Support Your LBS (Local Bike Shop) This Holiday Season

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The LBS never goes out of style!

Times, they are a changin’!  Over the past several “Black Fridays,” headlines indicate the rapid growth of online sales over the flat or declining sales at brick and mortar stores.  It looks like the traditional rush to the mall for holiday shopping is gradually fading away in favor of shopping in your PJs.  And certainly, there are many advantages to that!  While the nature of shopping habits are changing, we’d like to put in a plug for the good ‘ole LBS.

Shop from your PJs on your LBS’ website

If you are shopping for a cyclist on your list, strongly consider buying from your local store, either in-person or on their website.  Yes, most local bike shops do have an extensive selection online, offering you the convenience of shopping in those PJs while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate.  You can always choose in-store pick-up to save on shipping.  Besides the convenience factor, probably the number one reason to shop online is price.  While your LBS may not have the lowest prices around compared to some websites, there is a reason for that.  Part of what you are paying for when purchasing at your LBS is the personal, one-on-one service you are getting from knowledgeable sales associates who are passionate cyclists in your local community.  Now, if you don’t think that service is very good, for whatever reason, then by all means shop elsewhere.  A store has to earn their stripes.

When I say “Service,” what do I mean?  A lot!  If a shop is doing it right, that means you having the ability to walk into a store and ask questions about bikes and accessories from a real live person who is knowledgeable and friendly.  Their years of experience can help you avoid potential buying mistakes.  They live and ride in your local community as opposed to somewhere else in the country or even overseas.  Even if you call or email the store, that sales associate knows you can come by the shop for a personal one-on-one visit anytime, and they hope you do!  If someone is hundreds of miles away, they know that’s not happening.

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Nothing replaces one-on one human interaction

One of the complaints I hear from time to time is that the local bike shop just doesn’t have the product selection.   And it is true that the in-store selection is not going to compare to a web store.  However, that local store’s website most likely does have that “endless aisle” selection you may be looking for.  Because a local bike shop cannot realistically carry so much inventory, one of the services they do provide is a curated product selection.  Let’s face it, one of the problems consumers face today is TOO MANY choices.  The LBS is spending the time to bring in what they think are the best options for its local customers among the seemingly limitless number of options available.  This is usually based on personal experience using the products themselves!  So a good LBS has curated a selection they believe to be the best products out there, saving the consumer time and money!

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A curated selection

If you decide to make a purchase at the LBS instead of an out-of-state or out-of-country online seller, or an auction site, some additional service you get from the price you paid includes the following:  First, it means knowing you bought from an authorized dealer.  This means the store and the manufacturer will stand behind the product according to the warranty.  Should there be any issues, you just come back to the store and talk with a sales associate in person to handle the issue.  No endless phone tag with a remote company, who may not even be authorized dealers of the product.  If they’re not, you are out of luck.  There are a lot of websites out there participating in the “gray market” who are not authorized to sell a brand’s products or may even be selling knock-offs, so buyer beware.

The price you pay at an LBS also includes the showroom experience.  In addition to your interaction with a real live human being, you get to touch and feel the product in a pretty cool environment.  Many shops have a place for you to hang out, read the latest magazines, watch some races or videos, and enjoy a coffee or espresso.  When it comes to bikes, there is nothing like the test ride and a proper bike fit.  You are taking a real risk on your purchase if you skip those two services.

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A good bike fit is essential to cycling enjoyment

If you do purchase a bike at the LBS, the price you pay typically includes some nice perks worth real money – such as a free tune-up, free bike fit, complimentary adjustments for the life of the bike and sometimes a nice discount on all future tune-ups.  Every bike shop is a little different in this respect so see what they offer.  Also, be aware of the difference between cost and price.  If you add it all up, you may be surprised to realize that the overall cost from purchasing at the LBS is actually lower than that great deal you got for a bike online.

Another service included in the price of a bike at the LBS is the bike build.  While not all LBS mechanics are the same, in general, you will find a much higher quality bike build from your LBS than the online retailer or certainly big box store.  You will usually have to complete a portion of the bike build yourself on shipped bikes (or bring it to the LBS who will charge a build fee).

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Have your bike built and cared for by a professional

Contribution to the local community is also a service which is part of the price charged by the LBS.  Is that worth something to you?   While this may seem more nebulous, it’s real.  Amazon and other remote online sellers contribute nothing to your local cycling community.   First and foremost, your LBS employs people in your community.  And therefore when you spend dollars locally, more of those dollars stay in your local economy, compared to spending them with an out-of-state or out-of-country remote seller.  But beyond that, most local bike shops organize regular shop rides, support organized charity rides and put time and dollars towards improving cycling infrastructure in your community.  Often they work with schools to get more kids riding bikes (safely) and contribute their time to get people in lower income areas on bikes.   The list could go on and on as each bike shop is a little different.

