Jan 27, 2010
Posted by MJR
Some of you might remember about two weeks back when our good friends at Competitive Cyclist announced that they were going to stop selling Pegoretti frames. Their case for doing so is based in the kind of thinking that has made them one of the leaders in our business and was incredibly well written. Of course their announcing us as one of the best places to go to get a Pegoretti—custom or other—didn’t hurt our feelings about their move.
To follow up on their comment and all of the chatter that has surrounded it, we thought we’d post a list of all that we have in stock from Dario along with pricing so everyone can see if we have their next dream frame sitting here in Mill Valley.
Can we get a drumroll please…….
50cm Marcelo (Baci colorway)
51cm Duende (ABVD colorway)
52cm 8:30am (Red colorway)
52cm Fina Estampa
55cm Duende (ABVD colorway)
56cm Duende (Lori colorway)
56cm Responsorium (Catch the Spider colorway)
57cm Duende (Osei colorway)
58cm Responsorium (Catch the Spider colorway)
58cm Love #3 (You Really colorway)
59cm 8:30am (Navy Blue colorway)
Custom Big Leg Emma (call on size and colorway)
Just looking for some nice pictures of Pegoretti frames, check our blog posting from the show we put together at one of the world’s finest gelaterias here.
If you're interested in one of the frames mentioned above or just want to talk, give Woody a call @ 415.389.5461, email or come by the
Jan 25, 2010
Posted by MJR
As much as I’d like to, I don’t have any crazy inside line to jesus or anything, but over a few decades of riding there’s a number of simple things that I’ve found that seem to work to make a bike feel fast or at the very lest a little feel a little more like it did when it was new. They’re all pretty easy to manage and take very little time, but they’re also things that people are known to get lazy about or skip all together in favor a few more minutes on the bike.
1. Clean Your Chain/Drivetrain: Many people know or at least recognize that this as a fine way to improve the shifting performance of any bike and keep any resistance the chain might develop when rolling over the cogs and chainrings to a minimum, yet most of us are lax to keep the driveline tidy.
A really simple way to encourage drivetrain cleaning at home on a regular basis is to keep the following close to where you store your rig(s): two rags, citrus degreaser like Pedro’s Pro J and a light lube like Pedro’s Go! (which is suuuper light) or 100% biodegradable Dumonde Tech G-10 (we avoid lubes that come in aerosol cans by the way).
As you finish a ride, grab the rag you use only with the citrus degreaser, soak it with the stuff, grip the chain and turn the crank in a counterclockwise direction to run the chain through the rag. While you’re under the hood take a quick second to wipe down the chain and seatstays and look for any cracks on the frame or abnormal wear on the drivetrain components. Shouldn’t take you more than a minute for the first step.
Next, grab whatever light lubricant you’re using and drizzle lube on the chain as you again rotate the crank counterclockwise. After you’ve applied a good amount of lube to the chain, wipe ‘er down with your second rag (which you use only for lubricant.)
Finished! Shouldn’t take you more than two minutes to complete the whole thing and your bike will feel very much like new. If you’re doing this every-other-ride or so, you’ll actually be able to do it very quickly because your chain won’t be too dirty or dry and you’ll be in good practice.
2. Inflate Your Tires: Sure, sounds simple, but a lot of people that are just starting to ride might not be aware that checking tire pressure before every ride is not just good for preventing flat tires, but makes any bike ride a little bit better.
We probably fall on the low pressure side of the equation here (and I’m sure that what I’m about to say will cause some debate internally), but 115 to 120PSI for most good clincher tires seems to strike a balance between fast and dangerous to us. It’s possible to ride tubulars with a little more pressure, but above 120PSI you start to lose the suppleness that glued-on tires are known for. For those that crank their tires up beyond 125PSI, I read some literature from Continental not too long ago that stated plainly that anything that point was completely inconsequential in terms of lowering rolling resistance.
If you don’t have a good floor pump, get one. They’re inexpensive and a good one will last a decade or more. We’re somewhat partial to the Lezyne Floor Drive series of pumps.
3. Triple Check Your Seat Height: Seat posts have always had a tendency to slip, but with the advent of carbon frames and seat posts, they're more likely than ever to unintentionally drop. If your post happens to sneak down a tiny bit each ride, you’ll soon find yourself a centimeter or more below an optimal setting. Not sure what your optimal setting is? Get a bike fit from a pro. Using formulas and trying to make sense of it at home is rarely a recipe for success.
