We like to march to the beat of our own drummer here on PathLessPedaled, so sometimes that leads us to trying things out that may go against conventional wisdom. For example, riding in flat pedals, touring with a 16 inch wheel folding bike, and touring with a paella pan . It keeps things interesting. In the same vein, we’re going to make a bold statement here: Da Brim’s Rezzo visor is the most functional bike helmet visor ever. I’m sure there are lots of roadies cringing at something so Fredtastic. Deal with it : )Read More»
As some Facebook fans know, I just got an iPad Mini and have been nerding out on it. One of my favorite apps so far is Maplets. It lets you find and download regional paper maps! It’s great for touring or if you’re visiting another city/town and want to see their local transit/walk/bike map.Read More»
At this year’s Interbike, one of the new items that got us the most excited were the Velo-Orange Sabot pedals. Yes, they are “just” platform pedals and aren’t clipless. Yes, they aren’t made of any exotic alloys or fiber weaves. So what’s there to get excited about? As platform pedal users ourselves (and before you ask, yes, Russ use to ride clipless as well before coming back to platforms), there seems to be little innovation or new thinking in the commuter/touring flat platform pedal, so it was good to see that Velo-Orange was taking a stab at new designs. Perhaps the last interesting flat pedal design that was targeted towards tourists and commuters were Riv’s Grip Kings (aka Battle Axes). The Velo-Orange Sabot pedals is an attempt to up the ante, but does it succeed?
The holidays are upon us and so is the stress of figuring out what to give your bike tourist friend that has everything. Well, we’ve got a few suggestions from our Marketplace : ) All sales help us keep doing what we are doing: traveling and advocating for bicycle tourism.
Headbadages by Laura – Dec 14th DEADLINE to receive by Christmas
Ever wanted to truly personalize your bicycle? From animals, initials, to any meaningful graphic or glyph, Laura can work with you to turn it into a headbadge. Each one is cut, shaped and patinaed by hand to fit on your bicycle’s headtube. It takes some time to finalize a design and get it made, so contact her today!
A Bikey T-Shirt – Dec 12th DEADLINE to receive by Christmas
I love a good visual pun and am constantly thinking of new t-shirt designs on long bike rides. Through the wonders of the Internet I can design to my heart’s content without having to burn screens and print in the bathroom anymore. Our store has whimsical bikey designs, bike advocacy shirts, bike touring shirts and of course the famous Zombie Apocalypse shirt. Visit our shirt shop today!
Bike Touring Calendar
If you need something to brighten up your office or if you just LOVE Bromptons, check out our 2013 calendar. It is filled with 12 great images from our wacky folding bike adventure to New Zealand! Order your calendar here.
As always, we’re thankful to our readers who have made this all possible over the years. Happy Holidays!
We’ve been riding our Salsa Vayas for a little over two months and have managed to put over 1000 miles on them. In that time, we’ve ridden them around town, on the 25th Anniversary Cycle Oregon ride, on our first randonneur event (the Verboort Populaire), up Larch Mountain, on a few overnight bike tours and miles and miles of hills and gravel on road rides around Portland. The good folks at VeloCult built up our frames with components that we picked out that are a little different from the off the shelf Vayas and we had the bikes fitted at Crank PDX. We’ve ridden them enough to get a good sense of how they handle and the ride qualities and what the best uses would be. So what’s the verdict? How do they compare to the venerable Surly LHT?Read More»
Let’s just get it out of the way in the very beginning. The worst thing about the Travoy is it looks like you just cart-jacked Arnold Palmer on the 18th hole. Yes, it looks funny. Yes, it looks tippy and strange. But, if you can get over that, you’ll find the Travoy is a pretty amazing trailer on and off the bike.Read More»
I’m chest deep in video footage from this year’s Cycle Oregon. With over 18 hours of footage, I’ve primarily spent the last few weeks simply logging and taking notes of footage, trying to make sense of it all and finding good bits of dialogue . With the logging finally done, I can start to build the story. Small sequences are slowly coming together that will be woven into a longer piece. But some moments stand on their own. Here’s two little snippets that I really loved that I think communicates what is special about Cycle Oregon.
In one clip, Jonathan Nicholas, one of the ride’s early founders talks about their signature grant for this year. In the second clip, we get in behind the scenes of daily operations and ride along with the lead SAG driver and hear what the ride is like from his perspective.
It’s that time again when we take a look at photos from our past years adventure to put together a fun calendar. It’s hard to believe that this is our fourth time doing this. Tempus fugit! First off, I just want to say thanks to our readers who have supported our endeavors over the years by buying calendars, shirts, ebooks and headbadges. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve stayed with folks and have seen our calendars on their walls and it almost makes us teary-eyed. It means so much to us and you all do indeed keep our trips and projects going.
This year’s calendar is a collection of 12 images from our trip to New Zealand. As many of you know it was a challenging trip in many ways, but the landscape was also beautiful beyond comparison. If you love bicycles, Bromptons, New Zealand or traveling to far off places, this calendar is for you. You can check out a full preview and order yours below. Be sure to leave extra time if you plan to give it as a gift!
I’ve been interested in the odd bicycle niche of randonneuring for quite a while. It’s a ride but not a race. You’re self-supported but not exactly touring. You wear a lot of wool and use lots of French sounding words. The irony of course is that we’ve been occupied the last few years with our fully loaded touring so I didn’t have the opportunity to give it a try. The Verboort Populaire (aka Verboort Sausage Ride) is a 100k ride and is an entry level randonneur ride that allows the bike-curious to see what it is about. While short by randonneur standards (where rides typically begin at 200k all the way up to 1200k in varying degrees of masochism) it does give you a sense of what the whole thing is about.
We woke up painfully early at 5:30am, packed our bikes, ate breakfast and poured as much hot coffee down our throats before we had to run out the door to catch the MAX out to Hillsboro. While on the train, we saw other cyclists board the train for the ride. An hour later at the end of the line, we detrained and pedaled 7 miles to Visitation Church in Verboort, OR at the start of the ride. The Verboort Populaire takes place during the locally famous Verboort Suasage and Kraut Dinner which we’ve been told is the community’s largest fundraiser.
At the start we pay $5 each ($2 for insurance and $3 towards the fundraiser) and get our cue sheet and brevet card in a Ziplock baggie. During the ride there are control points where you have to get a signature, receipt or some other form of proof that you were at a certain place at a certain time. It adds a fun scavenger hunt aspect to what otherwise would be just a long ride through the countryside. After some announcements, we are off.
To finish within the allotted time, we had to keep an overall average of 10 miles per hour including stops. These sorts of rides are really about managing time and trying not to linger too long at stops. This means eating, drinking and regulating your clothing without stopping. The terrain, once we got out of the burbs was pretty nice. Mostly quiet roads with slow undulating hills. The highlight was the first and only significant climb on Timber road. We leave SR6 and slowly wind ourselves up through the trees, fog and mist. The traffic was nearly non-existent and the only sound you heard was your tires on wet road and your breathing. It felt very Rapha-esque. All that it was missing was grimacing faces and bold typography ; )
The turn around point was Vernonia. We rolled into the Black Bear Cafe and saw about a dozen other bikes already there. Everybody was chowing down and drinking coffee for the return. Laura and I split a hamburger and fries which was actually pretty spectacular. We’ll have to return again to explore the town some more. After a relatively quick lunch we are on the bikes again to keep momentum and prevent our legs from stiffening up too much.
From here back is mostly gravy. We hop on to the Banks-Vernonia trail and ride the entire length. The first half is a false flat until you summit then it is a pretty cruisy downhill to a flat stretch to the end. There were leaves everywhere on the trail and made for a slippy surface if you braked too hard. At the end of the trail we are on country roads for most of the way back to Verboort.
We rode 68 miles and came in under 5 hours and had the appetite to prove it. After handing our brevet cards over we made our way to the Bingo tent that was selling sausages on a stick or on a roll. After devouring a sausage and bun in less than two minutes we were in line for more. The second one might have been a bit overboard especially with all the grease, but when you are blinded with hunger good sense goes out the window. Before our legs get too comfortable we ride the 7 miles back to the MAX stop in Hillsboro and more or less collapse on the train for the hour long ride back into Portland (or more speficially, Velo-Cult for post-ride beers).
For our first actual official randonnuering ride we had a lot of fun. There were other newbies that we chatted with as well as some more seasoned riders that offered advice. We filtered between a few groups of people and enjoyed the social aspect of riding and eating together. It didn’t have the same hammerhead mentality as some century rides, but it also wasn’t as lackadaisical as touring. For tourists that want to ride a little faster and longer it was a good fit for us. While I don’t see myself doing 400k and 600k events anytime soon (maybe a few more 100ks and a 200k), it was a fun way to finally see what this was all about. It also broadened our riding experience a bit. We’ve been a little tired of the same in-town Portland loops we’ve been doing, so it was good to ride some new roads and get outside the bubble. For anyone considering the Verboort Populaire, we highly recommend it. The route was good, the people friendly and the sausages at the end of the ride were a good reward.
One of our favorite things about bicycle travel is visiting small towns. After being nomadic for three years and passing through literally hundreds of tiny towns, it dawned on us that bike travel could be a viable means to revitalize rural areas. Bicycles are slower by nature, but that is not always a bad thing. Because cyclists need to stop more and eat more, their potential spending in an area far exceeds that of someone traveling by car! This idea hit me in our tent in Montana a few years ago and I drew a little sketch in my notebook. It’s been almost two years since that little doodle and I’ve finally had a chance to animate it try to spread the message.
From sketch to animation….many years in the making.
Since we’re not actively traveling at the moment, our roles have switched from being active tourists to promoting and advocating for bicycle touring. In a way, we are simply trying to give back to this activity that we love so much. We’ve inspired many people to hop on their bike and go touring. After a lot of thinking, the next step for us is to inspire communities to welcome bicycle travelers. We’ve already begun some work in that arena, speaking at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit in Salem and addressing the Rotary Club and many elected officials in Waynesville, NC. It’s an exciting time and we hope you follow us in this new leg of our journey.
If you are in a bike advocacy group or are in a community interested in the possibilities of bicycle tourism and would like to have us speak, send us an email.