Friday, February 16, 2007

B and N

Looks like one of the new top books from B and N features cycling. Looks like a good read. Maybe I will pick it up for my wife. She is always looking for a new book.

I came up to my parents house, and had no clue how much snow there was. Philly did not have too much snow at all, but up here in the mountains we have a good amount. I spent a good portion of the night so far using my dads new snowblower to make a parking spot in front of my parents house.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tour De Waltrip?

Holy Crap, Imagine another sport is cheating! I could only imagine the talk. Can I now go to a gas station and talk about NASCAR cheating as people did to us at the bike shop after Floydgate or Dr. Fuentezgate? When I see my family at a BBQ, can I ask them if all drivers cheat, just as they asked me about cyclists? I am on Floyd's side, but there was a ton of crap thrown at everyone in spandex and on skinny tires when that crap hit the fan.

At least with this issue, the drivers and their teams are caught more or less red handed,and there is almost no appeals process. The only thing that stinks about this is that the drivers will be right back, but the crew cheifs and mechanics got kicked out. I didn't see that go down since the Festina issuse back in the day.I guess by Phonak dropping out of cycling made all of those folks look for new jobs.

The drivers did get pushed back in the points standings, and it will hurt their chances of an overall win for the season, but not for individual days.

In a sport that was founded on outlaws and moonshine running, I am amazed that people are so upset about the cheating.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

some bike bling

Valentines day has about an hour left in it, and I am still not sure that we will have work tomorrow or not. It is going to feel like -1 with the windchill, and it is still pretty icy out there. Having students walk to school is a good idea when it is 60, but when it is -1, that comes to being a different story. I can not even imagine walking how far some of our kids do in that type of temps with the lack of resources they have. Many of my kids come in with no hats, no gloves, etc. It is hard to give them crap for doing something when you see how they come in and what they go through to get there. I really have a hard time sending a kid for a late pass when they are one minute late to my class after going through that kind of crap. We are supposed to have zero tolerance, but I also have professional judgement.

I wrote about my wife (then girlfriend) getting me a Brooks saddle for V-day a few years ago. I think I finally figured out what she can get me for v-day that is bike related and not a consumable thing like wheels, or something. All of my bikes have Chris King Headsets after a few years of that being the easy thing to get me. I really have found the bike bling that I want. It is a custom headtube badge! A local lady, Jen Green, makes these badges and some bike jewlery. Her real biz is making other jewlery like engagement rings and earings, but she makes some great headbages. Check her stuff out.
I think mine may be an old school Phillies P with Philly across the top of it. What do you think?

Sram and Cane Creek and the snow/ice

Happy Valentines day. I guess I was a bit early this week with the picture that I posted a few days ago.
I got the day off from school due to the weather. I told everyone yesterday when we were leaving not to expect to be off, but I guess I was wrong. I have to admit that I sort of thought we would be off, but I didn't want to get excited, and then not have it off.

According to BRAIN. SRAM has recalled both the front and rear Force level brakes. There is a PDF on their site explaining how to get your new calipers. Apparently there was a metallurgical failure in the mounting bolt of the brakes.

Other news from BRAIN is some really great news out of Cane Creek. They are going to release a few new track wheelsets this fall. They notice the rise in track popularity and they are going after the market. If these new track wheels are like the rest of theirs, they will be super strong, nice and light, and pretty good looking. I am a huge cane creek fan. I have two diff wheelesets from the boys and girls in North Cackalaka. I beat them up, and they keep coming back for more. As a bigger rider on a light wheelset in the city, I can not ask for more from Cane Creek.

Hopefully we will have some more news on the Lower Providence indoor track facility from the folks over at PCT soon.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

top 100 shops.

The folks over at BRAIN sent out the top 100 shops of the year a few days ago and we made it again! Pretty cool! City Bikes, a shop I used to work at with Mike and the boys made it as well. I think it is pretty cool that I work/have worked for two of the top 100. I dont think it is to do with me, but I am proud of the time I have spent with both shops. It is great to work for a shop that you would shop at anyway.

Some "bad" news is that Guy's and D&Q also made the top list. They are direct competors with Keswick. It will just make us continue to work harder in the next year.

Monday, February 12, 2007

29er x 2 and squishy

While looking around I came across this amazing 29er. . This thing must fly. It is made by Vicious Cycles.


I had to do an assignment for a class I am taking that is part of the grant I won last year. We had to look at site design and decide what was good, what was bad, and so forth. I decided to look at some bike companies and see if I could compare two of them. I will post my response so you can check it out. While looking around for more or less a bike site to trash, I came across many that are really well designed and some look pretty similar. I guess that is a good thing in todays game of the web selling bikes. I decided I was def going to use a brand that we sell as a good example, and use any brand that came up as a bad example weather we sold it or not.

My assignment is what follows:
I feel that to really compare sites, you have to keep them in the same general genre. I picked two sites that I am somewhat familiar with. They are both in the same vein of Bicycle Manufacturer.

My criteria that I selected, as these are both bike manufacturers are as follows:

1. Pleasing design. - The site is not assaulting when it pops on to your browser.

2. Load time. I do not want to wait to see these sites, or click too many times to get to the info I need to see.

3. Ease of use - I can go to the site and find exactly what I need from the homepage.

4. Presentation of information. - The site gives me the info that I need when I need it. I do not want to have to go too far to look for it.

To do this assignment, I decided to try to decide what road bike to buy. As I already have a very extensive background on the topic.

I used two sites. and

At As soon as I logged onto the site, I was presented with a horizontal list of bicycle types. When I clicked on the link for the type of bike I wanted, I was brought directly to a site of all of their road bike options. The site gave me a quick blurb about road bikes, and below was a thumbnail image of the bikes available. When I put my mouse near the thumbnail, it gave me a blurb about that particular bike. As many bike brands have all sorts of names for their bikes, this helps to give the user information so they do not look at a bike that is above or below their intended use. When I clicked on the bike I would like, it brought me to a site with all of the information I could need for the bike. It also gave me a slightly larger picture of the bike. When I put my mouse over that part of the site, it showed me a really amazing close-up of the bike that I could move all around and totally check out. I was able to compare bikes, send a link to a friend (or my wife), find a dealer, look at previous year’s bikes, etc. Everything was really laid out well, and all of the links worked quickly.

According to my scale.
1. Pleasing design. - The site looks good. Good choice of color, nice images, a bunch of useful links.

2. Load time. There is a bunch of images and animation going on, but it loads quickly.

3. Ease of use - Everything I need is at my fingertips and easy to find.

4. Presentation of information. - I was able to find exactly what I wanted, the size, the color, and approximate price, and a dealer in my area is no time.

When I went to I was hit with a crazy close-up of part of a bicycle frame. I had to click to get into the English version of the site. When I did get to that part of the site, I was given a loading image frame. I waited for the image to load as it took up a good percentage of the page. Across the top I was not able to find the type of bike I wanted. I figured that the bike type would be under catalogue 2007. I clicked on that link and it brought me to a large picture of a bike with some links across the top. I had to scroll down (on a pretty large screen) to see what bike I was looking at. Here the print was a light gray type on a white background. Not the best way to look at type. There were links called characteristic and technical info. Under the characteristic link, there was a chart that as someone who has been around the bike industry for a long time had a hard time reading. The other link called technical info gave me some specs for the bike.

According to my scale
1. Pleasing design. - Not so much. I saw a big picture with some really poor looking graphics and a link to pick my language of choice.

2. Load time. I had to click around and scroll a bunch to get to what I wanted to see. When I clicked to change the color of the bikes, it did take a long time. Maybe because they are huge picture files.

3. Ease of use - The homepage is a bit more complicated, and it is hard to get directly to what I want.

4. Presentation of information. - The info that I needed to determine what size I would need was very hard to decipher. When I tried to find a dealer, I was sent to a site with Italian on it. When I did find what I needed to click, it only gave me one place to find their bikes state side (which is far from true), and the link for that company did not work.

Bad design will make someone leave your site, and often times leaves a really bad taste in their mouth as it relates to the brand or whatever you are trying to get across. Broken links, clicking around too much, deciphering information does not make for a very good customer experience. The site that I picked for the bad design also had no real innovation as far as design.
I learned to really look at a site with a keen eye for developing how you want your information to come across, and think of the end users interaction with your site. When you get into developing a site, the links and everything become like your local neighborhood, you are able to get around with no issues since you have been here for a while. It is hard to divorce yourself from the designer/programmer side to the end user side of the screen.

