10 March 2010

Women, answer the call of nature while wearing bib shorts

The Pearl Izumi Women’s Drop Tail Cycling Bib Short.

A review by BicyclingHub.com staff member, Melissa, 3/10/10.

A women specific bib short designed for the ultimate in comfort and convenience.

Since I started cycling, I’ve seen my male friends start out in shorts and slowly but surely, all transition to bib shorts. I’ve heard endless raves from them, generally something along the lines of “Melissa, you have to try bibs, they’re amazingly comfortable. I’m never riding in shorts again.” I believe my guy friends rave reviews, really I do. Then why have I not switched to bib shorts? One simple thing…anatomy. When I heard that Pearl Izumi was coming out with a Drop Tail Cycling Bib designed specifically for women to help with this problem, let’s just say my interest was more than piqued.

I ride. I ride a lot. And I bet most women out there know what I mean when I say that anatomy is the impeding factor that keeps me from riding in what I hear is far greater comfort with bib shorts. On any given long bike ride, I’m willing to bet $20 that I have to go to the bathroom twice as often as my male counterparts. (And it’s not that I drink more water than they do, though sometimes I do.)

Sure, I love the idea of not having the waistband of my shorts digging into my waist at the end of my 100-mile rides and charity events. What I don’t love is the idea of having to take off my jersey every time I have to go to the bathroom if I wear bib shorts. Over the course of a ride, the extra hassle also amounts to a lot of extra time too. My male riding partners already complain about how many bathroom breaks I take. Let me just say this….You men have it so easy when it comes to going to the bathroom with bib shorts. Damn you Mother Nature, damn you. However, I think Pearl Izumi has come up with a solution that just may level the playing field, so to speak.

I was super excited to give the Pearl Izumi Women’s Drop Tail Cycling Bib Shorts a good test ride or two. What started out as simple “test riding” has blossomed. Like the best kind of romance, it was a love that deepened as I spent more time with the Drop tail bibs. I road tested these shorts over 90 miles total. For our first outing together, we went on a 20 mile ride on a flat paved bike path on a cool, windy evening that Portland Oregon is famous for in late February. I knew that bibs were suppose to be a lot more comfortable than regular shorts. What surprised me on this short ride was just how much more comfortable I really was. On the second ride, I went on a 40-mile ride, which was mostly flat with several small rollers. What surprised me was how comfortable these bib shorts were even when I was in my drops. The straps fit comfortably across the chest and have never felt too tight or in the way on any of my rides.

I gave the drop tail function of these bib shorts a couple test runs in the comfort of my own home before I went out on a real ride in them. I loved the ease of use with the drop tail. The drop tail portion of the bibs is comfortably constructed, virtually unnoticeable on the bike and seems to hold up well. It was wonderful not to have to take off my jersey in order to use the bathroom! I love the additional time these will save me over wearing normal bib shorts and the additional comfort I receive from them. I look forward to many long rides together in the future with my Women’s Drop Tail Cycling Bib Shorts by Pearl Izumi.

Melissa Cate not only rides but guides our male and female clients towards the best cycling clothing for them. Regardless of gender, call us at 888-817-8060 and we will help you to the best fitting cycling clothing available.

09 March 2010

An Italian Legend- The History of Castelli

BicyclingHub.com’s writer Lucy Burningham visited Castelli’s offices in Northeast Portland to find out more about the company’s history and the spring 2010 line. Below is part one of our story about Castelli.

Castelli’s tradition of innovation in cycling apparel started over a century ago. In the 1940s, Italian tailor Armando Castelli, who’d been making apparel for a small clothing company in Milan, started sewing clothing for cycling legend Gino Bartali. Cyclist Fausto Coppi, Bartali’s rival, asked the tailor to make him something better, a piece of clothing that would make him faster in a race. Castelli delivered with the first-ever silk cycling jersey. In the iconic black and white photograph of Bartali and Coppi—the one where they’re sharing a water bottle during the 1952 Tour de France—they’re both wearing Castelli-crafted clothing.

