26 August 2010

Warehouse Sale Preparations Continue

We're working fast and furious to get the warehouse and sales floor ready in preparation for our big Annual Summer Warehouse Clearance Sale tomorrow, Friday, August 27th, 10am-5pm, and Saturday, August 28th, 10am-2pm.

Doug's gone crazy with the pricing gun.
Originally priced: $169.99
Take $100 off--now only $69.99!

Pret-a-Porter and Ready to Wear....
Upgrade your cycling wardrobe or complete your ensemble with a wide selection of 2010 performance cycling apparel priced to fly off the racks!

Stock up on cycling socks: 5 pair for only $10. That's $2 a pair!

Kevin says, "Keep a lid on it, mate!" Wool cycling caps for only $18!

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow and/or Saturday. Remember, we're located at 211 SE Madison St., Portland, OR, 97214 (right under the Hawthorne Bridge, near the intersection of 2nd and Madison). Bonus street cred for those who RIDE to the sale ;-)

25 August 2010

Warehouse Summer Clearance Sale This Friday, 8/27 & Saturday, 8/28

Don't Miss Our Warehouse Summer Clearance Sale
BicyclingHub.com cordially invites you to join us for our annual WAREHOUSE SUMMER CLEARANCE SALE Friday, Aug. 27th & Saturday, Aug. 28th. Take advantage of scorching-hot summer savings on seasonal favorites and top-performance brands including Castelli, Louis Garneau, Pearl Izumi, Descente, Shebeest, Bellwether, Canari and Showers Pass.

From official 2010 pro team kits (including Team Saxo Bank, HTC-Columbia and Radio Shack) to Bone Collector cycling jerseys, cool-weather accessories to T-shirts and socks, there's a wide range of bargains to choose from.

When: Friday, 8/27, 10am-5pm; Saturday, 8/28, 10am-2pm

Where: 211 SE Madison St., Portland OR 97214 (Corner of Madison St. and 2nd Ave. - just under the Hawthorne Bridge, on the Eastside)

toll-free: 888-817-8060/local: 503-234-9898

Be 1 in 28 Million

In addition, we are proud to be offering the "28 Million" Radio Shack-LIVESTRONG Limited Edition Jersey by Nike. Representing the 28 million worldwide currently battling cancer, this is same jersey worn by Team Radio Shack members on the podium at the 2010 Tour de France. Sold exclusively at our Portland, Oregon retail location. Hurry--while supplies last!
Sale Price: $99.99

Levi Leipheimer rides to victory in his "28 Million" Team Radio Shack-LIVESTRONG jersey at the Leadville 100 Mountain-Bike Race (Leadville, Colorado).

23 August 2010

How far would you ride to make a difference?

Photo Source: © Paul Bussi, 2010

Join Park-2-Park Montana and Help Abused Children Find Safety and Thrive

By Jennifer Clunie, BicyclingHub.com

Since 2005, cyclists from diverse regions of Montana, Washington, Oregon, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Florida, New York, and Washington, D.C. have come together each September to journey from Glacier to Yellowstone National Parks to marvel at some of the most beautiful and undeveloped areas of Montana, all while raising funds and awareness for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Montana.

"I’d like to say that I think about [the pain children entering CASA programs experience from abusive or negligent parents] as I force my bicycle up the steepest side of Foys Lake Road for the umpteenth time, hoping that this time all the climbs before will make this one a snap. I don’t. It doesn’t. Park 2 Park Montana is more about me than the kids for whom I will ride.

"I’m riding for personal reasons. I need the sense of climbing to the top, at my own speed – slow but steady, but climbing. I want my bicycle to guide me to a higher dimension. I need a reminder that CASA means hope and progress, goals that are clear and attainable, and that awesome challenges are no bar to success. Slow but steady is okay. Really."~David Whitney, CASA volunteer and Park-2-Park Montana Ride participant Photo Source: © Paul Bussi, 2010

This 400 mile, 5 day tour will take cyclists from St. Mary – on the eastern side of Glacier National Park – through spectacular scenery down along US 89 through Dupuyer, Choteau, Great Falls, White Sulphur Springs and Livingston and conclude at Gardiner near Yellowstone Park. Limited to 50 riders to ensure adequate lodging accommodations and logistics in "Big Sky" country are met--"Once you get over 50, it's harder to wrangle that many people," organizer Joe Bryce remarks--this fully supported tour attracts cyclists with a wide range of abilities, from limited recreational riders to experienced cross-country trekkers who are looking for a challenge and believe in riding for a cause.

