Archive | December 2013

Ride Leader Notes: December 2013 Chainrings

A Season of Giving

As cyclists, we usually ask ourselves how we can get more: More speed. More time on our bikes. More bike for the dollar. And so on.

But when was the last time we asked ourselves how we could GIVE more? Specifically, how can we, as cyclists, make a difference in another person’s life? Here are a few ideas to ponder.

  • Ride in (or make a donation to) a charity ride. Multiple non-profit organizations hold rides in the local area that raise critical funds. Find a cause you’d like to support and turn the cranks!gift giving
  • Drive your car with an extra eye out for cyclists, and remind others to do the same. Give riders extra room to help keep people more comfortable riding their bikes on the roads.
  • Encourage your friends and family members to ride bikes as part of a healthy exercise routine. Introduce kids to cycling at an early age, which can help combat childhood obesity and sets the stage for a life of positive habits.
  • Support a cause such as Bikes Belong, World Bike Relief, or Yield to Life.
  • Share your favorite training or commuting routes with others, even if they’re your “secret” route!
  • Encourage everyone to wear a good bike helmet…and better yet, give one as a holiday gift to someone who needs a little encouragement to ride more often.
  • Finally, ask yourself how you can be an instrument of change by using your bicycle. Get creative!

In this season of giving, I hope we have helped give you inspiration, motivation, and everything you need to make your life as a cyclist more rewarding. The entire staff of Sunset Cycles thanks you for your continued support and patronage throughout the year. Please visit us at the store this month if you need a new bike, a holiday gift, or just a cycling-friendly ear to bend.

Happy holidays!

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Click HERE for the next article in this month’s Chainrings: WASHCO Ride of the Month

WASHCO Ride of the Month: December 2013 Chainrings

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: Tour de Tannenbaum

RATING:  3.5 CHAINRINGS

XMAS TREE FARMS

An early ride climb gives way to rolling terrain over this pleasant 22-miler that winds past numerous local Christmas tree farms. Beware of the Subaru’ed masses hauling their goods, especially on weekends!

View details for the entire route HERE

Click HERE for the next article in this month’s Chainrings: Waterhouse Trail Preview

Waterhouse Regional Trail Preview: December 2013 Chainrings

Spanning nearly 10 miles from north to south, the expanded Waterhouse Trail is scheduled to open in its entirety next Spring (2014). What exactly is the Waterhouse Trail? Where is it? Why is this new trail so exciting? Sunset Cycles did a reconnaissance trip to give you an exclusive preview.

At the northern end of the trail near NW Laidlaw

When various construction projects (spearheaded by the Tualatin Hills Park and Rec District, a.k.a. “THPRD”) along this route are finished, cyclists, runners, and hikers will have a 10-mile trail that stretches from the Bethany area southward to the Murray Hill area south of SW Scholls Ferry Road. The trail promises a great thoroughfare through a densely populated section of our region, offering access that previously was missing and a (mostly) car-free way to enjoy the outdoors.

Bronson Creek bridge construction. Bridge footings visible.

Trail User Beware…

In full disclosure, there are numerous potential pitfalls and hazards to be aware of: In its current condition, the trail is interrupted by many road crossings and has sections where navigation is confusing. Additionally, parts of the trail are missing curb cuts, so to avoid bunny hopping the curb, riders must traverse down a sidewalk to the closest driveway, cross the road, and ride back on the opposite sidewalk to continue!

Bridge between Laidlaw and West Union

Bridge between Laidlaw and West Union

Additionally, there are many safety considerations. Many of the neighborhood road crossings don’t have stop or warning signs, and traffic calming devices such as speed bumps and crosswalks are absent. Young riders in particular might be tempted to cross the streets without looking for auto traffic, creating a potential nightmare.

From a navigation standpoint, a major detour in the NW Bronson/Bethany/Cornell/158th area puts riders on busy surface streets before reconnecting with the trail off NW Waterhouse Ave. Here, artificial wood surfaces were iced over during our ride and made travel in the saddle impossible.

Ramp construction south of Laidlaw

Ramp construction south of Laidlaw

Further south, trail users are directed into the Tualatin Hills Nature Park, which includes the use of narrow, winding multi-use paths (some made of wood) that can be extremely slippery in cold or wet conditions. Exiting the park heading south, a lack of clear signage makes picking up the trail south of TV Highway a bit perplexing.

Our scouting trip…

We began from the northern end of the new trail, which starts essentially at the Pirate Park, a children’s park, approximately ½ mile north of NW Laidlaw near NW Energia Street. The first construction project (a large ramp) we encountered came just south of Laidlaw. The area here is very scenic and features a massive bridge which spans a creek.

South of West Union is where we encountered the lack of curb cuts and warning signs, but the area from here to Sunset Highway is quite scenic and relatively quiet. Another major bridge construction over Bronson Creek is underway.

