Spin Doctor Tech Tip: What to bring the day of a charity ride

Spin Doctor

We know that many folks out there have decided to ride in their first group charity ride this year. Whether the goal is to raise money, challenge yourself, or just have a good time on the bike, it takes some planning and preparation to make for a successful and stress-free day on the road. But all of your hard-earned training and planning can be for naught if you forget a few simple essentials the day of your ride. For advice on what to bring along with you the day of your big ride, we’ve turned to one of the resident Spin Doctors here at our headquarters (and veteran of many charity rides), Gene, to provide his insight into what you should bring to your next charity ride to make your day go as smoothly as possible.

Your bike – Check the condition of the tires, brakes, and drivetrain beforehand.  Lube the chain and cables.  Inflate the tires to the pressure marked on the tire’s sidewall.  Look for cracks and cuts in the tires and replace the tires if necessary.  Clean your bike.  Some think that a clean bike is faster than a dirty bike.  Whether or not this is true, while cleaning your bike, you may find a problem with the bike that was previously overlooked.

A helmet – Your helmet should fit snug without being uncomfortable.  The helmet straps should buckle below your chin without putting pressure on your chin.  Most charity rides require helmets be worn by all riders.

Water bottle / hydration – Almost as important as a helmet.  Dehydration could drastically effect your enjoyment of the ride.  You should drink about 28 ounces (a large capacity water bottle) of fluids every 30-45 minutes or whenever you are thirsty.  Electrolyte drink mixes will help replenish the minerals lost during cycling activity as well as aid in recovering after the ride.

The front wheel – Bikes transported on roof racks sometimes require that the front wheel be removed.  Nothing will ruin your day faster than realizing that you’ve left the wheel behind or misplaced the front wheel skewer.

Repair tools – Bring tools for flat tire repair and easy adjustments.  These tools include a frame pump and/or CO2, tire levers, spare tube, tube patch kit and bicycle multitool.

Floor pump – Makes pre-ride bike prep easier and may lead to new friendships when you help someone else inflate their tires!

Riding gear – Cycling jersey, cycling shorts, cycling socks, cycling shoes, cycling helmet, cycling gloves, sunglasses or eye protection and sun block.  None of these items are mandatory, except the helmet, but all of these items will make you more comfortable during and after the ride.

ID and an insurance card – Good to have at rider check-in and in emergency situations, especially if you have special medical needs.

Cell phone – Can contact ride control or a friend for assistance.

Money – Can be used as an extra donation to the charity being sponsored, for a bite to eat on the route, a tip for the mechanic (if you feel their service was exceptional), to purchase a replacement bike part, a dollar bill to “patch” a cut tire, and for post-ride activities.

First Aid kit – Nice to have at the car. Good for blisters, road rash, etc.

Knowledge of group riding – There are several sites with good articles about riding in a group, if you want to read up before trying your hand out on the road, available here, here, here and here. But the essentials of riding in a group are straightforward: be predictable, communicate with the group, stay alert, and be considerate of others.

An attainable goal – Ride a route that is suitable for you.  Typically, you can safely complete a charity ride route if you’ve been able to recently ride 2/3 of the route’s distance comfortably.  Don’t forget to take into account weather conditions and route elevation changes.

Foul weather gear – Be aware of the weather forecast.  If rain is forecast, bring rain gear.  If the temperature at the beginning of the ride is going to be much colder than later in the ride, layer your clothing so outer layers can be removed during the ride.

Nutrition – “Keeping the gas tank filled”.  Nutrition bars and gel packs are easy to use while cycling and provide additional fuel for your ride.  Experiment with new drink mixes and nutrition products well before the charity ride, not on the day of the event.

And finally, a friend or family member – Sharing the experience is much more enjoyable.  Conversation and support during the ride helps the miles go quicker!

Spoke ‘n Revolutions Youth Cycling

Recently a few of us from our corporate HQ had the pleasure of meeting a group of high school students that have big plans for the summer, and a bright future ahead of them.  The students of Spoke ‘n Revolutions Youth Cycling club, from right here in our home town of Chapel Hill, NC, have as their goal to be a “youth focused cycling group that re-introduces student-cyclists to the joys of an active life by having their own cycling adventure.”

And what an adventure they have in store, as they head out on an 1800 mile ride from Mobile, AL, to Niagara Falls, NY, along the Underground Railroad Trail, which follows the route that many enslaved people used to escape to freedom. There’s no doubt that the students who complete this ride will be deeply affected by the things they see and learn during their trek, along with the sense of accomplishment of completing their journey under their own pedal power!

But this trip is really the culmination of almost 2 years of effort, as this group of students, who began their Spoke ‘n Revolutions training as sophomores, actually built their own bikes through working with The ReCYCLEry, NC, a 501c3 bicycle coop. The students earned their used bikes by repairing bikes donated to the ReCYCLEry; learning good bike mechanic skills was the first step along the successful path to confident riding, although they’ve also put in plenty of long hours in the saddle getting ready for this ride of a lifetime!

We met up with this talented group of students, along with the group’s co-founders Kevin and Suepinda, in our Chapel Hill, NC, store, and presented each rider with Performance jerseys, shorts and gloves, so they ‘ll good and feel comfortable during their long days in the saddle. There’s a great article about the team’s visit to our store in the local Herald-Sun newspaper, where our own Gaynor Collestor, the head of our Spin Doctor Product Technical Support team, summed up our feelings the best: “We are all incredibly proud, not of what you’re going to do, but what you’ve already done.”

We hope you’ll join us in wishing the students and support team of Spoke ‘n Revolutions the best of luck and safe travels on their adventure, which is scheduled to start next week! They’re going to have many stories to tell from along the road, and we hope to share some with you right here on our blog, so stay tuned for updates as the student cyclists begin their journey!

Holiday Food Drive Wrap-Up

As you may recall from right before the busy holiday season, all 94 Performance stores served as receiving centers for food donations for an array of local food banks.  Our stores accepted a variety of non-perishable food items, including any kind of canned food or pasta, and dry foods such as cereal and rice that were sealed and packaged.

This was our second consecutive year with a holiday food drive, and our goal was the same–to collect as much food as we possibly could.  These donations of non-perishable food items really make a difference for those in need, especially during this time of year, and by partnering with local food banks these food donations go directly back to the communities that we are a part of.

Last year, with the help of everyone who donated, we collected nearly three tons of food.  But this year we really stepped up our efforts and are proud to announce that we collected a total of 16,890 lbs of food! That’s nearly 8 1/2 tons of food, all from fellow cyclists like you!

So we say thank you to everyone who was able to bring in a non-perishable food donation to one of our stores.  Your generosity will really make a difference in your community.

Dreambikes Wrap-Up

If you haven’t been paying attention this past month, or if you’ve just stumbled across our blog recently, we’ve been talking up the dreambikes auction quite a bit. Sunday, December 19 marked the end of the last auction, so we thought we’d take a moment to give you the highlights.

For those of you just tuning in, the dreambikes program was started by crankbrothers to help benefit Hans Rey’s charity, Wheels4Life. They partnered with premiere frame builders Ibis, Titus, Focus and Tomac, and component and accessories makers SRAM, Rock Shox, Avid, Fi’zi:k and Continental Tires to create a stable of ten impeccably equipped, one-of-a-kind dream bikes that were displayed at cycling events across the western U.S. and Europe.

With the help of Performance Bicycle, crankbrothers auctioned off each of the dreambikes over the past five weeks. By the close of the final auction on Sunday, December 19, the dreambikes project had raised a total of $35,546 for Wheels4Life. Those proceeds will enable Wheels4Life to improve the lives of hundreds of people around the world who desperately need a bike for getting to work, school or accessing/providing health care.

Thanks to all of you who participated in the dreambikes auction. Your generosity is truly an inspiration to us, and Performance Bicycle is proud to contribute to a program that improves the world through the culture of cycling.

For those of you who want to make a difference but didn’t take part in the auctions, don’t worry, there’s still time to help. Right now we’re selling the 2010 GT Wheels4Life Trekking Bike—and donating a portion of the proceeds of these limited-edition GTs to Wheels4Life.

If you’re in the market for a comfortable hybrid, this is the bike to buy if you’d like to help Hans Rey and Wheels4Life carry on their mission of providing low-cost bikes to people in the developing world. You can also donate $10 by texting ‘WHEELS’ to 85944. Don’t forget to reply ‘YES’ to confirm (USA only).

To learn more about what Hans Rey and Wheels4Life are doing, visit PerformanceBike.com or Wheels4Life.org.

2011 Tarwheel Kids Bike Giveaway

This Christmas, Performance Bicycle and the Carolina Tarwheels joined together to provide and build bikes for needy kids in the counties surrounding our corporate office.  Performance was pleased to support the Tarwheels’ efforts by first helping them purchase the 78 bicycles they wanted but also by supplying the warehouse space and the labor to build the bikes.

Bagels were consumed and Christmas music was listened to as we cranked away building the bikes.

Once all of the bicycles were completed, each one underwent a through safety inspection before being lined up for delivery.

The Carolina Tarwheels hand delivered each bicycle to the home of a child in need.  How’s that for a surprise Christmas present!  We were so glad to be a part of this and look forward to doing it again next year.

Final dreambikes auction: Titus Rockstar 29

Bidding ends this Sunday on the last 2 dreambikes in the auction from Hans Rey and the team at crankbrothers!  Up for bid are 2 one-of-a-kind mountain bikes from Titus and Focus, and each of these dreambikes sport some serious style to go along with their equally impressive trail performance.

Of course the best part about the the dreambikes auctions is that all of the proceeds from  will support Hans Rey’s Wheels4Life charity with their work to provide bikes to deserving people in developing countries.  So far, over $27,000 has been raised by the dreambikes auctions, which will be used to provide bikes for people that deperately need them to get to school, to work, or to provide health care to patients in remote locations.

There are 2 selections up for bid this week, but you can’t go wrong with either one.  One dreambike is this size medium Focus Raven carbon hardtail, which weighs in at 20.2lbs and is ready-to-race with a full SRAM XX component group:

The other option is this size medium Titus Rockstar 29 carbon mountain bike, which only weighs in at 26.7lbs with its 29″ wheels:

Don ‘t let the elegantly shaped tubes and refined butting profiles fool you into thinking the Titus Rockstar 29 is bred for a life of quiet leisure—this good-looking bad boy is made to roll hard, roll fast and roll long. Over just about anything in its way. From roots and rocks, to ravines, ruts and roadkill, there’s just no stopping the Rockstar once you set those big ol’ 29” wheels in motion. For those rare occasions when you simply must arrest your momentum, Titus has spec’d the fabled Avid Elixir CR hydraulic disc brake, front and rear. With gold-toned Cobalt wheels, handlebar, stem, grips and seatpost from crankbrothers, and SRAM X0/X9 drivetrain, the dreambikes edition Titus Rockstar 29 is a race-ready XC rig that’ll have you giggling like a groupie before you finish your first ride.


Just remember to get your bid in before this final auction ends on Sunday 12/19 at 8PM ET.  If you’re curious about what you missed out on already, check out the rest of the dreambikes on our website.

What are you waiting for… don’t miss your chance to bid on a bike & change a life!

Final dreambikes auction: Focus Raven

Here it is… the final week to become the envy of any ride by getting your hands on a one-of-a-kind dreambike from Hans Rey and the team at crankbrothers!  Bidding has already begun on the last 2 mountain bikes from Titus and Focus, so it’s time to act if you want to bid on these gorgeous rolling works of art (that also happen to be trail-shedding machines!)

All of the proceeds from the dreambikes auctions will support Hans Rey’s Wheels4Life charity in their work to provide bikes to deserving people in developing countries, bikes that make a difference in whether or not these people can get to school, to work, or to provide health care to patients in remote locations.

This final dreambikes auction serves up some serious off-road firepower.  Up for bid is this size medium Titus Rockstar 29 carbon mountain bike, which weighs in at 26.7lbs with 29″ wheels:

If a flat-out racing rocket is more your speed, also up for auction is this size medium Focus Raven carbon hardtail! This race-ready steed weighs in at 20.2lbs and sports a full SRAM XX component group:

If Edgar Allen Poe’s dour avian interlocutor was ever to be reincarnated as a mountain bike, the Focus Raven would be the logical choice. This exotic-looking, German-built carbon hardtail is a XC racer’s fantasy. It’s feather-light, accelerates like a demon, and handles like a dream. Selected by Germany’s Mountain Bike Magazine as a best-in-class off-road racing machine, and winner of the Eurobike Gold Award, the Raven is the last word in high-end, high-performance hardtails. This unique dreambikes edition sports a Rock Shox SID XX fork, custom crankbrothers cobalt wheels, cobalt 11 bar, stem and seatpost, SRAM XX for go and whoa, fizik Tundra saddle and Continental Race King tires. It’s one-of-a-kind, so when bidding closes, this rare Raven is nevermore.

Just remember to get your bid in before this final auction ends on Sunday 12/19 at 8PM ET.

If you’re curious about what you missed out on already, check out the rest of the dreambikes on our website.  So far the dreambikes auction has raised over $27,000 for Wheels4Life, which will change the lives of people around the world!

What are you waiting for… don’t miss your chance to bid on a bike & change a life!

dreambikes Auction #4: Titus El Guapo

Tick tock, tick tock… time is running out if you want to be a part of this one-of-a-kind dreambikes charity auction! There are only a few days left to bid on this round of mountain bikes from all-around legend Hans Rey and the team at crankbrothers!

In case you haven’t seen these latest creations, up for bid in this 4th dreambikes auction is this size small Focus First XC carbon mountain bike with gorgeous black and gold components:

And also up for auction is this size large Titus El Guapo orange all-mountain monster! The details on this bike are stunning and will turn heads on any trail.

Just remember to get your bid in before this round of the auction ends on Sunday 12/12 at 8PM ET:

If you like ‘em burly, beefy and super-aggressive, the Titus El Guapo just may be your singletrack soul mate. With its massive frame tubing, six inches of travel and aggressive geometry, the El Guapo (the Handsome One) is a charismatic all-mountain ride that will appeal to riders with a lust for trail bike handling and XC bike efficiency and responsiveness. Its performance makes it way more than just another pretty face, but honestly, who could resist this good-looking specimen with its mix of crankbrothers iodine components, SRAM XO/X9, Avid Elixir CR disc brakes, Fizik Gobi XM saddle and Continental Trail King tires? And, remember, it’s a dreambikes edition, so it’s truly one-of-a-kind.

Be sure to check out the rest of the dreambikes, and the remaining bikes up for auction, on our website.

So where can you go wrong?  With the dreambikes auction you get the chance to bid on the mountain bike of your dreams, while also supporting the work of Hans Rey’s Wheels4Life charity.  The proceeds from the dreambikes auction will support Wheels4Life as they provide bikes for people in developing countries who desperately need them to get to school, to work, or to provide health care to patients in remote locations.

So far the dreambikes auction has raised over $20,000 for Wheels4Life, which will change the lives of people around the world!

To create the dreambikes, crankbrothers partnered with premiere frame builders Ibis, Titus, Focus and Tomac, and component and accessories makers SRAMRock ShoxAvidFizik and Continental Tires to create a stable of impeccably equipped, one-of-a-kind dream bikes that were displayed at cycling events across the western U.S. and Europe.

What are you waiting for… don’t miss your chance to bid on a bike & change a life!

dreambikes Auction #4: Focus First XC

There are only 2 weeks (and 4 bikes) left in the dreambikes auction, so time is running out for you to bid on a one-of-a-kind mountain bike from mountain bike legend Hans Rey and the team at crankbrothers!

The dreambikes auction gives you the chance to bid on the mountain bike of your dreams, while also supporting the great work of Hans Rey’s Wheels4Life charity.  The proceeds from the dreambikes auction will support  Wheels4Life in their projects around the globe, providing bikes for people in developing countries who desperately need them to get to school, to work, or to provide health care to patients in remote locations.

So far the dreambikes auction has raised an amazing $22,000 for Wheels4Life, which will change the lives of people around the world!

To create the dreambikes, crankbrothers partnered with premiere frame builders Ibis, Titus, Focus and Tomac, and component and accessories makers SRAMRock ShoxAvidFizik and Continental Tires to create a stable of impeccably equipped, one-of-a-kind dream bikes that were displayed at cycling events across the western U.S. and Europe.

First up for bid in the 4th dreambikes auction is this refined but ready-for-anything size small Focus First XC carbon mountain bike (the gold accents are killer).  Bidding ends Sunday 12/12 at 8PM ET for this beauty (and a size large Titus El Guapo):

The trail-taming prowess of a medium-travel enduro bike. The pulse-quickening aesthetics of an elegant XC hardtail. You get both in the category-bending First from Focus. The secret’s in the Full Integrated Rear Suspension Technology (F.I.R.S.T., get it?). By integrating a bump-busting Rock Shox Monarch rear shock into a cavity at the rear of the carbon frame’s top tube, Focus manages to keep the First’s lines clean, sleek and decidedly un-susser-like. This one-of-a-kind dreambikes First is decked out in color-matched crankbrothers cobalt 11 and SRAM X0/X9 components, Fizik saddle and Continental Race King tires for a first-rate mashup of glam looks and go-fast performance that’ll attract tons of attention on descents as well as the start line.

Be sure to check out the rest of the dreambikes, and the upcoming auction schedule, on our website.

So what are you waiting for… don’t miss your chance to bid on a bike & change a life!

Movember Wrap-Up

As we move rapidly into December, we want to stop and take a quick moment to say one last goodbye to Movember!  If you didn’t realize why so many men were sporting mustaches last month (and you didn’t check out our earlier post), Movember is a worldwide movement to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues during the month of November, with a focus on prostate cancer awareness and research.  Here’s part of our team of “Mo Bros”, clean-shaven at the start of the month:

And here they are in all of their follicular glory, at the end of Movember!

Will’s mustache was acclaimed to be the “most impressive” by our panel of entirely subjective judges:

But they all sported their ‘stache with pride, and showed off some impressive grooming skill (especially Jason’s General Burnside look on the left below):

We hope you had a successful Movember of your own, or at least supported someone who did!  Performance Bicycle made a donation to the fight against prostate cancer in support of our crew of Mo Bros.  In the end, that’s what Movember is all about–raising money for and awareness of men’s health issues that all-too-often are not talked about… although we have to admit that is was also worth it just for these pictures of our coworkers!

Alleycat Racers: Leave a comment with your name and race number and click the ‘Yehuda Moon’ image to go to the next checkpoint!

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