Averaging 80 miles a day (with the 3rd day boasting a triple-digit 108 miles and 6,000 feet of climbing), participants can expect to brave wind, rain, snow (yes, snow!) and gorgeous sunny days across the versatile landscape that defines Montana: mountains, high plains, grain fields, missile silos, streams, waterfalls and "scenery that would rival anyplace in the U.S."--all from from the seat of one's bicycle. Previous participants have also reported bear sightings in the distance as they rode along hillsides and bald eagle fly-bys, especially as the route passes by Freeze Out Lake Water Fowl Reserve. "Once those bike riders get on their bikes, they just don't want to give it up," enthuses Ellen Bush, Executive Director of CASA Montana and one of the primary event organizers. "They're going to smell the rain, meet a great group of people, and going to feel like a part of an epic adventure in the U.S."

Indeed, one of the most vivid memories Bryce recalled from the 2008 P2P ride was the mental and physical fortitude exhibited by all cyclists present. On Day 1, the ride begins with a "check your legs" 7 mile climb out of St. Mary's: that year, what started out in a rainy downpour turned to snow as the cyclists climbed higher into the stratosphere and the temperature began to drop. Reaching the summit, individuals pedaled through the snowstorm and descended back into rain; "the most fantastic thing," Bryce recalls, "is that nobody quit. You couldn't see through your glasses; rooster-tailing from the bicycle wheels in front of you negated any advantage from drafting; and spray from cars along the road was unbelievable. And NOBODY QUIT." When they rolled into that evening, local CASA volunteers prepared a hero's welcome, complete with hot coffee, warm cocoa and a bevy of snacks to re-fuel the riders bodies and souls.

It is these same essential qualities of fortitude and steadfast determination that enable CASA's volunteers and clients to weather the storms of life, with the Park-2-Park Montana Ride serving as a lynchpin between participants and the cause they are rallying around. An important feature that sets this ride apart from typical charity rides is the opportunity for participants to learn about the CASA network they are supporting along the way. Each evening, a local program or person is highlighted, enabling the audience to learn how the system works; in 2009, a CASA foster child came along for the first time, serving as a daily reminder of whom they were riding for. Photo Source: © Paul Bussi, 2010

Ellen Bush observes, "Often, folks come out of this trip really committed to doing something locally." Detective Mary Ann Rangitsch, who serves on the Bozeman Police Department in the Crimes Against Children division, become involved with the Parks to Parks Ride after personally witnessing how much difference one or two individuals could make in the lives of a child who had suffered abuse or neglect in some way. "The advocates become very involved in some of my cases…and I saw the good benefits CASA could do step in and aid in the process. They're not just there for the children; a lot of times, they're there for me, too." A veteran of P2P, Detective Rangitsch is doing her 4th 400 mile "tour of duty" for her 40th birthday. One of the things she enjoys most about her yearly bicycle sojourns? "We all get to points in this ride that you're by yourself--even if it's for just a few miles--where you can reflect upon what you've learned. You reflect back upon your life and how important this is, and be thankful for the friends that surround us; how lucky we are to be doing this, to just be able to pedal and enjoy life."
"I’m into my fourth case now. There have been no miracles, but I have made a difference. I know that. I’ve seen the children transformed from the broken spirits in the photos I described above into happier people. Once they were scared to see me when I arrived for my weekly visits. Now they greet me at the door. With any luck, the transformation breaks the cycle of abuse and neglect often seen in these deeply troubled families, but I will never know for sure. And I move on."~David Whitney, CASA volunteer and Park-2-Park Montana Ride participant

CASA Montana, a network of 15 local offices throughout the state, provides advocacy for abused and neglected children so they can thrive in safe, permanent homes. Trained volunteers serve as advocates to children in about 50 percent of the abuse/neglect cases in the state; 15 local programs service 37 counties and provide more than 400 trained volunteers. In 2009 these volunteers served over 30,000 hours on behalf of more than 1,000 children, nearly half of the 2,100 in out of home care. The 2009 Parks to Parks Ride raised almost $50,000 for CASA Montana and its local programs: organizers aim to top that goal this year.

Park-2-Park Montana runs September 6th-10th, starting at St. Mary’s KOA near Glacier National Park. The five-day adventure costs $595, including all lodging, meals and support, plus $300 in fundraising. To join the ride (spots are still open), sponsor a rider or make a donation to CASA Montana, visit www.park2parkMontana.org or call 866-862-2272.

Photo Source: © Paul Bussi, 2010

NOTE: BicyclingHub.com is offering CASA 10% of the proceeds from items purchased online. Visit BicyclingHub.com today!

