6 Ways To Recycle Your Cycling Gear

We all know that cycling is good for the environment, but we still end up with old, worn-out cycling gear that is destined for the dumpster. We’ve discovered 6 ways to recycle your old cycling gear – and change it from trash to treasure.

1. Recycling tubes or tires

Tires and tubes are the one part on the bike that you can go through at a rapid rate. Since they are rubber based, recycling is a great option. At every Performance Bicycle location, we have a blue recycling bin where we accept tires and tubes for recycling. We share all of that rubber with Liberty Tire and they use it to make everything from Olympic weights to playground mulch. All you have to do is drop off your used tubes or worn out tires and we’ll do the rest.

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Tube & tire recycling fixture at your local Performance Bicycle

If you don’t live near a Performance location, check with your local auto tire shop. They will often send piles of auto tires in to places like Liberty Tire and may take your bicycle tires and tubes for free. Be considerate though as they often have to pay to have their tires recycled, so asking them to do something for free that they have to pay for is asking them for a real favor.

One more option would be to box up and mail your tires/tubes to someone like Alchemy Goods. Alchemy recycles tires and tubes, turning them into everything from messenger bags and saddle bags to wallets and belts.

2. Passing on the love

The number one way this sport grows is through the generosity of others. We were all new to the sport at one point. Someone showed us how to use clipless pedals, when to signal, how to take over a lane to make a left turn, how to ride in a pace-line, or how to jump over a log. The best thing you can do for the sport of cycling is to take someone under your wing. For example, if you just bought pedals, why not your old pair on to someone who might get into the sport because of your generosity? So, be a cycling advocate and lend a hand to someone in need.

3. Making art

This one’s not for everyone. Some people just don’t have an eye for it. Still, if you’re artistically minded and have used bike parts lying around, why not combine your passion for cycling with your talent for art? We’ve seen some great examples of Christmas ornaments made out of bicycle chains, picture frames made from old bike parts, bracelets make from old spokes, or wind chimes made out of used chainrings. You don’t have to be a top etsy seller to make your mom a special hand-made birthday gift. Just think of the money you save and can justify putting towards new cycling parts!

4. Building bikes for those in need

Most large communities have bicycle co-ops. A bicycle co-op is an organization that recycles old bicycle parts and uses volunteer labor to build bicycles for people in need, often children. Many times they will have a program in place whereby a person in need can volunteer their time and earn themselves a bicycle. Volunteering for a program like this will give you another opportunity to give back to the cycling community and will also present many chances for donating some of your used bike parts. What seems like a worn out crankset to you, could be the missing piece necessary to helping someone without means to build a bike that they can use to get to work.

These organizations are everywhere. Ask your local shop if you can’t find one. Maybe your community needs one and you can start one yourself!

5. Metal Recycling

The one other part on your bicycle that you should be replacing with some regularity is your chain. At your nearest Performance Bicycle location, we also accept worn out chains, which we ship to Resource Revival. Resource Revival uses the chains to make all sorts of creative products from bottle openers to award medals. Even if you’re not near a Performance retail location, you can still utilize Resource Revival by collecting and mailing chains yourself or helping your local shop collect them. Instructions can be found on the Resource Revival website.

If this isn’t a feasible opportunity or if you have more metal than you know what to do with, you might try searching for a local metal recycler. They will often have someone who will pick up piles of old metal from you (frames, wheelsets, etc.) and will haul them off for free.

6. Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade

Our good friends at Clif Bar have partnered with Terracycle to provide an amazing opportunity to recycle used energy bar wrappers. Depending on your rate of consumption, it may take a while before you have enough wrappers saved up, but what about setting up a box in your office? How about bringing a box out to the local group ride and encouraging your friends to save their wrappers for your recycling project. Recycling wrappers can earn you prizes or further charitable causes through Terracycle. Check out the Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade website for more info.

Do you have any other great recycling ideas? Did we miss any of the big ones? Have creative art projects? Share them in the comments section below and let the recycling begin!

Wheels 4 Life – A Hans & Carmen Rey Charity + Performance Bicycle

wheels_4_life_new_logoWe’ve partnered with the Wheels 4 Life charity of mountain bike legend Hans Rey and his wife Carmen for a few years now, and we’re excited to be able to share some of the results. Wheels 4 Life is a non-profit charity that provides free bicycles for people in need of transportation in developing countries. They partner with local individuals, organizations and other groups to help identify persons who sincerely need a bike to be able to go to school or to work. Find out more about upcoming projects and how you can help on http://www.wheels4life.org/ – but we’ll let Hans himself tell you why this work is so important, in this video from Interbike last year:

Our main avenue of supporting the mission of  Wheels 4 Life is by the Wheels 4 Life branded GT bikes that we offer on our site & in our stores. A portion of the cost of each bike goes directly to Wheels 4 Life and helps fund their many projects around the globe – so far over 170 bikes have been purchased in Africa with these funds, bicycles that will make a difference for entire families and communities in real and lasting ways.

GT Wheels 4 Life Peace Tour Commuter Bike

GT Wheels 4 Life Peace Tour Commuter Bike

We’ll let Carmen Rey tell you more about the projects that were funded by our Wheels 4 Life branded GT bikes, and how they are making a difference already:

The amount raised through the Wheels 4 Life bicycles sold by Performance enabled us to purchase 170 bicycles for people in really great need of transportation in Uganda. We funded 3 different projects thanks to you and your support of the work we are doing.

The first was implemented in February 2012. This was the Kyatiri Health Centre Project and saw us donate 25 bicycles to the health care center. They then went on to distribute them to their patients so that they would be able to travel to the health clinic faster and easier. These patients live in remote areas and have to travel quite a distance in order to see a nurse who can administer their treatments.

Our Wheels 4 Life Ugandan Ambassador, Mr. Jude Muleke, has managed the second project. He heads a registered CBO known as CBIRD for short. Jude has received funding for bicycles from us several times in the past and also assists us with the running of our various projects in Uganda.

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The third and final project was with Voluntary Effort for Community Health (VECH Uganda). This is the first time that we have worked with VECH and we have been pleased with the way that they have administered their Wheels 4 Life project. With both CBIRD and VECH the bicycles went to various groups in our target area: school children, farmers, and people in need of transportation in order to work.

We always purchase the bicycles used in our projects in the area where they will be distributed, in order to aid the local economy, to save on transportation costs, and to make sure that spare parts are easily available.

Thank you so much for changing so many lives through the gift of bicycles. One bike helps change the life of approximately 4 people’s lives – not just the one person who originally receives the bike, but also their neighbors and family with whom the bike is shared.

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Wheels 4 Life bikes ready to be donated on a recent trip to Africa

Employee Profile: Johnny Pratt & Bike Raising

From time to time here on the Performance Bicycle Blog we like to recognize our coworkers and let them share what they’re passionate about outside of work. This week we’re talking to Johnny Pratt, a Product Developer at our home office in North Carolina. Johnny joined Performance as the Merchant Assistant for components in August 2011, after working for companies as varied as Eastern Bikes and Credit Suisse. He grew up cycling and has always loved to be outdoors. He raced on the Appalachian State Cycling team while in school there and was a participant in the World Race, traveling to over 15 countries on five continents in a year’s time. Outside of work he spends most of his time racing bikes, doing adventure races, spending time with his family, and serving those in need.

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Johnny racing in the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race

It was that passion to serve others that led Johnny to co-found Bike Raising Inc., a non-profit organization that raises money for charity through cycling events. Bike Raising was born on a ride – Johnny and his friend Josh Stinger were riding in the hills of North Carolina when the concept was formed to create an organization that dedicated 100% of the money earned at an event to small non-profits that are hindered by lack of funding. But we’ll let Johnny tell you more about why he wanted to create and run a non-profit, in his spare time, in his own words.

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Johnny in his Bike Raising kit

What is Bike Raising and why does it exist?

We wanted to make a difference to a few non-profits that had massive goals, but were constantly held back because they didn’t have the necessary capital to make it happen.  With my business background and Josh’s project management background we knew we could create something to help out.  We both loved bike racing and we knew our goal was fundraising so the name Bike Raising was born.  It started simple and it remains simple.  You participate in a fun, safe and challenging cycling event and a small partner non-profit gets some help.  In what other race does everyone win?

The charitable organizations we partner with have a purpose and a mission.  We call this their “critical pursuit.”  When they are unable to fulfill their critical pursuit it slows down the change they are working towards.  Many organizations say that the resource they’re lacking the most is funding.  We don’t want them to shift their focus from their mission by dedicating the majority of their staff and resources to fundraising.  Bike Raising strives to eliminate the need for these organizations to take their eyes off their goal – which is where we become a valued member of the team.  We partner with the organization, learn their needs both financially and socially, put together a plan of action, set goals and set forth to accomplish them all.  We allow the organization to keep pressing on with their mission while we handle the rest.  This is why our motto is to Race. Give. Love.

What is Bike Raising involved with now and how can someone help out?

The Needle Gate Project is a journey from the Space Needle to the Golden Gate Bridge.  It’s a pursuit of physical and mental limits.  It’s a platform for freedom both to the individuals riding and those whom are yet to be free.

For this project we are proud to partner with She Dances, who is doing the great work of providing holistic restoration for young girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. She Dances needs funding to be more efficient and effective in their mission.  Due to the nature of the human trafficking industry there is very little time between when they discover an at risk girl and when an actual rescue takes place.  Funding in the hands of She Dances makes this process move faster, which results in that child’s restoration.

