Wednesday, December 19, 2007

12/19/07 - Tour of Missouri Pictures (finally...)

As some of you know, while driving cross-country from Nashville to Portland in September, I planned a stop in St. Louis for the final stage of the Tour of Missouri which just "happened" to be there while I was passing through. No, I'm not shallow enough to plan such an important trip around a bike race, but I wasn't upset when I finally saw that the race route coincided nicely with my itinerary.

So, I'm a little behind all the major cycling websites in reporting and releasing photos from this event - about 3 months late to be exact. But, you can't rush the kind of journalistic depth that you get from me. These things take time.

O.k., so the truth is it just took me this long to get my pictures developed and edited. Which leads me to the photo quality. They're not exactly Graham Watson or Casey Gibson; but I'd like to see what they would come up with if they had to use a Fujifilm disposable camera...not much better than this, I'll bet!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

12/4/07 - "Rights" and Lefts; part 2

If you've been watching the national news the last two days, you know that we in the Pacific Northwest just got "wolluped" by Mother Nature. A huge store packing 125+ mph winds and over 12" of rain hit the Oregon Coast and by the time it hit Portland was still packing 60 mph gusts and most of that rain. Many road closures, flooded rivers and streams, downed power-lines and general craziness ensued. Still, I'll take the occasional high winds that we get in our winter storms in exchange for the tornado warnings of the summer storms in the Mid-South. Ah, home-sweet-home. In fact, it's currently not raining and I can even see a bright spot behind the cloud cover that I can only assume is the sun. I don't know, because I haven't seen it in so long that I may have forgotten what it looks like. The sky is normally grey, right? Hold on, let me take another sip of coffee...

Mmmm, that's better. While doing my regular morning reading of cycling-related websites I came across a great article on one of my new favorites; (thanks for the heads-up, Charlie). In keeping with my last post (sorry it's been so long), I thought this was a great follow up. Sort of a "now that I know my rights on the road - how do I best use them safely and responsibly?" This is written more from a commuter perspective; but most of these tips are ones I use even when riding recreationally. Pretty universal stuff.

Now, the website is UK-based, so it's written from the perspective of people who ride and drive on the other side of the street; but if you just trade the lefts for rights and vice-versa, the article is a great one. Also, they refer to "pavements" about 3/4 of the way through the article. That's fancy "brit-talk" for sidewalks. I know I don't have to interpret that for my friends Keith F. and Dawn W., but I'd like to assume that they're not the only ones reading this... :)

So, without further adieu, here's the link; enjoy.
Thanks for reading. Ride safely.

Monday, November 19, 2007

11/19/07 - Know your rights (especially when turning left...)

"O.K., Matt. So, now that you've slapped some wrists and spoken out about our responsibilities as users of the road and being a part of the solution, not the problem...are you going to follow your own advice or just let us wallow in the uncertainty of not knowing how the law expects cyclists to behave?"

I'd love to be cool enough for that to be an actual question from an adoring fan and follower of my blog, but I've not yet attained that level in I have to make up my own challenging, pointed, and introspective questions. Sad, huh?

It's quite clear though that in the light of recent events, it is more important than ever for those of us who use bicycles on the road - whether for transportation or recreation - to know the laws. Probably more important than for us to know all the intricacies of how they relate to us when we're driving our cars. If we know the laws, we can operate safely within them so as to not be at fault in the terrible instance that one of us be involved in a traffic incident. So, it is time for me to cross the line from amateur public opinion journalist to public service announcer and reference librarian.

Monday, October 15, 2007

10/15/07 - Ceramic Bearings on test!

Shortly before making the big move back to Portland, OR from Nashville I ordered up a ceramic bearing kit for my beloved Bontrager Race X Lite Aero wheels from some of my favorite people on earth; parts distributor The Hawley Company in South Carolina. I opted for the budget offering from Enduro - a well respected cartridge bearing manufacturer - instead of the current gold-standard FSA cartridge bearings. After all; I am a 1) father of a 19-month-old 2) measly sales-person in the bike industry and 3) making an expensive cross-continental move. The Enduro bearings offer nearly the same performance at a slight reduction of the cost of the FSA bearings.

So; first - what makes these things so special? Why have ceramic bearings been getting all this buzz lately?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

10/07/07 -

Portland is lauded as a cycling utopia by many: bloggers, respected publications, and cyclists' word-of-mouth. But, unfortunately; utopia in it's truest form never really exists, and this cycling haven in the Great Northwest is not without it's own issues.; an awareness website and organization sponsored by the Washington County Bicycle Transportation Coalition (, Portland's Bicycle Transportation Alliance ( and Bike Gallery ( among others; was created to memorialize Oregonian Tim O'Donnell who was struck by a car and killed while riding with friends. From the website:

"This tragedy brought increased attention to the safety of cyclists using Washington County roads. Tim's wife, Mary, established a memorial fund to address this problem. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), working with the Washington County Bicycle Transportation Coalition (WashCo BTC), is spearheading an effort to increase awareness of these serious safety issues.

The campaign will include life-sized cutouts of people with their bikes that will remind motorists that bicyclists are their relatives, friends, coworkers and neighbors, "and we bike". The cutouts will be placed around in front of businesses and community gathering spots around the county. The message is, "Be careful; the cyclist could be someone you know." Printed material will include a list of ways motorists can more safely interact with bicyclists. Presentations will be made to community groups throughout the month, and various other activities will also help promote the campaign."
This campaign is exactly the kind of thinking that I wish I had thought of while living and riding in and around Nashville. Nashville, while lacking the bike-friendly infrastructure of Portland, is a popular place for cycling - and like Portland, is soured by frequent - and sometimes violent and fatal - interactions between cyclists and cars. I think these random acts of road-rage sometimes occur without the thought that the object of the rage might be someone they know.

But the point goes beyond that. That person on the bike that the motorist is frustrated with (in spite of their inherent, law-given right to the road) is someones son, daughter, mother, father, friend or neighbor. The crime against humanity occurs regardless of the rider's relation(or lack-thereof) to the motorist.

What a great, thought-provoking campaign. Spread the word.

Thanks for reading

Sunday, September 30, 2007

9/30/07 - A New Beginning!

It's been a while since my last update and I apologize for being out of touch - I've been pretty busy.

Since my last post, I've wrapped up my career with Allanti Bicycle Company in Brentwood, Tennessee; driven 2500 miles cross-country to Portland, Oregon while stopping to watch the Tour of Missouri and to ride in Boulder, CO and Boise, ID (more on the trip later once I have the pictures ready...); spent time with my wife and son whom I hadn't seen in 7 weeks and travelled to Las Vegas for the Interbike trade show. One busy month!

Well, this coming Tuesday hopefully marks the beginning of a new page in m life with new opportunities to forge relationships and help people to love this sport that is so important and meaningful to me. Tuesday morning I'll start working for the venerable Bike Gallery in their awesome Beaverton, Oregon store (pictured above). Bike Gallery is Oregon's largest bicycle retailer and may be the largest Trek dealer in the United States. They have a long reputation for emphasizing the relationship and integrity over the "sale" and I can't wait to begin working with another company that shares my values. Bike Gallery also sells Lemond, Gary Fisher, Orbea, Co-Motion and a wide array of other fantastic products. I'll say again; I'm really excited for this opportunity.

You can learn more about BG by visiting their website: For those of you who are friends and former clients (or both...), I'll invite you to stop by and visit. The address, phone number, and a map to the location can be found here on the website.

Finally, if there is anything that I can do to help you better enjoy your cycling experience - I now have a new medium to help you - so don't hesitate to ask. Stop by the store and I'll see what I can do. I'll look forward to seeing you!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

8/14/07 - New Shoes - Shimano R-300!

It's been said many times over that the best piece of equipment is one you don't notice. Well, after taking my new Shimano R-300 heat-moldable shoes out for a ride this morning, I never realized how much I was "noticing" my old shoes!
That is not to say that I didn't notice the new shoes, it's just that the things I was noticing were so good, so positive, and so much better than anything I had experienced before, I was shocked at what I had been missing. It is easy to say that the stiffness, stability, and comfort (and you know how much I love comfort) are best-in-class from this shoe. I don't know why we aren't hearing more about these from the big cycling websites like or - who are famous for their product reviews. So, I'll review them for you here instead.

8/1/07 - A Message from Matt

Nashville has meant a great deal to me. It is the only place that my wife and I; both originally from the Northwest, have lived together. My firstborn son, Jacob, was born here. And it has been the place where I have met and made some of my best friends and achieved my greatest professional accomplishments. And so it is with some difficulty that I must announce that, nearly seven years to the day after moving here; the time has come for my family and I to return home to the Pacific Northwest and Portland, Oregon.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

6/1/07 - Suspicions Confirmed

A few months ago, you'll remember me writing about the rumors I'd heard about a new bike from Trek. Well, it's true - and according to Trek, "everything else is history". The new Madone series was unveiled today, and you can read all about it at: Reading through the Madone Tech Book that I received from Trek today, I must admit; I've never had a worse case of bike lust in my life! And I haven't even ridden the bike yet!

My store will be getting one or two of them soon (one if them is supposed to be my size - it's nice to be the Sales Manager), and I'll hope to get out on it soon to let you know what I think. Until then, this photo will have to do:

These bikes have serious promise - with many different models, from about $2800 to $7500; and three different geometries: Pro fit, Sport fit, and Women's Specific. There's a bike for anyone.
The other big news is the redesign of the Bontrager wheel line. I love wheels and I'm a big fan of Bontrager's wheels (I personally own four sets - and may own a fifth set soon). The new wheels are very well thought out and I can't wait to see and ride them.
While I haven't posted in a while (things are crazy-busy at the store), I promise I'll post as soon as I've tested the bike.
Thanks for reading...

Sunday, May 6, 2007

5/6/07 - What makes that bike cost so much?

Its not the question we get asked most frequently, but it is probably the one that people wonder the most about.

I saw an article in the 2003 Buyer's Guide from Bicycling magazine which attempted to answer the question by comparing a $2,000 bike to a $10,000 bike - and it did a horrible job, if I do say so my self; comparing only the ride characteristics of the bikes and saying nothing about the quality of the materials used or the resulting durability and ease or lack of maintenance. In my continuing pursuit of being your resource for all things cycling - I'll attempt to improve on their comparison.

I'm going to tear apart three bikes (figuratively, not literally) of three distinctly different price levels and tell you just what makes them cost what they do. Hopefully, from there you can choose whether that makes a difference to you - or whether it will require more personal investigation on your part. Which, we will be happy to help you with, of course.

A Guide:
First, to lay the ground work - here's how I'll conduct this comparison.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

4/26/07 - The simple cure for our complex woes

This morning I spent 24 minutes watching the President of Trek Bicycle Corporation, John Burke's presentation at the recently completed Taipei Bicycle Trade Show in Taiwan. ( To see it yourself, go to and search for John Burke - then select the video that is titled John Burke - the Al Gore of the Bicycle Industry). Now, those of you who have heard John speak before know that it wasn't easy - but as usual, while John isn't the greatest public speaker, he had a lot of good things to say. Most of which inspired what I have to say here.

Think what you will about Global Warming; I won't go into all of my thoughts here. But if Al Gore were correct, the bicycle is a great solution to our problems. I don't think it stops there though. Obesity is possibly the greatest sociological and physiological problem of our time. There are many great epidemics - but obesity is by far the most transcendent and is the root cause of many other health problems facing many of our friends and neighbors. While thyroid disorders can account for a small percentage of obesity in our time, a far greater number of the cases are due simply to the lifestyle of "westernized" society in which we live in a manner that is fully dependent upon the automobile and almost necessitates a poor diet based on processed, "fast" foods

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

4/25/07 - What I learned at Ladies' Night

Sorry, this entry doesn't involve me dressed in drag and infiltrating Ladies Night at a local watering hole to find out what women really think might be more interesting if it did.

Last night, we hosted Trek's Women's Specific Design group's Ross Rushin for an event at our Brentwood store all about cycling and women (More info: It was truly a success, with 35 women in attendance learning all sorts of great things about what makes women's bikes special, how to fix a flat tire, and how to prepare for their next big ride. I think everyone walked away with something they learned, yes, including me.

1. I learned how to fix a flat tire without touching the chain! After fixing literally tens of thousands of flat tires, I'd always done the road-side repair while grabbing the chain to get the wheel out of the frame and while putting it back in. Ross showed me that it didn't have to be so - something I'll add to every flat-changing clinic from now forward.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Buying online is treason!

When was the last time your favorite online bike parts bargain discounter:

Stayed late on a Friday night or came in early on Saturday morning (skipping the group ride) to fix your bike? Stood in the pouring rain or searing heat at the local charity ride to pump up tires and work last-minute miracles so that the ride can go on (and did it for FREE)? Volunteered their time to the local Boy Scout troop to help them earn their merit badges?

Gave free clinics to teach you what you need to know to enjoy your favorite sport? Answered all your questions, about any cycling-related topic, and didn't hand you a bill afterward? Knew what size inner-tube your bike uses when you forgot? Do you need extended or standard valves? (Wait, they don't ask...)

Caught that worn out part on your bike just before catastrophic failure, overnighted the part from the supplier, split the shipping charge with you, and then installed it the next day so you wouldn't miss your ride - forsaking all the people who had brought their bikes in before you did - whom he then had to call and tell them that their bikes wouldn't be ready on time?

Spent endless hours up to their elbows in degreaser, chain lube, fork oil and who-knows-what which was on that Tri-bike to keep you rolling smoothly down the road? Happily stood and endlessly explained over-and-over the differences between those two bike shorts? (No, you weren't the first one to ask that day.) Didn't hesitate to help a child pick out their first bicycle, just to see them smile?

This is all in an average day's work at the average American bike shop.

Nobody working at your local bike shop is making a lot of money. Most of us drive beat-up old cars which are just a couple pay-checks away from getting the service done on them which they badly need. And that's when business is good like it is now. You thought we rode our bikes to work because we love cycling? That's only the first reason. The other reasons are that we'd rather not spend our hard earned cash on gas, and that if we don't drive today that's one more day some of us can keep our car out of the hands of the mechanic.

Our prices are set as low as we can set them and still be in business while paying our staff to serve you when you have a problem or question and pay rent and utilities on that store you like to hang out in. We do this because we love it. Some of us have been lucky enough to do it and make some money. But most of us do it to see children smile and our best clients lose weight, spend more time with their families, achieve a personal best on a century or win a race. And, most of us work way more hours than we should - simply because there's just too much work to do and we don't want to disappoint you.

The next time an online bicycle parts discounter shows up to do ride support for your favorite event, then you can feel good about your "bargain". Until then, support your local bike shop; they'll save your butt one day.

Oh, and you know who you are and we do too.

Monday, March 19, 2007

3/19/07 - GET OUTTA THE *&@#$^% ROAD!!!

Most of us live two lives - that of a cyclist and that of a motorist.

While driving home this evening, I spotted a cyclist riding down Highway 70 - riding down the middle of the road in the turn lane - DURING RUSH HOUR. From my vantage point behind the wheel of my car, the only thought that entered my mind was, "Idiot!" while I kept one eye on him and one eye on the cars around me trying not to hit either of them while merging into the cyclist-occupied turn lane to make a left hand turn. And this guy was a "cyclist" too: Nice helmet, team jersey, and Italian road bike - not some random "biker" on a Wal-Mart bike.

These are not the type of words you would hope to read on the website of an avid cyclist and cycling advocate - but here they are and they are mine.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

3/6/07 - Waterford at NAHBS

I'm sitting at home, sick, watching UEFA soccer and reading's report on the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS). Not too bad except for the sick part...

This show has been held the last 4 springs; most recently in San Jose, CA, and attracts the best artisan bicycle builders in the world. With the addition of Dario Pegoretti, the show is truely intercontinental. If you love unique bicycles that are a departure from the cookie cutter stuff that has become so prolific - this show is worth a look. I hope to attend it someday in person.

The report, while just a sampling of what was on display showed some amazing detail and great ideas from artists like Bilenky, Richard Sachs, Sasha White of Vanilla Cycles, Independent Fabrications, Bryan Baylis, and Peter Mooney. One of my personal favorites and great friends, Waterford Precision Cycles, was also in attendance.

These guys aren't afraid to try anything - as evidenced by this lugged-steel frame, mating the venerable Reynolds 853 tubeset with the new 953 stainless steel tubing with hand-carved lugs for a truely amazing result.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

3/2/07 - Now for some lighter fare...

(To see the latest info on the Waterford, head here...)

I told Adam (Service Manager at the store) that I would lighten things up on my blog, per his suggestions, and talk more about my bikes. So, here's a little something about my main steed - my Waterford R-33.

I was one of the fortunate ones. I went to Waterford's factory in person to have my measurements taken and talk directly with Marc Muller, Waterford's legendary frame designer, about my desires for my new bike. It was quite an experience getting to sit across from Marc at his desk and hear his deep and relaxed voice roll out his first question: "So, what would you like us to build you?"