In this comparison, two bike manufacturers, one that is regarded as some of the finest bicycles on the planet, and another that is a "bargain brand" bike, the bargain brand site really came off well as the fine Italian cycles really fell face first.


Happy valentines day a few days early. I saw this image online and I could not resist stealing it from Human Zoom Bike shop.
I do get some bike stuff for valentines day. I get bike stuff for every holiday. Last Christmas I got a gift certificate from the shop I work at. Gifts that I can buy at cost! Cool stuff. I remember a few years ago, she got me a Brooks saddle for valentines day. That is probably the coolest thing I ever got for valentines day. I have no idea what I am getting her or what she is getting me, but I guess we still have a few hours to work that out.

I am totally going to ride the "wet" bike tomorrow as it is supposed to get crappy out. I wish we would get more snow, but this storm that is coming is a hard one to predict. I still have a feeling I will not have school Wednesday.
My boy Fernando , himself a fellow bike shop whore posted this link to YouTube on Crucial Brutal(home of team brutaltron). It is of a girl riding a exercise bicycle. Check her out. TOTALLY NOT WORKSAFE

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Some new goals.

While checking out the posts of a few friends and some of their plans for the upcoming seasons, I decided that racing cyclocross and being competitive was a very good goal, but considering I will have grad school(every other Saturday all day), regular work school, and life going on during cross season, I decided to focus on something a bit different than cross. It is still bike related, but I think I want to do both the Shenandoah Mountain 100 and the Wilderness 101 . Can I do both in a year? That will be seen. With my former shop, City Bikes sponsoring it, and some friends doing it, this will be a bit more motivation to get down there and give it a shot. I am going to work on the time on the bike and of course my weight loss goals so I can participate in an event like this.

I took Friday off from the gym so I could take the Karate Monkey on a bit of an extended ride through the city. I kept to mostly roads, with a little bit of grass riding thrown in. I really like it for commuting so far. For what I give up in speed over my road or cross bike, I can add some time in the woods to my commutes home, this will definatly give me some chops for riding this summer. Time to really hit the trails hard from here on out if I want to accomplish my goals. If you have tried the 100 mile mountain bike rides, let me know how you prepped, and what you thought of them. I have a few friends who have done them, but they are already animals and can do pretty well on the bike.

If I didnt need another blog distraction to keep me from blogging here or working on my grad school stuff, I found the Pedro's pro mechanics blogs. If that is not enough to keep me from my daily work, I dont know what is.

Well I am off to watch an Inconvienent Truth (again) with the wife and mother in law.

One last note, there is a great story about an amazing trip over at the surly blog.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bringing Sexy back

So the NYT did a short blurb about the hipsters and their love for Justin Timberlake. I have to admit that a few years ago, I did take a shine to the former Syncer. I have always liked a few of his songs, but never enough to actually buy an albumn. I remember once at a bar in Philly I played a JT song on the jukebox after trying to convince a very musical friend of mine how amazing JT actually was. He was half way convinced that it was a fluke that JT had a good song, and half convinced that my time spent with teenagers has torn apart my former staus of "Music Snob". I kept my JT love to myslef unless the song came on and I started to shake the moneymaker, but then I get an email from a fellow music snob (and former bike courier),Tony Pointless,that he was interviewed in the NYT for a feature on JT.
Check it out. While you are at it, check out his band R.A.M.B.O. with songs like U-Lock justice,Chinese Resturant Mosh Pit, and Kids Who Mosh Like Assholes Must Make for Selfish Lovers how can you go wrong?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Fixed gear on NPR

NPR did a story about fixed gear bikes today. Same typical no brakes, couriers, etc. It was cool that they interview AZ
link 1
Link 2 in the spot. Click here to get to the story.

Is it cold?

Where I grew up, it was not always this cold, but I guess I was used to it, since we did have some cold winters. It seemed once October or so hit, it was just straight up cold till March or so. There was just no question about it. I have been spoiled living in Philly and NoVA, but damn it is cold. I saw a high of 24 today, but I think that was inflated. I had the day off since I had to go get my shoulder looked at, but more on that later. I spent most of the morning putting my home network in a closet. I had to run some wires and drill some holes, but it looks much better in there, than sitting on my nightstand in the bedroom.
I did some dishes, and other stuff I generally do not want to do after getting home from work. I was going to ride to the appointment, but I did not want to have to remove all of my cycling layers to have x-rays or whatever. I know...a cop out, but it was 9F when I was leaving for the Dr!
I got home from the Dr. and even though I had to go over to the hospital to have x-rays done, it was all over in less than two hours. Not too bad. I decided that I needed to go for a ride on the 29er, as I have hardly had time, and it has been too cold to do more of a ride than just around the block. I got all wrapped up, and got on the bike. The first two blocks were a bit rough on the small sections of skin that were exposed, but once I started moving it was great to be on the 9er. I think once I get used to it, the bike will be tons of fun to ride around town and on the dirt. Hopefully it will be warm enough soon so I can get a good day out on the bike.
The first picture was taken at a school in fishtown with great artwork on the outside.

