Performance Bicycle Presents the Europeds Tour Trip

Le Tour… that’s all you really need to say and any cycling fan knows what you’re talking about!  With the history, the prestige, the endurance, and the sheer pageantry of cycling’s biggest race, Le Tour is the ultimate cycling experience.  Last year, in partnership with premiere bicycling tour operator, Europeds, we sent one of our own employees, David, to France to see first-hand what it’s like to watch the race in person and ride some of the same epic climbs as the pros.  So what did he think?  He’s still raving about the experience, from the riding to the food, and you can read all about it right here on the blog, of course!

This year we’ve partnered with Europeds once again, but this time to offer this once-in-a-lifetime cycling experience to you! We’re proud to offer exclusive access to the 2011 Europeds Tour Trip, with only 16 total spots available.

And what a trip it  promises to be!  The 7 day/6 night trip includes five nights right on the summit of the fabled Alpe d’Huez, plus the chance to watch three action-packed Tour stages, along with the opportunity to go on some of the most breathtaking bike rides you’ll ever experience.

You’ll experience everything the Tour has to offer from a base camp perched at the top of the famous 21 switchbacks of the Alpe d’Huez, in the Southeast corner of France.  The itinerary for the week includes watching 3 Tour stages in person, miles of fantastic Alpine riding with a small group of only 15 other riders, plus the chance to be exactly where every cyclist wants to be on July 22nd, with a front row seat on the slopes of the Alpe d’Huez!  You’ll be there, along with thousands of cycling-mad fans, lining the mountain as the 2011 Tour thunders up to its last mountaintop showdown!  And after the stage is done, you’ll be hanging out in the midst of the racers and journalists while almost all of the other fans fight their way back down the mountain, as you stroll to your hotel atop d’Huez!

If you want a little bit of the flavor of the Alpe d’Huez on Tour day, check out this video of the finale of Carlos Sastre’s victory atop d’Huez in 2008 (which propelled him to the yellow jersey):

Watching the Tour in person is truly an experience that every cyclist needs to do at least once in their lifetime.  From the chance to watch the pros up close and personal:

2010 Tour passing over the Col du Soulor

To the opportunity to challenge yourself on some of cycling’s sacred ground with new friends:

David and the Europeds group on top of the Tourmalet

To riding on some of the most beautiful roads you could ever imagine:

David in the Pyrenees in 2010

We can promise that it will be an experience you won’t forget! So we hope you’ll join us on the 2011 Europeds Tour Trip, presented by Performance Bicycle.  Spots are filling up fast, so don’t miss your chance to see “Where great rides begin… in France!

Spin Doctor In-Store Clinic – Traveling with your bike and gear

Spin DoctorEvery month, your local Performance Bicycle store has a free in-store clinic about an array of cycling topics, from basic bike maintenance to more advanced subjects like adjusting your derailleur.  Having just returned from a trip to France, this author was interested by the latest clinic topic, “traveling with your bike and gear”.  Our Spin Doctor in-store clinics can vary a bit according to who attends and what specifics they want to learn, but in this post I wanted to cover the topic that caused me much trepidation before I headed overseas with my bike: packing up my bike in a bike case.

Bringing your own bike on a trip is always the best, since you will be comfortable with your bike right away and all you need to worry about is enjoying the ride at your destination.  But I, like many people, was worried about packing up my bike securely for my big trip.  It turns out that it’s really not that difficult a process, and only takes a little planning once you have seen it demonstrated.  With that in mind, I headed over to our Chapel Hill, NC store this past Thursday, the night of the latest Spin Doctor clinic, to enlist the help of one of our friendly store employees, Brian, in shooting a short video on how to pack up a bike in a travel case.

Before we get to the video, though, I wanted to go over a few lessons I learned while traveling with my bike (specifically if you are traveling by plane):

  1. Be vigilant of anything that can rub together in your case–friction is your enemy and your case will undoubtedly be tossed around a bit if you are checking your bike on an airplane.  I ended up with a some scuffed up spokes when I unpacked my bike in France, as I neglected to pack my wheels in wheel bags for protection.
  2. Be aware of weight and size restrictions for checked luggage, as these vary by airline.  It’s best to know what the listed rate is for a particular airline, to avoid being overcharged, but I also found that sometimes airline personnel will simply check in your bike as a second piece of checked luggage (which is much cheaper than the bike-specific fee) as long as you are below the over-weight limit, normally 50 lbs.
  3. Put a bunch of stickers or other identifying markers all over your bike case–odds are if you are traveling to a bike-friendly locale, someone else will be too, so having a distinctive mark on your own case helps alleviate any confusion upon arrival (since big black or gray bike cases tend to look the same!)

In terms of the actual process of packing up a bike in a case, it’s actually less intimidating than you might first think.  All you need to do the job is a little patience and a set of allen/hex wrenches (plus possibly a set of open-end wrenches and/or a pedal wrench).  To disassemble your bike for packing you will need to be able to remove your:

  • seat post (don’t forget to mark your post height)
  • wheels and skewers
  • pedals
  • stem (you can leave your handlebars attached to your stem & just remove the entire stem/handlebar assembly from the fork steerer tube–just remember to screw in the headset top cap after removing the stem)

For some cases you will also need to remove the rear derailleur to avoid any damage (to the derailleur or the derailleur hanger).  Then it’s just a matter of situating the bike in the case so everything fits comfortably (which can vary from case to case).

But I find that it’s easier to actually see how the process works after reading a description, so we put together this short video that shows how to pack a Pro Bike Case for travel.  You may need to tweak these instructions for different case designs, but the basic concepts should remain the same no matter what case you use (although most cases don’t have a handy inner stabilizer frame).  And don’t worry, if you still have questions about packing up your bike, just head down to your local Performance store or give Spin Doctor Product Services a call; they’ll be happy to help!

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