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.


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.


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.


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:



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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


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


First look: Sage Cycles


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.


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.”


Gallery: Grill By Bike at Pedalpalooza


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.


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.


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.


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


Fundraiser for Chris Igleheart this Friday in Portland


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

Back to Top