Winter Ride Around Canby, Oregon

For the past several years, I have been drawn south to Canby from my Portland home base for winter cycling.

The Willamette River bends in a sharp s-curve at Canby before heading north toward its confluence with the mighty Columbia River.  Its beauty calls to me.  Fall colors, winter which promises spring, and the mesmerizing quiet of the ride offer a compelling contrast to cycling in Portland.

Today, I followed this little town’s cycling loop, rather accidentally.  I’ve ridden here a lot, and have ventured east of town up onto the plateau that sits above the river, and boasts the best of Oregon farm country – hazelnut groves, vegetable crops, and horses, cattle, sheep, and llamas a-plenty.  The basic route depicted above is a totally flat 11 mile loop.  It’s easy to add side trips to your journey, as there’s lots to explore around this sweet little town.

I’ve recently converted my 1980’s custom Meral 650b bicycle to more upright style handlebars.  On today’s ride one of my goals was to evaluate the bike’s ergonomics with the new Velo-Orange Tourist handlebars.

I wasn’t sure how to think about the brake levers for this bike – I wanted to stay true to its French heritage, and resisted purchasing new brake levers for the upright bar.  I finally settled on these black vintage Mafac levers.  I also removed 3 cm of bar material from each bar end of the V-O tourist bars.  I have found that modern upright style bars are generally too wide and long, and without cutting them down can give your bike an out of balance appearance, not to mention being uncomfortable.

To keep the bars free for additional hand positions I opted for stem mounted shifters.  These SunTour ratcheting shifters performed just fine, but I did have to adjust the position of the rear derailleur on down-shifts, whereas upshifts were near perfect.  I may replace these with some stem mounted Simplex Retrofriction shifters once I have a mounting option identified.

Oregon City Falls

The City of Canby sits along the Willamette River, upstream from the falls and locks at the historic town of Oregon City.  Today, the river was swift moving.  Maybe, I was too.

My 1980’s Meral is built with Reynolds 531 tubing, with a fully chromed fork (and with chromed main tubes underneath the dark lavender paint). That, plus converting the bike to 650b has made it one of my most treasured bicycles.  Happy riding in 2019!

10 thoughts on “Winter Ride Around Canby, Oregon

  1. That is a nice looking ride, plus I really like your bike set up. I have an older bike (Trek 420) converted with a 650B wheelset that I built up, it has been 2 years since the conversion and it really makes a big difference. They do add a new life to these older frames.

    • Hi Bob, it would be great if many of these extraordinary older frames could be converted to 650b. Some do not have the right brake reach, clearance, or geometry. But, a lot of the bike boom bikes are perfect candidates for 650b conversion. Riding on wider tires and being able to have fenders installed is a real plus for cycling enjoyment.

  2. Wonderful pictures and it looks like you had a great ride! I too went out yesterday for my Sunday ride , a great day for a great activity! keep the pedais moving, Joe

  3. Very nice writeup. I truly enjoy reading your posts! Keep them coming! I enjoy riding my 1970’s racing bicycle, a Fuji S12-S LTD around my town, too.

      • Thanks Nola. My Fuji bike has had a LOT of owners and has a history of being into lots of races here in Savannah GA. That’s one best reason why I’m crazy about it besides it being a great enjoyable bike. I don’t see myself departing with this bike. It’s my PRIDE. AND. JOY. What brand/model racing bicycle do you own that you’re crazy about?

  4. Hi Nola,

    What are your thoughts on Barnett’s bicycle manual? I have a chance to pick up a four volume 2003 set. Is it useful for a particular aspect of repair. I’ve read mixed reviews.

    Thanks, Daryl

    On Sun, Jan 13, 2019 at 11:01 PM Restoring Vintage Bicycles from the Hand Built Era wrote:

    > Nola Wilken posted: ” For the past several years, I have been drawn south > to Canby from my Portland home base for winter cycling. The Willamette > River bends in a sharp s-turn at Canby before heading north and calls to > me. Fall colors, winter which promises spring, ” >

    • Hi Daryl,
      I haven’t used Barnett’s and I don’t have any of its volumes in my collection. You shouldn’t take that as a negative, though. I use vintage bicycle repair manuals, as well as Park Tools Big Blue Book, and I have a few Sutherlands’ manuals as well. Most useful for my work are the vintage manuals. You should be able to find out more about whether or not Barnetts manuals will work for the kind of wrenching you do by visiting forums. For my work, I have found Glenn’s as well as the Park book to be the most consistently helpful, but I often I end up searching the net when working on pre- 1970 components and bicycles.

  5. Stems with integral shifter bosses do exist. Certainly not a common part. I’ve seen two in person and another half dozen offered for sale. Good news is every one of them was French. The quick way to get one would be commission a custom. Or if there were a steel stem with other dimensions correct it would be a simple job to add the bosses.

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