31 January 2011

Get Ready for the Worst Day of the Year Ride at BicyclingHub's Winter Clearance Sale

WHAT "off-season?" GEAR UP and ride straight thru Winter so you can Spring into action!

You know the old Norwegian saying, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing?" BicyclingHub.com couldn't agree more. That's why we're throwing open our doors prior to our March grand opening for a special two-day WINTER CLEARANCE SALE on Friday, February 11th & Saturday, February 12th. Bundle up and save a bundle on winter riding gear engineered to keep you warm, dry and comfortable on the bike. Top-performance brands including Showers Pass, Castelli, Louis Garneau, Descente, Shebeest, Bellwether, Canari and Twin Six will be available and priced to move.

With visions of springtime races and long summer rides dancing in your head, we'll help you find the appropriate gear to help you stay motivated straight thru Spring, enabling you to set—and reach—new goals throughout the year. Be it long-sleeve jerseys, tights, booties and extra-warm gloves, we've got you covered. With the appropriate gear and a good attitude, we can help make even the Worst Day of the Year your best ride yet.

BicyclingHub.com Winter Clearance Sale
When: Friday, 2/11, 10am-5pm; Saturday, 2/12, 10am-1pm
Where: 642 SE Stark St., Portland OR 97214 (Corner of 7th and Stark; come be amongst the first to see our new Portland retail space before our Grand Opening in March!)

Email sales@bicyclinghub.com
or call toll-free: 888-817-8060/local: 503-234-9898
Shop online 24/7 at www.bicyclinghub.com

NOTE: for more information or to register for this annual Portland tradition, visit worstdayride.com . For a great photo album documenting all the fun, browse Good Sport Promotion's online Flick'r album.

25 January 2011

Do you care about bicycling? Let your elected representatives know!

Back in August 2010, we asked our readers who were interested in building a better future for biking to check out Peopleforbikes.org and sign a simple pledge stating: "I RIDE." Since then, 180,000 Americans have signed the pledge in support of safer and better bicycling and become linked to a powerful movement afoot in the U.S.

Now, as the national campaign enters Phase 2, your help is needed. Peopleforbikes.org requests five minutes of your time to send a short email to your U.S. Representative affirming your interest in safe and convenient bicycling, and asks your member of Congress to support ongoing funding for bike projects and crucial programs such as Safe Routes to School.

Below is a personal message from Tim Blumenthal, Director of Peopleforbikes.org:

"We are sorry to report that some members of Congress, particularly in the House of Representatives, want to dramatically (and disproportionally) cut the cost-effective federal investment in bicycling projects and programs, like bike paths, bike lanes, trails, and more. They simply don’t know (or overlook) these facts:

• Bicycling and walking are essential to our communities.

• Federal transportation investments that support these activities boost our economy, help individuals and government agencies save money, and directly address key societal challenges such as obesity and road congestion.

• Biking and walking currently total
12% of the trips that Americans make but cost just 1.5% of our transportation spending. That’s the type of cost effectiveness we need now!

We’ve gathered lots of statistics and case studies that back these key points. You can read them

In the next two months, Congress will make important decisions that will not only affect the future of bicycling, but possibly your own hometown bike riding experiences. That’s why we need you to send a short note now to your U.S. Representative. You can find your representative and send your note directly from our website. Click here to review clear, basic, suggested text for your email. Feel free to customize it and/or add a short personal story.

Meanwhile, whatever the weather, we hope that you continue to bike, enjoy every ride, and reap all the benefits."

17 January 2011

The Scorpion is Back: Order Your Spring 2011 Castelli Gear Now and Save an EXTRA 10% off ALL Castelli

January is typically the month of New Year's resolutions to RIDE MORE, craft food plans, head to the gym for indoor spin classes and weight training, and of course building those essential base miles. In order to help you stay motivated when you're locked to the trainer or braving the elements with visions of springtime races and long summer rides dancing in your head, BicyclingHub.com is throwing a special pre-season sale on our entire Castelli catalog.

Now thru February 1st, save an EXTRA 10% on ALL Castelli apparel and accessories with coupon code CASTELLI10 at checkout. Whether it's a pair of winter gloves or booties, Merino wool baselayer, or Spring 2011 pre-season orders for the coolest new Castelli jerseys, shorts and bibshorts in the Spring/Summer 2011 line-up, we've got you covered. Featuring Prosecco Strada fabric for extra breathability and comfort and some of the sharpest new designs on the market, Castelli will keep you looking hot and feeling cool all season long.

