06 December 2009

And Then Came the Winds of Change…

A week ago, if I told you that it was almost time for the USGP (United States Gran Prix) finale for Cyclocross, you probably would’ve said, “But the weather is so nice!” However, in Portland, that cold chill of winter is only a day away. Huge windstorms days before the race gave the Gran Prix the weather it was accustomed to having, but it also seemed to cause a change in fortunes.

Heavy favorite Ryan Trebon came into the race with a huge lead in this year’s Cyclocross series, and was expected to place high, if not win, the event. But Todd Wells, named most aggressive racer for the men’s division, and New Englanders Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson had a game plan that could not be stopped.

Wells took the lead early in the race with team Cannondale (Powers and Johnson) staying close behind. The trio would fight for supremacy the entire length, but in the end Jeremy Powers would steal the victory away from Wells which made the top three Powers, Wells, and Johnson. Trebon placed an unexpected 5th overall, but was still ahead enough in points to be named season series champion.

The real story of this race isn’t with Wells and Powers, but Katerina Nash in the women’s division race. The race began, and the usual suspects started to separate themselves from the rest of the pack with Nash in the lead followed by Meredith Miller, Amy Dombroski, and Alison Dunlap. This is how it started and it seemed this is how it would finish. And then she fell.

Katerina Nash toppled over and the rest of the pack took full advantage. Miller took the lead, followed by Dombroski and Dunlap not far behind. It seemed that Nash’s chances of winning were next to none, but seconds later she was back on with twice the effort. Her determination earned her the “aggressive rider” award, but even better she overcame the odds and won the race. At the last lap it was Nash taking the win with Miller second and Dombroski third.

17 November 2009

Review: Pearl Izumi Cyclone Glove


Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the road still looks delightful. Cold weather doesn't mean the end of cycling, just a change of clothes. One particular important piece of clothing is your gloves, and I tried out the Pearl Izumi Cyclone to see how it holds up.


This glove, at first glance, seems to have it all. It boasts protection from wind, water, cold, and vibration all while keeping a sleek and stylish appearance. Unfortunately as the saying goes, "a jack of all trades is a master to none".

On a cool fall day, this glove accomplishes the goal of warmth, but with its limited water resistance the warmth will not last long if there is rain. For those of us who bike in the Pacific Northwest, a water resistant glove just won't cut it. The lack of moisture wicking further hinders the glove's ability to provide warmth, so if the cyclist, like me, tends to have hands that sweat, these gloves would dampen, thus making it colder. If you want a winter glove I would suggest the Izumi Barrier or Barrier Lobster which performs much better and has been a proven glove for years.

The beaded silicone grips along the fingers and palm work wonderfully without wearing down and the Gel-Lite padding definitely helps on those longer treks to stave off vibration fatigue. Over time, however, it seems the stress caused by the constant push and pull of the gel pockets can cause tears in the fabric rendering the glove useless. If the padding is a necessity for you, the Izumi P.R.O. Lobster Wind Mitt is a better choice for durability and comfort, and if you purchase a seperate thin thermal liner it could handle even greater temperatures than the Cyclone.

For a serious rider, the padding is a dealbreaker. Casual riders may find that the durability is not an issue, and on top of that, if you live in a place where it doesn't rain everyday then this glove would do the job. If you are a serious rider I would give this a pass and go with one of the other gloves I mentioned, but with it's stylish looks, comfort, and protection against wind and cold, a casual rider would get their money's worth.

"Two [hundred] men enter, one man leave [the winner]."

In case you are a bit rusty on your 80's post-apocalyptic action movies, that was from "Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome", sort of.

Actually it was the theme to this year's Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships (SSCXWC) held at the Portland International Raceway on November 7th and 8th. Hundreds turned out for the event, both to compete and spectate, many dressed as citizens of the savage city of Bartertown. The costumes and rowdy fans are the norm at Cyclocross, but this time Yakima Inc. took it to the next level and made...the Thunderdome. This 1300-square-foot lattice structure became the center of attention, standing over 20 feet high. It was the Cyclocross version of the fabled arena of death, but in this case, death is the place where people heckle you as you bike through. Folks climbed all over the giant dome to watch the mayhem as riders were pelted with marshmellows by people suspended from the top of the dome.

Of all who braved the course, only two emerged triumphant. Kari Studley of Seattle took the women's division and, for the second year in a row, Drew MacKenzie of Canada won the men's. They received the coveted "golden speedo" or "golden bikini" for the women (so as not to excite the already riled and savage crowd). Studley's win moves the 2010 SSCXWC to Seattle, ending Portland's three year reign of dominance. Don't lose heart Stumptown, you'll get it back next year with a win in the Emerald City.

