Ready for Spring: 13 Point Safety Checklist

While we originally wrote this post for breaking out the bike after a winter hiatus, we think that this advice is great to follow year-round, even if you’ve been riding for months! You’ll be amazed at what you find if you give your bike a thorough once-over – so what do you look for?

Just follow our 13 Point Inspection checklist.

If you need some reference for where to look for parts on your bike, check out our handy Anatomy of a Bike guide.

 

1. Inspect frame & fork for damage.

Look for cracks or frame separation. Gently lift your front tire off of the ground and let it drop.  Listen for noise (beyond the sound of the chain bouncing).

Lift the front wheel and let the front wheel drop to the floor. If the frame is damaged, you'll hear it

Lift the front wheel and let the front wheel drop to the floor. If the frame is damaged, you’ll hear it


2. Inspect racks, fenders, child seats & baskets.

Make sure all nuts and bolts are securely fastened.

3. Inspect rims and spokes for wear, damage and that the wheel is true

Look for loose or missing spokes (loose  spokes will rattle when moved with your fingers).
Spin the wheel to see if it rolls smoothly.  If not take it to a professional.

Squeeze the spokes together to see if any are loose

Squeeze the spokes together to see if any are loose


4. Inspect tires for cuts, wear & damage.

Check the tires for cracks, dry spots, visible tire threads, cuts, visible tire casing, or debris in the rubber.

Deflate the tire slightly so you can pull it from side to side to look for wear or cuts

Deflate the tire slightly so you can pull it from side to side to look for wear or cuts


5. Test brake levers and brakes are tight & secure.

Squeeze the brakes and move your bike.  If the brakes are working your bike wheels should not roll.

Squeeze the brake levers and try to push the bike forward

Squeeze the brake levers and try to push the bike forward


6. Test headset for correct adjustment.

Squeeze the brakes and move your bike back and forth.  Look to see if the fork rocks where it inserts into the frame.

Click here to see how to adjust your headset

Pull the brake levers, brace the front wheel between your legs, and pull on the handlebars. Check to see if the steerer tube rocks inside of the headtube

Pull the brake levers, brace the front wheel between your legs, and pull on the handlebars. Check to see if the steerer tube rocks inside of the headtube


7. Test seat and seatpost are tight & secure.

Try to twist the seat side to side.  It should not move.
Click here to see how to adjust your seatpost

Try to twist the saddle and see if it moves

Try to twist the saddle and see if it moves


8. Test handlebar, stem, and pedals are tight & secure.

Try to twist your handlebar, while holding the front wheel securely.  It should not move side to side or up and down.
Click here to see how to adjust your stem

Use an allen wrench to ensure all the bolts are properly tightened

Use an allen wrench to ensure all the bolts are properly tightened


 

Use a hex wrench or pedal wrench to ensure your pedals are tight

Use a hex wrench or pedal wrench to ensure your pedals are tight


9. Inspect cables & housing for cracks, kinks, rust or fraying.

Click here to see how to install new cables

Inspect the cables and housing for worn spots, rusting or fraying

Inspect the cables and housing for worn spots, rusting or fraying


10. Inspect brakes for correct adjustment.

Your brakes should squeeze the rim at the same time.  If not, go and visit your favorite mechanic.

11. Inspect brake pads for wear.

Use the wear indicator marks on the pad to determine if the pads are still in good use. If you don’t see any, you can pick up some replacements here.

Check the brake pads to see if they are past the wear point

Check the brake pads to see if they are past the wear point


12. Inspect derailleurs for correct adjustment.

Take your bike for a short test spin or put it in the workstand and try to shift gears. Look to see if your bike skips gears, won’t shift to the selected gear or makes a rattling, skipping sound.

Click here to see how to adjust your rear derailleur

If your derailleur isn't shifting correctly, adjust the cable tension using the barrel adjuster

If your derailleur isn’t shifting correctly, adjust the cable tension using the barrel adjuster


13. Inflate tires to sidewall pressure.

Tires have a range of tires pressures written on the side wall that is a useful guide.  You should pump up your tires before every ride.
Click here to see how to inflate your tires

Need some new tubes? Stock up here.

Most tire manufacturers stamp the recommended PSI on the sidewall

Most tire manufacturers stamp the recommended PSI on the sidewall

Everything check out okay? Go pedal! 

To find out what essentials you should bring on your next ride, check out our article here.

Ask Performance Answers – 10/4/13

Last week on the Performance Bike Facebook page we asked folks to post questions about bikes or cycling that they wanted an answer to, in a segment we called #AskPerformance. Today we’re going to answer some of your questions below, but if you’ve got other vexing cycling queries, please post them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to find you an answer!

Ron S.: Is it too much to have more than 5 bikes? ;-) #AskPerformance

Ah, the age-old question – the most quoted saying is that the “correct number of bikes to own is ‘n+1′, where ‘n’ is the number of bikes currently owned”. Of course there is an important corollary to this rule, which is ‘s-1′, “where ‘s’ is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your significant other”.

Michael S.: #AskPerformance Has the industry established a lifespan projection for carbon fiber frames and components?

There is no standardized lifespan for carbon fiber, as it will depend on how the frame or component is used. That said, there’s no reason carbon fiber can’t last for a very long time – the key is to take care of it properly, only tighten bolts to their recommended torque settings, and inspect it for wear or damage from time to time. We’ve got a great article of tips on our Learning Center: http://learn.performancebike.com/bikes/advice/how-to-guides/bikes-and-frames/taking-good-care-of-your-carbon-bike-frame

scattante_cfr_black_rearDarrell M.: When you shift gears, and the chain moves more than one gear, what is the typical cause and solution?

One main culprit could be a rear derailleur hanger that has come out of alignment – if that is bent (say from setting the bike down on its drive side), then no amount of derailleur adjustment will result in perfect shifting. Another issue could be incorrect routing of the cable to the derailleur bolt – if you’ve changed your cable lately take a look at the instructions for your derailleur to make sure you’ve got that right. If you’ve ruled out a bent hanger and poor cable routing, then you should next take a look at your rear derailleur itself – we’ve got a video in our Learning Center that covers adjusting your rear derailleur: http://learn.performancebike.com/bikes/advice/how-to-guides/bike-parts-and-components/how-to-adjust-a-rear-derailleur

Daisy L.: How many miles before a chain needs to be replaced??

A good rule of thumb is somewhere around 1,500 to 2,000 miles for a road bike, and somewhere around 5-6 months for a mountain bike (assuming that you are riding a fair amount). But these are just general guidelines – to really understand when you should replace your chain you’ll need to measure chain stretch. Chains may be metal, but over time they can actually stretch out quite a bit – we’ve got a handy video that gives you the details of what to look for: http://learn.performancebike.com/bikes/advice/how-to-guides/bike-parts-and-components/how-to-measure-bike-chain-wear

Lidia L.: What is the best way to clean your cogs ? And with what would u clean them with ? Thx ‘s

Cleaning your whole bike is one of the most important things that you can do to prolong the life of your bike and keep it running in tip-top condition (just ask any pro team mechanic). Luckily it’s not that difficult if you follow the how-to on our Learning Center, which covers everything from cleaning your rear cassette to lubing your shifters and brake levers: http://learn.performancebike.com/bikes/advice/how-to-guides/bikes-and-frames/basic-maintenance-how-to-clean-your-bike For the rear cassette, the basic technique is to spray some degreaser onto a cog brush, then wipe down each of the cogs to get the gunk off.

Howard H.: How often should I rotate my tires?

