Bike Hugger Socks

Along with another whopping order of Bike Hugger shirts, we’ve got socks on the way. They’ll ship next month and we’ll sell them right here direct from us and on Amazon.com. After that, jerseys are in in the works as well.



Photo of the Day: Portland Messenger

A messenger paused at a crosswalk in downtown Portland. From the Bike Hugger Photostream

messenger_walking.jpg



The Joys of Bike Driving

Earlier this week, it was Drive your Bike to work day, a snarky look at Bike Month with related photos, suggestions, and advice on reducing your “carbon footprint” by having other people plant trees for you.



Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL

Like any other company marketing high-end technology, Specialized uses product buzz words like a TV chef throwing spices into a dish to turn it up a notch. The S-Works Tarmac SL is built with FACT, 10r carbon, Az1 construction, compact race design, Zertz inserts, proprietary oversized integrated bottom bracket, and a bunch of other fast stuff. The results, “the secret sauce,” is a light, stiff, compliant frame.

I test rode Pam’s new S-Works Tarmac SL up a hill, and amazingly I stopped pedaling and it kept right on rolling briefly – up hill. My totally nonscientific criteria for a race bike is that it “rolls” and has “momentum.” I want to get a bike up to speed and have it roll with that momentum. I don’t know how they’d measure that in a lab, but I know it when I ride it. As a benchmark, my Trek Madone rolls really well. Pam’s S-Works feels quick, light, and snaps up to speed, and also rolls – fast.

The marketing brochures would say that’s transferring power, because of a stiff and huge bottom bracket, minimal deflection, and a compliant frame. Those brochure writers can think of all they different ways to say, “light, stiff, fast, complaint frame” and toss out a bunch of created words on decals. When it comes down to it, all the technology Specialized uses results in all-around outstanding race bike that weights about 15 pounds and reassures any rider turning in a chicane, or about to descend on chipsealed, rural roads, at 40 + mph.

Allez, Allez

Looking at the attention to detail on the bike, I also realized how far carbon frames have progressed. My first racing bike was an Epic Allez, the old aluminun-lugged, bonded-carbon tubed model. I loved that bike, despite the whippy bottom bracket and you still see them being ridden today. Props also to Specialized for achieving lightweight without doing anything stupid. I don’t know enough about their line to note the year-to-year subtle differences in the frame and suspect a proprietary bottom bracket design gives people pause. Also, the fix for the slipping seatposts is an aluminum or steel seat clamp instead of the Ti version the bike ships with.

Markee’s Cycling Center

What’s nice about Markee’s Cycling Center is they’ve got knowledgeable staff, very helpful, into the sport, and stayed on task with fitting Pam to the bike. As opposed to a high school kid that doesn’t know Miguel Indurain from House of Pain, the staff was about as thrilled to sell an S-Works road bike as Pam was to ride it on Mother’s Day.

It’s also nice to remember “back in the day,” when Jerry and I used to race and train together.

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Helmet!

While riding with members of the Chinook Cycling club in the Tri Cities last weekend, up in the Horse Heavens Hill, we passed a “euro” (no helmet) cyclist going the other way and one of the Chinooks yelled out, “HELMET!!!” We all laughed at the instaneous response to the helmetless rider, and it also reminded me of seeing Pam slide into a curb headfirst, sitting with her in the hospital while she recovered from a concussion, and how a helmet saved her.

The guy that yelled had a serious Evel Knievel-style bollard accident last year. Cracked ribs, punctured lungs, his story about the accident reminded me of the intro to the Six Million Dollar Man. Dude’s got a right to yell at anybody about not wearing a helmet. If there’s anything that’ll cause me to blurt out a warning, besides seeing a cyclist riding on a busy, congested, blue-collar worker road instead of the more quieter road a block over or the other one with a bike lane, is no helmet.

Modern helmets are light, breezy, and stylish and there’s no reason whatsoever for not wearing them. A few years ago, the pro peloton lost one of it’s one in a freak accident at the start of the race and helmets were mandated. Check this story from the AP about a delivery truck that ran over a cyclist’s head, “leaving him only with a concussion and a mangled helmet,” and tell me how cool you are by not wearing a helmet.



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