Using silk led to a series of jersey innovations: pockets, zippers and collars. Eventually Armando Castelli’s son, Maurizio, took the company’s helm. By 1977 Castelli had released the first Lycra cycling short. The Italian company dominated the cycling apparel industry from the ’70s through the ’90s and became the leading brand for many consumers in Europe. But distribution in the United States became inconsistent and, sometimes, nonexistent. Castelli U.S. offices had already been operating in Minneapolis, when Greg Cowan decided to right the company and relocate it to Portland, Oregon, in November 2005. In recent years the company has experienced unexpected growth despite tough economic times for retailers.

On a recent visit to the Castelli warehouse and offices in Portland, USA Brand Manager Peter Kukula, who started with Castelli in 1998 as one of the first five reps in the U.S., explained why Castelli has become a standard for top-quality cycling clothing.

What drew you to Castelli in the first place?

Growing up, I saw the scorpion and knew it meant quality. The true cyclist who loves the sport knows this brand and they’re cheering for it every day. To be able to say I worked for them was pretty magical.

Why Portland?

To start with, Greg Cowan’s from here, but really it’s the center of the sports apparel universe. Because of the proximity of Adidas and Nike, Portland has representatives from every major textile manufacturer, including GoreTex. Here we do everything from pattern work to garment testing on fit models. Right now we’re building out a showroom with a runway here in the warehouse, so we can host runway parties that will be open to the public starting in February or March.

What else happens here?

Besides stocking our entire product in the warehouse, we do things like wash testing new products. We keep a history of all our lines here as well, so we can look back at where we came from and how we’ve evolved. And we hold some of our meetings on trainers. When we can’t get out and ride it’s a nice way to talk business.

What might surprise people about Castelli?

We live a little bit out there in design, so we get to do some funky pieces along the way. For example, we’re working on a motorcycle jacket right now. We’ll make a few of them and sell them to people who love the idea of a one-off Castelli piece. We own two factories in Europe, something other brands don’t have, so we have the flexibility to do wild designs and make jerseys in four colors instead of two. Our competition doesn’t have that flexibility.

Tell us about your new custom division, which creates products and kits for pro teams.

It’s fun. We do a lot of new design for teams, including the Cervelo TestTeam, which helps us come up with some pieces that will appear in our 2010 catalog.

What’s the significance of the scorpion?

When Maurizio took over the company from his father in 1974 he created the first Lycra short among other innovations and created the famous scorpion to logo. The company went on to create the very first synthetic seat pad, the first sublimations and the first fleece fabrics used in jerseys and kits. Many of the innovations you see in cycling apparel today came from this family. Armando set the bar high by making innovative clothing unmatched by anyone else.

How does Armando influence what you do today?

It would be a travesty if we didn’t pay homage to the guys who made this brand what is was, in all our products. Right from the start we knew if we didn’t innovate, we wouldn’t be true to the Castelli brand and how the company got its start.

Thanks, Peter. We look forward to learning more about innovations for 2010 next.

03 March 2010

Shebeest 2010

Wow, when we opened the boxes of 2010 Shebeest we were all surprised at how great our order looked. Typically, we preseason all of our cycling clothing several months prior to the season. Last year we ordered Shebeest in August. Needless to say, by the time things arrive we have almost complete forgot what we ordered and why we ordered it!

The most striking piece for me is the one on the right the Strada Crest jersey. It features a simple Fleur De Lys on the front. The fabric is some of the best fabric we have ever felt. It has a really soft, cotton like feel and stretches to create a form fit. Shebeest Seamless technology also keeps you cool on your ride. Other great features include a long 13" hidden zipper, raglan sleeves, an elastic free waist, one zippered pocket in the back and along with reflective logos for safety. Along with the blue pictured here, it also comes in pink and black.

Along with the Strada Crest, we also received the Belissima Print jerseys and sleeveless jerseys. The popular Bellissima Sleeveless is back for 2010 with a Tribal Vibe print facelift. With the kind of bold, pretty, flamboyant design that Shebeest is known and loved for. The Bellissima comes in two different color combos and both sleeveless and a jersey version. Other great features include a comfortable-elastic free waistline, a comfort fit binding collar with a long concealed zipper and 2 roomy back pockets for your stowable essentials. The sleeveless jersey starts at $ 59.99, while the jersey is $69.99

A little wild? Or maybe mild? The Sheba jersey features silky soft Active-S fabric with integrated moisture wicking properties, and the cool dryness it provides. Let's not forget the bold leopard print Shebeest signature design. The Sheba comes in both sleeveless and jersey versions, two colors and a lot of spunk! Other great features include comfort-fit binding drop-front collar, sleeves and waist hem, an 11" zipper and 3 rear pockets.