Rotating your tires front to rear is a great idea to increase the longevity of the pair, but keep in mind that most steering control, both off-road and on, comes from the front tire, while more tire wear happens with the drive forces on the rear.  So putting a road tire worn flat or a MTB tire with worn lugs on the front will lessen traction when cornering hard. To prolong the life of your tires, save some money and keep high performance traction, ride your tires until the rear is worn out, move the front tire to the rear, and put a grippy new tire on the front. Need some tips on changing tires? We can help with that: http://learn.performancebike.com/bikes/advice/how-to-guides/tires-tubes-and-wheels/how-to-change-a-road-bike-tire

_131008_dressing_for_coldEnrique L.: Just started riding my bike again like a month ago. but now that the cold weather is upon us what is the best gear for weather of around 40° which is probably the average temp he in the bay area.

The key to riding in changeable fall and winter riding conditions is dressing in layers. You want to keep your core and extremities warm when you get started, but then have the ability to remove and change layers s you get warmed up or if the temperature changes. We call this the 15 minute rule… if after 15 minutes of riding, if you’re still cold, you need more layers or warmer clothing. If you’re uncomfortably hot after 15 minutes, remove layers or wear cooler clothing. We recommend: a medium weight short sleeve base layer, bib shorts, long sleeve jersey, leg warmers, a windproof vest or jacket, windproof full-finger gloves, an ear band or beanie, and toe warmers. You can find all of our cold-weather recommendations here: http://learn.performancebike.com/bikes/advice/how-to-guides/cycling-clothing/dressing-for-the-season-essential-cycling-layering-tips

Maureen K.: A few yrs ago, I switched from riding a hybrid bike to a road bike. On the hybrid, had no problem standing up,out of saddle to get up hills. I’ve had bike fit done on road bike – it fits me sooo much better now, but I am still not comfortable standing to climb up a hill – it’s too scary for some reason! What else should I be doing to get more comfortable standing to pedal up a hill?? Thanks for any suggestions

It is quite a change going from a flat-bar road bike to a drop-bar racing bike – losing the control and leverage you got from keeping your hands in the same position on the handlebars can be disconcerting. But when you stand up to climb on a drop bar road bike, you’ll need to move your hands to your brake hoods to have the most amount of control. Once you practice riding in this position and then smoothly getting up from your saddle, you’ll become more comfortable when you really need it. If you’re looking for other tips on climbing, our Real Advice column has you covered:  http://blog.performancebike.com/2013/07/11/real-advice-an-intro-to-climbing/

Reuben C: Is there a recommended pressure for a tire(as in replacing my 120psi) with the weight of the rider and load in mind. Or are there other factors such as wheel height/length? Sorry im new to riding and it feels like i am running low on psi after bumps or a day of riding (30 miles)

Road tire pressure is definitely critical to a safe and comfortable ride – almost every tire will have a range of recommended tire pressures noted directly on its sidewall. You have flexibility within this range of pressures, so if you feel like the tire is ‘bottoming out’, or compressing so much that it hits the rim, definitely put more air in if it is within the recommendations of the manufacturer. If you are still having issues, you may need to move up to a slightly wider tire (assuming that it fits within your bike’s frame), as this will help give your ride more stability. Or you could install puncture resistant tubes to reduce the chance of pinch flats and slightly increase the load capacity of the bike. If you need help finding the tire inflation range, check out this video: http://learn.performancebike.com/bikes/advice/how-to-guides/tires-tubes-and-wheels/the-right-tire-pressure-for-a-road-bike

Donald H: Help! I tried replacing the cleats on my shoes yesterday. One bolt came out fine, but the other one ended up with the head rounded out to the point the hex wrench has nothing to grip. Any suggestions?

If you are not handy with tools, your best bet is to take the shoe to your local Performance Bicycle to have a mechanic take a look at it. If you want to try yourself (with the caveat that you might damage the sole of your shoe if you aren’t careful) use a Dremel tool with a cut-off wheel to cut a slot in the top of the cleat bolt and used a slotted-head screwdriver to remove the bolt. Be careful not to cut so deep that the bolt head breaks off. It also helps if the shaft of the screwdriver is hex-shaped, so that you can use a wrench to apply more torque to the screwdriver when removing the cleat bolt. And remember to grease your cleat bolts before installing them next time :)

Boone_Road-878Eric Q: #AskPerformance How does one determine how tight/loose to adjust one’s threadless-steerer headset?

Threadless headsets are pretty easy to get set up once you get the hang of it – the key is to tighten the top cap so that you don’t feel any movement fore and aft at the junction of the headset and the head tube, but not so tight that it hinders your turning ability. Then you tighten down the stem pinch bolts to their recommended pressure to lock the stem in place. We’ve got a very clear video that walks you through each step: http://learn.performancebike.com/bikes/advice/how-to-guides/bike-parts-and-components/how-to-adjust-a-bicycle-headset

Greg C: I have my first race coming up next week. Should I shave my legs? Does it make a difference? Will I look like a FRED if I don’t shave?

Another dilemma – shaving your legs is an age-old tradition in the cycling community. Cyclists can give you a litany of rationalizations as to why they shave (such as shaved legs make cleaning up road rash easier and quicker and promote faster healing), but when it comes down to it, shaving your legs is mainly a way to identify yourself as part of the cycling club. Think of it as an initiation into the world of bike racing – you definitely don’t have to shave, but if you don’t, you’d better be fast! We’ve got tips for taking care of your skin here: http://learn.performancebike.com/bikes/advice/riding-tips/general-cycling-tips/basic-guide-skincare-for-cyclists

Chris D: The big question. … I am 6’2 and ride cross country, all mountain and a small amount of DH. 26, 27.5 or a 29er??? It seems so hard to choose a new size with my wide range of riding styles. What is the advantage of a 27.5 vrs a 29er? Also any 2014 recommendations? I hope #askperformance can help! Sincerely a #teamperformance member.

Wow, it sounds like you’re looking for that one bike that can do it all! As a taller guy, you can definitely handle a 29er, which will give you an improved angle of attack to roll over obstacles, and more momentum to smooth out any trail. But the new 27.5″ standard might also be a great option for you – these bikes have a bit more agility than a 29er, but still have a greater ability to roll over obstacles than a classic 26″ bike. We’re pretty excited about the 27.5″ format and think that it might be a great fit for what you want to ride – we’ll have great options soon from GT (the 130mm travel Sensor and 150mm travel Force) as well as Devinci (their all-new 140mm travel Troy). Check out our Learning Center for more info about 29ers: http://learn.performancebike.com/bikes/advice/buyers-guides/bikes-and-frames/basic-guide-to-29er-mountain-bikes and 27.5″ mountain bikes: http://learn.performancebike.com/bikes/advice/buyers-guides/bikes-and-frames/basic-guide-to-275-mountain-bikes

_131003_Boone_Rky_Knob_MTB-340Dawn G.: How do I stop squeaky disc brakes? I’ve cleaned and adjusted them and they still squeak.

There are 2 main things that might be going on if you’ve got everything adjusted right – when you first install new disc brake pads, it’s essential that you go through the ‘break-in’ period for the pads. This will help improve performance and lessen annoying noise – just follow our tips here: http://learn.performancebike.com/bikes/advice/how-to-guides/bike-parts-and-components/breaking-in-your-bike-disc-brakes Of course it could just be the case that the pads have become contaminated with oil or dirt – disc brakes pads a difficult to fully clean once this happens, so often the only alternative is simply to replace the pads all together: http://learn.performancebike.com/bikes/advice/how-to-guides/bike-parts-and-components/how-to-replace-disc-brake-pads

Greg E: I am very interested in getting into cyclocross racing. What is the best way to get started racing for a mature beginner ? I already have a fuji cyclocross bike.