4. Replace Your Cleats: The only reason this came to mind is that I just replaced the Look Keo cleats on my shoes a few rides ago. Huge difference! Better engagement, less slop while pedaling and a much more crisp release. Costs less than $20 and will make a measurable improvement in your next ride. In fact, use the opportunity to check the position of said cleats on the bottom of your shoes. Not sure how to do that? Look for a post that gives an absolutely foolproof method for locating your cleats from AC’s fit guru Craig Upton in the near future.
5. Change Your Bar Tape: Do I really need to say much more than that a bike with clean bar tape is a hell of a lot faster than a bike with some raggedy old bar covering. Others may be swayed by new fangled tape, but I stick with the good, old Cinelli cork ribbon in white or black only.
BTW: So-Real Sonoma thanks to Levi and the World's Fastest Dentist Roger Bartels or Pine Flat Road
Jan 20, 2010
Posted by MJR
Going to go out on a limb here and make a little claim. Not much of a claim really, but something that’s been bouncing around in my head for a few days. The claim, while not life changing for anyone, is that I raced in the very last race in the United States that leather hairnets (or non Snell/ANSI approved helmets) were legal.
Sure, it may not seem like much, but how many football players can say that they played in the last game before the league started using what most people would call ‘modern’ helmets? How many DJ’s can say they spun the last record before CDs completed their dominance of the airwaves? How many secretaries can say they were the last to send a message via Telex? All I’m really saying is that I was witness to an arcane little piece of history here in our great sport. One that most people either forgot long ago or never knew about.
So what was the final race that riders used a head safety ‘technology’ invented a hundred years prior you ask? It the National Cyclocross Championships back in 1985. I was in my final year as a junior and my team—sponsored by the woeful Huffy Bicycles brand—made the 10-hour drive from Dayton, Ohio to Nutley, New Jersey to cap off a cold, wet season of Midwestern cyclocross racing.
Rumor had spread about the change to the helmet rule late that summer and, while attending a cyclocross camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs that fall, we were told the cold, hard truth: That everyone would have to train and race in a Snell or ANSI certified helmet beginning on January 01, 1986. Of course we were outraged. Rules were well and good, but this was somehow a violation of personal choice! Many of us threatened to never race again. All of us threatened to call our Congressman or some other highly placed representative.
This guy could rock a V1 Pro!
Of course the real motivator behind the outrage was that there was literally not one hardshell helmet that looked good. Not one. There was the Bell V1 Pro and I think a hardshell by the Italian brand Brancale. Other than that it was pretty much hockey helmets and lids used by rock climbers. What was more, no European pro wore a hardshell—why should we? Perhaps because we weren’t European or professional? Hmmm. We didn't seem to realize that at the time.
So, the race went off! All categories at once. Maybe sixty of us hell bent. An hour or so later Paul Curley won what would become one of about six million national championships (check the results from Portland by the way) and Ned Overend finished third maybe—some Polish defector beat The Captain for second—and I finished somewhere behind them. Far behind them.
The next season we all had to confront a new reality. Actually wearing a helmet that might protect our heads. Initially, the bulky, hot, ugly Bell V1 pro was pretty much it. Then some cagey folks had the idea that you could take a Bell helmet made for infants and carve out the entire inside so it would fit the head of a grown adult. Sure it rendered the helmet as useless as a box of matches on the bottom of Lake Erie, but it was a super light set-up. Few riders were bold enough to actually ride in a Baby Bell and the door was left wide open for a better hardshell. Enter the Monarch ‘Tour Guard’. At least I believe that was the model. It was a bit sleeker than the V1 Pro, much lighter and had huge vents. It still looked dorky, but we all thought a little less so.
At some point during all of this, Giro founder Jim Gentes changed the entire game by launching a light, well ventilated and actually kind of cool helmet. By 1987 Giro helmets were the standard and pretty much everyone on this side of the pond had forgotten that hairnets ever existed.
Possibly the bigger shock to the system--and one that would take longer to digest--was that we were actually expected to wear helmets on every ride—not just while racing as we’d done with hairnets. It wasn’t an overnight thing, but within five years there wasn’t a group ride around that didn’t require the use of a helmet. A total change from the previous decade.
