Bikes May Be Hard to Find in 2021

Bikes. Oh, I love them so. I suppose it is a neo archetypal post bike invention thing.  Late January I reached a “let it go” breaking point. Truth is… I had run out of room for my bike hoarding problem. I decided to recognize the bikes in my “collection” we only serving my ego and some sort of weird FOMO variant.  Simultaneously, I was way behind a scheduled delivery of the County’s Scenic Bikeways – Brochure/Maps anticipated by the Green Bike Coop. Rick Hill, a member of the County’s Bicycle and Advisory Committee is also a longtime volunteer of Green Bikes in Waldport. The shop had run out of the popular brochures.

From the 1880s to the 1910s, Americans took to the wheel, sparking a nationwide bicycle craze. In the era before automobiles, bicycles were a means of affordable personal mobility. The National Museum of American History

Reed and I took a Marie Kondo approach. I didn’t even take portrait photos of our precious klunkers. Our donations were second hand and garage sale jackpot discoveries. We loaded up the truck, headed to Waldport and dropped off four bikes. We had a nice visit:  we handed off the bike brochures, Rick agreed to make an appearance on County Connections Radio Show, and we had a look around.

Included in our drop was Reed’s current bike.  He’s basically outgrown the thing. I’ve been shopping for this next bike for several years. The unfolding trajectory to me was known – at least, I thought it was. Thus, I called Bike Newport. To my surprise, however, staff said that I should anticipate a new bike somewhere between May and July.  “Oh shit…” Not good. We just gave away our daily rider. I went with my back up plan and began calling around Corvallis. By the end of the day, I had called five bike shops and visited several web sites. Nada. Keep in mind I am searching for a 24 MTB kid’s bike. My search queries were in the “kid’s bike” domain.

Rick Hill and the Green Bike Co-Op. Serving the community for 14 years. News Times has a fairly recent expose on the shop. Browsing the Co-Op’ website – I am wondering if it’s a little out of date. One of the things I will cover with Rick when we meet this week.

Here’s the copy and paste: “Bike Shortages Will Likely Last Until Next Year, and Possibly into 2022. Industry experts say production and supply chain can’t keep up with the recent boom.

When we speak of the COVID’s silver linings – discovering the outdoors seems to be high on everyone’s list. Social media easily provides the anecdotal evidence. People are getting out and getting active. This is a good byproduct of a virus that takes advantage of those with comorbidities and who have backburned the ever-essential movement practices that give humans health and wellness.

We got lucky. On the day I called Peak Sports in Corvallis the salesperson had just received and intranet notice that a Specialized order had been verified. He scanned the inventory and would be receiving one 24-inch kid’s bike. Just one.

The great news was this model was my first choice. I had planned to choose our local bike shop’s manufacturer even though the offering had a few less features. Kids go through bikes so fast. What’s your budget? How much should parents spend? Many answers, many options to consider. In that moment I didn’t hesitate. A week later we picked up Reed’s new sled.

Ahh, yes. The moment of truth… Well, the real moment comes when you actually ride the thing. Picking up a new bike does not provide “new car smell”. Many questions asked. One revelation was replacement tubes are hard to find. More planning and searching for the parts and accessories that are inevitably needed.

The whole affair has fired up my contemplative neurons.  Wired has a new story: “A Plan to Fix the US Bike Shortage Demand for bikes has soared in the pandemic. To spur production, the US should adopt the industrial policies from the Asian countries it relies on”. If you are one to search out us manufactured products this is a quick primer on how we might think about US manufacturing resiliency. 

It’s pretty amazing to realize that “In the early 1970s, bicycle sales boomed in the United States, and annual bike production averaged about 15 million per year” followed by… “Chinese factories produced about 95 percent of the 17 million bikes sold in the US in 2018, and they provide 60 percent of US bike component imports.” – Wired

As a bike enthusiast I’ve kept my eye on US made products and tried to utilize them where and when. It’s often true these parts cost more BUT they tend to be trick! Unfortunately, the entire ecosystem/supply chain of components has long existed outside of the US. At this point, it’s a fantasy that we’ll be seeing bikes made from top to bottom in the US any time soon. I would love for more local manufacturing to reoccur in the bike industry and elsewhere. It’s more or less a complex – depending on the type of products under consideration.

So. If your determined to get our early this year and determined to make 2021 a healthy victory.  If you need a bike for the coming riding season… START RIGHT NOW!

