Friday, February 29, 2008

Back in town and making messes.

Finished up getting schooled on Tuesday. Very pleased with the entire class, we covered an incredible amount of material very thoroughly, and all the teachers were impressive. I was really impressed that there were 14 students, and we had 4 teachers most of the time, giving a pretty good ratio.
The other thing I found impressive was the experience of the instructors, which ranged from a PhD to an owner of a very successful local shop. These guys were able to speak on everything from the scientific reasons of why they recommend what they do, to logistical issues of offering bike fits in your shop as a service.
So I came back to the shop wednesday morning all jazzed up to allocate some floor space for our newly acquired Serotta Size Cycle, and get cracking on doing some fits. So yesterday I spent the morning making a scaled model of our shop (2D view from above) using high tech materials such as electrical tape, cardboard, and scissors. I'm pretty sure my engineering education helped a lot. Then Dan and I played "rearrange the store" with the model for a while before settling on a layout that we are pretty sure is pure awesomeness.
Then we began to tear the place up.
Unfortunately, the place is still tore up. It was one of those projects that everything got a whole lot worse before it will get better. We're still in whole lot worse phase, and I'm sitting at home playing on the computer instead of at the shop making the place functional again.
I'll post some pics soon of the revamped Bikeworks. Hopefully within a week or so we'll have the full extent of our plans finished, and we'll be all set up for a busy spring to hit.
Also, along with the rearranging project, I'm getting ready to box up some winter clothes to store until next fall. But I'd much rather sell the stuff than box it for several months. So, if you're lacking any cold weather gear, come by and see us, and we'll make you an offer you cant refuse.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

1 Day of Serotta school down, 2 to go.

Spent the day today attending the Serotta Int. Cycling Institutes Personalized fit class. The whole day. We started at 8 am, on a Sunday, which I found a bit odd. It's been a while since I was anywhere by 8 in the morning. When I saw that the schedule had us there until 6pm, I was a little worried. The day was so interesting, and we were moving around, hands on exercises with all the new material, that it was 5 before I knew it, and then we finished about an hour early.

Today we covered the pre-fit interview, the range of movement assessment, some fundamental anatomy and physiology, body measurements, and how to use the Serotta size cycle. Tomorrow we learn a whole bunch more stuff, and then tuesday we learn a whole bunch more stuff, and take a quiz.

I found out today that in order to get the certificate / diploma for finishing this course, that I will have to do ten fits, and provide SICI with the numbers from the fit for their approval. I think that is pretty cool, as it makes the certificate that much more meaningful; I didn't just space out in their class for 3 days, I can actually apply what they taught (hopefully).

That means I will be looking for a handful of volunteers to practice my new skills on as soon as I get back. So let me know if your interested, send me an email or call the shop and we'll get you scheduled.

Been enjoying cruising around Boulder a bit, although I feel a little out of place without a North Face fleece on. I think they hand those out when you get a local drivers license, something about keeping Boulder homogenized law that they passed a few years back.

Went to Oskar Blues last night for dinner. Very cool place, good food, good beer, I would probably spend a fair amount of time there if I lived in the area. As far as my Dales on tap vs in the can experiment, I would say it's a pretty close call. I think it was a little smoother on tap, but I've always thought it's been an easy drinking beer to begin with.
Kristi was enjoying the Gordons IPA on tap, which is a fine beer as well.
During dinner, I noticed the people in the booth next to us were enjoying themselves the exotic beer commonly referred to as Coors Light, from the bottle. I found this pretty amusing, as we had gone there specifically because of their beer. On the way out, we were joking with the hostess about people drinking Coors, and she informed us that she doesn't like any of the Oskar beers because they're "too strong."
So I asked to see her manager, and then persuaded him to fire her. It made me feel better, but she was crying so loud that she woke up my baby, and that made me mad again.
Sometimes you just cant win.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Happyness Report 2008

Reading Dave Moulton's bike blog, as I am prone to do since he seems to be a interesting guy with an amazing amount of knowledge about bikes and bike related history.
He was talking about a 60 Minutes report about the happiest people on earth that aired recently. Apparently Denmark is the place to be if you like being happy.
Sweden reportedly ranks #7, far outranking the good ol' Youesofay, which came in at 23. My brother is now a Swedish resident, so you best be cheery chappy, I'm expecting at least 3 times my own cheeryness next time I talk to you.
Anyways, Mr. Moulton makes some interesting comments about the relationship between income and happiness, something that I give some thought to on a regular basis, since I've chosen to go the route of independent bike store proprietor rather than defense industry engineer peon.
I actually look forward to going to work in the morning, so I'm pretty happy with the decision so far.
Of course, with a wife and baby this cute, it would take a pretty seriously lousy job to make me unhappy.


Some of us are just lucky I guess.

Gonna get schooled Serotta style.

I'm heading up to Boulder this weekend to attend the Personalized fit class from the Serotta International Cycling Institute (SICI). It's three full days of class, that will cover everything I need to know to set up the shop and run a professional fit service here. Then when I return, I will regurgitate everything to Danny and Charlie.
I'm very excited to go and dork out on bike fit for a while. They also said to bring shorts, shoes, and pedals as attendees will be fit on a Serotta size cycle while we're there. So when I return I can compare my results with my current set up on my Rocky Mtn. road bike and see how far off I am. Should be interesting.

I'm also hoping to stop by and say hi to our new friends at Spot while I'm in the area. We got to meet a few of the guys and gals from Spot while at the 24 Hr race, and put our hands on a couple of their sweet bikes, including the belt driven singlespeed, which we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of (looks like early April).
I'm also going to make sure and get out to Oskar Blues Brewery, maker of Dales Pale Ale, the best beer ever to come out of a can, and sponsor of the Spot bike team. The owner of the brewery also is said to be a Maverick owner and avid mountain biker. I can only imagine what Dales is going to taste like on tap.
I'll make sure to bring a paper and pen so I can take notes on it's awesomeness, and then let you all know, 'cause I know your excited.

Soma: keeping your feet connected to your bike with style.


Soma Fab makes some cool stuff. Affordable, well made, and stylish, and sometimes hard to come by. Items such as their double toe straps, which cost a fraction of the Japanese versions you usually find, will go out of stock for months it seems.

A bunch of stuff just came into stock though, and we bought it up quick.
In particular, we have the double strap toe clips and double leather straps. This is a sweet set up, and a very nice upgrade for all you fixie kids riding toe clips with single straps. I've had this same clip / strap setup for nearly 2 years now, and I'm very happy with it.

We also got a couple pairs of their Hellyer track pedals, which look strikingly similar to old Suntour pedals, have sealed bearings, are very light, come with gold or black cages, and are $70.

Just thought I'd throw a heads up out there, as it can be feast or famine with Soma goodies like these.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Race report:: 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo has come and gone, and the Dan's are definitely glad they attended.
It has been five years since I last did this race, which was the one and only other time that I have participated in a 24 Hour race. It seems that 5 years is enough time to forget the suffering that an event like this can cause.

The whole trip was an adventure from the get go. We loaded up in the battle wagon and got out of town around 12:30, about two and a half hours later than I had hoped to. It was a long hectic morning of packing and tying up loose ends at the shop.

The battle wagon seemed to be running fine, and we made it to T or C before needing gas. That's when I discovered that somebody managed to loose the gas cap while I was gassing up on our way out of town. So we embarked on an hunt through the exciting little town for a gas cap. In the end we had one that worked more or less. This turned out to be a very good move, because the rest of the drive consisted of foul weather, and we surely would have ended up with gallons of mud and water in the tank.

The weather turned on us at around Hatch. Raining on and off. Once on I-10 we could see the storm we were headed for, the one that was supposed to be out of Arizona by then. It was a little foreboding, but it did make for a beautiful sunset.


We picked up our team mate Travitron in Tuscon, who flew in on account of being very important and having a grown up job and all. At this point it had been raining on us for a few hours. The city of Tuscon was soaked, as it had been raining there for a couple of days. Debating whether or not to get a hotel room and drive out to the race in the morning, we made a call to Marc, who had been at the race site since thursday. Marc informed us that although it had been raining, it was now quite nice. This seemed a little improbable, as the race is only about 40 miles outside of Tuscon. But, we decided it would be better to be there earlier rather than later, and decided to forge ahead.

Marc assures us that it had been nice when we talked to him, but that only lasted a little while, then the rain returned. Then the rain became snow. This happened right about the time we hit the 10 mile dirt road. The road was reportedly smooth and fast, driveable at 50mph on thursday afternoon. By friday at 10:30 however, it was barely manageable in the battle wagon. We creeped up it averaging about 1mph, constantly fearful of parts jiggling loose, or falling completely into one of the many giant puddles.

We landed at camp about 11:30, and it was still snowing. We were lucky to have friends already there with a spot for us and camp set up, complete with an awesome propane heater, because it was cold and miserable. The energy in the place was pretty low, everybody wondering what happened to the 70deg and sunny they were expecting, and not looking forward to what could be a very miserable next couple of days.

The rain did stop during the night, and we woke up to an overcast and soggy morning.


We set about getting organized and prepared for the 12:00 start, keeping an eye towards the slowly ascending cloud coverage.

Danny was elected to go first and suffer through the 400 yard LeMans start, on account of his gazelle like running abilities. He was working hard to get his game face on all morning.


With a reported 1600 plus racers participating, we knew that getting out in front early was crucial. Danny came flying through the start in the first 30 or so runners, I handed him his bike, and he was off and riding before the huge crush of racers hit and the traffic jam slowed to a complete stand still, with racers walking their bikes.


We knew Danny had done well, and there was much rejoicing.

He ended up finishing his first lap at 8th place as far as I could tell, which was very exciting.
Travitron was off next. The first lap was reportedly a complete mud fest, making it difficult just to stay upright. By the second lap, however, the rising temps and trail traffic had turned the mud to a peanut butter like consistency, making it difficult to simply keep your wheels rotating.
Ryan went third, and by the time I headed out around 5:00, the trail was perfect. The ground was just moist enough to give that super-hero traction, and dry enough that it didn't slow you down or stick to your tires. By the end of our first round, we were sitting in 7th place.

Then we kind of fell apart. The night wasn't so kind to us. We decided to switch to double laps as Travitron headed out for the second time. He unfortunately managed to tweak his back on the first lap, and by the end of the second lap had aggravated it to the point where he could barely move, let alone ride a bike. He informed us that he was out, and we were sad.

Down to 3 men, our hopes of doing particularly well were thrown out the window. Then Ryan hit the wall hard on his 3rd lap, and not having any food on hand, just sucked it up and pushed through to finish what must have been a very difficult lap, finishing at about 1:30 am.

Danny and I both went out and did our double laps, with Danny finishing his at around 7:00 am. I knew he would be finishing around then, and actually woke up around 6:30 wondering if I should go out again. After giving it about 3 seconds of thought though, I decided it would be a lot better to just stay in my sleeping bag, seeing as how it was all dark and cold outside, while my sleeping bag was pretty warm and soft.

With nobody waiting at the exchange tent to meet him, Danny came back up to camp to rally us. He reportedly attempted waking me up, and I responded with "rmflehumflerumf" and rolled over and back to sleep. Ryan, obviously being much tougher than I, got up, got ready, and headed out for what had to be another very challenging lap. Thanks Ryan.

When Ryan got back, I had finally made it out of bed, and was waiting for him in the exchange tent. The plan at that point was for me to do 1 lap, 1 for Danny, and 1 more for me if we hustled and could get out before noon.

I apparently hauled some serious booty on my lap, returning to the tent before Danny had arrived, expecting me to be 10 minutes or so slower. Not wanting to waste time, I headed back out again, hoping to come in before noon and have Danny waiting in the tent for one last lap.

I was feeling good and turned out another respectable time, coming around the finish line around 11:30. Then right near then end was Danny and Travitron, waving me down as I approached, beers in hand. They had decided to cut our losses, skip the last lap, and get out of camp quickly and miss what would certainly be an epic traffic jam.