Let us know what you think of the Shebeest line for 2010. We are excited about these beautiful jersey. Don't forget, Shebeest also makes really great shorts and knickers. The S-Pro Shorts won Bicycling Magazine's editors choice award for 2009.

02 March 2010

What's with the funny, new look of the blog, Twitter and Facebook pages??

Bicyclinghub.com is in the process of redesigning our website. For those of you who have done this, the phrase "herding cats" will be familiar to you. It's a multifaceted process, that takes longer than anticipated (in total, almost 1 year) and often ends in frustration. Fortunately, BicyclingHub.com has hired one of the best companies in the business, Eystudios.com and we have been assured the magic switch should be pulled within the next month and a half.

As I reflect here in the bedroom where BicyclingHub.com was started (which at the moment serves as a home office,) we have processed over 54,000 orders and shipped to over 100 countries. Currently, our office is a 4,000 square foot warehouse and we are looking to expand that very soon (see this page about our new retail space in downtown Portland.) Pretty damn neat! I couldn't have asked for a better business to be a part of!

We are excited about the future and we are excited about our new website and logo. Thanks to the many friends who have been loyal to us over the years. In 2010-2011 we expect to give you more in depth information about the products we sell and deliver faster service to new countries along with serving new languages to our international customers.



New Article in Momentum Magazine about Portland, Oregon

Bicycling in portland, Oregon – if all goes as planned – is doomed to become as mundane as vacuuming your house. Or so the experts would have you believe.

As more Portlanders climb on their two-wheeled steeds for their everyday travel around North America’s most bicycle-friendly city, fewer would identify themselves as “bicyclists.” Portland is becoming that rare place where cycling is taken for granted and this evolutionary stage could portend the future face of cycling in other cities.

At Family Bicycle Transportation Day, part of Oregon Manifest 2009, folks try out a custom cargo bike made by Portland-based Joe Bike.Photograph by Jonathan Maus, www.bikeportland.org

That future is anything but boring. The politics, engineering and wild and woolly grassroots culture have become deeply interwoven into Portland’s surprisingly dynamic and participatory scene. If Portland could speak, its message to the world might well be: “If you’re going to get serious about bicycling, you may as well have fun doing it.”

If anything is bigger than Portland’s bike scene, it’s the hype about Portland’s bike scene.

There’s truth to the buzz. Under the leadership of a bike-friendly mayor, an idealistic crew of planners and engineers are rapidly reshaping the city: green bike boxes proliferate and business owners race to replace their street parking with bike racks.

Cyclists coming off the Broadway bridge start to outnumber vehicular traffic while waiting for the lights.Photograph by Jonathan Maus, www.bikeportland.org

Creative, determined citizen activists spout off statutes and the Highway Code just like pros. The bicycle economy is booming to the tune of $80 million USD each year.

Meanwhile, federal policies and funding are looking better for bikes day by day. As a bicycling revolution sweeps the nation, other cities are looking to Portland as an example to aspire to – and in the eyes of some, there’s a competitive gleam.

By now, whole swathes of the city embody this idyllic reputation. In Inner Southeast, you can sail along idyllic bike routes with few cars, few stop signs and seamless crossings. Entire cycling families wave and ring their bells as you pass by.

Dave Campbell's Trivia For March- Paris-Nice

MARCH 2010…


The first REALLY BIG Professional Stage Race of the Season

March 7-14

Q1. All of the following Americans have won stages at Paris-Nice EXCEPT one…Bobby Julich, Greg Lemond, Lance Armstrong, & Andy Hampsten. BONUS: Who was the first American to WIN Paris-Nice overall?

Q2. Most die-hard cycling fans know of Sean Kelly’s record of SEVEN CONSECUTIVE Paris-Nice victories from 1982-1988 (likely could have been more but he chose to race Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy in 1989 instead) BUT he only just overcame the record. Who held it previously?

Q3. Who was the first “NON-Continental” (in other words NON EUROPEAN) to claim victory here? HINT: It wasn’t Kelly!

First person to email the correct answers to Doug@bicyclinghub.com wins a $20 gift coupon!

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