Pick up that phone and be ready to make a down payment. Be ready to choose alternate brands. You might be ready to travel, as well. Pineapple Express Adventures in Port Orford has bikes, incoming bikes and used bikes. But, inventory changes quickly. Note that Green Bike Coop, Waldport, can help you repair your current bike, they give away bikes, they also sell used bikes. It’s a groovy alternative worth supporting.

I snagged this image from Oakridge Bike Shop’s website and thought it was pretty cool. Oliva told me they had moved all customer interactions outside of the shop. Traversing into spring and summer this is likely to change. I just love their shop culture and commitment to customer service which extends out and onto the trail work they engage in.

I spoke with Oakridge Bike Shop and RIGHT NOW they have LOTS of inventory. Their shop model is largely “demos” – meaning they have a rental bike feet and sell the rentals throughout the riding season. As the recipient of one of their bikes I have been incredibly happy with the result. I purchased my Salsa Timber Jack after it had been out on the trail 17 times. In essence, I purchased a used bike (new retail $2,000) for $1,250. NOTE: at this time they are uncertain just how they will unload their current bikes into spring and summer.  Demos/rentals vs. owning your own bike. Again, don’t wait. If you are going to keep riding and would prefer your own bike. Figure it out. Now.

I will be emailing Oakridge Bike Shop and pre purchasing parts that I might anticipate needing to replace in the coming months. On my list: disc brake pads, chain, tires, tubes, shifting cables and housing.

Hope these tips keep you going gang! Good luck out there and be safe!

Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve (Part 1)

Question: What are Biosphere Reserves? (UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)

Answer: “Biosphere reserves are ‘learning places for sustainable development’. They are sites for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity. They are places that provide local solutions to global challenges. Biosphere reserves include terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems. Each site promotes solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use…. Biosphere reserves are nominated by national governments and remain under the sovereign jurisdiction of the states where they are located.”

Hart’s Cove Trail at Cascade Head. A welcome bench awaited us as we made the 2.7 mile descent. This rest stop appears to gaze over the destination to come. We didn’t find out on this journey. But, we’ll be back!

I saw Paul Robertson (Re – Robertson Environmental) in September at the Multi Agency Resource Center (MARC). He flashed me on the concept of our biosphere reserve and that Kaety and I might participate in an upcoming listening session with interested parties. At the moment I don’t have a lot of details about this event and do not see it posted on either ( or ( I should have more to come on this soon. Nevertheless, this run in with Paul was a stimulus for my own exploration of the Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve.

I had difficulty wrapping my head around the general concept in the beginning. Indicative of how little I am knowledgeable and trained in matters of ecology and nature’s living systems. I spend an unhealthy amount of time in the digital matrix.  So, instead of navigating to resources about our actual biosphere reserve I first watched the 2020 documentary Spaceship Earth – as if I expected to see a Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome unknow to me in north county!

It was designed to explore the web of interactions within life systems in a structure with different areas based on various biological biomes. (Wikipedia)

The documentary is well done and enjoyable. As I learned more about Cascade Head the concept of “Biosphere 2 (which) was originally meant to demonstrate the viability of closed ecological systems to support and maintain human life in outer space” became a nicely placed tangent to my growing understanding of why we might create an artificial system or designate a geographical space as a biosphere.  

Real or artificial we have an opportunity to observe, measure, explore and discover. Biosphere 2 was comprised of seven biome areas (3.14-acre).  How might a small group of “biospherians” survive in the largest materially closed ecological system ever created?  How would the enclosed mangrove, savanna, ocean and more thrive along with its inhabitants? Turns out (spoiler alert) not well.

We have much to learn and optimize before colonizing our next planet.  Taking it up an octave we much to learn about the original spaceship earth. Modern times debate our current stewardship. Oxygen levels were difficult to maintain in the 1991 experiment. It turned out the microbes in the soil and the curing cement were outliers that necessitated turning up the volume on the carbon dioxide scrubbers and pumping in some fresh air.

Biosphere 2 is now owned by the University of Arizona. Its mission is to serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching, and lifelong learning about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the universe. Looks like they have a podcast. We’ll be checking that out!

Our First Trip – A Hero’s Journey

On November 30th, my son and I embarked on our first adventure to the real deal. Its notable to disclose that I did close to zero research about where we were going and what the hell we were getting into. Oddly, post hike, I am still having difficulty searching the interwebs for practical information about how to access and enter the area. I’ll take responsibility for my clunky research should I just be missing the simplicity of the request.

