We live in Portland and cycling is a part of our nature. There are some tips and things to watch out for as you get out there in this spring time weather.
First, there's the fit of the bike. There are three main components to align for your body: frame height, seat position/ height, and handlebar height. For the frame, your leg length should be the primary factor that helps determine this. It should be easily straddled with both feet flat on the ground and an inch or two of clearance between the top of the frame and your crotch. On a mountain bike, you may want up to four inches for rugged terrain.
Seat position and height should be determined while seated on the bike. Sitting on the seat with the ball of your foot on the pedal, at the lowest position of the pedal, your knee should be slightly bent. As for position, the seat should be level to avoid unnecessary strain on joints.
Handlebar position should be determined by what is comfortable for the rider and feels like it's putting the least amount of strain on the joints. Higher is more comfortable and lower is more aerodynamic.
In addition to fit, there are different types of bikes for different terrains. Choosing the right bike for your activity is important because they are designed for the impacts and rigors of the specific exercise.