26 May 2009

Cervelo's Great Weekend Could Have Been Better!

Carlos Sastre proved that he's going to be a man to watch at the Tour de France with a great stage win on May 25th! He even has a great chance of winning the Giro d' Italia. Not only did he win the stage, he also put 25 and 26 seconds on the two riders ahead of him on the general classification, Denis Menchov and Danilo Di Luca. See CyclingNews.com's report on the race.

Cervelo Test Team also won a stage of the race on Saturday and came close to winning the stage on Sunday. In fact, the directors were criticized for their tactics on Sunday. It was thought they could have won three stages in a row. Serge Pauwels was in the break and he looked stronger than his companions. He was ordered back to help Carlos Sastre.

On Saturday Cervelo Test Team's Simon Gerrans won the 14th stage.

13 May 2009

Are You Man Enough To Wear Pink?


Come on! This blog and the subject of the above poll is "Would you wear a pink jersey?" Admittedly, sales have been kind of slow on the Premura jersey from Castelli.

Are you confident enough to wear pink?

Will the rednecks throw beer bottles at you when you ride down the street?

Has our society evolved to a point where people are indifferent to what people wear?

12 May 2009

Bicycling Magazine Gear of the Day Review-Pearl Izumi Women's P.R.O. Bib Shorts


Bicycling Magazine Gear of the Day Review April 2009
http://www.bicycling.com/gear/detail/0,7989,s1-15-71-2324-0,00.html

The first chamois I ever loved came in a pair of Pearl Izumi P.R.O. women's cycling shorts. That was well over ten years ago, and I rode that lycra through miles of singletrack, years of commuting and my share of MS150s. I never complained of one saddle sore and couldn't understand the constant refrain of post-ride pain from fellow riders. Club kit eventually took their place, then a tragic brush with a fence post ripped the fatal gash in my first Pearl PRO's.

So when I recently went surfing for some low-profile chamois to log mountain rides and training miles, I was thrilled to learn Pearl Izumi makes the P.R.O. short in a women's-specific bib. Similar to the boxers vs. briefs conundrum, I'm a bib-girl. I like the fluid feel of riding without a band around my waist and do most of my racing in a skinsuit, so bibs feel good to me.

Pearl Izumi's trademarked P.R.O. Microsensor fabric is designed to wick moisture away and keep you dry on long rides or hard training days. The Direct Vent panels are contoured to offer ventilation in the torso where your base layer, jersey or jacket might cover you on brisk days. The Flatlock seams are both sturdy and give, which means chafe-free riding. And the wide hem and bonded silicone gripper won't pinch or feel tight around your thighs. My favorite detail by far is the tiny clasp that keeps the straps secure across your breasts. Yes, I said breasts. This is a women's bib short after all. Without it, the straps frame whatever assets you have, and that's the last thing I want to think about when I ride. The clasp gives you a crisp, clean silhouette from top-to-bottom. Which reminds me . . . I can't forget the supple P.R.O. 3D chamois, which is what made me want a pair of these bibs in the first place.

It's the details that count and each year Pearl Izumi reinvents the wheel and makes this piece of apparel better. The women's short costs $130 while the bibs sell for $155. That may seem steep until you do a cost per mile analysis and account for the hours of comfortable riding you'll get for your money. Now all of a sudden you've got a deal.

Years of feedback and advancements in performance apparel go into each pair. I like that the P.R.O. chamois has been around as long as I've been committed to riding my bike. That tells me I can count on these bibs to deliver more great miles with confidence. — Liz Reap Carlson

SkyBike This doesn't look comfortable at all

BicyclingHub.com Owner Doug Duguay Featured In Practical Ecommerce's Lessons Learned Series


May 07, 2009 · by Brendan Gibbons

“Lessons Learned” is a biweekly series where we ask ecommerce business owners to share their experiences and advice. For this installment, we interviewed Bicyclinghub.com owner Doug Duguay about his experiences selling cycling apparel online. Duguay's business has three employees and is based in Portland, Oregon. Bicyclinghub.com sells about 600 individual products and garners more than $1 million in revenue each year. Here are Duguay's experiences with and suggestions for a variety of ecommerce-related topics.

Doug Duguay
Shopping cart software

“We use the Yahoo! shopping cart, implemented by Solid Cactus. One of things with the default Yahoo! cart, when you go to checkout it looks like you’re on a completely different site. We customized it, so it looks like a Bicyclinghub.com page. This is important in giving customers confidence.”