13 January 2011

Fat tires and dirt?

Our latest guest column comes to us courtesy of Kevin Van Dyke, an ultra-distance athlete based in Portland, Oregon who has competed in major endurance cycling events such as the Race Across Oregon, Furnace Creek 508, as well as non-competitive long-distance events including the 200 mile Seattle to Portland ride more times than one can count. To kick off the start of the New Year, he decided to mix it up a little and plant knobby tires on trail. Below is a recounting of his first mountain-bike experience....we're hoping it's not his last. :)

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011
I had an invitation to ride mountain bike today. What, you mean people ride bikes on dirt? I had slicks on my mountain bike and the knobbies are stored a distance from me so I knew that today's adventure couldn't be too gnarly. We rode from near Kennedy School in east Portland over the Broadway Bridge then out to Forest Park. An easy climb up Leif Erickson ensued, then we descended Fire Break 5, a route that was described to this road rider as "single track."

There was ice and snow on the roads and paths in the park today. My slick tires were sliding around a lot. I was picking my way down a narrow section of trail on a steep side hill when the front end jumped to the left and was heading toward a large tree at the edge of the trail. I was off balance due to the previous tree that I had maneuvered by so this time the only option was to turn down the hill off trail. I figured I'd just brake to a stop in the shrubbery and regroup. Instead I went for a 2x roll down the hill with bike and I alternating who as on top! By the time it all came to a stop I had a chain wrapped around the spindle that looked like it might be toast, a tweaked front derailleur, and a bent hanger on the back. Not enough tools to fix it along.

Daylight was running out so the attempt was made to just get out. My riding partner made tracks to get back home and return with her car to sag me in. Along the way she phoned to tell me that the Fat Tire Farm bike shop was closed for remodel but that they had informed her that there was a bike shop on 21st that was open.

I had no ability to pedal so I used my bike as a kid's scooter. The mountain bike doesn't coast like a road bike! :-( I did eventually arrive at the bike shop, 11 minutes before they closed at 5PM. I was glad that ALL my bikes have at least a front blinkie as well as a red super flash on the back.

A new chain and some adjustments got me back in pedaling mode. I rode about 10 blocks to where my ride was waiting. We loaded my bike and proceeded back to Kennedy School.

Had a bite to eat, an adult beverage to drink, and spent some time talking about the day's adventure..............Kevin's first mountain bike ride.

Counting the non pedaling miles (which were harder work than than pedaling!) my speedometer shows 21 miles.

10 January 2011

Showers Pass Passes Rigorous Product Review Testing from Cyclocross Magazine

Cyclocross Magazine just published a detailed review of some of our favorite new Showers Pass products and we wanted to share.

Photo, left: The Elite Pro is a lightweight winner © Robbie Carver (courtesy of Cyclocross Magazine)

"It will come as no surprise to the dedicated cyclocrosser – one of a breed that chooses to compete in the most inclement time of the year – that smart clothing choices are the key to a happy ride or race. 'There is no bad weather, only poor clothing choices,' or some variation thereof, is an oft-uttered adage that roughly translates to:HTFU. Showers Pass offers a line-up of technical foul weather riding gear that will quickly pick away at your excuses; be forewarned."

Read the full review HERE.

07 January 2011

Resolve to RIDE MORE This Year

How to Keep New Year's Resolutions and Have Your Best Season Yet

Whether your New Year's resolutions include better training, better race results, or simply getting into better shape, we all share one common goal: to ride our bikes MORE OFTEN.

Top bike-related resolutions from our readers include:
1. Ride more/drive less
2. Challenge myself to ride further than I ever have
3. Sign up for more organized rides
4. Gets someone else on a bike
5. Eat healthier
6. Take better care of my bike/learn bike maintenance
7. To ride 200 miles in less than 12 hours
8. 12 centuries this year and more time on my mountain bike.
9. Ride Seattle to Portland. Lose the final 30-40 pounds to reach my goal weight, Take a couple small bicycle tours, lead some short bicycle rides around Portland and put in 3000 - 4000 miles on my bike
10. Stop being fat.
11. Spend more hours between two wheels than not this year!
12. To bike 2011 km this year.
13. Track all my miles both daily commute and fun stuff! Reach the Beach and save $ to go to San Diego for 55th HI Christmas Ride!! and no more falling out of Rafts or any falls for that matter!!!)

14. Work on my prototype for ELBIGG; External Load Based Infinite Gradient Gear.
15. To quit using my exercise bike as a glorified towel rack and actually start using it again...
16. Ride more - drive same.
17. Do 6,000 miles again this year. Finish the Death Ride. Raise LOTS of money for the MS Waves to Wine Ride. Lose another 5 - 10 pounds. The list is long.
18. All of the above

How to Stay Motivated

Keeping your resolutions will give you the confidence and motivation you need to set—and reach—new goals throughout the year. Here are some suggestions to help you stay motivated during the winter months when you're locked to the trainer or braving the elements with visions of springtime races and long summer rides dancing in your head.

1. Limit the number of resolutions you make.
Sure, there are a million rides you would like to do and races you'd like to compete in, and you are excited about every single one of them. But making a huge list of goals will ensure you won’t have the time - or energy - to reach them. Prioritize your list, and then pick one or two resolutions to follow through on.

2. Be realistic.

If your goal is to become a stronger hill climber, don’t tell yourself you have to do it by January 30. Making resolutions that are impossible to keep will just set you up for failure, and will discourage you from reaching your goals. Remember: discipline and consistency often yield the best long-term results.

3. Break your resolution down into smaller goals.

For example, if your goal is to stand on a podium by the end of the summer, break it down into steps like “increase base miles and training time,” “hire a coach or attend a training camp,” and “select key, smaller races to provide more racing experience.” Breaking your resolution down into smaller actions will ensure you take the right steps to meet your bigger goal. You'll also feel encouraged when you reach these smaller goals.

4. Write down why you want to achieve your resolution.

Visualization is a key training tactic, utilized by pro-level cyclists such as Lance Armstrong and Alison Dunlap down to amateurs hoping to complete their first long-distance charity ride. The more compelling and detailed your reason is, the more likely you are to stick to it. How will keeping your resolution positively impact your life? How will not keeping your resolution negatively impact your life?

5. Write a resolution outline.

Develop a plan of action and start a bike journal. Ask yourself: what things will you need to do, step-by-step, to achieve your goal? Write down the actions you will need to take on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis: i.e., if "I'm going to complete a 300K Brevet in under 12 hours by the end of March, I need to have 8 solid hours of saddle time the first week of January, 9 hours the second week, 10 by the third, etc." Track your progress and note your successes along the way; if you fall "off the wagon" one week, you can more readily catch yourself early and get back on track.

6. Make a list of things you need in order to effectively reach your goals.
For example, if your goal is to complete a self-supported bike tour in Western Europe, you might need specific gear (touring bike, panniers, lightweight camping gear) in order to do that. If your goal is to lose weight, you might need to re-stock your pantry with healthier foods and consider passing up that third slice of pizza after the Tuesday night group ride. Set yourself up for success.

7. If you have more than one resolution, tackle one at a time.

Pick the most important goal, and accomplish that before you move on to the next one. If you're new to long-distance riding, complete a 50 mile ride first before taking on a double-century. If you plan to race this year, pick out a few races you'd like to place well in, and plan your training schedule (and recovery periods) accordingly. Having too many balls in the air can be overwhelming, and you can end up dropping them all.

8. Be accountable by telling others about your resolutions.

"I'm going to bike commute to work three times a week this year!" It's one thing to have to keep promises to yourself, but it's quite another to have to keep promises to others. Telling others about your resolutions will increase the likelihood of you keeping them...and your co-workers will keep you honest the days you show up with car keys in hand. :)

9. Get support from family, friends, and others who care about you.

Ask them to motivate and check in on you, and let them know what they can do to help you succeed. Find others who have similar goals, and develop a support group to keep each other motivated. Recreational bicycling clubs, amateur racing teams and events such as the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure--which offers local training rides and motivational email tips to registered riders nearly year-round--are great sources of both information and inspiration. Ask a friend, colleague or co-worker to join you for a ride or participate in an event; form a work team and rally the troops to raise funds and participate in annual rides sponsored by the MS Society, LiveSTRONG Foundation, or charity of your choice. Remember: "group support is always stronger than individual willpower!"

10. Celebrate your successes!
Give yourself a pat on the back at the end of every week you stick to your resolutions, or every time you accomplish a little goal on the way to your larger goal. Rewarding yourself regularly will contribute to the motivation you need to stay on track.

You don’t have to be one of those people with dozens of failed New Year’s resolutions. With the right tactics and strategy, you can meet your goals now and in the future. Good luck and happy riding!

05 January 2011

All I want for Christmas is to RIDE MY BIKE! 54th Annual San Diego X-Mas Bike Ride Provides Multiple Gifts for All

Instead of flying back home to the snowy East Coast, or remaining in the damp cold wet that defines winter in the Pacific Northwest, I chose to travel south to sunny Southern California and participate in HI-USA's 54th Annual San Diego Christmas Bike Ride from December 26th-December 31st, 2010.

This six day, 400 mile fundraising ride for Hosteling International offered an exciting bicycle tour through the mountains, deserts, and seacoast around San Diego County. With many participants opting to return year after year (some with as much as 40 years of X-Mas Ride history) and an intimate, familial atmosphere, one couldn't think of a better way to ride out (pun intended) 2010 than with fellow cyclists under cerulean blue skies and warm winter sun. And despite the record-breaking and national newsworthy rainstorms that flooded the streets of San Diego (prompting some witty locals to transport themselves around town by KAYAKS rather than bike, car or trolley) just 3 days prior to the start, we were delighted the California sun chose to grace us with its presence...At least, until Day 4 (see below for a short re-cap of that EPIC adventure).

The undulating terrain of California continually astounds and amazes you with every twist and turn. Imagine, to your right, the CA Highway 1 coastline: sweeping vistas of cerulean blue ocean pounding wave after wave upon white sand beaches, craggy outcroppings and rock formations offering shelter and landing places to the sea lions (!) and sea gulls, and million-dollar homes dot the shore line. To your left, mediterrean desert brush, tall evergreens, an occasional palm tree and yucca plants all commingle as your gaze rises ever-upwards to the mountains (and I mean MOUNTAINS!) jutting up to the skyline. The velvety green and brown furrows fold in upon themselves as if they were folds of the Earth's skin, as we quietly roll along her valleys and hills below in admiration of her beauty. Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore....

What to expect? Temps were often very chilly in the morning (30 degrees in the mountains), but hovered around 65 degrees by mid-day; layering options and large jersey pockets (or a small pack) were keys to being prepared and staying comfortable for ever-changing weather conditions. Most days required thin long-fingered gloves and booties at the start and only knickers and knee/arm warmers paired with a short-jersey rather than tights and a heavy jacket. Once you got cranking up the climbs, the arm warmers came off as well (although lightweight shell and/or wind vests were nice to have on the descents to block the chill and protect your core).

DAY 1: December 26: San Diego to Pine Valley (a small mountain village near Lake Morena). 60 miles.

Huevos rancheros for breakfast, CACTUS burritos (a San Diego specialty) for lunch, and approximately 54 miles and 5,000 ft of elevation gain were all served up on Day 1. Sun was with us most of the day but dipped down to about 35 degrees by sunset. It DOES, indeed, get cold in SoCal in winter! Thankfully we have all that climbing to keep us warm :)

DAY 2: December 27: Pine Valley to Warner Springs, 55 miles. A great day of riding. Stop for apple pie in Julian!

Day 2 started out with an ice-covered sleeping bag, frozen toes, 30 degree temps and an 11 MILE climb out the gate to 6,000 ft elevation. Off-season legs and sea-level lungs had me gasping behind riders from Northern California and Colorado who regard 6,000 ft. as "base camp" and climb to 9,000 or 10,000 ft. elevation. Silently, I give props to all the pro cyclists currently training for the Quiznos Pro Challenge next summer and continued ever-upwards. Hot apple cider at the Laguna General Store never tasted so good; nor did the flying descent inland, basking in high desert warmth, or eating 2 slices of famous Julian pie. A taste of all three made the journey deliciously worthwhile :)

December 28: Warner Springs to Palm Desert, 100 miles. Great desert views & riding. Grab a date milkshake!

The century day to end all centuries. Where else can you enjoy a sweeping 12 mile, 4,000 feet descent named Montezuma Grade that constantly tugs at your heartstrings, pulling you between the desire to stay aero and pick up more speed around the next switchback, and sitting up to enjoy the magnificent views? Mountains, desert, trees and sea all rush before your very eyes as the wind whistles between your helmet and adrenaline courses through your veins. Beyond "WOO-HOO worthy," as my friends in Albany, NY might say.

Once the descent run-out shoots cyclists along CA S-22 and CA Highway 86, the desert basin and the blue horizon of the Salton Sea beckons riders on the right; those lured by the hopes of a quick dip will quickly discover that unless they intend to be pickled, they'd best search for a less briny bay. By the time we hit the Anna Borrego Desert State Park, the morning's cold-weather gear was stripped off to reveal pale arms, pale legs and beaming faces. (Is this REALLY December 29th?! And we're riding in SHORTS?!) Fresh orange and lemon groves, date farms, and palm trees ushered us into Palm Desert, where the ride organizers were thoughtful enough to arrange shorts and a jacuzzi soak at the end of the day. Life on 2 wheels is good.

Day 4: December 29: Palm Desert to Hemet, 64 miles. "Head winds build character. "

Mama said there'd be days like this. After 3 days of riding and blissful sunshine and dry skies, we rolled out to battle pouring rain, 30 MPH wind gusts strong enough to knock you right off the bike. Several riders had crashed along the highway; due to dangerous conditions and chance of overlapping wheels, drafting was not an option. The giant windmill farms to our right were cranking along to gather both the wind and the rider's flagging energy; as I pedaled along at 4MPH, battling to stay upright, I became increasingly convinced their low hum was the will to live being sucked right out of me. Two crashes, gravel paths and cyclocross-worthy terrain, flooded roads (the rumors were true! if only I had packed snorkel gear!), flat tires and one endo over a curb--hidden by cascading water flows--later, we arrived in Hemet soaked to the bone, bruised, shivering and thankful to be alive. Three hours later, after laundry was done and sushi was eaten, we declared it to be an EPIC day.

Day 5: December 30: Hemet to Fallbrook, 50 miles. A fantastic ride along oak tree shaded country roads.

Taking pity on her children, Mother Nature decided to return the sun and strike the sky blue once more in preparation for the day's journey to Fallbrook. Reports of more flooded roads forced ride organizers to post an alternate route that diverted us from De Luz Canyon; not to be deterred, some riders persevered regardless and had the time of their lives.

Photo above: High-five on Day 5! Little did we know then Chris already had the engagement ring in his jersey pocket for his proposal to Christina later that day...

Photo above: The newly engaged couple. Chris proposed to Christina in De Luz Canyon in the middle of the bike ride: first time in 54 years THAT's happened on the San Diego Christmas Bike ride! Somehow I doubt that's the last time this power couple is going to make history together.

Day 6: December 31: Fallbrook to San Diego, 55 miles. Soak up the sea air as you ride along the stunning San Diego Coastline.

Riding alongside the San Diego beachfront on New Year's Eve, smelling the salt of the ocean and feeling the warm of the sun on our back as we pedaled along, was a sublime experience for participants. Once again, CA Highway 1 Coastline shows us the very best California has to offer.

During the Christmas Day dinner put on by the Point Lomas San Diego Hostel, I browsed trough their lending library and was immediately drawn to volume of short stories by Miranda July entitled, No One Belongs Here More Than You. 7 days later, back where I started from and yet simultaneously freer, happier, and forever changed, I can state with utmost certainly that book could not have been more aptly named for this two-wheeled journey.

While the sweeping mountain vistas, challenging climbs--and even more rewarding descents--and stark beauty of the desert make the Christmas Bike Ride all worthwhile in and of themselves, it is the riders present and the sense community they build during those 7 days that make this journey truly memorable. I am honored to have gotten the chance to meet, know, laugh, and pedal with each and every one of the 80+ participants.

Am now back in Portland...and still dreaming of warm sandy beaches, the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean, and a faint citrus smell of orange and lemon groves wafting in the California breeze. Hope to see many of you on the 55TH ANNUAL Ride in Christmas 2011!

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