Update
Wednesday May 12th 2010, 10:48 pm
Filed under: News

Not much to report here, just wanted to make note of some of the new links on the left sidebar of this site that I have recently added. The external sites I’m talking about are listed under the header: VISIT SOME OF THESE PEOPLE.

It’s not like I access these sites from this website, but the list to the left is just a catalog per se of websites of organizations, businesses, or people that I enjoy, respect, and agree with. Check them out sometime, I haven’t updated them in a while, and tonight it occurred to me to glance at them. Noticing them for the first time in a while I saw some gaps there. Have at it, perhaps visit some locations on the internet you’ve never visited. (There are surely some gaps remaining of sites on my RSS reader, there’s just only so much space.)

(As far as there “not being much to report,” like I mentioned above; that’s a total outright lie. I’ve got a ton of things going on, all of which are keeping me from updating this site in any other significant way beyond link updates and simple photo posts. More posts to come soon enough, thanks for your patience.)



Formation
Tuesday May 11th 2010, 7:34 am
Filed under: Photos

Originally uploaded by prestashrader



Too Long!
Tuesday April 27th 2010, 9:39 pm
Filed under: Photos

Originally uploaded by prestashrader



Welcome Back
Sunday April 25th 2010, 1:02 pm
Filed under: News

Bicycle Comics – Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery |.

Yeah, the long wait is soon to be over! Welcome back.



Bridge
Thursday April 22nd 2010, 9:03 am
Filed under: Anecdotes

This morning on my regular commute across the 2nd street bridge I noticed an interesting incident. Just as I am a quarter of the way up the Louisville incline of the bridge I see another cyclist up ahead, traveling in the same direction as I am, towards Indiana. There’s a large pick-up truck in between us, they’re about forty yards ahead. I noticed the cyclist, because I hardly see other bicycles on the bridge, especially not in the street.

All of a sudden I see the dude on the bike stop abruptly and the truck come to a quick stop behind him. As I continued approaching it appeared the guy’s chain had come off his bike—lame, right? (Here’s a time you want your bike mechanically sound if there ever was.) In order to get out of the truck’s way, bike dude steps up to the sidewalk just as the truck begins to blow his horn, exactly: get out of the way.

Mere seconds later I am about to pass the stalled commuter, I loudly ask him if he’s alright and if he needs any help. No reply. I’m no more than three feet away from him and he doesn’t respond. It was as though he didn’t hear me. In fact, it’s likely that he didn’t due to the headphones in his ears. I’m wondering if he even heard the truck’s horn behind him moments ago. He probably did, but I’d be willing to bet he didn’t know the truck was as close to killing him as he thinks. I’d bet he wasn’t aware at all of the truck’s presence at all.

And the point of this post is this: if you’re going to ride your bike among traffic and survive, you have got to be aware of your surroundings. I don’t care how low you’ve got the music or whatever playing, you’re not as aware as someone without headphones. In fact, having headphones on at all makes you look totally oblivious to what’s happening around you. It’s probably one of the more stupid things you can do on your bike. If you’re riding amongst traffic, or the potential for there to be traffic, and you’ve got headphones on, I just called you stupid.

Is the music so important? Be aware of the music and the sounds of your environment, and enjoy that for a change! Be smart for a change!



Fork & Stays
Monday April 05th 2010, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Photos

Originally uploaded by prestashrader



Old Tech
Friday March 26th 2010, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Advice & Tips,Observational Review

Throughout my time in the industry there’s been a few absolutes I’ve picked up from customers. You know things like, snapped chainrings occurring while “they’re just riding along.” Or “…but I just changed my chain last year!” The one I’m interested right now is the statement that they don’t use but three or four of their gears on their cassettes. This declaration is reinforced by the fact that their cassettes wear out quickly in only a few gears; usually those smallest few. I’m the same way when I ride. Only lately have I been making a conscious effort to use more of my cassette; and I’m not really sure why I am—I guess just to see what it’s like. Sometimes it just seems like an eternity dropping from 25 to 11, and that takes so little effort—forget about going the other way!

In all seriousness though, we’re up to eleven cogs on the rear wheel now, there’s electric shifting, and featherweight bikes. Seriously what’s next? (Hubless wheels? I hope not I’m still mad about loose ball bearing wheels going out of style). I don’t know what is next, but what I think would be cool to see are modern, lightweight 5, 6, or 7 speed drivetrains. Whoa, right? Let’s take it back for the enthusiast who doesn’t want all that futuristic complexity. It could be the hip thing to ride, not as simple as the fixie, but close enough. What if we returned to the days when there were only five or six cogs back there? Would we get a simpler system? Those dudes twenty, thirty years ago operated fine with that few gear choices, ever hear of a guy named Bernard Hinault? I wonder if a nice six speed cassette would still cost three hundred dollars? If it lasted as long as some of those old freewheels, I just might pay it. They could be built to last. Chains could be thicker again, and would therefore last longer too. There might not be as much waste and unnecessary “recycling” of materials.

Considering the rampant proliferation of new parts and components coming to market everyday, it likely wouldn’t be that difficult to fit this design into the current standards. (This, I’m stating, after giving the subject an entire thirty minutes of reflection). But really, what are the hurdles? The freehub body could be modified, i.e. shortened. New hubs would get widened to fit into the 130mm rear frame spacing. Bingo, a more simple, and likely stable rear wheel. I do sometimes miss using downtube shifters, but the integrated levers still amaze me at times. Not that we’d have to revert that far, someone could pretty easily produce some integrated lever with six clicks in it I’d think. Bigger ≠ better. More gears might not always be the answer.

