April 4, 2012 16 Comments
March 16, 2012 Leave a comment
Did you miss last night’s In-store Spin Doctor Clinic – or do you not live near one of our shops? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with today’s Spin Doctor Tech Tip.
In a perfect world bikes would never get flat tires or need periodic repair. But the world is not perfect, and besides it’d get boring if there were no routes, roads or trails that challenged both rider and bike! Instead, dealing with the occasional mid-ride repair is part of the sport. But don’t fret, with a little know-how and the right tools you’ll be ready for just about any problem that comes your way. Here are some tips and tricks to assure you never (well, rarely, anyway) finish a ride by walking your bike back to the garage or local bike shop.
It’s impossible to prevent all riding mishaps, but a little preparation goes a long way! Before each ride, complete a quick check of your bike and gear: squeeze the brakes and rock the bike back and forth to make sure the brake calipers are tight and that there is no play in the headset; check bolts for tightness (stem and seatpost in particular); look for any frayed brake or shifter cables; check pedals to make sure they are tightly fastened to the crankset (the right pedal tightens clockwise; the left pedal tightens counter-clockwise); lube your chain, then wipe away excess lubricant; check tires for wear, cuts, blisters or lodged glass; pump tires to the manufacturer-recommended pressure (you can find this info on the tire’s sidewall); if you use clipless pedals, check that your cleat bolts are securely fastened. If you notice anything wrong during your check, either fix it yourself or take your bike to your local Performance Bicycle store before your ride!
2. Tire Levers: Although if possible, install the tire using just your hands (since levers can pinch the tube).
3. Spare Tube: Patching tubes can be tricky.
4. Patch Kit: Your back-up plan.
6. Multi-tool: These come in multiple shapes and sizes and configurations – know the bolt sizes on your bike and cleats and find a tool that has those (a tool with 4, 5 and 6mm Allen wrenches, plus flat and Philips head screwdrivers is a good start).
8. Chain Tool (also on many multi-tools): Broken mountain bike chains are not unusual, and even road chains occasionally snap. With a chain tool you can make a temporary fix to get you home. Don’t forget a replacement chain pin (Shimano) or a chain link connector (i.e. SRAM Power Link).
10. Cash: Call this the ultimate multi-tool – you can buy food and drinks, make a phone call if cell service doesn’t work, and even use a folded bill as substitute tire boot!
11. Other Essentials: Cell phone, ID card and any special medical alerts you may have.
Whether you ride on the road or trail, you’re bound to get a flat tire once in a while. Make sure you’re comfortable changing a tube by yourself, so you don’t get stranded. Watch our handy How-To video below for a few tips (just remember that if you’re working on a bike with hydraulic disc brakes, never compress the brake levers with the disc removed, as this will push the caliper pistons inward and make it difficult to reinsert the disc).
And now a few IN-A-PINCH PRACTICES:
1. Got a flat and forgot your spare tube? Here are 2 emergency techniques to get you home:
Cut the tube at the puncture then tie it tightly back together. Stretch it into place, re-install the tire and inflate.
No tube, no pump? No worries! Pack your flat tire with as much grass and leaves as you can and pedal gingerly back to your car (this does works, for a little while)!
2. You ignored our suggestion to carry a tire boot and flatted when your tire sidewall got cut. What to do? Place a folded Power Bar wrapper or dollar bill, or a piece of plastic soda bottle between the tube and the cut, then carefully inflate the tire.
3. While shredding the righteous single track at Moab, you taco your front wheel and the tire is now rubbing on the fork. You’re not stuck yet! Remove the wheel from the bike and locate the apex of the bend. With the inflated tire still on the rim, strike the tire at the bend on a hard surface (that shouldn’t be hard to find in Moab). With care you can knock the wheel back into reasonable alignment (at least so it is not rubbing on the fork blades). If you have disc brakes, you are good to go. If you have rim brakes, disconnect them and carefully head back.
4. If you’ve broken a spoke, carefully remove it or, if necessary, wrap it around the nearest intact spoke on the same side of the wheel. Then true the wheel so it doesn’t drag on the frame or brake pads.
5. And finally here are a double speed and a single speed solution:
First, your rear derailleur gets destroyed on a rock. It has come apart and is unusable. Using a chain tool, you can rig your bike up as a single speed. Select a cog in the back that lines up with a ring on the crank. Usually the smaller rings in the front are better. Now cut the chain, drape it around the two rings you have selected, pull it tight and cut it again so the ends just reach. Reconnect it and pedal your new single speed the hipster way home.
Second, you are riding in the mountains and the rear gear cable snaps. The rear derailleur shifts to the highest gear so you and your bike grind to a halt. Are you stuck? Nope, screw in the “H” limit screw on the derailleur while turning the cranks. This will shift the rear derailleur to an easier gear. Continue tightening the screw until you have the easiest gear you can reach. Now pedal your semi-hipster, double-speed way back to the car.
February 17, 2012 Leave a comment
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).
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.
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.
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.
February 10, 2012 Leave a comment
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.
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.
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.
January 6, 2012 2 Comments
The title of this post may be looking ahead to 2012, but it seems like we should start by looking back at 2011. It was a busy year around the world of cycling, and the same was true for us here at Performance Bicycle. We opened 11 new stores across the country, from Michigan to Texas to California to Illinois to Indiana to Georgia to Idaho, bringing our grand total of stores to over 100!
We’ve been busy here on the Blog as well, bringing you our always different Wordless Wednesday posts, our informative Spin Doctor Tech Tips, plus our coverage of interesting events like Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, racing with our coworkers at the Burn 24 Hour Challenge mountain bike race, and getting to see a small race in France that you might have heard of (we’ll give you a hint, it involved some pretty cool scenery).
We’ve also had a great time giving away some great prizes, through our website and over on our Facebook page, including some lucky Ride Like a Pro SRAM winners, and of course our Scattante Americano Giveaway over the Fourth of July.
We always enjoy watching the professionals do their thing every year, and 2011 didn’t disappoint in that regard. The folks over at Bicycling magazine put together a great slideshow of pro cycling highlights from 2011, from the season-long dominance of Phillipe Gilbert, to Alberto Contador’s win in the Giro d’Italia, to the drama of Cadel Evans’ first Tour de France win, to Juan Jose Cobo’s Vuelta a Espana triumph (aboard a Fuji Altamira):
We also loved finding and sharing all manner of cycling videos, from ones that inspired:
To ones that involved crazy German mountain bikers:
To ones about the incomparable Chris Akrigg:
Or the equally awesome Danny Macaskill:
To a postman living his dream of riding with the Pros:
To a mountain biker losing a battle with a hartebeest:
Basically, we just loved all things cycling!
So what are we looking forward to in 2012? More and better things, of course! We’ve got new store openings planned, a fantastic lineup of new gear and new bikes (seriously, there are some awesome bikes we can’t wait to show you), more cycling events to cover, and fun giveaways and prizes to share. Plus it’s our 30th Anniversary, so that’s a pretty big deal (and it should be easy to find “pearl” cycling gifts)! Performance Bicycle was started in Garry Snook’s basement here in Chapel Hill, NC in 1982!
January 2, 2012 2 Comments
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.
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!