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Southwest Austin Cyclists and Pedestrians Take Note!

May 22, 2015

Here’s the latest on the MoPac Bicycle & Pedestrian Bridge. This is going to be great for Southwest Austin!

MoPac Mobility Bridges Construction Update_Spring 2015 (1)

MoPac Mobility Bridges Construction Update_Spring 2015 (2)

Andrea Fisher’s tips for the busy athlete

May 14, 2015

It’s not easy to balance life, work, training, racing, and everything else that comes on a day-to-day basis. It often seems that that there are those that make it appear effortless, and the rest of us trying to cram it all in and wondering if we’re doing enough and doing it well.

Bicycle Sport Shop Cycling Club sponsor, coach, athlete, and mom recently gave a talk at the Lamar store: “The Time Sensitive Athlete” and there were a number of take aways from the evening that are worth sharing. Whether you’re just starting to try to figure out how to do it all, or you simply need a gentle reminder, there were great takeaways for everyone.

Coach, athlete (and former pro), mom, and business woman Andrea Fisher is no stranger to balancing the day-to-day.

Coach, athlete (and former pro), mom, and business woman Andrea Fisher is no stranger to balancing the day-to-day.

Here’s a quick recap of my key take aways from Andrea’s talk:

1) It isn’t necessary to train 15-20 hours a week for an ironman distance race. Drop the junk miles.

2) Focus on three workout efforts: endurance (base), tempo (moderate), and intense (hard!).

3) Build your schedule in 3-4 week blocks with the last week as a recovery week (recovery week = less volume; same intensities/efforts). Regular weeks should include one day off; recovery weeks should include two. Allow yourself 24 hours to recover from intense workouts.

4) Overall plan only needs to be 12-16 weeks based on current fitness (if longer, you’ll burn out).

5) Each week’s total volume should only increase by ~10%.

6) Workouts should be scheduled by time, not distance (2 hour ride; not 40 miles). When training for an Ironman race distance race, longest ride should be 5 hours; longest run should be 3 hours.

7)  Add your workouts to your planner, Google calendar, etc. Schedule them so they are on your calendar as part of your day.

7) MOST IMPORTANT – Respect Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Everything in terms of training and racing needs to fit within Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

Everything in terms of training and racing needs to fit within Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

When trying to balance the things you have to do and those that are passions that drive you, perspective is key. Make the most of your available time by staying focused on the overall goal and keeping true to your plan. That will help ensure success and keep you happy.

Ridden & Reviewed: Hill’s first ride impressions on the Trek Stache

May 4, 2015

Funnest. Bike. Ever!

Having spent the last 33 years totally enamored of riding mountain bikes and drooling over mountain bike things, at least most things, I’ve had the opportunity to be exposed to the good, the bad, and the somewhat useless coming from the miscellaneous reaches of the mountain bike world. While I don’t have the bright eyed enthusiasm for shiny new things that I did the first couple of decades in the bike biz I can still get pretty stoked at times, and when I saw the release of the Trek Stache with the new 29 plus tires and its host of other cool features I had a sense that there was something intriguing going on here.

The Stache easily cleans Elephant's Butt on the Greenbelt.

The Stache easily cleans Elephant’s Butt on the Greenbelt.

So it was with a mixture of excitement and moderate expectations that I set up a Stache for its maiden ride on the Barton Creek Greenbelt, my home trail since my very first ride off-road and one that I know better than the back of my hand. The Barton Creek trails have a perfect mix of fast, flowy smoothness and some really harsh, chunky sections that are the epitome of mountain biking for me–the perfect terrain to demo the purported attributes of these new fatties and figure out if, after riding full suspension almost exclusively for the past 15 years, I could still have fun on a hardtail mountain bike. As an older mountain biker it would be impossible to keep riding hard on this technical terrain without the forgiveness of full suspension, so the big meat on the 29 plus had to at least come close to my soft tail to make it a fun experience.

Dropping in the Toys ‘r Us descent I got my first taste of how well the 29 plus tires handled as I was able to lean over well past my comfort level on a standard 2.3” width tire, a function of the tires remarkably low air pressure (I started out at 17 psi, pressure range on tire is 12-30 psi) that just molded itself to the terrain and gripped the sides of the chute like putty. There are several new “features” on the Toys descent and I launched off the first one, finding the bike to be perfectly balanced in the air and landing as soft as a 5” travel bike. I was hooked!

Heading upstream on the long straight flats there was no challenge getting the wheels up to speed, and once at full velocity it was easy to maintain momentum.   Launching down Elephant’s Butt the tires sucked up the uneven rock face like it was smooth concrete. The bike’s super tight wheelbase made bunny hopping ledges and rocks effortless, the bike snappy and light with the wheels off the ground.

