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Support the IMBA Trail Fund!

July 6, 2015

 

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IMBA’s 2015 Trail Fund is live! The Trail Fund provides direct support to dozens of projects each year. And last year the Trail Fund supported 30 projects in 15 states. It’s likely no surprise that we’re a sustaining supporter of IMBA having contributed $5,000 annually in a commitment to their Public Lands Initiative. We hope you’ll consider supporting IMBA and the 2015 Trail Fund and feel great about helping mountain biking grow! Watch the video below and then go here to donate!

League of American Bicyclists Does It Again!

June 18, 2015

Ever wonder what the League of American Bicyclists work means or what they accomplish. Here’s but one example of the important work they are doing at the Federal level that directly impacts localities everywhere. Read this recent email from the good folk at League of American Bicyclists, below!

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One of the most frequently asked questions we get these days is whether our work at the Congressional level is relevant and valuable to local cyclists.

Tuesday evening in the House of Representatives we got an important part of the answer to that question. Without any warning, there was a vote to eliminate funding for projects that make new transit systems safer and more accessible for bicyclists and pedestrians.

This was pretty wonky stuff, and could easily have been missed. The word “bicycle” didn’t actually appear in the language of the amendment – it would have eliminated “enrichments as defined in Appendix A to part 611 of Title 49…”, effectively overriding the local planning process to prevent any funding for new start transit projects from being used for sidewalks, bike lanes, bike parking, etc., at train and bus stations.

Imagine that. Investing billions of dollars in building transit systems and then deliberately preventing any of the funds from being used to let people walk or ride their bikes to get to the system!

Fortunately our Vice President of Government Relations, Caron Whitaker, was on top of the action in Congress, and working with Margo Pedroso, of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and key Congressional offices managed to flag the issue and rally members of Congress to defeat the amendment by just 2 votes – 212-214. 

Perhaps this “enrichment” funding isn’t the biggest  source of funding for bike projects in the Federal transportation program – but this vote was critically important for four reasons:

1. We won!

2. It sends an important message that a majority in Congress support funding for bike investments and value local control and a good planning process. Hopefully, that sets us up well for future votes.

3. In this most partisan of Congresses, 32  members chose to vote against their party line and make this a “bike-partisan” vote of support for our issue. That’s a big deal.

4. The vote proved the value of the Congressional Bike Caucus, as it was the caucus, which is lead by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), who reached out to their fellow caucus members when crunch-time came. So, if you’ve ever wondered whether it’s worth asking their Members of Congress to join the Congressional Bike Caucus, the answer is a definitive “yes”!

We invest a lot of time and money in our government relations work – including the National Bike Summit, where your passion and commitment shines so brightly – to make sure that your voice is heard. Even with no notice, Caron managed to get tweets and e-mails into key Congressional offices because she was there, paying attention to the details, reading the fine print, and taking advantage of the local contacts we nurture throughout the year.

Tu esday evening was a timely reminder of the value of our work, even in the challenging environment of the United States Congress.

Thank you for your support of our work. Please donate today to help us sustain this important work and, with you, build a bicycle-friendly America for everyone.

Thank you,

Andy Clarke

Another Real Ale Ride is in the Books

June 15, 2015

Thanks to everyone that came to this year’s Real Ale Ride! We had another record turnout and the weather proved to be just about right. Considering all the rain we had before and after the ride, we won’t complain about the winds that we faced as the ride finished up at Real Ale Brewing!

We’ve got a few interesting stats on the ride we thought we’d share with you. first and foremost, our ride beneficiaries, Friends of Blanco State Park and Bike Austin each will receive $5,000.00 thanks to the tremendous number of riders we had register for this year’s ride. We’re also happy to report that thanks to our friends at Real Ale we’re committing an additional $25,000.00 to Bike Austin through 2015. This commitment has been in the works for some time and we’re pleased that everything has aligned to make it happen.

There were over 125 teams represented at this year’s ride, the largest of which was the national Instruments Cycling team, which brought 55 riders! While 74% of the riders were from Austin, 12% came from San Antonio, and 4 % came from Houston. Riders also came from mexico and all over the US including, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington!

We couldn’t have done the ride without our generous volunteers–all 125 of them! They were at the start/finish, helping with parking direction, and at our 8 rest stops. If you made a pit stop at any of those rest stops, you likely saw just some of the 500 fig newtons, 400 pounds of bananas, and 1,500 orange slices!

Ya’ll also drank a LOT of beer. $4,000 or so dollars worth in fact! Real Ale Brewing went through 32 kegs and 4 mini-kegs were consumed across 9 varieties of beer. The top 5 beers were Devil’s Backbone, Fireman’s, Full Moon, Hans’ Pils, and White. This year was the first year the new tap room was open and it was a big hit. Be sure to not wait until next year’s ride to go back for a visit!

You can see all of the great ride photos from Susan Beth Photography on our Facebook page. And you can read a take from the front of the 80 mile ride over here.

We hope you had a great time and are planning to join us May 21, 2016, for next year’s ride.

Ridden & Reviewed: Bontrager Flare R Tail Light

June 11, 2015
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Tail lights. Not exactly the most exciting product out there. But perhaps the one of the most important aside from a helmet. A quality tail light keeps you visible when riding, and when riding after dusk or before dawn keeps you in compliance with Austin’s city ordinances regarding bike lights. Of course with bike lights options abound. There’s all manner of light for every budget, but some lights, like the Bontrager Flare R really stand out in the crowd.

The Bontrager Flare R is designed as a daytime tail light. Yes, you read that right. Daytime. Visibility is not just a matter of being seen in low light conditions. And the Flare R is up to the challenge of being seen in Austin’s typically abundant bright sunshine. The light is designed with balanced optics and 270 degree visibility with two day-time visibility modes and two night modes. It offers 65 lumens of visibility with a claimed range of 2 km. That’s a good long way to be seen from–a good thing when were talking distracted drivers and the like. At $59.99 the Flare R offers a lot of light for the money.

Perhaps the biggest selling point for me is the running time. The day steady mode will give you a claimed 4.25 hours of run time, the night steady mode 21 hours, the day flash mode 5.75 hours, and the night flash mode a whopping 23 hours (claimed). I ran my Flare R for 8 hours with no issues and then used it again the following day for another 2 hours and the light never went into its “safe mode,” where it runs a lower output and simpler pattern once the battery is depleted to 5%.

The Flare R sports a nearly ubiquitous mini-USB charging and an easy on/off mount that can be positioned vertically or horizontally on posts up to 35mm in diameter. It also comes with a clip mount for placement on a backpack, saddle bag, or jersey pocket. My only gripe with the Flare R is the small rubber cover for the USB mini port. It doesn’t stay closed too well, at least on my light. It’s not the biggest deal, and it hasn’t affected the light’s performance. But I do get nervous about getting the charging port contaminated when riding in wet weather like we had last month.

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The Flare R comes neatly packaged with all manner of mounting options.

All in all the Bontrager Flare R is the right light at the right price. It does more than the minimum to comply with Austin’s bike light ordinance, is easy to use, and truly offers exceptions visibility.

Stop by and let us show you how to be seen.

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.

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