Why was I in Portland? My sister and I took a one week Introduction to Bicycle Maintenance Class at the United Bicycle Institute in Northeast Portland. Now – this is probably like my trip to Europe: many of you are envious or wish you could have joined me. Perhaps next time.
Many friends in Texas told me that surely the same class must be offered in Houston or Austin. Why Portland? First – it is August and Portland has a lot nicer weather than Houston. Second – the class looked to be quite comprehensive – 8 hours a day x 5 days. Third – my sister had a week off and was going to be in Portland. She and I are planning a long bike trip in the next few years.
Portland is an extremely bike-friendly town. UBI is in NE Portland – there are bike shops everywhere. The term “Biker Bar” means something totally different in Portland. There is definitely a culture of biking.
Our class consisted of 14 students – only one of whom was from Portland. There were a few from the west coast but also students from Florida and Canada.
I brought an older Trek 7700 Hybrid with me to the class. I bought the Trek in 2002 but had not ridden it since I got my “other bike” in 2006. It has been in the garage for 8 years. Needless to say, it was the perfect bike for the class as everything needed replacing or maintenance of some kind.
The class started with tires – then bearings, chains, and derailleurs, then brakes, and headsets. The class finished up with discussions of proper tools for home and road trips.
The class was about 40% lecture and 60% hands-on. I have learned a ton about bicycles and gained a lot of confidence to be able to tackle basic issues. UBI provided a really good reference manual with step-by-step instructions that will help when I get home.
In addition to all this bike knowledge, I got to spend a week with my sister and significant time with my two nieces … all while enjoying the cool weather of the Northwest!