Monday, April 28, 2008

Cycling Safety Statistics

I've mentioned Dave Moulton's bike blog before, and I link it in our link section.
His most recent post lays out a number of statistics about the safety of cycling in comparison to other activities, mostly driving. I'm not sure where these numbers come from, but they are some numbers that I've been wondering about for a while.
There are some crazy stats, such as, per million hours spent cycling the fatality rate is 0.26, as compared to 0.47 for driving.

Check it out.... http://davesbikeblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/cyclists-live-longer.html

I'm interested in this because of how often I meet people who don't ride bikes because they think it too dangerous. Or they think I am crazy because I ride my bike in the city every day, or they only ride bike paths, and often drive their bike somewhere to ride it.

I found it a very interesting post, hope you do to.

Bikes, biking, bike shops, and bike dorks

Went out Sunday morning for some more fun up in Otero. I didn't ride up there for a while, I guess a little discouraged by the closing of trails and not wanting to get gunned down by overzealous MP's on 4 wheelers who thought I was smuggling WMD's in my Chamois. So I had kind of forgotten how incredibly nice the biking is up there. It's really hard to believe while riding some of those trails that you're only 20 minutes away from Albuquerque.

I'm clearly not alone in feeling this way, as the Tunnel parking lot was full at 9:30 when I arrived, and parking had extended about 15 cars down the road at around 1:30 when I left. Strangely enough, we saw very few other people out on the trail, certainly not as many as you'd expect. And the one large group of bikers that we encountered, about 10 women, had parked elsewhere.

We ran into said large group of women bikers (not to be confused with a group of large women bikers, which would most likely be riding Harleys not Spez's) on that new section of trail I was talking about last week. These gals were calling it "Crazy Johnny", which seemed appropriate, as I have learned that Johnny V played a large part in building the trail, and Johnny V is at least a little bit crazy. We rode the trail the opposite direction, starting at Turkey Trot and heading toward Blue Ribbon, and it was a blast. Definitely one of the best stretches of trail out there. I also take back my comment from last week, accompanying a pic of Charlie pushing his bike up a stretch of that trail. I thought that the trail was lacking a switchback, but I now see that when coming from the opposite direction, that part of the trail is steep and awesome. Also, I've learned that Salinas rode up that section no problem on our demo Slayer SXC90 more than once. Which means that either Salinas has mad skills (possible), or that the Slayer is an amazing bike that will make the impossible possible and everybody should come to the shop and buy one from me (more likely).

We were riding yesterday with Chris, a long time Albuquerque mountain biker who seems to know everybody we know that has ever ridden a bike. I believe this was the second time I have ever ridden with Chris. The first time was several years ago, also at Otero, for the FOO ride where we hung a banner and organized to try and keep Otero open. Here's a few pics of Dan and I from that day, that were recently sent to me by Jeni Turgeon.



Those pics were taken just briefly before a massive hail storm blew in and Dan and I proceeded to get hypothermia very quickly (as you can see from the pics, my pack was one of those silly small ones that doesn't fit a jacket, and Dan's pack didn't exist).
While descending Otero canyon, hub deep in runoff and hail, just trying to keep our numb hands on the bars, Danny got a flat. He was unable to fix it, on account having no feeling in his hands, and wanted to thrown the bike up in a tree and make a run for it. I find this amusing for 2 reasons. 1) Danny has probably changed hundreds of thousands of flats in his life, and 2) I just noticed in the pic, that it wasn't his bike, it was demo, so the lack of concern of the bike is a little more understandable.
Anyway, Chris and our former fearless leader Stevie changed the flat for us, and in the end we all made it back to the car alive. Proving that although having more than 4% body fat can make you slower going up the hill, it can go a long way in making you not die when the temp drops below 70 deg.

I also rode yesterday with our favorite Doc, Dave. He was on his new custom 29er Ti folding DeSalvo with a Rohloff 14 spd hub that we built for him recently. It's a sweet ride.

Rounding out our group was Travitron, Charlie and Sihu. Travis told me stories of MTB racing in the glory days for TWP (which I believe stood for Travis Will Prevail) with a 16 year old Floyd Landis. Then he rode wheelies for the next 10 miles. Charlie was very excitable and loud, as expected, and Sihu, sadly, did nothing hilarious for me to write about. Maybe next time Sihu, maybe next time.

Lastly, I have decided that descending Blue Ribbon is the best place to test a full suspension bike that I can currently think of. It has all sizes of rocks, you can go really fast, a few good launches, and it is really really fun.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rocky Mountain Demo Tour Coming to Bikeworks!

The Rocky Mountain Bikes Demo Tour bus and trailer will be paying Albuquerque a visit on Wednesday May 7th. Check it out .... www.rockymountaindemotour.com

We will be having a BBQ and beers on Tuesday the 6th, which works out well because we pick up our fresh keg on Mondays. So come on by, say hi to the Rocky guys, see some sweet bikes, and do a bit of drinking and eating with us Tuesday evening starting around 5.
Then on Wednesday take a long lunch at work and get a few miles down in the foothills on some bikes that are probably way sweeter than yours.