We’re huge fans of cross racing here in the home office – you could even say that we’re obsessed! But really what’s not to love? It’s an all-out effort for 30 minutes to an hour through grass, mud, or sand, with some barriers thrown in just for kicks. Of course this means that some different skills are needed than a regular road ride – you’re already on the right track with a dedicated cyclocross bike, but your next step is to practice cross-specific skills like quick dismounts and remounts, proper technique to carry and run with your bike, and short, hard sprinting efforts to stay in the mix at a race. We’ve got some tips you can follow on our Learning Center, but your best option to learn more is to find a local cyclocross club or training group – cross racers are a friendly bunch, and they’re usually happy to show a beginner the ropes and get him or her just as addicted to cross racing as they are: http://learn.performancebike.com/bikes/advice/riding-tips/road-cycling/cyclocross-basics

If you’ve got a cycling question that you need an answer to right away, feel free to get in touch with our Spin Doctor product technical support team – they are our team of in-house technical experts with decades of combined industry experience, ready to get you the info you need.

Call: 800-553-TECH (8324)
Email: spindoctor@performanceinc.com
Chat: Live Help at PerformanceBike.com

Community Events: 2013 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic

stp_poster

What do you get when you bring together over 10,000 cyclists from 6 countries and 45 US states, about 35,000 sandwiches, hundreds of volunteers and “ride referees”, and over 202 miles of rolling countryside in the Pacific Northwest over 2 days in July? One of the biggest, best-supported and most fun bicycle events in the US – the Cascade Bicycle Club‘s Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic (or STP). Now in its 34th year, STP was begun as a race in 1979, but it has since become one of the largest supported recreational bike rides in the country – and the primary fundraising source for the advocacy efforts of the nonprofit Cascade Bicycle Club as they work to create a better community in the Puget Sound region through cycling.

Most STP riders tackle the North to South route over Saturday and Sunday, with an overnight rest stop in between the 2 cities, but about 10-15% of the riders blast through the entire 202 mile challenge in one day. Most of these dedicated one-day cyclists start their journey before 5AM, and don’t reach the finish line until the early evening in Portland – the fastest riders complete the course in about 10 hours, but most folks trickle in after 12 hours or more in the saddle! Of course the vast majority of STP participants find that splitting up the ride into 2 long days on the bike is enough of a challenge – especially since 18% of them are trying the event for the very first time. These 2-day riders finish up their first century ride on Saturday and then camp out in a series of well-organized campgrounds near the halfway point of the journey – then get up on Sunday and do it all over again.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So what makes STP so popular? After all, the 10,000 available spots fill up months before the start of the ride. We would definitely say that it’s the people that make the difference – although the beautiful Northwest countryside comes in a close second! Yeah, it sounds corny, but everyone we met was unfailingly friendly and happy to stop and say hi or talk about why they were riding. Plus we have to give a special shout-out to the Cascade Bicycle organizers and their army of supportive volunteers, who do an amazing job keeping this whole 200 mile rolling operation running smoothly – including 14 rest stops along the route, an array of halfway point campgrounds, along with the logistics of moving thousands of tents and pieces of luggage to exactly where they’re needed, like clockwork.

DSC_0003

Living the Dream cruiser bike crew

Every rider has a different reason for tackling this challenging adventure – but one of the most popular groups on the road was this collection of riders who completed the entire route on beach cruisers! What started out as 2 brothers raising money for the Living the Dream charity 9 years ago has grown into a crew of 19 single speed riders having a great time for a cause. They said that it wasn’t really the hills that were the most difficult to ride, but the flatter sections where they ran out of gearing and had to spin like mad to keep going!

DSC_0418

Bicycle built for a family of 4

We met this family and their bicycle built for 4 at the STP sign-in on the Friday before the ride. It takes some real family togetherness and coordination to get this big rig on the road, but when they dropped by our tent at the halfway point of the ride they were all smiles and ready for more! The whole family was outfitted in Performance gear from head-to-toe, so we made sure that all 8 of their water bottle cages were stocked with a brand new Performance bottle.

2013_STP_0722

Bill and his Scattante road bike

One day riders also came in all styles, from riders on full-on time trial bikes with carbon aero wheels, to folks who looked like they were on their everyday commuter. But most were like our friend Bill here, who rode his Scattante road bike the 202 miles in one day just for the personal challenge, checking in with us via social media along the way.

2013_STP_0995

One of our Spin Doctor mechanics, ready to help in Centralia, WA

With 10 stores across the states of Washington and Oregon, Performance Bicycle has been involved with STP for a decade now, and our team of Spin Doctor mechanics was excited to once again help out this year. During the 2 days of the event, our teams ran 7 mechanic aid stations spread out over the 202 mile route. So what does it mean to provide mechanical support for 10,000 riders? It definitely makes for a busy 2 days! From the time they set up until the last riders trickled in, the team of 10 mechanics at our biggest aid station at the halfway point of Centralia College worked steadily from 9AM until 6PM on the first day of the ride. Our guys fixed flats, changed cables, trued wheels, lubed chains and pumped tires, with a smile, for whoever came by our tent – going out of their way to make sure that no mechanical problem was going to derail someone’s STP experience. At the end of the day in Centralia we determined that our team replaced or fixed: over 120 flats, over 20 tires, 12 chains and even 2 wheels (not counting the ones we could true enough to get back on the road)!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of the advantages of being stationed at the halfway point in Centralia was that we literally got to see every rider that came through, on whatever bike brought them there. The array of bikes that people rode was staggering – it seemed that if you stood and watched you would see every single brand, make and model of bike roll by, from fully-faired recumbents to a custom carbon Calfee Dragonfly tandem (that one was a beauty – the newlywed couple riding it planned to complete a century ride a month). But the wide array of tandem bikes really caught our eye, so we couldn’t resist sharing this last album of just a few of the bicycles built for 2 that we saw at STP.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We can’t wait to go back to STP next year – we’re already making plans on how to have an even bigger and better presence at this amazing event!

Spin Doctor Tech Tip: Changing a bicycle tire & tube

Spin Doctor

For this week’s Spin Doctor Tech Tip, we’re going back to basics. If there is one skill that every cyclist should master, it’s changing a bike tire and tube. At some point you are going to get a flat or your tire will wear out, so being able to change these parts out yourself will save you both time and money. The best part is that it only takes a few minutes to master the techniques you need, and the only tools necessary are a set of tire levers and a pump (we’re big fans of our easy-to-use Spin Doctor Team HP Floor Pump).

Since it’s easier to demonstrate tire & tube changing when you can see the process in action, we put together a series of videos that walk you through the steps from start to finish. Even if you’re a tire & tube-changing veteran, it doesn’t hurt to watch a refresher course from our in-house Spin Doctor pros:

Changing a Bicycle Tire’s Tube

.

Changing a Road Bike Tire

.

Changing a Mountain Bike Tire

.

Once you’ve become a master of the tire lever, you can test your new found prowess against the clock – but you’ve got some work to do if you want to beat this guy’s time:

.

If you’re looking for more bicycle repair tips, head to your local Performance Bicycle store this Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. for our Basic Bike Maintenance Clinic. Our Spin Doctors will provide routine cleaning and maintenance techniques, expert tips & tricks, plus an overview of tools and gear every cyclist should have.

