Wordless Wednesday

Spin Doctor Mechanic Profile: SRAM Technical University

All of our Spin Doctor mechanics keep up-to-date with the latest in bicycle repair and maintenance – earlier this month, a group of Spin Doctor mechanics from our Colorado stores attended an excellent refresher class at SRAM Technical University (STU) in Colorado Springs. At STU, our Spin Doctors received in-depth hands-on training from SRAM instructors on the latest SRAM products and maintenance techniques.

Here’s a group shot of our graduating team of Spin Doctors – we don’t want to brag, but their instructors did mention several times that it was the best bunch of students they’d had in a long time!

As you can see, STU looks like a science classroom, and the training was just as rigorous. It was a great experience for all of our Spin Doctors, as they learned to overhaul and maintain 3 suspension forks, one rear shock and Avid XX disc brakes.

Here’s Mark, a Spin Doctor in our Greenwood Village store, learning the finer points of Avid XX brake maintenance. Having your disc brakes properly set up is key to performance and feel out on the trail – disc brakes nowadays are quite robust, but a little maintenance and fine-tuning can make a big difference.

Above, Tim, a Spin Doctor in our Colorado Springs store, fine-tunes his brake-bleeding skill. In addition to disc brakes, our team also got the chance to tear down and re-build both front and rear shocks. The engineering that goes into modern shocks is impressive, but this is an area for maintenance that most folks neglect until it’s too late! Like other moving parts on your bike, suspension systems should be overhauled on a recurring basis, to replace worn parts before they become an issue out on the trail.

The trip to STU was a fantastic experience for our Colorado Spin Doctor team, and they can’t wait to apply their fine-tuned skills in their home stores – although, as you can see below, they will miss the stunning view of Pikes Peak out the door of STU!

 If you need some work done on your disc brakes or suspension (if you can’t think of the last time, then you probably do), or need anything else on your bike checked out, drop by your local Performance Bicycle store and let one of our Spin Doctors diagnose the problem. Our Spin Doctor mechanics are all highly trained and experienced, and ready to work on any make or model bike – from an entry-level road bike to your brand new full-suspension 29er.

Wordless Wednesday

Rails-to-Trails Guest Post: Federal Transportation Bill

If you’ve been reading almost any cycling site recently, or following the conversation through social media, you’ve probably heard about the ongoing transportation bill debate in Washington, D.C. The multi-year U.S. transportation bill has been moving along rapidly in Congress, and there are many in Congress who wish to remove any dedicated federal-level funding for bike and pedestrian focused projects. We wanted to learn more about this issue, just like you, so we asked our friends with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, who know the ins and outs of this transportation bill, to to be our guest here on the Performance Bicycle Blog today. Jake Lynch, Rails-to-Trails‘ Communications Manager, wrote this post about what the proposed changes to the transportation bill could mean, why this funding is important, and what you can do if you’d like to help influence the debate.

Right now, both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are attempting to pass their own versions of our nation’s next multiyear surface transportation bill. These bills will dictate America’s direction for many years, and not only in terms of our transportation infrastructure; they will have far-reaching impacts on the nation’s health, environment and economic vitality.

The bad news for everyone who believes our government should help provide safe and convenient places to ride a bike or walk is that both the House and Senate bills would harm programs that fund trails, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and even transit. Transportation Enhancements (TE), the top source of funding for trails and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, would effectively be eliminated. TE is the lifeblood for active transportation projects in communities of every size all across the country (Ed. we’ve included photos from a few projects below).

TE funded Hot Metal Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge, Pittsburgh, PA

There is strong evidence that trails and bicycling and pedestrian projects are cost-efficient job creators, crucial to our nation’s public health goals, and keys to America becoming more environmentally and economically sustainable. Unsurprisingly, the bill was unpopular across the spectrum and provoked a backlash from constituents and transportation advocates like you. The good news is that your voice has been heard, as a vote on the proposed House bill (H.R. 7) has been delayed until at least the end of this month, an indication that there are not enough votes to pass this bill in its current form.

TE funded Capital Crescent Trail, Montgomery County, MD

But there is still work to be done. The Senate bill, as it was passed out of the Environment and Public Works Committee, would also be bad news for bicycling and walking projects – but it is not beyond repair. We are seeking passage of two bipartisan amendments that would restore the integrity of the programs that provide dedicated funding for bicycling and walking, including TE, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails Program. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) have introduced an amendment (#1549) that would ensure communities a fair shot at dedicating funding for trails, walking and bicycling. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) have filed another amendment (S. Amdt. 1661) that would restore the Recreational Trails Program. By mitigating some of the oversights of the Senate bill through appropriate amendments, we can help the Senate craft a positive alternative to the House bill.

TE funded Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail, Salt Lake City, UT

We here at  Rails-to-Trails, along with many other cycling and walking advocacy organizations, are urging all our friends to support these two amendments to the Senate bill. As passionate riders and bicycle advocates, you can help by spreading this message, and by taking just a few moments to complete this automated email form that lets your senators know that trails, walking and biking are important to you.

