The sun's finally crashed through the clouds in the Rose City, which means it's time get outside and ride. But first, you need to get out and shop. For some, new brake pads, tires or even a pair of shorts will provide just the right amount of motivation for a season on two wheels. But for true gear junkies, spring usually means

Fit to be Tried
Critical Ass
Bike Geeks Unite!!!
Events Calendar
Get Your Gear On
Beauty of the Beasts
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wandering around a beloved bike shop looking like a fish with a big, shiny, lure dangling in front of its nose. So if you're itching for new gear, take a look at these new offerings. And remember, always get help from your favorite shop with size, fit, or compatibility with your current gear.

Spot Wool Clothing

Most of us remember our wool jerseys being stinky, dank and itchy. Well, times sure have changed. The new weaves of New Zealand merino wool have made this age-old material new again. A small Northwest company (albeit one over the border) has gender-specific styles to please the grungiest mountain biker to the sleekest roadie. Spot brand makes jerseys ($79-$109) in short and long sleeve, socks and the comfiest pair of knickers you could wrestle yourself into. Available at River City Bicycles, 706 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 233-5973, and other locations.

Full Wood Fenders

Most of us think about our fenders they same way we think about our garbage cans. They're black, crusty and not very attractive--but they get the job done. Woody fenders ($149-$169) have made bicycle fenders pieces of art. Choose from such woods as cherry, ash, rosewood and zebrawood, with all stainless-steel hardware. Install a pair of these and every bike in town will envy your ride. Available at River City Bicycles.

Lone Star Pneumo Helmet

Giro took its top-of-the-line helmet one step further by making a limited-edition copy of Lance's 2002 Tour de France skidlid. The Lone Star Pneumo ($199), with its 19 vents and ponytail-compatible Roc Loc™ four-strap system will make you will think your old helmet was made out of concrete. The removable visor allows you to toggle between mountain biker or roadie to suit your needs, but the best feature is that by wearing this helmet you can show your support for a Texan we all really like. Available at most bike shops, including Lakeside Bicycles, 428 N State St., Lake Oswego, 699-8665, and at

Ortlieb Office Bag

Probably not a "must have" item if you live in Phoenix, but in PDX it's the only way to go for a cubicle-bound bike commuter. This waterproof bag ($120-$130) can be hooked onto your rear rack or thrown over your shoulder, and it just as easily works as a briefcase. You will be able to get off your bike and walk straight into that meeting with all of your important papers and electronic gizmos, knowing they are safe and dry. Options include a padded laptop sleeve and anti-theft device. Available at most bike shops, including the Bike Gallery, 1001 SW Salmon St., 222-3821, and at

Vanilla Bikes

Do you want to make your friends drool? Are you ready to make the jump to a custom frame? Every bicycle that Portland-based Vanilla Bicycles welds up is a work of art. Whether you're into road, mountain, cross or single-speeds, you can choose from a rainbow of colors and options (prices start at $1,000). These frames attract the eye of every cyclist because nothing says class like stainless-steel lugs and dropouts. And, of course, they ride like a dream. Available at

Park TP#2 Toilet-Paper Holder

No card-carrying "bike geek" would invite company over without the TP#2 mounted in the water closet. According to Park, this $30 toilet-paper holder brings the action of the open road or trail home for those moments of silent introspection. It comes in mirrored chrome finish and with a competition quick-release front skewer for fast roll changes. Make sure you read the instructions thoroughly first, because "improper mounting could cause harm to rider." Check out the specs at or order from your favorite shop.