This whole subject comes inspired—sort of—by my learning of SRAM’s new X7 2×10 mountain groupset coming out soon. Why is it called X7, I don’t know, but from what I’ve read it seems it’s a more economic version of their supremely well-designed XX groupset. XX is also pretty high-dollar gear. X7 is slated to be affordable. This concept I like. Essentially making a premium technology accessible to more people. They’re doing this with their road line-up too, they’re soon introducing their Apex road groupset. An economic offering of their premier groups of Red and Force. They might not be interested in appealing to a more economically conservative crowd, but Shimano may want to consider producing a reduced version of their new pie-in-the-sky Di2 electronic group if they want more people riding their gear. Elitism is that way by definition.



Magic Carpet Ride
Thursday March 25th 2010, 8:19 pm
Filed under: Photos

Originally uploaded by prestashrader



Customer Service
Sunday March 21st 2010, 10:30 am
Filed under: Anecdotes

The other day my wife and I walked to the nearby Chevron gas station where we commonly pick up beer for the home. I’m not a big proponent of supporting gas stations in any way, but this particular one has a pretty quality beer selection in their “beer cave” out of which we grabbed a twelve-pack of PBR (quality, right?). Everything was normal for your typical gas station purchase. Even to the point of the cashier talking on the phone as she was ringing us up. I hardly thought anything of it until the manager, whom I’ve had good friendly conversations with before, walked up next to us and berated the cashier.

“What are you doing? You’re being rude to these customers, your attention should be focused on them.”

She ended her telephone conversation and gruffly finished our transaction, and we left with our beer.

The entire interaction made me think though how nice it was that that attention to customer service was actually important to the manager. That’s because good customer service is an important matter. We’ve all had bad customer service experiences I’m sure. Since I’ve begun working in bike shops I’ve seen a progression towards delivering better customer service in myself. Not that I ever talked on the phone in front of a customer like the above example, but I know at times I can deliver less than patient service. This surliness that can be sometimes evident may be waning. It’s certainly not going to disappear entirely I’m sure, but I think I’ve learned a patience and a hospitality that a paying customer would value. It is, afterall, all about them, right?



More from Richmond’s #nahbs
Monday March 01st 2010, 10:14 am
Filed under: News

So the show was a success for me even though there was an exhaustion about me that kept everything slightly distracted from my attention. Just not 100% there, more like 96.5% perhaps. Nonetheless, my objectives were attained: enjoy checking out bikes, meet some people, and show off and explain my passion to my family.

I think they left the show knowing more about bikes and bike culture than they were expecting, but they now understand, I think, that there’s more to bicycles than just recreation and repair. There’s an actual viable future with them; now they just need to get on bikes more themselves and then everything will gel!

It was a wholly tiring weekend as I’ve mentioned, I could tell the exhibitors themselves were dogged at times too. I was a little disappointed in one booth in particular, not sure if my weariness was transferring to the guy there, but his friendliness was a little lackluster, but perhaps not everyone in the bike industry is a people person (shocking!) or more simply he was just as tired as I. He wasn’t nearly as disappointing however as the guy at the Shimano booth was though. It was a little off-putting when I asked why they didn’t opt for a platform pedal on the Di2 test bike to be told brusquely and dismissively that they wanted to present their new black Ultegra pedal. Not a soul was walking around that convention wearing road pedals with Shimano cleats on them; why not display the new pedals in a case or something? Didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but they’re the title sponsor so they know best I guess. Most people were friendly though, especially so on Friday compared to mob ruled Saturday. My talk with Lee at Highway 2 I’m sure will be well received by the guys I work with. Grilling Tone and Ed at the SRAM exhibit was illuminating, not really sure why the hell they didn’t have their new group Apex available there to view—I guess that’s why they weren’t the title sponsor, right? Chris Igleheart was a rad dude too. Meeting John at Sylvan was memorable, he was appreciative of my comparative of his frame’s tubes with pencils. The Yipsan booth were especially friendly and helpful in enlightening my sister and brother on bikes. Their town bike was one of our favorites, described as a “happy bike” it was no wonder it won the “Best City Bike” and the “People’s Choice” awards.

These two booth’s bikes were some of my favorites; the Sylvan I think was a very unique approach to this alternative material—as he said, wood: the original composite. I like it. Other favorites included Engin especially for it’s paint being reminiscent of those old Singer’s and Herse’s. Another favorite bike was the blue town bike at Signal, his booth was especially rad too (love the T-Rex) and the overall layout’s classiness. On the whole I was pleased at having the accurate prediction that there’d be an abundance of cyclocross bikes and town/city bikes. Both are easily working to becoming my favorite styles of bike—I’m also already considering exchanging the CAAD9 road bike I’ve just gotten for something similar to my classic Italian steel.

Richmond itself was a unexpectedly interesting town. From the Jerry Springer-esque brawl between two shoe-throwing ladies at some soul-food pizza shop we ate at (Leone’s Sportsbar?!) to the ceiling tile bashing party-goers at our hotel, there was a few classy gems thrown in between. One of which was the throw-back to the eighties family restaurant Byram’s where there was piano playing amongst the tasty greek faire. They had atmosphere in spades that really made you feel at home. We managed to find an outstanding alternative to the Comfort Inn’s coffee at Lift. But the best beyond that was the breakfast we had before our departure back to Louisville: Millie’s Diner, don’t let the word “diner” belie it’s true value to you. If within a hundred miles of Richmond, take the detour and get yourself the Ben Gurion lox bagel benedict. It won’t fail to impress. Fast and incredibly thoughtful/friendly/entertaining service was a great way to start a ten hour road trip.

IMG_0394

Millie's wall menu, bring your bi-focals.