CHAINRINGS – Sunset Cycles Monthly Newsletter


RIDE LEADER NOTES – Why I shop at local small businesses  By Roger Colwell, Owner.
WRENCH BENCH – Lube your chain!
TURNING THE CRANKS – Planning for next season.
WASHCO RIDE OF THE MONTH – Explore the Bethany area with a few challenging climbs.
GEARHEAD – We’re afraid of the dark, we like bike lights.
TEAM NOTES – A Quick Update on the Sunset Cycles Cyclo-Cross Season
UPCOMING EVENTS – Highlights what We Have Planned for this Coming Season
SURVEY – Speaking of Cyclo-Cross we’re interested to know your opinions on a few things.

Why I shop at local, small businesses

by Roger Colwell

The development over the past several weeks of the “occupation protests” around the country, has gotten me to think a lot about our small business and what small business does for this country. I may (or may not) agree with format of the all the protesting that is going on, but it seems to me that the way to change things is by the way we “vote” with our dollars. So why not “vote” at the local small mom and pop store and quit supporting the big boys? Why shop local? Because it…

  • Keeps dollars circulating in our local economy
  • Embraces what makes a small business unique
  • Creates local jobs and nurtures our community
  • Helps the environment by reducing fuel consumption
  • Creates and perpetuates more choices
  • Takes advantage of local expertise
  • Embraces entrepreneurship
  • Makes local business a destination

I find it interesting that more than 60% of all new jobs are created by small businesses. In my own little way, I have been participating in my version of a protest (be it not nearly as public) by committing to shop “local” and support the little guy. I pay with currency rather than use debit or credit card, thus helping the small business avoid paying fees to banks or credit card processors. This allows the small business to plow more back into their business and grow it. Of course I still make my contributions to Standard Oil Company when I fill up my gas tank, but I try to avoid this as much as possible by riding my bike more.

Shopping local is the fuel that keep small business like mine successful and provides you, our customers close by conveniences. I have made a personal commitment to shop at small business whenever I have the choice. A great reminder if you’d like to do the same is a Facebook promotion called “Small Business Saturday” that’s coming up just after Thanksgiving. Check out the details online, and thanks for supporting your favorite small business…including Sunset Cycles!

Lube the Chain

With the wet riding season now upon us, it’s more important than any time of the year to revisit our basic bicycle drive-train upkeep. During the warm, dry summer months, it was easy to let our bike maintenance skills fall by the roadside. But Northwest rain doesn’t give a hoot about your carefree attitude toward lubing your bike chain, Slick. Northwest rain takes whatever it wants, including the shine and smoothness of your bike chain.

The critical piece to combating the rain’s appetite for chain destruction is a proper lube, which can significantly extend the life and performance of your entire drivetrain (chain, chainrings, derailleurs, pulleys, and cogset).

Here’s are a few tips that will help keep dirt, grit, mud, debris, paint chips, snail shells, and water where they belong–on the roadway, and NOT on your shiny ride:

1. Purchase a quality wet (Prolink), dry (Bike Aid by Dri Slide), or wax-based (White Lighting) lube. Lubes are relatively cheap ($9-$20) and can easily last a number of months. A super quick primer on the difference between the types of lubes: Wet lubes go on your chain wet and stay wet–you’ll need to wipe off the excess after each application. Wet lubes penetrate your chain and keep water out of the links…but they tend to attract dirt and aren’t usually the best bet for dry conditions.

Dry lubes, on the other hand, are great for dry rides…they go on wet but then dry, and are good at repelling dirt. Wax-based lubes apply wet, then dry with a waxy finish, which in turn ‘flakes’ off, taking any dirt with it.

Our opinion: Get WET and don’t sweat it.

2. Clean your chain as much as practical, possibly during commercial breaks of Real Housewives of Atlanta. An old toothbrush or quality chain-cleaning tool both work well. Give the chain and cogset a good wipe-down with a rag, removing all visible grime.

3. Apply chain lube before every third ride in the winter. If you take our advice and use a wet lubricant, try to apply it to every link. Wait a minute after applying, then wipe off the excess with an old rag.

4. Hit the roads and enjoy the smooth shifting and sound of a silent chain, letting your thoughts drift to a more simple time when robots roamed the streets and men in flying machines hovered just inches above our roofs.

Planning for Next Season

Triathlons, road races, and most cycling tours are done for the year, and the end of cyclocross in in sight. So what events–schedule races or rides–do you have on your 2012 schedule to motivate you through an entire winter of cycling?

Whether you are a competitive cyclist, hell-bent on making a continental tour team with blood in your eyes, or a recreational rider determined to ride for enjoyment until the tears flow, setting a long-term cycling goal can help you plan your winter riding and maximize your time in the saddle.

Some riders use the winter months to recharge their physical and mental batteries, decreasing their mileage significantly and focusing on other hobbies that may have taken a back seat to cycling during the warm months. It’s a good strategy to help you stay fresh and excited about riding. Just don’t back off your riding too much at the expense of your well-earned fitness level. If you reduce your mileage or time in the saddle, keep your intensity high from time to time so you enter Spring with a good cycling base.

Others move many of their rides from the cold and wet outdoors to the warmth and comfort (and proximity to their television) of indoor trainer rides. It’s one way to remove environmental excuses of rain, cold, and darkness as barriers to cycling. Don’t completely shun the open road, however. The rare sunny winter weekend ride can pay huge dividends that are mostly mental in nature and keep us excited about two-wheel fun.

Finally, get online or talk to your friends to find an event or two that lights the fire under your chamois. Dip your toe into the triathlon waters? Coast into the world of circuit racing? Pedal over to your first Century ride? Whatever turns your cranks, it’s time to register and firmly affix the carrot to the stick. Set a goal that will keep you riding strong through the winter and have you eagerly anticipating a new cycling accomplishment.


Each month in CHAINRINGS, Sunset Cycles previews another great Washington County bike ride. With the varied terrain available in our area, each ride is certain to be a winner.

Note that our new ride rating category is pretty simple, ranging from one CHAINRING (easiest) to five CHAINRINGS (most challenging). Here’s the criteria:

One chainring: Flat ride, minimal climbing
Two chainrings: Rolling hills, short climbs
Three chainrings: Moderate hills, possibly some short, steep climbs
Four chainrings: Challenging terrain with numerous, longer climbs
Five chainrings: Very difficult terrain with numerous, steep, long climbs

This month’s ride: The Bethany Burner

It’s a relatively short loop (16.8 miles), which conveniently starts and finishes at our Bethany store location. Although there are very few turns, a few interesting curves and some narrow road shoulders demand your attention. Some sustained climbs on this ride bump it above the three chainring category, but the descent from Skyline Boulevard is your reward for climbing you’ll do earlier on this ride. The basic cue sheet:

Start: Sunset Cycles NW.
Go North on NW Bethany…becomes NW Kaiser.
Cross NW Springville Road and NW Germantown Road, continuing on Kaiser as it climbs.
Veer RIGHT on NW Brooks and climb to NW Skyline Blvd.
Turn RIGHT on NW Skyline Blvd.
Continue on NW Skyline Blvd., crossing Germantown.
Turn RIGHT on NW Thompson and make a long descent. This becomes NW Laidlaw Rd. (at NW McDaniel).
Finish: Sunset Cycles.



With hours of ridable daylight as rare as deodorant at Woodstock, it’s high time you upgraded your bike lighting system.

For commuters and those who don’t ride in the dark of night, we carry a number of “help you be seen” small lighting systems. The Blaze

Planet Bike Blaze

battery-powered headlight from Planet Bike ($40) is a simple, compact, yet effective way of letting motorists know you’re on the road. The Serfas Raider

Serfas Raider

($40), available in both headlight and tail light versions, is a rechargeable light with 180 degrees of visibility. Another tail light to consider is Planet Bike’s Superflash Turbo ($35). Each of these lights weigh next to nothing and are cheap insurance for riding safety.

If you regularly or occasionally ride at night and need the road in front of you lit up like the Griswold’s house, we’ve got you covered. The Serfas True 500

Serfas True 500

, a 500-lumen whopper ($150) gives you the convenience of a rechargeable lithium ion battery with nearly 2 hours of battery run time. Extra batteries are available for $30. Coming soon to the stores is the Cateye Nano Shot ($100), which features a 250 lumen output and weighs in at a featherlight 78 grams.


The Sunset Cycles Team has been enjoying much success as another year of racing comes to a close.

The cyclocross season kicked off on September 11th with Sunset’s own team-sponsored and team-supported race near Hillsboro on Bald Peak. Even though race day temperatures topped out at 95 degrees to add to the suffering, the “Pain + Suffer’n” offered serious fun for every racer, many of whom offered compliments on the organization of the event. Even Roger Colwell, Sunset Cycles owner and a rookie to bike racing, hit the course and completed two laps before race officials pulled him from the action.

The Cross Crusade races began on October 2, with four Sunset Cycles Team members joining the melee. This 8-race series regularly draws in excess of 1,000 participants, while the Wednesday night Alpenrose Dairy “Blind Date” cyclocross attracts several hundred. Eight Sunset Cycles Teamers competed 55 times in a variety of categories, with mid-pack to several first places finishes. Last on the team’s schedule is the season finale in Bend, OR on December 11 (US Gran Prix), with over 800 racers and 2,000 spectators are expected to attend.

Some fun (??) video (courtesy of John Fortes) from the ‘cross event in Bend two weeks ago:


Our shiny-bright new e-newsletter relaunch is the perfect place to announce a few exciting new upcoming events, designed to enlighten and entertain cyclists of all stripes…

Tuesday Night Madness–It’s sorta like March Madness and a President’s Day sale combined…except you’re not limited to twice a year to enjoy the craziness. Each month, Sunset Cycles will hold a special themed Tuesday Night Madness event, focusing on a different category of product–one month it might be indoor trainers, the next month wheels and tires, the next month complete bikes. You get the idea. One of the hallmarks of the Tuesday Night Madness events will be a blowout sale on one particular item, with prices so low–sometimes, lower than wholesale cost– it will make your head spin. Look for more details on our upcoming DECEMBER Tuesday Night Madness event.

Sunset Cycles Social Club–We’ve already got a racing team. But what about for riders who value a bit more casual pace and turn to cycling exclusively for the social aspect? Worry no more. The newly formed Sunset Cycles Social Club will be meeting SUNDAY, November 13th at 11am for a ride from our Bethany store to our new store near Murrayhill on SW Scholls Ferry Road. It’s ten miles each way, and we’ll stop for coffee and a bite to eat at the halfway mark before returning back to Bethany Village. Bring a friend or two and make a day of it!

Friends of Sunset Cycles–Each month, we devote an entire day of special sale pricing to Friends of Sunset Cycles who work for a particular business or are members of a local club, school, or church. Contact us for more details on how your organization or workplace can benefit and reap the monster deals of this ‘insider’s’ club.


Speak, oh ye denizens of the Sunset Cycles world! Give us your opinions on this month’s question…

Cyclocross, a subset of cycling that combines the speed of road bikes with the technical aspects (and dirt & mud) of off-road riding, has become a wildly popular autumn sport in the Portland area.


About sunsetpdx

Bicycle Shop Owner

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