“I had a store in 2000 that sold cameras and electronics. The margins were so low that I quit on it, but at the time I tried working on Miva Merchant and just found it too difficult. When I originally put together Bicyclinghub.com, it only took me about 8 hours to do everything. We have preferred to use them because of the ease of use, but we have considered other platforms because of the transactions fees we have been charged by Yahoo!”

“Because we’re a high-volume dealer, we get a little better support with a direct line and an account manager. They were pretty difficult to get through to for a time if you didn’t know who to talk to.”
Hosting

“We use Yahoo! for hosting, too. There haven’t been too many problems. We’ve had occasional downtime and glitches. Our customers haven't complained about downtime a lot.”

Employees

“Our employees focus on order processing, customer service and inventory management. We’re fortunate, being in cycling, that we get people who are actually passionate about what they’re doing. Hiring can be a crapshoot, but try find people who are passionate about the products you’re selling.”

Marketing

“We have a Facebook page, Twitter page, a blog, and we use Google AdWords and Yahoo! search marketing. We’ve done some trade website stuff, but we will never do anything in print. We don’t promote much to local business as much as a worldwide audience.”

“We have our pages translated to Japanese, and we run AdWords campaigns in Japanese. We noticed there were a lot high volume orders coming from Japan. We went to a Yahoo! user forum looking for a translating service. We plan to do more with other languages like Korean and Spanish.”

“I was actually at Solid Cactus boot camp two weeks ago, and I was talking to another merchant there about translating pages. He just said, ‘But people buy from us anyway.’ Perhaps, but people will be more appreciative of you going after their business by using their language.”

Pay-per-click advertising

“The more specific [keywords] we can get, the better the click-through rate. With more specific ads, the conversion rate is also higher. Right now our PPC campaigns are as specific as we can make them. At one time, we were spending about $10,000 a month on PPC. It’s probably a quarter of that right now.

“I think a good thing would be to check PPC at least every two weeks to see what terms are converting well for you. If it’s not converting, either lower the budget or get rid of it.”
Search engine optimization

“We do the blog, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and social media. We also build pages that are friendly to search terms. Read all the information out there. It’s not like SEO is a great secret. Just keep up with current market trends.”

“One of the things we really had to work on this year is when people search ‘cycling jersey,’ we’re number one on Google. But I need to clean up the landing page because it is kind of a mess. We have a fairly low bounce rate, but it’s just not converting people right now. I have to have some conversations with people about how to make that page convert better.”
Expense control

“Last year at this time, we had the physical retail store. That meant our overhead was quite a bit more expensive. We closed the store and moved to a new place that was quite a bit less expensive. Keeping rent under control keeps overhead really low.”

“The other thing is we were paying huge transaction fees to credit card companies. We sat down with a lot of different credit card companies and tried to find most competitive rates. We ended up saving about $1,000 a month.”

Accounting software

“We use QuickBooks."

Order management software

“We’re in the process of looking right now. We tried to use OrderMotion in the past, but it didn’t work too well. We’re looking at Cactus Complete, Stone Edge and Mail Order Manager. We’re looking for quick shipments and handling of inventory.”

“Automation is one of those things we really need to get done as soon as possible. We waited way too long to get it done. We get bogged down and have back orders. The Yahoo! system is terrible as far as that goes.”
Shipping and order fulfillment

“We keep almost everything on inventory. There are a couple of major suppliers in Portland that we purchase and ship from the same day. Essentially, a customer can order something from us, we can pick it up from our suppliers and ship it all the same day. Our focus has always been on turning around inventory quickly. We don’t want people to be waiting for two weeks for an order. We eliminate a lot of variables by keeping our location stocked.”

Credit card payments

“Having the checkout page match the actual site is important with that. One of the other things I need to do is put security seals on the site, so when people are entering their information they don’t have second thoughts about that. We don’t actually have that right now. When we first started in 2002, it was a situation where people would call us because they weren’t secure with giving their information. Now it’s a part of our culture, and people aren’t as insecure as they once were about giving their information online.”

Social media

“I just heard stories that social media does help with SEO, so that’s why we embrace it. As far as direct results, we’ve had a few sales but not enough to really get too excited about it. We’re in the process of trying to hire a social media person to handle it part-time for us. With everything else, it’s hard to keep up with it.”

Email marketing

“We have collected a lot of customer emails over past few years and now have about 13,000 and use Constant Contact to send email blasts. Like the blog, it’s one of those things we need to do more often. For the most part, we do specials about what’s going on with the site, but we also try to focus on articles we’re putting in the blog and other things that are relevant to cyclists instead of just what’s on sale now.”

Blogs

“We use Blogspot. Like I said, we’re trying to find someone to hire for that. Sometimes we get involved in the day-to-day and don’t update blog as much as we should. That’s probably the last thing we think of.”

