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As it pours outside, take a trip to the headquarters of Showers Pass

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015
Showers Pass HQ

Front lobby of Showers Pass HQ in southeast Portland.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This local business profile was written by BikePortland contributor Jessie Kwak. Her last piece was about how bicycles are helping a Portland man recover from a traumatic brain injury.

When I lived in Seattle, I didn’t own a rain jacket or an umbrella. The city may get a bad rap for rain, but the precipitation most often comes as a week-long drizzle, rather than the heavy rain showers I’ve become familiar with since moving to Portland. And with a particularly rainy winter in the forecast, you can bet I’m looking for a cycling rain jacket that can handle Portland downpours.

Enter Showers Pass.[Read more…]

How Karl Moritz uses bikes to recover from a traumatic brain injury

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
moritzlead

Karl Moritz and his custom build.
(Photo: Jessie Kwak)

The last time we checked in on Karl Moritz he was back on the bike and had tackled his first century ride. Our new writer Jessie Kwak sat down with him last week to learn about the latest ways he’s using cycling to recover from his traumatic brain injury. – Jonathan

Many BikePortland readers may remember Karl Moritz’s story, after a crash in Ladd Circle in June of 2010 left him in a coma for three weeks.
[Read more…]

Product review: Turn Siri into your mechanic with the OTTO Tuning System

Friday, November 6th, 2015
otto-bikeprofile

My bike’s profile in the app.

One of the cool things about having a good friend or a partner with a different knowledge set than you is that it gives you access to expertise without having to be an expert in everything yourself. Since my partner is a bike mechanic, it means I don’t have to master a headset press — and he doesn’t have to master WordPress.

Although I’m very familiar with basic bike maintenance, I’m by no means an expert. Sure, I understand how to adjust my derailleur, but I’m always going on guesswork. And un-expert guesswork, at that.

That’s the problem that the new derailleur tuning system from OTTO DesignWorks, a startup based a few miles south of Portland in Wilsonville, is trying to solve. Their OTTO Tuning System uses an iPhone’s camera, visual alignment technology, and a set of gauges to help you quickly adjust your derailleur. It’s compatible with most Shimano and SRAM 9-, 10- and 11-speed cassettes, and costs $39.
[Read more…]

Book Review: Our Bodies, Our Bikes

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
oubods_lg

The cover art is a nod to The Sprockettes,
a mini-bike dance team based in Portland.

[Publisher’s note: Please welcome our new writer Jessie Kwak. She’ll be writing a range of stories, including a monthly product review. – Jonathan]

As a woman who’s been riding her bike for years, I’ve learned a lot about how to deal with my gender-specific cycling needs – mostly through awkwardly-broached conversations with other women who bike. There are a lot of questions that no one wants to ask. “Are you supposed to wear underwear under those padded bike shorts?” “Is it weird that I’m constantly starving since I started bike commuting?” And the biggie: “How do you make it stop hurting you-know-where?”

Reading Our Bodies, Our Bikes, a new book edited by Elly Blue and April Streeter (and funded via a Kickstarter campaign), is a lot like having those weird conversations. Just in loud, joyful voices using poetic turns of phrase.

The book is full of essays by women willing to delve into the most intimate parts of their lives as openly as if they were knocking back a few beers with their girlfriends. [Read more…]