The second shot is from a legal Graff wall around Cecil B. Moore and 2nd street.

Who said this is not the city of brotherly love?

I made an appointment to see the Dr. after a student was wondering what was wrong with me, when I was curling up in pain but not really doing anything. It is not hurting since I went riding last week, but I still have some pain. I had the x-ray and to my totally untrained eye it looks fine. I will see the specialist on Monday. I will keep us all updated.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Snow and Dark.

I ended up going the ride with Ben I was talking about. I got a text from him early asking if I wanted to go. As I have most of my parts on the 29er, I asked for a demo bike to ride from the shop. He came back at me about the Team Replica Rush? I could not turn down the opertunity to ride that thing, so I agreed. More on the bike later.
As we would love to have had a longer ride, we had some issues. We were going to meet at 6:30 at the Valley Green inn and get moving.
Ben had to close the shop, and I had to fight Philly traffic to get out there in time. Neither make for a very specific time. I took a crazy route through some of Phillys worst hoods to avoid the highway traffic. I got to Brian's house to grab his bike, and remembered that it was a Lefty fork...and it does not fit on the rack. Not intending to have many problems and knowing that Ben always has tools, I left mine at home instead of going back in to get them. So, at that minute I was caught without tools and a bike that does not fit in the car. I figured, I have made bigger bikes fit, let me get this guy in the back seat. As I was trying to get it in the car, i realized that Brian was rocking the fancy pants Time peddals. I ride with SPDs these days. Not a good mix. I called Ben to see if he had an extra set of peddals and a wrench. More or less a shot in the dark, unless we are talking about some hardcore shop guys.
Luckily he had the peddals, but no wrench. We tried to make it work with a park multi tool but all the peddals we had to change were all put on by gorillas(us or other shop guys). After some really worn out hands, and frustration, we decided to go back to ben's house to get some peddals.
We got to the house, switched them over and played with his dogs a bit and we were back on the way.
The bike was AMAZING! I am the worst Cannondale critic, but this was the bomb. The only problem was I could not get the sag exactly right and the tires were really skinny and did not have much for tread. Besides that, the rush takes just enough of the edge off, and the Lefty fork is great. I was just blowing through things that I normally have a hard time on my steel hardtail.
We had to cut it a bit short as he has a wife home starting contractions, and I have to teach in the morning. The full moon, the snow, the cool bike, and a good friend made it a great night.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

She is here.

So my 29er arrived a day early! Thanks QBP and the boys in brown!

I stopped by the shop, shot the bull, chased all the threads and then headed out.

We had dreams of going for a night ride tomorrow, to celebrate one of the guys and the upcoming birth of his second baby(his wife is due friday), but I dont think I will make it. It is supposed to snow a bunch, be butt cold tomorrow night, and my shoulder is effed right now.
I guess I will have to skip out on the ride. Hopefully we will have many oppertunities to celebreate Ben and his kids. Good luck buddy.

Ben Riding a stunt down at White Clay, Delaware over the summer.

I def am not going to make it to the ride tomorrow night, since I built up the 29er, and that means my IF is now a frame and a seatpost hanging from the rafters in my basement. If i had wheels and a front deraliurer, I would go, but it would be hard to keep up just carrying a frame in the woods.
Sort of sad for the IF, as she is my baby, but a new beginning for some of those parts. I am going to rebuild the IF. Will it be a single? will it be a geared 26inch bike? It all depends on how much I enjoy the 29er world.

I am waiting for my wheels, but they are not going to be in till friday. I will also need a bottom pull front der that fits the Surly. Hopefully one of the shops will have it.