Photo Source: © Paul Bussi, 2010

Special thanks to Ellen and Rick Bush, Joe Bryce, Detective Mary Ann Rangitsch and Paul Bussi of Ideal Photography for their time, passion and enthusiasm demonstrated while penning this article.

16 August 2010

Nutrition for Cyclists

Nutrition for Cyclists

By John Forbes, Wenzel Coaching

BicyclingHub.com would like to thank John Forbes and our friends at Wenzel Coaching for penning this special guest column for BicyclingHub.com readers. With specialties in road racing, endurance track racing, triathlon (sprint, olympic & Ironman distances), professional bike fitting and general fitness, John shares his wealth of coaching experience to provide comprehensive knowledge of training for success and offers valuable insights and advice on proper nutrition for cyclists.

Proper feeding before, during and after exercise rewards you with better performance, health, and satisfaction. You spend hours developing your biking skills, many dollars perfecting your equipment then wonder why you do not feel stronger during your rides, and why you are so fatigued when you finish. Well, the secret for experienced riders is filling their nutritional needs before, during and after the ride. Once depleted, if you do not replace them you lose all the benefits of the effort you just made as well as affecting fitness gained through your previous efforts.

Hydration: can’t live without it

The single most important action you can take is proper hydration.
We are mainly water--over 87%. A loss of even 1% affects performance; 3% or more is life-threatening. Assume even sedentary folks should consume at least 48 ounces of water or some non-diuretic fluid per day. You, as an athlete, should consume much more. Water is the simplest solution--but fruits, vegetables and even meats you eat provide fluids as well.

While there are various schools of thought regarding the amount you should take in per day, one approach is pounds equal ounces: divide by 2 and then consume that number of ounces of water per day. As an example, assume you weigh 150 pounds. Convert that to 150 ounces; divide by 2, which equal 75. That is the number of ounces of water you need per day, rain or shine, winter or summer. A simpler method asks that you consider the color of your urine. When it is pale, a diluted apple juice color, you are ok; dark, not ok. Frequently, we do not drink enough during the cool months because we do not believe we sweat as much. In fact, we sweat just as much in these cool periods; often, because we wear heavy clothing, even more than during warmer seasons. You might believe you produce more sweat in other activities as more is visible. One of the joys of riding your bike is feeling the cool breeze your motion creates, which evaporates your perspiration.

Living day-to-day (at least eating day-to-day)

Most of us are familiar with general day-to-day nutrition. That is, we strive for a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats, or roughly 60% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 20% fats. As an athlete, you should temper this based on the amount of exercise you get. On high exercise days add more carbohydrates; on light exercise or rest days, subtract some. Of course, we should avoid as much as possible eating processed foods and foods high in sodium. While those of us who are profuse sweaters have larger sodium needs, you can address those in another way (discussed below). Ideally, we should eat five to seven helpings of vegetables and fruit per day. Drinking fruit juice does not fulfill the fruit requirement--particularly as the sugar content in such drinks is usually high. Even natural sugars add empty calories.

What about during the ride?

While everyday nutrition is fundamental for health, the thrust of this article is proper nutrition during and after a hard effort. Let’s look at some basic physiological realities. We can assimilate between 250-300 calories per hour but we burn more than 700 per hour during a typical ride or run. Those who say we should replace the calories out with calories in are misinformed. We cannot replace the calories lost during a hard effort; our systems are devoted to getting rid of heat and firing our muscles. However, we can replenish a portion of calories lost during a ride. For most people, that means we should consume between 18 to 28 ounces of a good, nutritionally balanced energy drink per hour containing complex carbohydrates, not simple sugars. Occasionally in extreme conditions, some may safely drink more. Amounts greater than these often lead to bloating, stomach distress and occasionally, vomiting or diarrhea. Acute over-hydration can lead to hyponatremic (too much sodium loss) coma, which can cause death. Fat stores easily make up the difference in needed calories. Even the fit athlete has thousands of usable calories stored as fat. During the course of a typical athletic event, you will not come anywhere close to expending a dangerous amount.

Avoid the ‘oses

Read the labels on energy drinks carefully. Avoid those foods that list glucose, sucrose, fructose and dextrose. If the label lists corn, avoid that as well. Corn is a primary source of those four –ose products. Simple sugars such as those above give you rapid energy spikes and equally fast energy crashes. In addition, they are not easily digestible; nor do they assimilate as quickly as complex carbohydrates will. Some research shows one can assimilate energy drinks at only about 100 cal/hour when working hard. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, absorb at about 300 cal/hour. Since our systems assimilate at about that rate you can get your usable caloric replacement per hour in one 18 to 28 ounce bottle. Which rate, as mentioned above, is the rate we can absorb fluids. Many manufacturers add simple sugars as they are cheap and carbohydrate rich. However, they are a waste of your money and can hamper your riding enjoyment.

What about longer rides?

If you ride more than two hours, you need protein as well as complex carbohydrates. Above two hours your system requires some protein -- only a small amount and not whey protein. Assume you can fulfill roughly 10% of your energy needs via protein during exercise. The most useful source of protein during endurance style exercise is soy or rice based, as they produce very little ammonia. During the demands of exercise the added glutamine in whey protein degrades to ammonia very quickly. Ammonia is a significant cause of muscle fatigue. Since you produce ammonia as you exercise already, do not add more! After exercise, whey based protein is exactly what you want, as we will discuss later.

An issue many riders wrestle with is, “should I use solid food or liquid?” Most find after experimentation that liquid food is more digestible and thus assimilates far faster than solid foods. Gels work more like a liquid than a solid food, so are a good source of quick energy. Of course, you should avoid fat laden foods or heavily processed foods at any time but particularly as you ride. Their refined sugars and saturated fats bloat you and cause lethargy, neither of which you want while in the midst of an otherwise enjoyable ride!

Sodium, boy, do we need it, but…

An oft-neglected nutritional need is proper electrolyte replenishment. I f you hydrate properly, get appropriate fuel replacement yet still cramp or suffer a significant bonk you may suffer from a serious shortage of electrolytes. Don’t assume salt tablets are the answer, however. They replace sodium chloride, salt, but not the other equally important components of well-balanced electrolytes. For that matter, most of us get far more salt in our daily diet than we need just from the salt content in foods. We generally need somewhere between 1500-2400 mg of sodium per day and get most get far more than that daily.

It is the other elements in electrolytes we often neglect: calcium, magnesium, and potassium are equally important and you won’t find them in salt tablets. Too much sodium chloride is as detrimental as not enough. Over-salt your system and you may bloat, suffer from water retention and endure stomach distress. Electrolyte needs vary not only from individual to individual but also day to day for each person. Heat, humidity, muscular needs and the like affect us all differently; you should experiment during your rides before you undertake a major ride. Start with the basic suggested dose of whatever product you choose, around 240 mg of sodium chloride with the other elements mentioned above is a general mid-range. On cool days you may need much less while on hot, humid days far more. Gauge your needs over the course of a few weeks prior to your big rides.

Only eat familiar foods during a big effort

This leads to another important point: never use a new fuel, supplement or fueling approach without thoroughly testing it in training. There are often serious repercussions in so doing. I speak from bitter personal experience. I tried a new fueling protocol once before a major race, cramped badly and dropped out. I later found that the particular combination in the product was not one my system assimilates well. Since then I have given any new fuel a long trial.

After the ride

Many athletes assume that they can eat whatever they want after they finish a hard effort. “I have burned x thousand calories. It is time for a cheeseburger and fries, washed down with a Coke and maybe a doughnut.”

Actually, it is time for replenishing your depleted muscles and energy stores through a proper combination of protein and carbohydrates. Now’s the time for a whey-based protein. Earlier I mentioned the problem with ammonia build-up during exercise as a reason one should not use whey protein during a long ride. After a hard workout however, the glutamine in whey protein works as an ammonia scavenger. Glutamine actually increases ammonia at first but then after 2 ½ to 3 hours, removes more than it added, thus helping rid your system of waste and the by-products of hard physical exertion. You will find if you use a good recovery food within 30 minutes after exercise followed by a nutritious meal within an hour you will sleep better that night, suffer far less from muscle soreness and generally feel fresher and ready for more. If you cannot eat a meal within an hour after you have your recovery food then have another helping of recovery food. You must replenish your system after every substantial ride or other exercise or you cannot perform at your optimum level and may even cause illness or injury.

Nope, you cannot really carbo load
If you are preparing for a long ride do not overeat in the days prior. You cannot really ‘carbo’ load. Instead, if you have trained consistently, fueled properly both during and after training and maintained proper hydration then your body has the energy it needs for your ride. Cramming food and drink down just before a major event only adds pounds. Pounds you must then drag around during your ride.

You don’t really need that big breakfast

Unfortunately, that dictum applies as well to a big meal within 3 hours of your ride’s start time if you plan anything longer than an hour to an hour and a half. If you eat a substantial meal shortly before an effort your system spends energy and glycogen digesting it. Save that energy and all-important glycogen for the ride. You will not reduce your glycogen stores substantially during short duration events. Instead, if time allows, eat a normal breakfast at least three hours before your even -- one that you have successfully trained at the same distances before.