We understand that often it is hard to get motivated by a legislative process that can seem distant and unproductive. But if a transportation bill becomes law with the current provisions of either of these bills, we will all suffer as our roadways become less safe, obesity continues to climb, and we fail to maximize our communities’ economic development and job creation potential. Please, join this effort to keep America’s transportation network moving forward. You can keep up to date with the latest legislative news by signing up for RTC Online, or on the Rails-to-Trails Trail Blog.

Product Profile: 2012 Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Cycling Clothing

Our product profile this week is focused on Pearl Izumi cycling clothing. Pearl Izumi has been making high performance cycling apparel for 60 years now, and their gear has been tested by the US National Cycling Team, elite-level pro teams and world-class athletes. Pearl Izumi translates this product testing experience into high performance cycling wear, creating world-class cycling clothing for riders of all levels.

If you’re looking for their most advanced materials, innovative designs, and flawless function, you’ll want to try their P.R.O. line of clothing. Short for Performance & Race Optimized,  Pearl Izumi’s P.R.O. cycling gear is the top end of their range of products, featuring their newest innovations in technology, race-ready fit and detailed construction with P.R.O. level fabric technologies.

The foundation of the P.R.O. line of cycling clothing is the Pearl Izumi P.R.O. In-R-Cool Bib Shorts. Fabric details with the P.R.O. In-R-Cool Bib Shorts include P.R.O. Transfer fabric, to improve airflow and breath-ability, along with In-R-Cool technology with coldblack, which reduces the fabric’s surface temperature by up to 35° F under direct sunlight. Factor in the anatomic 8-panel design, which easily moves with you and offers a streamlined fit, and the pre-shaped P.R.O. Seamless 4D Chamois with breathable, moisture-managing 4-way stretch material, and you’ve got shorts that perfectly conform to your body in motion. 

Detail of the Pearl Izumi P.R.O. In-R-Cool Bib Shorts

The Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Leader Short Sleeve Jersey is a great match to the P.R.O. In-R-Cool Bib Shorts, with all of the features you’d expect to find in a technically advanced garment built for racing performance.

P.R.O. Transfer fabric with In-R-Cool technology is utilized, along with a race cut that gives you a next-to-skin fit for improved aerodynamics. Other cool details are welded direct-vent panels that help circulate cool air, a gripper hem in back that stays put, and reflective elements to keep you visible. Three back pockets, plus a sweat-proof pocket to hold your gear and electronics, round out this race-ready jersey.

Detail of the Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Leader Short Sleeve Jersey

You can find a full array of new Spring 2012 Pearl Izumi cycling gear here, including more P.R.O. level gear to get you outfitted from shoes to gloves. If you want to add a bit more style to your next ride, you should also take a look at the Pearl Izumi’s LTD line of jerseys, available for both men and women:

Finally, we just get a kick out of this video about how Pearl Izumi makes a prototype sublimated jersey, compressed down to 90 seconds:

Wordless Wednesday

Photo by Jeff Schneider

Community Events: January Recap

It’s a new year and our stores have already been busy in their local communities – riding, racing and volunteering. With over 100 stores all across the country, we’ve got quite a few events and people to highlight from January, so read on below to see a sample of what they were up to last month. Remember to check out our local store pages for regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics & group rides.

Katrina crossing the finish line in first place ©Steve Anderson

To start this month’s recap, we thought we’d start by highlighting the new World Champion at our Newark, DE store! Katrina Dowidchuk, one of our store associates, won the Womens 40-44 division race at the Masters Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, KY. We recently caught up with Katrina to hear more about the race, her training, and her advice for those thinking about racing cross. To read more, click here!

While we’re talking racing, we want to congratulate Jon Chambers, a bike builder (on the left above) from our Allentown, PA store.  In the picture above, he’s holding trophies for the winning the PA Track BAR (or “Best all around”) stagiaire category and PA Track BAR Masters title. Jon also received 2 Silvers and a Bronze at Track Nationals this year, and won the 30-34 age group all around (you can tell he’s fast by the blurry photo – he can’t even hold still long enough for a camera!)

Sticking with our racing theme, a few of the associates from our Chandler, AZ store headed out to Fontana to race the Winter Series Downhill and Super D events.  Here’s a shot of one of our tents set up as base camp at the race – Dennis from the Chandler store took 2nd in his Super D class (with a crash) and 27th in pro Downhill!

Performance Bicycle made the news in Texas, as Jeff, from our North Austin, TX store, and Shelly, from our South Austin store, were on the local Austin Live morning show talking trainers and indoor training.  What do you think – Jeff’s got a future in TV if he ever gives up his bike gig!

Our Castleton, IN store was involved in a community event in Indianapolis, where they helped Brooksource with a team-building event where their employees built bikes for kids impacted by incarceration, in partnership with the U.S. Dream Academy. Our store manager, Tom, plus Jimmy and Brian, from our store team, helped supervise the build process and also donated a helmet for each of the kids who received bikes.

The Brooksource bike builders all had a great time and, considering the teams building each bike numbered about 6, they were surprisingly efficient at building! Our team completed the final bike safety checks just as the last helmet was being fitted.