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The LBS advocates for bicycling infrastructure in your community

One of the initial appeals of buying online was the sales tax savings.  This has dwindled in recent years as many of the larger online internet retailers also have some sort of “physical” presence in multiple states, such as a warehouse.  In addition, more and more states are compelling online sellers to charge sales tax even without a so-called physical presence.  As these cases continue to go through the courts, it is more likely Congress will pass a federal internet sales tax law (different bills are pending) that will eliminate the sales tax advantage currently enjoyed by many online sellers.   No matter your view on taxes, the sales tax theoretically supports the people of the state you live in.  And even factoring in the sales tax, the overall value proposition you get at the LBS when you consider all the SERVICE (as outlined in this blog) built into the price you pay, is usually better at the LBS!

Hopefully, I’ve made a compelling case for shopping at your LBS for all the cyclists on your list this holiday season.   Sometimes, when comparing only price tags, consumers don’t take into account the overall value they are getting for that price.  It is not an apples to apples comparison.  The benefits I’ve described for shopping at your LBS are not spelled out on a price tag.  In the end, the LBS must earn your business.  If the bicycling consumer does not see the value of the LBS that I’ve outlined above, then ultimately some will go away.  Consumers vote with their dollars.  There is no doubt that “Cyber Monday” will continue to grow and at some point, we will reach some equilibrium between online sales and bricks & mortar sales.   This means the LBS has to adapt and continue to find ways to enhance their value proposition.

Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Meetings Need Your Input

We received this note from the Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Committee the other day.Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 11.20.28 AM

Good afternoon.  Here’s a quick look at upcoming Bicycle Master Plan events.

Bicycle Master Plan Outreach Booth – Sunday, October 27 from 8:30 to 10:30 am –  Back Bay Drive.  This event will be similar to the small booth set up at the Newport Pier to solicit public input on cycling within Newport Beach.  This is not a Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee meeting.

Bicycle Master Plan Community Open House – Monday, November 4 from 4:30 to 7:30 pm – Friends Room, Central Library.  This event will be an advertised event that provides a “workshop” setting for the public to learn about the BMP project and to solicit input on cycling within Newport Beach.  This is not a Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee meeting.

Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee meeting – Monday, December 2 at 5:00 p.m. – Community Room, Civic Center.  This is the next official Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee meeting.  More information will come at a later date.

NOTE:  The meeting/event discussed for November 2 has been cancelled.

We welcome you to join us at any or all of these events to further discuss cycling within Newport Beach.

Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan

As Newport Beach works to expand the already fantastic facilities already in place, you can be a part of each and every step along the way.  You can attend meetings, participate in surveys, and send letters.  Where you really feel passionately about some aspect of the planning, you could even organize additional folks to make many voices heard in an effort to create the best possible results for the cycling community.

According to the Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Website:

Newport Beach is a great place to ride a bicycle. The weather is mild and our bikeways offer some of the most beautiful views in Orange County. So why aren’t more residents riding bikes for recreation and for everyday trips? We know there are lots of factors that go into a person’s decision to ride. The Bicycle Master Plan will be used as a guide for how we can make bicycle rides better in Newport Beach, and encourage more people to enjoy biking—whether you’re out for a cruise along the beach or the Back Bay, climbing the hills of Newport Coast, using a bike for your everyday trips, or biking to work.

GET INVOLVED!

  • Take our survey to help us understand the needs of people who bike (or want to bike) in Newport Beach, click here to begin the survey.
  • Notices for upcoming community workshops will be posted on this web page.
  • Sign up for email updates about the Bicycle Master Plan and opportunities to participate by emailing bsommers@newportbeachca.gov. (Note: We apologize, but the earlier email sign up form was not capturing data.  Please sign up again to be added to the contact list.)

COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS

  • Check back often for more bicycle workshops and events.
  • The first community event took place on Saturday, August 24 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Newport Pier plaza that was staffed by the project team for the public to learn more about the planning process.

PLANNING PROCESS

The City of Newport Beach wishes to further promote cycling and increase awareness through modern bicycle facility improvements, education, outreach, and the creation of an extensive bicycle network.

Development of the Bicycle Master Plan is guided by a Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee appointed by the City Council. All meetings are open to the public and you are encouraged to attend. Some of these meetings will be interactive workshops where community members can provide input through activities and discussions. See the Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee web page for the committee meeting agendas and minutes and for the scheduled workshops and outreach programs.

