Sunday

So busy!

It has been a long time! With two kids at home, a lot of work at the bike shop and little precious free time for riding, the time to post things here has disappeared. But come by the shop and say hello and check out the new stuff.

Saturday

Cold weather riding tips

Winter riding can bring some of the most fun and memorable rides. Intense training for racing and events takes a backseat in the off season so it is easier to enjoy the scenery and ride with friends of varying fitness levels. There is also a valuable mental toughness to be built by riding in difficult conditions and a little mutual suffering quickly builds camaraderie among riding partners. And as a bonus, you can burn a lot of calories because your body is working hard to exercise and stay warm! Winter riding can also bring misery if you don’t respect the conditions. Dressing smart and utilizing a few quality clothing pieces makes all the difference.

Tips
- Start your ride cool. If you are warm standing around before the ride starts you will quickly overheat once you start exercising.
- Wind is your enemy! Wind whips generated body heat away while also making body moisture freezing cold. Wind protection combined with moisture transfer is of utmost importance.
- Thermal clothing decreases in importance under intense exercise as long as you can stay dry and keep the wind off of you. But be prepared for stops due to mechanicals or other problems. Once you stop exercising intensely you will quickly get very cold.
- Protecting your body core, head, hands and feet are priorities. Your body has to work hard to manage internal temperatures which draws energy away from other activities.
- Cycling puts little pressure on your feet and hands (if your bike fit is good) so you will not get the blood flow increase in your extremities like other exercise activities. Your feet and hands also bear the brunt of the oncoming wind being generated by your forward motion so the freeze quickly.
- Some people suffer from cold wind in their ears more than others. If you wear ear protection, make sure you can hear well so you are safe in traffic and around other riders.
- Winter riding often brings riding in decreased visibility conditions. Make sure you can be seen!
- Winter roads tend to have more debris from run off so be prepared for flats.

Cool to cold and changing conditions
- This is our most common local riding condition as well as the coast (barring thick, wet fog)
- Layers, versatility and jersey pocket packability are key
- Foundation is a good pair of shorts, a wicking base layer and a short sleeve jersey
- Arm warmers and knee or leg warmers protect your skin and joints
- Good quality wind vest (gillet) to protect your core
- Wool socks and possibly shoe or toe covers to protect whirling feet
- Windproof long finger gloves and glove liners if it will be cold enough or you have frosty hands
- Buff head protection - it breathes well, protects and can be pulled down to cover your ears

Cold conditions
- If you will be starting and ending the ride in cold conditions without a lot of temperature changes
- Better insulation and wind protection are important and packability is less so
- Shorts and leg or knee warmers work but thermal knickers or tights are best
- A thermal long sleeve jersey with wicking base layer can be supplemented with a good wind vest or jacket or a standard base layer and jersey with a heavier jacket. Jackets must vent well to avoid moisture build up!
- Wool socks combined with full shoe covers to protect from numb, painful feet
- Thermal gloves (not too thick for bike control) or a glove liner combined with windproof glove
- Head, neck, ears and possibly face protection depending on your sensitivity. A doubled up Buff will protect your head and ears under your helmet quite well but some people are more comfortable with a thermal cap. A second Buff makes for a great neck gaiter to stop wind from coming in through the neck opening of your jacket and can be pulled up to protect lower face.

Rain!
- A chilly ride can become dangerously cold once you get soaking wet and that happens quickly once you stop exercising intensely
- Fenders (even short clip-ons) keep a lot of water off of you and riding partners
- A helmet visor or cap visor helps shield your glasses a bit
- Waterproof gloves and shoe covers are awesome
- Many good jackets and vests will repel a lot of water before getting soaked (think of those as “shower resistant”) but a waterproof shell is needed for truly wet riding in lower temperatures.
- Beware of waterproof jackets that do not breathe. The body heat and moisture generated by exercise will create a greenhouse inside your jacket and you will get soaking wet.
- Riding in the rain is hard on your bicycle and it’s parts so be aware of that and treat your equipment nicely.



Monday

Are your arches slowing you down?


Your feet are the power link between your lower body and the bike. Having proper cleat placement and rotational alignment on the bottom of your shoes is often overlooked (or incorrectly done). Choosing how far back and/or the rotation angle of your cleat is something you can play with yourself but is most easily done by a competent bike fitter. Our self perception is often quite incorrect and having a set of experienced eyes watch how you function on and off the bike is a great way to go. Plus, moving your cleat will affect your seat height and fore/aft. And don't forget that with any change in your position, you will need to ease into it with some easy to moderate riding in order to allow your body to adapt to the change. If you mess with your position, even for the better, and immediately go out and hammer you will likely regret it.

So what about your arches? It is very common for the arch to compress or collapse with each pedal stroke as the foot presses down and compresses in the shoe. The degree of collapse will be affected by the amount of power being transmitted and varies from person to person. Limiting the arch compression can do wonders for knee, hip and lower back comfort. Most cycling shoes come with inadequate foot beds and little to no arch support (one of the brands we sell actually has a very nice footbed system). Most cyclists will benefit from a "mildly intrusive" amount of arch support. When standing in your cycling shoes it should feel like too much but once you ride for a bit you should cease to notice it. There are a few aftermarket footbeds I have experimented with which we do not stock at the store but my favorite so far is from eSoles. They have a modular arch support system (which Bontrager uses a cheapened version of) so you can try varying degrees of support. If you already have high-ish arches you should make sure to get the black arch support in addition to the kit as it is the highest but doesn't come with the kit. Superfeet and Sole make good products as well.

Now the disclaimer: If in doubt, get the advice of a professional. If you change something and it hurts, put it back. Now go out for a bike ride!

Sunday

2 great races at the same time.

We are in the lucky position of having two great races to watch running concurrently. The Giro d'Italia is under way and the Tour of California started today.

If you don't have a TV (like me) and want to see some racing action, you can watch the live feeds of both races or the day's highlights online.

Giro d'Italia
 - Steephill, Cyclingfans

Amgen Tour of CA
 - Radio Shack Tour Tracker, Steephill, Cyclingfans

Go get some!

Friday

How to do it!

Many of the road riders I talk to are new to road cycling and feel nervous about riding in groups. If you have not come up through organized group rides or racing then riding in a group can feel claustrophobic. I have also found myself riding in groups where they have developed their own way of riding together but it is not cohesive with what you will find in most experienced groups. Everyone should do themselves, and more importantly, the people they ride with, a favor and read this page: http://www.dahl-stamnes.net/dahls/Cycling/paceline.html  It is the most succinct explanation of single, rotating and double pacelines I could find.


And remember: no surging, no hard braking and don't overlap wheels. Surging is the number one offense I see when riding. If you pick up the pace when it is your turn to hit the front then the group behind you has to accordion and the poor soul who just pulled off the front will have a hard time grabbing the tail of the group.

Don't feel embarrassed to ask for help or advice in a group. Any cyclist who turns their nose up at your request for help is just insecure.

Now get out there and enjoy this weather!

Tuesday

The Ardennes classics are heating up!

Last weekend was the Amstel Gold race and now we have La Fleche Wallonne on Wednesday and Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday. In addition, the Giro del Trentino started today! You can follow any of those previous links to check out highlights or watch the live race coverage from Europe if you are prepared to be up early. Cyclingnews always has good coverage as well (and that is where I stole the following image from).

Photo Sirotti / Cyclingnews

Last year Gilbert was crushing them all and looked like a man racing against juniors. This year he is obviously a step off but he was finally featured in a finale at Amstel last weekend. Maybe his form is coming around? I guess we will find out...

Friday

Paris-Roubaix!

The most brutal race of the season is on Easter Sunday this year. Get up early and watch it live on one of the Euro feeds before the kids start looking for eggs.

http://www.steephill.tv/

http://www.cyclingfans.com/

http://sports-livez.com/

:-)

Monday

I hope this dude is wearing body armor!



What?!

POV cameras tend to make steep trails look flat and difficult trails look easier than they are. Jumps and rock gardens tend not to look nearly as nasty or huge as they are. Keep that in mind while checking out the clip above by Peruvian downhill mountain biker Alejandro Paz.

Friday

Milan San-Remo

Milan San-Remo is tomorrow and, as usual, the last two hours of racing should be exciting. There is an excellent write up of the race at The Inner Ring if you are interested.

Some of the best races on the calendar are getting started and I'm looking forward to watching the live feeds online over a good cup of coffee. I would like to say I'll watch them while riding the trainer in the garage but I'm old enough to know when I'm kidding myself...

Tuesday

The reality of it.












Photo: Roberto Bettini/Cyclingnews.com


Did you get up early as see stage 2 of Paris-Nice? The peleton was split and shattered in the wind and some of the big guns put on a truly impressive display of tactical riding in cross winds. 












Most impressive was Bradley Wiggins. In my mind I look just like him when hitting out hard on the road bike: dead flat back, calm upper body, stable hips and churning legs almost tearing the cranks off the bottom bracket spindle.

But I think I look more like this:





The one on the left, of course.


And speaking of tearing the cranks off... did you see Cancellara at Strade Bianche a few days ago? That wasn't quite the insane display of power that he put on when he did the Flanders/Roubaix double a couple of years ago, but it was close. That has to be a scary sight for his competitors!

Two new 29ers!












Oh my. Santa Cruz has just announced two new 29er mountain bikes which will be available shortly. I have been on a Tallboy aluminum for several months now and love it. Santa Cruz is bolstering their line up with a new full suspension 29er and a hard tail 29er.

The hard tail will be easy to swap between geared and single speed use with a pretty trick looking rocker drop out. The full suspension bike will bring double-boing 29er love to a new, much lower price point for Santa Cruz quality.

Sales on these will be brisk. If you are into it, let us know so we can grab one for you.

Thursday

The Volagi Liscio - different than you think.

I finally got a chance to really ride the Volagi Liscio. What might not be immediately apparent from the photo is that this is a disc brake equipped road bike. But there is a whole lot more going on than that! I like this bike a lot. This is the type of road bike many road riders should be riding.

OK, yes this road bike has disc brakes and that is certainly the big talking point. As I found out, focusing on that one aspect  really doesn't do the bike justice. Volagi is after an idea and I think they have achieved it quite nicely. In addition to the Liscio's unique (for road bikes... for now) brakes there is also an incredibly engineered frame which is built for comfort and speed combined with the well thought out wheel spec.

The Longbow seat stays completely pass the seat tube to connect to the top tube. There are several millimeters of vertical damping movement built into the design. But somehow they have retained an excellent degree of drivetrain pedaling stiffness. The frame (along with the wheels which I'll hit on later) displays a level of smooth damping I have not felt before in any road bike. And it is damping, not unwanted flex, because the bike accelerates crisply with no noticeable wind up. For reference, my personal road bike is a very expensive, european, full-on race bike equipped with Sram Red and an expensive set of sub-1,500 gram wheels. I am used to good performance. The acceleration of the Volagi is on-par with my bike which truly surprised me. And the comfort is on a whole different planet.

Part of the Volagi's comfort comes from it's wheel spec. The Ultegra level bike I rode has their E7 Ignite EL wheels. The weight is very respectable and much better than what most Ultegra bikes come equipped with - according to a scale, not the marketing fluff you might hear. I suspect that the wheels are quite stiff which augments the crisp handling and acceleration of the Liscio. The rims are also pretty wide compared to standard road rim (more like a Firecrest or newer HED rim). Combined with a 25mm tire the profile and volume of the tire is different than what we are used to. And I mean different in a good way. I know several people who have switched to wider road rims and they are all happy. Now I know why. 

And last I suppose we should hit on the disc brakes. I am used to very good rim brakes on my bike and nice disc brakes on my mountain bikes. I would say the stopping power is a bit higher than rim breaks and modulation might be a notch above as well. The only way the brakes stood out as different, other than looks, is that when lightly braking in a turn there is a different feel at the lever and in the bike. I'm not sure how to explain it but it is very smooth. Luckily it was dry and sunny when I rode the Liscio but the other benefit to disc brakes is that they will definitely have more control in damp condition. Disc brakes also eliminate the issue of a rim heating up under hard or prolonged braking which has it's benefits. 

Before I rode the bike I thought the brakes were the main selling point for the Volagi. After riding the bike I will say that I liked the brakes but the biggest reason to consider owning a Volagi is the tremendously smooth ride. And best of all, it comes without the truck-like handling or flexy performance I have felt in other "comfort" oriented road bikes. While the Volagi doesn't have the razor sharp handling of a full-on race bike, it does handle really well and is more stable and predictable. For the majority of riders I think that is better.

I would also like to mention three other road bikes I have ridden and really liked that fall into a similar category. The Eddy Merckx EMX-1 and EMX-3 as well as the Wilier Gran Turismo. These are very comfortable bikes while still retaining a lively and responsive nature.

Tuesday

Road racing season is getting going

If I'm honest, I slightly prefer riding my mountain bike to riding my road bike. Both are fun but if I have the choice between the two, the mountain bike will usually win. With that said, I enjoy watching professional road racing. And lucky for me, racing season is getting fired up again. My two "go to" sites for watching are Steephill and Cyclingfans.

No matter which bike you prefer, I hope you are getting out and enjoying our mild winter!

Friday

Time for some of the good stuff.

It has been a while since I have posted any bike porn. So here you go...


The Wilier CentoUno Superleggera with full Campy Super Record 11 and the new Firecrest 404 wheels. Yes, that is a very limited edition Lampre ProTour team frame complete with logos under the clear coat. This is a custom build we put together and I have been drooling around this bike.

So, is this one of the best looking race bikes I have seen in person? Yes. And unfortunately I got to ride it. I say unfortunate because now my own (quite nice by any standard) road bike doesn't seem as awesome. I have been riding, racing, working in shops and working for bike companies for just about 25 years and this bike stands out as one of the absolute best bikes I have ridden. You should come by the shop and see it in person. 


I think a Ciao is appropriate.

Monday

The random randomness.

Glad to have some rain. Clean the air a bit and put down some snow. Selfishly, it also makes it a lot easier for me to be off the bike. I'm currently (not) enjoying the longest forced hiatus from cycling I have experienced since the mid-80's. The perfect storm of illness, family vacation and various complications has hit and taken me out of my "normal" life. I have been freed from trying to figure out how to coordinate rides without feeling as though I'm shorting my family time.











And oh do I miss cycling! I know that I love to ride my bikes but being forced off really brings that forward. I'm even missing the usual store-n-back run that I can sneak in pretty easily and have done countless times. So go ride your bike for me and enjoy it. Watch that last link.

Cheers

Sunday

Lotto opens it up!













Photo lifted from Cyclingnews.com

Greipel turned on a massive sprint to take the unofficial start of the Tour Down Under. That new Lotto kit is a bit loud but I like it. And their Ridley Noah bikes are fearsome!



And so it begins...

Saturday

Yeah, we got that cool stuff.

I pinched this list of who is riding what off VeloNews.com















If you have not seen the beautiful bikes from Ridley and Wilier Triestina in person, you are missing out. We have a good selection of both in the shop right now. Before you consider another "cookie cutter" bike (you know, the same stuff you see all the time on the road... yawn) you should see what the smaller companies have to offer. Our products page has links to most of our suppliers if you are curious. 

Most of the truly innovative and exciting companies are too small to afford Pro Tour team sponsorships. BH bicycles is a brand that has pushed carbon frame and compact geometry (a giant company that starts with a G copied their early compact offerings) development since the beginning. Another example of an exciting bike that is perfect for most "normal" riders but is not a Pro Tour race machine is Volagi

Cheers.

Friday

Shut up legs!

I know it's an old one, but I still like it.



Can you believe this weather? Go ride!

Sunday

Friday

Make it happen.


The difference starts with each one of us. And please, don't use that stupid new Amazon ap to undercut local businesses. You might save a few dollars now but what happens when more local businesses close? Think local, think about your community and act accordingly.

OK, my rant is over. Sorry to get personal there for a moment. Now please go outside and enjoy a ride!

Happy New Year

Sunday

The 1910 challenge

I don't normally post stuff from Rapha (mixed feelings and they get enough press on their own) but this is worth a watch.

http://vimeo.com/13386163

The challenge of a ride like that is very appealing. And being able to do it with a group of like-minded friends would make for a great memory. I am not ready to admit that I'm interested in randonneur riding but I won't deny it sounds interesting.

Wednesday

Interview with Chris Cocalis (Pivot & BH USA)

Bike Radar ran this interesting interview with Chris Cocalis, the founder of Titus and Pivot as well as the USA distributor of BH bicycles. The interview focuses on his experience and how he got into the bicycle industry. I already knew how great the Pivot and BH bikes rode and now I know how much passion and experience is behind that. The interview is copied below the link.

Original article link from Bike Radar.

(T)he story of Chris Cocalis, founder of Pivot Cycles and the U.S. importer for BH Bikes. Before that he started Titus. How do you start multiple bike companies from scratch, build them into highly regarded brands and capture distribution rights for one of Europe’s most historic badges? Let’s find out…

BIKERUMOR: Who are you and what are you doing here?

COCALIS: I am the President and founder of Pivot Cycles and also BH Bikes USA. Pivot Cycles is a high end mountain bike company focusing on the very top end of high performance mountain bikes (primarily full suspension). BH Bikes is a 102 year old Spanish bicycle company with a strong history in European cycling and racing. I founded Pivot Cycles 5 years ago to introduce a new line of cutting edge mountain bikes and at the same time formed a partnership with BH bikes to help design and bring their cutting edge road bikes to North America.

We are a relatively small company (although growing fast) so I wear a lot of hats. As President, of course I handle all the general planning and overseeing the business but am really driven by the design and product development side of the business. I am a rider and love the technical side of the sport. I wake up in the morning wanting to always build a better bike.

BIKERUMOR: What was your first job or experience in the cycling industry? How did you “break” in?

My first job was at a bike shop. Actually, it wasn’t even a job at first. I was 9 years old and wanted to sign up for a bicycle maintenance and repair class through our local park district. I was too young so my mom had to get permission from the bike shop that ran the class to let me in (Mike’s Bikes in Palatine, Illinois). I must have re-enrolled in that class 3 or 4 times to the point where Wayne Mikes would start the class teaching families how to fix flat tires while I was overhauling coaster brake hubs in back. I became the shop rat, began racing BMX shortly thereafter and got my first “real” bike shop job at 15.

As far as “breaking” in, I kind of made my own path. I worked at and managed bike shops all through college, attended the USCF academy in Colorado Springs and got my USCF mechanics certification, learned how to braze from the original founder of NORBA and welded my first mountain bike frame in 1987. Even before that, I designed my own BMX frame and had someone build it for me. I was just always pushing to gain more knowledge and was never happy with my equipment. I always wanted something better. In 1988 I met a titanium welder from Allied Signal Aerospace and we built our first titanium bikes together. The two of us and another aerospace engineer founded Titus Cycles in 1991. I was the president of Titus Cycles for 17 years before selling it about 7 years ago.

BIKERUMOR: What’s your educational background?

I attended Arizona State University for the first several years in engineering and then graduated with a Bachelor of Science in accounting. (yes, accounting….that wasn’t a typo)

BIKERUMOR: After that first experience/job, what was the path to your current position?

I was a senior at ASU, managing a bike store, and building frames. At the very beginning of Titus we built some suspension proto-types for John Radar (the guy who invented the Aheadset) after meeting him at a bike race (Cactus Cup, I believe). The design worked well and he sold the concept to Univega. Univega asked that we build them 175 Titanium frames for production. At that time we were very much hand building the bikes out of the garage and were not equipped to handle that kind of production.

Plus, I was interviewing with several accounting firms to head into the real world. One of my accounting professors was an avid cyclist and was urging me to do this, not go into accounting. His name was Hal Reneau (Godspeed Hal) and he was my thesis director. My thesis was a business plan for a custom bicycle manufacturing business that could build fully custom bikes in a production like manner. Hal backed my idea and became my first investor. I graduated, rented a building, hired our first employees, and got married all in the same year, while assembling bikes at night and weekends for two different bike shops to pay the bills.

We went on to build mountain and road frames, components, and suspension systems for Diamond Back, DEAN, SyCip, Kestral, Conejo, High-Zoot, Terry, Speedgoat, Edge, LeMond and many others before really focusing on our own Titus designs. During the early years, I cut and fit all the tubes, worked on the drawings and basically did everything but the welding. I had my hands in everything from the earliest suspension innovations, to developing custom road frames for the LeMond Mercury team, and then developing metal matrix materials with a couple different manufacturers. In the last few years before leaving Titus, we developed Exogrid and Isogrid carbon technologies as well as the MaxM brand of components. Most of the high end composite work was done in house so I had a large amount of hands on experience with that as well. It all adds up to where I am today.

BIKERUMOR: What’s a normal day for you?

I travel about 5 months out of the year between spending a lot of time at the factories, trade shows, events, visiting with our customers, etc. This keeps my job pretty action packed. When I am in the office, I have meetings several days a week with all the key people, but I try and spend the most of my time on product development and production. We have a full CNC machining and production capabilities in house so we always have projects in development. We also have 3 engineer/designers and I spend a greater percentage of my time with them working on new projects.

BIKERUMOR: What are the highlights of your job?

Creating new bikes. It is what drives me. I can’t sleep when we are getting something new close to the stage where I can ride it. Whether that be an aluminum prototype, or the first new carbon frames out of the mold. I love to assemble the prototypes myself in order to check every detail. For me, the only thing more therapeutic than building a bike is riding one.

Also, I get to work with an awesome group of people. Everyone works so hard for the same goal and it’s always awesome to see how dedicated everyone is and see our team pulling together. We are only a five year old company and I would not be in the position I am in today without the other like minded cycling nuts that I work with.

BIKERUMOR: What could you do without?

Jetlag! I just got back from a trip and have been up all night (although I did sleep until 3 in the afternoon today) Incidentally, this interview is taking place in the middle of the night (although it is morning in Spain and afternoon in Asia).

BIKERUMOR: What advice would you give to someone looking to follow your path today?

You need to live it and you need to start out in a bike shop and learn from the ground up. I get a lot of resume’s from people who are going to school for design, engineering, or business and somewhere along the line they became cycling enthusiasts so they think working for a bike company would be a cool job. Well, it is a really cool job, but it is a job that requires a lot of knowledge and there are a lot of people that want to do it. If you love cycling and want to do this as a living then live it like it’s the only thing you want to do. People appreciate passion and drive, but it’s hard to resist when it comes with a healthy dose of knowledge and experience.

Monday

Well said, sir.

I just read a very good post on PRK and I suggest you take a few minutes to hit it as well.

http://redkiteprayer.com/?p=6873

Well said indeed.

Sunday

Cruelty!

It happens to most of us at some point in the year. You take time off the bike. Sometimes it is on purpose so you can get some rest (smart). And sometimes it is forced through travel, family and job commitments, injury or illness. I don't know about you, but when I'm off the bike for a while I start to harbor a strange mixture of feelings: anticipation and dread. The excitement of getting back to riding grows while at the same time I fear the change in my fitness and the suffering that will ensue. No matter how much I justify the loss of speed and endurance, it is always surprising how fast it goes away and how much it can hurt to get it back.