The real test came on some of the chunder sections of sweet 16 and pump house and the Stache handled it with silky smooth grace. At one point climbing a steep rocky section I felt like I was bouncing on an undamped suspension so I stopped and knocked about 3 psi out of the rear tire. That allowed the tire to form itself around the sharp rocks and edgy ledges and I was able to romp on it with no fear of bottoming out the tire on the rim bead, enabling even more lean angle in the loose rocks at trails edge. At the end of the day I was a bit more worked than I would be on my 29” wheeled full suspension bike but that may be more a function of getting used to a new bike and having put more muscle into some of the technical climbs in an effort to clean them fast, something that one may just let go as these bikes aren’t just about fast, but more about fun.

29+ rubber run at low pressure lets the Stache make short work of rock gardens.

29+ rubber run at low pressure lets the Stache make short work of rock gardens.

If you’re interested in the concept I’d encourage you to read this write-up by Vernon Felton on the new 29 and 27.5 plus bikes and the unique frame and component designs the bike industry has developed to meet their specific challenges.

Bicycle Sport Shop will be bringing both the Trek Stache and the new Specialized Fuze and its women’s specific version the Ruze into our demo fleet as soon as they have adequate inventory available.

ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress: I Support Bicycling and Walking

April 24, 2015
actionalertheadersfinal

From our friends at the League of American Bicyclists:

———-

Last week, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said they are “nearly done” drafting the transportation bill.  This is our BEST chance to get the Transportation Alternatives Program we want in the bill. Please ask your Senators to co-sponsor the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act. Adding their name to the bill will tell Chairman Inhofe and Ranking Member Boxer know there is broad support for a robust program to fund bike lanes, trails, sidewalks  and bike share.We need your help to make sure that Congress doesn’t cut funding to help local communities build sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, trails and more. Please ask your Senator to Co-Sponsor S. 705, The Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act.The Transportation Alternatives Program provides hundreds of millions of dollars each year to local communities to invest in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. It’s the only federal program specifically focused on local transportation priorities. S. 705, the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act, written by Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), makes changes to the program to  make it more effective and easier for local governments to use.

For decades, our federal transportation system has focused the bulk of its resources on building roads, leaving many of our communities with few transportation options and rising safety risks for people bicycling and walking. More and more Americans want options for bicycling, walking and transit to live healthier and safer lives. More and more cities and towns are clamoring for more facilities for biking and walking to make their communities more attractive to residents and to improve their economies. S. 705 would help make sure that Congress continues to invest a small share of federal transportation dollars in these types of projects.

Ask your Senators to cosponsor S. 705, the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act, to ensure that our federal transportation system continues to provide funding for bicycling and walking.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/0IMcc15-KgiaOdORR1Gfsw

Ridden & Reviewed: Mini Pump Shootout

April 15, 2015

As the saying goes, when talking about repairing roadside punctures there are two kinds of people in this world: CO2 people and pump people.

For years I was a pump person. Specifically a frame pump person, as I am old enough to remember when such devices were ubiquitous in that mini pumps were truly worthless and CO2 inflators weren’t entirely reliable and the cartridges seemingly weren’t as readily available.

Fast forward to the 90’s and beyond and I had converted. I had abandoned the Zefal and Silica (with Campagnolo head) frame pumps of my youth for the ease and speed of CO2 inflators. No more exhaustion just to reach 65 psi on a road tire and tube set-up needing at least 90 psi. No more breaking valve stems with an accidental change in the angle of the frame pump. I was new. Modern. Reborn.

Then a few years ago I was on a ride with a local hero. A former collegiate racer and domestic pro. He was riding what was then a current year S Works road bike and had done what one might think of as impossible: attached a frame pump to his superbike. As we gorged on mid-ride tacos I asked him, “why the frame pump?”

The answer was surprising, yet reassuring. “Yes, a CO2 would be faster, but really, how long does it take with a modern frame pump to inflate a tube well enough to finish your ride? Plus, I never run out of air. And, it’s pretty environmentally friendly when you stop and think about it.”

I did. And I set about to find a solid portable pump.

Both the Road Drive from Lezyne and the PRO Touring Mini Pump offer nice features and reliability.

Both the Road Drive from Lezyne and the PRO Touring Mini Pump offer nice features and reliability.

I settled on a modern take on the classic Zefal-style frame pump and it was fine. Especially on my Independent Fabrication, which has a round, nearly horizontal top tube as well as a pump peg on the back of the headtube. And on what was then my decidedly not S Works level Tarmac, it worked fairly well provided it was secured with a pump strap. And while I thought about the wise words of the more experienced rider, I still wasn’t entirely sold.

Then I traveled to Vegas.

In a hotel room the afternoon of CrossVegas I was wanting to fiddle with my tire pressure. Of course, I hadn’t traveled with a pump and despite the fact that Interbike was down the sidewalk, I didn’t really want to traverse the show floor demoing pumps. My roommate, being ever prepared, had a pump: the Lezyne Road Drive.

With one use I knew this was my new pump. The rattling knocks of the frame pump would be gone. The Road Drive fit nicely in my center jersey pocket along with a tire lever and two tubes. The aluminum construction and rubber o-ring seals holding the handle to the shaft when not in use felt quality. And the hidden hose with a pump head that threaded on to the valve stem sealed the deal. The fact that there was that flexibility significantly decreased the chance of accidentally ripping a valve out of a tube during inflation. This was my pump. Well, it was my roommate’s, but I was going to get one just like it.

