Rider House Portland served as a homecoming of sorts. We’ve visited Portland on numerous occasions and have a phenomenal network of custom teams, ambassadors, and Factory Team members. Our hosts for the trip were Ryan’s parents, which provided a welcome feel of home after two weeks on the road.
We reached out to Speedvagen, a premier made in the USA bicycle manufacturer based in Portland, to help us organize a mixed surface ride. Eliel has been making custom kits for Speedvagen’s cyclocross race team for a number of seasons and we relish the opportunity to explore the local’s only trails and backroads.
On Saturday morning, we met at the Speedvagen workshop where the showroom encapsulates what the company is about. The utilitarian space puts emphasis on the craftsmanship and attention to detail in the bikes and paintjobs. All the frames are made of tubing that is cut, welded, and painted on site. Speedvagen is a beautiful blend of art and function but, as we experienced from riding with their crew, that doesn’t hold them back from pushing the limits of the bikes.
We were pleased to be joined by Mitchell from PDX Ti, a team that we have done custom apparel with for a few years, as well as Joel, an incredibly accomplished Portland based rider that has been providing us with invaluable feedback and assisting with our product development. Randle, from Mettle Cycling, also joined us for the start of the ride, and we are proud to be making cyclocross kits for the Mettle p/b Leave It On The Road team.
Brent from Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Richard from Speedvagen were our guides, and we cruised together through the back neighborhoods until we reached Mount Tabor Park. Our group stretched into a longer line as we wound our way through the woods and over the root-laden trails. We continued our journey over to Powell Butte, where another singletrack climb had us picking our line carefully over the rocky terrain while pushing our physical limit. This effort was rewarded at the top of Powell Butte, and we were greeted with panoramic views of the rolling and mountainous terrain that surrounds Portland.
Our next climb found us winding our way through Gresham Butte. The grade pitches right up into the mid twenties, presenting a challenge of keeping weight on the front wheel while also pedaling smoothly so to maintain traction. Just as the trail felt like it might never end, we turned off on a small path that took us to a picturesque old bus where we regrouped and caught our breathe.
The ride down was technical, with rocks and roots disrupting the flow of each turn. The descent required as much mental focus as we could give. We regrouped at the bottom, and cruised back along the Springwater Corridor. Speedvagen had post-ride beverages and snacks for all, and we had a chance to show off our latest collections.
Our friends in Portland made sure we had the perfect combination of a physical challenge and stunning riding, giving us the quintessential PDX experience. We are already talking about when we can go back to visit, and can’t wait for our next adventure in Portland. Our next Rider House recap will be from our last stop in Boulder, Colorado, coming soon!