27 June 2011

Unsure about sizing or brands? Call the cycling clothing experts!

BicyclingHub.com Staff Sizing Guidelines

Need help finding your correct size? All our staff ride in and vigorously test the products we sell. Call our cycling clothing experts toll-free at 1-888-817-8060 or email customerservice@bicyclinghub.com for guidance. OR chat with one of our cycling clothing experts live and in person from the comfort of your keyboard via our new LIVE CHAT feature on BicyclingHub.com. It's easy: just look for the LIVE HELP option on the left-hand column of any page, click "Start Chat" and type your question at hand in the new window.Our customer service representatives would be glad to help you get into the right-sized garment the first time around.

DougDoug wears:
Weighing in at 215 lbs and measuring 6' 2", my husky build had my father rooting towards football rather than bike racing in my teenage years. Over two decades later, my passion for cycling has never wavered. I tend to wear my cycling apparel a bit snug to retain that Euro-racer feel: in Italian designers such as Giordana and Castelli, my brand of preference, I typically wear a size 2XL jersey and size XL bib shorts. In Pearl Izumi, Descente and Primal Wear, which offer a more relaxed cut, a size XL jersey and size Large bib short fits me well. When it comes to Retro Image Apparel and Micro Beer Jerseys, If I'm looking for a snug fit I'll opt for a size XL jersey; if it's a slightly more relaxed fit I'm desiring, I'll choose the Size 2XL. And in Showers Pass jackets, Size XL fits best all-around.

It's widely known around the office I'm a bit "obsessed" with bib shorts; I haven't worn a pair of regular cycling shorts since 1998! I prefer wearing my bibs a little tighter than most recommend, as I find most bibs stretch slightly over time and I can't stand feeling the chamois pad moving around while on the saddle. In addition, I like the shorter leg length, and it helps even out those well-earned tan lines =) When it comes to my favorite chamois pad, I really like both the Castelli KISS 3 and Progetto X2 chamois; often times, it doesn't feel like I'm wearing anything at all.

KevinKevin wears:
At 6' 4", I typically wear size Large in American-cut brands such as Pearl Izumi in both jerseys and bib shorts; a size XL in brands like Giordana, Retro Image Apparel, and Primal Wear; and size 2XL in European-sized brands such as Castelli, in both their regular and Rosso Corsa lines. For tall and lanky fellows like me, I've found Castelli's race fit jerseys (i.e., Team Garmin-Cervelo or Castelli Punto) with inset sleeves in a size 2XL, or Castelli's raglan-cut jerseys (i.e., Arrivo or Prologo HD) in size XL, to fit best. Due to my height and tapered frame, Castelli bib shorts in size 2XL fit best.

CrystalCrystal wears:
At 5’ 5", roughly 130 lbs--depending on the season--and a track build (bootylicious!) this runner, cyclocrosser and triathlete puts her gear through a lot of wear and tear. I always run with a size Small in Pearl Izumi jerseys, bibs and skinsuits. In Giordana, a size Medium generally fits me very well in both bibs and jerseys. Descente and Shebeest shorts call for a size Medium; when it comes to Castelli jerseys, size Large is a bit loose but a size Medium is a bit snug: depends on your preference. I absolute love the Pearl Izumi Elite line! It really is an amazing bang for your buck, quality fabric and chamois. The fit is always perfect for me and I never feel uncomfortable even when I am putting in lots of quality time in the saddle.

JennJenn wears:
At 5' 7" and medium build with curves the compliment the female figure, I need to pay close attention to manufacturers' guidelines when determining correct sizing in cycling apparel. In American-sized cycling brands, such as Pearl Izumi, Louis Garneau, and Sheila Moon, I wear a size Medium in both shorts and jerseys. In European-sized apparel, such as Castelli, I upgrade in both jerseys and shorts to a women's Large--or, in certain products, such as the Castelli Pave Bibtights, a men's Medium.

BettyBetty wears:
At 5' 6" with definitely some added winter storage, I consider my size a work in progress. I like to wear cycling apparel on the snug side. In our home we call them "shamers." They help motivate oneself to pedal more miles and reap the rewards of looking great from attaining goals. I don't like to return items and refer to the sizing charts to get the correct size the first time. I use clothing as inspiration, kind of a "look-at-me-now" technique. Therefore, I really favor European-sized Castelli brand women's specific items, and size up to a Large in their range of fabulous form-fitting designs. I find that Large fits me perfectly in all their items. I really like the way they contour my body and help shape up my profile by slimming down some undesirable curves. Alternatively, in American-sized brands such as Pearl Izumi and Showers Pass, I will size back down to a Medium for the best fit.

AdrianAdrian wears:
At 5' 11" and weighing around 150 lbs., I fit best in the Euro race-fit clothing. Castelli is the gear I wear most often; typically sizing is Large for both bibs and jerseys. I find Castelli to be the most race efficient clothing. It ventilates very well, feels light on the body, and looks awesome! I would definitely recommend the Progetto X2 pads for down low comfort. If it's not Castelli, I prefer Pearl Izumi. They definitely come in handy when I want long-lasting comfortable gear. Pearl Izumi's thermals are very warm and effective. I usually wear a size small to medium in American-sized cycling garments, depending on the cut.

Still unsure about your correct size? Consult our sizing tabs on each product page, or contact our cycling clothing experts toll-free at 888-817-8060 or customerservice@bicyclinghub.com.

24 June 2011

Forecast says: PERFECT Weather for the Cascade to Crown Ride this Sunday, June 26th!

Summer has officially arrived and cyclists throughout the Pacific Northwest are eagerly shedding their rain gear and cold-weather layers in favor of short-sleeve jerseys, SPF 30+ lotion and long rides under blue skies and the sun's radiating warmth. With a forecast of 72 degrees and party sunny this coming weekend, what better opportunity for to enjoy the the upcoming Cascade to Crown Ride this Sunday, June 26th, featuring some of the most beautiful areas of the historic Columbia Gorge?

BicyclingHub.com staff
are heading out to the Gorge this weekend to sample some of the lush fecundity of Oregon and its plentiful rain, trees, wet roots, persistent moss and verdant greenery ever-present on this ride. We invite and encourage our readers to join us as we ride from the beautiful community of Cascade Locks to panoramic Crown Point in a fully supported and family-friendly ride environment.

The 15 mile Family Ride route begins along the scenic Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. The trail is closed to all motorized vehicles. On the scenic trail riders will pass by Bonneville Dam and Eagle Creek. Be prepared for an excursion to visit Herman the Giant Sturgeon at The Fish Hatchery and/or park your bikes and meander through the Dam Visitors Center. Here you will rest and soak in the sun before returning to Cascade Locks for lunch at Marine Park.

The 50 mile Challenge route will lead the 15 mile ride along the Columbia River Highway State Trail. Merge on to Hwy 84 past Bonneville Dam taking the first exit to Warrendale and on to the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway. The route will pass by cascading waterfalls such as Horsetail Falls, Oneonta Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Latourell Falls and Multnomah Falls. The Highway climbs up to Crown Point and breaks at The Portland Women's Forum.

Crown Point is clearly one of the CROWN JEWELS of Oregon's landscape. To discover and climb to the top of this beauty--enjoying views of the Columbia River, moss-covered trees, old stone walls, exposed rock, the shaded canopy of the Old Historic Highway, as well as the iconic Multnomah Falls, all by BIKE? Some of the best miles a cyclist could ever hope to spend in two wheels.

A view from the top of Crown Point. Widely regarded as one of the most scenic viewpoints in all of the Gorge and definitely east of Portland, one can overlook the Columbia River see almost all the way to Hood River on a clear day and the city of Portland to the West. "It was the most beautiful ride I've ever done," comments ride organizer Aaron McBride when he and his wife Andrea were scouting the route for the first time. "The greenery, the smells, the sound: it was so QUIET. It was all that is Oregon."

Put on by the bike gurus at Pedal Nation Events, the ride benefit The Lions Club Of the Columbia River Gorge, whose volunteers provide diabetes education, recycling of eye glasses and hearing aid collection and distribution, and promote music education in the schools. This energetic group of seniors has found a way to use their free time and resources to give back to their community.

Sticking around after the ride? Make a day of it! After the ride take a lazy trip down the river and catch the view from the perspective of another wheeled vehicle - The Sternwheeler! There are two options for the cruise. Early finishers can climb aboard the 10:00 am Brunch Cruise, or relax on the ride and catch the second Landmark Cruise at 2:00 pm. Make this a day you and your family will never forget and take advantage of the discounted Sternwheeler Fare.

Register today or arrive early at Marine Park for day-of registration (look for the new Sacajawea statue!), and enjoy the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge in the best way possible – by bicycle.

15 June 2011

All the Retro, None of the Grouch: New Retro Image Apparel Has Arrived!

Everything Vintage is New Again!

If you're happy and you know it, ride your bike! The (mostly) smiling staff of BicyclingHub.com modeling the new men's and women's Smile Jerseys from Retro Image Apparel.

I can't tell you how pleased we are to have all your iconic favorites back in stock. With a new manufacturer for 2011, these Retro Image Apparel jerseys offer an improved fit, brighter sublimated graphics and a softer, rapid-wicking fabric.

As soon as the boxes landed in our (outstretched) arms, BicyclingHub.com staff tried on some new Retro Image Apparel jerseys vs. the old ones for comparison. Immediately noticeable was the difference in the quality of the fabric itself: possessing a softly brushed interior with an almost silky feel directly against the skin, this new Euro fabric also provides slightly more stretch than previous years and lays flatter against the torso, eliminating the awkward "bunching" effect in the stomach region.

Retro Image Apparel's new fabric also promises to be far more breathable, rapidly wicking away sweat from the body and transferring it to the surface for quick evaporation. Mesh sides with pinhole air vents pair fashion with function, and s mall details such as the double-stitching and lined backing on the zippers were also improved--and much appreciated.

A note on sizing: while not exactly the same extra snug racer cut of years prior, Retro Image Apparel Women's Jerseys still offer a tapered cut for a sleek and stylish look. At 5' 7" and medium build, I fit into the Retro Image Apparel Women's Medium, but found the sleeves to be a bit constricting on my biceps (mountain-biking, vinyasa yoga and cross-country skiing all serve to give them some extra definition) and the jersey was a tad short for me on the hip line. Because of these two factors, I opted for a size large, which gave me a little extra length in the torso I prefer. I'd recommend someone of my size and height to go up one size from their traditional American cut, or the same as their European-brand cycling clothing.

The final word from the cycling clothing experts: for a snug fit, order the same size as your American-sized garments; for a slightly more relaxed cut, we recommend ordering one size UP from your traditional American size.

08 June 2011

The Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway Corners Oregonian Hedonism: Bikes, Artisanal Booze, Fresh Food

By Guest Columnist Ellee Thalmeimer, Cycling Sojourner

Photo, above: fields for the honey bees.

What makes the 132-mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway so completely ‘Oregon’ that it has little bits of ‘Oregon’ bursting from its quivering seams?

Well, for one, it’s the first state mandated Scenic Bikeway in the country. This brilliant idea smacks heartily of Oregon. Only such a bike-loving state would curate its shining-gem cycling routes and polish them with infrastructure and informational resources. Photo, left: bike paths of Champoeg State Park.

Way to put your money where your mouth is, Oregon. Investing in cycle tourism is plain savvy because people are staycationing in the new economy, cycle tourism boosts economic development of the best kind, and the state capitalizes on/facilitates the surge of interest in cycle touring and bike packing.

Moving on to the second reason the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway will slap you upside the head with Oregon-ness. The mostly flat, pastoral three-day route winds south of Portland into the heart of the Willamette Valley past a medley of things that many Oregonians prize: vineyards, hops farms, fruit orchards, and hazelnut farms.

Oregon gets way geeky (borderline neurotic) on its beer, from hops to table. Plus, the Pinot Noir production is the region’s princess. (Once I had a resident of Piedmont, Italy say to me in his deep accent, “You’re from Oregon, eh? Really good Pinot Noir.”) And, if you hit the route during the right time of year, be prepared to eat some of the fresh local fruit and produce that Oregonians value so highly. Photo, right: Fruit orchards.

Speaking of hedonism, I have some must-stop recommendations for the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway:

The Butteville Store a couple of miles from Champoeg State Park (the start of the Bikeway) is the oldest consecutively running store in Oregon – since 1863. It serves decadent Tillamook ice cream to needy cyclists and has a lovely outdoor seating area. Want to know how nice they are? Diane, the owner, mailed me my cycling glove that fell on the floor. That’s sweeter than her ice cream, darn it.

Photo, left: Diane at the Butteville Store. A couple of miles off the route, Cheryl at the Independence House in Independence, Oregon (a bit south of Salem) makes it her personal duty to overindulge weary cyclists with decadent snacks, breakfast, and night caps.

What I didn’t get to try- but totally wanted to - was the new Rogue Brewery tasting room, the Rogue Farms Micro Hopyard, and its attached lodging, the Rogue Hop n’Bed, outside of Independence. The facilities are actually on the working Coleman Hops Farm. Being seven miles away from Independence, I could see this being a sweet side trip. The Hop n’ Bed is not particularly fit for cyclists as there is nowhere near to buy food nearby! But, they might let you use the kitchen if you bring your own stuff. Let me know what you find out.

Ankeny Vineyard is in between Salem and Albany on the route. With its tasting room a mere 10-15 yards away from the route, how can you not stop? Its reserve Pinot Noir is delish, and the tasting room is located on the actual vineyard that produces their grapes. The grounds are fully loaded with ridiculously picturesque crannies to sip your newly popped bottle. Photo, right: The route becomes a little hillier and forested outside of Eugene.

If you are interested in more tidbits and posts about cycle touring in Oregon, you can check out my blog which is on the website hub for my cycling touring Guidebook to Oregon due out next summer. I’ll be traipsing all over Oregon on my bike during research and will be sure to have an opinion about it.

Photo, above: more fields for the honey bees.

About the author: Amongst her other talents, Ellee Thalheimer is bike tour guide, wilderness guide, travel writer, Lonely Planet guidebook contributor (and authored the most recent Cycling Italy guide for LP), yoga instructor, LMT, co-founder of a non-profit business alliance called the Portland Society. Follow her Blog as she tours Oregon by bike and compiles her new guide, currently titled Cycling Sojourner: a Guide to the Best Multi-day Touring in Oregon.

06 June 2011


By Guest Columnist Maryanne Caruso, a passionate cyclist and PR pro in search of the perfect balance between riding, working and great skin.

Actor turned bike racer Mark-Paul Gosselaar once said, “I think racing and riding are two different elements of cycling. You either want to or not depending on what you want to get out of it.”

I can relate.

Call it a mid-life crisis; call it Fabian fever, Armstrong adrenaline, Leipheimer lunacy or whatever you want. My love of cycling and possibly a stroke of insanity got the best of me when I decided to participate in New Jersey Bicycle Association’s (NJBA) Cat 4 Women’s Cup Series, which includes Criteriums, Road Races and Time Trials. With Category 4 being the entry field for women, this series is designed to give riders like me the opportunity to identify the types of races you like and may dislike about road racing.

A few races into the 2011 amateur road season and the experiences are proving to be much more of a dose of harsh reality than a rise to glory. Granted, I never expected podium finishes but to Gosselaar’s point you have to dig deep to understand what you want to achieve through racing. The first thing you’ll find out is that while the strength, endurance and speed you’ve built on group rides will serve as a foundation, you’re about to enter a different sphere in the universe of cycling.

So far I crashed out of my first Criterium and tanked the following week in a Time Trial primarily because it never occurred to me that the Eddy Class (no aero equipment) permits an open field. Next was the Tour of Colts Neck, a circuit race with a field of 25 Cat 4 women. No crashes this time and I didn’t come in last but my finish was far from any level of greatness. Nothing like sprinting for 21st place. Awesome! (eye roll)

At this point there was a fine line between continuing the series and burning my race license. Never one to walk away, I have resolved to a mental state of patience, persistence and determination to continue and push me physically through hard training rides and racing. NOTE: mental state. That’s what’s important now.

Being a new racer can be humbling but it will thicken your skin and you’ll need this barrier to help resist thought processes that can break you down. Most experienced racers can attest that your first few seasons are for gaining experience and nurturing the ability to build strategic instincts. As a new racer, you should also be prepared to take what may seem like a failure and turn it into a “what do I need to do differently next time?” lesson. This is also how you build the mental toughness necessary to keep going back for more, which is the only way to become a stronger, faster and more strategic cyclist.

Make sure you give yourself a pat on the back by looking at the big picture and recognizing the hard work you’ve put into making improvements over an extended period of time. A year ago I wasn’t close to riding at the level I’m at right now, let alone attempt racing. I attribute my development to joining Montclair Cyclists, a performance-based team that prides itself it rider development programs. One example is our biannual Time Trial. Our spring event was last week and I shaved two minutes off from the fall. While I know I still have a long way to go and a several bad habits to break (like gear mashing), a personal best is always a good boost of confidence. Savor it.

Most importantly, remember that cycling should be the FUN part of your life no matter how lofty your goals may be. For the time being I am enjoying my attempt at racing and learning a lot about this beautiful sport. Not to mention I’ve made some amazing friends in the process.

I would be irresponsible to end this post without addressing the true risks of bike racing. You’re usually in a close pack holding an aggressive pace with cyclists you don’t normally ride with. If you race enough, there is a good chance you will experience a crash. Often times, this is out of your control. When racing, make vigilance and safety part of your strategy. Health and safety always comes first.

And remember the toughest, most hard-fought moments are the most inspiring and motivating because that’s when you see results.

For more inspirational tales of mental toughness, visit Maryanne's Blog, BlueRubyRider.

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