I will be back on the stick tomorrow as far as exercise goes due to the fact that our contest started today at 3:30. I have been doing smaller workouts at the house and still really watching what I take in, so I don't go off the deep end trying to keep pounds on for the weigh in. I am SO going to win.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Coming along

Last post I talked about how i wanted to drop some tons. So far I have dropped over 10 lbs. Being a bit sick last week I am sure helped on the road, but I have been busting my butt so far. I am doing spinning between 2 and 3 days a week, running 2-3 miles a day (except Friday) and I lift weights everyday but Wednesday and Friday. Days that I spin, go light on the lifting.

I am working with low weights and high reps. I do different body parts, but sometimes I will do the same body part two days in a row. I will post my true work out schedule when I get it totally down. I feel that it is working, and I am sure the eating right is dong well. I cut out the peanut butter and threw in the oatmeal instead. I am sure that helped. Turkey and Chicken are doing more for me than veggie burgers and cheese ever did. Not that I dont support the things I said before, but the lean protein is where it is at. Stay away from that fried chicken.

At work we are doing a biggest loser type challange. We start tomorrow at 3:30 and end the last wednesday in May. I am so winning this shit, it is going to be sad for the other folks in this program. I will keep you updated as the time goes on.

Jess (my wife) and I went to a friends wedding the other night. It was the first wedding we have been to since our own. It was pretty cool to be the "old pro" at the wedding instead of the guy who made a half ass attempt at catching some part of womans undergarmet.

The wedding was great and totally my style. The groom owns a real bikers motorcycle shop and the bride works at a tattoo shop and desings jewlery. Both artists in their own right, but very traditional. It was a good mix of the two. What I pictured of my wedding if we didnt go the direction we went with ours. Picture a girl with full sleave tattoos in a traditional gown with a train and all. Groom with neck work poking out of his tux. Good stuff.

I would never trade my wedding for the world, but Paul and Chrissy really know how to throw a party! They even used a picture from our wedding for their program.

Oh bikes...I ordered my 29er finally! I have made a bunch of extra $$ on ebay and finally got some money from my HP grant that I won, so I ordered the frame. I picked up some decent wheels, and I am going to tear down my IF to build the Karate Monkey as a geared bike so I can use it to commute to work, and hit the trails at Wiss on my way home. I will hopefully have it on the road by next Tuesday. I would imagine my wheels will come in on Monday. I am going to build it up mostly Thursday night when I get it, but wait for final adjustments until I have my own wheels. I will post pictures when it is done.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Say it out loud.

As I talked about before, I have been working out like a dog. I am running a bunch and lifting three days a week. I am doing all sorts of different stuff. I really want to be fit enough to make a shot at racing cyclocross. I also want to gain some speed on the Mtn Bike. I feel that I am pretty much as fast I am going to get without losing some weight. I could tweek some specific technical skills, but the speed gain is going to come from dopping this extra tonage.

A real motivator was a customer who came into the shop and was asking about some rides, and some clothing. After talking with him for a while, he sort of made a up and down look at me and said...You actually ride? I wanted to rip his fucking throat out, I just said if he would like to join our Saturday group ride, I would be happy to show him how fast I was. After a few months of Satudays....he has not shown up.

Some other motivation comes from two (1 2)guys I have ridden with who dropped some weight and really shoot out of the gate now. Most of the guys I ride with are from the shop and they are just rockets. I have always been able to hold my own, but I want to be the person who is doing the waiting and not the person who people are waiting for.

So as Chris Carmichael says...If you really want it, say it out loud. I AM GOING TO LOSE 30LBS. by April 1st. My secondary goal is a total 60 by September 1st. Keep an eye here for my updates. This is not some New Years bullshit.

I have been on the bike off and on besides commuting. I built a new 1x9 cross check for riding around town. It is for the really cold days or when the trail is iced over when I will take the train both ways to work. It is also for crusing around town doing errands.

So far it is running pretty well. I am having a bit of a chain issue, but I think I just need to buy a new one when I stop by the shop.

I am on my self imposed time off from the shop. When it gets slow around there, I ask to be sent home for the rest of the season. For the years I have worked in the industry and taught, I have taken the winter off. It is nice to get a break from the shop, but I feel like I miss out on some of the bro deals and I don't keep up with my bikes as well as I should.

As CES and MacWorld are going on this week, there was a great announcment by Motorola that they have a bike that will charge cell phones. It is for emerging markets that do not have as much power available as the US