But do sleep in

With that said, you should not sacrifice sleep so you can honor your long ride three-hour fasting window. Your system has substantial stores of fuel stored in your muscles, more than enough so you can begin your ride and begin your normal hydration/fueling routine. While you cannot add to your glycogen stores this close to an event you can enjoy a small pre-ride meal of 200 to 400 calories of a protein and carbohydrate mixture. So, sleep in, even though you may feel hungry in the morning before your big ride: you have more than adequate energy stores onboard.

For those who suffer cramps during or after a ride, there are a few possible causes. While some relate to improper or inadequate training or poor bike fit, improper nutrition is a substantial problem for many of us. The single most obvious cause is poor hydration, particularly when coupled with poor fueling. In addition, as mentioned previously, improper electrolytes balance. If you follow proper nutritional practices but still cramp, consult a professional bike fitter who can examine your bike, shoe fit and other areas for potential problems.

In summary: following a routine in which you get adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids, maintain a good balance of carbohydrates and protein, fuel properly as you ride then enjoy a good recovery drink after your ride you will enjoy your sport and grow ever stronger.

Note: all images (except Tour de Cure photo) courtesy of up-and-coming photographer Jonathan Schell.

11 August 2010

"If I Ride..."

If I ride I can wear Spandex…like Spiderman

Our good friends at Showers Pass posted this on their blog and we thought it too good not to share--especially since it was filmed here in the platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Community of Portland, Oregon.

If I ride road rage will turn into laughter
If I ride I can wear Spandex…like Spiderman
If I ride I will only use oil in my chain
and oil tankers will hold chocolate milk

We all ride for our own reasons.
But we all want the same thing.
A better future for biking.
Check out peopleforbikes.org

06 August 2010

BicyclingHub.com Buyer's Guide to Bib Shorts

Why Bib Shorts?

Whether you're relatively new to riding, or have recently decided to get more serious about your fitness and training, you're ready to bridge the gap from traditional cycling shorts to bib shorts. If you're already a convert then you'll probably know exactly what we're talking about! Many who start using bibs say that they will never look back - sounds like what we all used to say about pedals when clipless were first introduced. Bib shorts are found by most, if not all, to be the most comfortable option for a riding short - but of course this relies heavily on getting the fit right (see Ensuring Proper Fit guidelines, below). Lack of a waistband and the fact that bib straps serve to hold the shorts up in proper position significantly contribute to the comfort factor. Preferred by professional cyclists and general enthusiasts alike, with a cycling jersey worn over the top bystanders can't tell the difference between bib shorts and traditional ones.

Ensuring Proper Fit

You will notice that our sizing charts (provided on each product page) give height as the measure that you should use. Of course, some individuals will have a shorter torso and some longer, but we still find height to be the best measure. It is paramount to get the bib strap length right in order to get the optimum fit: too long and the straps will be loose, failing to hold the shorts up and in position effectively; too short could cause discomfort, pulling the short up too tightly with straps potentially cutting in on the shoulders.

NOTE: bib straps may feel just a bit tight in the standing position. In fact, this is actually probably best, as when you are in true riding position the straps should slacken a little. You might find that after a few uses, the shorts will loosen up a bit as well. We suggest when you first try on the shorts, re-create the riding position if at all possible - perhaps pretend you are on the bike and adopt the crouch position - or get on the bike on the indoor trainer - or just pop down the driveway on your bike. (Don't be tempted to keep going though, unless you are sure of the fit, as we cannot accept exchanges that have been ridden in!)
Sample Sizing Chart: Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Bib Shorts
Height(bibs)5'3"-5'5"5'6"-5'10"5'11"-6'2"6'3"-6'4"6'5"and above

Today's Chamois is not an Actual Chamois

The chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra, is a goat-antelope species native to mountains in Europe, including the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, the European Alps, the Gran Sasso region of the central Italian Apennines, the Tatra Mountains, the Balkans, parts of Turkey, and the Caucasus. Source: Wikipedia

Main Entry: cham·ois
Pronunciation: \ˈsha-mē, sense 1 also sham-ˈwä\

Back in the “Dark Ages” of cycling (when down-tube shifters and 5-speed cassettes were considered “new-fangled technology”), cycling shorts contained a leather chamois pad which had to be hand-oiled and vigorously maintained. Thanks to continual innovation, rigorous testing procedures and demands for improvement in the marketplace, today's chamois has advanced by leaps and bounds.