See you out there!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tomac proves their undeniable radness


I was alerted about this bike from Bikefix, and then I found a pretty good article here...

www.retrobike.co.uk

This bike makes me feel confident that picking up Tomac as a brand for the shop was a good idea. Why? Because only a bike company that really loves bikes would do something like this. And if a company really loves bikes, chances are they're going to make bikes that ride well.

I used to work with Clark Dolton (Tomac tech guy who was in charge of the DB10 project) and Joel Smith (Tomac's new owner) back at Manitou. I was excited when they contacted me a couple months ago about becoming a Tomac dealer.

After spending a year riding with Clark and Joel, doing everything from SoCal cross country to North Shore ridiculousness, I knew that if they liked the way a bike rode, it would be a nice bike. When you add the fact that they have Johnny T personally putting his seal of approval on the bikes, you can rest assured that it's going to be sweet.

Before signing on with Tomac, I had them send me a demo Snyper 140. It was actually Clark's personal bike, not a regular demo, so it came pretty decked out with a full XT groupo and all the nice extras. The bike rode awesome, obviously, as I decided to buy them for our shop. I think it is a great addition to our trail bike lineup in the shop, as we will have 3 different 5 in trail bikes with completely different riding characteristics that suit different riding styles.

I'm not going to do a full bike review now, as my brain doesn't seem to running at full capacity, but I'll probably do one soon. I'll just say that it pedals better than you think a single pivot can, it's unbelievably stiff laterally, and I think I got more air on it than any bike I've ridden before. I'm no jumper, so it wasn't a ton of air by any means, but the bike was just confidence inspiring.

We will also have a Snyper demo for the shop arriving with our first Tomac order.

That's all I got for now.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I actually got to ride a bike!

Yes, it's true, I actually left the shop, almost for a full day Friday, and went out and played in the mountains.

I met Marc and Charlie at Cedro in the morning, and we proceeded to ride for several hours. We spun up the road to Tunnel, then we rode up tunnel, down to Otero, up Blue Ribbon, over to some other trail, and then another trail, then some new trail we hadn't ridden before, then at some point we got onto Turkey Trot, out to Mars Court, on the road to Oak Flats, then a whole bunch more Cedro trails until we were back at our cars.
I was pretty much lost the entire time after we left Otero Canyon, until we got back into the heart of Cedro. I'm not too good at navigating in the woods. I can navigate in European cities where I can't read the signs, and drunk navigate through Vegas Casinos like a madman, but get me out into the woods, when my life may depend on finding my way out, and I'm cooked.

I recently acquired a new-to-me Garmin 305 GPS compruter. Yesterday was the first time I had played with it on a ride. Hopefully I'll start to learn the East Mountains better with the help of some maps. Charlie's going to bring a map to the shop today and we're going to figure out exactly where those new trails were. The trails were pretty sweet, very fresh and needing to be run in, but nice tight technical singletrack that will be a great addition eventually. There was just one spot where a couple of more switchbacks were needed, rather than just shooting straight up the hill. We're not sure who built them, anybody know?

A switchback here would have gone a long ways.



We were testing out a few different products for Marc's site, Bikefix, including a new Pivot 5 inch something or rather that he got on demo from some other shop in town. So I was riding Marc's Maverick Durance, and we switched bikes back and forth several times during the ride. You can look for a full review from Marc in a few days on Bikefix, but my basic input is; The Pivot rode fine, a very nice bike all around, maybe a bit heavy, now can I please have my Maverick back? We were riding in perfect Maverick terrain, and still haven't found anything that compares.

As we were testing products, the conversation was pretty hardcore bike dork, analyzing parts and ride quality and blah blah blah.

I got to try out Marc's Ergon pack, which is a bizarre pack. He recently reviewed it on his site, and I pretty much agree with what he said. I think maybe next generation, a little more refined, and it will be seriously worth looking at. It really puts 99% of the weight onto your hips, it feels like a fanny pack that's giving you a hug, and could be very nice for guys like me with frail little upper bodies who's back and shoulders get sore when they try to carry anything more than 6 lbs.

Marc proceeded to get two flats at the same time, a direct result of there being tubes in the demo bike. Had it been set up tubeless, there would have been no flats. The lesson here is that tubes are stupid when you live in New Mexico.


We did nearly 30 miles of mostly sweet singletrack. It was a fantastic combo of trails. I sure like living in Albuquerque.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Busy Weekend

We had a nice and busy and fun weekend.
First off, Dan and Charlie (and Guy) went off to race Friday evening in Gallup. Charlie, in his first race ever, posted a very respectable 6 laps (something like 80 miles of singletrack in a day, I didn't know Charlie had it in him) which earned him 14th out of 27 racers in his age group. Just missed top half, sorry Charlie.

Dan and Guy were in the Duo Men race, and finished 6th place out of 22 teams, with 10 laps completed (5 laps each). Not bad for a couple of roadies, racing on 10+ year old hardtails. They certainly beat the pants off the other Albuquerque shop with a team out there, who came in last.

Looking through the results I noticed our friend Frankie Flats coming in 3rd in the 80+ combined age duo category. Nice going Frankie.

While Dan and Charlie were out playing, I was slaving away at the shop. I enlisted the help of Marc for the day, as running the shop solo on a Saturday isn't exactly awesome. Marc has a knack for retail, and merchandising, and making a bike look good, and all sorts of stuff like that. So after staring at our wall of bikes for a day, he had some suggestions for us, which resulted in a sweet brown medium Maverick Matic being built up for demo.



It's still brand new, and I could sell it for $3300 right now. Our demo program is $50 for a day, and that money will go towards any bike that you buy. As the bike goes out for demos, the price will be reduced accordingly.

Our other demo bikes include a large Maverick ML8, a Large Maverick Durance, a 19" Rocky Mtn. Slayer SXC 90, a 56cm Serotta Ottrott with full Campy Record build, and a 54cm Serotta Legend with full Red build. So basically, we have some sweet bikes to demo.

Another really good looking bike in the store right now is a 55cm (top tube) Langster London edition we have on consignment.



It has approximately no miles on it. we also have the rear brake and lever that it originally came with. We like this bike, it is very good looking. Fortunately it doesn't fit any of us, so we can actually sell it rather than keep it for ourselves.

On Sunday, Dan and I participated in another local alleycat. This one was organized by Jesse, who won a couple of the past ones, and sponsored by us, The Coop, and some other shop. It was a good time, with around 40 participants. The theme was Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the course took us to various shrines and churches around town, hunting for candles with stamps affixed to the bottom. Dan and I came in 2nd and 3rd, following Chris Downs who took the win. Chris and I were chatting about collaborating on a race in early June, as it's definitely our turn to organize one of these.
The finish included a number of prizes, as well as copious amounts of beer and pizza, a large grassy lawn, and a perfectly sunny lazy sunday evening spent with a bunch of bike dorks hanging out drinking. All in all, it was a great way to spend a sunday.
I seem to have lost my pics, thankfully I'm better with bikes than computers.

And that's about it. Time to finish my beer and be getting on home.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Racing Anitcs

We're getting out and doing some more racing in the near future.

Saturday is Dawn 'til Dusk, in Gallup. Charlie is racing it solo, and Danny is doing a 2 man team with our friend Guy. Why did Danny not want to go solo? According to him, he just doesn't like riding his bike for much more than six hours at a time (which would explain why he's always going so fast during centuries). According to Charlie, Danny is a giant wimp, and he's skeered.
I believe you can still get registered for the race, and would encourage everybody to go participate.

As we've mentioned recently, there is another alleycat going down in ABQ on Sunday (see post from a couple days ago). I would encourage everybody to come and join for that as well, I guarantee it will be the most fun you can have on a Sunday for $5.

On May 4th, Dan and Dan will be racing the La Tierra Torture. We're both doing singlespeed. It should be a very good time. I rode last week on a section of the race course with my old man and his buddy Tim. The trails were a blast, and should make for some good racing. The trails were already starting to get pretty dry and loose, and if we don't start getting more rain, it will be interesting navigating some of those hairpin turns in a race situation. I'm guessing more than a couple people will be blowing turns and going way off course.

That's the schedule for now.

Sunday Hours Update

While opening last Sunday seemed to be a good move, we will not be opening on any more Sundays until further notice.
Basically, being open on Sunday is good, but Dan and Dan working seven days a week is bad. Hopefully we will be taking on some weekend help on a regular basis soon, and then Sundays can become a standard thing.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

More Alleycat Fun


Just received the poster for ABQ's next alleycat. The poster is pure awesomeness. Very impressive, and will possibly be available day of the even for the incredibly low price of a couple bucks.

We've donated a Chrome bag. Which Chrome bag, we haven't decided yet, so if you have any input, give a shout. Do you like the backpack better than the messenger bag?

We've participated in a number of local alleycats now, and one thing has always bothered me. Too many people aren't wearing helmets. I saw a blurb on Bummer Life today about an alleycat where everybody wearing a helmet gets a ten second head start. I think if Bikeworks puts on any events, we will do something similar to that. I'm not going to require anybody to do anything, but we can make some strong incentives. I wish some of the other local organizers would consider this as well, but I believe a couple of them are non-helmeters themselves, so I don't see it happening.

I just don't get the non helmet thing. That's an awfully big compromise to make in the name of fashion. Wearing a leather jacket in the middle of summer is one thing, but people get killed on a daily basis on bikes, and I'm all about giving myself better odds of staying alive.

Anyways, if any of you guys / gals are reading this, and are considering getting a helmet before the next alleycat, come on by and I'll give you a screaming deal.

And I hope to see you all out there next weekend, helmet or not.

Shop Hours Experiment

We're going to be open this Sunday, in an experiment to see if maybe we should be open on Sundays and closed Mondays. So if you've been meaning to come by and check out the shop, but you are like us and work every day except Sunday, this is your lucky day!
We're going to be in the shop during our normal Monday hours, which are 12-6.