In the end I believe we finished 14th, with 16 laps completed.

It was a great race, very well organized, friendly racers, great atmosphere, and a very fun course. We'll probably make it out again next year, perhaps a little more organized and in a vehicle that can go over 50mph in a head wind.

Thanks everybody for putting up with our goofy short business hours, it was the only way we could get out an play.

This cactus was made from old bike rims, and it was cool.


This bike had 36" wheels, for those of you with 48" inseams.

I guess it is difficult to slow down those big wheels.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Going Postal" was more fun than actually going postal!

The Going Postal alleycat on Saturday was complete success. There was a solid 30 person turn out, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly.



I was lucky to get to join in on the fun, while Swinton selflessly manned the store solo for a few hours.
We started from UNM, and were each issued an empty USPS box, which we were to carry with us. This resulted in a bit of a scramble, as several people either had no bag at all, or had a bag that was too small. The boxes had a map and a list of four post offices around town; Central east of San Mateo, right near the airport, right on the old town plaza, and Washington near Menaul. And the finish was right here at Bikeworks. At each post office, we had to get the box stamped by a post office worker, proving that we had in fact been there.
I chose to go in the order that I just listed, which turned out to be a popular route. A lot of other people chose to do it opposite, shooting downtown first. In the end, I think going downtown first was a faster route.
I started off cruising up Campus/Copper with the Fat Tire crew and Salinas, with Max and Gerhardt about half a block ahead of us, slowly pulling away. I wasn't pedaling too hard, mostly just chatting with the guys. But after a few minutes my competitive side got the better of me, and I started pedaling a little harder.
I was the first to arrive at the Alvarado post office, with a handful of guys just a minute or so back. I went inside to find a rather long line that didn't look like it was going anywhere anytime soon. I took my place in line, and began to politely and very anxiously watch the minutes tick by while I went no where.
Then all of a sudden, Johnny V busted into the post office, yelling like he was about to rob the place. He informed all us suckers in line that he was participating in a bike race, and that he simply needed a stamp on his box, and that if nobody minded he was just going to walk to the front. He got some dirty looks and under the breath snide comments from the line-people, but the postal worker was game, and Johnny had his stamp in no time. That's when I saw the light, jumped out of line and got behind Johnny. Salinas was there taking pics and video of the whole incident, which I want to see, because it was really quite a scene.
I had no idea where the next post office was, beyond the fact that it was real close to the airport. Fortunately as I got close, I caught up to Aaron, who was coming up from Old Town. He showed me an awesome shortcut that included hopping a little fence and suddenly we were there.
There was just one old grumpy lady working in there, and a couple of customers. She argued with us that she wasn't allowed just to rubber stamp our packages, but gave in after a minute. I heard later that the same lady refused to play along, and several people had to buy stamps to get a receipt and proof they were there.
Old Town was quick and easy, and the gal working there knew exactly what was up when I walked through the door.
The washington office was packed, but our friend Dona was working. I ran directly over to her and got out of there in no time. I heard that later on she was just standing by the entrance with her stamp waiting for the bikers to show up, with a giant line of people waiting to ship stuff.
I ended up getting second place, getting thoroughly beaten by a guy named Jesse, who was wearing aero booties. Salinas didn't seem the least bit surprised that he won by so much, so I didn't feel bad.
We had a couple of cases of PBR waiting for the racers, and we had four giant pizzas delivered, which lasted about ten whole minutes.
It was a beautiful day, and quite a few people hung out for a while outside. It was a lot of fun to have that many cool people at our shop. It's the exact type of thing we knew we wanted to do when we first decided we were opening a bike shop. We'll do it again for sure.

Thanks to Dave and Chris for organizing such a fun event.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Correction: Cannondale Probably Wont be at Wal Mart

A comment from reader Johnny C prompted me to look a little more closely at the press releases from BRAIN and Velonews regarding the Cannondale buy out.
It appears I was wrong. On first read, I thought the BRAIN article said that Cannondale would be split into two divisions, which was also the way Big Jonny hinted that it would be, but it is actually parent company Dorel they were talking about.
Anyway, sorry for spreading false rumors.