BRSDYou can help us in bolstering the speed and accuracy of She Dances’ mission.  Choose from one of our many exciting perks. Join the insider’s circle and get the video of us shouting your name on the Golden Gate Bridge.  Maybe you’d rather go with the Primo Pack that gets you some sweet MiiR stainless steel products, coffee and an original She Dances Tee.  Or maybe you want to join the Bike Raising team and get the complete kit.  If you help out in any way, you’re joining us on our journey and you’re partnering in the fight against human trafficking. Our goal is to raise $5000 to help support the work and restoration that She Dances is providing.

Community Events: 2013 Cycle to the Sea

Some people can’t imagine riding 180 miles on a bicycle from Charlotte, NC to North Myrtle Beach, SC in three days.  Now imagine doing this ride using nothing but your arms to complete the task.  That is what a group of cyclists did April 25 – 27, 2013 to raise money for the Adaptive Sports & Adventures Program (ASAP) at Carolinas Rehabilitation Hospital.  Cycle to the Sea (CTTS) is a unique ride that raises critical funds and awareness for ASAP to offer a variety of low-cost programs for youth and adults with physical challenges.  This bike ride is held every spring and involves athletes with physical disabilities who cycle on hand cycles and/or tandem bikes. Mark, a distributor from our components division here at our home office, participated in this ride with his hand cycle (he is also an accomplished wheelchair rugby player) and he took the time to share what this experience meant to him:

Day 1 started with a dozen hand cycles, 40-45 able bodied cyclists, and countless family members gathered to see their loved ones off on their journey.  The weather was chilly but it didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirit and anxiousness to get the ride started.  The group rolled out as one big unit but quickly separated into two smaller groups once we got out onto the open road.  There was over 3000 feet of climbing the first day but it didn’t seem to curb anyone’s spirit.  Everyone got over the climbs the best they could, whether by pedaling or getting pushed by a fellow cyclist, and everyone finished together.

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Assisting a hand cyclist up a climb.

The surprise of the day for me was our “safety patrol”.  The local Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club volunteers every year to shepherd the herd to Myrtle Beach.  The guys were amazing.  They created a rotating formation around each group of cyclists stopping traffic from ALL side roads and on ramps allowing the cyclist to pass unimpeded.  We did not stop at 1 stoplight the entire 3 day ride.  Gentlemen, my hat is off to you and what you do.  This ride would truly not be what it is without you.  THANK YOU!

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Rolling Thunder escort

Day 2 brought more of the same just with flatter terrain.  The weather was a little grey in the morning and quickly burned off shortly after the ride headed out.  The longer the ride went on the more the cyclist, both hand cyclist and able bodies cyclist, gelled together.  The two groups were operating as fine oiled machines and were very impressive to see.  The speeds got faster and those that had been pushed the first day didn’t seem to need as much help as they once had.  Folks seemed to have a growing confidence in themselves and their ability to get this ride done.  It was truly inspirational.

Day 3 brought on the last 63 mile stretch and you couldn’t tell from anyone’s face they had ridden over 120 miles in the past 2 days.  Folks were eager, feeling good, and ready to get the show rolling.  Early in the ride, you could feel there was a sense of purpose.  I rode in the front group and speeds stayed between 17-25 miles per hour the whole way.  For those that do not know, such speeds are reasonably swift on a traditional bicycle but that is “cooking” on a hand cycle.

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Rolling down the road with the whole pack.

Upon arrival to Myrtle Beach, you could see emotion on everyone’s face.  Not only on the participants faces with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment but also on the family members faces that their loved ones could pull off such an undertaking.  I’m honored to have been a part of such a great event and Cycle to the Sea will now be on my yearly calendar of “must do’s”.

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Group shot of the Cycle to the Sea riders & staff

I was fortunate enough to be both a participant in the ride and a representative of Performance Bicycle, which was one of Cycle to the Sea’s corporate sponsors.  As a long time cyclist both before the wheelchair and after, I understand the amount of time it takes to both organize a ride of this magnitude and the dedication it takes to complete it.  I salute all involved for a job well done.  The ASAP staff that Jennifer Moore has put together is second to none and I’m proud to be an associated with this organization.  I strongly encourage anyone that is looking for a good ride, an incredible experience, and a worthwhile cause to be a part of to consider the 2014 Cycle to the Sea bike ride.

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Our author, Mark, with his hand cycle.

Everybody has different reasons why they ride.  Some ride to prove something to themselves, some ride to prove something to others, and some ride to honor someone that has touched their life.  For me, the 2013 Cycle to the Sea is dedicated to my friend Jimmy Melton.  I met Jimmy this past Thursday as the CTTS ride was leaving town.  We were both first time riders and Jimmy was there to support one of my fellow hand cyclists Jacob Conley.  We talked and came to know each other pretty well over the next three days.  The end of the ride came, Jimmy met my wife and baby daughter, and we made plans to see each other next year at the 2014 Cycle to the Sea.  Then I got the bad news that Jimmy had died the next night in his sleep.  I was numb.  Jimmy definitely touched my life and made me a better person for knowing him.  Godspeed my friend.  I will see you on the other side.

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Jacob and Jimmy.