In the last few decades I’ve had the bad fortune to use a few helmets for their intended purpose and, although I may not have consciously admitted it at the time, I was damn happy that I hadn’t fallen on a hairnet.
And, for all of those who don't remember when Lemond was skinny and kicked ass.....buckle up your chinstraps!
Jan 18, 2010
Posted by MJR
World’s Greatest Rain Riding Tips
Close on the heels of the cold weather riding tips we pushed out last week, it seemed sensible to do something on riding in the rain, seeing as how the two things seem to go together so frequently. Not to mention our fit guru Craig Upton has a group of riders headed down the coast to San Diego this week. Talk about drawing the short straw, there’s no question they’re going to get their share of rain. In fact, forecasters are calling it one of the worst weather patterns to hit the west coast since 2004. Pack your galoshes fellas.
Riding in the rain can be inspirational, fun, a welcome challenge or a great big shit sandwich. Like painting a room, having a baby or heading out for a night on the town, making the best of a rain ride comes down to how you prepare before rolling out and how you recover once off climbing off the bike. Unfortunately, much of being able to roll with the punches when the rain begins to fall comes down to practice. One time that living in a rain soaked locale can actually do some good.
So, without delay, here are World’s Three Greatest Rain Riding Tips
World’s Greatest Rain Riding Tip #1: Pack a warm thermos of tea
OK. We mentioned this in the cold weather riding tips, but that goes to show you how great it is! Don’t believe us? Ask certain Tour winners (or their people) who are obsessed with hot tea on a wet ride. A nice thermos of hot tea at a strategic point in a three or four hour rain ride will not just make things a little more tolerable; it'll make the difference between feeling miserable and punching people’s tickets! Us, we like a flask full of steaming yerba mate with a strong dose of natural agave nectar. Hippies, yes……but hippies you don’t want to mess with on a rainy day.
World’s Greatest Rain Riding Tip #2: Don’t Ride On Painted Lines
Sure, you may know this already. Chances are that you know it because you’ve fallen. Fallen very hard! Fact is that not all painted lines are slippery, but those that are, well, prepare for impact.
You might be thinking that it’s impossible to ride in the rain and not hit some painted traffic lines. And you are correct. Yet, it’s what you do when you hit those lines that matters most.
Rule #1: Never touch your brakes when you’re on a painted traffic line. This is easy to understand and difficult to do, but braking on painted lines can be avoided by going a little slower than normal and paying a little more attention.
Rule #2: Never try to corner on a painted line. This means you need to go a bit slower overall and you should set-up for your corners a little more precisely and more in advance than you normally would.
Also, everything that we just said about painted lines goes for metal surfaces like manhole covers and those huge steel sheets they lay across construction zones.
What’s more, that stuff we just said about metal surfaces, that goes about tenfold for metal bridges! Yes, those human cheese graters paid for with your tax dollars.
World’s Greatest Rain Riding Tip #3: Get Naked Fast
It doesn’t matter who needs to see your pasty white cyclist’s arse, as soon as you dismount, peel your wet clothes off and slip into something dry and warm. You may wonder why European pro outfits wear those goofy team warm-up suits, but having one as back-up after a cold, wet ride is all the proof you’ll need to be a died in the wool member of the team. Don’t forget a hat and something around your neck (like a small towel pulled around your throat and shoved into your jacket.) Ideally, you’ll be so warm that, in ten or fifteen minutes you’ll need to peel back a little. In addition to warming you up and drying you off faster, I have some possibly romantic notion that drying off quickly will prevent any kind of illness.
OK. That’s pretty much all you need to know to go from rain riding avoider to lord of the damp. As ever, let us know how that works out for you….
Jan 14, 2010
Posted by MJR
From 1993-ish to 2005 I was an editor for a few magazines, mostly Bicycling. During that time I was fortunate enough to ride hundreds of bikes and I was just thinking back to what the best road bike was I’d ever ridden at the time I’d ridden it (i.e. not the best bike by today’s standards, but the best riding bike compared to all the competition at that time.)