Our guys helped build 13 bikes on site, had two pre-built, and got each kid fitted with their new helmets. The kids from the US Dream Academy were all surprised with their new bikes, and the build teams were just as thrilled to be able to present each kid with their new bike and helmet!

Associates from our Philadelphia, PA store participated in their local MLK Day of Service at Neighborhood Bike Works, a neighborhood bike co-op. Along with other volunteers, our 3 person team worked on projects to  renovate and organize the space.  They had a blast working with each other outside of their usual work environment, all while helping out a deserving non-profit.

Dennis and Adrian from our Chandler, AZ store, along with Adam from our Scottsdale store, broke out their work gloves last month to help Park Rangers with some trail-building on the South Mountain National Trail near Phoenix.

It always feels good to help out on trails that you love to ride, plus they got to work on a sweet rock garden (we’re a sucker for rock gardens).

Here’s a picture from our Pittsburgh, PA store last month as they hosted their local Major Taylor Club (Major Taylor was one of the first American cycling champions, on the track and in 6 day races). All members of the club needed to get certified on road safety as part of a national program, so we turned our virtual training area into a powerpoint display to help them out.

Our Akron, OH store played host to a younger crowd last month, as they hosted a local Cub Scout pack for a  clinic on basic bike knowledge taught by our Eagle Scout sales associate, Don. He taught them how to put the correct amount of air in the tires, how to clean a chain, and how to make sure that their brakes were working properly. Each scout left with a water bottle after answering a bike maintenance question!

Our Columbus, OH store held their own Cub Scout clinic in January as well, as a group of local scouts came by the shop. Our lead Spin Doctor, Mike, went over proper hand signals, tube/tire changes and basic maintenance to keep a bike in great shape. The scouts loved it and couldn’t wait for their chance to be tested about basic mechanical problems.

Of course we also held clinics for the big kids out there, like this Basic Maintenance Clinic in our Oceanside, CA store. Remember you can always check on our site to see when the next free bike clinic is scheduled in your local Performance Bicycle Store.

Our Cincinnati, OH store helped out with a fundraiser put on by a local elementary PTO.  The carnival raised money for science and music programs at the school – our team at the event talked about bike safety and helmets while handing out water bottles to the hundreds of kids!

While the energy-filled youngsters spun their legs out on our kids bike display, we talked to parents about our Grow Up kids bike program. We had the opportunity to fit the kids on bikes, and we even got to give away 2 bikes to lucky raffle winners!

Finally, our stores have been holding indoor training classes, including our Novi, MI store. Above is a shot from their latest class – that’s the daughter of one of our regular customers leading the pack! Below is a picture of the training group at our Tucson Speedway, AZ store.

Wordless Wednesday

Product Profile: 2012 Louis Garneau

For today’s product profile, we’re talking about Louis Garneau cycling gear. Founded in 1983 (incidentally, only one year later than Performance Bicycle), Louis Garneau has worked hard to create innovative cycling apparel, as they so aptly explain on their site: “It has and always will be our mission to conceptualize, design, and engineer technological products that will provide racers a competitive edge and recreational cyclists an improved experience.”

Of course one of the racers they were thinking about was Thomas Voeckler, leader of Team Europcar at the 2011 Tour de France. Here’s a shot of Voeckler during his gritty ride to hold on to the yellow jersey during Stage 18 of the Tour, on the slopes of the Galibier.

And just to show how passionate the Garneau folks are about their gear, look no further than this video ode to creating the special customized gear for Voeckler’s days in yellow:

Of course we said that we were going to talk about new 2012 Garneau gear, so what better place to start than with their Corsa cycling kit. As you can see below, the Corsa line was designed for ultimate cycling performance, with features such as the Aero Lazer Band at the arm and leg openings plus a “next to skin” fit so you can stay sleek and streamlined, and Carbon-X mesh for optimal muscle compression and support. The designers at Garneau even went so far as to use special Speed Tech shoulder panels to reduce frontal pressure and cut wind resistance while you are in a riding position.

The Louis Garneau Mondo kit includes many of the aerodynamic features of the Corsa line, including the Aero Lazer Bands and “next to skin” fit, along with nifty little details like a dedicated music-player pocket. The Equipe line of cycling wear is designed around an ultra-lightweight and breathable jersey, to maximize cooling, while the Equipe bib shorts offer a compressive fit (these shorts are a definite favorite around our office).

Like we said, the people of Louis Garneau are passionate about their work, and it shows in the details of their products. This passion can be directly traced back to the company’s founder, the eponymous Louis Garneau himself.  A former elite cyclist, Mr. Garneau still plays an active role in the development of his company’s products, for, as he says, “Our innovations exist because we create products that function, perform, and are proven on the bike. We ride, we ride, we ride again, until we are certain a product will provide our customers a competitive advantage, and I have never removed myself from that group of test riders.”

As a final note, it was also interesting to learn that Mr. Garneau is a bit of an artist, creating a series of canvases as a fundraiser for the Fondation du Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec (although with his company’s emphasis on design, maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise):

You can find our full array of Louis Garneau products here, from their super lightweight Carbon X-Lite Road Shoes to their off-road Edge Helmet.

Wordless Wednesday

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