Today's chamois is not an actual Chamois (see animal picture above), but rather a synthetic pad. Engineered to wick moisture away from the skin, breathe, prevent growth of bacteria as well as chafing, today's synthetic chamois pads provide a high degree of comfort as well as functionality. Various fabric technologies and pad construction offer a wide range of styles and consistency levels, varying from thin (simulating the feel of the original natural leather chamois) to very thick. Remember that more padding does not necessarily and immediately relate to more comfort; different body types may respond more positively to certain brands or materials, depending on the comfort, style and preferences of each rider. BicyclingHub.com sells over 40 different styles of high-quality bib shorts from reputable manufacturers including Pearl Izumi, Castelli, Louis Garneau and Giordana to fit every budget. Need professional advice or personal recommendations? Call our cycling clothing experts at 888-817-8060 or email customerservice@bicyclinghub.com. Regardless, the universal truth holds: PROPER FIT IS KEY TO OPTIMAL COMFORT AND PERFORMANCE.

JennJenn says:

Why the Chamois Pad is Your Best Friend

“Okay, I'll go for a ride...but I'm not going to wear any of those funny-looking diaper shorts! I might as well be wearing Depends, and I'll be in those soon enough... when I turn 70. No sirrreee.”

As a novice cyclist, this is how I used to feel. 53 miles and 8 hours later, after riding my mountain bike through the streets of New York City amongst 35,000 cyclists on the 5 Boro Bike Tour, I had most decidedly re-considered my position on the matter. The next day, I purchased my first pair of Pearl Izumi Quest padded shorts and have never looked back. Whether it's a 20 mile commute or a 200 mile Brevet, I reach for the Chamois Butt'R and my trustworthy cycling shorts to keep me comfortable in the saddle, day after day.”

What About Underwear?

The technical fabric of the chamois in a cycling short is designed for direct skin contact. Wearing a cotton or fabric undergarment between your body and the chamois pad creates a warm, moist environment that propagates the growth of bacteria and prevents the moisture-wicking properties of the pad from working properly. In addition, seams from cotton underwear can dig into the skin and contribute to chafing, inflammation, ingrown hairs and saddle sores. Thus, cyclists should never wear underwear when riding.

Experiencing Chafing? Try Chamois Crème

Popular brands such as Chamois Butt 'R--or the new Chamois Butt R Eurostyle– are non-greasy lubricants which eliminate painful chafing and rubbing, as well as extending your enjoyable ride time in the saddle. These products also sooth and soften previously irritated skin. If you're experiencing chafing or significant discomfort, BicyclingHub.com recommends you provide a comfortable barrier you need by pairing cycling shorts or bib shorts with chamois crème—especially on extended and/or challenging rides.

Men's Bib Shorts Vs. Women's Bib Shorts: What's the Difference?

Just like the bicycle manufacturing industry is finally catching on to the fact that female cyclists can benefit greatly from women's specific designs in bicycles and saddle choices, so too is the cycling apparel industry recognizing the importance of engineering high-performance cycling clothing which allows for and adapts to women's unique anatomical shapes.
In a recent interview with Giordana founder and owner Giorgio Andretta, BicyclingHub.com asked, “What makes Giordana's women's attire stand out from their competitors?

Andretta responded: “Over the last several years Giordana has focused more specifically on the women's market. It's readily apparent that female riders' needs are not taken as seriously as the mens' in this industry. Too often, women's garments are an after-thought. Giordana recognized a need in the market for serious elite women's apparel on par in every way with the best men's stuff out there. We stand out from our competitors because of the equality we strive for between our men's and women's collections. Moreover, we recognize that while men's and women's apparel should be equal in quality, performance and features, those male and female riders' needs are very different. To achieve the ideal balance we developed what we call Giordana's WCF™ (Women's Contour Fit). Every women's specific garment in the line is developed using this system. The WCF system uses real female riders on the bike to develop forms and pattern that will enhance the riding experience for women.”

One of the most immediately noticeable differences between men's and women's bib shorts are the dimensions between hips and waist. Recognizing women traditionally have longer and narrower waists, most designs for women offer longer front in-seams, tighter waistbands and a more tapered fit directly above with hips to follow the contours of a woman's form (and prevent shorts from riding down). Women's bibs also factor in a modified strap design to prevent undue stress or chafing in the breast area by either widening the chest to a full tank or intentionally ending the straps in a T shape at the neck so as not to slip as they sit over the breasts. While women's cuts can display shorter leg lengths than traditionally cut men's short (covering the full quadricep), BicyclingHub.com sells cycling shorts and bib shorts in a variety of leg lengths to suit each rider's personal preferences.

Men often have an easier time jumping in and out of their bib shorts when it comes to relieving themselves mid-ride; however, with the advent of new technologies such as Pearl Izumi's Drop Tail bib shorts, women can quickly drop trow without ever having to remove their jersey or worry about entangling themselves in the process.

