Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Best Phone Call Ever

Caller: Ummm, hi I am the guy that just bought that unicycle (20 minutes ago) remember me?
Handsome Bicycle Repairman: Yeah
Caller: Ummm........ can I exchange it for a regular bike?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Too Much Silver Grasshopper

The other day a gentleman named Leo visited the shop. He asked a few questions about building a frame that he made many years ago. He built the frame at one of the first UBI frame brazing classes under the instruction of frame-builder-extrodonaire Albert Eisentraut. As Leo was brazing the pictured frame Mr. Eisentraut snuck up behind him and exclaimed "Too much silver grasshopper" hence the phrase on the top tube. This is one of two frames that Leo made and the craftsmanship is great. I guess he had a good instructor :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Bicycle Escape Home Brew

Just yesterday we got our TBE coffee straight from the bean roaster. Preliminary sips prove this bold and balanced coffee to make you faster, more alert and more attractive. Stop by and drink up and taste the happy. It's damn good (and hot)!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another Cool Build

I just built this QBall which will be part of the TBE demo collection. The size small 29er has a heart of steel with a star fade wrapper. The frame is outfitted with Shimano XT bits and pieces with a Fox fork and Hope headset.

More pretty pictures here.

Friday, November 28, 2008

New Arrival

I just built this YiPsan steel 29er mountain bike. The frame is fillet brazed and finished with a translucent red that allows you to see the brazing underneath. Stop by the shop and check the bike out in person or better yet set up a demo.
As always you can see more pictures on our photo site.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Hey all your facebookie types. TBE now has an official facebook site and we are looking for fans! Check the site periodically for photos, ride updates, and general chit chat. Make sure you become a fan so you stay up-to-date.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Roger's 650b

Roger just finished building his new do-it-all bike, a YiPsan monster cross. The bike is set up for all-day comfort in the saddle. The frame has clearance for wider knobbies so light mountain trails are not off limits. That fancy-pants hub you see up front is a Schmidt generator which will power both a front and rear light. The lugged steel bike is dressed up with Sram components and Avid disc brakes. Stop by and see this beauty in person.

More photos here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kleen Kanteen

I don't know why I am so excited about these water bottles but I am. They are taste-free, total renewable stainless steel bottles with plastic sports caps. So if you have been wanting to ditch plastic this is your chance.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Ti Quiring SS

I fell in love the second I took this Quiring frame out of the box. Some may say I committed the ultimate sin and painted a Ti mountain bike. To them I say shut up- my bike is cooler than yours buddy!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Giant Freedom Twist DX on the Road

I’ve been wondering how the “all- new Giant Twist Freedom DX” would handle in real world applications, so recently I put more than a few miles on this electric bicycle. First I have to tell you it was fun! Everyone in the shop who has ridden it has come back smiling saying things like: “Cool! Amazing! It just goes when you peddle with an extra kick.”

So how did it handle riding from home? It really does “seamlessly combine battery power with your own pedal power,” just like the Giant brochure says, which makes for a very different experience than my typical ride. It’s heavier than bike shop hybrids, mostly because of Giant’s EnergyPak lithium ion batteries (4-6 hour charge time). The motor for this rig is in the front hub and the “driver unit” (computer) that receives information from the PedalPlus sensor, is at the bottom of the seat tube. You select a battery (left or right); choose a power mode (sport, normal, or economy) and pedal. Yes, you have to pedal. That’s why Giant insists it’s not an electric bike. With the Twist Freedom DX, there is a certain amount of assistance that comes from the motor. The more you need, the more you get, but you can’t just sit back and go. That’s not how it works.

The first thing I noticed is the speed. It’s not bad, about 15-17 mph, which is slower than I’m used too but faster, I suspect, than most riders would take the bike. Without a cyclometer (not included in the package) I had to approximate how fast I was going. Also, the bags have less space than I’d like. Fortunately a rack top bag can be added, and one of the batteries can be removed for more space.