Customer service

“We want to create win-win situations where the customer feels he or she is actually getting something, and we feel like we’re not giving something away completely. Just last week, we sent a customer the wrong color jersey. We sent them a one-use coupon for the site, saying we goofed up.”

General business attitude

“I’m not sure if this is my life’s work, but it is fun doing something I love and working with a product I love. It makes life a lot easier. I could never see myself working for someone again. I can walk to the office from my home, and I bring my dog to work with me every day. Life is great!”

09 May 2009

Tom Boonen Caught With Cocaine Again

BRUSSELS (AP)—Tom Boonen’s Quick Step team says the Belgian cyclist has tested positive for cocaine for a second time.

Quick Step spokesman Alessandro Tegner said his team was informed Saturday about the result of the test, reportedly taken 12 days after Boonen won the Paris-Roubaix classic for the third time on April 12.

Last year, Boonen tested positive for cocaine in an out-of-competition test and missed the Tour de France. A Belgian court dropped criminal charges in February against Boonen, who apologized to his fans but never confirmed or denied he had taken the drug.

Penalties for possession in Belgium can vary from three months to five years in jail, along with fines of up to $155,000.

http://sports.yahoo.com/sc/news?slug=ap-boonen-doping&prov=ap&type=lgns

07 May 2009

Cervelo XXXL Training, Long Sleeve and Thermal Jackets

Dear Cervelo fans

We are still getting our 09 Kit inventory - as soon as it is made and arrives at Castelli North America HQ here in Portland, Oregon - we are over there whisking it away and getting it out to you as fast as we can. We at the Bicyclinghub have to thank you all for your continued patience and understanding whilst your orders are being fulfilled.

For those still waiting for tops in size XXXL, we must apologise but Castelli have advised us that they will not after all be producing any garments in this size. If you wish, we will be more than happy to send you out the XXL to try and this can be returned to us as per our returns policy - unused, with tags attached and in the original packaging please.

Thanks,

Doug and Kevin
BicyclingHub.com

03 April 2009

Dave Campbell's Trivia For April 2009

Just completed at the end of March, bridging the gap between the Milan-San Remo, the season opening one day Classic and the Northern Cobbled Classics, this is a very unique event. Not unlike “your own local stage race”…a flat stage, a mountain stage (9 climbs in under 100 km), and then a closing 8.3 km TT. Promoted by the Tour de France organizers, the event always draws a top field and is usually a key early season test for those with later Tour de France aspirations.

Q1. Jens Voigt of Germany (Team Saxo Bank, formerly CSC) just won the race for the third time in a row and his fifth time overall. Remarkably, his TEAM has won the last seven editions in a row! Who were the other CSC race winners?

Q2: Despite the incredible success of Spaniards in stage racing, the Criterium International, begun in 1927, has only ever been won by THREE Spaniards…most recently Alberto Martinez of Euskatel-Euskadi (in front of none other than Lance Armstrong) in 2002. Who was the first Spanish winner and when?

Q3. The Criterium was not always very “International” and for many years was dominated by the French! Who was the first non-French winner and when?

19 March 2009

De Ronde van Oeste Portlandia


Portlander's have always been known as a odd bunch. Cycling is part of the mainstream in this city. The Hawthorne bridge, which is about 100 feet from where I'm siting, has daily bike commutes of a jaw dropping 5,000 riders. The De Ronde van Oeste Portlandia is an event that's gaining a place on Portland's cycling calendar. Held for the first time a few years ago the event has grown in legend. The climbs are really steep and it takes its name from the Tour of Flanders in Belgium. If you're ever in Portland in the early part of April be sure to check out this great event.

01 March 2009

March 2009 Dave Campbell's Trivia

SEASON OPENING CLASSIC: Het Nieuwsblad



Q1. On February 28, Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) became the first Norwegian to win this coveted Belgian Semi-Classic. He is only the NINTH Non-Belgian winner in the race’s 64 year history. Which “other nation” has been most successful in the 200 km cobbled “hard man’s” race?

Q2: What is the best result ever in this race by an ENGLISH Speaking rider?


Q3. Hushovd is also a past winner of the Belgian spring classic Ghent-Wevelgem. With the cobbles, the climate, the climbs, and the country (Belgium) Het Nieuwsblad (or Het Volk or Ghent-Ghent) would likely see MANY riders win both. And yet, it has been awhile! Who was the last rider who triumphed at Het Volk also had a Ghent-Wevelgem in his palmares?


