Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wrap Like a Pro: A Simple Step by Step Guide to Bar Tape

I’ve heard that a pro mechanic’s best way to lift the spirits of riders before a difficult stage is fresh white bar tape. It’s a confidence booster. Fresh white tape just looks clean and fresh, and can make your legs feel the same. 

Bar tape is one of those things—one of those mystical things on a bike that go just a bit beyond their utilitarian purpose. There is a touch of magic in that ribbon that is wrapped around your bars. Some people might just look at it like something to cover your cables, but I believe it is an essential point of style and soul for a bicycle.  Whether authentic leather, soft cork, old-school fabric, or a cutting edge synthetic material, your tape speaks about you as a cyclist and your axe. Take pride.

So how exactly do you make sure that your tape looks as pro as your shaved legs and tall socks? Here’s how:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Art of Transition: A Triathelete's Source for Free Time

Triathlon is a struggle of seconds. Many of you reading this probably devote hours, early mornings, and countless calories towards becoming just a few seconds faster. So it stands to reason that an opportunity to save minutes would suit most any triathlete’s fancy. When I asked my colleague and pro triathlete, Jack Bracconier, what I could do with this blog to help make my multisport readers faster, he did not hesitate to say transition. 
Jack Bracconier gives us his personal take on transition.
 So many athletes, of every ilk or specialty, myself included, train incredibly hard only to overlook simple logistical factors that can really affect their race results. Transition is a major logistical detail for multisport athletes, and is an area of the race often ripe for improvement. These improvements can save minutes without hours of training; just a well thought out approach and a little practice can change your transitions from a weakness to a strength—an opportunity to gain significant time on those who choose to leave transition as an afterthought. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Wilier Zero.7: Everyone should want it, only a lucky few can have it.

Wilier does not create bikes for everyone. They are not Trek. They are not Specialized. Wilier bikes are not designed for the masses. They are not the Olive Garden, they are La Pergola—a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Rome. They create bikes for people with discerning taste, for people who appreciate a race bike as art, as well as a performance machine.  Style and tradition share equal importance with performance and innovation in Wilier’s design strategy.  The two sides complement each other in their bikes, each side feeding off the other, pushing innovations in performance and style to their absolute pinnacle. 
Italian design and style.
The Wilier Zero.7 perches comfortably atop this pinnacle. The new quintessential Italian racing machine, the Zero.7 offers riders a world without compromise, striking a lovely balance between performance and comfort. No more are people forced to choose between a brittle, brassy, race machine and a sluggish, soft, long-haul rouleur. Wilier found a way, though proprietary carbon design technology, to offer both sides without compromise.

Monday, November 5, 2012

One Speed to Rule Them All

There are times when I thrive on the forward thrust of the bicycling industry.  It has a collective sense of constant momentum that can be inspiring.  Many times, it feels good to be a part of that.  But just as often, I find myself moving back towards the great simplicity a bicycle can provide.  The biggest R&D budget in the world can’t buy the repetitious circles carved out at a varying cadence over miles and miles.  Riding is more than just being the fittest and fastest.  Sometimes the simple act of pedaling gives you so much more. 

That brisk feeling on my way to the trails while wondering if I have overdressed for the first cold weather ride of the year.  The latest and greatest this forward-looking industry produces cannot give you that feeling.  Simply riding does. 

I always try to keep myself grounded in that way—constantly striving to remind myself why it is I ride a bike.  So often stripping away all of the extracurricular accoutrements makes me feel closer to knowing exactly what it is that gets me out of a warm bed in the morning to suffer. 

It was with this idea in mind—and light pocketbook in hand—that I set out to build my newest MTB: a singlespeed Cannondale Trail SL 29’r with many a modification.  The best part of a singlespeed is that it is not a huge commitment.  This one, as it comes from Cannondale (before my extras) comes in under $1,000, which seems to be an increasingly rare feat in the performance bicycle world these days. 

Riding a mountain bike is an activity that sells itself, and riding a singlespeed, while daunting at first, can be a joy for anyone who sticks with it.  I won’t muddy this up with my words—rather I will just show you the build and let you appreciate it for what it is: a simple machine that I love to ride.  

Check it out: