24 August 2011

Pro Deals for the Everyday Cyclist: ONE DAY CLEARANCE SALE!

Friday, September 2nd

10:00am - 6:30pm


642 SE Stark St.
Portland, OR 97214

Show up for the great deals on cycling apparel; stay for the FREE BEER from Hopworks Urban Brewery!

SAVE 50% or more on top-performance brands including Pearl Izumi, Descente, Bellwether, Canari, and Giordana. Find us at 642 SE Stark St. Portland, OR 97214, call 503-234-9898, or shop online 24/7 at www.bicyclinghub.com

22 August 2011

Maternity cycling clothing for expectant moms who wish to ride through pregnancy

Forget the Stork--it's Sheila Moon who delivers!

Cycling clothing manufacturer Sheila Moon stopped by BicyclingHub.com headquarters last week to show us a sneak preview of her Winter 2011/Spring 2012 collections. Her latest brain-child? A new line of women's maternity cycling clothing, answering an unmet need (and multiple requests from many moms and moms-to-be across the country) who wish to remain active and healthy during their pregnancies and continue to ride their bikes, be it for transportation, exercise or recreation.

What makes women's maternity cycling clothes different than just ordering up a couple sizes--or switching over to an XL men's jersey, for example? When this question was posed, Moon enumerated the key differences:

1. "First of all, when women are pregnant, the size one's back doesn't change. These maternity cycling jerseys still retain their fit in the rear, maintaining a nice shape."

"Secondly, most traditional cycling jerseys normally go UP [so as not to hang down when you're folded over the handlebars]. My maternity jerseys are elongated in the front to go DOWN, cupping under the belly and eliminating any gapping between belly and short."

Also new for 2012: the introduction of knicker skorts, providing women an alternative choice with a second layer of fabric (and thus second layer of warmth) once cooler weather arrives. Fans of her traditional knee-length skort (introduced last year) will be pleased to see its return, this time with a bit of extra flair. In addition to the basic black and solid white colorways, Moon now offers a solid skirt overlay with a print pattern underneath (along with matching jerseys to compliment the ensemble): "It's a little kooky, but pretty awesome at the same time," Moon laughs.

Speaking of matching jerseys, come Spring 2012 all summer jerseys from Sheila Moon will offer a new, lightweight waffle fabric that feels and breathes incredibly well. The cycling dress, introduced only last year, is back with the same functional back pockets and five new color patterns and designs. Already on the fast-track to becoming a classic, one can easily transition from the commute into work to a meeting in the boardroom to a casual happy-hour gathering with friends--all without ever having to change your wardrobe.

Loyal fans will be pleased to learn Moon's entire line of cycling shorts, knickers and tights will their form-pleasing fit and non-elastic yoga waistbands will be returning in force. However, she's upped her game with the introduction of Sheila Moon cycling bib shorts for women for Spring 2012. "When I was racing and training a lot, I would always wear men's bibs," Moon recalled. "I couldn't stand the elastic waistband digging into me. For my women's bib shorts, my #1 goal was COMFORT. I designed the bib straps to go around the bust so it's not chafing; it goes around [the torso] as if it were a swimsuit." Unlike men's, these bib shorts were made specifically for women, factoring in female torso lengths and inseams into the equation. Another innovative new feature on these bibs is the IPhone-sized back pocket to stow important valuables.

We have history! Sheila Moon and BicyclingHub.com owner Doug Duguay met 8 years ago at a cyclocross race in Portland and have been doing business ever since. Sheila is one of our favorite suppliers. Both BicyclingHub.com and Sheila Moon have survived many years while other businesses in cycling apparel haven't made it.

Since founding her business in 2003, Sheila Moon Athletic Apparel has enjoyed a steady rise. Indeed, as of August 2011, the first half of the year's sales have equaled all of 2010, with a second production of jerseys needing to be run because they were sold out before May. Moon attributes to her success to reputation, brand recognition, and maintaining competitive pricing while still being based in the San Francisco Bay area. She also recognizes that while she's categorized in the bicycling industry, Moon regards her brand as residing in the apparel industry first and foremost, which guides her decisions on cuts, fabrics and styles. With the advent of the newly launched Women's Lounge at Interbike 2010, Moon feels that additional exposure introduced her to new markets where her brand would would do exceptionally well.

Sheila Moon's target audience for women's specific cycling gear? "Women who are athletes, but still want to look like a girl." Two guiding principles inform all of Sheila Moon's pieces:
1. "It's about FASHION. If you have clothes that are comfortable and make you feel good while riding, you're going to want to ride more."

"Women shouldn't be afraid of being strong and competitive while also being feminine. You can wear flowers and still go out and kick some booty."

when you shop at BicyclingHub.com!
Most of our 2011 Sheila Moon cycling apparel is currently on sale to make room for next season's arrivals. Check out our clearance items to stock up and save!

18 August 2011

Obsessed with Bib Shorts

Over a decade has passed since Doug Duguay started selling cycling clothing online in the spare bedroom of his home in Portland, Oregon. As one of the largest Internet retailers of cycling clothing in the United States today, he remains just as passionate about riding as the day he launched BicyclingHub.com in 2002.

It's a well-known secret that Duguay is "obsessed" with bib shorts, as well as a self-identified cycling addict. Owning over 25 different pairs of men's cycling bibs (that's riding almost every day for a month without having to do laundry once!), he's constantly on the lookout for the next great pair to hit the market. "As a company and as an individual, I have been committed to finding really comfortable bib shorts...It's professional as well as personal goal to find quality cycling products. Riding is what I DO."

When asked whether he remembers his first pair of bib shorts, his eyes light up. "In 1989, I bought a pair of Tomasso bib shorts from Gregg's Green Lake Cycles in Seattle, Washington. They were typical 80's style--black lycra with bright neon yellow stitching throughout, I would constantly reach for Tomassos, casting aside other shorts in favor of the bibs and washing them constantly. And back then, it was a REAL chamois, made of softened leather--manufacturers didn't switch over to synthetics until the late 1990's/early 2000's."

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

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
Duguay's private bib short collection includes such well-known manufacturers as Castelli, Pearl Izumi, DeMarchi, Santini, Nalini, Etxe Ondo, Canari, Giordana and Descente. In 2010, BicyclingHub.com was looking into creating their own brand of bib shorts, but couldn't locate a manufacturer to produce a bib a a certain price point with the chamois and quality Duguay was looking for. While the project is currently tabled, Duguay sanguinely remarks, "If you're going to put your name on [something], it better be something you can stand behind."

When it comes to product testing, the staff at BicyclingHub.com don't have be asked twice to throw a leg over their frame and put the cycling gear through the rigors of field testing. Awarded a Silver-Level Bicycle Friendly Business Award by the League of American Bicyclists earlier this year at the National Bike Summit, BicyclingHub.com boasts a nearly 100% biking or walking commuter rate to the office and staff are encouraged to post honest and thorough reviews on the gear it sells. "It's important to be able to offer a knowledgeable response when a cusomer calls regarding fit, sizing, etc." Duguay observes. "[As the owner/buyer], it helps me make decisions about what we carry. I like to evaluate bib shorts as if I were the consumer and put them under the tests of riding, laundering, durability and fit. If I purchase a pair of bib shorts and they fall apart, I'd certainly think twice about stocking them."

After meeting with a representative from Sugoi about bringing in some men's and women's pieces for the Spring 2012 line, a free pair of Sugoi bibs were offered for testing. Duguay pointed to a box in the office and said, "I have 26." "Oh, you don't want them then?" "You bet I still want them--I'm OBSESSED with bibs!" Duguay exclaimed with a smile.

Bikes, bibs, and smiles: BicycingHub.com owner Doug Duguay shows off some favorites in his personal collection.

For him, the bibs vs. cycling shorts debate was resolved in 1999, the same year Duguay hitchhiked around France while following the Tour and cheering Lance Armstrong on to his first TDF victory. "I was heading to a race in Portland, Oregon and I forgot my favorite pair of trusty bib shorts, so I stopped by a local bike shop and didn't want to spend a lot of money. I picked up a pair of regular shorts, and quickly found they didn't fit the need long-term. "A lot of the time, cycling shorts fall down; the don't stay in place; the waistband collects sweat and moisture. Around the office, we have a saying: 'Once you go bibs, you never go back.'"

Favorite brands on the market?

1. Castelli
"I wear Castelli most of the time. It's our #1 brand in terms of sales and most customer interest." Next time you have 20 minutes, just ask him about his Castelli Claudio bib shorts:

I rode my bike across Montana in my Castelli Claudio Bibs!

On September 3, 2010 I left for Montana to ride the Park 2 Park Montana. The temperatures in Montana were unseasonably cold and I didn't pack enough cold weather gear aside from my Castelli Claudio Bib Shorts. Not only were the temperatures down in the 30's in the mornings, we also were in more than one rain shower and we even rode through a hail storm! No problem, the Claudio Bib Shorts handled it all while repelling moisture off of the garment, keeping me warm and dry and very happy.

ClaudioOne other note, the Claudio bib shorts feature Castelli's Kiss 3 pad. I have tried the top of the line Progetto X2 pad from Castelli this year but I hadn't tried the Kiss. The pad in these bibs shorts were very comfortable and I rode up to 80 miles and didn't experience any discomfort. I was amazed at how much I liked these bibs. The Claudio bibs match up with Castelli's Nanoflex Arm, Knee and Leg Warmers.

2. Santini
"I like Santini bib shorts a lot, and up until 2010 we carried them. But through changing distributors, availability has been spotty and I haven't always been able to guarantee them for my customers. "

3. Pearl Izumi
"Pearl is one we like to offer our customers because the fit is more generous and with three tiers of production (Quest, Elite and PRO), you can usually find something that fits."

Why this "obsession"?
Duguay's passion for cycling apparel (and finding the perfect cycling jersey to match all those bibs) is rivaled only by his passion for the bike. "Well, it goes back to our commitment to our customers. We're not just a faceless online retailer; we take the time to have conversations with fellow riders who call with questions. We know our products inside and out--how long the inseam is, whether the lycra's too thick or too thin, what the quality of the chamois is. Employing a knowledgeable and committed staff who all rides means the people who work here are able to make recommendations based on our customer's needs and our personal experience, be it road, mountain, cyclocross, commuter, long-distance touring or track."

Top three recommendations from the man who makes his living studying, testing, and selling bib shorts?

I. For construction and durability: Giordana
II. For style: Castelli
III. For value: Pearl Izumi

For more information, consult BicyclingHub's Buyer's Guide to Bib Shorts. Need sizing help, guidance or personal recommendations? Call BicyclingHub.com toll-free at 1-888-817-8060 or email customerservice@bicyclinghub.com and a staff member will be glad to tell you what to wear and when to wear it.

02 August 2011

"Neva Div Up"

By Guest Blogger Belinda Williams

When I was asked to tell my story, I thought it would be easy. After all, it’s me we’re talking about. But when it comes down to it, it’s not always easy to let the outside world into one’s life, or explain what things have been like to those who haven’t actually lived through them.

As a youth in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was into everything athletic. I don’t think I had any special abilities; no matter what the sport, I just loved to play. I had good natural strength and balance, but wasn’t the fastest, tallest, or possessed the most endurance. However, I was very competitive. I roller-skated, ran track and cross-country, served volleyball, and even did the steeplechase and some triathlons. Running led to a recruitment trip at Colorado State University: I fell in love with the mountains, and instantly knew I was home.

Injuries put an end to my competitive efforts early on, but since athletics weren’t everything to me, that was ok. I remained active, worked on my studies, changed majors a couple of times, and then took some time off for a paid internship doing genetic research and development in California. I was aiming for graduate school, where I hoped to study medicine.

Everything changed just as I was preparing to take that next step. I’d been back from my internship one semester when one by one, things began to go wrong. At first, it seemed relatively simple… a bad reaction to a spider bite, then hypothyroidism and seemingly mild anemia. It was summer, so I had time to deal with those things… easily treated, right? It was when I developed an odd rash that I realized it wasn’t so simple. That day, my doctor drew another complete blood count, and the next thing I knew, he was calling a hematologist and getting me in that very day for a bone marrow biopsy. I wasn’t just anemic. Everything was low. I had no immune system. I was making the cells, but they weren’t surviving to make it beyond my bone marrow- they weren’t reaching maturation.

That was bad enough, but less than two months later I was on a referral to see a different hematologist at CU Denver and for a blood transfusion (I had about ½ the normal count by then and was ghostly white) when yet another diagnosis was made in addition to the blood disorder. I’d developed collapsing glomerulopathy- a kidney disease usually seen in people with HIV. I didn’t have HIV, though. No one truly knew what I had. I was basically told at the time of diagnosis that the kidney disease had a rate of 100% end stage within 5 years, and recurrence in transplants. I was told recovery was unheard of.

I went home and began treatment. My doctors back in Fort Collins were never so pessimistic, but they didn’t try and give me false hopes either. I began scouring all the research I could find, tracking every change, every treatment. In one year, I spent over 4 months in hospitals, generally with life threatening infections. I tried to keep my studies up- it was all I had left that was normal, but my grades suffered. The University let me go through graduation in December 1999, as I wasn’t expected to survive to complete my studies by then. In the end, I was lucky. Somehow, I recovered. No definitive diagnosis was made of the blood disorder, although we have ideas. My case has also led to some direction for research to take that may help others.

I was finally able to finish my undergrad studies. While not completely well, I was steadily improving and getting stronger. I graduated and began working in research at Johns Hopkins, then George Washington University, taking some graduate courses at GWU using the tuition benefits that came with my job. I began getting active again, inline skating part of my commute, getting off the Metro a few stops early. I have to admit, I LOVED jumping stairs where I could find them, shouting “Skater on the stairs!” to make sure the way was clear. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie.

Fast forward twelve years post-diagnosis. I’m now healthy. I’ve completed my pre-clinical studies in medical school, and am looking forward to taking step one of the boards before starting my clinical rotations. There’s always been the constant fear, though, that it could all come back. No one knew just what my kidneys could handle. Until two years ago, I was living in constant fear that this might just be a temporary reprieve.

Two years ago, when my mother suggested I fix up the old bike I’d once done triathlons on as a teen, I took it to my doctors. I was tired of being afraid. I didn’t want to just ride, as my mother had suggested… I wanted to pursue challenges I had once dreamed of as a youth. I wanted to ride up the highest mountains. I wanted prove to myself that my past health doesn’t have to limit me. I aimed for the biggest event I could think of at the time: the Triple Bypass. As an added incentive, I decided that while I was doing this for myself, I’d like to help others as well, and looked into raising funds for the National Kidney Foundation as my chosen charity that first year.

It wasn’t easy. I never expected it to be. I knew I was starting from square one, and that this would be harder than any athletic achievement I’d ever aimed for, and I wasn’t even aiming to win. I just wanted to finish. More than anything, though, I wanted to see just what I could actually do. I did my best to fix up my 1987 vintage Vitus 979, an old aluminum frame literally glued together at the seams, and way too big for me. I had a wheel build done on the old 126mm hub, and modified everything I could to try and make it fit just a little better, climb a little easier. In September 2009 I began to ride.

The first time I hit a steep hill, I had to walk up. That was the only time. There were times I felt like I was practically moving backward, but I rode all the way up every climb after that. No walking, no stopping. By the end of October, I rode up Lookout Mountain for the first time. It took me nearly an hour, but I made it. That was when I discovered just how much fun downhills could be! Unfortunately, in mid-December, I failed to take into account sand left by snow plows. I was once again riding Lookout on an icy day, taking great care in the areas I knew were slick, speeding up as I approached the bottom where it was dry. WHAM! Next thing I know there’s another cyclist bending over me asking of I’m ok. I wasn’t. I needed shoulder surgery.

So, it was surgery, rehab, then back training. With only two months before the Triple, once I was fit to ride, I pushed things even harder. Three weeks later, I was climbing Mount Evans from Echo Lake, the highest paved road in North America: 14,130 ft. elevation at the parking lot, 14260 atop the footpath. It took me 4 hours.

The day of the Triple Bypass, my mom ran SAG (support and gear). It took over 13 hours to ride the 120 miles, with over 10,000 ft. vertical and three passes, the highest at 11990 ft. elevation. Evergreen to Avon, up Juniper pass, down to Idaho Springs, a steady climb to Georgetown, then up Loveland Pass, skirting down into Keystone in mild sleet. I continued over Swan Mountain into torrential downpours through Frisco and Copper Mountain. The sun came out on Vail Pass. I finished about 30 minutes before they stopped serving the barbecue in Avon, just as the heavens exploded with another torrential downpour. I was exhausted, completely bonked and cranky as heck, yet thrilled beyond anything I could have hoped for. I’d done it.

I’ve now ridden the Triple Bypass twice. That first summer, I also rode the Mount Tam Century in California and the Wapiyapi Classic, a fund raiser for childhood cancer, in Aspen. I’ve had two new bicycles since that first season, and have completely given up my car. In 2011, my total ride time for the Triple was just under 10 hours. I wasn’t cranky, but exhilarated. It was a lot easier… and harder. I’d been the victim of a hit and run in mid-March. The bicycle I’d purchased just after Thanksgiving was destroyed. I broke ribs, had a bad concussion, injured my shoulder, and herniated a disk in my neck fairly badly, which is compressing my spinal cord between my 4th and 5th vertebrae. I’m doing physical therapy in hopes of avoiding surgery. I already had one spinal fusion when I was 18 (another bike wreck- don’t ask) and don’t want to go through that again.

I’m back on a bicycle, though! A friend helped me replace the one that was destroyed, and I intend to pay him back. I’m still riding for charities. This year I rode in Elephant Rock for Colorado Neurological Institute with Team CNI and JUC Spokespeople, just 3 weeks after getting back on a bike. For most events, I’m raising funds for Doctors Without Borders, although my efforts are off to a bit of a late start. I’ll also be riding my second Wapiyapi Classic in September.

Last week, I rode in the Bob Cook Memorial Mount Evans Climb. It was the first time I’d ever ridden all the way from Idaho Springs to the very top (without even a stop at Echo Lake): 28 miles and 6500+ ft. vertical in 4.5 hours. I’m happy with how I did. It’s my best time yet for that ride, twelfth time I’ve ridden the mountain, third time this year, and only my fourth time from Idaho Springs. In another week, I’ll be riding in The Copper Triangle. My big challenge will be Deer Creek Challenge on August 21st. I hope to successfully navigate the century and claim the challenge finisher’s jersey.

Next year, I’m already signed up for the Alta Alpina 8 Pass Challenge, a double century in Tahoe with over 20,000 feet vertical. I was supposed to ride it this year, but there was no way I could do it after the hit & run. One day, I’d like to ride in Race Across America, perhaps fill in for my friend Robert, “Robo” Baldino with Team 4 Gone until he’s able to ride it again (he was badly injured when struck by a semi during this year’s race, but is expected to recover). Perhaps one day I’ll ride even farther. I have no limits!

People frequently ask me why I do what I do. I have two answers for them: “Because I can!” and “Why not?” Why survive, when you can live? As a young hero, 5-year-old Coleman Larson used to say as he battled brain cancer, “Neva Div Up!” I never will. Tailwinds to you!

About the author: Belinda Williams is an avid cyclist, riding for charities and involved in numerous cycling advocacy and safety efforts on local, state and national levels. She is also working full time while studying for her medical boards. In August, she will be helping out with stage 6 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Golden, Colorado, and will be a course marshal on the course for stage 2 in Aspen, Colorado. Belinda also writes a column for the Denver newsletter, The Back Fence.

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