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Tomorrow is my Birthday, This is What I’m Wishing For

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November 13th is the day that I annually turn one year older, or my mother reminds me that she was in labor for four painful days with me. Either way, I’m going to be older which means I’ll be wiser.   I plan on getting up before the sun, riding my yet to be unveiled bicycle and then go golfing with my parents.

In an effort to take steps forward with my life, and in hopes that I’ll be the change I want to see in the world I am going to publish my wish list of various things.  Please add your own in the comments! Continue reading →

Review: Cutter Tech Knickerbocker

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MSRP : $149.99
Details : A very stretchy, comfortable knicker that was designed for those that pedal more than stand.

Roughly 11 months ago we were gifted with a pair of Cutter Tech Knickerbockers, which were originally reviewed for commuting purposes at Commute By Bike.  Since I’ve been rocking them lately for mountain biking and they will be going in to my “How to dress for winter mtbing” video, I pulled the review over here for all you ladies (or gents) to benefit from.

Continue reading →

The Bicycle Industry is Regressing

38 Bicycle Industry Regressing

As technology expands and new bike products, or forms of bike products,  hit the market the market grows – or so one thinks. If you look at the basic roll of the wheel in the past 10 years we’ve had full suspension to the masses, lighter carbon road and mountain bikes, 29″ and 27.5″ wheel sizes,  carbon wheels, stainless steel tubing and more tech driven clothing than I could ever talk about in a lifetime.  Lights run for days and nutrition is truly a science.

The technology that is pushing the market forward is also allowing us to regress.  One example of this is the push on 29ers in the industry. Most of the bikes offered are hard tail and there are a good number that are fully rigid single speeds. Why? To me I ride one for simplistic sake and to enjoy the ride. As a mechanic I want my bikes to work right. No squeaks, no skips and everything set up perfect. With a fully rigid single speed you put air in the tires every once in a while and lube the chain when it gets too dry or dirty.

In the coming weeks I want to touch on regressing in the industry.   Marketing, product and education. Wool and steel are a big hit.   Retro “tweed” rides seem to be monthly across the country and the lure to fixed gear riding is still on a high.   Companies such as Rapha, Vassago and all those custom small builders across the world are building momentum based on our own regression.   How do you feel?  Do you like riding your steel Serotta or the feel of merino wool?  If so, tell us why!

What are your preferences to the below?

* Clipless or platform?
* CO2 or hand pump?
* What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)
* Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
* Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
* Camelbak or water bottle?
* Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
* Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
* GPS or cyclometer?

Thank God for Spandex – I’ve Gotten Fat

20 Twin Six Fat Cyclist Jersey

Relatively speaking, I’ve been doing my best to not hold back lately on this blog, as well as that one.    A small part of me hopes to gain more readership from this, and not piss off too many people.  The comments have been warm and the feedback is also honest, I thank you all for that.

The Meat of the Matter

I’m fat, fat for me.  On average “heavy” for my athletic build was 160,  I strive for 135 when I was racing and was happy with 150.  Yesterday at the YMCA I weighed in at 179.  ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY NINE POUNDS?!?! 179 lbs is only 21 away from 200.

This is about when my mom chimes in and reminds me that I’m tall (5’10) and athletic, but jeesh when did all this happen?

Fine Details of Being Fat

  • I can only wear 1/4 of my wardrobe.  That is a ton of wasted clothes, and buttons being strained.
  • At a local swap meet on Sunday I picked up a FatCyclist jersey for $10.  I can wear it with honor now.
  • You feel guilty every time you eat, work out or do/don’t ride. You feel like you’re doing something wrong or not hard enough.
  • A piece of you is in hiding.  Waiting to become a human punching bag of snark comments. “You look different” or..”have you been riding?” <- that is my favorite.
  • A quick reminder, right in the gut, that you aren’t as young as you once were.
    Twin Six Fat Cyclist Jersey

The Finer Details of Not Being Fat

  • The gym isn’t doing squat for me.  Yes, I’m getting muscles and all that but I hate being on a machine for more than 20 minutes at a time.  That won’t help with much weight loss.  I plan to change my gym/riding strategy.  Ride in the mornings and evenings when possible, and hit the weights 3 times a week
  • My music is becoming harder rock. Maybe a rise in my heart rate will burn more calories.
  • Being fat only makes me fatter. I’m getting more and more frustrated with myself, so I eat worse!

What are Your Tips and Suggestions?

Feedback, please?!?!

Luna Sports Donates to High School Mountain Bike Team

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Across the country small pockets of youth in middle and high schools are creating their own cycling team. LUNA Sport recently donated $2,000 to the NorCal High School Cycling League at the annual Cyclefest Fundraiser. This money will go towards sending eight girls to the NorCal high school mountain bike series during their 2011 season.

The NorCal League continues to grow fast as more and more high school students discover this challenging and rewarding sport. Many more girls are starting to race as well, and LUNA Sport wants to help these young women get to all the races in the series, potentially fulfilling their dreams and changing their lives.