We traveled up Hwy 101 not far from Lincoln City/Otis and turned east on N. Three Rocks Road – Cascade Head Trail. The gated and gravel road was easily navigated with occasional tight spots with oncoming traffic. We initially traveled to the Nature Conservancy Trail which was closed. We continued to Hart’s Cove Trail and found parking and turn around space along with 15 other vehicles.

Reed Miller. 10 years old. We debated heading down Hart’s Cove Trail. After months of distance learning and tele-work at home we were finally on a journey together. It was epic simplicity. He demonstrated courage and a positive mindset to get moving!

My lack of planning would thwart our endeavor. We left our home in Newport with minimal intel:  “We’ll take that turn off…. You know the one we’ve seen on the way to Pacific City? The one that says Cascade Head Trail. I think that’s where we should go. I think we can hike to the ocean? Let’s just see what happens.” I had watched several videos on the Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve You Tube channel anticipating we would be in for some ocean eye candy at some point.

Shortly after we entered Hart’s Cove Trail we inquired with passing hikers.

“How long did it take?”

“About an hour down and an hour back”.

One hiker had the rhythm. “Naismith’s Rule estimates hiking time on reasonably easy ground based on 19½ minutes for every mile, plus 30 minutes for every 1,000 feet of ascent.” The trail head sign said “This 2.7 mile hiker trail takes you past Cliff Creek and into the Neskowin Crest Research Natural Area. It ends in a grassy meadow with no beach access. The first ½ mile of trail is rather steep.”

Calculating our situation, we realized that at our current time of 2:15 pm we would exit the trail head at dark. This left us little time to explore the grassy meadow, soak up ocean views and worship the setting sun. It would be prime time for photography. I could taste the Instagram worthy outcome of making it to the end. We continued. The other hikers we encountered were going the opposite direction.

“Most people do not know at all how beautiful the world is and how much magnificence is revealed in the tiniest things, in some flower, in a stone, in tree bark, or in a birch leaf. (Letters on Life)”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

As the clock ticked and our legs continued to tire, we stopped and deliberated. He was becoming nervous and I was concerned our return might be too intense should we tackle the last of the trail in the darkness. We had no food or lighting. I provided an inspiring lecture: it was the journey not the destination that we should embrace. We decide to reverse course. During our return I could hear Reed’s boots dragging into the trail. We were in darkness as we lifted ourselves into the comfort of our truck.  

I am grateful for Paul’s request to include us in this upcoming conversation about our local biosphere designation. At the moment, I know little of the breadth, depth and purpose this meeting he has asked me to attend. It has required that I begin to explore the subject of Cascade Head. Most significantly, for my own mental and physical health, the greatest reward thus far has been spending time with my boy in the outdoors. Reed and I desperately needed to get out of the house. In my professional work as a public information officer for Lincoln County 2020 has been vigorous. Our organization’s response to COVID has created a significant workload. Additionally, the response and continued recovery to the Echo Mountain fire has added a seemingly endless menu of options in my work life.

We struggled for about 1/2 hour deliberating to stay the course or turn back. Ultimately, we called it quits. To date, this is the longest hike Reed has made. He displayed courage and joy. Being outdoors is the rejuvenator.

One layer of future inquiry is the possibility that structures destroyed in the Echo Mountain Fire might result in toxic run off into the Salmon River. The Salmon River and its estuary is a notable feature of Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve. This “social system” of human dwellings may have a negative impact on the “ecological systems” within the biosphere. The purpose of a biosphere is to create conscious awareness of our interrelationships with other living systems: winter rains pass through ash and debris and enter larger waterways. What are the consequences?

Since our adventure I have continued to research this topic. Right now, I am curious to understand more about how the United Nations fits into the sphere of influence.

The UN’s objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law (Wiki)

“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.” (SDGS)

How might we model these goals locally? Its inspiring to think we’ve got a head start in this thinking turned into action: Cascade Head Biosphere is our local biosphere within in Spaceship Earth. Its a living template. We are certainly blessed to have this asset.

Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve. The local influencers: Paul Robertson, MSc (Project & Communications Manager), Duncan Berry (CHBR Co-Organizer/Cascade Head Resident) and Dan Twitchell (CHBR Co-Organizer/Cascade Head Resident).

More to come in part two… My continued lines of inquiry include the following links and more: