Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Greg LeMond: Industry Revolutionary

Greg LeMond is perhaps best known recently for being an outspoken critic of Lance Armstrong and his claims to clean cycling. Even recently, Greg offered an open letter to the UCI's Pat McQuaid asking him to resign and citing (in summary) willful ignorance when it comes to the purported doping system that Armstrong and U.S. Postal Pro Cycling allegedly ran according to the USADA's recent Reasoned Decision.

But my opinion is; having met the man on several occasions and having some mutual friends, this sells Greg very short (as most generalizations tend to do). And to go a step further - Greg is more than the first (only?*) American to win the Tour de France and the guy who popularized clipless pedals, carbon frames, and "aero bars" for road race time trials.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Road Frame Testing: Interesting Video

Giant has posted a video explaining frame testing protocol within the bicycle industry and it is really rather fascinating.

You have to wade through a bit of manufacturer propaganda, but many of us have heard it all before (and I rather like Giant's road bikes) so it's not that bad. Once you sift through the subjectivity you'll see that there are some cold hard facts and some interesting insights into how all these data points that we are bombarded with are actually created - and why some companies test the way they do.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Five; October 26, 2012

Five things you should have done on your 6:00 a.m., 37 F degree, rainy ride back from the auto service center after dropping off your car.

I was reminded of all of these things yesterday morning... :) These are actually good tips for any early-morning fall ride though.Thought I'd share.

  1. Pump your tires up the night before - 'cause you know you don't have time in the morning.
  2. Wear the winter wind-proof scull cap that covers your ears and not the euro-chic cycling cap. Regardless of how tough you think you are - it's cold out there!
  3. Wear the wind-proof gloves too. It may be a short ride, but your hands will get cold.
  4. Charge your headlight battery the night before - having your light begin to run low on juice near the end of the ride is not luck; it's poor planning.
  5. Take your own advice and just do your pre-ride check the night before. I mean come on, Matt - you're smarter than that! :)
It was really cold; I was freezing; and to top it off I also had stolen a few CO2 cartridges out of my seat pack on the last MTB ride I did - so I was riding without any flat-changing capacity at all! In the rain, on tires with lower-than-ideal pressure: a sure recipe for a flat. That's right; I do stupid stuff too.

Have a great weekend, everyone - and run through that pre-ride check tonight before your ride tomorrow a.m.; o.k.?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

How To Buy a New Bike Helmet

Part of my new "How To" series

My latest series of posts is focusing on things that I frequently helped people learn during my years in bike shops.

That is to say that these are some of the things that are sort of considered "tribal knowledge" - you don't necessarily know them until you've been at it a while and made some mistakes. Well, I've never felt that was fair and I've always enjoyed demystifying the bike industry for people. So; here's the next tip to help you along your journey to better enjoying your cycling experience:


Wow - that was formal...

So I'm going to focus on two areas primarily with a third area which is really less important - sort of like 2.5 steps to a better bike helmet. These should also serve to help set your priorities as you shop and try them on since I'm listing them in order.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wall street Journal's Humorous Online Look at Who Gets Armstrong's Tour Titles

Photo: online.wsj.com
It's a bittersweet time in pro cycling right now. Sad to see one of the greatest icons the sport has ever had go down for what may also be the sport's biggest doping charades. However, there may be fresh air being breathed into the sport as the dark cloud of "omerta" (cycling's version of  see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil) is possibly being driven out of the valley; clearing the atmosphere around the peleton.

I don't make it a big habit of sending you to outside content - I figure you've probably already seen it. But this was too good not to share. Whichever side of the issue you come down on; this lighthearted take may lift your mood a little.

Thanks to my friend and fellow musician and cyclist; Jim Watson, for the tip.