Ultimately this bike ride is not about a charity event.  It is about those with physical challenges that display uncompromising human spirit, determination to accomplish what they aren’t supposed to be able to do, and those that just want to ride their bike.

Community Events: 2012 El Tour De Tucson

It’s 5AM in Tucson, AZ and 9000 cyclists are squeezing into every available space around the start line of the 2012 El Tour De Tucson. A contingent from our Arizona store support team set up a last-minute tune-up station, as most of our people and tools were already on their way out to our 3 aid stations out on the course. Sipping on free coffee and trying to stay warm, the buzz of the day fills the air.

El Tour Start 5amAttracting a crowd of 9,000 cyclists from throughout the United States and worldwide, “El Tour” is one of the premier organized rides in United States and also one of the top 3 fundraising rides (Perimeter Bicycling distributes funds to an array of local charities every year). The main event routes show off Tucson’s beautiful vistas of its local mountain ranges and Saguaro cactus, along a flat to rolling or moderately hilly course – although 2 dry but sandy river crossings greet the full 111-mile riders! All routes offer aid stations with water and snacks spaced about 7-10 miles apart, full police support at intersections and plenty of morale-boosting volunteers and spectators.

But this great event doesn’t begin on the cold streets of Tuscon, so let’s take a quick look back at the Expo and the leadup to this year’s “El Tour”.

Three days before the start of the event, we set up our booth alongside many other local and national vendors. We were lucky in that we were right across the aisle from the free t-shirts. The first two days of the expo slipped by and before we knew it, we were one day away from the race. The expo was packed and our booth was the place to be!

Maybe it was the free bike gear we were giving away. Or maybe it was the “Blind Folded Spin Doctor Challenge”! If you managed to change a flat tire faster than one of our blind-folded Spin Doctor mechanics, you were in for some great prizes.

But let’s get back to the real action. No, not the awesome Southwestern Cuisine in Tucson, although that was excellent . . .

No, we mean the real highlight of the weekend, the 30th El Tour de Tucson. In the blink of an eye, nearly 9,000 cyclists of all ages and abilities had lined up and were ready to head out onto the 111 mile course (although 85, 60 or 42 mile routes were also available).

It took more than 7 minutes after the starting gun fired just to get everyone rolling – but finally they were off! We quickly split up and headed to our respective aid stations.

Jeff Dalina (Chandler), Tom Flores (San Diego), Rusty Sattler (Scottsdale), Bryan Zittolosen (Tucson) at tech support stop #2.

As riders came up to the Performance Bicycle aid stations, they were treated to the finest in mechanical care. Just like every event we participate in, our services on race-day are completely free.

We lubed chains, fixed flats, and changed tires to make sure that no one had to quit the ride because of their bikes.

We fixed bikes no matter what they were – including this custom Ti recumbent with HED wheels and a stars and stripes cloth fairing! One of the best things about the ride for us, as with any ride, is seeing all of the Scattantes out on course (check out our album on the Performance Facebook page). All in all, we had a great El Tour and very much look forward to returning next year!

2013 Alpine Loop Gran Fondo – the Finale

If you’ve been following on our blog, you’ve read how Zach, from our home office, had prepared his body and his bike gear to get ready to tackle the challenge of Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo in Virginia. But we couldn’t just send him up to the ride by himself, so we put together a team of 3 to report back on the most challenging and adventurous Gran Fondo in the United States!

Peloton heading out of town | Photo by Joe Foley Photography: http://www.joefoleyphotography.com

Below is a photo of our crew the night before the big ride, with Jeremiah Bishop in the middle, sporting his extra-special white tuxedo for the pre-ride dinner (he was the host, after all). Ross, on the left, is a merchandise assistant in our bikes division – and is also an all-around fast dude on a bike. David works in our marketing department as our social media guy – documenting adventures such as this ride. And finally, Zach, one of our web merchants, is on the right – he’s been training hard all year to lose weight, gain fitness and get ready for the Gran Fondo. Read on below to find out how the ride worked out for each member of our team.

Ross, David, Jeremiah Bishop and Zach | Photo by Joe Foley Photography: http://www.joefoleyphotography.com

Ross:

After hearing rave reviews from a few friends, I knew that the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo had to be highlighted on my calendar this year.  Any time you hear the words mountains, bikes, beer, gravel, and fundraising in an event description, a great time is to be had… and it was. I was very thankful to have taken Jeremiah up on his pre-fondo training ride a few weeks prior to the main event.  This ride gave me a chance to test out new equipment on many of the infamous sections of the course such as the hour long paved and gravel climbs and subsequent hair-raising descents of Reddish Mountain.  This ride was when I discovered my fondness for road tubeless setups and disc brakes on the road.

I’ll start my recap with a quick rundown of my bike setup, since it was a little different than the other guys. I rode a Scattante CFX Black cyclocross bike, running on Stan’s ZTR Alpha 340 disc front and rear wheels with Maxxis Padrone 700x23c tubeless tires, set up tubeless with Stan’s sealant (of course).

