Tag Archives: cycling

Thank you everyone who came on The Big Girls Ride

24 Jun

I had a great time meeting all of you and riding out to Sellwood.  It was the first ride I’ve lead and I think I’ve learned some things.  When I do it again maybe I’ll make the destination a little funner and try an alternate route for more of a loop than a back and forth.

The ride was even a Mercury pick for Monday:

• The Big Girls Ride
Not everyone is a vegan bike hipster with five percent body fat. If you are a lady who describes herself as “Rubenesque,” this is the ride for you.

So thanks again for coming out, I can’t wait to do it again next year.  (maybe sooner)

Attn: Women of Portland The Big Girls Ride is tomorrow!

22 Jun

Hello everyone I just wanted to through out a reminder that The Big Girls ride is tomorrow at 6:30pm!


6:30pm – 7:30pm

This is a ride for curvy/fat/zaftig/rubenesque women.  Big girls ride bikes too so let’s go for a ride together.  Easy route on the east side of the Willamette River.  Riders of all skill levels encouraged, nobody gets left behind.
Robin, phototron at gmail daht comm
Confused, have questions what to give me some suggestions give me a haller!  Otherwise I’ll be seeing you tomorrow!

Notes from the single life: The bike date

6 Jun

I don’t often write about my personal life but I thought some of my recent observations might be interesting. The bike date is a common sight here in Portland; especially since the weather has gotten so nice. What could be more wonderful than riding along with someone at a cadence that suggests you have not a care in the world. The sight of a bike date has always made me smile and I always loved going with my sweetheart up the Springwater or out for dinner and a beer.

I had grown so used to riding with my former sweetheart that I forgot how awkward a bike date can be. Spending years riding with the same person often even in the same gear like riding a tandem thats been cut in half. Riding with new people is fun but sometimes trying on the nerves.

The trick with a bike date is taking it easy. Take side street and spend lots of time side by side. If your riding with someone new you also want to make sure your communicate which way your turning and other simple things like that. Your getting to know each other. Unless otherwise stated a bike date is not a race this it is completely unacceptable to “drop” (leave them in the dust) your date.

With the basics out of the way I wanted to mention one of my recent experiences:

I am pretty much a daily rider. I ride to the store, to school, to work and just about anywhere else for business or pleasure. I am pretty open about that, when I meet people bikes usually comes up in the conversation.

I met a nice young man at a house show and we exchanged phone numbers. He called me later and asked me out on the classic bike adventure date. Ride somewhere you’ve never been together and see what happens on the way. He met me near my house and when and we headed to Fubonn riding up Clinton Street. It turns out his bike was in serious disrepair. His front tire pressure was so low he was nearly on the rim and he only had 2 working gears on his 10 speed. This was fine but as soon as I realized this all I wanted to do way go home and fix his bike since he was struggling needlessly. He didn’t want to take me up on my offer so we continued on. His communication skills where poor often taking a turn without warning (a couple times across busy streets) and we would become separated while I waited for cars. I knew he didn’t ride very often but his lack of consideration was a turn-off. So weather true or not I have decided that the way people ride on a bike date is a symbol of their general attitude. If a man is kind and considerate on a bike date he is most likely that way the rest of the time. If he is brash, stubborn and ill prepare he is most likely this way off a bike.

Food for thought during your next bike date.

To ride or not to ride.

20 May

A classmate of mine was killed last October as some of you might know.  The driver was finally sited and I was content not to rehash it more that I needed to.  I had panic attacks leaving my house and a things where generally kind of a downer around school.  I went on the memorial ride for Tracey after she died and swung by school and wrote my thoughts about Tracey in the notebook for her parents and presided home.  I was a bit of a wreck and not really in riding condition resulting in a conflict with driver in the pearl right after I left PNCA.  Some of the conflict was be not being assertive and some of it was him.  I wanted to tell him why I got upset but his windows where up.

Okay, why am I bringing this up?  Portland is holding a ride of silents and I’m feeling conflicted on weather to go or not.  Is it necisary, can we teach motorists anything from this?  Will I be mentally competent to finish the ride after getting to Tracey’s bike?  Could my time be better served working with PNCA to get student bike trailers next year and possible covered bike parking.

It’s tomorrow, I have a little time to think this over but I’m getting ball in stomach just thinking about it.  Sorry for such a downed piece after such a long break.

The Sacagawea Heritage trail loop.

1 Apr

I recently had the opportunity to ride the Sacagawea Heritage trail loop in Eastern Washington. It was a sunny lovely day after Easter with mild winds which made it an ideal day to ride. I brought my camera along for the ride that was so delightful that I plan on doing more distance riding here in the future. The loop can either be 18 or 24 miles long with several chances to add and extra 5 or 10 miles.

I was lucky enough to see a lama about five minutes into my ride. I was also happy to see others on bikes along the way. The only troubling chunk of the ride came on the Pasco side of the river coming up to the cable bridge, the trail has not yet been completed and so far as I can tell you are forced onto a busy industrial street for a couple blocks. There may be another route choice but it was not made clear simple adding detour instructions would be easy and very helpful.

Awfully lovely, I was pleased with all they’ve done on the trail which could be pretty useful for personal transport in the future.

Helpful videos about frame geometry

6 Mar

Brought to us by the lovely ladies at terry.  (note this is for a road bike but much of this is still very useful to any rider)

They are still adding videos about geometry but this could be pretty helpful, you can find them here.  The bikes they sell may not be what a novice want but they do make well live bikes as well as saddles. (plus size cloths too)

On choosing a bike: Part 2

5 Mar

Wheels can make quite a difference. The most important thing for a larger rider to consider is wheel strength. If your wheels aren’t strong enough they can go out of true. When a wheel is in true it is perfectly straight. If the wheel takes a hard hit it can get slightly bent or a spoke can break. Breaking a spoke will also affect the tension of the wheel making it go out of true.

The rim material is also important for braking. If you live somewhere rainy you want to avoid steel rims because you wont be able to break as easily. Aluminium is a much better stopping surface than steel and pretty common with newer bikes.

The wheel size will affect the durability. The smaller the diameter of the wheel the stronger it is. 26″ wheels are stronger than 700c wheels. The main problem with the smaller wheel is something called rolling resistance. See Sheldon Brown if you want to get technical. Rolling resistance isn’t much of a problem unless your aiming for speed. It’s also easier to get going from a dead stop with a smaller wheel than a larger ones. There are other wheel sizes but these are the most common you will see.

A slick 26inch tire is going to be much easier to use than knobby mountain bike tires. Unless your riding off road you don’t need need the knobby tires. secondly keep your tires properly inflated and you should be in good shape. As far as pumps go, if your not going to carry one with you don’t buy a travel pump buy a floor pump they are much easier to use.

When looking for rims try to find a touring rim. These are often double walled are really strong. Again made for carrying a load. The rear wheel is the most important wheel to for strength since it carries most of your weight. I am a huge fan of Mavic A719 for a 700c rim. They are super strong.

A strong rim is especially important if your buying a 700c because they are more fragile. If you have 26″ rims they are stronger and you may not have to consider further action.

Spokes: The more spokes you have the more your weight is distributed. If your can find a wheel set with double butted spokes they will be even better because they disperse the load over the spoke better.

If your are buying a brand new bike you may not have control over some of these thing if you get a bike that’s already built up. Wheels with double butted spokes must be build by a person thus making it much more expensive. Make due with what you think you’ll and if it becomes problematic you can invest in a new wheel or wheel set.

next up saddles!

On Choosing a bike: Part 1

29 Feb

It seems a fair amount of people that end up here are looking for advice on purchasing a bike for a large rider. So I am going to start writing a series of posts on choosing a bike.

The most important thing to consider is what type of riding you will be doing.

If your running simple errands around your home and just want a fun way to get a bit of exercise I would recommend something with a more relaxed riding position. These bikes could take several forms. I am a big fan of Dutch and Dutch-style city bikes. They are simple to maintain, stylish and very comfortable to ride. The down side to a Dutch bike is the expense, Making it more of a commitment but what better to commit to than a life time of fun on your bike.