JennJenn says:

Pearl Izumi Women's Drop Tail Cycling Bibshorts ROCK!

A doubting Thomasina when it came to bib shorts, I long resisted fellow cyclists suggestions/directives to strap on a pair rather than traditional riding shorts. "But you can't go to the bathroom in bibs without a 10 minute production," I'd complain; and the last thing you want to do on an 80 mile ride is root around in the bushes with a dozen other riding companions waiting up the road any longer than absolutely necessary.

Pearl Izumi has come to the rescue with their Drop Tail Cycling Bibshorts. Designed specifically to hug the curves of a women's body, the plush Elite 3D Chamois padding kept me in the saddle for 4.5 hrs without any discomfort. I had absolutely no problems using the drop tail feature (even beating some of my male cycling colleagues out of the restroom) and the elastic leg grippers kept the shorts firmly in place. I am definitely a convert!

Sizing: European vs. American

As with most clothing items, there can be a considerable variance in the sizing across different brands and this is apparent in cycling apparel as well. The most common variance is that between continental European sizing and true to American sized product - for example a pair of large Pearl Izumi shorts will come up a whole size bigger than a pair of Castelli's in large. We have a wide knowledge, and experience, of how different brands fit and can advise on these variances. Of course if you have any questions regarding sizing, we here at BicyclingHub.com will be more than happy to help you find what will work best for you. Our cycling clothing experts can be reached at 1-888-817-8060 or customerservice@bicyclinghub.com.

02 August 2010

Innovation is Perpetually in Motion at Giordana

A Historical Reflection and Interview with Giordana founder and owner Giorgio Andretta

Currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, Giordana reflects back upon its rich history and promising future as they continue to design, manufacture and import cycling wear, pushing the technology envelope and innovative designs for which they are well-known.

Founded in 1980 by Giorgio Andretta, Giordana immediately began working closely with the biggest American cycling teams and events of the day, including: Levi's/Raleigh, which evolved into Levi's/Pinarello; Bud Light; Dia-Compe/Aspen Velo; the US PRO Championships; and numerous others. Giordana sponsored the American National Team for many years, including 1984 when Alexi Grewal won the Olympic Gold medal and in 1989 when Greg Lemond became World Champion.

In 1985, Andretta partnered with Federico Zacchetto to create a new manufacturing company in Bonferraro, Italy, named APG srl. Embracing new technologies available in the textile industry to become a leader in sublimation printing, testing new materials and developing new products, Giordana was also propelled to the forefront of the custom apparel side of the market, providing professional clothing to local and regional clubs. The company continued to expand its market when selected by the Walt Disney Company and Warner Brothers to be their exclusive cycle wear manufacturer. The unique designs and vibrant printing brought many accolades including an award for Disney for having the best graphics and designs of all its licensees.

Another highlight of the 1990’s was Giordana's sponsorship of the Tour de France when Miguel Indurain celebrated his –then unprecedented– fifth consecutive Tour win in a Giordana leader jersey. Throughout the decade, Giordana worked with teams and events at the highest level in cycling to provide technical cycling wear, including Team Motorola (on which Lance Armstrong once served) and other Division 1 teams including Cofidis, Lotto, ONCE, Navigare, Liberty Seguros, CSC and Telekom. In the US, teams such as IME, SAAB, Mercury, Nautilus-Barracuda and Schwinn-Toyota all enjoyed the benefits of Giordana clothing. US National Champions, along with the winners of the Tour DuPont and Le Tour de France, all donned Giordana jerseys on the winners' podiums. All told, Giordana has equipped as many as 280 professional athletes in a single season.

In 2004 APG moved into a new state-of-the-art facility just outside of Verona, Italy, bringing all phases of assembly under one roof, improving and expanding manufacturing capabilities. Most importantly, it keeps all processes together, allowing Giordana to monitor every step of the production and uphold strict quality standards. It also allowed Giordana to develop its exclusive family of inserts: The OmniForm™ collection. As an added benefit, the APG factory surpasses Europe’s strict environmental manufacturing standards, using only water-based inks while recycling excess ink, transfer paper and fabric trimmings. Instead of artificial lighting, skylights provide a natural primary light source for the facility, which significantly decreases energy consumption.

BicyclingHub.com Interview with Giorgio Andretta

JC: What innovative new product lines has Giordana rolled out for 2010?

GA: “We're really very excited about the new products and capabilities we've introduced this year. The Giordana FormaRed-Carbon line has already been successful and with the introduction of the new FormaRed-Custom collection, we open up this level of apparel to a completely new market. Ever since we developed the first Forma line, now more than five years ago, consumers and professional riders alike asked for this level of materials and features in a customizable form. At the time, we were limited by manufacturing processes that were not capable of printing on the delicate fabrics without changing their beneficial properties. In addition, the paneling didn't always lend itself to the prominent display of logos needed for team kits. To realize the FormaRed-Custom vision we not only had to find innovative ways around these challenges, but we had to build an entirely new process of development from layout design to finishing touches. It was not an easy task, but one we were glad to take on and we're proud of what we've achieved with the FR-Custom program.”

JC: How has the response to these new product lines been thus far, from both American cycling enthusiasts and professional cyclists?

GA: “Our inspiration for new products and manufacturing developments originates from our long history of support for the sport of cycling at all levels. Giordana keeps a continuous open dialog with everyone who wears the brand, from the professional racers in the pro peloton to neighbors we ride with on the weekend. As a result, our motivation tends to come directly from those who will ride in the new products we develop. In addition, we are riders ourselves, so we make garments that we want to wear. We know a product is going to be successful because we've developed it based on what we want and what others want. That said, the FR-Custom has generated more enthusiasm more quickly than we anticipated. Ironically, we were able to offer this level in our in-line collection first, and all the pros wanted it. Now that the pros are using it, consumers are catching on in a big way. I would say that we are receiving enthusiastic positive feedback from all sides.”

JC: What exactly does "sublimation printing" entail?

GA: “Sublimation printing is a multi step process where paper is printed with the images desired for a particular garment. This can be done either digitally or on an off-set press. The images from the paper are then transferred to fabric via a heat press that releases the ink from the paper as a gas. The ink gases permeate the fabric as the design becomes a permanent part of the fabric. In our Giordana FULL Custom and new Giordana NOW Custom programs this printing process is completed before the garment is sewn. For SEMI Custom items it is spot printed onto finished garments.”

JC: You state "Our products are put to the toughest tests and appraised by the most discerning athletes." Please elaborate--what are these tests of toughness, and who are the athletes that are discerning them?

GA: “Giordana has more than three decades of experience as a pro cycling sponsor. We have provided apparel to teams like Motorola, CSC, Mercury, Bissell and most recently Footon Servetto. Athletes at this level have considerable motivation to tell us when something isn't working or needs to be adjusted simply because they spend so much time in the apparel. They wear their kits during training and in every race. They're not shy about demanding the ultimate in comfort and performance. The toughest tests are the real road tests that our products endure day after day on the backs of those elite riders.”

JC: Some of our staff here at BicyclingHub.com love the Giordana staff love the jerseys and shorts designed for women. What makes your women's specific attire stand out from your competitors?

GA: “Over the last several years Giordana has focused more specifically on the women's market. It's readily apparent that female riders' needs are not taken as seriously as the mens' in this industry. Too often, women's garments are an after-thought. Giordana recognized a need in the market for serious elite women's apparel on par in every way with the best men's stuff out there. We stand out from our competitors because of the equality we strive for between our men's and women's collections. Moreover, we recognize that while men's and women's apparel should be equal in quality, performance and features, those male and female riders' needs are very different. To achieve the ideal balance we developed what we call Giordana's WCF™ (Women's Contour Fit). Every women's specific garment in the line is developed using this system. The WCF system uses real female riders on the bike to develop forms and pattern that will enhance the riding experience for women.”

JC: “All of Giordana's products are made in your factory in Italy. How does this affect your overall quality and service production, especially when compared to competitor's brands?”

GA: “A few years ago Giordana was able to expand and consolidate all manufacturing processes under one roof. This move represents a huge advantage to us, as we can now monitor each garment through every step of the process. This ensures that our high quality standards are consistently upheld. It also streamlines our process, making it more efficient so we can manage production time and costs - benefits we can pass on to the customer. Italy has long been an unparalleled world center in the apparel industry. In the age of outsourcing, we are proud to be one of the last companies that refuses to compromise our practices and instead maintains the country's long history of genuine quality craftsmanship.”

A behind the scenes look at the Giordana's new state-of-the-art factory near Verona, Italy

For 2010, team sponsorship continues to play an integral part in the brand's evolution. Giordana sponsors Footon-Servetto, CSF-Colnago, ISD-Neri as well as Bissell, Jamis-Sutter Home presented by Colavita, the Colavita-Baci women’s team and Carmichael Training Systems. The company’s longstanding involvement with elite athletes has provided invaluable feedback over the years and insures that the clothing meets the needs of American enthusiasts, yet retains the authenticity of true Italian race wear. Order your men’s or women’s specific Giordana cycling apparel today at BicyclingHub.com.

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