Cycling in Sonoma

From the Telegraph is a guide to the 50 great things to do in the USA. Cycling in Sonoma is ranked 39th; now we’d rank that much higher than say, visiting Dollywood, but still that’s good to see cycling make it in. We’ve ridden in Sonoma, back in the pre-hugger days, and the riding is great.

It also made me wonder what our readers thought were the best places to ride?

sonoma_curves.jpg



Lapierre is bringing it to the States

Lapierre.jpg Lapierre, Mr. Giles LaPierre that is, was in town last week showing off their latest bikes. Great bikes, but if you live in the states you may not be familiar with the name. Lapierre is based in France, and has been in business for 60 years and 3 generations of Lapierres. They provide the rides for the Française des Jeux cycling team, and are also a leading manufacturer of mountain bikes. Already a major brand in Europe, they’ve decided to raise the level of their game in the US.

Gaston Lapierre, Giles’s grand father, started the business right after world war II, in 1946. The family’s been involved in the business since then, although the company was bought by the Accell Group almost 15 years ago. Since then, and starting in earnest just a few years ago, Lapierre’s been making the transition from a family run, continental business to a full fledged international corporation. Change like this is never easy but it looks like the company’s come through with flying colors.

Business wise, Lapierre caught the mountain biking wave in a big way back in the middle 90s, and is one of the leading manufacturers of mountain bikes in Europe. Since then they’ve been branching out, into road racing, sponsoring the Française des Jeux (French national lottery) cycling team.

The company has had some success in Europe but realized they were spending a lot of time competing with US based companies on their own turf. A couple of years ago Lapierre decided to take it to the home town (or at least home country) of brands like Specialized and Trek. When Accell acquired Seattle Bike Supply a few years ago the opportunity presented itself and Lapierre grabbed hold.

Meeting Mr. Lapierre was great, he was very enthused about his bikes and his company of course, but also genuinely friendly. I don’t doubt he was here on business but he was obviously enthused for a weekend trip up to Snoqualmie. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he’s a Snowhugger.

Lapierre’s focus in the US is bringing their particular brand of high end, high tech road and mountain bikes to our market at a good price point (See Mark’s write up for details on the line up). When I asked Giles what his expectations of the US market are he said they’re looking for organic growth here in the states. Sponsoring the French national lottery team, Française des Jeux, won’t hurt. Neither will there extensive experience in the mountain biking market. Based on what we saw at last week I doubt they’ll have any trouble at all making their goals.



Hotspur Tubes

That’s one of the Hotspur tubes before it was fabricated last week. It’s being built up this weekend, with a hotspurian theme, and readied for the Handmade Bicycle Show on 2/8.

tube_os.jpg

More details are coming and, as an aside, before naming the bike, I consulted the Naming the Bicycle section of the Bike Cult Book. I didn’t crowdsource the name though, as Merlin Mann jokes about in this 5ives post.



Bike Hope

There are several bike charities – for AIDS, micro-economies, and so on – and all of them are offering bike hope. Check this article from the Nambian on the Bicycling Empowerment Network that created Bicycle Empowering Centres

This is a shipping container, which is filled with 300 secondhand bicycles, spare parts and tools which can be delivered to any town or village in the country. Local volunteers from the community are trained as bicycle mechanics and project managers. The BECs are now run as bicycle workshops: bicycles are overhauled for distribution to volunteers, as well as for sale to the community at an affordable price.

In 07, Bike Hugger supported World Bicycle Relief with bikes purchased in lieu of holiday gifts for friends, family, and partners.



Click: The Hershey’s Kiss of Multi-Tools

click%20tool.jpg Lookie at what I got here: a “Click” multi-tool.

It’s tiny, has 2/3/4/5/6mm allen wrenches, flat and Phillips head screwdrivers, and a keychain ring. The tools are all chrome-vanadium steel with aluminium sides. Granted, the Click’s size prevents you from being able to hoss on a bolt, but on today’s high-performance bikes there are few bolts that require massive torque (for instance, stems clamping on carbon handlebars). Apart from it’s size and quality of the materials, the best thing about the Click is the $5 retail price.

Distributed by Cyclone.



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