Dan

Friday, February 8, 2008

Charlie can type!

Turns out Charlie can type! And he put his typing skills to good use, and penned a very well thought out review of his Rocky Mountain ETSX Team, published over on Bikefix, the ultimate unbiased bike review site. I believe Charlie was inspired to write a review, after reading this review of the ETSX, that was brought to our attention by our Rocky rep.
Funny, as we're trying to sell this bike and all, that Charlie's review is decided less positive than the other one. It's not negative by any means, but surprisingly objective coming from a retailer of said bike. Perhaps we're just too honest to be good salesmen? Or perhaps Charlie's just a little too picky?

I know it's getting to be short notice, but a little reminder about tomorrows alleycat in Albuquerque, Going Postal, starting at Noon at the Duck Pond. Rumor has it, the race will be ending at Bikeworks, and another rumor has it that there will be copious amounts of free beer and food there. I'm planning on attending, while Senior Swinton will be singlehandedly running the store.

We sent a set of White Industries Double Double cranks, chainring, and freewheel out the door today. It was a sweet setup, and very very shiny. We like shiny.

This video was brought to our attention recently, plucked from the cornucopia of awesomeness that is How To Avoid The Bummer Life
Having thrown a few "parent out of town, let get rowdy" parties in my youth, I found the video and it's star very amusing. The best thing about it though, is how he didn't let the uppity TV woman bully him.

A little bit of industry news making the rounds lately is that Cannondale has been bought by the same company that owns Schwinn and Pacific, and Cannondale labeled bikes will become available in department stores in the near future. Having never been much of a Crackandfail fan, I found the news mostly entertaining. But it is a bit sad, as that is one less company of that size to compete with the mega brands such as Spez and Trek, and that much less variety will be available. On the up side, maybe this means that a few more people will buy a bike that actually rides well.

That's about all the pseudo-cleverness I can muster for now. Til next time.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sad News In The Cycling World

As many of you have already heard, Sheldon Brown died this week.
Wonderful tributes to Sheldon can already be found all over the internet, check out Bikesnob NYC
for some very thoughtful and eloquent words.
If any of you aren't familiar with Sheldon Brown, I strongly recommend you spend some time looking through the articles on his website. It will show you very clearly how much you don't know about bikes. His dedication and knowledge are a huge loss to the cycling community, and we are very fortunate that he took the time and effort to put as much of his knowledge that he did down in writing.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Busy Day on Saturday, Danny gets a new fixie

So Saturday was probably the busiest day we've had to date. It wasn't the most we've done through the register (although it was pretty good), but the amount of people coming through the door was amazing. Well, it was amazing for us, and our tiny little store, and the three of us working. We all spent the whole day talking to one person after the next, and it was quite enjoyable. Made us start thinking that we might need some help this spring, when it finally gets nice out again.
I was starting to wonder how so many people are hearing about us. We only advertised for three weeks when we first opened, and haven't had any ads out since the first week of December. I guess it's mainly word of mouth. Albuquerque sure can seem like a small city some times. We've had tremendous feedback so far. Despite the number of bike shops in town, people are really excited about what we're doing, our approach, our inventory, and in general, they just love the Dans (they think Charlie is ok, but I wouldn't say they love him. The Dans love him though, so therefore through the transitive property of loviness, they people love Charlie too, so he shouldn't go feeling bad about anything).
I sold a Country Road Bob, which leaves us with just one more, in a 56. Word on the street is, the lovely gal that bought it likes it a lot, which makes us happy.
We're starting to wonder if in the future we should stock more frames, less complete bikes, and put emphasis on custom builds. Does anybody have an opinion on that? We're always looking for feedback and suggestions from customers, since we're all new to this whole business ownership gig.

Danny's new Sanchez frame came in, and he built it promptly.