Side note:

A good bike is an investment; if you treat it well you could have it for a lifetime. Buying a cheap bike can cost you more to maintenance in the long run if not giving out completely.

Other bikes would include a cute vintage cruiser. These are fun but aren’t built for speed if that’s something you desire. The other downside of these bikes is that they don’t always include a big range of gears so getting up a hill may be more of a challenge than it would on bikes with more speeds. Some of these bikes are equipped with a very low gear, which is nice for climbing. So if you want one find out about gearing options.

A note on step-trough or “girl bikes”:

If you want to ride in a dress or skirt and don’t want to wear bike shorts underneath you will want a step through bike. The downside to these bikes is the loss of some of there structural integrity in other words; they can break easier than a “mans” frame. There are a couple ways to get around this. Mixte frames! They are cute and tough (tougher than some “men’s” frames) unfortunately there aren’t many on the new market but plenty for sale used (see note on buying used). Some step-though bikes are tougher because of design and manufacture than others. This is again a time when paying more can save you some stress in the future.

Buying used:

Buying a used bike can be a great way to go! There are plenty of old bikes to be had in most parts of the country and you can something good. The problem with buying used is you can also get a bike in bad shape without knowing it. If you already know a lot about bikes you’ll know what to look for If you don’t it’s hard to know if important things are striped or the last time the bike was given a good lube. So for the beginner I would only buy a used bike from a shop. The shop should have already given the bike a good once over.

Lastly a hybrid or “commuter bike”. These bikes are often similar to mountain bikes in the gearing and braking system. The uprightness will depend on the bike. Basically a hybrid is a very utilitarian bike, lots of gears fairly upright and can be easily modified depending on your purpose. You could also modify a mountain bike for this purpose.

Other people have found that recumbent bikes do the trick for them. I have never ridden a recumbent and really don’t have much knowledge about them. If they seem like what you might be interested in I would go to your shop and check it out.

The second major consideration is what the frame is made out of. Mr. Sheldon brown has a good guide about this but roughly here are the goods. You want a strong bike. There is nothing wrong with a good steel frame. Chromoly or “CroMo” is a great choice in my opinion because it can carry a load but it’s much lighter than traditional steel. The material I would most caution against is carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is very brittle and can break without warning and is usually not recommended for people over 200lbs. This is usually used in Road bikes that are intended more for racing than the kind of basic use and travel you would be doing as a beginner starting out. If you want to start training to race more power to you just be advised that along with the added performance of carbon fiber there are problems.

If you want a road bike but you want it tough I would say look for a Touring bike. There are built and designed to carry heavy loads long distances. It’s a small part of the road bike market but they build them tough often with more forgiving gearing than a racing bike.  A Cyclocross bike is as strong as a Touring bike but without the storage rack.  With the popularity of cyclocross racing more bike are available and at lower prices than the few touring bikes on the market.

As far as specific bikes Electra makes a Dutch-style bike as well as several cruisers. If your in the Portland, Oregon Clever Cycles has a wonderful collecting of Dutch bikes and is one of the only places in the US to get some of the wonderful bikes they carry. As far as a hybrid goes most major manufacturers like Trek and Specialized make them. Surly also makes some great bikes; The Long haul Trucker being a bike I own and would highly recommend to anyone. Bianchi also makes some great bikes, A touring bike the Velpe, the Milano a cute city bike as well as some hybrids.

Next wheels and saddles.

Thanks for the hits

26 Feb

    I just wanted to say hello and thank you to the people reading this blog.  Every month I get more hits and I always wonder who is ending up here and why.  So pipe up!  If you have questions ask and if you have something to add say so.

A couple posts ago I mentioned bike information specific to large riders.  I am tackling bike styles and frame materials first.  And I am in the process of writing it.  In other words what kinds of bikes are good for what.  Hopefully that should be up by Friday.

Cute Monday:

25 Feb

I just got home from school and what do I find in my inbox? A lovely video (PSA) from London.  It’s a little sappy but I’m happy it exists.