Budding trees and flowers transform to full bloom. Azaleas burst with soft crimsons and irises with vibrant purple and blue hues. Road shoulders are nearly sand and gravel free, and SPF 30 makes its annual comeback.
In our shop, traffic has been picking up after the usual winter lull, buoyed by some great riding weather as of late. Springtime charity rides and tours are coming, so our repair area has been buzzing with the excitement and anticipation of new rides, new scenery, and new cycling experiences.
These perennial cycling world happenings get my blood moving. If the winter rains and gray clouds had put a damper on my mood, it’s long forgotten. I’m all smiles, happy to help our customers find the right bike, get their old ride in tip-top shape, or share a kernel of cycling wisdom with a new rider. It makes “coming to work” a pure joy for all of us in the shop.
For off-road riders, the tracks and trails are enjoying their annual drying cycle. You can put the mud in your rearview mirrors for months until the heavy rains come again. Margaret Atwood wrote, “In the Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Sage advice, and a state easily obtained if your mountain bike is tuned up!
For roadies, knee and arm warmers are displaced by short sleeve jerseys and darker sunglasses, and the fenders will soon see their home on the shelves.
And so, the roll of the months continue like the wheels beneath our bike frames. For each, there is a certain kind of beauty. But perhaps none as much as May, when hope blooms into a kept promise and the rain falls not on the cold ground but on the heels of the sunshine.
However you celebrate the spring, here’s hoping you make plenty of time to enjoy it from the saddle of your bicycle.
Thanks, as always, for your continued support.
Each month in CHAINRINGS, Sunset Cycles previews another great Washington County bike ride. With the varied terrain available in our area, the selected 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: May Celebration Ride
Rating: 3 Chainrings
You could dance around a May pole to celebrate this month’s arrival, but we’ve got a better idea. Fill up a water bottle and head out to the northern reaches of Washington County with a 25-mile loop that climbs steadily in the first 9 miles, then gradually descends back home. Enjoy the thick forest along Skyline Blvd. and the pastoral countryside just east of North Plains.
Help fight the growing epidemic of bike theft by registering your bike for FREE on May 29th. Talk to us in the store about this exciting project that pits us (the bike owners) versus THEM (the bike thieves). More at project529.com/garage
Time for a Tune Up!
Give me gravel, or give me…gravel. We’ve been riding unimproved roads for years and never knew it would be the “cool” thing to do. Modifying our road bikes to take a beating, the bumpy roads lead us to the most obscene vistas imaginable. Thanks to the recent popularity of hitting the long, lost forgotten byways of America, bike manufacturers are stepping up their game and offering rides specifically suited for gravel roads and bumpy old pavement.
The latest Specialized entry in the category is now available in the shop: the AWOL, with a delicious list of features, including:
- A Rocker dropout to make the bike fully compatible with many drivetrain options: 2X10, Belt Drive, Internal Gear and Single Speed
- Crazy tire clearance on a wide fork to allow you to run any tires from 26c to 29×2.2”
- Distance Rider Geometry (long wheelbase; upright feel; stable ride) that is focused on the rider who rides their bike a long distance and looks for comfort above speed.
- Endurance components designed for comfort: Low gearing, gel in the bar tape and seat
Stop by for a test ride and envision the endless miles of rural Oregon passing beneath your saddle.
Trio by Kuat
The hottest way to CARRY your bike is now in stock in the store: The Kuat Trio, featuring the 3 Way™ fork mount system, allowing you to carry any bike you own. Top that off with a slim line design, security system, and rugged good looks and you have the most complete fork mount rack ever designed.
This stylish and aerodynamic rack lets you carry 1 bike on your factory rack crossbars. Includes cable lock.
Terry R. ventured southward for a date with Arizona’s Whiskey 50 off-road race, and offered this short analysis:
What an experience! Some of the worst weather I’ve had a pleasure of on a bike…let alone a race.
Started out raining with high winds, as we climbed out of Prescott it quickly turned to snow! Is this Arizona?!? There were 5-6 “traffic jams” in the first 5 miles of single track (everyone waited their turn.
At the top of the first climb the winds were so strong I got blown off the trail! On the descent, my fingers got numb from the cold. At the bottom of that descent they were pulling people from the race due to hypothermia. On the next climb (4 miles), my hands started to warm up and ached so badly I nearly stopped. Got to the top of that climb to do the 10 mile descent into Skull Valley. Dropped into a 15% grade only to have a killer head wind as well as HAIL! Felt like millions of tiny ice daggers slamming into my face! Luckily that didn’t last long and the sun came out in Skull Valley. The good thing about a strong head wind on the descent is a strong tail wind on the climb…although it was a 12 mile climb.
It got cold again near the top but at least the snow and rain let up. Had a long, fun descent with some great technical sections before hitting pavement for the last 3 miles.
I finished 45th in Men’s Masters (age 45+). In a weird way, I’m glad the weather was so extreme. It will make future races seem a little bit easier.
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