Ten Stocking Stuffers for Cyclists

The holiday season is fast approaching and with it comes every wife/husband or girlfriend/boyfriends dilemma….what do they buy their cycling significant other? Like last year, I decided to put together a list of ten items that a cyclist might find useful if it were to end up in their stocking (I know I would….so, if my dear wife is reading this, please take note). Here they are: Pedros Beverage Wrench – everybody needs one of these laying around. Shebeest Glass Prism Sock for the women or the Hincapie Merino Wool Sock for the guys. The Capo Roubaix Hat for men. – I think this just looks totally cool. Planet Bike Blinky Rear LED Light – every cyclist needs good rear illumination for those evening or early morning rides. Park Tool SW-7 Triple Spoke Wrench – I can’t count the number of times I wish I had a spoke wrench with me. Innovations Ultraflate Plus CO2 Inflator – if your cyclist already has an inflator then re-stock their supply of CO2 cartridges. Fi’zi:k Saddle Pa:k w/ Clips – I know I need to get rid of my oversize mountain bike seat bag. Bicycling 1-year Magazine Subscription – every cyclist needs this. The Time-Crunched Cyclist: Fit, Fast, and Powerful in 6 Hours a Week by Chris Carmichael Chamois Butt’r 8-Ounce Skin Lubricant – you gotta protect yourself. There you have it. Some pretty simple items that, I think, would make any cyclist happy to find in their stocking this Christmas. If I’m not mistaken, most of the items are under $20 (with some under $10) which is easy on the bank...

Heavy Loads and Carbon Fiber

As I continue my search for potential new bicycle candidates, I find my self coming back to a common question. Am I too heavy for a carbon fiber rig? I’ve ridden aluminum (including fork) for the last 15 years and have had no problems with the frame. While riding the last year or so I’ve really put my old bike to the limit because I’m sure it wasn’t designed to carry a 260 pound rider. It’s performed great though. As I’ve been looking for a new bike I’ve fondled a couple of carbon fiber bikes but am really hesitant to even test ride one because I know I’ll probably love it but am afraid I’m too heavy for the frame. I don’t want it to die a slow death due to the stress of carrying me, or worse, fail catastrophically while riding. This question was thrust back into the spotlight this weekend when I looked at a bike mentioned to me by one of my local readers here in Dallas. It’s a 2009 Fuji CCR2 on closeout at Performance Bike. I honestly don’t know too much about Fuji’s, and always thought of them as ‘department store’ bikes, but I think their reputation has been growing the last few years. The bike I looked at was all carbon fiber outfitted with a full Ultegra setup for $1500. If I remember correctly, that’s almost $1000 off the list. It’s a beautiful bike. The price is about the max I wanted to spend but the fact that it’s a full carbon bike has given me reservations because of my weight. I’m also...

Another Bike Store Trip

I’ve gone to several shops now just looking at what they have while paying specific attention to price-points and what you get at those points. Like I said, I’ve been concentrating on getting something with at least 105 components all the way around and that’s relatively easy to do at an affordable price (approx $1200 with the Specialized Allez). On my trip yesterday I was looking to see how much it would cost me to up the ante on the group to Ultegra. The price jump from 105 to Ultegra is pretty significant on the mainstream brands of Trek and Specialized at anywhere from $600 to $1500+. Besides the jump to Ultegra the frame type (Aluminum to Carbon), wheel set, and crank material (aluminum to carbon) are also driving up the price. It was hard to find an Ultegra equipped bike below $2200. That’s too steep for me. I did see a few bikes in the used section that came with Ultegra, were in my old frame size, and were nice bikes. A couple were actually decently priced and will be something I keep my eye on as this unfolds. I will get re-sized when I do this though because, 1) it needs to be done, 2) I always felt my old bike was a little big at 52 cm, and 3) the stand over height on my old bike was too high. In my last post about my trip to the bike shop, I bashed Bianchi pretty hard because of the colors and name of their bike. Yesterday I was very surprised to find a Bianchi I liked,...

Used Pro Bikes For The Super Poseur (or you can just call me Magnus)

Everything I’ve heard about buying an ex-pros bike is bad. They ride them thousands of miles a year and stress them to the limit. It would be like buying a used car with over 100,000 miles on it with no warranty. That was driven by Nascar driver. As his personal training vehicle. Probably not a smart move. So, I was a little surprised to see the tweet announcing Slipstream Garage. It’s a new component of the Garmin-Slipstream online store where you can buy certified bikes that were ridden by the team. So, what can you get? For a mere $3,500 you can pickup Julian Dean’s 2007 Felt B2 or you can splurge a little and get yourself Christian Vande Velde’s 2008 Felt SL 1 for $5,000. That’s some serious green for a bike that’s been rode hard and put away wet. $5000 would get you a very nice NEW bike so I’m not sure how many of these Garmin-Slipstream will sell. Will they sell some? Absolutely (there must be a lot because after releasing this announcement the Garmin website slowed to a crawl, and even wouldn’t connect once, due to the folks flocking to get their hands on one of these machines). There’s at least one or two folks out there who have an obscenely excess amount of cash laying around (certainly not myself) and would not bat an eyelash about the price to be able to brag about the bike on their next group ride. The signature namesake of the bikes might even pull a little weight while picking up chicks on bikes. To quote the Garmin-Slipstream website:...

Local Bike Shops and Social Media

The age old question of supporting your local bike shop or ordering online has raged for a while and is still a very hot topic. I don’t want to banter the pros and cons of doing so but would rather discuss why local bike shops aren’t taking advantage of social media and trying to draw local riders into their shops. As most of you know, I’m in the hunt for a new bike. As I sat here at the kitchen table this morning drinking a cup of coffee, wishing I was riding instead, I wrote a tweet saying that I was considering going to a local bike shop to look at what they had to offer. Then I tacked a question onto the end of it: Why aren’t they (the local bike shops) on here (Twitter) trying to get me into their shop? I think that’s a valid question. So many people are using social media (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, etc.) and using it to connect to one another. Cyclists in particular are using Twitter like nobody’s business after seeing professionals like Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, and Christian Vande Velde (to name a few) create accounts and begin interacting with their fans. Local Bike shops are missing out on this by not using the tools to connect to cyclists in their area. I could see local bike shops offering special discounts or coupons via Twitter, group discussions on Facebook, or posting pictures from the local evening ride on Flickr. Lance Armstrong did this the other day when he invited Twitter followers to a group ride that departed from his...
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