Following a brief staging, the ride was underway, we were winding through the streets of historic Harrisonburg and then off into the farmlands of the foothills.  After an hour riding over rollers, you could feel the peloton starting to get a little antsy as the first timed climb of the ride began and the pain began.  It wasn’t long before I was up near the front hanging on for the next several miles as Ben King set the pace.  As we passed over the summit, I was very thankful to have disc brakes on the wide open descent into the valley.  The Avid BB7 road disc calipers provided consistent stopping power no matter what the descent had in store.

Ross on his Scattante CFX Black | Photo by Joe Foley Photography: http://www.joefoleyphotography.com

With the first climb out of the way, the small re-grouping at the front was off to tackle the next few climbs… which happened to be the hardest of the day!  The second climb was 30 minutes riding 10-20% grades on gravel.  It was nothing short of exhausting with no chance for legs to recover.  The next few climbs were paved but equally as steep and energy draining.

Half-way through the ride, and with virtually no chance for recovery and another food/water break, the “final” climb of the day, a gravel road to the top of Reddish Knob, was breathing down our neck.  I don’t think that this road can really be considered “gravel”, it is more of a road cut into solid stone.  Tubeless tires won the day on this rough terrain with low tire pressure and virtually no chance of a pinch-flat.

After a grueling hour of climbing, the final check point came and went with a sigh of relief.  It was only downhill to Harrisonburg, or so it showed on the course profile. But don’t be mistaken by the elevation loss, the last 20 miles of the Gran Fondo were extremely hard! Fatigue and saddle time had taken their effect but the finish was so close that it encouraged us to ride harder – that and the fact that gobs of food and New Belgium beer were waiting at the finish line.

If you plan on riding the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, be sure to look at Jeremiah’s equipment recommendations on the event website.  The route is nothing short of brutal.

Ross in the Amish countryside | Photo by Joe Foley Photography: http://www.joefoleyphotography.com

David:

I had one advantage over my coworkers, Ross and Zach, going in to the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo – I had completed the ride last year. Yes, Zach and Ross had gone up to Harrisonburg for a special training ride with the host of the event, Jeremiah Bishop, but there’s nothing quite like riding the whole route and knowing how your body will react. Then Jeremiah went and changed the route! So it was back to square one for me – I knew how hard the first road climb and the last rolling miles into town were, but the whole middle of the ride (including the fearsome backside of Reddish Knob) was going to be a new experience. My only real equipment change from last year was rolling on a Stan’s ZTR Alpha Comp Road Wheelset, set up tubeless with Stan’s sealant.

At the start of the ride, I rolled along comfortably ensconced in the peloton with my coworkers – the pace was casual until the first big climb of the day. And that’s the last place I saw them until the finish line – Ross motored on up the road with the leaders, Zach started his battle to finish under the time cutoff for the glockenbell finisher’s medal, and I settled in to a comfortable place somewhere in between.

David climbing to Reddish Knob | Photo by Joe Foley Photography: http://www.joefoleyphotography.com

It’s always interesting on rides like this how quickly you find the group that is going your same pace – for the whole rest of the day I saw a rotating group of the same faces as the pack that crested the first climb near me – a moving mini-group within the group. The good news is that I felt better than I had last year – although for some reason the second dirt road climb felt even harder than before. I blame selective amnesia – 20% pitches on a bumpy dirt road will do that!

The highlight of the ride had to be the soul-crushing ride up the backside of Reddish Knob, a new addition to the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo route. I neglected to read up on this devious climb beforehand, so I was convinced that it was only 3 or 4 miles. Nope, that’s not Jeremiah’s style. Instead it was 9 miles of undulating dirt and gravel road, checkered with potholes, steep climbs, flowy mini-descents, and a finish high atop Reddish Knob with a stunning 360 degree view of the mountains.

Top of Reddish Knob

On this climb I experienced the high and low-points of my ride. The high point (other than the delicious rest stop food – Nutella, waffles and Orangina are my new favorite mid-ride snacks) was finding an extra burst of speed and power halfway up the climb, which found me flying by fellow riders and the expertly placed photogs from Joe Foley Photography. My low point came shortly afterwards, where I paid for my sudden acceleration with the most painful leg cramps that I’ve ever experienced – I was only able to soldier through by pounding down as many margarita flavored extra-sodium Clif Shot Bloks as I could stomach. All in all, it was another grueling, amazing and memorable ride (and my longest ride ever at 107 miles), and I can’t wait to give it another go next year!

David near the top of Reddish Knob | Photo by Joe Foley Photography: http://www.joefoleyphotography.com

Zach:

I’ve had a few weeks to digest the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo. The scenery, both beautiful and tranquil, provided a picturesque background in which to suffer.  The event was quite the experience.  There was almost every type of cyclist there.  Everyone from “fat bike” riders, to Radio Shack Nissan team pro Ben King, and of course, the emcee of the weekend, the man himself, Mr. Jeremiah Bishop.  Everyone had fun. Everyone suffered.  Everyone made new friends.  We suffered together, we laughed together.  There were long grinding climbs, world class descents, and hours of relentless focus.

As for me, I did what I set out to do.  Finish in under 10 hours – I did it in 8 hours and 45 minutes.

Every time I tell recall the experience, whether to friends or just in my mind, the more details I remember.  It’s as if it was an epic, suspenseful movie with ups, downs, twists, and turns.  Every time you watch the movie, you pick up on new things you hadn’t noticed the first time you watched it.  I remember the folks I had conversations with, where they were from and what inspired them to ride in the ALGF.  I remember suffering for hours, by myself, turn after turn yielding nothing but more elevation around the next corner.  I remember that pothole I hit at 38mph during a 15 mile descent around mile 80 that could have thrown me from the bike and thinking that, ‘I should try not to lose focus’. After all, I had ridden 80 miles and climbed over 10,000 feet  at that point in the day and my mind and body was fading.

Zach on the first climb of the day | Photo by Joe Foley Photography: http://www.joefoleyphotography.com

I could point out around 20 highlights of the weekend in general, but the two that stand out the most have to be the second climb of the day, and crossing the finish line.  The second climb of the day was 3 miles, 1400 feet, on gravel, with nothing but 15-20 percent grade stair step pitches.  Many people were walking up most of the pitches.  Somehow I managed to stay on the bike, and never walked at any point during the day. Epic. Finishing goes without saying.  It was just good to accomplish something that I had spent all summer thinking and training for.

All in all, this was the hardest event I’ve ever done in my life.  After three weeks I’m just starting to get my legs back.  I’m undecided as to whether or not I’ll try and tackle it again next year, but I highly recommend it for anyone looking to take their riding to the next level.  I did things on a bike that I never would have dreamed about when I first started riding a few years ago.  It was an event I’ll never, ever forget.  Thanks to all my supporters who helped me do it, and most of all, my wife!  From here on, I’m looking forward to bike rides to the park with the family, Spaten Oktoberfest, and the off season.  Oh yeah wait, there is no off season!

For more pictures of the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, check out the photo gallery on our Facebook page or take a look at the amazing photos from the pros at Joe Foley Photography (who were gracious enough to let us use their images in this post). Plus we want to give a special shout-out to all of the volunteers at the Gran Fondo, who did a great job of making everyone feel welcome all weekend long – and especially to Jeremiah and his wife Erin, who were gracious hosts for this great event, even if Jeremiah did poke fun at Zach after the ride:

Community Events: February Recap

Who says February is a slow time for cycling? Our shops were hard at work running clinics, supporting rides and otherwise getting more people excited about cycling in their communities. We’ve got over 100 stores all across the country, so let’s take a moment to find out what a few of them were up to last month. Remember, you can always check your local store page for regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics & group rides.

We thought that a good way to start this recap was with this shot of the Spin Doctor mechanics from our Colorado stores at SRAM Technical University in Colorado Springs. You can read more about their training in a previous blog post – but our guys were able to get some advanced hands-on training on SRAM suspension and component technology, and they’re excited to apply their advanced skills back in their home stores.

These next photos chronicle a special project in our Santa Rosa, CA store. The owner brought in this classic 1986 steel Fuji and wanted it rebuilt for the modern era.

As you can see, our team brought this vintage ride back to life with brand new Forte components, and we think that the combo looks awfully good!

Now this quarter-century old ride is ready to turn some heads at the next group ride or local crit!

Speaking of racing, our Woodland Hills, CA store volunteered to run some neutral support at the “Carson Crit” in Ontario, CA.

Our guys helped out the local racers, and also got a front row seat for a day of racing action.

This next event is slightly more laid back than the Carson Crit, but how could you not love a ride called the Tour De Cookie, in Tucson, AZ! The managers from our Speedway Tucson and Broadway Tucson stores led the charge in helping out with this great event (come on, bikes plus cookies is two of our favorite things).

But the Tour De Cookie is more than just a fun ride for people to eat cookies and ride bikes. This fourth annual event is also a fundraiser for Wheelchair Athletes and supports the kids try-athalon. Our Broadway Tucson store was one of the ten stops on the Tour. Our Performance team was there to support the riders, and Matt, one of our sales associates, brought along his entire family to help out.

Matt brought along reinforcements, since his family is involved with the Girl Scouts. Thanks to them, our store stop was well-stocked with Girl Scout cookies ready to give away to the riders! The riders each had a sheet attached to them and at each stop they got the spot number marked out and were allowed to take as many cookies as they wished.

At the end of the event the person that stopped at every stop with the shortest time won. But just to keep things fun, there was also an award for the last person, first female and best cookie stand.

Our store was the farthest away from the start/finish line, but they still had a huge amount of people stop by (having Girl Scout cookies on hand didn’t hurt)! So a special shout-out to Matt and his family for making our store’s stop such a success!

Our Peoria, AZ store was active last month in support of the 207 Miles Between Poverty and Hope Ride, a non-profit fundraiser dedicated to raising money for housing for those in need. Our store team was busy right up to the start of the 2 day event, and probably worked on about half of the bikes from the 32 riders!

The route of the ride stretched from Peoria all the way across the border into Mexico, and the riders raised over $31,000 with the efforts – great job guys!

Of course our stores also support many regular group rides right from their doors – like this picture from the first group road ride of the year at our Bonita, CA store. Check with your local store to find out more about local group rides.

Our store teams were also busy supporting indoor events last month, like our Columbus, OH store, who participated in the Endurance Sports Expo at the Athletic Club of Columbus. It was a great turnout, and over 400 people come through our booth to talk bikes – all under the elegant lighting of some fancy chandeliers.

Of course it didn’t hurt that our friends from Diamondback donated a bike for a giveaway! We had a ton of entries for the giveaway which generated a lot of excitement at the expo, as the winner would be riding the bike home that day!

Here’s the moment when our winner was announced and came bounding out of the crowd – needless to say, he was excited. Our team met a lot of new people, and even recruited many new faces to attend their in-store clinic the following weekend.

Speaking of clinics, last month’s Basic Bike Maintenance Clinic was a busy one across all of our stores.  Attendees got a quick lesson on the basics for keeping their bikes in prime condition, plus were treated to a special discount on our Spin Doctor tools just for attending. The shot above is from the clinic in our San Antonio, TX store.

Here’s the crowd in our Oceanside, CA store.

Attentive clinic-goers in our Chandler, AZ store.

There was a big crowd for the clinic in our Long Beach, CA store.

And here in our Oxnard, CA store.

Our Columbus, OH store was standing room only during their clinic.

While our Boise, ID store had more of a comfortably seated crowd.

Of course our stores also put on more specialized clinics for smaller groups, such as this bike maintenance clinic for a local Cub Scout group at our Oceanside, CA store.

Or this interesting Safe and Confident Urban Commuting Clinic in our Seattle, WA store – moderated by local cycling advocate David Smith of BicycleDriver.com.

Indoor cycling classes are also going strong in many of our stores, including this group in our Novi, MI store. In front on the right is sales manager Roger, leading the class.

Our  Speedway Tucson, AZ store has also got a strong group going with their indoor cycling class, lead by Brandon from our store team. Two of the three participants in this class were new to road biking, but Brandon pushed their limits. They had a great workout and are looking forward to more cyclists joining the sessions in the coming weeks.

Finally, we thought we’d share some pictures from a trail-building event that took place near our home office here in North Carolina.

Cisco and Jaime from our Raleigh, NC store pitched in to help build a new trail at the popular Lake Crabtree trail network.

Community Events: December Recap

This month we thought we’d get a jump start on the new year by looking back at some of the local community activities that our retail associates supported or hosted in December. With over 100 stores all across the country, we’ve got many events to highlight (in addition to their regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics & group rides), so let’s get started!

First up is our Chapel Hill, NC store, which helped out the local East Chapel Hill Rotary Club bike build this month.  Earlier this month, John Bigelow, Store Manager of our Chapel Hill store, along with Gene Carleton and Bo Peele from our Corporate Headquarters, assisted Rotary Club members with building and conducting final checks of 50 brand new kids bikes. The bikes were donated to the Chapel Hill Christmas House, organized by the Chapel Hill Service League, and donated to local families in need to make their Christmas a little brighter.

Our Roswell, GA store was also involved with a Christmas bike build this month, participating in a North Fulton Community Charities organized event.  The NFCC collected over 500 used bikes, along with an assortment of scooters and tricycles, to give away this year, in addition to about 300 new bikes donated by various individuals and companies.

After some organization and triage, the bikes needed to be washed, repaired and polished up for NFCC’s Santa Shop (held later in the month). Over 100 people showed up to help out with the bike build, including three other local bike shops, in addition to Performance Bicycle, which had donated goods or mechanic help to the event.

A few of the volunteers looked like they must have run a shop in their garage with the huge toolboxes they brought with them (many with Spin Doctor work stands and tools)! Everyone had a great time and enjoyed giving back to the community – although the most fun was test-riding the completed bikes on the impromptu test track set up inside!

Staying with our Roswell, GA store, they were busy a few days later helping a local Cub Scout den to work through some of the requirements for their Ride Right certification. In their session our store team covered cycling laws in Georgia, identified the parts of a bicycle and taught the Scouts how to patch a flat tire. Here’s a picture with the Den leader and about half of the kids that were present.

Our Boulder, CO store (the very first Performance Bicycle store) was busy this month helping out the annual Share-A-Gift bike giveaway. Steve LeGoff, Ben Potman and James Terry from the Boulder store volunteered to repair kids bikes for this annual event.

 Steve has been volunteering with this event for the past 17 years – this year they helped repair over 115 bikes! The event was a huge success once again, with lots of good cheer all around. Many kids got a great Christmas thanks to the hard work of our team and all of the other volunteers! Congrats guys!

Our San Diego, CA store got in the holiday spirit by participating in San Diego’s Christmas Tree Tabernacle. Here you can see our team of Store Manager Jason Eddy (and his daughter Leila), Spin Doctor Josh Job & Sales Manager Chris Murphy, ready to show off their decorating skills.

Chris, Josh and Jason headed over to Liberty Station to decorate their tree, as part of the event to benefit the less fortunate during the holiday season.

As you can see, they put a cycling twist on their choice of ornaments and decorations. Once the day of the event was over the christmas trees were donated to a lucky local family.

Our stores often host local clubs in for special “Club Nights”, and our Bonita, CA store hosted a special event with their neighbors from the “Donny’s Café” riding club earlier this month. Club leaders Donny and his brothers Tim and John picked up food and supplies, and our team helped set up a wonderful spread for about 50 guests and club members, which spilled over to the cafe next door.

There was even a full Taco stand with a gas stove to cook the meat and heat up tortillas, including all the fixings! Not to mention the pounds of fresh brownies and fudge and peanut brittle for dessert, with Donny brewing fresh coffee. It was a perfect crossover between two of our three favorite pastimes, eating and shopping, only beat out by cycling!  Here’s Store Manager Greg Heath modeling the Donny’s Cafe team jersey:

It was also Club Night in Arizona earlier this month, as our Peoria, Scottsdale and Chandler, AZ stores teamed up to welcome members of the Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club to our Chandler store. The PMBC showed up 71 members strong for this evening event, and our team got to meet and mingle with club members and their leaders in a fun and casual environment. There were even folks form the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists in attendance, an important bike advocacy group in the state.

The club members and our team had a great time talking bikes and enjoying our complimentary refreshments.  There was even some shopping going on, as PMBC members got a special discount during the evening.

In our Novi, MI store, a Team in Training group came by this month for their first spin/run workout from our store. There were 18 spinners and 2 coaches, including one inspiring woman who is training for triathlons in order to lose weight, and she’s already lost almost 100 lbs! Our team said that it was great to be able to help her out with questions that she felt too intimidated to ask in other stores, and she even planned to try out our store’s indoor cycling class later in the month.Our Speedway Tucson, AZ store also held their first spinning class this month.  Here’s a picture of James Gurr, one of our store associates and a certified instructor, leading the class. The store manager of our Broadway Tucson store, Margarita Selden, decided to swing by and give the class a try, and Speedway Tucson store manager Wes Coons said everyone enjoyed the class and had fun.

Finally, we wanted to share an interesting story about elite marathon runner Susan Loken and our Chandler, AZ store. As you can read on her blog, Susan is training for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, but an injury hampered her ability to train. Looking for low-impact alternatives that would keep her fitness levels up, Susan heard about the ElliptiGO elliptical bike and decided to give it a try at our store. After some instruction and fitting by our team, Susan was off and rolling in no time!

As you can see below, Susan quickly picked up on the basics of riding the ElliptiGO, and has now incorporated it into her training regime. As Susan said on her blog, “This bike will keep my cardiovascular system strong along with building core and leg strength. It will also keep me exercising outside!” It sounds like nothing is going to stop her from finishing the Olympic Trials, and our team was happy to be a small part of her efforts. We wish Susan the best of luck at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston!

Christmas Bike Build Day with the Tarwheels

Earlier this December the Christmas spirit hit Performance Bicycle HQ like a red hartebeest hitting a mountain biker. 17 Performance employees and 8 of their friends with the Carolina Tarwheels, our local cycling club, met at the Performance warehouse with workstands and tool boxes in hand.

Among our group were Senior VP’s and interns, skilled mechanics and copy writers, warehouse logisticians and graphic artists. In front of us were 69 bikes still in their boxes. The task: build these bikes for needy kids in the Chapel Hill, NC area.

Five hours and many laughs, many slices of pizza and many, many bad jokes later, 69 shiny new bikes were waiting for new owners. The kids will be happy but the builders take home a more profound gift, the gift of helping others.

Our thanks to the Tarwheels for letting us here at Performance Bicycle HQ be a part of this holiday tradition!

Community Events: Habitat Workday

This year on November 18th a number of employees from Performance’s World Headquarters here in Chapel Hill, NC made the long (15 minute) drive to neighboring Durham, NC to give half a day to the Durham chapter of Habitat For Humanity.


We gathered after lunch, both talented and non-talented, ready to do our parts.

Actually the only real thing we had going for us was a willingness to work but with Habitat, that’s all it takes!

Before long, our Habitat build site manager Denisha had Chaz and Erik churning out trim while others in our group painted the walls inside the house.

By the end of the day, gutters were cleaned, trim was made, paint was applied to walls and doors, and a post was wrapped. We worked hard and now two Habitat houses are a little tiny bit closer to completion.

Check out www.habitat.org to see if there are volunteering needs in your community!

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