So we no longer have a pair of those sweet "wood" rims I was bragging about a few weeks ago. But I imagine we'll be getting some more soon. You can't really tell too well from the pic, but those rims go very well with the faux galvanized finish of the Sanchez frame. Best looking bike I've ever seen Danny ride.
He said it got very positive feedback when parked at his second home, the Anodyne, last night. And in all honesty, that's the whole point of a sweet fixie, looking good at the bar, is it not? Danny said as he was leaving work today that he was heading over to Buffalo Exchange to look for a nice pair of girl jeans that he could barely fit into to go along with his new bike. And tomorrow we're gonna take that ridiculous track bar off his track bike and replace it with a pair of 2 inch riser mtn bars, cut down just wide enough so that we can fit a pair of Oury grips on them, probably pink ones if we can find them. Of course he'll then have to flip his stem. Then, all he will have to do is stop wearing a helmet, stop riding his bike more than 10 miles at a time (which is good advice if your wearing girl jeans), and then start talking about how he's gonna move to New York and start messengering. That's my grand plan for Danny, I wonder how he feels about it?

Adventures with Maverick

Went to Maverick Tech School at Maverick headquarters in Boulder this weeks with Danny, it was a very educational and fun trip.
The guys at Maverick totally styled us out and treated us like kings. Their hospitality and generosity was amazing.
Wednesday morning was spent meeting everybody at Maverick, which surprisingly consists of just about 8 people, all of whom are totally rad and exactly the sort of people you think should be running a bike company. We had a nice long chat with the guys from the other bike shops that were there and Maverick co-owner Frank Vogel.
We then got a tour of the facilities, and then suited up for a ride on a nearby trail.

It was a short ride, but a very cool trail that was ideal for suspension testing; fast, with lots of square edge hits, a good number of baby heads, some hard cornering, a few g-outs, and more than a few places to get off the ground. The ride was just long enough to help Dan and I sweat out a little beer from the night before, and prep us to start drinking again, which happened to be in the parking lot.
Then off to burgers and more beer, back to the shop for a few hours of tech talk, and back out to dinner and more beers.
Thursday we met in the morning again, and had a pretty intensive couple hour talk with Frank about the finer points of suspension design, wheel path, chain growth, leverage ratios, and a whole bunch of other things that had a suspension dork such as myself very excited.
We spent some time examining a video that they made to analyze wheel paths of several different suspension designs, which can be found here. If anybody would like to have their ear talked off about the finer points of wheel path and chain growth, give me a call at the shop, and get ready to geek out.
I learned quite a bit, and I am now much more suited to put into words what I already knew from riding my Maverick, and explain what exactly it is that makes them ride so well.
Then we finished off the visit with a hands on tech session with Ethan, which covered hints and tips on tuning and rebuilding Maverick forks and shocks, which I enjoyed thoroughly.
Here are a few pics that I took during the trip.



A Maverick townie, with some of the sweetest bars and fender I've seen.



A plethora of Mavericks at the trailhead. This is what we're gonna have the trailheads around Albuquerque looking like in a couple years.


This is a very early prototype that I spotted hanging from the ceiling. Things have changed a lot with them since 2000. I particularly like the Maverick tuned dual crown SID, I wonder why Rock Shox doesn't make those anymore, I mean, who doesn't want 3 foot long 28.6 mm stanchions?

I was born in Boulder, and lived there until I was 13 years old. Every time I go back to visit, I wonder if I'll run into somebody I knew from childhood. Don't really expect it to happen since it's been 12 years since I left. But surprisingly, I happened to go to Jr. High with one of the guys at Maverick, Andy Emanuel. Also surprisingly, we both remembered each other. It's amazing the amount of stuff that floats around in your brain that you don't realize is there, like the face of somebody you went to school with 12 years ago, who wasn't even one of your close buddies.
I found it kind of funny how we both went to college at the same time, graduated in 5 years with Mechanical Engineering degrees, and then went to work in the bike industry. And, I had actually applied at Maverick, probably right around the time that he was hired on, about 2 years ago.
Anyways, it was pretty cool seeing him again.

All in all, the trip was a lot of fun, and we want to say thanks again to all the guys at Maverick for spending their time and money to have us out.
All in all, it was a very fun