And I did. And I’ve used it for years now with no issues. Yes, it’s not as fast as a CO2 canister. But good things come to those who wait. Besides, with thousands of miles ridden and numerous punctures, I’m sure the Road Drive has more than paid for itself when measured against the cost of countless CO2 cartridges (there hadn’t yet been a buy 1, get 1 free Spring Sale Deal of the Day on those).

Then Kelly in the buyers’ office turned me onto something. A new mini pump. Slightly shorter and lighter weight, it sports a larger circumference barrel and seemingly pushes more air than my beloved Road Drive. It also has a slick magnetic “lock” to hold the pump closed when not in use. And it too fits nicely in a jersey pocket with a few other trusty items. It’s the Touring Mini Pump from Shimano house brand PRO.

Could the PRO Touring Mini Pump be my new pump of choice? At $19.99 it's hard to beat.

Could the PRO Touring Mini Pump be my new pump of choice? At $19.99 it’s hard to beat.

Aside from being “pro” (I mean, it says so right on the thing) it also has another great feature: price. While my Road Drive sells for $44.99, the Pro Touring Mini Pump is shockingly less at $19.99. No it’s not constructed of aluminum. No it doesn’t have the fancy little hose mechanism. But it pushes air as well–or dare I say better–than my Road Drive. “Ten-ish” fewer strokes to 90 psi with the Pro Tourning Mini when tested against the Road Drive in wholly unscientific testing.

Do I still love the Road Drive. Yes. Undoubtedly. It has style for miles and works well. The hose feature is great. But for $20, the Pro Touring Mini isn’t just blowing hot air. Plus, I hear it’s on sale at Spring Sale.

Nothing against you CO2 folks. I like you. I really do. But for those of you considering making the switch, or just in need of a new pump, these two fit the bill nicely.

ACTION ALERT: Contact your TX House Representative RIGHT NOW by phone and/or email and ask them to vote NO.

March 31, 2015

 

 

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Rep. Bryan Hughes will offer an amendment today that is hostile to bicyclingContact your rep now and ask him or her to oppose Rep. Hughes’ amendment to Article 7Rep. Bryan Hughes is proposing an amendment today that could hobble Texas’ ability to provide safe roads for bicycling for decades to come. The amendment would prevent any state or federal funds from being used to reduce excess motor vehicle lanes for use as bicycle lanes or bus lanes. If passed, no state or federal funds, even those given to local areas as grants, could ever be used in this manner.

Please contact your Texas House Representative RIGHT NOW by phone and/or emailAsk that he or she vote NO. Also, ask him or her to speak out against Rep. Hughes’ amendment to Article 7. (Don’t know who your rep is? Find out here.) You can use any or all of the talking points below:

  • This amendment is dangerous and will cost lives.
  • Engineers routinely determine that there will not be significant impact to motor vehicle traffic before changing a roadway.
  • Lane conversions create safer spaces for people walking, biking, and driving, reducing roadway injuries and fatalities.
  • Transportation engineers in a local community need to be able to exercise their own professional judgement to determine the best solution to local traffic situations.
  • The FHWA-approved lane conversions are proven to be effective at improving safety.
  • [Name a local road in your area] is unsafe to bike or walk on. This amendment would make it very difficult to make this road a safe place for me and my family.

Be sure to include your name, address, and occupation. Thank you for making Texas a great place to bike and walk!

ACTION ALERT: Ask your Senator to Co-Sponsor The Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act

March 27, 2015

From the good folks at the League of American Bicyclists.

actionalertheadersfinal

Congress is preparing to take action on a new federal transportation bill.  Given the shortfall of federal transportation dollars, some members of Congress are already questioning why the federal government provides any funding for bicycling and walking.

We need your help to make sure that Congress doesn’t cut funding to help local communities build sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, trails and more. Please Ask your Senator to Co-Sponsor S. 705, The Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act.

The Transportation Alternatives Program provides hundreds of millions of dollars each year to local communities to invest in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. It’s the only federal program specifically focused on local transportation priorities. S. 705, the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act, written by Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), makes changes to the program to  make it more effective and easier for local governments to use.

For decades, our federal transportation system has focused the bulk of its resources on building roads, leaving many of our communities with few transportation options and rising safety risks for people bicycling and walking. More and more Americans want options for bicycling, walking and transit to live healthier and safer lives. More and more cities and towns are clamoring for more facilities for biking and walking to make their communities more attractive to residents and to improve their economies. S. 705 would help make sure that Congress continues to invest a small share of federal transportation dollars in these types of projects.

Ask your Senators to cosponsor S. 705, the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act, to ensure that our federal transportation system continues to provide funding for bicycling and walking.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:

https://www.votervoice.net/link/target/bikeleague/J8GPM2MyG.aspx

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