An initial public workshop is planned in fall 2013, followed by another workshop in the spring of 2014 when the public will be able to provide input on concepts for the plan. The draft Bicycle Master Plan is anticipated to be ready for public review in summer/fall 2014, when a third public workshop will be held.

Please sign up to receive email updates to be notified of upcoming workshops, which will be advertised on this web page. The project team is also seeking public input through an online survey and community outreach booths.

The anticipated project schedule can be viewed by clicking here.

DOCUMENTS

Documents and other project information will be posted here as the project progresses.

MORE INFORMATION

If you have further questions or comments about the Bicycle Master Plan, please contact:
Brad Sommers, PE
Senior Civil Engineer
Public Works Department
949-644-3326 or bsommers@newportbeachca.gov

What Physiologic Qualities Make for a Great Endurance Athlete? Part II

The best endurance athletes utilize higher percentages of fat for energy at higher sustainable workloads.  Each person has roughly 1,500-2,000 calories of carbohydrates (glucose) stored within the body (muscles and liver) to utilize during a single athletic event.  This is known as your “Glycogen Stores.”  The higher the sustained exercise intensity the more glucose the body utilizes to create energy for motion.  When somebody does what’s called “hitting the wall” during, say, a marathon race (usually between miles 22-24), they have used up the glycogen stores within the body and now have to shift metabolism to break down proteins (muscle) to create glucose.  The brain only runs on glucose so for self preservation the body starts breaking down the muscle to feed the brain and other organs.  This is the point where runners should be pulled from the race for their own good.

From High 5 Nutrition, UK

At lower intensities (usually around 60% of VO2max), to save glycogen stores, the body uses a very high ratio of fat to glucose (approx. 65%/35%) to create energy.   As the intensity increases, the body shifts metabolism to a more rapid use of glucose for fuel and less fat (at 80% of VO2max, approx. 20%fat/80%glucose) until the intensity increases to 100% glucose and the body starts to recruit fast twitch muscles which create and accumulate lactic acid.   This begins to shut down cellular metabolism and leaves you gasping for air on the side of the road (a blog post for another day).

So, to sum up the formula for being a better endurance athlete, “The best endurance athletes burn fat as the majority of their fuel intake at higher and higher sustainable exercise intensities so they can conserve their precious glycogen stores throughout the race.  This is a trainable adaptation of the human body for all endurance athletes and can be improved upon.  True fuel utilization assessments can only be performed in a Metabolic Lab with medical-grade metabolic equipment that detects precise O2 uptake and expired CO2 ratios.  This test will soon be available from Power to the Pedals.  Stay tuned!

Saul Blau, MS is Director of Power to the Pedals, LLC, a Unit of the SoCal Endurance Lab at A Road Bike 4U in Irvine, California.

Tech Tips & Tales from the Mockster

Rainy Day Bike Blues Cures

The recent rainy weather  has brought with it a bunch of new bicycle maintenance concerns.  Even if you are not riding while it’s actually raining, road conditions have definitely changed since our last fair weather riding days.  Since the rains started you will find cars have pushed a lot of extra road grit and debris into your regular riding path where it is just waiting to be picked up by your bike.  These road nasties can easily destroy your bike’s finish and grind down the chain, gears, brakes as well as the tires and rims.  Although many people express concern about bad weather riding,  a little extra love will keep your bike looking good and running smoothly and let you ride safely into spring.    In previous posts we have detailed proper bike maintenance using Motorex products available at ARB, but let’s talk in detail about post-rainy day ride good maintence demands and procedures

.Bike: You’ve just come in from your “epic” ride and your bike is covered with road grime.  Now is a good time to give your ride a little attention before that dirt gets really attached.  A high pressure water blast is not recommended because water will get into places where it can cause damage ie:  bearings and cables.  On the other hand, a “dry” wipe can lead to paint scratches.   We are probably going to need a little low pressure water flush.  Use either a garden hose on very low pressure or a watering can with warm water or a bucket and a rag works well.  Wet the bike down from top-to-bottom, avoiding cables, headset bearings hubs as much as possible.  Gently wipe down bike with a soft rag or towel, and flush with water again.  Dry with a clean soft towel.

Brakes:  Open up brake releases and inspect for grit build-up or metal transfer as shown as the silver specks in the picture to the left.  Most often  you will  hear this as a grinding noise before you see it.  This build-up needs to be removed immediately because it will destroy your expensive rims. Use a pick or sharp point to remove the foreign material and polish with a bit of sandpaper as necessary.  Be sure to wipe down your rim braking surface as well.  Next, squeeze the brake calipers together and make sure they snap back to the open position.  Any drag or resistance means a brake service is required,  which means pulling and lubing the cables.  Some of this cable contamination can be avoided by wiping and oiling the cables where they enter the cable housing at the brake adjusters on the caliper body.

