Some random thoughts from the saddle.......

I've been thinking about cycling in Illinois and comparing it to my recent trips to New York and Minnesota and Illinois is coming up on the short end. Why is it that our state is so far behind when in comes to bike paths and trails? Surely it has nothing to do with the great leadership we have sent to Springfield. Then again?

Kudos and a thumbs up for......

-Big Jay for another excellent BJFAR (Big Jay's Fat Ass Race) a few weeks ago in Mahomet. When you host a race you might let someone else win.

-Wild Card and Verizon Race teams for an excellent weekend of racing. Nothing like a weekend of NASCAR style bike racing to get the blood going.

-Alex, Dan and Anona for the passion they have brought to the C-U cycling scene and the good work they did here at the shop. We will miss you and wish you all the best!

- Steve Nesbitt for a thoughtful letter to the News Gazette editors on this date regarding the state of cycling safety in C-U.

Excitement for the new Fisher road bikes for 2010 is high. Check out the recent reviews on cyclingnews. Look for the new models in the shop later this season. Also, get ready for the Trek electric assist bikes. It might be just the bike you need to hang with the "heavy hitters" at the Wednesday night fights.

Road magazine, an excellent source for the latest from the road scene, sings praises for fi'zi:k dual bar tape. It sounded so good that we now have it in the shop. (Take that, Dan Shunk!) Anona calls it "old man's tape" because it is padded. Regardless, it is comfortable, looks great and you can clean it when it gets dirty. Sounds like my retirement wardrobe.

Ride safely, see you on the road.

John A.


In Lieu of The Bicycle Race Tomorrow, A word on Tri Bikes and forgive my grammar

But First, A hearty hand shake and a pat on the back for Axel he is going on to the real world, outside this bicycling Utopia/cult we have here, I don't quite know why he would ever want to leave here. The red kool-aid was planned for next week. In any case we wish him the best of luck in the city of brotherly love.

Play him off keyboard cat.

Back to Tri's A number of folks come in to the shop with some combination of the following phrases "I want a bike to get into shape with to do some fitness riding" "and then maybe a few triathlons" "and do you have any tri bikes?".

The first bit about losing some unnecessary pounds and getting back into shape that can be accomplished through our fx series of bikes the 7.3 fx is an excellent example of just such a bike great for moderate paced rides up to as far as you care to go. That said for that third bit where you want to start training for triathlons and doing a few, I would be doing you the budding triathlete a disservice to put you on any thing less than a road bike. The reasons for this are numerous.
1 Road bikes are faster each pedal stroke sends you further down the road or up the mountain or toward the running leg of the triathlon.
2 That one road bike can be your training and competition ride for years of triathlons. They are adaptable for racing purposes but not so much for the day to day utility.
3 While they are more expensive they represent a significant investment in your self and as a result that can motivate you toward your goal of being a triathlete.
4 The higher quality parts on the bikes shift gears smoother and with less effort and will do so far beyond the life of cheaper flat bar stuff. This makes you more confident and life on the bike easier when you get out of the pool/lake/ocean and start riding the bike and you cant quite get your fingers wired to your brain properly.
5 Drop bars and clip on aero bars give you many hand positions so you can get into an aggressive stance on the bike or get upright for easier training rides and some people can sit in the aero bars all day long.
6. Peter loves this reason but The bike is the single biggest time reducing piece of equipment you can get for a triathlon (also a good one goggles that don't leak I swim regularly, used to competitively I hated swimming with cheap goggles). Why would you make your self less competitive with ill suited to the task equipment?

So if you say triathlon I am going to say road bike. Those are the rules and they are for your benefit.

The last question "Do you have any tri bikes?" the answer there is maybe in the future but now if you want one well order it for you it will come in a day or two. The tri bike is great for competition but are really race day only bikes. While fast in a straight line they are tough to handle even for the pros.
And those were just the crashes from this years tour.

Therefore a triathlon bike should not be your only bike as they are more dragster than daily driver. They put you in a position that is rather uncomfortable for day to day use and unsafe for rides any where other than a closed course. Additionally a triathlon bike frame is one of the last things a rider needs to benefit from aerodynamically. Its behind Aero bars, an aero helmet, aero wheels, a skin suit, cycling shoes, and clipless pedals. So when you have all those things first the performance advantages of a Tri bike may be worth while. finally all these things with the exception of wheels are cheaper than the bike frame and there fore a better value.

Finally I hope to see you (whoever you are)
all at the Crit today. The shop will be open during the race So if you need any thing in a pinch we will be glad to help out!

P. S. for those of us out there with bike seats that are not quite comfortable (my self included) count your blessings Harry Potter spends hours flying around on a broomstick. Maybe they have broomstick specific shorts.


New stuffs

I didn't do anything worth writing about this weekend, except perhaps cleaning my chain after riding through the poo storm on Saturday (but Sheldon Brown already took care of that). Nope, this weekend was specifically for doing nothing before the Champaign Crit and two weeks of racing (the aptly named) Superweek.

We've had some new toys roll into the shop in the past few weeks, including:
Triathlon shorts (men's and women's), for those of us for whom riding just isn't enough

Detours panniers (convertible backpacks!)
...and Planet Bike Superflash headlights (further testing planned)



I received a question via the shop website regarding Quadribents, which, if combined with a canopy, would probably be the hippest bike in the CU area. However, the e-mail address on the message didn't work, so here's my broadcast reply: we can order all of the parts of a quadribent and then assemble it for you. The EZ-1 (i.e. the recumbent itself) costs $775 for each, and the Quadribent kit is $799. Assembly is, as always, free.