16 February 2009

Show Us Your Blogs




Submit a blog to www.bicyclinghub.blogspot.com and if we use it we will give you $50 in credit towards purchases at BicyclingHub.com. Entries must be received by February 28th, 2009. Write about experiences you have had with any BicyclingHub.com product, funny things that have happened to you on the bike or anything else you think we would find entertaining. Blogs must be about cycling and be limited to our attention span.

To submit a Blog, send all entries to Blog@bicyclinghub.com, attn: Blog

11 February 2009

Showers Pass Portland Jacket = Love



For about 2 weeks now I have been "testing" the Portland jacket from our old friends at Showers Pass. I have worn the Portland everyday for the last 2 weeks! I love this jacket! Not only does it function well as a cycling jacket but it also looks great at the office, or anywhere around town. It's not a neon green cycling jacket that screams I am a geek, I ride a bike (perhaps, I have some issues.)

It looks great too!
During my "testing" of the Portland jacket not a day goes by without a compliment on the great looking jacket I'm wearing. Many people don't even know it's a fully functional cycling jacket. Even the reflective piping on the jacket is subtle. (see the video below for more details on the reflective properties of the Portland)



It's Warm and Breathable
I have been wearing my jacket on my commute to work and it does a great job of protecting me from the wind and the rain. So far I haven't gone on longer rides of more than 10 miles. The Portland has a 2 way zipper as well as pit zips for regulating body temperature.


This jacket is perfect for the commuter who wants to look good both on and off the bike.

05 February 2009

04 February 2009

Showers Pass Video

BicyclingHub.com has just finished shooting videos of most of our Showers Pass Line. Included here is a preview of those from our Elite 2.0 video.



For now, the videos are being posted on YouTube.com.



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02 February 2009

"Insanely Anatomical"



Sexism in Pearl Izumi's Advertising? Men and women will agree this is a fine example of the female form.

Pearl Izumi wants to be the brand that cyclists think of when they think of high performance, premium cycling clothing with it's new made-in-Italy P.R.O. Octane line. As the ‘Insanely Anatomical’ tagline suggests, the Garmin team-inspired fits are decidedly more oriented towards racers. The garments will include a number of top-end features shared by some of its top competitors.

Shorts will include a brand new preshaped ‘4D Pro’ stretch chamois with fully welded construction, wide leg bands with laser-cut edges, minimal silicone gripper dots, and open mesh upper bib sections. The matching form-fit jersey will use strategically-placed mesh panels, a silicon infused lower hem and asymmetrically cut sleeves for more even coverage on the bike. Meryl microfibers provide UPF50 protection according to Pearl Izumi.

Available in both men's and women's specific pieces BicyclingHub.com is proud to stock this exciting line. Click Here To See BicyclingHub.com's Selection of P.R.O. Octane Apparel



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Dave Campbell's Race Trivia- February 2009

Q1. As the Tour of California enters its fourth year, there are two riders who have won stages every year, can you name them?

Q2: This year’s Tour of California is being heralded as the finest field ever assembled in North America (perhaps a stretch with the 1986 Coors Classic and World Championship as well as Tour DuPonts and Trumps also having class fields, but…it is nonetheless STELLAR), but ALREADY reigning World Champions have won stages in previous editions. Can you name those who triumphed in rainbow jersies?

Q3. Who was the first Non-American (yes we have been VERY competitive at our home event) to don the race leaders jersey?



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28 January 2009

Cervelo Test Team Jerseys and Bibs In Stock in March


Our Cervelo Test Team clothing by Castelli is going to be in stock sometime in March. We will have jerseys, bib shorts, socks, cycling caps, podium caps. Click here to preview the new jerseys.

http://www.bicyclinghub.com/cetete.html



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19 January 2009

BicyclingHub.com Mission Statement

It is the mission of BicyclingHub.com to provide our clients with exceptional customer service through friendly, knowledgeable, fun and reliable attention. It is our goal to create long standing, mutually beneficial relationships with all our clients. We will continue to offer value and guidance that will help our clients enjoy their time cycling.

BicyclingHub.com exists to provide meaningful support for our employees so they may foster healthy and productive households. We will strive to provide a positive work environment that encourages employees to be self motivated, creative and personally invested in the business. We will remain steadfast in our efforts to be socially responsible and supportive to our employees and encourage them to be supportive of the local cycling community.



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13 January 2009

2009 Garmin Jersey Preview



Here's our first look at Garmin-Slipstreams new jersey design for 2009. Again, it features the argyle the team has made famous. We will have a preseason order going in for these in sometime this week. Go here to order the brand new jersey http://www.bicyclinghub.com/garminchipotle.html



Pearl Izumi is also producing an Irish National Champion version of the jersey. Both items will be available sometime around mid-March

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