Meet Your New Tour de France Champ - wsj.com

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

CycleOps Magneto Pro: Tested

 As a cycling-fond resident of the rainy Pacific Northwestern U.S., a Certified Bike Fitter, parent of 3 young boys, and a Manager of three different successful bike shops; I've come to know and love a thing or two about indoor trainers. (See my tips & tricks post for more general info)

I have logged many hours around trainers - riding, fitting, sizing, and putting bikes in and taking them out. Just a blind estimation: I have probably installed and removed somewhere over 10,000 bikes from trainers in my career. Not that someone out there hasn't done more...but it's certainly enough to develop an understanding of what makes a decent trainer.

Now if you have read any of my other writing on trainers, you'll know that I have a certain affinity for two things: 1) Fluid resistance trainers and 2) Kurt Kinetic brand trainers. This comes from my years of using them and I have found these to be among the best.

However, this trainer: CycleOps' Magneto Pro may be softening my heart a little...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Five: October 19, 2012

Five reasons the 2003 Tour de France will still be one of the greatest ever.

Hard to believe that this next July will mark 10 years since this epic edition of the Tour. Even in light of the current Lance debacle, there is no denying the grand scale of the race that would become his fifth victory* in 2003. Even with the knowledge that the contenders were doped to the gills; here are five reasons why this edition of the grand tour will always be one of the most dramatic and enjoyable to watch:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How To Wear Bike Shorts

Yes, after all this time online, my new "How To" series has finally moved this topic off the To Do list and onto the blog.

In all my years in managing bicycle stores; this was probably the topic that was the most difficult to address and that customers and salespeople alike knew the least about. My intent here is to take my experiences and put them down in a fashion that you can use it as a buying guide for your first few times around the block buying padded cycling shorts.

I'll address every topic here (and if you think I've missed something or still have questions; leave a comment and we'll address that too...), but still keep it G rated as is my style. So no worries; go ahead and read this at work. :) That said; let's begin:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"How To" Series

There's myriad topics I have happily helped people learn to do themselves in my decade managing bike stores. This series is designed to address some of the toughest and most common. I hope this somewhat limited and unidirectional medium can allow me to help you too!

(If there is no link to the topic; check back soon - it's coming!)

How to:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How to Lock Your Bike Properly

Part of my new "How To" series

If you ever have had to leave your beloved bicycle unattended anywhere other than safely secured within your home you've had that thought: "I hope it doesn't get stolen."

Me; I love my bicycles so much that it is a rare occasion that I let them out of my sight when using them to run errands or making a stop to refuel on a long ride. There are times, however, that I must leave my bike and take proper precautions. While I believe that there is no longer anything that could classify as theft prevention there certainly are some great deterrents, and any longer the secret is for your bike to be locked up better and made less attractive to thieves than the one next to it. So; let's delve into that.

One of my favorite websites, Lifehacker.com recently ran a story on how to lock your bicycle properly; featuring a lot of the advice of the legendary late Sheldon Brown. The article certainly was good - and I'm definitely not one to pick a fight with Sheldon; who is more of an expert on all things bike-related than I, but I did feel that there were some things that could be addressed better along with some tips and methods that I have learned or developed which I would like to pass along.

The article suggested a couple of ways to lock your bike with a U-Lock: First; running the lock through your rear wheel inside the rear triangle then around a secure object...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Five, October 12, 2012

Five things your bike shop might be getting wrong...

Don't take me as a hater; I did the bike shop thing for 10 years, I am still one of their biggest advocates, andI run my own independent operation. However - unless you're one of the rare folks who frequents a bike shop staffed by cyborgs - the mechanics are human and even the good ones make mistakes from time to time. So, this post is not meant as a knock to bike shops; but a guide to help us all stay safe and comfortable.

Here's what I see most frequently:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bike Tools: The Top 11 You Need Most

Cyclists have a tendency to want to be self-sufficient. Think about it: there are a lot of areas revolving around cycling that you'll hear a cyclist say something like "I want to do that myself someday." Riding a century or a multi-day tour; racing, climbing the nastiest hill in the area (or tackling the scariest descent); or moving up to the "fast group" in the Tuesday night group ride. You want to take that next step and say "I did that."