Don’t live near one of our stores and need some technical advice? Get in touch with our Spin Doctor Tech Support team by email or phone – they are always ready to help with your technical questions.

Spin Doctor Tech Tip: How to Adjust Front & Rear Derailleurs

Spin Doctor

Derailleurs… almost every bike has them, yet adjusting and installing these essential components still instills fear in many home bike mechanics. If you want to improve your derailleur-adjusting skills, head to your local Performance Bicycle store this Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. for our Derailleur Madness Clinic. Our Spin Doctors will provide expert advice on how to adjust, fix and maintain your derailleurs, plus an overview of the tools and products needed.

Spin Doctor P-Handle Hex Wrench Set

Don’t live near one of our shops? Pick up a set of hex wrenches (like our Spin Doctor P-Handle Hex Wrench Set) and a phillips-head screwdriver and queue up our handy How-To videos below. Each video offers a solid grounding in the principals and techniques you’ll need to get your derailleurs shifting smooth once again.

How to adjust a bicycle front derailleur:

.

How to adjust a bicycle rear derailleur:

.

Still need some help? Bring your bike by your local Performance Bicycle and let one of our Spin Doctor mechanics take a look, or get in touch with our Spin Doctor Tech Support team by email or phone – they are always ready to help with your technical questions.

Zach’s Training Diary: Getting ready for the Gran Fondo

It’s almost time to see if our web merchant Zach has what it takes to ride hard in Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo in Virginia. If you’ve been following on the blog, Zach has been training all summer to take on the hardest Gran Fondo in the US – 104 miles, over 11,000 feet of climbing and dirt road climbs thrown in for good measure! So now it’s time to see how he’s feeling and what gear he’s picked to take on the challenge.

The big ride I’ve been training for is in just a couple of days!  I’m ready for it.  I feel like I spent the entire summer training for it and thinking about it.  I got burnt out on training for a while, right after I peaked too early and then fell off the wagon a bit.  Since then I have rested up, done some active recovery, and come back a bit stronger and more prepared.  I’ve got everything lined up and dialed in!  The only thing that’s bothering me is a brutal allergy attack, but I’ve been getting plenty of rest and come Saturday morning I’ll be riding no matter what condition I’m in!

Zach’s training log

Over the summer I’ve had the pleasure to ride a few bikes from Fuji to try out and see which one was the best for me, given the riding conditions of the Gran Fondo.  In an earlier post I talked about the Fuji Altamira and the Fuji SST.  I was able to test out two more bikes over the summer, the Fuji SL1 Comp and the Fuji Gran Fondo.

The SL1 Comp was a very comfortable bike, and would be the perfect bike for someone transitioning into their first carbon road bike, or doing long group century rides.  For me, though, it wasn’t quite as responsive as the Altamira during the long climbs. Since there will be 11,000 feet of climbing in the Gran Fondo, I may need to pass on this one.  Otherwise, the bike did great on long training rides with rolling hills around the Piedmont of NC.  I could easily get 80 miles in on it and feel great afterwards.

Zach riding the Fuji SL1 Comp

The fourth and last bike was the Fuji Gran Fondo.  This bike is designed for exactly what it’s named after, riding long and hard during a Gran Fondo, or any other similar style of ride.  The bike is a very fast machine, climbs great, is comfortable, and absorbs potholes and gravel easily to give a smooth and plush ride.  The upright geometry gave me no problems while reaching for energy gels, a water bottle, or getting my phone out of my back pocket to text my wife that I was OK while riding (just kidding on the texting part).  Plainly put, the Fuji Gran Fondo delivers!

Fuji Gran Fondo 3.0

So which one did I go for?  It was a hard choice. The SST and SL1 Comp were ruled out as top contenders for a Gran Fondo.  They’re great machines for what they’re designed for, but not great at long ascents on gravel roads.  The Gran Fondo would seem to be the obvious choice, but given that I also had the option of the similar Altamira that’s decked out with Shimano Dura Ace electronic shifting, I went with the Altamira!

There was just something about the Altamira that felt better for me.  It’s quick and snappy on the climbs, is very comfortable, it delivers optimal power transfer with its oversized bottom bracket, and at the end of the day was lighter than the rest of the choices. I’ve been riding it for quite some time now, and have made a few changes to prep it for the gran fondo riding conditions.  The Altamira came with an Ultegra standard 53-39 double crankset and an 11-25 cassette on the back.  I swapped those out for an Ultegra 50-34 Compact Crankset paired with an 11-28 cassette.  With that low of a gear ratio, I should be able to ride the hills of the Gran Fondo with no problems! For tires I chose Continental Gatorskins in a 700X25 size, that, when paired with Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher wheels, actually measure out to about 26mm in width. Running this set up at about 90 psi gives it all the cush and grip needed for those long gravel climbs.

So that’s the bike!  It’s a very important part of the puzzle, but there’s plenty more that’s needed for the fondo.  After testing several products over the summer, I’ve come up with my own personal checklist of things that have worked the best for me from head to toe:

  1. Shoes: I use Sidi Ergo 3 shoes (similar to the Sidi Ergo 2 Carbon Lite Road Shoes) as the adjustability and control of personal fit on these shoes is unmatched!  They’re light, stiff and make for great climbing shoes!
  2. Socks: DeFeet Air-E-Ator HiTop Honey Badger Black Socks are sooooo nasty!!  Defeet has stood the test of time, miles, sweat, rain, multiple washes, and continue to be at the top of the sock drawer.
  3. Kit: Louis Garneau Mondo Evo Bib Shorts and Team Short Sleeve Jersey – This kit is the absolute most comfortable kit I’ve ever had.  It’s light, breathable, and it wicks and dries sweat away in the blink of an eye.  Our Garneau Custom Cycling team from Performance wears this combo for our team kits.
  4. Jacket:  Depending on the weather report, I may be packing my Cannondale Pack Me Jacket.  It stows away into my jersey pocket nicely and is a welcome addition if the rain starts pouring.
  5. Gloves:  Pearl Izumi Select Gel Gloves because they fit great, are comfortable, and my hands don’t go numb after four hours in the saddle.
  6. Eyewear:  Smith Pivlock V2 Max – I’ve never in my life owned a better pair of cycling glasses than these.  The tapered lens tech is no joke, and after riding them I’ll never go to another brand.  They’re very lightweight, and extremely durable.
  7. Helmet:  Giro Aeon Helmet – I switched to this after riding a Specialized Prevail for a long time and I have to say, the Aeon feels lighter and it fits my head better.  The red and black also match my kit.  DONE!
  8. Nutrition:  I thought I had this dialed in, but at the Gran Fondo training ride, I had some severe cramps despite staying hydrated and eating.  Since then I’ve started taking GU Brew Electrolyte Drink Tablets.  They’re packed with plenty of sodium and seem to be doing the trick!  For solid food I’ve always enjoyed the multiple varieties of Honey Stinger Waffles, and margarita flavored Clif Shot Blocks Energy Chews!  I also take some supplements here and there such as SportLegs or Endurox Excel, depending on what I’m doing.  Lastly, I love Endurox R4 for a recovery drink.  The chocolate flavor is my favorite, but they’re all good.
  9. Inflation:  The Spin Doctor Rescue HP mini pump will be tagging along with me.  With all the gravel I stand the chance of having to change multiple flats, and I’d rather not carry a bunch of CO2 cartridges.
  10. Pocket Essentials:  The Blackburn VIP SL Ride Wallet will be carrying my ID, credit card, phone, etc.  I’ve been using this thing for months and have been caught in downpours and sweat through my jerseys.  Everything inside stays completely dry.
  11. Computer:  Garmin Edge 500 with H/R monitor and the BarFly computer mount.  All around I think this is the best GPS device out there.  I love the compact design and that it’s fully customizable to give me everything I want to know.  The BarFly makes it a quick glance of the eye to view the Edge 500, instead of having to tilt my neck all the way down to view the stem mount.
  12. Water Bottles: CamelBak Podium ChillJacket Insulated Bottle – I dismissed these until I forgot my bottles on a training ride and ended up having to buy water bottles.  Now, I’ll never use anything else.  It keeps your water cool and that goes a long way both mentally and physically when you’re out there grinding it out.

