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916 NW 21st Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209


21st Avenue Bicycles specializes in road bike sales, service and repairs. Located in NW Portland, Oregon, the shop can help you find the perfect bike for your ride. Bike commuting, road biking, racing or the casual cruise. 



Our Diary, Our Weblog, Our Blog, Our Heart of Hearts

On injury, weather, and inspiration

park chambers

Well it's a new year (is it too late to say "Happy New Year"?), full of promise and potential.  Yet here I am with a busted elbow and a foot of dirty snow on the ground.  So while I was ready to start 2017 off with a real bike riding BANG, I need to be patient and wait for the milder Springtimes weather and some stronger arm ligaments.

Last year I really caught the bikepacking bug.  After making a couple great weekend trips on friends' fat bikes both in-state and beyond, I rebuilt my trusty 'cross bike with parts better suited for multi-day, weighted off-road explorations.  The more I rode, the more I realized that a dedicated, large-tired bike really was the best tool for the job.  Fast forward to yesterday, and I have a new bike on the way (more on that later)! 

Basically, these rambling few sentences are my way of saying that even if you can't ride a bike right now (*raises hand*), this is the perfect time to seek out new routes and new stoke for adventure.  So sit back with your coffee/tea/whiskey and enjoy something short:

...and something a bit longer:

Here's to a positive and inspiring 2017.  I know there may be some 'bigger picture' challenges to that, but we're here to make sure at least your bikes are happy!

So you think you want to cyclocross...

park chambers

With 'cross season just around the corner, we reached out to Katy Salinas of Swift Racing for some pointers for beginners interested in trying cyclocross.  The Blind Date at the Dairy (Wednesday nights starting September 7) is a race series that attracts riders of all skill levels with an exciting on- and off-road course at the Alpenrose Dairy (and home of the velodrome).  Blind Date and Swift share our love of bicycles and the community they can build, and we're proud to continue sponsoring both organizations in the coming season!

So, what is cyclocross?

·      Cyclocross is a form of bicycle racing on a course with tight corners, obstacles, varying terrain.  The race is measured in time instead of distance - racers complete as many laps in the race time as possible. 

Can anyone race cyclocross?

·      Just about! You need a bicycle, helmet, race entry fee, and the ability to ride for 30-45 minutes.  If you have all of that and are ready to have fun, you can race cyclocross!

Can I race any bicycle?

·      There is a type of bicycle specifically for cyclocross racing, but a mountain bike will also work.

Do I need to do anything special to get my bike ready to race?

·      Basically, make sure it’s in good working condition: tires inflated, drive train and brakes work.  your local bike shop can get you squared away, but don’t wait until the last minute.  Also, 21st Avenue mechanics will be at Alpenrose for the Blind Date series for your race-day needs. 

·      Remove the commuting gear (racks, fenders).

·      Mount a front light if you are racing in the evening.

So how do I enter a race?

·      Check the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association calendar for race dates and info.

·      You need to buy a license—annual or single day.  A 2016 Cyclocross membership is only $20, or $5 for single day.

·      Register at the race or online (this involves a waiver and entry fee)

And it’s race day!  I’m super nervous, anything else I should know? 

·      Come well fed and hydrated so your body is ready to race. 

·      Pin your race number on your jersey according to the model at registration. 

·      Find out where the start is and get there about 10 minutes before your race. 

·      Almost all the racers want you to have as much fun as they do, so please feel welcome to ask questions.

And for any beginning women interested, there will be a skills clinic offered before each of the first four Blind Dates, 5 PM at Alpenrose.  Look for the Swift Racing tent and get ready to have fun!

Packs on Packs on Packs.

park chambers

Enter the monster. 

What I’m riding:
Medium 2016 Salsa Deadwood

What’s on it:
Revelate Salsa Frame Bag
Revelate Handlebar Harness / Ortlieb 3L Dry Bag
Revelate Handlebar Pocket
Revelate Gas Tank
Revelate Mountain Feed Bag
Revelate Viscacha Seat Bag
(2) Salsa Anything Cages HD
(2) Salsa Anything Bags

I’m pretty new to this whole idea of strapping what you need on a bike and
up and leaving civilization. All I know is hating steep uphills and loving
rough and rocky downhills. The closest I’ve gotten to bikepacking is my
puny commute just a couple blocks to the shop with my lunch on my back. So
when Kurt asks me to throw all these bags on a Deadwood, ride out to
Forest Park in the blistering hot sun, and see what this bike is made of,
what do I do? Say hell yeah, of course.

I mean just look at the thing. Tell me you don’t want to drop everything
and become a creature in the wood. Tell me you don’t want to strap an
somewhere on this bike so you can chop wood to feed your beastly fire at
camp 100 miles away from the nearest city. Tell me you don’t want to ride
this machine through the depths of mud hell. Unfortunately, I did none of
those things as I’m sure the people of Forest Park would question my
intentions. But even our mellow lunch trip through the city has made me a

Coming from someone who has never ridden a bike with anything more than a
seat post bag, it was way easier ridding a fully-loaded Deadwood than I
thought. I was expecting the Ortlieb 3L Dry Bag to catch on my brakes or
the Revelate Salsa Frame bag to rub my legs raw. To my surprise, Revelate
has fine tuned their designs to create a tight nit and comfortable fit.
Even while making sharp turns, the bags did not fuss or catch.

Sure, on mellow roads almost any bag can stay put and carry your underwear, so I was curious to how these would perform on rough terrain. Pavement, sure. Gravel roads, no problem. Uneven trail, still going. But what about the steep stuff? The stuff I crave. So can the bags hold up
when the bike is really getting rocked? We didn’t have much terrain to choose from out at Forest Park, but we did our best. Even getting a tiny rowdy, the bags stayed put. Really, they didn’t make much of a difference. It rode just like a bare Deadwood should. Granted, I didn’t have my bags loaded down with the gear for the Great Divide, but hey, it’s the thought that counts.

And what can I say about the bike. Salsa has hit the nail on the head with this drop bar mountain bike. I’ve never ridden a drop bar mountain bike before and I was definitely worried about the bars compromising the control. The only thing the bars did was give me more options for hand positions. I felt stable on any uneven trail and comfortable on the climbs. This bike was made for the rough long haul.

Overall, Revelate has crafted a seriously functional collection of bags. If I had to choose a favorite, I just love the Mountain Feed Bag. It makes it so easy to access snacks, phones, or any small what-nots while still cruising. Definitely a must on those long rides I hear so much about. And the Deadwood… It’s a pure ripping machine ready to haul all your outdoor living needs.

But seriously, look at how cool this thing is.


   - Lauren Reynolds

- Lauren Reynolds