Sunday, December 24, 2006

Wii Need Bicycles

Well here we are on Christmas Eve. Just about all of our Christmas layaways have been picked up and a few last minute shoppers are purchasing their final presents. An interesting thing happened this year. Both Nintendo and Sony sold out of their hit new gaming systems. This is worth mentioning because frantic parents are coming into Ye Old Bike Shop in search of a “second choice” gift. Many of them were a little uncomfortable with spending more than $70 on a bicycle for their child. The value of a quality bicycle is something that I have explained on a daily basis for over a decade. It seems to me however in a nation of obesity, the bicycle may be exactly what “junior” needs. I will make it a goal for 2007 to make children want and ask for a shiny new bicycle in lieu of the latest game console this time next year. Until then, may you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Gambrill Graveyard Shift 12/20/06

This past episode of the Gambrill Graveyard Shift yielded lots of rocky fun. 17 riders joined in the off-road trek and 7 of us went to the brew pub following the ride for pizza and drinks. Ride leader Joe was home sick so his presence was missed. The group stayed together and we were fortunate enough to have no flat tires and only a few minor spills. The weather cooperated once again making a great ride even better. Thanks to all who joined in the fun. See you next time!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bike Fun Run


There is something about riding a cheap bicycle in jeans and tennis shoes that I find extremely nostalgic. Last night Mike and I meet up with four other friends and pedaled a short distance to a local pub for a beer and chili tasting. We had a great little ride and pleasant conversation. Mike and I rode the "Shop Bike" and the "Shop Single Speed" (name not yet determined). In the future The Bicycle Escape will be hosting Fun Rides to local destinations. The rides will be Lycra-free and a lot of fun. Stay tuned for details!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

2007 XTR Crank Bash Guard

2007 XTR Crank Bash Guard

We received the much anticipated 2007 XTR crank set today. Many of my riding partners have been asking if it will accommodate a bash guard. From the pictures I have seen I said “yes” but I gave Shimano a call to be sure. All I could get out of Shimano was “well it’s not a freeride crank why don’t you spec a Saint…” So I decided to find out for myself. Well I am happy to report you can run the 2007 Shimano XTR crank with a bash guard. I should note that the first bash guard I attempted to install was by Dangerboy and that guard did not fit. However, with a few passes with a file (on the guard not the crank) the Dangerboy product could be encouraged to fit just fine. Now all you have to do is find a good home for the $180 chainring you just took off ;)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Planning Commission Meetings...Everyone Should Attend at Least 1 in Their Life!

Last night (December 11, 2006) I (taking the picture) along with Tom (arrived after I took the picture), Mike (guy on the left in the picture) and his wife, Hayley (too hungry to be in the picture) joined a group of Frederick Pedalers in support of a proposed bicycle route connecting MD144 to the east with MD40 to the west. We all attended the planning commission meeting at City Hall at 6 p.m. to express our desire to see this route come to life..............................................

........................................3.5 hours later, after losing half of our cycling mob, the hardcorest of hardcore supporters got the chance to speak out in favor of this bike route proposed by SHA a few years ago.

Fortunately our hours of sitting patiently through discussions on how high people's hedges should be and how it is possible for residents to have 1.5 parking spaces each, the committee agreed to vote again (a few years ago they voted no) in January to possibly move forward with the bike route.

This is a great opportunity for experienced cyclists who ride through the city for commuting, enjoyment or both.

In January The Bicycle Escape will be back at City Hall to show our support again...No matter how long the meeting runs!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Super Sexy Spanish Splendor

In my 10+ years in the bicycle biz I have been privileged enough to assemble and work on some incredibly high-end bicycles. Many of these bikes are as beautiful as they are functional. Recently we received the newly revised Spanish-brand Orbea Orca and never in my life have a seen a sexier bike frame. I mean it! Not cool, pretty, beautiful or neat but downright sexy! My heart raced as I removed the bubble wrap. Each piece of wrapping came off easier than the next to revile a curvaceous carbon fiber chassis of which I have seen no equal. She had the curves of Penelope Cruz and the class of Ines Sastre. Anyway, I had to share this beauty with you all. Note the headbadge/cable stops- very slick!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Gambrill Night Ride

After several months of coordination and planning, everything finally came together on December 6th for The Bicycle Escape and MORE to hold the first of many night time mountain bike rides at Gambrill State Park in Frederick Maryland.

Considering we are getting well into December the temps were surprisingly mild, hovering around the lower 40's for our 7pm departure. Waivers were signed, parking passes were handed out and Joe, who was kind enough to lead the first ride gave everyone a quick brief on the intended route and what to expect along the way. From the lower parking lot we headed up the yellow trail towards the overlook. Anyone who has ridden this trail before knows that this climb can be a pain due to the lack of any time to warm up the legs and lungs. My job on this ride was to bring up the rear and make sure no one got separated from the group. About halfway up the climb, I ran into a small log-jam of riders. As everyone sorted out I noticed Joe was left behind fiddling around with a jumped chain. That was the first of a few mechanicals.

After regrouping at the top of the climb, we headed for some of the nice singletrack that parallels Gambrill Park Road. Although I didn't witness it with my own eyes I heard reports of Joe doing a superman on one of the gnarlier rock downhills, followed up by Kevin going down as well. No casualties were suffered except for a fresh scratch on Kevin's new IF. Shortly after that, Mehdi grinds to a halt with his light pointing straight down towards the ground. He lost the rubber shim that keeps the light clamp tight on the bar so we jammed a few sticks in the mount, tightened it up and continued on. Meanwhile, the rest of the group got a pretty good flow going.

After a good bit of uninterrupted riding the group came to a halt once again when one of the riders flatted. The flat was fixed and no more than 500 yards down the trail, someones light went black.(sorry I don't remember every ones name) Fortunately, Tom just happened to bring along an extra Light & Motion Arc HID so he hooked it up and we were on our way once again. A way down the trail I came upon Joe, fiddling with his chain once again. After a quick inspection it was discovered that he had a bent chainring. With a small adjustable wrench Joe tweaked the chainring enough to finish up the ride.

After ride festivities were held at Brewers Alley in downtown Frederick. I myself gave the Oatmeal Stout and Cask IPA a try. For my taste the Oatmeal Stout was a little bland but the Cask IPA was excellent packing a nice aroma and flavor. I'm really glad we were able to get these rides going and I can't wait until the 20th to do it again.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pedal Prohibition

Recently some of our new bicycles came with pedals flaunting an important message that reads: Warning: This pedal is prohibition to be used on the spinning and exerciser bike. Judging by their use of all capital letters as well as the ominous presence of the triangle-enclosed exclamation point it is obvious that the manufactures mean business! We felt obligated to bring this caution to the attention of our readers. I know some of you may be tempted to remove your stock flat pedals and install them on the spinning and/or exerciser bike but please do not. While I don't know exactly what will happen if you throw caution to the wind and try it but you can bet the results will be tragic!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday's Bicycle Commute

Well begrudgingly we are now open on Sunday’s through the month of December. Since I have sacrificed my only day off I decided to commute to work by bicycle. The ride dulled the pain of working all day for the "tyrant." As I pedaled I was reminded of two things: One- I am out of shape and Two- I love bicycle commuting. I find that riding clears my head and I am able to come up with great ideas... nothing of immense value but I did come up with a few good novelty T-shirt slogans.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Bikes and Cars in Harmony

Thanks to a friendly person on the MORE forum I learned of a cool invention in Europe. General Motors is incorporating an integrated bicycle rack into some of their vehicles. This idea is way over due and hopefully it will hop the pond sometime soon! Speaking of MORE if your are not yet a member sign up today! It only costs $20 to help support our beautiful trails!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Bicycle Escape hosted our Single Speed Conversion Party last night. The pizza was great the drinks were cold and we all enjoyed the evening. The group watched a demonstration on how to convert a multi speed bicycle into a one geared wonder. We were delighted to have Single Speed Outlaw Joe Whitehair on hand to offer his expertise on the subject. The event was as much social as it was technical which provided a nice venue to talk to other riders and make new friends. Thanks to all who attended I look forward to seeing you at the next event…

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Anniversary

Danielle and I have a great deal to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. In addition to celebrating good health, supportive family and great friends we have reached the one year anniversary of The Bicycle Escape. As we reflect on one year of business we also reflect on the friends and family that have helped to make this endeavor possible. When Danielle and I took position of the big empty shell that you know as The Bicycle Escape it was friends and family that hung the drywall, laid the floor, assembled the fixtures, and helped to complete all of the tasks necessary to bring our vision to life. We have been so touched by your support. It seems impossible to express our gratitude. For everyone that enjoys having The Bicycle Escape as a resource we hope that you too will appreciate the hard work that these people have volunteered and continue to volunteer, without these efforts this store would not be in existence. We are equally grateful for those of you who patronize The Bicycle Escape, we will not remain in business without this support. Thank you all so very much and may you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Tom & Danielle

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Greenridge, Mountain Bikes, and New-Blood

This past weekend a few of us at The Bicycle Escape accompanied by a good friend Kevin (Man of Steel) went to Greenridge for a mountain bike camping trip. The trip was a great way for me to get away for a while and enjoy riding and good friends. Upon our arrival we ate and quickly prepared for a night ride. This ride held significant importance for Rob the youngest member of our entourage. This was one of his first mountain bike rides on his new Jamis Dakar as well as his very first night ride. The ride was not without incident we experience three flat tires, one crash, and Rob’s battery died about a mile from the campsite. The thing is it was a great ride- to see the excitement on the face of a new cyclist and to be able to share something that I enjoy so much made it a great trip.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Most Likely to...Open a Bike Shop

Tom and I both graduated from Linganore High School in 1998, in fact, that is where we met and became good friends. It wasn't until college that Tom swept me off my feet and we began dating but that's another story...

In high school we were both average students who hated math, loved music and had nothing to do with football, pep rallies or the FFA. You won't find our pictures in the superlative or student government sections of the yearbook but rather the art club, track team and, for Tom, in the Women's Issues club (you could always find him wherever the ladies gathered). So, little did we ever imagine that one day we'd be featured in our school newspaper 8 years after receiving our diplomas.

But NOW, we are officially the coolest Linganore High School Alumni ever! In the October issue of the school paper, The Lance, you will find an article featuring 2 LHS grads who opened a business in Frederick. Those 2 grads are yours truly, Tom and Danielle Rinker (that's me). It is a nicely written article with an adequate photo of us (I look like I am chewing on straw or something). The article talks about our favorite (or least favorite) classes in school but more importantly about our beautiful bicycle shop itself and the advice we would give to anyone thinking about opening their own business. We really wanted today's youth to know that, with hard work and committment, even average students can achieve their dreams (I know, I know...I sound like an after school special.)

Read the Article

P.S. - You will still find Tom wherever the ladies gather...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Birth of an IF

The Man of Steel did some fancy photo work when he assembled his Independent Fabrication Steel Deluxe which I wanted to share with our readers. Note the cable installation taking place in stages…Nice touch Kevin!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Man Of Steel

This is Kev, my friend, TBE customer, racer and the proud owner of a new steel IF Deluxe. Kev's a self proclaimed weight-weenie, putting light weight before everything else. A condition that now seems to be in remission thanks to his new IF. Not that his IF is heavy coming in fully built at 24lbs.

I was going to write this long winded blog entry about aluminum vs steel and weight savings vs durability/performance and how Kev arrived at his purchase but then Kev posted his review of his new ride on a local message board. I decided to let his post speak for itself.

In Kev's own words

"Mike is going love this one.

First things first, this is the best bike I've ever ridden. The steel does make a difference. It has a very solid feel to it that inspires confidence. Those of you that ride with me know that I'm big chicken when it comes to catching air. When we were at Schaefer and Patapsco the other day and I found myself jumping off small water bars and humps in the trail. It also rides lighter than the 24.4 pounds that it weighs. It's really easy to climb, I was making stuff at Patapsco that has given me trouble in the past, even on my Klein. It might be due to the lower front end of this bike with its 80 mm travel fork. It also has a dampening charateristic that you can't quite put your finger on. It seems to take a slight edge off. I can't wait to take it out on an Endurance ride.

All in all I'm very happy. Thanks to Tom for the hook up. The only problem I have now is that the Klein might be gathering dust for awhile."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Shop Goofin

Things were a little slow one evening so Tom and I blew off some steam by setting up an impromptu obstacle course in the shop area and riding it on Tom's Titus. Pretty generic, but as you can tell from the video footage, we sure had fun doing it. Undoubtedly you will see that the skills of one of the riders shines through....and the other ehhh...not so much. ;)

Mountain Biking After 50

Some of The Bicycle Escape staff member’s hit the trail this past weekend. This is not an uncommon occurrence but on this ride Danielle, Mike, and myself were joined by Roger. Roger, as some of you may know, is my father. While we cycle on the road together often it has been about ten years since dad has been on an off road adventure. We went to Schaeffer Farms and enjoyed fair weather and good company. It was a great reintroduction to mountain biking for my father. By the end of the ride he was crossing logs and streams with a smile. Glad to have you back Dad.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Trail Work at the Frederick Watershed

Yesterday some of us at The Bicycle Escape (Mike, Danielle, and I) worked with the fine folks at MORE to do some trail maintenance at the Frederick Watershed. The day was great. We installed some water bars to redirect the flow of water and preserve the trails for the years to come. If you missed this go-around but would like to help out meet next Sunday at Greenbrier 9:30am. Thanks to all who participated and the organizers.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bicycle Fittings


As I alluded to in my last entry the colder months cause forward-thinking athletes to schedule a professional bicycle fitting in preparation for next season. If one is considering the purchase of a custom bicycle this works out great because they are sure to have their new bike well before the trees are green again. I enjoy this period of the season. During the bicycle fitting session (which typically takes 2-3 hours) I have time to meet each client on a more personal level and make sure they get exactly what the want. One of my clients was ahead of the curve and just received his custom Independent Fabrication Crown Jewel. I found his finish selection to be extremely beautiful and I wanted to share it with blog readers everywhere. The steel fork and panel paint job give this Crown Jewel a classic elegance. With each custom bike I sell I have to suppress my urge to order myself another one… that is until next season! Check out more pictures on our photo site.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Victory at 52.7

Well the leaves are now colorful and there is a nip in the air. Personally the changing of the seasons is also marked by an increase in sales of bike trainers, lights, cold weather apparel, and an increase in bicycle fittings. There is a special sub-season for me (and by default Danielle) of which you may not be aware. This is the period between the blistering heat and the freezing cold I call the period of bliss. This is the phase when we run neither the A/C nor the heat. Each season I have a personal goal of holding out longer than the previous year. The colder it gets the greater my personal sense of achievement. Last night the temperature dropped to 52.7 degrees… inside my house. I am reminded each year that Danielle does not get as big a kick out of this game as I. However, she is a trooper and is still hanging tough. As I flip through my catalogs to pick out a new wool jersey I can’t help but wonder how much longer I can last. Or more accurately how much longer I can play the game and still keep the peace at home.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Date at Black Hills

This past Sunday, Tom and I went on a little "date ride" to Black Hill Regional Park in Boyds, MD (near Germantown). Neither of us had ever biked these trails before so we thought it would be fun to explore the area and take some snazzy photos for the website.

Its was truely a beautiful October day. The park was filled with families and the trails were dry and quiet. The Black Hill Regional Park trails are a mixture of surfaces ranging from paved and hard natural to rocky and rolling.

The posted picture was taken at the boat dock area right after I lost our trail map. No problem though, we followed the road until we came to a trail entrance and continued on.

Afterwards we stopped by a place in Germantown called Jaspers where we loaded up on fried shrimp and mashed potatoes - yum...

It was a good day with the old man :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Original Shop Bike

Shop Bike 4

Many of you have seen the single-speed project bike that had the honor of being our first blog entry, but few of you have seen our original shop bike. This is the skinny-tired single speed that is used to navigate the shopping center to retrieve food, make change, and run other errands. The history of this frame is special to me. It was traded to me from a former co-worker/bike mechanic and friend. Before that the bike was traded to him in the same manner. The bike has seen many reincarnations as a multi-speed, single-speed, and fixed gear bike. It has belonged to at least three different shop employees in at least three different bike shops. The funny thing about bikes like this is that they get as much if not more attention then the super “Gucci” new bikes displayed around the shop. I have to agree these old project bikes are neat- especially when they have passed through the hands of good friends.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Road Trip

Just wanted to make a quick entry before I head out for a weekend of mountain biking at Douthat State Park in Virginia. The trails in the park are supposed to be incredible! I setup a mobile blog as a little experiment. Pictures will be sent directly from my camera-phone to My Mobile Blog. Essentially, it will be a live photo feed of the happenings. No text will be added to the photos until I return from the trip. Have a good weekend everyone........

Update: 10/15/2006

OK, so the mobile blogging thing didn't work out exactly as I had hoped. Turns out Douthat State Park is located in a valley and has absolutely no cell phone service. Maybe I'll have better luck next time. ;)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Spot Bash Guard

Spot Bash Gaurd

The Guys and Gals at The Bicycle Escape are quite fond of running a bash guard in place of the big ring on our mountain bikes. Recently we documented one of the installations (on Danielle’s bike). The benefits of a bash guard are: increased clearance, a tighter chain, and protection for your chain and rings.

After the installation Danielle increased her clearance by 34mm (about 1 3/8” for the metrically challenged). Since the big ring was removed we were able to take 3 links from the chain and still accommodate the two largest rings. Because she used a light weight Spot Brand bash guard, the weight of the bike was almost unaffected by this modification (she saved .04 lbs).

Riding at Gambrill and the Frederick Watershed (our usual stomping ground) we do not find the big ring necessary. If you are considering installing a bash guard on your bike first determine if you ever use your big ring. This modification is not for everyone. However, if your big ring causes you to sin (or stumble) cut it off!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Industry Nine

Industry Nine Rear

The other day Industry Nine wheels landed in Frederick, MD. We were very excited about this arrival. Industry Nine makes premium mountain (and soon road bike) wheels with some unique characteristics and lots of options. Their proprietary spoke/nipple combination threads into their beautifully machined hub. I chose black spokes with a red hub but lots of options are available. You can also select your favorite rim to further customize the wheel. Our set tipped the scale at a light-weight 1670 grams. The hub is butter smooth and the six pawl freehub engages almost instantly. Industry Nine has options for the single speed and 29er crowed too. Now I have to find a way to justify a pair for myself, even though I just laced up a set of Chris King hubs.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Follow Your Dream

Independent Fabrication... Living the Dream!!

I just found this video and wanted to share it with our readers. It shows our friends at IF crafting beautiful and functional machines. This crew has made a lot of sacrifices to bring you and I the finest bicycle frames in existence. They truly are living the dream.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Ultra Salute?

Bicycling Mag.

Well folks we’ve made it! A beer manufacture has labeled us one of America’s Best Bike Shops. We were listed in this month’s edition of Bicycling Magazine along with 20 other shops. The criteria the manufacture used to establish this list is unknown. Just in case this is a ploy to get me to Blog about their beer I will not mention the company by name. However, if you are curious flip to page 59 of the November edition of Bicycling.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Born Again

You may remember this post from a couple months back. Well, the beast is done. Originally we thought it would make a good fixie but in the end, the parts we had on hand dictated the final result......a single speed. The goods? Shimano LX hubs, Sun Big Fat Mamoth rims, Race Face Cranks, Salsa Chainring, Gusset SS Spacer and Oury grips round out the build kit. Due to the attention this bike has attracted in the shop over the past couple of months we have some fun plans for it. Stay tuned... Here is a pic to hold you over.

Today I Rode like a Girl

Today I went on a Ride Like a Girl group ride at Seneca Greenway with a bunch of really cool ladies! Honestly, this was my first time mountain bike riding with the female gender and it was pretty nice. I found myself chatting with the others about the different breeds of dogs and sharing silly husband stories which is a far cry from my usually mountain ride conversation. Actually, I don't do much conversing when I am out the guys on account of my inability to breath.

While on our ride it began to rain and kept raining until we were running through mud puddles and sliding on slippery roots and wet leaves. It reminded me of favorite high school cross country and track races when we got to run in the rain. There's nothing like clawing your way up a muddy hill as you pass other drenched runners who couldn't handle a few rain drops.

Anyway, we eventually turned around and headed back as not to ruin the beautiful trails or risk any rain-related crashes.

Afterwards, we hung out in the parking lot and I got to meet a lot more interesting people. Finally, we went to a Caribbean & Latin Cuisine Cafe - a new one for me.

As one of the riders said on the last leg of the ride..."What a great way to start a day." I agree :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Frederick Pedalers Wednesday Ride

Yesterday I went over to Glade Valley Elementary school to take part in the Frederick Pedalers 6:15 p.m. Wednesday Ride. I had heard this is a great group ride with friendly riders and a pace that an exercise-deprived bike shop owner like me could handle. This all turned out to be true. The moment I stepped out of the car I was greeted by several fellow cyclists.

The weather was a little cool but perfect once we started riding. We did a comfortably paced 15 mile ride down Devilbliss Bridge Road and through the Utica Covered Bridge. I really enjoyed the sense of camaraderie and fellowship of the group. I would recommend this ride to anyone especially folks who are just getting into the sport. You will not ride alone or be left behind. During the ride I was able to chat with some new and some familiar faces. I only wish we could have stayed out longer but Fall seems to be approaching and the sun went down early.

It was a very pleasant evening.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Brothers, Bikes and Ghetto Mountain Bike Trails

This weekend I returned to the old rock quarry where I learned the more basic mountain bike skills. The terrain is less than impressive. In place of beautiful foliage and examples of natural wonder were examples of Man’s stupidity: abandoned cars, old appliances, and plenty of empty cans of Bush beer. But in spite of all this the ride was special. I was introducing my younger brother, age fourteen, to mountain biking. It was a good ride. I got to relive my childhood and expose my brother to one of my favorite activities. Debating whether or not I can complete one of the short steep trails at the quarry is one of my favorite memories. My hope is it will become one that I can share with my little bro.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Civil War Century 9/8/2006

A handful of us TBE guys woke up at the crack of dawn this past Saturday and headed for the foggy mist lurking at the base of the Catoctins. So did appoximately 1,700 other riders who attended the Civil War Century. The Baltimore Bicycle Club does a great job putting this event together. Very organized start, well marked route and aid stations with all the right fixins. If you didn't get a chance to attend this year, put it on your list for next year. Get ready for some climbing, just under 8,000 feet according to the Garmin Edge 305 bike computer/gps.

The video above: Kevin, and Mehdi giving a little color commentary at the first aid station/rest stop.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Nature's Roller Coaster

Schaeffer Farm, located about 25 minutes south of Frederick in Gaithersburg Maryland is a great place to ride for beginners and experts alike. The Frederick area has countless miles of trails but most are rocky and have a great deal of climbing. These features, while attractive to more experienced riders can be discouraging to those just beginning. We often recommend a visit to Schaeffer Farm to those just getting into mountain biking or to anyone who is looking for a good time.

Riding Schaeffer Farm is as easy, or as hard as you want it to be and because of this you'll see everyone from mountain bike racers to kids on the trails. The rolling terrain and great trail layout are reminiscent of riding a roller coaster. Expect to find a little bit of everything, roots, small rocks, smooth single track, log stacks, log stunts and a couple of small climbs that will get your blood pumping. Another great thing about Schaeffer is that almost all of the log stacks are optional, you can try to go over them if you like, or, you can just ride around them. It's a great place to develop and practice bike handling skills.

Schaeffer Farm is a heavily used trail system and it is very sensitive to rain and freeze/thaw cycles in the winter. After periods of heavy rain the trail system may be closed and during the winter it is often closed due to soft soil conditions. Before riding Schaeffer please call the trail closure information line 301-924-1998. Additional information including directions can be found here.

The video above is from a number of weeks back when a few of us got together for a ride. Not the best footage but it'll give you an idea of the terrain.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Flat Tire Repair

Yesterday I taught a class at Walkersville Library on flat tire repair. I enjoy doing volunteer work like this. There was a good showing and everyone seemed to enjoy the session. I found one young man particularly fun to instruct. Midway though the class he interrupted to lecture me on the perils of purchasing a bike from Wal-Mart. He said the bike he purchased had numerous issues including a pedal that fell off! It is always nice to meet a young person who understands the value of a quality bicycle :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

IF weekend (Tom's Take)

Blue XS

The IF Weekend was a blast as Danielle mentioned. Matt gave a wonderful presentation, Mamma Lucia’s kept the great food stocked, and the micro brews were cold! Turnout was fantastic which provided a unique social opportunity for area cyclists. I was thrilled to be one of the first people to see and ride the new 953 frameset. The ride quality was what one would expect from a premium steel frame: smooth, snappy and lively. It has the added benefit of additional corrosion and ding resistance as well as more finishing options. The bike in the shop was polished for IF by the good folks at Phil Wood. It had a beautiful chrome like appearance. I also rode Matt’s personal XS complete with gold head badge. The frame immediately draws you in begging you to pedal harder and smile bigger and goofier! It is simply amazing. There is no wonder this frame has been honored twice at the Worlds Best Dream Bike. Thanks to all attendees. If you missed the event we hope you can make it next year! I would like to thank all of the sponsors that participated in the event including: Independent Fabrication, Mamma Lucia’s, Serfas Optics, Hammer Nutrition, Carb-Boom, Park Tools, and CytoSport.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What a GRRREAT Weekend!

You are viewing the first batch of photos from last weekend's Independent Fabrication event where IF President, Matt Bracken, spoke on the past, present and future of the company and it's magnificent bikes. Great fun was had by all - during the test rides, evening reception and Sunday morning ride. Tom and I, along with the rest of the TBE staff would like to thank everyone who helped to make this event possible...THANKS :)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Frederick County Watershed 8/19/2006

Jason, Rick, Mehdi and myself hitting some of the Shed's technical XC offerings. Not really anything special, just a couple of choice clips.

18 Hours on the Farm 2006

18_hours_on_the _farm_2006

Recently one of our guys named Kevin competed in an endurance event called 18 hours on the farm. This is his tale:

Where to start?

I guess at the beginning. This is a smaller endurance race held just west of Richmond on a Boy Scout camp. The facilities are pretty nice with some good bathrooms and showers.

The start is pretty mellow due to the small field and we get spread out pretty quick. We hit the first hill and I noticed a few guys struggling already, they're in for a long day. It's really humid and hot and I'm going through water pretty fast. The course was good for an endurance event. No big climbs, kind of twisty and rooty. There are a couple of good fire-roads and dirt roads mixed in for recovery and good place for pounding gels and energy drinks.

First few laps are pretty uneventful, I settle into a nice pace and my pit times are pretty quick. The sun finally sets around 8 o'clock but it isn't getting any cooler. This is where the test starts for me. There is going to be a lot of night riding at this event, almost 10 hours. My plan is keep riding all night, this is the magic hour, seems to be the time when you can put laps on a lot of solo riders.

I'm doing pretty good up to about midnight and my brain starts messing with me. My whole universe is contained within a spot of light about 10 feet in diameter and nothing else exists. I start seeing and hearing things. I start singing to myself, whistling the theme to the Andy Griffith show, talking to myself, pretty much anything to snap me out of the funk. It works and I start riding strong again. I get to the start/finish line and see that I've moved up into the top ten.
I averaged 7.7 miles an hour. I *think* I got top 10 but my addled brain couldn't figure out the scoring table at the end of the race. I was pretty pleased with my effort. I still need to cut down on my pit times at night and it would be nice to be able to 2 laps in a row. I rode the hardtail for the whole race and it worked great. I was really glad to have it on some of those climbs, especially the last laps when I was trying to open gaps on the solo riders I was passing. I need to use chamois butter next time, My butt is pretty raw right now.

Next up - SM100

Kevin ultimately placed 9th in the men's solo division.

Congratulations Kevin!!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


pictured: seth, tom, danielle, roger

Five years ago I never would have thought that in the summer of 2006 I would only get to enjoy a one day vacation... well these types of surprises keep life interesting. The store was closed on Monday Aug. 21st so Danielle and I could visit some family in a little town tucked in the Shenandoah Valley. This section of country was made for cycling. Any direction you point the bike you can enjoy scenic country roads with almost no traffic. While the duration of our stay was very brief it was great to pedal down the near perfect roads that I have enjoyed riding for the last seventeen years or so. Now if we can only increase it to two days next year.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Change is in the air...

If you pay attention, you can see the subtle signs that fall is on the way. Last Friday, I woke up and looked out the window as I normally do. Only on Friday, I noticed something different, yellow leaves on the Black Walnut Trees in my back yard. I looked around a bit more and all I saw was green but I knew that those leaves were the first sign, cold weather, winter riding tights and frozen feet were on the way. My house is located at about 600 feet above sea level and on a norther facing slope. Based on past experience, the trees on my street and in my yard are about 2-3 weeks ahead of the surrounding areas. So, if you aren't seeing yellow, orange and red leaves in your area yet, they are on the way!

On Saturday, it was more of the same. Mehdi, Jason, Rick and myself did a 20 mile ride at the the Watershed. On one of my favorite sections of trail, the leaves had not only changed but were already falling off the trees. I felt the need to take a moment, say goodbye to the leaves and snap the above picture. Besides the fleeting moment of sadness I always feel when I realize the leaves are abandoning me for the winter, the ride was great.

We all rode pretty good on the first half of the ride. I got us turned around a couple of times but in the end I figured out where we needed to be. For the most part we all stayed upright the entire day, except for Jason who managed to hit the ground a couple of times.(Look for the video later in the week). For the first time ever, I managed to clear the technical rock climb by Mo's cut. My clearing of this section was fueled by Jason's proposal of buying my lunch if I managed to clear it. ;) Rick also made a few valiant runs at the climb, a couple more trips to the Shed and he's going to own that climb.

The last half of the ride was a bit rough, we were all out or low on water and it's literally an uphill battle back to the car. At one point Rick became so desperate for water that he filled his hydration pack up at one of the ponds.(Hope you're OK Rick!) Mehdi and Jason led the pack for most of the way back. My hands were sore and blistered due to the poor grip choice I made on my rigid hardtail so I ended up walking many of the rocky sections. I hope to resolve this problem by my next ride with a nice new set of super-soft Oury's. Upon arriving at the cars we made a b-line to California Tortilla to replace some of the liquid and calories we burned off. Can't wait to do it again. Hopefully this coming weekend.......

Thursday, August 17, 2006

More Indy Fab Weekend Prep

We decided to buck up and replace our ancient digital camera last month so we can get some awesome pictures for this here blog thing. I have been practicing my photography skills and I am almost ready to document our 1st annual IF Weekend. It is going to be Indy Fabulous! :)