Well, that’s the gear.  The only thing left to do is head back up to Harrisonburg this weekend and ride the Gran Fondo!  I can’t wait to get back up there and do it.  Hopefully this allergy attack will subside and I’ll have a strong ride come Saturday morning.  I’ll have a full report after I get back. Thanks for reading!

Leadville Race Report: Tom from Performance Bicycle

Our team has recovered from the altitude and exertion of the fabled Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race, and has finally had time to get some coherent thoughts down on paper (or on the computer, in this case). This year Performance Bicycle sent a crew to Leadville to find out what the race is really like, and we found that our friends at Lifetime Fitness have built upon the tradition that race founder Ken Chlouber started 30 years ago – this is a race where you have to “dig deep” just to cross the finish line. In addition to our 3 racers (Chris, Tom and David), Performance Bicycle also supplied the only official neutral support mechanics for the race – our expert team of Spin Doctor mechanics, Kyle and Jeff. Check out our video below to see a few of the sights and sounds from the race, and read on below for Tom’s take on the Leadville experience.

I’ve always had a thing for endurance sports.  As a kid I idolized Rocky movies; I loved the idea of pushing the human body beyond what was considered possible.  I used to dream not of the first several rounds, but of the last – what it would feel like to be on the verge of collapse, yet still be able to push on and persevere. It’s the punching in the face part I can do without. Fast forward several years and instead of slugging it out in a ring I gravitated toward long course triathlons and marathons.  I made up silly long endurance events for my birthday each year and invited friends to complete them just for fun. So when I first heard of the Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race, I knew it would end up on my bucket list.

I’m a cycling fanatic and for years I cheered on Lance, Floyd, Jan, and others with great joy.  When Floyd, then Lance, then Levi targeted the Leadville Trail 100 I had just re-discovered my love of mountain biking and I was instantly captivated.  I bought and watched the Race Across the Sky films as if they were homework.  Names like Ken Chlouber, Ricky McDonald, Rebecca Rusch and Dave Wiens became mythic.  I read everything I could find about the race, the area, and the event.  So when I learned that my colleagues and I had finally received invites to Leadville, I was thrilled!

Preparing for the LT100:

Once I learned I would really be going to Leadville, I became very serious about seeing the dream through to the finish. Right away I acquired a bike more suited for the race, as opposed to my typical trail-riding style.  I bought a GT Zaskar Carbon 29er Pro hardtail mountain bike and rode it exclusively every day.  I decided that every ride I would do would be on this bike; I wanted it to become a part of me.  My rides became all about Leadville.  I now had a mission and that was, above all else, not to crash and hurt myself.  I knew that getting to the start line healthy was half the battle, and did not want anything to interfere with my goal.  Training became more about long endurance rides than about speeding through single track. I took to riding alone more than I was accustomed.  My focus was singular – build fitness and endurance while working on my nutrition plans (and NOT CRASHING).  I won’t lie… I was a bit obsessive with my preparation.  I read everything I could about the race each evening.  I visualized the racecourse while going to sleep.  I watched Youtube videos showing the course, and must have watched the two “Race Across the Sky” videos 6 times each.  I obsessed about minor details with my riding buddies Chris and David constantly (and frankly was perhaps a wee bit annoying).

Our home in North Carolina is very hot in the summer, and we live and train barely over sea level.  Leadville, Colorado, sits at 10,200 feet and the out-and-back Leadville course reaches a high point of around 12,600 feet.  There is more than 13K feet of elevation gain and loss during the race, which we had little chance of emulating in our home environment.  The best we could do was long rides in intense heat followed by short intense bursts of single track.  I would typically ride 4 or 5 hours (often in temps over 100 degrees) on the road and finish up with an hour or two of single track riding with a buddy who would meet me along the way. Generally I rode up to 180 miles a week (including my daily round trip of 18 miles of commuting) preparing for the race.

The Race itself:

Chris, Tom and David from Performance Bike at the start

After the traditional shotgun start at 6:30 AM, there is a neutral roll-out that lasts a few miles before you actually hit dirt roads. But once you do hit the dirt, the pace slows immediately – an 1,800 rider bottleneck on a narrow dirt road. Since your starting position is based on previous finishing times, first time riders like us start at the back of the pack. If you complete Leadville in 9 hours you’ll earn a large silver and gold belt buckle, and for under 12 hours a smaller but still significant buckle. While we all wanted to do well, knowing that since we were queued in the back of the pack, we had to have more realistic goals – simply to complete the race in 12 hours.  I highly recommend taking it easy and not setting too ambitious of a goal for your first LT100.   The difference between stressing out and pushing too hard at the beginning and relaxing into the race will be minor in terms of finishing times, yet major in terms of energy wasted.  Energy becomes a very valuable commodity after 10+ hours in the saddle!

After around 10 nervous minutes watching the wheels around me, we finally hit dirt.  We came to a halt immediately, and the climbing started shortly after.  The St. Kevin’s (pronounced “Keevins”) climb is around 3 miles, but at this point it was so crowded that it was difficult to pass, let alone go the pace I wanted to. Your best bet is to simply gear low, try to not touch wheels, and maintain your position. The next 2 hours are more or less like that – after climbing Sugarloaf Pass the pack thins out a bit, yet it is still very crowded and you are generally having your pace dictated to you until the first major descent of the day, which is by far the most dangerous (mainly because of the actions of others). The Powerline descent is around 4 miles of rutted steep drop offs with a lot of people trying to make up for 2 hours of bottleneck. By taking huge risks, you might make up 3 minutes during the whole descent, or you might crash out of the race you’ve spent 6 months obsessing over (or, even worse, cause others to crash).

Tom at Twin Lakes

Following the Powerline, the course is relatively uneventful until you reach the Twin Lakes aid station at mile 40.  This was the first aid station I planned to use. Our whole support team was there, and I was delighted to see them, take on supplies, and drop off some clothing.  As I had read, this was where the real race began. Up until that point, everything I had done was simply to set myself up to finish on time.  The cut-off to arrive at Twin Lakes was 4 hours – I did not push the pace, and in hindsight I wish I had.  I arrived in 3 1/2 hours, which was about 30 minutes longer than I had hoped!  I planned to make up time now that the bottle neck was behind me, yet this was not a risk-free plan. I planned on the next 20 miles taking only 3 hours, but it was way harder than I had imagined.