Continue reading →

Steps to Recovery After My Bicycle Accident

2 Bicycle Recovery

Bicycle Recovery

Physically, the recovery from my accident has been pretty straight forward. My mom and lady friend (wife in lesbian terms) took care of me in every way possible for the 48 hours immediately following the accident.

My legs, left hip and lower back all didn’t want to work well for me. The drugs helped curb the pain but not being able to walk or even go to the bathroom on my own was the most difficult part for those few days after.

To date, the bruises are starting to fade and granted three weeks after I still have an amazing lump on my left leg from the top tube of my bike. My lower back and hip gets sore after a long day at work or driving. But, those are my only physical complaints.

Mentally I have Been a Wreck

It would be easy to say, great I got hit by a car.. now get back on the horse and ride off in the sunset. That’s what I would have done 6 years ago (that is what I did 6 years ago) but things are different in my life, as well as internally.

  • I have a family that needs me
  • Life isn’t as easy to pass by
  • The “unbreakable” feeling I had most of my youth is gone
  • This accident has made me painfully naked
  • I have moved on from CommuteByBike.com

Leaves are Turning Over

It is fall after all, and its my favorite time of year. The leaves on the trees are beautiful colors, there is cyclocross bike races, beautiful chill mornings and my birthday is right around the corner. Keeping all those things in mind I’ve been trying to take steps forward.

  • Purchased a car. As dirty as it originally felt, I’m very excited about the daily driver (this car will have its own post) and being able to get to the MTB trail on my own time
  • The gym is my friend. I’ve been starting to go to the gym in the morning before work. It sets a great tone for work and hopefully we give me the strength and weight loss I need for further motivation. Hell, I may go again after work.
  • Forcing communication and interaction. The accident made me realize, as did the reminder from friends, I have become a lock box as of lately. A hermit within my own mind. Something inside of me, even before the the accident, has been keeping my emotions safe inside without sharing any feelings or thoughts.
  • More mountain biking. Simple as that, and as happy as it makes me.

Trying to Put the Pieces Together

I’m weeding out Facebook for all the non-friends I have added. I’m calling or writing all the friends I haven’t contacted. I’m trying to connect with my distant family again.

I’m slowly riding, but riding. All of it is off road and I am grateful for being able to return to my MTB roots. I hope to get my lady on the bike more. I hope to take more photos, and write more words. I hope to get this all out so I can start feeling again.

Pedal Savvy Bike Fashion Show

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Fritz over at Cyclelicio.us posted some great photos from the Pedal Savvy Fashion Show on November 6th, 2010. It’s good to see cycling fashionable elsewhere in the country and the whole “bike fashion show” idea taking off over the past couple years.

The biggest unfortunate of events like the above is the hipster appeal.   It is exciting to see “normal” looking people on bikes but they always seem to be young and have the American Apparel/Anthropologie feel to them.  Where’s the grandmother riding to the library?  Why does stylish in the bike industry currently mean being a hipster in tight pants?

Friday Night Lights

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Another work week has come and gone.

Thankfully last night after the close of the business week I found myself with the time to stop by the local trail on my way home from work.  The weather has been getting colder in Charlotte, NC and it was rather surprising getting out of the car at 6pm at the trail head with the wind and leaves swirling around the parking log.  For the first time in a few years I slid on my favorite Gore Jacket to wear when night riding.

The light was starting to fade as I entered the trail head.  I had decided to start off riding the trail clockwise and to turn around to ride backwards on my second lap.   My goal was to try and push myself and the gear I was running on the Karate Monkey.   Tempting my luck, I left my light off as I pushed myself down the leaf strewn trail.  Speed, low light, wet roots and leaves – yes, I was pushing my luck and hoping my guardian angel was along for the ride.

The trail that is on my way home, North Meck, is not a technical one or even a long one and it is the perfect trail to unwind after a long day at work, not a lot of thoughts are needed on this trail, the hardest thing is the sand, wet roots and leaves.

Roughly half way around the 4 mile loop I turned on the sole light I had strapped to my handlebars, my trusted Light & Motion Seca 700, A light that deserves a review on its own.  My vision was blurring with the wind, speed and darkness.  Coming up was a rooty and rocky area of the trail that I could easily cut a tire or slip out if I was blinded by the lack of light.  After the rooty and rocky length of the trail, I came across a few beautiful Golden Receivers running through the creek with their owners straggling behind.

Surly Karate Monkey

A mile longer on the trail and the lap was finished.  As I slowed to take a drink of water, I felt rain drops on my cheeks and a changing of the wind direction.  Smartly, after clicking a photo of the Karate Monkey I threw the bike in the back of the car and slid in the drivers seat just as the rain started pouring down.

Bicycle Building with Friends

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Before my El Mariachi was even an idea, my friend Shelley was looking for a 29er. We went through all the various options and her needs. As I’m still biased to many of Salsa’s products, and the Mamasita was a big hit, we kept eye out for a size small Mamasita or El Mariachi for her. After a month or so, the 2011 Salsa El Mariachi frames became available through the distributor and she ordered one up. Over several email correspondents we sourced all the parts from various websites and bike shops.

This past Thursday and Saturday I spent time helping her build up her new bike, mainly for the karma and that she wanted my special touch on her bike. Oh yes, and I have all the fancy Park Tools to do so.

Salsa El Mariachi Bike Build
The build was very painless, other than the lack of compressor and attempted tubeless conversion. Don’t worry, a compressor is now on my Birthday/Christmas list! And having to install/bleed the Dicky-tastic Jagwire white hose. The Cane Creek headset and Straitline brake levers, with additional white hose, look super fancy on the Mariachi that has no name. Matchy, but not too matchy to be confused with a racer.

Salsa El Mariachi Bike Build
The owner finished up some minor details on the bike build, forgetting the bar end/gut plugs. Shame, shame on them! Come on people, bar end plugs save lives!! Overall, I believe the she is very happy with her new 29er and hopefully had a positive bike building experience.

Salsa El Mariachi Bike Build

Her bike and all its beautiful bits, made me jealous and that is were the El Mariachi for myself came into play. Now, Industry Nine – where are my wheels?!?!

Where Do You Go Now?

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A follow up from a few Friday’s ago..October 1st.  The first day of October Two Thousand Ten.  10,01,10.

TGIFThank God It’s Friday

That’s what I kept saying to myself a few Friday’s ago.     It was the first day of October, which at work meant that all the month end reports, analytics and answers for clients were needed to be finalized.

As I ended my business day, still very proud of myself for working out at lunch, I exchanged my work pants and shoes for cycling mountain bike shoes and cycling knickers.  I hopped on my bicycle to ride .5 miles to the bus station.

The weather was phenomenal – the fall in Charlotte, NC is my favorite time of the year.  70º, sunny and blue skies.

Took a left out of the parking lot. Stop at the 4 way intersection.  Straight, and then a right hand turn onto South Blvd.  Double check the rear Cateye blinky before I go under the Morehead bridge. Under the bridge there is a dark overcast shadow, and an exit ramp of an Interstate.  Double checking all angles, cruising through with ease.  I smile – it is a great day and a great way to begin the weekend.

Stop at the traffic light

At the intersection of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, I stop at a red light.  Time the next light well to roll through easily with the green.

Slowing

At the intersection of South Caldwell and 3rd Street.  This intersection always has cars pulling illegally from the parking lot on the right.  Tap the brakes once more as an oncoming car comes to a stop in the left hand lane.

Continue forward

Spot movement at my 11 o’clock.  The car that was stopped is now moving, pedal to the metal actually.

Where Do I Go?

I angle my path 45º right in hopes the cars screeching tires will stop the vehicle, in hopes I’m giving the car more room to stop.  My path was too far right.  There’s a steep curb, there is a car & a curb & I am between them.

Screeching Tires and Yells from Pedestrians

The car didn’t stop in time.  The car hit my legs and the rear of my bike.  Folding the rear end of my cyclocross bike and back wheel.  I quickly bounced from the car to the ground.

Panic and Yells from Pedestrains

Shock.
Shaking.  Multiple people kept me on the ground. Making me lay flat on my back.  “Are you okay?”…”What’s your name?”….”Call 911!!”

Shock.
Fear. I refuse to look at my body.  Extreme pain in my left back & hip from hitting the car & asphalt.  I see my bike in tangles at my feet.

Shock.
Shaking.  I’m a statistic.  I’m yet another person to be hit on a bicycle in the area just this year.  I can’t be a statistic.  How can I tell people that commuting by bike is safe?  I’m not safe. I’m hurt. I’m a statistic.

Shock.
Alone.  I repeatedly make a complete stranger call friends & family.  Please, someone answer!

Shock.
Sirens. More fear.

Shock.
Confusion. Am I broken?  Please call my mom. Where’s my bike going?  I’m on the ambulance.  Needles and poking.  Questions.

Shock.
More shaking.  The ambulance ride is hard, and rough.   The ER is responsive, there was a cyclist among the doctors.  They made me feel safe for a moment.  X-rays.  They need Cat Scans they say.  Finally, I get through to my girlfriend on the cellphone.

Shock.
Neck brace, back board and I’m waiting for a Cat Scan. All I can see is the ceiling tiles above my head.  There’s screaming.  A major car wreck and multiple people needed to get through cat scans.  Hearing screaming wasn’t helping my nerves.  I tell my nurse to let them go through first.  I could wait.  One bed pain later, and one hour later.. I’m still waiting.

Catscan. Finally two guys there that have personality that help give me the catscan.  They talk to me like I’m human.

Family and friends.  My girlfriend and boss find me soon.  The morphine drip is wearing off. Drugs, wheel chairs and finding my bicycle in the utility closet of the hospital parking lot.

Shock.
They give me more drugs.  I’m trying not to think.  The car drive makes me panicked. I no longer feel safe outside of my four walls.

Mom.
My mom arrives at what I think was 3am.

I’m a statistic yet again.  My freedom is not mine.  My legs are not my own.

Where do I go from here?

(No spell check or grammar check here.)