bikes will be known as Biketown, which is fitting as Nike had previously branded its birthplace of Eugene, Oregon, as Tracktown. The bikes will be bright orange and Nike will oversee their design, as well as that of the stations and the system’s digital presence.

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The system is set to launch in July 2016 and will be operated by Motivate, a bikeshare management system used in New York, Chicago, the Bay Area, Washington D.C., Boston, Seattle, Toronto, Melbourne, Australia, and more cities around the world.

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The bicycles themselves will be created by Social Bicycles (SoBi), a Brooklyn-based transportation technology company. A second-generation system, it has the renting and locking mechanisms built into the bikes themselves.

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Cargo bikes to the rescue at the Disaster Relief Trials

Photos by Howard Draper

This is it. The Big One. The Cascadia Subduction Zone has shifted, resulting in a massive earthquake and tsunami that has devastated the Pacific Northwest. In Portland bridges are unsafe to cross, gasoline is being rationed and electricity is spotty. Luckily the city is filled with cyclists who can transport water, food, medicine and other relief supplies quickly and easily.

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Ok, so the massive earthquake that threatens Oregon hasn’t happened yet, but if or when it does the local cycling community will be well prepared thanks to events like the Disaster Relief Trials (DRT). A checkpoint-based bike race with a cargo-hauling twist, it’s designed to promote resilience in the face of the inescapable. In a handful of cities on the West Coast, the event simulates a three-day supply run on cargo bikes (or whatever bike can handle the load).

I joined dozens of other first responders, cargo bike fanatics and curious participants over the weekend for the Portland edition of DRT, which fanned out 30 miles across the city. From a central hub we raced to checkpoints where we picked up supplies including a case of food, a big bucket of water, a wooden pallet and a fragile egg. Along the way we had our manifest checked off and our cargo inspected. Different categories separated payload weights along with e-bikes or team efforts.

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Cooperation was key in many respects, often for route finding but also to lift the bikes over a four-foot wall and push them through a difficult uphill dirt section. All the participants were eager to help each other and the volunteers manning the checkpoints were helpful and friendly.

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The variety in bicycles represented was astounding. I’ve certainly never seen such a collection of longtails, bakfiets, trailers and trikes. Most were Yubas, Bullets and Surlys but there were also quite a few handmade bikes. I borrowed a beautiful, Portland-made Metrofiets for the event and, despite my limited experience piloting such a craft, it turned out to be a great platform for the day. Even with a massive front end, the bike handled well and shrugged off my 100 pound payload. All I had to do was pedal—and remember that the Shimano Alfine 8 shifter is backward…

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Of course, racing full speed around the city with a giant pallet strapped to your bike doesn’t really simulate the hazards and challenges of an actual disaster situation, but it does help the visibility of the cycling community as a resource that should be considered in disaster planning. On hand were emergency personnel and first responders from several local agencies practicing their aspects of communication and operations while a disaster relief information fair was being held next door.

At the end of the day I was exhausted, sore and satisfied. I certainly hope I never have to put any of the experience I gained into use in an actual emergency but, in the meantime, I had a lot of fun.

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Click on the magnifying glass to see full-size photos.

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First look: Sage Cycles

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David Rosen is a passionate guy. So passionate, in fact, that he has devoted himself—and a larger portion of his garage—into creating a new brand that represents his vision of the ideal performance bicycle. After a few false starts, Sage Cycles has started rolling with two models of titanium bikes that are 100 percent unique designs, but crafted by the Ti experts at Lynskey Performance Designs in Tennessee. [Editor’s note: Take a factory tour of how Lynskey bikes are made here.]

Quality, performance and durability are the hallmarks of two bikes currently in the line, and it’s not hard to imagine a Sage Cycles customer as someone who is as meticulous about the details as Rosen. Based just outside Portland, Oregon, the brand’s raison d’être is a good match for a city where cyclists take their bicycles, and racing them, quite seriously.

There are two models in the line: the PDXCX and the Skyline. The former is a purpose-built race bike, designed to be flogged week in and week out through the season; while the latter is the road-going version of the same, an all-purpose race bike that can also put in some serious training miles.