Functionally the bike performs quite well. The battery powered motor did a great job pulling my 175lbs frame up the hills even when I stopped and restarted on the incline. I do feel the advertised 70 mile hour battery life is optimistic. My 8 mile, moderately hilly, ride sucked 2 of 5 dots from one of the batteries power meters. For the vast majority of my ride I was in the sport setting which contributed to the expedited use the bike’s battery. There was a discernable difference between the motor’s, “eco,” “normal,” and “sport” settings which was nice.

I would describe the ride as having the wind constantly at your back; something that’s really nice if you’re tired, have knee pain, or you just want to chill a bit. Even when you pedal lightly the motor pulls you along. It’s simple to use, a pleasure to ride and lots of fun. When the batteries are turned off, the Twist Freedom DX can be pedaled like any other bike, though there is a slight “dead spot” at the bottom of the pedal stroke that reminds you of the electronics.

The bike definitely goes. It pulled me up the hills even when I slacked off. Anyone recovering from an injury or surgery would love this machine. Active older people could ride it all day, and non-riding spouses could keep up with more experienced riders.

There is a sensation when pedaling that the dead spot at the bottom of the pedal stroke is a little exaggerated due to the electronics. This is something that I noticed even when the motor was turned off. A rider less focused on pedaling smooth and consistent circles may not notice this at all but I felt it was worth mentioning.
Over all the Twist does what it’s supposed to do very well. The bike: pulled me up the hills even when I slacked off; handled well; and was great fun to ride. I definitely think people will love this bike. Anyone who wants a little extra “punch” when out with the family, a friend or spouse will appreciate what this bike has to offer. AND they won’t know it’s electric unless you tell them! Hey, anyone who can balance on two wheels and loves what cycling is all about but can’t quite spin the pedals as fast as they want, go for the Giant Twist Freedom DX it’s worth it. This bike has the potential to become everyday transportation for the masses, let’s hope it catches on.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Gambrill State Park Night Mountain Bike Rides

My fellow Americans.
The Bicycle Escape, in conjunction with M.O.R.E., will be hosting bi-weekly night rides at Gambrill State Park on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month. These rides will begin on November 5th and run through the March 18th.
Gambrill offers some of the most technical terrain in the region so these rides are for experienced mountain bikers only. It is also necessary to have a high quality lighting system. These are specialty, high powered lights with a minimum output of 10 watts or greater. Safe and properly functioning equipment is required by all riders. Helmets will be required to be worn by all riders at all times.
The ride will leave from the main trailhead parking lot located off of Gambrill Park Road. The parking is on the right as you climb the mountain, if you reach an intersection at the top of the mountain, you have gone too far.
RSVP will be required for each ride. We are in the park with special permission and space is limited. If you RSVP and for some reason cannot make the ride, please let us know as soon as possible so we can allow room for a replacement rider.
Rides will leave from the parking area at 7:00 p.m. sharp and will last approximately 2 hours. Please allow enough time upon your arrival to sign-in, prepare yourself for the ride and be ready to hit the trail on time. Liability waivers must be signed by all riders and parking passes will be issued for each vehicle. These parking passes must be displayed on all vehicles! We must be out of the park by 10:00pm.
Pace for the rides will be moderate. Speed is not as important as technical riding ability.
Because this ride exists with special permission from the Department of Natural Resources riders must follow the guidelines below in order to participate.
* The group must stay together at all times* Keep noise to a minimum* Do not disturb wildlife* Respect park rules* Follow the guidelines set forth by Tread Lightly
As is the case with the Schaefer Night Rides Space Is Limited. Currently we have 20 slots open per ride. Please RSVP here:
Info and Sign Up here:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stolen bike

A good customer of mine had his Jamis Komodo 2.0 stolen at the MARC train station in Frederick. This is the second report this week of cut bike locks. I am sad to report the $20 lock may no longer be sufficient for Frederick. Please help keep an eye out.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Giant Freedom Twist DX Electric Bicycle

We just received our first shipment of electric assist bicycles from Giant. The Giant Freedom Twist DX is unlike other electric bikes I have come in contact with over the years. The Freedom employs what Giant calls Hybrid Technology. The motor kicks in when the rider is pedaling rather than as a result of twisting a throttle. Riding the Freedom Twist is like having a constant brisk gust of wind at your back as you pedal. The motor is housed in the front hub and the batteries are hidden in the left and right rear bags fixed securely to the rack. The rider controls which battery powers the motor as well as which gear the bicycle is in by manipulating controls on the handlebar. The gears themselves are the super reliable and low maintenance Shimano Nexus internally geared rear hub.