After the icy pathways south of Cornell, we enjoyed a gently winding section that stretches to Baseline, where a new trail section and (another!) new bridge are being completed. From Baseline to the Nature Park, a new wide trail section is very welcoming.

Pathways south of Cornell

Pathways south of Cornell

After winding through the paths of the Nature Park, we lost the trail briefly before linking up again near TV Highway. Two blocks south, the trail heads east for a bit before turning south again. From this point, navigation is a breeze, with clear signage and good sight lines. Two major climbs (with peaks at SW Davis and another near SW Flagstone) punctuate the journey.

Looking north toward TV Hwy.

Looking north toward TV Hwy.

Signage south of TV Hwy

Signage south of TV Hwy

Rolling hills and great vistas of the entire valley can be enjoyed at various points in this southern section of the trail. From Farmington Road south to Weir, the trail heads due South, then turns Southeast, eventually crossing Scholls Ferry and terminating at SW Barrows Road.

Ramp to the top

Ramp to the top

The Bottom Line…

With the above caveats to be addressed by THPRD (better signage, curb cuts, traffic calming, non-slip surfaces), this trail will make a GREAT addition to our region. The magnitude of a few of the construction projects we encountered were mind-blowing—the size of a bridge needed, for example, to span a 6-inch section of drainage pipe adjacent to the Sunset Golf Center at Jenkins Road. The cost of that one project alone could fund incredible signage and curb cuts for the entire trail, with plenty left over for other improvements.

[UPDATE (12/5/2013): THPRD emphasizes that the following portions of the trail are CLOSED to use until next year: 

  • NW Argyle Way south to NW Countryridge Drive
  • NW Joscelyn Street south to NW Bronson Road
  • SW Baseline Road south to Merlo Road & SW 158th Avenue –ed.]

It’s not a trail for your club training ride or a peloton of any size. We’d suggest it for solo riders or groups of four or less, with ample patience on board to handle the nuances of a multi-use trail.

Another vista

Another vista

But make no mistake about it: The Waterhouse Trail represents a watershed moment for outdoor activities in Washington County, including cycling. Kudos to THPRD for the vision and follow through. We can’t wait until Spring for an uninterrupted tour of the trail!tour23

Here’s a link to a map from THPRD showing much of the trail
Click HERE for the next article in this month’s Chainrings: 12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas: December 2013 Chainrings

12daysTWELVE: It’s the atomic number for Magnesium, an essential mineral. It’s the number of strikes you need to bowl a perfect game. And most importantly, it’s the number of days you get to enjoy incredible deals during the Sunset Cycles version of the 12 Days of Christmas. Step aside, Perry Como. There’s a new partridge in town.

December 13: 35% off Tifosi Sunglasses
December 14: All Bikes an additional 5% off! (special orders placed this day are included)
December 15: Buy 2 Tubes, Get 1 Free
December 16: All Helmets 25% off
December 17: All Nutrition products 25% off
December 18: All Lights 20% off
December 19: All Gloves and Warmers 20% off
December 20: All Park Tools 15% off
December 21: All Apparel 40% off
December 22: Water Bottles and Cages 25% off
December 23: All Socks 50% off
December 24: All Apparel 30% offtumblr_mw2o4yV8sR1rwb0pro1_500

Click HERE for the next article in this month’s Chainrings: Shop News

Shop News: December 2013 Chainrings

kid bikes

Get the inside scoop before we shout it from the rooftops! Saving big on little bikes, Christmas hours, and a custom bike fitting special.

Save big on little bikes

Only FIVE MORE DAYS to save big on little bikes: Through December 8th, take 10% of the purchase of any kids’ bike. Get your shopping done early for the youngsters and save some holiday cash at the same time!

Christmas hours

Christmas Eve: 9am – 2pm
Christmas Day: CLOSED

Fitting Special Reminder

Sore knees, a creaky back, and tight hips: Any one of these can be due to an ill-fitting bike. Cure your riding position blues with a special deal on a custom bike fit courtesy of our pro fitter Matt. Just $99 (regularly $200) in the store through December 22nd. Click HERE for more on our fitting process.fittingpromo

Joy Ride=0% interest

Free is a very good price—especially when it comes to paying interest. A partnership between Specialized Bikes and GE Capital now puts a 12-month, zero interest purchase deal in reach for any bike ($700 and up) purchased now through the end of the year. Ask us for more details.

Click HERE for the next article in this month’s Chainrings: Tech Tuesday

Tech Tuesday: December 2013 Chainrings

tech tuesday

As part of our commitment to our loyal customers, we’re happy to present a new series of in-store clinics we’re calling “Tech Tuesdays,” held the second Tuesday of each month from November through March, aimed at helping you better understand your bike, how it works, and how to maintain it. This month, on Tuesday, December 10th (5:30-6:30pm), we’ll feature a Drivetrain & Shift System Shakedown. Don’t miss it!

drivetrain maintenance