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Rosen has also teamed up with Portland-based Ruckus Composites to create a unique, removable cable guide that can accommodate both cable and electronically controlled derailleurs without ugly holes, unused protrusions or other compromises. As pictured it holds the derailleur cables, but the whole piece can be removed thanks to a small set screw underneath through which the electronic routing enters the frame.

It’s this attention to detail that Rosen says set Sage Cycles apart, including from Lysnkey’s own designs.

“Lynskey builds amazing bikes and they have the years of experience to back that up. However, a Lynskey bike is not going to perform the same way as a Sage bike due to the differences in design characteristics.”

Sage bikes are available as stock units, with stock build kits, though one of the merits of small batch manufacturing is that if you really want a feature tweaked, it can likely be accommodated. New for 2015 Sage will also be offering customized build kits that can be configured through the new website currently being built. Customers will complete the basics, pay a deposit fee, then get a phone call from Rosen himself to hammer out the details.

“People want to be able to do something on their own,” he said. “It becomes a very personalized, intimate process.”

Creating a new niche in the market between big brands and the ultra-luxury offerings from the likes of Moots and Eriksen can be treacherous, but Rosen is confident that there are customers looking for something unique.

“I want to make the customer comfortable as possible knowing they’re getting something that is absolutely going to blow their mind.”

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Gallery: Grill By Bike at Pedalpalooza

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One of the best things about opening the new home office as the Portland Bureau of Bicycle Times is that I’ve landed right in the middle of Pedalpalooza, Portland’s month-long celebration of bicycles, eccentricity and the joyful intersection of the two. Among the dozens of events schedule are a Prince vs. Bowie dance party ride, a Doctor Who ride, a Traffic Signals Wonkery Ride and of course, the World Naked Bike Ride. Last night I joined the Grill By Bike Ride, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Grillin’ out and drinking beer while riding bikes?

Sign me up.

We started in Ladd’s Circle where I’d estimate roughly 200 people showed up. After an hour or so it was on to Laurelhurst Park (after a beer stop, of course) then finished up along the Springwater Corridor for a dance party meet-up with the Silent Disco Ride.

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While everything went fairly smoothly, it should be noted that only trained professional would ride a bike with burning charcoal shooting flames and sparks all over the place.

Anyway, on to the photo gallery, and let us know which is your favorite Pedalpalooza Ride!

See the photos here.

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How bikes make cities cool

Fresh from the Kona Productions Crew, How Bikes Make Cities Cool – Portland, is a five-minute mini documentary that explores the thriving bicycle culture resident to one of North America’s most progressive metropolises. Filmed entirely by bike, with support from longtime Kona Portland dealer Sellwood Cycles and resident Team Kona athletes Erik Tonkin and Matthew Slaven, we spent the better part of a week talking to commuters, following kids to school and capturing the friendly vibe and funky nature of a city that embraces self-propelled commuting at the heart of its identity.

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Movers and Makers Vol. 1 – Christopher Igleheart

We’re excited to announce the launch of the Movers and Makers video series, a partnership with Swobo highlighting inspirational figures throughout the bike industry. Episode 1 profiles Chris Igleheart, who has been building frames since forever. Igleheart was recently hit by a car while riding his bike and Swobo helped organize a fundraiser. This footage was shot before the accident and we hear he is on the mend.

Read more about Igleheart and the Movers and Makers Series here

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Fundraiser for Chris Igleheart this Friday in Portland

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Chris Igleheart is one of the longest-tenured and most-respected names in custom framebuilding. From building his own bikes to working under contract with brands like Cielo, Chris has built some amazing bikes. He even appeared in a two-page spread in Issue #11.

Recently Chris was hit by a car in Portland and fractured his left tibia. Swobo, Rapha, Chris King and other Portland-area businesses are all kicking in to host a fundraising party on his behalf to help offset medical costs. We hear he is going to be ok but has a long way to go before he can work or ride a bike again.

Learn more after the jump. Read the full story

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