To make sure that the week goes smoothly, it’s a good idea to have everything you need at the start of the week. It’s best to think of this as an unsupported ride as Suzy will not be driving along with us during the day nor are there any organized rest stops although there will be plenty of stores/shops along the way. We also can’t guarantee that we will always be riding together so it’s best to plan to be fully independent during the ride each day. So, plan to carry everything you need for each ride!
Weather? It’s Oregon so you’ll probably experience every kind of weather and I’m not going to tempt fate by pointing out that early September is usually pretty good. It will be cold in the early mornings and into the evenings/night time so make sure you have warm stuff for any early morning starts and for going out in the evenings. Your typical Oregonian will wander around on September evenings at the coast in flip flops, shorts, a t-shirt and a fleece with a cap or beanie hat for some extra head warmth. You’re gonna get the beauty of summer along with the coziness of pub beer and food on a cool, clear night.
I’m assuming we’ll mostly be eating out in local pubs & restaurants along the way to make the most of Oregon (I’m not gonna miss Local Ocean Seafoods in Newport!).
Anyone that wants to buy supplies but not carry them on your way to Astoria, feel free to order online and have them sent to my address in your name and I’ll bring the package with me to Astoria (DM me for the address). It’s worth checking Portland-Oregon-based-company www.biketiresdirect.com for your bike supplies as they’re fast and reliable (and they stock more than tires). There will be bike shops along the way but they are few and far between. Supplies are generally cheaper in the US than the UK e.g. tyres/tires so those coming from the UK might want to bring an empty suitcase.
What size bag should you bring? Don’t forget we have to fit 6 people, 5 bags and all of our kit into Dave’s truck at the end. To that end, we would say less is better. The pickup bed is about 5 ft x 6ft x 2 ft. So each person has to fit their stuff into 2x2x2.5 feet if Dave is doing the math right. That’s basically a duffel bag and a little extra bike gear. Dave will bring the bike pump and a few extra tools. So plan to leave your big cases somewhere!
To that end, here are my suggestions for a checklist. Feel free to ignore or adjust to suit your tastes!
On the rides: Clothes
Sunglasses (interchangeable lenses are great for Oregon riding)
Shorts/Bib & Cream
Light rain/wind jacket (that will fit in your jersey pocket or on your bike)
Sleeveless base layer (maybe)
Arm warmer sleeves (maybe)
Shoe covers (maybe if it starts off raining)
On the rides: Other Supplies
Snack Bars / Gels etc
Water Bottles (2 recommended)
Lemon/Salt/Sugar or fancy powders for hydration
Underseat or frame bag for your basic tools etc.
Multi-tool (even though they usually turn out to be useless when you need them!)
Pump or gas canisters/inflator (DO NOT forget about your bag and take gas canisters on the plane when you’re traveling here!)
Spare tubes (unless you’ve gone tubeless (and I’ve no idea what you need for them!))
Tire levers x 2
Phone/GPS or paper map, whatever keeps you on the route!
Front and Rear Lights (it’s the LAW in Oregon whenever there is limited visibility and anyway it’s the #1 tool to ride safe). Suggest your rear light is strong enough to be seen clearly in the daytime but also has a setting for group riding that won’t blind people.
Easy on/off fender/mudguards can help in group rides when it’s wet (I have a $12 one that just slides into the seat and does the job)
Basic emergency medical supplies e.g. gauze pads and tape
Cash, credit/debit cards, ID and Proof of Insurance (Brits take note of the last two)
Have an emergency phone number somewhere on your person
Phone (Brits get an international plan if you can)
Bike Lock (if you want to lock your bike up when stopping at cafes/shops etc.)
For the Time Off the Bike: General
Your favorite post-ride snacks
Breakfast stuff (assuming lunch and dinner will mostly happen out but you might want to check some basic bags of pasta in or something if you’re desperately hungry and can’t walk)
Washing powder to keep that kit fresh
Charging cables / adapters for the Brits
Spare batteries (if your lights need them)
At least one spare tyre/tire and inner tubes
Tools (the Oregonians will bring theirs which should cover all of us)
Decent Bike Pump (Oregonians will supply)
Casual warm clothes (you can wear pretty much whatever you want in pubs and restaurants in Oregon)
Swimming stuff for beaches, pools and hot tubs along the way
Medical supplies for basic things that could come up through the week
Devices to stop you snoring & ear plugs
US and Oregon Road Tips
- Ride on the right side of the road. Never the left!
- In Oregon, bikes are treated like cars in the eye of the law. Including drink driving/riding.
- Any vehicle/bike can make a right turn through a red light if there is nothing coming.
- Any vehicle/bike can make a right or left turn through a red light onto a one-way street.
- You can cycle through a stop sign if there is no traffic (the Idaho law). Cars can’t do this. This is fairly new in Oregon so some drivers may still not be aware of it.
- Pedestrians can cross anywhere there is a lower section in the kerb stones – even if there is no pedestrian crossing. Technically, you should stop. Most pedestrians will be kind and wait for you to go through.
- As you are all over 18, legally, you are not required to wear a helmet but of course it’s advisable. If you don’t, you might also find yourself shouted at by pedestrians.
- You have to have a front light and a rear light (or reflector) any time when there is limited visibility (which could include if a rain shower descends). Basically, always have a front and back light. I would recommend a back light that is clearly visible in the day. That’s the biggest impact in my experience on making sure that drivers give you plenty of room. Also have a rear light that has a lower setting for group riding.
- For Oregon roads, I recommend 25mm width tyres/tires for a good balance of comfort and speed. Something with some grip is good in case it gets wet e.g. something like the Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons. But go with whatever works for you!
- We use the same turning signs in the US i.e. holding out your right or left arm straight. For a right turn you may also hold your left arm with a 90 degree bend at the elbow and your hand held up like you want to ask a question. This is more visible to the driver and allows you to keep a right hand on the bars if you’re right-handed.
- There are fairly standard symbols in the US for group riding to communicate to others down the line. We can discuss these on the Sunday in Astoria.
- Unlike the UK, do not assume you can joke or reason with police in the US. Do exactly what they ask you to do or risk escalating the situation.
- The police will stop you for running red lights, stop signs etc. and fines can ensue. Look out for police cars!
- If you have a bike problem and are on your own, try flagging down a truck to take you to the next town. Oregonians are generally kind, generous and very helpful.
- Unlike the Brits, Americans are generally not OK with you peeing au natural in trees and bushes. Either wait for public restrooms, a port-a-potty/honey bucket or a cafe. If you’re desperate, get yourself way out of sight!
- Stu & GP – make sure you have comprehensive insurance which includes sporting activities such as road biking. Carry the details of your insurance with you at all times.
- Don’t forget to tip in cafes, restaurants etc.! General rule of thumb in Oregon is 10% for some kind of self-service situation or 15-20% for full service. Anything less than 15% and they’ll think you were unhappy with the service for some reason. Carry some cash for tips although generally you will add it to cards. Some stores have started adding tip options at checkout. You do not need to tip in stores although you have to have the guts to decline it when you’re checking out!
- Also for the Brits – Don’t forget the electricity supply in the US is 110v. So, only bring electrical gear with you that has the 110v/240v symbol on the charger. Most electronic chargers work with both but leave your hair dryer and waffle iron at home.
- Wondering about guns? Oregon is not an ‘open-carry’ state meaning that you will not see a gun on someone’s hip. There’s a stricter licensing process in Oregon for someone wishing to carry a ‘concealed’ weapon on their person. So, people may have a gun on their person or in their car and it’s highly unlikely that you will see one during the week. However, for the Brits who could think about getting into an argument with someone that might develop into a road rage situation in the UK, I would think twice about doing that in the US. Be friendly and polite!