  The Leadville course is an “out and back” course, with a terminus at nearly the 50 mile mark on the top of the Columbine Mine Climb.  The Twin Lakes aid station sits at miles 40 and mile 60 – meaning it is 10 miles to the top of the Combine climb, and 10 miles back.  The climb itself is about 8 miles long and the elevation gain is approximately 3,500 feet – my time for this section ended up being another 3 ½ hours. Not long after starting the climb I saw the leaders come streaming down in the other direction.  They were flying on the descent – because of the 2 way traffic, if you wanted to pass on the way up, you took the chance of a collision with someone on the way down.  After 5 or so miles you make it above the tree line.  After this point, riding was futile. There was a long line of people walking up little more than a goat path at high altitude. My walking pace was 2 miles an hour, riding was 3.  Either way your heart rate is above the anaerobic threshold – above 11K feet your body does not process oxygen at anything like its normal rate. Amazingly, race founder Ken Chlouber was there by the trail, encouraging everyone on the way up. I finally reached the top, where I found a completely stocked aid station and enthusiastic volunteers ready to do anything it took to help you get back down the mountain strong.  They had warm soup, fruit, energy drinks and food.

But the idea is to not spend much time at 12,600 feet, and get down as quickly as possible.  Getting down meant at least a ½ hour descent with your brakes smoking, arms rattling, and your fingers numb from the cold and braking.  At last you arrive back once again at Twin Lakes. With your water and nutrition re-stocked, you are now on your own to complete the race within the 12 hour cut-off.  There are more aid stations, but you’d better not plan on staying too long.  The hard part of the race is just now beginning.  The Columbine climb was by far the most difficult thing I had ever encountered, but the Powerline climb, at mile 80, would prove to be even more difficult.

I took some solace in the fact that all along the course the views are amazing.  I kept looking around at the mountains and getting emotional about how lucky I was to be here, in this amazing place, doing what I loved with the support of people I cared about.  At last, the Powerline climb began.  Right away the pitches are steep and everyone, top pros included, got off to walk. By now I had a little over 3 hours to cover the last 20 miles to the finish.  Basically it became a never-ending mind game.  Every time you think you are done with the hard stuff, a climb you did not anticipate presents itself.  Even with 3 miles to go in the race, you are faced with “the Boulevard” – a seemingly benign pitch on your normal riding days that becomes a formidable climb after 10+ hours in the saddle.

In the end you simply want to finish.  But it’s not until you turn back on to 6th St that you can sense that the end is near.  You can hear the announcer and feel the energy. I had thought about this very moment more times than I care to admit… almost every day for months, yet the reality was far greater than I had imagined.  By now my wife, who was extremely worried as she expected a much quicker finish, was waiting for the first glimpse of me down the road.  There were only 30 minutes left to officially finish the race within the cut-off and she never imagined I would be so close to that cut-off time. Finally I came into view of the finish and there were my people, the finish line, and everything I had imagined for the last several years. They literally roll out the red carpet for the finishers, and Merilee, the race director for the past 30 years, was there to hang medals the neck of each finisher. It was finally time to soak it all in (although all I really wanted to do was go to bed).

Tom and his wife at the finish line

Stuff I am glad I used:

  • GT Carbon Zaskar Pro 29er hard tail mountain bike.  It was an awesome bike, and has replaced my other bikes as my go-to ride.  I love this bike.
  • Performance Ultra Max Bib shorts.  I never thought once about my shorts.  They were that comfortable, all day.  Just what you want in a pair of shorts.
  • Osprey Viper 7 hydration pack.  Just the right size to carry the stuff I needed, not too big and super comfortable.
  • Bento box. I know… it’s left over from my triathlon days, but it was awesome to have.
  • Stan’s No Tubes tubeless system… enough said.

Some lessons learned that may be useful to anyone considering the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race:

  • Do this race.  It is a special place and an incredible event – but be prepared to suffer. You definitely get what you paid for.
  • Try to meet, and take a picture, with Ken Chlouber.  He is a legend, and I believe it when he says you are a part of his family.  He has a way of making you want to be a part of his family.  Make sure you thank him for creating such an amazing race series.  You might just see his eyes water and this is one tough hombre.

Tom with race founder Ken Chlouber

  • If you recognize some of the race celebrities, say hello.  They are all incredible people, and very gracious.  We had the privilege of meeting Rebecca Rusch, Ricky McDonald, Jamie Whitmore, Ken Chlouber, Elden “Fatty” Nelson of FatCyclist.com, and several others.
  • Read everything you can from Fatcyclist.com about Leadville.  Search for Leadville on his blog, read up, and believe everything he says (including the part about chicken and stars soup).  He knows what he’s talking about.
  • Do not think that because his nickname is Fatty that you can gauge your time off of his.  He is most likely faster than you.  His wife is most likely faster than you.  There is no shame in that.
  • Watch the “Race Across the Sky” videos, and get to know the characters.  It will keep you motivated.
  • Try to meet Ricky McDonald.  He’s done the race 19 times on the same bike, with the same front tire, same helmet, and his father’s old blue service shirt (with the name “Fred” written on it). You can’t miss him.  He’s larger than life.  Meet him before the race because during the race he will be faster than you too… I don’t care that his bike is old, or that he says “I’m not fast”.  He is fast, he is tough, and very humble.  This guy is a legend.

David and Tom from Performance Bike, with Ricky McDonald

  • Eat or have a drink in the old Saloon on Harrison Avenue.  The place is unbelievable.
  • Speaking of eating, take in at least 300 calories every hour.  Too many and your body won’t be able to absorb and use the calories.  Don’t be surprised if everything tastes horrible to you during the race.  You might want to resort to “real” food, which was the case for me.  My nutrition I used in training tasted a lot different during a race and at altitude… this is where I failed.  I should have listened to Fatty and had more of that soup!
  • Go tubeless.  I saw so many people with flat tires.  Even at the very end, when people were pushing the cut-off times I saw poor people with flats.  Go tubeless, but bring an extra tube plus the stuff you need to fix a flat, a broken chain or other minor repairs.  The peace of mind is worth the added weight.
  • Don’t bring a belt for your buckle.  Buy it after you earn your buckle… just to be sure.
  • Speaking of don’ts… on a personal level I plead with you to please leave the compression socks for after the race, and under your pants. I mean it.
  • Try to do one of the Leadville Race Series qualifying events from Lifetime Fitness.  It might be your best bet to get in to the race.  My prediction is that this race series will continue to grow.  It is to mountain biking what the Hawaii Ironman is to triathlon, so your best chance to get in will be from one of the qualifying events.  That or move to a foreign country.
  • Look around while you’re racing.  It’s easy to get caught up in the other racers, or in your own suffering.  Pick up your head now and then, look around and be thankful.

Photo courtesy of Zazoosh

Community Events: April Recap

April was a busy time at our over 100 stores all across the country – our store teams were busy putting on clinics, supporting rides and helping out in their local cycling communities. If you want more info about your local Performance Bicycle, check your local store page for regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics & group rides.

First up this month are some pictures from the Michigan Mountain Bike Patrol training held at our Novi, MI store.  Sales manager Joe Pepples of our Bloomfield Hills, MI store is a member of the bike patrol and coordinated this training session.

This Michigan Mountain Bike Patrol has a total of 18 trained patrollers across Michigan – the patrol is a volunteer organization that works to encourage safe and responsible riding.  Patrollers provide assistance to hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers, like at the Pontiac Lake Time Trial race where the patrol was out in full force providing level 1 first aid to injured riders. Of course after the training session at our store, the patrollers did what they love to do best – go for a mountain bike ride!

Michael Morross and Jessica Maier from our Chandler, AZ store manned a booth on a windy day at the Arizona Bike Festival. A celebration of all things cycling in the state, the festival was packed with rides, a swap meet, and entertainment.

