CHAINRINGS — Sunset Cycles Monthly Newsletter


RIDE LEADER NOTES – Scary Times for Cyclists
TURNING THE CRANKS – The Horrors of Riding in the Rain
WASHCO RIDE OF THE MONTH – Halloween Screamer
GEARHEAD – Light it Up
TEAM NOTES – Recent Race Results
ONE LAP – Cycling-related news from around the globe
SURVEY – Doping Scandals in Cycling



Scary Times for Cyclists

by Roger Colwell 

While bicycle-related fatalities have decreased by nearly 25% over the past 15 years, it still pains me that safely riding a bike can sometimes feel like a crapshoot, with the dice in the hands of the person behind the wheel and just off my left shoulder.

Although we live in what is arguably the finest city for cycling in the country, in the eyes of much of the public, we–cyclists, that is–are still often seen as a nuisance (at best) and a non-tax paying road hazard (at worst). Couple these negative attitudes toward cyclists with the recent bad press due to pro cycling doping scandals, and you’ve got a recipe for a cycling PR disaster that affects even commuters and recreational riders.

Thankfully, you and I are in on the secret: Cycling does much more good than bad, whether it’s a recreational pursuit, a sport, or simple means of transportation. Heck, the joy alone of riding your bike for an hour on a Saturday can negate an entire week’s worth of a stressful job, family pressures, and worries about the future. In the saddle, life’s troubles have a tendency to slip into the ether, replaced by feelings of confidence, happiness, and downright bliss.

Now, I’ve never come closer to the pro peloton than a few chance meetings at industry trade shows or ESPN broadcasts, but I’m willing to bet that most pro riders got into the sport for the same reason you and I did: Cycling feels like the right thing to do. I must ask: What is the ultimate drug? Something injected into the bloodstream, or something infused by the pushing of the gears and pumping of the legs?

Scary times for cyclists? Perhaps. I know that I want all of my cycling friends to stay safe and vigilant on the roads and trails, understanding that not everyone around us in on the same page. But even in these troubled times, I’m genuinely optimistic as ever about the bright future of the bicycle and its role in our society.

What do you think? Do doping scandals mark the end of cycling as we know it? Or shall we ride on, undaunted? Add a comment below, and please take our survey at the bottom of this newsletter.

Thanks for making Sunset Cycles an integral part of your cycling experience!




The Horrors of Riding in the Rain

As soon as the first Halloween costume shop opens for the season is the perfect time for us to be aware of the hazards of riding in wet weather. Rain (especially in Oregon) isn’t a reason to start your hibernation for the fall and winter. Embrace the rain, and your enjoyment of cycling will increase immensely. Still, keep these things in mind as the liquid sunshine starts to fall:

Brakes–How you brake can be as important as the quality of the brakes and brake pads themselves. Once you’re certain your brakes are up to par (stop in the shop and let us have a look), consider how you’re braking in wet weather. Keeping occasional light pressure on the brakes LONG BEFORE you stop can clear water from the rim surface, giving you better power as you’re coming to a full stop.

Tires–Rain obviously affects the grip of your tires on the road surface. Understanding that your tires perform differently in wet conditions will help you adjust your bike handling accordingly. Also, consider some of the tires we have in stock (including these and these) made especially for winter riding conditions.

Visibility–Falling back is something we only want to have happen to our clocks. As we deal with shorter daylight hours, make appropriate adjustments to your clothing, reflectivity, and lighting. With the advent of high-visibility, technical cycling gear, there’s no reason to wear sub-standard apparel that won’t be seen as well by motorists. Same for reflective tape and lightweight, high-powered lights (SEE GEARHEAD, BELOW).

Handling–As mentioned above in the note about tires, your bike will handle differently on wet pavement. Lean your body into the curves a bit more than you do your bike in order to keep the “rubber side down.” Mostly, slow down a bit on turns where you might otherwise accelerate during dry conditions.

Comfort–Fenders, helmet covers, full-fingered gloves, rain pants, and booties/shoe covers can go a long way toward making your wet-weather rides much more enjoyable.



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.

Our ride rating category is 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: Halloween Screamer


You spend all year training to improve your hill climbing, striving for efficiency on the uphills. Why not channel all of that into a ride that celebrates going downhill…FAST. Although it’s hard to avoid all the hills in the area (this route features a 4-mile climb from NW Portland, up NW Cornell to Skyline Blvd.), you’ll be treated to some screaming descents on this ride, finishing at the Sunset Cycles Bethany Village shop. The start is shown as the intersection of Skyline & Germantown–plan your route to here accordingly.

Here’s a link to full route directions and map.



Light It Up

Don’t ride like a zombie. We’ve got an amazing selection of lights appropriate for every type of rider.

Cateye, a major player in the cycling market for decades, offers a solid array of lighting options.

For front lights, the Nano Shot ($90) rules the day as a compact, lightweight superstar. Fans of helmet mounted lights should consider the Nano Shot Plus ($120).

On the back of your bike, our best all-around value is Cateye’s TL-LD570-R ($30), which turns on automatically when darkness and motion are detected. Its compatriot, the TL-LD650 (same price) has 5 LED flashers and tons of visibility.

And for the ultimate in convenience, Cateye’s SL-LD110 gives you the flexibility of mounting a light wherever needed via a handy elastic cord mount…for just $10.

Come in and explore our new interactive lighting display where you can get a hands-on feel for any of the lights we have in stock. Also note that all of our Serfas and Cygo lights are 20% while supplies last.



The Sunset Cycles team has been tearing up the cyclocross scene over the past month. Here’s are a few highlights from the results…

Mark Nielsen 6th, Beginner Men @ Blind Date (Alpenrose)

John Weathers 5th, Masters 35+ A @ Zandercross (Vancouver); 2nd, 4th, 3rd, and 2nd at Blind Date; 3rd, Battle at Barlow; 4th, Cross Crusade (Rainier)

Jeffery Otto 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, & 4th, Masters 35+ A @ Blind Date; WINNER, Masters 50+ @ Cross Crusade (Alpenrose); WINNER, Masters 50+ @ Cross Crusade (Rainier)

Andy Armstrong 4th & 6th, Beginner Men @ Blind Date

Chapeau, gentlemen!



Let’s take one lap around the course, shall we?

Experts say Armstrong marketing brand severely damaged

Loads of updated cycling product reviews

Cavendish confirmed for Omega Pharma-Quickstep

Help riders be safe and be seen

Best bikes of 2012



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


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About sunsetpdx

Bicycle Shop Owner

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