And if it is the cold that is keeping you off the bike, come in and check out the new clothing from Endura. So nice.

Thursday

Cool!

Xperia Studios built this 360 degree, interactive video of a ride on Slick Rock Trail. Watch the YouTube video then check out the full version: www.xperiastudio.com/360-video

Monday

Adventure

I lifted this from The Bicycle Story:  Last summer pro mountain biker Matt Hunter took a small backpack with camping and fishing gear, an HD video camera, his mountain bike and little else, loaded it into a float plane and set of by himself for a two day, point-to-point trail ride through the Canadian wilderness. The short video he produced shows and adventure most of us only dream about.






It's time to plan an adventure...

Tuesday

Lost art of the group ride.

I just read an interesting post by Rob Wilborn about the lost art of the group road ride. I am going to copy and paste most of it below. While I don't agree with all of it, most of it is worth reading.


Every so often, I’ll ride a recreationaI group ride. I love the comraderie of cyclists, the talk, the last minute pumps of air, the clicking in, and the easy drifting out as a peloton. “I miss riding in a group,” I’ll think to myself.
The magic ends by mile 10. The group will surge, gap, and separate, only to regroup at every stop sign. I’ll hear fifteen repeated screams of “HOLE!” for every minor road imperfection. And then no mention of the actual hole. Some guy in front will set a PR for his 30 second pull. Wheels overlap, brakes are tapped, and some guy in the back will go across the yellow line and speed past the peloton for no apparent reason. A breakaway?!
I curse under my breath, remembering why I always ride with only a few friends. Doesn’t anyone else realize how dangerous this ride is? How bad it is for our reputation on the road? There are clear rules of ride etiquette, safety, and common sense. Does anyone here know the rules? Who is in charge?
But no one is in charge, and the chaotic group has no idea of how to ride together. As a bike lawyer, I get the complaints from irritated drivers, concerned police, controversy-seeking journalists, and injured cyclists. It needs to get better, but the obstacles are real:
First, everyone is an expert these days. The internet and a power meter do not replace 50,000 miles of experience.
Second, the more experienced riders just want to drop the others and not be bothered. It is all about the workout, the ego boost, or riding with a subset of friends. But a group ride is neither a race nor cycling Darwinism. As riders get better, they seek to distinguish themselves by riding faster; but as riders get better they need to realize two things: 1) there is always someone faster, and 2) they have obligations as leaders. Cycling is not a never ending ladder, each step aspiring upwards, casting aspersions down. It is a club, and we should want to expand and improve our membership.
Third, different rides are advertised by average speed, but speed is only one part of the equation. This approach makes speed the sole metric for judging a cyclist, and creates the false impression that a fit rider is a good one. Almost anyone can be somewhat fast on a bike, but few learn to be elegant, graceful cyclists.


Fourth, riding a bike well requires technique training. Good swimmers, for example, constantly work on form and drills; so should cyclists. Anyone remember the C.O.N.I. Manual or Eddie Borysewich’s book? They are out-of-print, but their traditional approach to bike technique should not be lost. More emphasis was given on fluid pedaling and bike handling.
Before the internet, before custom bikes, and before Lance, it was done better. Learning to ride was an apprenticeship. The goal was to become a member of the peloton, not merely a guy who is sort of fast on a bike. Membership was the point, not to be the local Cat. 5 champ. You were invited to go on group ride if you showed a interest and a willingness to learn. You were uninvited if you did not. You learned the skills from directly from the leader, who took an interest in riding next to you on your first rides (and not next to his friends, like better riders do today). Here is some of what you learned:
To take your cycling shorts off immediately after a ride.
To pull without surging.
To run rotating pace line drills and elbow flick others through.
To form an echelon.
To ride through the top of a climb.
To hold your line in a corner.
To stand up smoothly and not throw your bike back.
To give the person ahead of you on a climb a little more room to stand up.
To respect the yellow line rule.
To point out significant road problems.
To brake less, especially in a pace line.
To follow the wheel in front and not overlap.
The ride leader and his lieutentants were serious about their roles, because the safety of the group depended on you, the weakest link. If you did not follow the rules, you were chastised. Harshly. If you did, you became a member of something spectacular. The Peloton.

Sunday

It looks so easy... whoa!

How hard could it be?



That was awesome.




Monday

What the Buck?

What the...?...



Only in Africa. That looks like it hurt.

Tuesday

The changes.

Today it finally felt like fall is coming. The days are getting noticeably shorter and a cool breeze is blowing. That means mid-day road rides will be possible without feeling like you are riding across a pancake griddle under a broiler. The lights will come out at night instead of 5am to beat the heat.

I always feel blasé about road racing this time of year. The world championships were not terribly inspiring which didn't help. Cavendish definitely pulled off an amazing sprint to take the stripes. The Giro di Lombardia is coming up on October 15 and that is usually a great race.

Get out there and enjoy this weather!

Sunday

Packs a punch!

I don't care that he wears an earing, Gilbert is a card carrying bad-a$$.

Monday

More mountain biking, please.

I'm just back from 3 days of camping and riding in Downieville. It was my first trip up there and it has redefined some of the ways I think about mountain biking. Have you ever gone downhill so long you started to wonder when it would be over because you were getting exhausted? If not, go do Big Boulder to Third Divide.

Now I want to take a trip to Spain...

Dust & Summer from Harry Nesbitt on Vimeo.

Sunday

Friday

Jonesing.

Make some coffee. Watch this. Plan a trip to Europe.

http://vimeo.com/23423134

Sorry I have not been posting much lately. Life gets busy and I've been making more time to ride. You should do the same!

Monday

Worth a read.

http://www.cyclinginquisition.com/2011/07/riding-bike-at-dawn.html

We have some amazing riding available to us here. And there is a lot of day-to-day riding in less than scenic places. It's all good.

Friday

Roots



We can debate about where mountain biking "started" but this is a fun video to watch.

Cheers.

Thursday

This TdF is fantastic!

There are 3 days left in this year's Tour de France and I'm ready to call it as one of the very best editions I can remember. Tomorrow is the L'Alpe d'Huez stage and then the time trial. The general classification is tight as of this evening so I'm hoping for a few more days of exciting racing.

How about Hoogerland? Pitched into a barbed wire fence at 30 mph and he not only gets up to finish but continues to race. Hard. As. Nails. Flecha got taken out by a car in the same accident and also continued. The next time a TV sportscaster wants to make fun of cycling they should have a conversation with one of those men.

Here's to a great end to this year's race!

Monday

Bonk.


Oh, that feeling. I have not had it in a long time but I bit off more than I could chew this morning and paid the price. I received a huge bonk about 7 miles from home. We are talking about the 1,000 yard stare, mouth open, going 14mph on the flats kind of crushing bonk. All of the lights went out. It was the kind of bonk where you have to sit down in the garage before going inside because you don't want your wife and kids to see that look on your face. As soon as I walked in the door I said hello, got out a big pan and the pancake mix and proceeded to make a mountain of delicious flapjacks before I even emptied out my jersey pockets.

Friday

The big one is starting...









Photo Steephill.tv/Reuters


The Tour de France is starting this weekend. You can see live European coverage in the mornings on Steephill.tv and Cyclingfans.com. Both sites will usually have highlights available later in the day as well.

New idea!

http://vimeo.com/25303423


Integrated brakes on a 2012 Ridley Noah frame. Interesting! If this proves out, could it be the next big thing? Once again it is one of the smaller manufacturers pushing the envelope. I wonder how one of the big bike companies will try to make this idea seem like it came from them (I'm looking at you, big S) ?