Sunday, February 25, 2007

2/16-18/2007 - Minneapolis, MN

When it comes to outdoor activity, it is hard to beat the moderate climate of Middle Tennessee. But even the few snows that we received this winter can't take the place of a trip to the Great White North for a reminder of what the "4th-Season" really feels like. Nothing like falling snow and a wind-chill of -9 degrees F to give you a dose of a real winter! Al Gore himself couldn't build a case for global warming in these conditions.

But, while I try to be environmentally conscious, that's not the only reason I was in Minnesota. I was invited by Quality Bicycle Products (QBP), the largest bicycle parts and accessories supplier in the U.S., to be a part of their annual Open House, called Frostbike. Now, it takes a very special place to draw a bunch of people to Minnesota on their own money in the middle of February - and QBP is that special. Not only are they a leader in the industry for service, technology, prodict availability, and the breadth of products they offer; but their facility in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington is LEED certified for it's minimal environmental impact. They even recycle rain water for the restroom functions - how "green" is that?!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

2/10/06 - The Art of Bike Fit

Science: 2 a : a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study b : something (as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge

Art: 1 : skill acquired by experience, study, or observation, 4 a : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects

- Merriam-Webster

I believe that most people perceive the act of “bike fitting” as a science. An easy evaluation to make given all the measurements that are usually taken of the prospective rider: Height, inseam, arm length, torso length, shoulder width, etc. Then there are angles and tube lengths of the frame, not to mention terms such as rake, trail, and the somewhat abstract concepts of bottom bracket height and chainstay length. Enough to make your head spin? If yes, you’re in the majority.

Friday, February 9, 2007

2/9/07 - Big News from Team Disco

Several big news items came out of the team of reigning U.S. National Champion, George Hincapie, this week. The team released photos and interviews from it's annual training camp in Solvang, California with an understandably heavy emphasis on new team member Ivan Basso and returning rider Levi Leipheimer. After finding success on Team CSC and Team Gerolsteiner respectively, the two add an explosive element to a team which sat relatively sterile during last season with a few gleaming moments in the Spring Classics (although those moments seemed over shadowed by Hincapie's shocking and amazing "crash-out" of Paris-Roubaix) and a lack-luster victory by Hincapie at the end of the season in the U.S. National Road Racing Championships. Perhaps the addition of these two riders will be just what the doctor ordered after the departure of Lance Armstrong, now a partial team owner.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Editor's note:

Posts after this point also appear at While they appear in chronological order, the date code for the posting is incorrect. The correct date is noted in the title of the entry.


2/1/07 - My New Bike!

Yeah, even us shop guys get excited about getting new bikes! Truth is, I've somewhat secretly wanted one of these for quite some time. I got a Trek X0-1 frameset from Trek and built it up with parts that had been on another frame to end up with a new cyclo-cross bike. It's been quite a project - as some of these parts are new, and some have been on as many as three of my bikes. I even built the wheels myself a couple years ago. Yeah, it's not the prettiest or the coolest, or the lightest or newest - but it'll be a great rainy-day, commuter, winter bike. You might even catch me on it in some cyclo-cross races next winter. (Yeah, I know the last 'cross race of the season was on Sunday...perfect timing, huh?)

1/31/07 - Trek Concept Bike?

What does Trek have up it's sleeve for 2008? John Burke, President of Trek Bicycle Corporation, has already leaked to dealers that 2008 will mark the first change in the OCLV bike platform in nearly 15 years. There have been rumors spread for a couple of years that they were working working on custom geometry (which I secretly had wished they'd consulted with me on...). Well, these photos from an uncredited source might shed some light on the subject.

1/27/07 - More Buyer Beware

The internet is an amazing place which has presented us with new oportunities in many different areas of life and business - and created entirely new concepts that we weren't familiar with even 5 years ago. I mean, who knew what a "blog" was in 2001?

But, as with most things in life; with new opportunity comes new responsibility. E-commerce, while it accounts for only a small percentage of all commerce in the United States (which is the little-known fact that the "dot-coms" don't want you to know), is becoming an increasingly fertile platform for scam artists and fraud.

I've written on a couple of occasions about internet fraud in our industry; and in spite of increased effort by bicycle brands and distributors to police the exchange of their goods online and increased awareness by reputable retailers - internet fraud involving the sales of bicycles and bicycle-related goods is becoming more and more pervasive.

Just today I recieved an e-mail from someone who visited our store - doing due diligence - to research an advertised sale of a bike on e-bay. After visiting our store to get our opinion and then going home to do some further research, here's what he told me via e-mail:

12/24/06 - 1/2/07 - Holidays in the Great Northwest

For the first time in two years, we were taking a real vacation. Amazing how it becomes more difficult to take time off and travel when you have a 10-month-old "third wheel". We're lucky though, because Jacob travels well; and with this being his third plane trip across the country, he's now a very experienced traveller for being so young. Come to think of it, I ought to see how many frequent flier miles he has...

We flew out of Nashville on Christmas Eve to my hometown (and home of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl Champion Boise State Broncos) of Boise, Idaho. We touched down to 2" of snow - a welcome sight to a native-Northwesterner on December 24th. We would indeed have a white Christmas. Too bad we wouldn't have time for any skiing. We did find time for a required trip to a real Mongolian Grill restaurant though. My apologies to Ghengis Grill in Cool Springs - but the folks out west do it better. If you want to enjoy genuinely delicious mongolian grill, go to one of the little, independent places in the Northwest.

After catching up with friends from school and spending time with family, we got up early on the 29th and flew to my favorite city and my second hometown, Portland, Oregon. My wife's family lives in the area as do most of my cousins, aunts, uncles, and my grandma. We have a hard time sitting still for long in Portland. Between visiting all of our college friends and enjoying holiday time with our family, there are restaurants to eat at and shopping to do (no sales tax in Oregon makes shopping a must-do; even if, like me, you don't usually enjoy it).

Additionally, I stopped in to visit my friends at the Bike Gallery's Hollywood store ( and to meet with Dave Guettler of River City Bicycles (; both of which are world-class bike shops. Bike Gallery is one of the largest Trek dealers in the world, and River City is one of the few stores in existence that sells more Waterford and Seven bicycles than we do. They're both great stores to visit, Bike Gallery's staff is the best and the hand-made display fixtures and indoor test-track at River City makes it especially fun.

Topping off my vacation though was arguably one of the best college football games ever! If you're a fan of NCAA football, you know what I'm talking about. On January 1st, I cleared my calendar to watch my Boise State Broncos battle the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. No one outside of Boise thought that the game would turn out the way it did; but after blowing an 18-point lead, Boise State won the game in overtime with a two-point-conversion, run in by NCAA leading scorer, Sophomore Ian Johnson on a signature trick-play. Critics will say that Boise State "cheapened" the win by using trick plays. But those who truely understand team sports will know that execution is the secret to making trick plays work, and no one executes better than Boise State. Go Broncos! So much for the BCS system!

The next morning it was back to Nashville and back to the bike business - the best job in the world. Thanks to my valued and loyal clients for letting me get some time away! And, thanks to the best bike shop in Nashville for covering for me while I was gone. I'll be much nicer now that I've had some time off!

Best wishes for the new year and thanks for reading...

(The photo above shows stately 11,922 ft. Mt. Hood - snow capped year round; and a view of downtown Portland from the beautiful Washington Park in the hills above town. And, no - it doesn't look that beautiful in person. It's better!)

11/25/06 - Winter Riding "Must Haves"

So you've spent all summer and fall following your training schedule or working toward your goal of riding the MS150 and now that winter has come, you're thinking "now what?".

You're not alone. We talk to many people every day who are in your shoes and come to us to look for the gear they need to make it through the winter and hit the road in better shape next spring. Whether you're the hard-core rider who plans to ride outside as much as possible this winter or looking for ways to ride inside to beat the cold and darkness - we've got what you need. Here's a quick and easy guide:

11/15/06 - The Saga Continues...

Trek Bicycle Corporation, recently issued the press release quoted below:

November 13, 2006
To: All Trek Dealers
Dear Valued Trek Dealer:
We have received several reports about a fraudulent website which purports to sell Trek bicycles over the internet at deeply discounted prices. The website is currently up and running at In the past, the same website has appeared under several other names such as,,, and [this is also the same website I mentioned in my Oct. 31 2006 entry at the url of, which has also been shut down.] We have successfully shut this website down several times, only to find that it reappears under a similar domain name shortly thereafter. Other major brands are also featured on the site.
Elsewhere in the press release:

11/12/06 - Clipless pedals and shoes.

The single best upgrade you can make to your bike - and it seems, one of the areas of the most confusion - is a clipless pedal and shoe system. Since this is the time of year that many of us look forward to what we want to improve on for next year and begin researching new purchases, I'm going to use this entry to my blog to offer some advice and helpful hints to those who are looking to add a cliples pedal system or upgrade what you're currently using.

First - the terminology. Like a few other areas of our sport, this one uses some jargon that is a little confusing. here's a quick glossary of terms to help our discussion make a little more sense:

10/31/06 - Scary stuff for Halloween... Online Bike Fraud

BEWARE! There are people out there trying to take advantage of cyclists!And they're posing as legitimate specialty retailers just like the trusted bike shops in your town! The story below is from Tuscon's Arizona Daily Star:
Online bicycle store is a fraud
BBB says many cheated by elusive scam artists
By Thomas Stauffer
arizona daily star
Tucson, Arizona Published: 10.31.2006

The Better Business Bureau is warning local bicyclists about a fraudulent Internet bike store that changes names quicker than some can change a flat tire.The BBB of Southern Arizona has yet to receive complaints from Tucson-area residents about a company most recently operating under the name Steve's Cycling Store, and it wants to keep it that way, bureau spokeswoman Kim States said."We're wanting to give the cyclists in Southern Arizona a heads-up that this seems to a be a popular and lasting scam," States said. "We'd rather get the word out now to people before we get a complaint."The company's Web site,, shows images of scores of bikes and several employees eager to serve you at a shop in Cheyenne, Wyo. Trouble is, there are no bicycles or employees at Steve's Cycling Store in Cheyenne, because there is no such store in Cheyenne. The address listed on the Web site is actually the location of a large truck stop.That hasn't stopped hundreds of people nationwide from being taken for tens of thousands of dollars through an elaborate scam that uses the company's fake online store and eBay, said Barbara Read, communications supervisor for the Mountain States BBB. Steve's — aka Todd's, George's, Kent's, Stan's, Jones', Max's, Moby's and possibly dozens other names — offers high-end bikes at ridiculously low prices on eBay, Read said. A common scenario is for a customer to call or e-mail about a particular bike, she said. When the customer asks about the eBay listing, he is told that rather than paying through conventional online sources, the company prefers that buyers use its own escrow service. The service is not legitimate, and the goods are never delivered, Read said.To "prove" that a bicycle has been shipped and is on its way to a customer, the company often gives tracking numbers. While the tracking numbers are valid, the package that can be tracked is not a high-end bicycle but rather a very small, empty cardboard box, said Jack Ailion, owner of Alpharetta, Ga.-based Ibex Bicycles.The Web site for Steve's Cycling Store features testimonials from customers stolen verbatim from Ailion's own site, he said."I investigated them far enough to find out that there is no way of tracking them down," Ailion said. "EBay catches them pretty quickly and will take their listings down and suspend their I.D., but then they just come back with a a different name and a different URL for the same phony deals and the same phony Web site." 
The moral of the story is - if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Find a store you're comfortable with and confident in their abilities to meet your needs and be loyal to them. A good store will reward your loyalty with outstanding service and prices that may not be the lowest, but are fair enough that you don't have to worry if it's a scam or where the part came from. Best of all - your trusted local bike shop cares about you and your safety. When you're in a jam, where's "" going to be? If they're still in business - they certainly won't be the shop around the corner with the knowledgeable, helpful, friendly staff who wants to help you love your cycling experience!

Edit; Nov. 15, 2006: The URL for has been suspended as a part of the investigation.

Enjoy the beginning of your Holiday Season. My favorites: Thanksgiving and Christmas; are right around the corner!

10/12/06 - Sharing the Road? What are Cyclists' Rights?

It seems that more now than ever I'm hearing stories of awkward and occasionally violent meetings between cyclists and motorists. There's the things we've all encountered - honking, yelling, maybe you've even had things thrown at you. But lately there's been swerving, verbal exchanges at traffic lights, and intentional screeching of brakes. In fact, WKRN ran a news story just weeks ago as a part of their "I'm ticked off!" series about motorists frustrations with cyclists in rural Nashville. How far is too far?

Actually, our real questions should be; What is fueling these incidents and how do we extinguish the flame? Are motorists just intolerant or are we cyclists provoking them? What can we do to improve this situation?
Well, educating all motorists on the rights of cyclists and telling them to back off would take a very long time and would be quite ineffective; even though some of them probably need to hear it. However, we cyclists can learn our rights and the responsibilities that accompany those rights and become smarter, more considerate cyclists and hope that we can change the hearts of the motorists in our area. So, where do we begin?

First, the best resource for finding your rights and responsibilities as a cyclist in most states is: This website links to other online resources which reference the driver's code for most states and even some territories of the U.S. The listing for the state of Tennessee is very thorough and clear and is worth a read; whether to discover your rights and responsibilities for the first time or to refresh your memory.

The biggest thing that we as a community of cyclists need to acknowledge is: while the laws generally give us the right-of-way, there is a great deal of responsibility that comes along with those rights. And the first responsibility is to obey the same rules of the road that motorists do. There are those among us who run stop signs and ride around traffic lights - simply because we're too lazy to slow down and stop. You know who you are. I've been riding for a long time; I know it's not easy or fun to accelerate back up to cruising speed from a complete stop. But at an intersection we're not talking about ease or fun - we're talking about safety and it's not safe to run an intersection in a bike or in a car. And if you want to be treated like a car, you have to act like one. We are safest on our bikes when we ride in a predictable manner and obey traffic laws.

I myself have gotten myself into verbal exchanges with motorists when I've been obeying traffic laws and riding as I'm supposed to. (Either as far to the right of a lane as is safe or in another case signaling to cross traffic to use a left-turn lane.) In those cases, I knew I was right and in no way was I unpredictable or did I endanger myself or the motorists around me. I'm not proud of the fact that a driver and myself were yelling at each other (although I did keep my cool; and my volleys were definitely more intelligent sounding due to their lack of profanity...) but if yelling was the result of my choice to ride responsibly instead of a cyclist or a motorist getting injured in an accident, then I made the right choice; in spite of what that motorist thinks.
In the end, ride better than you would drive. Remember the concept of "defensive driving" from Driver's Ed? Ride like no one knows you're there. Plan ahead, signal your intentions, and be predictable and you'll find that motorists are more understanding.

And, just because there are many roads that you can ride side-by-side on, doesn't mean you should do it. If there's a car behind you, move to single-file so that they can pass safely without endangering themselves or yourself.

I may come off a little abrasive on this entry, but it's something I'm very passionate about and think about every time I ride. If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact me.
Thanks for reading.

9/16/06 - More on doping in cycling... Frankie Andreu Comes Clean

This week former U.S. Postal rider, Lance Armstrong teammate, and team director for Toyota-United, Frankie Andreu, came clean. In an excerpt from the N.Y. Times article that broke the story,
Frankie said:

“I tried my best never to use performance-enhancing drugs,” he said. “I did make a couple of bad choices, but that was a long, long time ago. It’s not something to be proud of. I did use EPO, but only for a couple of races.”
I've talked to many people this week and this year about the doping in cycling issue and I hear many different opinions and reactions. Some people stand up in fierce defense of their favorite riders, others meet each breaking story with a deeper sense of dispair for our favorite sport and others still almost seem to revel in the "house-cleaning" we are experiencing. My reaction through all of this - especially over the last 2+ since two of my favorite riders met their fate (David Millar turned himself in for EPO use and Tyler Hamilton tested positive for blood-doping during the Tour of Spain) - has been that if you've abused the system, you deserve to serve the commensurate punishment for your wrong-doing. Additionally, if you turn yourself in - while you need to take what is coming to you - I have the utmost respect for you as an individual.

Frankie's conscience was eating him alive. He couldn't stand the thought of raising his family and trying to teach them right from wrong all while knowing what he had done himself. That level of integrity is something that is missing in much of our world - and blatantly absent in professional sports. Frankie is to be commended for forgetting about himself and his image and doing what is right. Some will say that he has turned his back on his former team-mates and friends and some will resort to legal action; but if they were involved in a program as well - whether individual or team-wide - they do not deserve to hide from the light any more than Frankie did. Regardless of who they are or what they have accomplished.

A Sports article by E.M. Swift from the same day the NY Times story broke makes some pretty bold statements about doping in the pro peleton on the heels of the Andreu confession:

"...In 1999 I went to see Willy Voet, the Belgian trainer of the French-based Festina cycling team who was at the center of the '98 Tour de France scandal when he was arrested while crossing the border with literally hundreds of vials of EPO, growth hormones and testosterone."...Of the 500 cyclists he'd worked with over the years, only two had ever failed a drug test. "A racer who gets caught by doping control is dumb as a mule," Voet told me."And how many of those 500 cyclists he worked with did not take drugs to enhance their performance? "I can count them on two hands. Maybe two hands and two feet if I'm generous," Voet said."And where did the clean ones finish? I wondered."'The back of the pack," Voet said."Armstrong never finished at the back of the pack. Neither did his onetime teammate, Tyler Hamilton, the '04 Olympic champion who was suspended for two years for blood doping. Neither did another former teammate, Floyd Landis, who failed a doping test after winning this year's Tour de France. Neither did Italy's Ivan Basso, or Germany's Jan Ullrich, or Spain's Francisco Mancebo, who finished second, third and fourth to Armstrong in the '05 Tour, all of whom have been implicated in the Spanish doping investigation that rocked the start of this year's Tour. Each disputes the allegations.There's nothing new in any of this. Voet was telling the truth, but not enough people were listening. The sport of cycling is dirty, was dirty and will continue to be dirty until more athletes like Andreu and trainers like Voet come forward and break the code of silence. Remember those names. They're the heroes.Here's the thing about truth: It may take a while. It may take years. But truth's a tenacious battler. Eventually it will come out."
Swift's article hits the nail on the head and is a much needed, rude-awakening to many. This year's Tour de France was probably the cleanest race we've seen in years - however still clouded-over by the potential of performance-enhancing hormone abuse.

As long as there are loose and inconsistent controls for performance-enhancing drug abuse in our sport and penalties which do not reach every level of the teams involved we will continue to see individuals trying to gain the slightest advantage over others by whatever means they see possible. Just look at professional football or baseball. Penalties that are so tame they are probably laughed at by the individuals they are served upon are the norm. And while the governing bodies of the sports (and the Congress of the U.S. who stepped into the issue of steroid abuse in baseball last year) claim to be cracking down on drug abuse - until real penalties like multi-year suspensions and no-tolerance policies like those in profesional cycling are instated our nations most popular passtimes will continue to have problems as well.

Pro cycling is taking it on the chin right now for stepping forward and setting an example for other sports to follow when it comes to doping control and consequence. The athletes like David Millar and Frankie Andreu who step forward and admit that they are wrong deserve our unwavering support - in spite of what it means to their careers and those of their teammates.

Oh, and by the way - in case you missed it, a drug-free David Millar won a time-trial at the Vuelta a Espana this last week. Great job, David!

8/16-18/06 - Madison, WI and Trek World 2007

It is one part of my job that doesn't feel like work, but at the same time will exhaust me to no end: Trade Shows. And as a Trek dealer, our trade show season starts off in August with a trip to beautiful Madison, Wisconson for Trek's annual dealer show: Trek World. This was my fourth year travelling to the show and it's something that I always look forward to. This year was especially cool because we were invited to the opening of the show which is only for the largest Trek dealers. We were among the first to see Trek's plans for 2007.
Madison is perfect this time of year. The weather is absolutely beautiful and it rarely rains (although it did rain a little this year and last year's show hit town one day after a tornado...). Built on an isthmus between two lakes; the major one being Lake Monona, their capitol square is at the very middle of the isthmus with the scenic campus of the University of Wisconson nearby and the stately but modern Monona Terrace Convention Center; designed originally by Frank Lloyd Wright (a favorite architect of mine), built directly on the shore of Lake Monona it is a quite picturesque location for such a meeting. And the riding isn't too bad either!

7/4/06 - Vive' le Tour

Yes, it's cheesy and probably a little cliche', but I don't care; this is my favorite time of year! I love the Tour de France. I am one of those geeks who checks out and several times a day for the latest news and the gear reviews on what the different teams are riding. I set my VCR every day (Bike shop employees don't make enough to have TiVo...ha, ha) to catch the live action while I'm at work and then watch it when I get home. I can recite the winners of the yellow jersey for the last two decades and then some (which is made easier by the fact that 2 Americans have won ten times and there have been three riders who have won 5 or more times in that time period...thank you Hinault, LeMond, Indurain and Armstrong...see, there I just named half of them.) The month of July is my favorite month - the Tour is my SuperBowl. Heck, the tour even ends on my birthday every once in a while!
And, wow! Was I ever anticipating this year's race. With Armstrong out, the race was finally as wide open as it has been since Indurain's fantastic flop in 1996 when current CSC Director Bjarne Riis won. But things started to change back in May when Manolo Saiz was arrested (former Director for the former Liberty Seguros - a.k.a. Astana-Wurth - now Astana squad) on blood doping allegations under what we now know as "Operacion Puerto". And now, we're watching a tour lacking many of those who had been tapped as "heirs to the throne" and an entire team with a promising rider (Alexandre Vinokourov; who has not been implicated in the case, but lost enough team members that they did not have a large enough squad to start the race). So, how do I feel now that we do not have Basso, Ullrich, Mancebo, Vino, et. al.?
Illegal use of performance enhancing substances (EPO, blood doping, amphetamines, or the method du jour...) is rampant in professional sports world wide. As a fan of track and field, I've watched sadly as many athletes like Ben Johnson and recently Marion Jones have been scrutinized, banned, proclaimed to have damaged the sport or made it "impure" - and yet the sport lives on. Athetes continue to compete for Gold Medals, the drama continues to unfold, and records continue to fall. While it is discouraging to watch people (sometimes our favorites - for me it was Tyler Hamilton and David Millar) try to gain unfair advantages - occasionally at the cost of their health (Tom Simpson's tragic death in the Tour on a mountain stage) - we must continue to strive to improve drug testing and emphasize the importance of a clean and fair competition.
In all world-class competitions, the athletes and equipment are so evenly matched that they must scrape for every advantage they can get. These events - whether cycling, running, or others are often decided by a margin as small as one-tenth of one percent and if you can gain that much over your opponents through refined equipment like a more aerodynamic skinsuit or lighter bike or more efficient technique it can mean that you have a better chance of winning. But some athletes try to take the "work smarter - not harder" principle to a different place and stretch the boundaries through the use of performance enhancing substances.
All this is not to say that I am against "enhancing performance." If I were, the two energy gels, energy drink, and recovery drink that I consumed when I rode the other day would make me a hypocrite (as well as the countless PowerBars, Gatorades, bananas and other things I've ingested in my years in Soccer, Track, and Cycling). I just disagree with performance enhancers that put an athlete's health at risk. And the methods in question have well documented health risks. It is possible to run a clean competition, use substances and training that allow athletes to perform at their pinnacle, and not harm a person's health.
So, in the end - I'm still excited about the race. Don't let the choices that a few athletes, doctors, and coaches have made dampen the spectacle that is the Tour de France. This is the single most spectacular annual sporting event on the planet (with proper recognition to the Olympics and World Cup every four years - also favorites of mine) with the most fit, courageous athletes, most amazing physical performances, and most striking scenery of any sporting event known. The race is not just the roster or the teams involved. The race is everything involved. Someone will still attack and someone will still pop on L'Alpe d'Huez. It won't be Basso or Ullrich this year - but it will be someone and it will be spectacular!
And a note on the picture. That's my boy, Jacob at just over 4 months enjoying his first stage of the Tour de France. I figure that, based on history, the next American pro cycling revolution will be coming around about the time he's ready for the tour. So, I've already got Trek's Advanced Composites Group working on his bike - but until then one of those super cool Litespeed tricycles outfitted with the new Bontrager time-trial bars will have to do.

2/18/06 - Allanti Goes to Iraq!

Actually, I've done a limited amount of "International" business in the past - so this is nothing new; and our focus really is here in Middle Tennessee - but I thought some of you might find this interesting.
Terrell is serving our country over in Bagdad, Iraq. We helped Terrell get his new Trek 4300 disc out to the International Zone to get some exercise and break up the monotony. Regardless of how you feel about the situation in the Middle East and the surrounding issues - we feel it is important for our guys to know that we support them. So, in thanks to Terrell and all our guys faithfully serving our country and protecting our rights - here's some pictures of Terrell and his 4300 in Bagdad.

2/16/06 - Bike Fit

2/16/06 - Bike Fit
I try to study bike fitting every winter. While I definitely have enough fitting appointments to keep me busy (and some of you keep me busier than others...just kidding), I think it's important to keep up with new developments in physiology, bike geometry, and theory in general.

It's this time of year that I get especially frustrated though, by being reminded of all the bad advice that is swimming around out there on the "Bike Club Circuit". Now, that's not a knock on bike clubs - they're vital to the existence and continued growth of our sport - but it seems that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about how bikes ought to fit and about what you can and can't get away with when it comes to choosing a bike and making it fit. Worst of all, some of those rumors are propigated by bike shops!

2/8/06 - Motivation

2/8/06 - Motivation
I've been struggling a lot with motivation this winter. Because I'm from a cooler climate than the mid-South, I typically enjoy riding in the fall and winter more than the summer. The heat and humidity here is absolutely oppressive to me. But this winter has been tough. There's a lot going on at the store (which beats the alternative...) and when that is coupled with the reluctance of leaving my now 8-month pregnant wife at home by herself; I just don't get out much. (Notice I don't have any cool "action" pictures like Kerry does...just me standing here in the store like I always am...) :)
However, when I do get out; instead of my usual pace - trying to rip up the road, pushing my heart rate to the max, working as much riding into as little time as I can - I've been keeping the intensity down and doing more "base miles" type riding; leisurely riding through the hills in West Nashville, through the park, and up and down Belle Meade Boulevard. Sometimes we just forget how enjoyable this sport really can be. With the information-overload of our heart-rate monitors and wireless cadence computers and the performance benefits of our super-light frames and aerodynamic wheels it is easy to lose focus on why we do this. Ultimately it's about the experience. Great gear sure adds to it - just like having a wide-screen plasma TV with a great surround system - but if you keep getting distracted by other things, it's hard to enjoy the movie or game you're watching.
You know, we really are blessed here with some of the best riding in the country. Before moving to Nashville in August of 2000, I lived in two cities that Bicycling Magazine has touted as being among the best cities in the country for cycling. And, while I'll tend to agree with them; Nashville is really under-rated. Yeah, we don't have all the bike paths that other cities do (but we're working on that) and the mountain biking isn't as accessible - but few places in the U.S. compare with Percy Warner Park, the Natchez Trace, Leipers Fork, and the Old Hillsboro area. When you're not trying to push your speed up to race-pace or focusing on catching the group of riders ahead of you (or keeping away from the riders behind you...) and you really just bask in the ride - Middle Tennessee is hard to beat.
We all struggle with motivation from time-to-time, and it's not always the same thing that brings us out of it. But, try a change of pace every once in a while. Take a ride without your computer and heart rate monitor. Ride with a new group or take a new route and wander a little. Sometimes this is where we find our new inspiration and re-discover our sport.
And, with the excitement and distraction of a newborn about to hit me; I'm sure to need a new source of motivation to get on my bike so I can do some racing this year and not fail miserably like I did last year. I'll be sure to let you know how that all turns out...
Now, turn off your computer and go ride!


All content - except where otherwise noted - copyright 2006 - 2013 Matthew Magee. Do not use without permission.

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