Now listen up all you naysayers, haters, and general wankers. I don’t want any negative comments about this (or similar products) not being a "real bike". This bike was designed for a specific type of bike rider and if that is not you, fine. To be frank it is not me. But than again I am a 28 year old man in decent physical condition with well over a decade of cycling experience. If I was 68 and recovering from knee replacement surgery I might have a very different point of view. I also might want the bike if were a casual rider who lived in downtown Frederick, DC, Rockville, etc. were an electric bicycle is a cheap, practical, reliable, and sustainable way to get around. Electric bikes might even be a way to attract more people into the cycling community. Nuff said.

My plan is to ride a Twist to the shop and blog about my experiences. So check back soon.


Friday, October 17, 2008

IF Club Racer

This was a very fun project built for Ken. He plans to use the bike as a light touring rig and as a general road bike that he can take with him on travel. The steel Independent Fabrication Club Racer is built with S&S Couplers and Sram Force components. The King Cages, headset top cap, and Tubus rack were powder coated to match the aesthetic of the bike. To further tie the bike together I put an accent pin stripe on the fenders. I wish all bike builds were like this! You can see more pictures here.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Chris King Bottom Brackets

Attention Chris King fans! The Chris King Bottom Brackets have arrived and are now for sale at Ye Old Bicycle Escape. We have not received our entire shipment (the fun colors are still in production) but non-the-less several are here now and ready to go. There are a lot of similarities to their headsets and if the quality and durability are half as good I think everyone will be pleased.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Demo Bike Demo

This weekend Danielle and I (well, Danielle) broke in one of the new TBE Demo bikes, a Specialized Women’s Safire FSR. We rode at the Frederick Water Shed and the weather was beautiful as was the ride. We even saw a fox which I think is a good omen. Unless of course it is a rabid fox…

If you want to demo this bike just let us know.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Starry Night

We just had the honor of assembling Chuck's Independent Fabrication Factory Lightweight. The frame has a lot of gorgeous finish work. Chuck chose hand painted stars to accent the frame. On the fork he had the IF crown painted. The bike tips the scale at 18.07 lbs (with pedals, cage, and computer) but more importantly the ride is amazing- I should know I ride one too :) More Pictures Here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Single Speed and Multi Speed Chains and Rings

I was recently asked what the difference is between a single speed chain and the multi-speed counterpart. I thought this was a good question and here is my answer. Hopefully you find it helpful.

Single Speed/BMX (1/8”) chains are designed for non-derailleur applications only. 1/8” chains have less deflection or lateral flex than multi-speed chains. Multi-speed chains are optimized to flow through the various cogs and chainrings as the rider shifts gears. The light colored chain is 1/8" the darker chain is 3/32"

The Single Speed/non-derailleur chain has an internal width of 1/8” (where the teeth of the chainring nests inside see photo) which is wider than the 3/32” internal width of a derailleur equipped bicycle chain. As you might have surmised, the width of the chainring compliments the width of the chain so single speed chainrings are wider than multi-speed chainrings. While the widths of the chains differ the pitch (distance between the rollers) both chains measures ½”.

Most modern multi-speed chainrings are equipped with ramps and pins (see photo photo above) which are designed to facilitate smoother more accurate shifting. Single speed rings of course lack these features.

Bicycles with internally geared mechanisms (usually hubs) will often use the 1/8” chain since there is no derailleur on the bike and the chain remains fixed on one chainring and one rear cog.

