CHAINRINGS — Sunset Cycles Monthly Newsletter



RIDE LEADER NOTES – A Season of Rebirth
TURNING THE CRANKS – Spring Apparel; Winning with Specialized
SHOP NEWS – The Push for Tahoe Continues
TEAM NOTES – 2013 Kit…Unveiled
SURVEY – Barriers to Cycling


A Season of Rebirth

by Roger Colwell 

As a young kid growing up in small-town Oregon, I didn’t have to travel far to discover the wonders of nature that only a kid can find: Sand dunes that became our Mt. Everests…a massive mud pit, prime for launching our Tom Sawyer-esque rafts…driftwood and flotsom structures we built that served as a “fort” for an entire summer.

And, there were the early discoveries that I would only later understand fell under the heading of “biology,” such as witnessing the birth of a friend’s farm animal or finding a clutch of baby birds peeking out from a hedgerow nest. Like most kids, I stared, fascinated at this genesis of life, most often in the springtime. All around me, trees sprouted buds, flowers poked through the dark underbrush of the forest, and these little creatures drew their first breath.Chicks_hatching_USDA95c1973

Faced today with the first few days of March (already??), I’m reminded that this fascination need not end with childhood. Learning and discovery can be–and dare I say, should be–lifelong pursuits. So how does this relate to our passions for cycling? What lessons can we take from the basic curiosities of a kid and apply them to the modern realities of an adult’s busy life? Allow me to make a few suggestions to apply to your own cycling lifestyle:

1. Discover more about your own bicycle. Today’s shining mechanical steeds are more complex than ever, but the bicycle at its essence is still a relatively simple machine. Read a book on basic bike maintenance, watch a few of our YouTube videos on some fixes you can easily do yourself, and don’t be afraid to get your hands a bit dirty as you get to know your bike more intimately.

2. Discover more about your own body. A bicycle is only as good as its engine, says the old cycling saw. It’s true. Many a race, for example, has been won on a bike of lesser quality pedaled by a rider of greater talent. Take the time this Spring to inventory your physical strengths and weaknesses. Maybe you need to work on your flexibility, or power, or endurance. Whatever the area of focus, you’re bound to benefit, even if your goal is to keep up with your riding friends on a weekend spin.

3. Discover more about your own community. Speaking of your riding friends…know that you’re not alone. While solo rides are beautiful for their own reasons, the song entitled “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Cyclist” has yet to hit the pop charts. LOTS of cycling groups exist–covering all paces, races, beliefs, and cycling subsets. Ask us in the store if you need to be pointed in the direction of local cycling group, club, or team.

4. Discover more about your own mental limitations (and how to eclipse them). We all have something that holds us back from our goals and dreams. I’m not smart enough. I’m not thin enough. I’m not talented enough. Take a few moments to be your own best critic and identify what negative thoughts are holding you back, then find a suitable answer (or seek help from friends or professionals, like a coach) to help transform the negatives into positives. For example, “I’m not thin enough” can be answered with “…but I’m powerful!” or be addressed with a healthier diet and lifestyle.

For every time, there is a season, said a poet of many centuries ago. Those words ring as true today as they did then. Take them to heart and think about the ways you can get more out of your cycling. Learn a bit more about your bike, your body, and your fellow riders.

You might just experience a cycling rebirth of your own.

As always, thanks for your support of Portland’s premier west side bicycle shop!



Spring Apparel Specials

Specialized UV Protection

Harmful UV rays can damage skin, even on cloudy days. Specialized Cycling Apparel features DeflectUV technology, wearable UV protection that breathes well and keeps skin safe on rides, whether the sun is out or not. All Specialized DeflectUV apparel for 2013 has a minimum protection factor equivalent to SPF30. Kevin Franks, a member of the Specialized apparel development team, shares a personal account of why UV protection matters to him…and cyclists everywhere.

