Free Wheeling: Safety

Been Off Your Bike? Here Are 4 Easy Steps to Get Back in the Saddle.

Among them: how to maximize tush comfort

By Rebecca Jacobson May 28, 2019 Published in the June 2019 issue of Portland Monthly

Look at your bike. Your sad, unused bike, with its deflated tires and its seat that jabs you in all the wrong places. Does it fill you with guilt? No more! Here are three easy ways to maximize your cycling satisfaction.

1. Comfort is king.

Think professional bike fits are reserved for racers? Nope. A fit is about making your bike comfortable for your body. Commuters and recreational riders can benefit enormously from a session with a fitter, who’ll assess saddle height, handlebar placement, and more. Tiny tweaks can make a huge difference, and a full-body fit—which starts around $120—is almost certainly cheaper than shelling out for a new bike. Check out Endurance Cycling Studio, Pedal PT, and Gladys Bikes. Gladys also offers a saddle library, a lendable lineup of seats you can tush-test until you find your perfect match.

2. Learn some rules and routes.

PBOT’s Portland By Cycle program targets those newer to the city or to cycling, with free clinics on safety and route-finding as well as guided group rides through the city’s bikeway network. Rides, which run most Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in July and August, are six- to 12-mile loops at a relaxed pace. This summer, they’ll visit a few of the city's latest bike projects, from new bike lanes on SE Foster Road to in-progress greenways in East Portland. PBOT also runs Sunday Parkways: a super-popular series of traffic-free, ultra-family-friendly events in different neighborhoods across the city. 

3. Get greasy.

Many shops in town hold free classes covering flat repair and basic maintenance—find a list on PBOT’s website. Ready to level up to derailleur adjustments, wheel truing, and beyond? The Community Cycling Center offers five-week courses, or get more individualized attention at Gracie’s Wrench, where classes are capped at two or four students.

4. Gamify!

Local app Ride will automatically log your trips—and bestow you with badges for riding in wet weather, hitting multiday streaks, and encountering epic train delays or bridge raises (no joke).

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