Often you will see a 1/8” chain on a single speed bicycle with 3/32” cog and chainring. The wider chain on the skinnier rings poses no problems. Some feel the wider chain is stronger and they choose this set-up hoping for a more robust drive train. Others prefer the 3/32” chain and rings for single speed applications. These riders may spec their bikes in this way to save a bit of weight or to exploit the increased deflection of the 3/32” chain which may run quieter and smoother in set-ups where the chain line is not quite perfect.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Giant Frantic Winner

Last week we supported Friends of Frederick County by donating a bike for the organization to raffle off at their booth during the Great Frederick Fair. The bike was an ultra cool Giant Frantic 20" wheel kid's bike and Maggie was the winner. Congratulations Maggie!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Car Free Day

There is a goal to make September 22, 2008 a car free day. If at all possible please help with this goal. Ride your bike, telecommute, car pool, take a day off, quite your job, etc. What ever it takes. If you would like to participate you can sign up here.

The featured car free logo was designed by: pretty cool huh!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oury Oury Oury

I have been riding Oury grips since the mid 1990s. There is just something about their squishiness that pleases me. I always try to stock all their wonderful grip flavors and recently two new limited edition colors were released and delivered to The Bicycle Escape: Lilac and Burgundy. My excitement culminated in a good old fashion grip bath.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Predator

Some how we have been getting lots of old school BMX bikes lately. Here is the latest blast from the past. It is a 1985 Schwinn Predator Qualifier. Most of the parts are original. The few that have been replaced are period correct except the seat of course. We have more pictures on our Flickr album:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Old School

We just finished tuning and doing a little refurb’ work on this old school BMX bike. The frame is a Diamond Back Hot Streak. The chrome frame is complete with built in foot platforms. I figure enough people who remember bikes like this will stumble across the blog so I wanted to share the nostalgia.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Septemer 2008 Photo Ride

The 2008 Photo ride was met with record numbers and perfect weather. 21 cyclists congregated at The Bicycle Escape for a casual ride with plenty of stops to shoot some photos. We left the shop and headed toward the covered bridge on Utica Road before reversing direction and heading back to the store. Thanks to all the riders and Maili for organizing the event. Here are some pictures to make you jealous if you missed out on the fun.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Phat Cycles

The Bicycle Escape is proud to announce we are now a Phat Cycles dealer. Their entire line of bikes are high-style, laid back cruisers. Every bike rider should own a bike like this and at least 4 times every year ditch the Lycra, clipless pedals, and gloves for a recreational cruise to the ice cream parlor, coffee shop or pub. It is good for the soul!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Bikes For the World Pick-Up

Do You Have A Bicycle You No Longer Use?
Solution – Donate It!

The Knights of Columbus Bishop McNamara Council 1622, in partnership with Bikes for the World, will be collecting bicycles in relative good condition and/or easily repairable condition. (Also good bicycle parts, bicycle accessories, tools, and portable electric sewing machines.)

These collections will benefit developing nations with a means of transportation, allowing their citizens the opportunity for employment and education, thus helping to transform their lives.

Donations are tax deductible, and receipts will be provided. We request a cash donation of $10.00 accompany your donation, to help defray shipping costs.

Collection Site: St. Johns at Prospect Hall
889 Butterfly Lane, Frederick, MD
Date: Saturday, September 20, 2008
Time: 9:00 – 12:00
Goal: 200 Bicycles
Chairman: Jose Rector – 301-928-1083

Donate Your Old Bikes For This Worthy Cause!

Monday, July 14, 2008

2009 Giant Bicycles

OK it's Giant's turn. Here are some of the Giant bikes you can expect to see in 2009. Pictured here is the 2009 TCR Alliance 0. Open the PDF to view the new Defy 3, Avail 3, FCR 3, Trance X4 and even the Halfway folding bike.


Friday, July 04, 2008

2009 Specialized Catalog

Here is another sneak peak of the up-coming 2009 Specialized bikes. Shown above is the much anticipated and redesigned 2009 Epic which has a center mounted shock. Open the PDF link to see even more good stuff.

The FSR XC Pro gets an uninterrupted seattube for increased saddle height adjustment. This is the same frame design that the Stumpjumper received for the 2008 calendar year.

The 2009 Specialized mountain bikes highlighted in the PDF catalog are the S-Works Epic, Big Hit III, SX Trail II, Myka FSR Expert, and the Hardrock Pro Disc.