Endura apparel highlights

Two great jackets from Endura have been incredibly popular in the store lately: The Helium and Adrenaline Race Cape. More details:

Helium Jacket–$140redhelium

• Ultra compact 2.5-layer waterproof breathable fabric with stretch panels on hems and armholes
• Athletic fit
• Asymmetric front zipper
• Waterproof stretch chin guard
• Rear zipped security pocket
• Softshell hem and cuff panels for athletic fit without need for drawcords or adjustors
• Slimline inner storm flap with wrapover zip guard
• Reflective film strips on front/back neck and dots on cuff

Pro Adrenaline Race Cape–$100racecape

• Lightweight compact translucent breathable/waterproof fabric
• Back panel allows race number to be seen
• Lightly padded collar and storm flap
• Full length centre zipper with sprung puller
• No fuss pull-on elasticated cuffs and collar
• Fully seam sealed; Athletic fit
• Reflective trims and prints
• Packs into small stuff sack

Specialized…Win, Win, WIN.

Sunset Cycles is proud to be a dealer for one of the world’s premier bicycle brands: Specialized.

Like us, the teams who ride Specialized bikes in the pro peloton continually strive for improvement, constantly adding to their winning formula. Any rider wearing their jerseys is likely to find the top of the podium on any given day. Plus, Specialized has dozens of riders on other teams who choose to use their shoes and equipment.

Great teams require great bikes and, collectively, the top three road models (Tarmac, Roubaix, and Venge) combined for 66 individual professional wins in international competition in 2012.  Considering also the Tarmac’s fourth consecutive Constructor’s Award, this would be a lifetime of achievement for any other brand, let alone a single year.  These bikes are at the top of the heap in their function, form, and in their unforgettable rider experience.  As iconic as these bikes are, so too are the riders who pilot them.



Mark Cavendish is possibly one of the greatest sprinters in history.  Mark was highly motivated to return to Specialized and has wasted no time by already winning the overall classification at the Tour of Qatar- a matter of merely weeks removed from his first training camp with his new team.


Tom Boonen has already achieved legendary status as a king of the cobbles.  His contributions to the development of our current and future technology, however, ensure that we have much more to see from him this year and beyond.


Alberto Contador needs no introduction.  He is one of only five riders in history to have won the overall classification at all three Grand Tours, twice at the Tour de France.



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.

This month’s ride: Spring Eruption

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



Like a tulip reaching for sunlight, this ride features a slow warmup, a long climb, and a beautiful bloom (view) at the top! At just over 29 miles, this ride is mostly flat, with an extremely strong emphasis on the word “mostly.” The view atop the 4-mile climb of Bald Peak is your repayment for the intense effort. As those pedal strokes get difficult on the ascent, be sure to remember how this Springtime climb is the start to a new chapter in your personal cycling story.

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



Meet Matt Bloom, our Bike Fitter

Our bike fitting services have exploded, placing Sunset Cycles among the most prolific bike fitting shops in Portland. When the best riders are coming in droves to our shop for our professional fitting advice, you know we’re doing something right!

Last week, we sat down with Matt Bloom, our fitting expert, to get an insight into the world of bike fitting, his philosophy on the craft, and exactly what goes into a quality bike fitting. Take a peek at this article for a well-written tome on the benefits of a good bike fit, then sit back with an energy bar and water bottle and enjoy the footage…

The Push for Tahoe

Picture3 As you might remember from previous issues of Chainrings, our store employees Ashley and Ali are both riding in “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride” in Lake Tahoe, NV this coming June. Their quest is underway, and they have a few longer rides scheduled soon. You can do your part in helping them hit their $7000 fundraising goal by donating here.

Additionally, the distinctive Team In Training purple wristbands are for sale at the store–a small donation of $2 gets you a wristband and helps support this worthy cause. You can also “round up” your purchase price to make the donation easy as cruising downhill with a tailwind.

Thanks for supporting Ashley, Ali, and the Team In Training!



New Team Kits

Your attention please: The new Sunset Cycles Team kits are unveiled here publicly for the first time. sunsetkit2013Thanks to the team for their valuable input, along with the design expertise and artful eye of Allison Ware, our manager’s wife and resident designer extraordinaire.



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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