Drive Train:  For our purposes, let’s define your bike’s drive-train as the cranks/chainrings, chain, cassette, and front and rear derailleurs.  Bad weather bike riding problems usually show up here first. The key to keeping your bike shifting and noise-free always starts with keeping it clean and well lubed. Your chain is the primary muck magnet, so spend some extra time here.  A lot of chain grime can be removed by wiping it with a disposable towel while back pedaling.  All that road grit is grinding your bike away, so get as much off as you can,  paying attention to the chain rings, and rear derailleur jockey pulleys as well as the chain.  Rainy weather riding also demands you increase your chain lubing frequency, maybe to as much as every ride.  We are recently seeing a lot of dry and even rusty chains coming into the ARB service department.  Keeping your drive train clean and well lubed is your key to a trouble free winter riding experience.

Tires: Rainy weather is not the best time to put your expensive race tires at risk.  All of the road grit that is gunking up your drive train is definitely making you more vulnerable to flatting.  One good solution for this is a good set of “training” tires such as Continental Gatorskins.  A benefit of doing this,aside from much more flat resistance,  is that when you switch back to your racers next spring, they are going to feel that much faster.  At a minimum, inspect your tires after every ride looking for rocks or grit that just love to imbed themselves leading to increased flat frequency.

Pedals:  Again, the best thing you can do here is keep your pedals and shoes clean and mud/grit free.  Oil the clips and springs on your pedals with a good light oil such as Tri-Flow.  Make sure your shoe clips are clean rust free and lube them as the manufacturer recommends, such as with Speedplay lube.  Your collar bone will love you for it.Keeping

Keeping your bike clean and well maintained is always key to a good bike riding experience.  With a little more regular attention you can easily  cruise on into spring mostly trouble free.

As always, stop by ARB for a free maintenance diagnosis.

Yours, for good bike health,

“Doc” Mock

Function AND Fashion at a Great Price. CAPO Aparrel. Available at A Road Bike 4U in Irvine!

Are you looking for great value in your cycling attire? At A Road Bike 4U, we carry the CAPO clothing line, which is developed by cyclists for cyclists, and is rigorously tested (for a minimum of 12 months!) before it is sold. All of the fabrics come from Italy, and these same developers constantly make trips to Europe to stay on top of all the latest fabrics.

CAPO apparel designs every piece of clothing with the rider in mind. The base layers are one size fits all and are specifically engineered to fit close to the body to maintain your body temperature. The jerseys only flex horizontally, so that your back pockets won’t sag and so you can be comfortable. They also have a locking zipper, so you have the option of keeping your Jersey zipped halfway up; instead of only all the way up or down.

Next are the bib shorts. They are padded in such a way to maximize comfort on long rides, and also have areas that are designed to keep moisture away and keep you cool. There is never any design on the padding, because in order to print on it, a lower grade fabric is required. CAPO apparel doesn’t want to cut any corners when it comes to their quality.

They also have women’s jerseys which have generous pockets, as well as the same benefit from the mens jersey in the lockable zipper. The ladies have a few different styles to choose from, including quarter sleeve and sleeveless.

CAPO clothing is great for any rider, but it’s especially great 4U! So come down to A Road Bike 4U and get yourself some race quality apparel, at the best price.

Race-tested SIDI cycling shoes at A Road Bike 4U in Irvine. Don’t delay! Come check ’em out!

SIDI has the most sizes out of any cycling shoe company. And the sizes are honest too, 6mm for each full size and 3mm for each half size. They also have shoes for those with narrow feet, wide feet, and women’s shoes.

For 2013 SIDI has a shoe that Peter Sagan rode with in the Tour de France. It’s got 2 line closures that ratchets up like normal, but you can also loosen the lines one by one using buttons on either side of the closure. It’s a very low friction line, so it’s got even tension all around.

The sole is carbon, 4 bolt, has less stack height, and have been tested and proven to save 30 seconds an hour in time trials.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Charity Bicycle Ride, Oct 7 Irvine Lake Sponsored by A Road Bike 4U

If you like to ride in charity bicycle events or even if you have never done so, here is a chance to start with an easier one. Two rides will take place at Irvine lakes on Oct 7 designed to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The rides are 35 and 65 miles, and the entree donation is only $200.

Several customers of a Road Bike 4U have already signed up, and the Foundation expects to see several hundred riders out that day.

A Road Bike 4U will be helping with training rides and other support activities. Call A Road Bike 4U to get additional details or go on the CFF website.

Come to A Road Bike 4U to check out the full selection of SIDI products as well as bikes, apparel, and other cycling accessories!