Working on your bike seems to be no different. There are many things that I have happily helped cyclists learn to do themselves. Having a simple mechanical understanding of how to take care of your bike is a big key to enjoying your cycling experience and gaining some security and self-sufficiency. Changing a flat; adjusting your brakes or shifting; properly tightening a bolt or adjusting a saddle; and installing new parts are all things we long to learn to do.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

USADA's Reasoned Decision Against Lance Armstrong

So it appears as though the house of cards is collapsing.

Download the full ~200 page .pdf document here...

I've written some about doping in the past on my blog (here, here, here, and here) but have stayed away from it as a topic for quite a while now as it is a very polarizing topic due to the names associated with the various scandals. While I may have come down on the wrong side a time or two with certain riders; the fact still remains that cheating is cheating whomever you are, whatever you have been through, and whatever you have accomplished.

In the scope of many of the drugs, methods, and masking agents; the side effects are often quite harmful to your health. (Let's just toss this out on the table for consideration now: One of the potential results of EPO use is Testicular Cancer...)

While I love and enjoy the spectacle of the sports encompassed under the umbrella of professional cycling; for the sake of the riders' health and the legacy they leave to the young aspiring cyclists following in their footsteps, I am a major advocate of clean competition.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Interbike 2012 - Cool New Stuff From Shimano

 Now, it's no secret to most of you that I am a huge fan of Shimano - I almost exclusively ride their components; I have sold off all my cycling shoes that don't carry their blue logo; and whatever bike parts of mine don't have Shimano part numbers, I mostly wish they did... (like my Speedplay pedals...)

In my days as a retail buyer, Shimano was often the first appointment I'd set at the trade show. I'm still most excited to see what they roll out and try to make them an early stop on my walking tour if the show when I'm there.

The latest version of Dura Ace (9000) has rightfully gotten some due attention - so let's take a closer look at some of the stuff sitting in the limelight.

Each generation of the Shimano wheels makes me a bigger fan.  The early iterations fell short; but they have caught up big time and are definitely a "tone-setter" for much of the industry now. The fact that Zipp saw fit to try to slow the introduction of the carbon/aluminum laminate Dura Ace wheels with litigation a few years ago should be testament to Shimano's innovation and influence in this category.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Five: October 5, 2012

This is the first in a new series I'll post every Friday (and honestly, an idea I stole from another blogger in a different genre...)

Five things to think about, to do, to get, to check, to see, places to go, or otherwise. Some of it should be fun or though provoking. Some of it might be sobering or sad. We'll see.

Come along and let's take this somewhere. Have an idea for a Friday Five topic? Leave a comment!

Today: Five Things You Must Do Before You Call Yourself a Cyclist:

  1.  Shave your legs at least once. A bigger deal for guys obviously, but still a rite of passage. It will also not be left unsaid that this step also requires wearing shorts to a public, non-cycling event.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Specialized Purist Water Bottle Review

Nasty, funky, water bottle.

We've all probably had one. That bottle that no matter how much you washed it just wouldn't seem to come clean or stop stinking like foot. If you're lucky its just that this bottle seems to always taste like that energy drink you used a while back. Whatever it is; your average water bottle has a tendency to become "funky".

The solution: replace it - you will likely never get that stain or stink out. However, while we used to have to settle for replacing the funk bottle with the same kind of bottle with the same propensity to get nasty. Specialized Bicycle Components has presented a solution though and I think it is a good one.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cyclocross Disc set-up Tips

This post is part of a series on Cyclocross Tips...

The tide is turning a little in the bike industry and brands are listening to consumers then building designs around their desires more than ever. An excellent example is the adaptation of disc brakes in the cyclocross and road segments. 
With new designs; even if it's merely an adaptation like adding disc brakes to these segments - new issues are bound to arise and new techniques are developed to deal with them. It is no different here and there are some great ways to get your brakes working well and ready for race season - even if you're not immediately familiar with the nuances of disc brakes on a cyclocross frame.  Let's start at the beginning:


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

Google Analytics