Also part of the festival was the 2012 El Tour de Mesa – as an official sponsor of El Tour, Performance Bicycle was represented by a great group of team members from our three Phoenix, AZ area stores located in: Chandler, Peoria, and Scottsdale, AZ.

We had a great presence during the ride packet pick up with members from our ChandlerPeoria, and Scottsdale stores representing Performance. We handed out samples from some of our vendors along with information on our Team Performance and Extended Service Plan programs.

Folks from our Chandler and Scottsdale stores also set up a tent at the awards area, where we showed off some of our new Fuji road bikes and Devinci mountain bikes – like the Devinci Atlas RC 29er mountain bike below.

We were out on the course as well, providing mechanical support for the El Tour de Mesa riders. We had many riders who stopped by for air, tubes, and general questions. Blake, one of our Spin Doctors, and Eric, another member of our Chandler team, were there to support the riders with both technical knowledge and shouts of encouragement!

Michael, Sales Manager of the Chandler store and sales associate Bryan Harding did double duty by riding in the 70 mile ride and then helping out afterwards at our tent during the festival. Performance showed up with a great presence and it was nice to see our customers show up and thank us for our support.

Switching gears to the west coast, Performance Bicycle was the sole provider of race day support at the 4th annual San Diego Gran Fondo ride.  Nearly 1400 riders participated in the 60 or 108 mile ride, and members from all of our San Diego, CA area stores covered the entire 108 mile course with rolling mechanical support.

Our team included associates from the La Mesa, Kearney Mesa, Sorrento Valley, Bonita, and San Diego, CA stores. They had a great time out on the course, providing flat repairs, repairing bent derailleurs, fixing chains, and performing derailleur adjustments. It was great hearing all the compliments from the riders after we helped them get on their way.

Hearing comments like “ You guys at Performance Bike are Awesome. Thank you for the support.” and “ You guys are life savers and enabled me to finish the ride” kept our team energized to provide support all day long! This was the first year that we provided this level of support for the San Diego Gran Fondo, and we had a great time getting out in the community and look forward to working with them in the future.

Staying in the San Diego, CA area, our San Diego and Kearney Mesa stores provided mechanic support at multiple rest stops for the Tour de Cure San Diego ride, where they aided dozens of participants by fixing flat tires, rubbing brakes and the like.

One great story from this event was relayed by team member Fred Robinson, who helped with mechanical support at an aid station. A long-time Performance customer who was riding in the event stopped by to thank Fred for Performance’s active role in helping her change to a healthier lifestyle, starting with her first bike purchase. And now she has just completed her first half-century!

Sticking with our busy San Diego area stores, Jake Beller from our La Mesa store and Thomas Jones from our Kearney Mesa store participated in San Diego State University‘s “Green Fest” event.  Organized by the SDSU Cycling & Triathlon Club, the festival promoted the sport of cycling to students to encourage them to ride a bike to school instead of driving.  We were there with our Performance tent and a Fuji Absolute 3.0 commuting bike to show/explain to passing students what to look for in a good bike for commuting and to highlight the benefits of riding a bike over driving a car.

Scott and Len from our Pittsburgh, PA store recently attended a Tour De Cure Kick off Event with a group of about 50 cyclists. 6 guest Speakers discussed various aspects of the Tour de Cure and the sport of cycling. But the highlight of the evening was our “spin off fundraiser challenge”, where guests “challenged” others to a “spin off” on 2 stationary bikes for a total of 5 minutes. Whoever traveled the furthest won the challenge, and the “loser” donated $25 to the Tour de Cure. Challenges were scheduled in between each guest speaker, and our team kept everyone motivated and entertained the crowd during the 5 minute battles, all in the name of a good cause!

Another form of dedication was on display in our Sorrento Valley, CA, which played host to many participants in the Stage Coach 400. A completely self-supported event (meaning riders are required to carry overnight gear and other items to safely and successfully complete the route), racers in the Stage Coach 400 ride a 400 mile mostly doubletrack route highlighting Southern California’s geographic and cultural diversity and climb nearly 31,000 feet in about 5 days. Check out the setups on these bikes:  

In keeping with our race theme, staff from our Speedway Tucson and Broadway Tucson, AZ stores provided roadside tech support at the Tour De Tucson Mountain race on a warm April day. There were over 900 event participants this year, and they helped raise approximately $4,500 to benefit the University of Arizona Alumni Association, University of Arizona Medical Center – South Campus Children’s Center Clinic, TMC Children’s Miracle Network, Pima Community College Foundation, Marana Community Food Bank and other Perimeter Bicycling charities.

In addition to supporting the Tour de Tucson, Lance Vett from our Chandler store, Rene Arriaga from our Broadway Tucson store and Leslie Dusz from our Speedway Tucson store also set up a booth at the Tucson Mountains Expo, where they showed off some of our bikes, handed out nutrition samples and talked bikes with Tucson-area cyclists.

Of course there were also our regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics at all of our stores, so here are a few pictures from a sampling of stores, starting with our Akron, OH store:

Plus our Charlottesville, VA store – who held their clinic outside:

And finally our Chandler, AZ store, which had a full-house for their clinic:

Community Events: March Recap

In this post we’re looking back at March in our over 100 stores all across the country, where our teams were busy putting on clinics, supporting rides and helping out in their local cycling communities. If you want more info about your local Performance Bicycle, check your local store page for regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics & group rides.

First up is our Tucson Speedway, AZ store, who provided tech support for their local American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure ride last month.

Our team was excited to be out on the course on a crisp Arizona spring day, supporting the riders as they raised money for the fight against diabetes.

Here’s a shot of our Spin Doctor team ready for action underneath our tent – they stayed busy all day doing quick tune-ups, helping with flats and otherwise making sure any rider who came by was ready for their ride.

Our La Mesa, CA store was lucky enough to be involved with a different type of awareness ride last month, as well, when they helped out at the send-off celebration for Tom Skinner and his son Parry (plus Tom’s service dog, Scrubs). Tom and Parry are riding across America, California to Vermont, to raise awareness for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

You can read more about Tom and his journey to understand PTSD on his blog (and track his progress), but Tom’s plan is to make stops along the way of his 117 day journey to raise awareness of PTSD by sharing his presentation, “What Comes after Welcome Home” at colleges, universities, churches and veterans’ organizations. Sean, the manager of our La Mesa store, lead the effort to get Tom and Parry plenty of cycling clothing, gear and accessories for their big ride.

The La Mesa kickoff itself was a fun event, as the mayor of La Mesa, along with the help of many other community members, helped send Tom and Parry off in style. We helped out by giving free safety inspections for folks who showed up to ride thanks to James, the manager of our Kearney Mesa store. Please join us in wishing Tom, Parry and Scrubs the best of luck on their journey, and their mission to raise awareness of PTSD.

The team from our Columbia, MD store got some TV time with a reporter from WBAL-TV and Jillian Beam from Team Challenge, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s endurance training and fundraising program. Performance Bicycle is an official sponsor of Team Challenge in the Mid-Atlantic region, so they dropped by our store to tape a segment for WBAL-TV’s morning program – the reporter got in the spirit by wearing one of our Ultra jerseys for the broadcast!

Our Boise, ID store hosted a local club called Community Bicycle Rides for a “season kick-off” at our store. Over 100 cyclists dropped by to reconnect after the winter and get ready for the 2012 ride season.

 The purpose of this club is to help those who are getting into the sport of cycling – as club members grow in their skills, they start more rigorous training for various charity cycling events. The club started in 2005 with a handful of members and has grown to over 400 strong! Most of the riders are at the enthusiast level and love to get together to share time on the road and in the foothills.

Tod, our Operations Manager, Matt Causey, our Sales Manager, and Matt Renspurger, our Store Manager, enjoyed chatting with their guests about the services we provide in our shop and about cycling in general. But the highlight of the evening was the refreshment area for our guests to try some of the nutrition products – Honey Stinger Waffles were a particular favorite. There was even a raffle for 2 new Ultra Jerseys to finish off the evening’s fun!

Greg, Javier and Roger from our Bonita, CA store participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new section of the Bayshore Bikeway in Bonita. About 150 fellow cyclists showed up for the ceremony, and our team set up a tent and handed out trail maps and flyers for our Grow up with Performance growth guarantee.

Our guys had fun welcoming folks and making new friends, and even put a few bikes in the repair stands to make some quick adjustments before riders hit the new bike path.

Our Roswell, GA team recently helped out with one of the starting points for the Georgia Rides to the Capitol event, a cycling advocacy event that demonstrated the widespread support in Georgia for better bicycling conditions and opportunities. Our team helped out with free adjustments for riders before the start of the main ride, and then accompanied the pack towards the capitol.

About 300 people started from where we were set up, but by the time they reached downtown Atlanta there were well over 1,000 participants, including cyclists from all over the Metro Atlanta area and even as far away as Athens and Augusta. Our guys were proud to be involved with such a meaningful ride.

Speaking of checking over bikes before their ride, here’s a pic of Joe from our San Antonio, TX store making some last minute adjustments to a bike before the LBJ 100 Bicycle Ride in San Antonio. A team from our store helped support this ride through the Texas Hill Country, that starts and ends on the famous LBJ ranch.

Staying in Texas, our North Austin, TX store provided tech support for the Spokes ‘n Spurs ride, a Hill Country bike ride benefiting Spirit Reins, a non-profit whose mission is to improve the emotional and behavioral health of children with the help of horses.

Above are 2 members of the team from our Redmond, WA at a fitness fair put on by Universal Avionics. Our guys were a big hit, since many of their employees commute to work daily, made easier by a room with multiple bike racks dedicated to holding employees bikes while at work!  We were surprised to learn Universal Avionic employees made up for 33% of the Tour de Redmond bicycle commute challenge participants last year.

Mark and Will from our Berkeley, CA store recently helped out with a local Bike-a-Thon event sponsored by a school in Berkeley.  Mark lead a safety clinic for the kids and their parents and also coordinated a ride around the neighborhood.

Will checked over and made adjustments to many bikes, both for the kids and their parents. Everyone had a great time and our team looks forward to seeing these families out on the road or in our shop.

Our Orland Park, IL store hosted a safety and basic bike skills clinic for a local Cub Scout pack.  As you can see, Spin Doctor candidate Nico did a great job teaching the  primarily first and second graders (6-8 years old)  basic bike safety, rules of the road, how to air up tires and adjust seat height, and how to clean and lube their chains – it’s always fun when you have motivated students!

Sam from our San Antonio, TX store also had a great time teaching a Cub Scout pack last month. Working with younger riders was a new experience for Sam, so he had to tweak his normal safety instructions to connect well for the 8-10 year old riders. They talked about bicycle safety and basic bicycle maneuvering, and even rode through an impromptu bicycle obstacle course.

Now let’s move on to clinics – this picture shows a special Garmin demo clinic at our Charlotte, NC store. Our local Garmin rep dropped by the store to show our guests just a few of the special features built into those handy Garmin bike GPS units.

Speaking of clinics, here’s a slideshow from our latest Spin Doctor Trailside/Roadside Maintenance Clinic, featuring our Chandler, AZ, La Mesa, CALaguna Hills, CASan Mateo, CANewark, DERoswell, GAPaoli, PAPittsburgh, PASouthlake, TX stores.

Product Profile: Light & Motion Commuter Bike Lights

Light & Motion has been designing and building lights for over 20 years from their home in Monterey, California – from lights that are designed to go 200 feet below the ocean, to lights that shine the way for a midnight ride on the trails. But one place where they really decided to apply their lighting talent is lights for bike commuting. In typical fashion, Light & Motion did their research, and then created a series of compact, USB-rechargeable, and seriously powerful commuter lights that are unlike anything else on the market. Light & Motion took the concept of “see and be seen” to a whole new level with these commuting lights, incorporating advanced LED lighting technology and amber side lights to make your commute brighter and safer!

The Light & Motion Urban 300 LED Headlight and Vis 180 Tail Light combo packs a serious visual punch, but they both also incorporate brilliant amber side lights to give commuters and road cyclists complete visibility in traffic – especially important at intersections, where having increased visibility from any angle is essential. Of course ease-of-use is also handy, so both the Urban 300 LED Headlight and Vis 180 Tail Light feature Micro USB charging ports and tool-free mounting for quick and easy attachment and removal. The Urban 300 LED Headlight is powered by 1 white LED with a 300 lumen output and the aforementioned 2 amber side lights that provide 180° of visibility and project clean patterns of light. There is also a battery charge indicator that accurately reports the charge status (so you know when its time to recharge), all in a package that weighs only 112g – even though the lights are housed in a solid-feeling metal body. Runtime for the Urban 300 LED Headlight is 2½ hours on High, 4½ hours on Medium and 8½ hours on Low, with an empty-to-full recharge time of 5 hours.

The Light & Motion Vis 180 Tail Light, also available individually, blazes forth with 3 red LEDs with a 35 lumen output, along with its 2 amber side lights to provide 180° of visibility. To put those numbers in perspective, that’s about 10X the power of a common AA powered tail light! And the Vis 180 Tail Light is not just another blinky light in another way, as it doesn’t blink, but instead pulses in a concentrated pattern that attracts attention from anyone on the road. You can cycle through 4 modes on the Vis 180 Tail Light: Pulse High, Pulse Low, Steady and Paceline (which eliminates the top pulsing light), with runtimes from 4 hours on high to 20 hours on the Paceline flash setting. The built-in Li-Ion battery charges in only 4½ hours, and like the  Urban 300 LED Headlight, there is a battery charge indicator to accurately report the charge status. Mounting the Vis 180 Tail Light is simple with a tool-free, adjustable mount that easily attaches to your bike frame, seatstays or seatpost without compromising the viewing angle. Alternatively, you can utilize the locking mount clip to slip the Vis 180 Tail Light on your favorite messenger bag or backpack. You can read what Bikerumor thought about this powerful tail light when they reviewed it here.

The Light & Motion Vis 360 LED Headlight and Tail Light package is the first all-in-one light with a powerful LED headlight, amber side lights, and a four lumen tail light, that delivers a full 360° of visibility to the rider. Easily mounted on your helmet with an easy-on, easy-off snap mount, the Vis 360 LED Headlight and Tail Light improves your visibility while riding, even to passing SUV’s! At only 130g, its balanced fore/aft weight makes it barely noticeable on your helmet, but the 1 LED headlight with a 110 lumen output (and amber side lights) combined with the 3 LED tail light with a 4 lumen output means that you will definitely see and be seen out on the road. Runtimes vary from 2½ hours on High, to 5 hours on Low and 20+ hours on Flash (all settings adjusted via the single headlight button), with a recharge time of 4½ hours. To get a better feel for the Vis 360 LED Headlight and Tail Light in action, check out this video from Chris, who has been commuting 15 miles each way with this lighting system for the past few months, and is a big fan of it’s versatility and power:

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 163 other followers

%d bloggers like this: