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Unracked: 5 Tips for a Successful Mountain Biking Trip

Raul Bonifacio : Customer Service Lead

Raul Bonifacio lives to bomb around on his bikes – both Mountain and Cyclocross – but also loves to unrack by quietly hanging out in nature with his wife, Jennifer, and sometimes… a couple of owls.

His day job is helping people out. “I work as a customer service lead, helping consumers and my team with fitting racks on cars, teaching them how our products work, and how the products will make their lives easier. Turning people onto the product is really fun.”

And sometimes service means stepping up big.

“I call this story ‘Ship happens.’  I recently got a call from a customer, ‘Hey man, I’m a ski instructor and believe in karma. I ordered one thing from you guys but got a pallet of stuff. I don’t want to get charged for it.’”

Raul picked up his wife, Jennifer, to head out for the evening, mentioning to her, “I gotta pick something up in Southeast Portland.” Raul piled a pallet’s worth of Yakima gear into his car and brought it back that night. His wife? “She wasn’t too excited.”

Mountain Biking in the Pacific Northwest

The Right Gear

Like so many at Yakima, Raul loves the Dr.Tray.

“The Dr.Tray has definitely helped me with transporting my bikes. Especially during Cyclocross season when my bikes are all muddy. Before I had it, I’d rigged something with a two-by-four inside my car, but it wasn’t ideal to put a dirty bike in the car. The Dr.Tray is wicked easy – bike is up and ready to go in less than ten seconds.”

A camera is always a part of Raul’s kit, and he’s also a fan of his Dakine fanny pack. “My brother called me up a while back– ‘Let’s go ride to the coast, bikepack to Tillamook.’ It was all on forest roads, which was dope, and I wore the pack the entire time. Carries water bottles – never felt a thing.” For the record – he’s since added a first-aid kit to his pack’s contents (see Tip #4 and story below).

Surprisingly, he’s not picky when it comes to his most essential piece of gear: “Bikes? As far as bikes go, you just gotta ride what you bring.”

Raul’s Wheels


Raul’s Mountain Biking Tips

  1. Have your bike ready to rock and roll when riding with friends. Don’t be that dude that’s saying “Wait, I have to put air in my shocks” or “wait, let me fix my rear derailleur.” Trust me you do not want to be that dude.
  2. Always bring a camera – and make sure it is accessible – just in case you want to capture the moment when your friends are crushing it. It’s like they say – if it’s not on Instagram or Facebook, it never happened. : )
  3. Make sure to use a bike rack you feel comfortable with and can hold your bikes properly, like the Yakima Dr.Tray. This ensures that you bring your baby – by baby, I mean bike – to the trailhead safely and with confidence.
  4. Bring some sort of a small first aid kit on a ride. Since it’s not “IF” you’re going to fall, but “WHEN”, you might as well be prepared for the cuts. (I learned this the hard way. Now I have “Character Marks” on my knees for life.)
  5. I am all about team snacks, so I make sure to bring good quality food and drinks to finish off the ride. Oh – and make sure to use that bottle opener on your Yakima hitch rack. No need to drive to the bar after the ride if you can kick it at the cars and “trailgate” for a bit.

On the Road

Now, Raul isn’t always pedaling out to Tillamook or lugging his wife around to handle customer service emergencies. When he cuts out for a quick unracking session, he and Jennifer like to keep it local.

“I usually escape by going to a local park – whether its Forest Park or Mt. Tabor. I usually bring a camera just in case I see something I want to capture. We like Mt. Tabor because it’s  close. It’s a time for me and Jennifer to connect – to walk, sit down, absorb the area around us, and people watch. At Forest Park we like to get off the trail and just kind of sit there and wait for nature to talk to us – birds chirping, trees swishing – nature gets really loud in your ears. We’ll do that anywhere there’s nature.”

And when he’s on his bike – what’s a go to spot? “I usually ride at Post Canyon in Hood River – or across the river at Syncline. But, I haven’t been there recently because last time I crashed and broke my helmet.” Raul flew over his bars, slid down the rough trail “for a while,” and – naturally – got back on the bike. “I felt bad because we drove a while to ride. So I cleaned up, dusted off,  and rode some more.”


Raul has had a lot good times on mountain bike rides, but the outdoor moment that really sticks with him happened out of the saddle. “The most amazing moment I’ve had outside was when my wife and I were out in Forest Park at dusk and we saw two owls next to each other. We were at eye level. That was one of the the only times I didn’t bring a camera. We watched them for a good 30 minutes plus. They were just…hootin’. It was a dope feeling. Amazing. We should have played the lottery that day.”


More Unracked

Raul’s not our only awesome employee. Checkout our entire UnRacked series to see who else here at Yakima is getting outdoors, how they have their car racked out, tips and tricks, and their favorite Pacific Northwest adventure spots.


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