The 2009 road bikes show are the S-Works Roubaix, Allez Elite, and the women’s Dolce Comp.

The Super popular 2009 Crosstrail Expert is also revealed. A lot of the 2009 bikes are a ways out but this should wet your appetite until they land in shops.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Giant Bicycles 2009 Sneak Peak

Here is a sneak peak to the 2009 Giant TCR Advanced SL. We don't have too much info yet but note the sexy styling and new 2009 Dura-Ace parts. For the fist time ever the shifter housing is hidden under the bar tape.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Jeff Jones at The Bicycle Escape

This Thursday's Jeff Jones visit was a great success. Jeff addressed a crowd of about 25 cyclists. He explained his philosophy on frame design and frame building. After the presentation he answered questions for attendees both young and old. It was fascinating to see Jeff’s Truss Fork spec’d with a 4” tire. It was even more fun to ride the steed. His short stays make the front end very light which gives the bike a playful feel. This playfulness led to some parking lot goofing around after the event.

Special thanks to the Single Speed Outlaws who help organize the event as well as Clipper City Brewing for helping us out with the beer.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


When I was a kid I use to flip through the Spooky bike catalog and dream about one day owning one. Recently I got to live vicariously through Ray, one of our customers. Ray was one of the lucky guys who actually owned a Spooky. An OG, real-deal, old school one, that is, and we converted it to a single speed for him.

We first laced up some White Industries hubs (the eccentric type) to take up the chain slack. Then we specked some Avid Single Digit Ultimate brakes married to Paul brake levers. A Thompson post and stem with an Answer carbon bar were next. The old school yellow Raceface cranks were highlighted with new Oury grips in a matching color. The whole bike tips the scale at 22.06lbs.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Jeff Jones Visits Maryland

The Bicycle Escape invites fans of handmade bicycles to our shop on June 12 at 8:30 pm for a presentation by frame builder Jeff Jones. Jeff's unique designs challenge traditional thinking and push the limits of hardtail mountain bikes. We hope you can join us on the 12th for light refreshments and great bikes.

Friday, May 23, 2008

2009 Orbea Diem

Spanish frame builder Orbea enters the flat bar road bike market with their sexy and stylish carbon fiber Diem.
The following come straight from Orbea:
Orbea's Diem is made of equal parts: utility, technology, and style. Conceived as the ultimate in fast transportation for modern European cities, the Diem is finding its place as the premium alternative to conventional road bikes where a little more comfort and control is desired. Diem is perfectly suited for enjoying a century, challenging rough city streets, enjoying your daily commute, or pedaling to the coffee shop.
--Diem gets the same love as Orbea's top-level racing bikes-it's stylish shaping is the result of monocoque carbon fiber construction with Size Specific Nerve technology and a lifetime warranty.
--Using Size Specific Nerve technology from our flagship Orca, all five Diem frame sizes use different tube diameters and volumes. This ensures that every rider, from under 5 feet to well over 6 feet, get the same inspired ride quality.
--With an attitude for urban travel, Orbea is putting stopping power at a premium The Diem features disc brakes for consistent powerful braking-rain or shine.
--700x28 tires offer rack and fender options.
City, townie, street, metro, commuter - Whatever you call it, the Diem is in a class of its own with a style beyond description.
The bike should cost around $2200-$2400

Thursday, May 22, 2008

2009 Specialized Bikes

Here are a few more 2009 bikes. The 2009 Rockhopper Comp 29 (shown in green and black) is a great budget 29er. In keeping with the 2008 bike, the frame comes stock with sliding drop outs to accommodate a single speed conversion if the rider ever desires.

The P.1 AM Disc is a stout aluminum hop-around bike. The bike will also be offered in stain grey/bronze or orange. If you are looking for a playful mountain bike in a lower price point the AM might be the right bike for you.

No word on any of the nicer road bikes just yet but check back often for more updates.

Even though I am hooking you fine folks up with this sneak peak don’t get all antsy just yet. We still have quite a while before these hit the show room floor.