As surprising as the bike I’m thinking of might be, it wasn’t that hard to figure out—it leapt to mind immediately. There were plenty of incredible bikes that I was fortunate enough to ride during my time as an editor: the first-ever Madone, the first all-carbon Specialized Tarmac SL the initial aluminum/carbon Pinarello Prince, a crazy Scapin with curved seatstays, a few custom Bob Jacksons, a sky blue Pegoretti, a Giant TCR Advanced (pink Telekom edition), a feathery Litespeed 6/4 frame, the Ibis ti road bike with butted tubes. No end of ‘em now that I think about it.
Still, the best ride ever has to go to a model that Colnago made for a very short period of time in the mid 1990’s—the Bi-Titan. I’m reaching back 15 years for details on it, but I remember precisely that it showed up at the Bicycle Guide offices on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles in a giant box. Not only did we get a Bi-Titan that day, but we also received the first-ever, all-carbon C40. Both bikes were completely assembled, all we had to do was roll it out, turn the bars in the right direction and we were off.
Being that all-carbon bikes were still fairly new at that time, we had way more interest in the C40 than the freakish Bi-Titan—a bike that featured two small diameter downtubes instead of a more typical configuration. I hopped on the C40 for the 45-minute ride from the office to my house in west LA and there was an immediate issue. The rear tire rubbed the stays every time I pedaled. And not a little……it rubbed a lot. Something was clearly wrong with the frame; later we’d find out that Colnago had mistakenly sent me an early prototype created only for review of graphics.
So, it was back to the office, quick swap of pedals and back on the road, but this time on the freakish Bi-Titan. With the gimmicky dual downtubes, I was decidedly skeptical, but the fit of the 57cm Bi-Titan was perfect and that was always half the battle with test bikes. The sample that we had featured a number of things that were kind of new at that point, but are common now: zero rise/drop stem and shallow drop bars and Vittoria open tubular tires.
The first ride was reassuring and, in the weeks that followed, rides in the Malibu hills and along PCH convinced me that the Bi-Titan was something very special. Perfect geometry, incredible handling thanks in large part to a beefy straight-blade steel fork (instead of the carbon forks that were just starting to sweep the marketplace), amazingly comfortable. The perfect bike really. So perfect that I eventually had three different custom frames made with the Bi-Titan’s exact geometry.
After a few months, Colnago called looking for the BiTitan. On an editor’s salary there was no way I could afford the few grand they wanted for it. So, off it went to Cambagio destined never to not be matched! Writing this and remembering how great that rig was, I think I might try to scare one up on eBay.
Jan 11, 2010
Posted by MJR
Tips? That seems awfully ‘Men’s Health’ of us, but honestly we were thinking of the days when we were coming up and there was no Google to search or Carmichael Training Systems to subscribe to. The whole cycling club system was still in place and there was always one or two guys in every club that had done it for years. Had maybe raced in Europe or been a Six Day rider before the war. Who knows, but there was always someone around to help you out. That’s not so true any longer.
People in places like Chicago or, even worse, Burlington, Vermont might find it funny that a shop from Northern California is supplying cold weather riding tips, but it gets cold here. In fact, it snows a few times every winter on the Bay Area’s highest peaks. So, we do have a little experience to lean on. Not only that, but around the shop we’ve got refugees from Ohio, Maryland, Northern Washington, Chicago and on. So, we know a thing or two about frozen waterbottles and stuffing a glove down the front of your tights to keep things warm.
Layer Everywhere: Without question the biggest challenge when it comes to staying warm is keeping your hands and feet from going numb. Thanks to the incredible variety of gloves and shoe covers on the market, its not that tough to keep the feeling in your digits down to low 40’s, but below that and it gets interesting. We like to stick with the layering concept right through to our hands and feet. An ultra thin pair of gloves like the Assos innerGlove or other covered by a slightly larger, heavier pair will allow you to modulate your temperature on climbs and if the temperatures rise and will stay dryer, longer should it begin to rain or snow.
Similarly, you’ll want to stay warm, but not hot. On the climbs be sure you unzip your top layer and even remove your gloves to keep them dry and warm for the descent.
Drink tea: Before, after and, if it’s going to be a long day in extremely cold weather, even during. Tea will keep you hydrated (something many people forget about when riding in cold weather) and has a pretty magical effect in terms of keeping you warm from the inside-out.
Always Wear Optics: Many times when it’s cold, it tends to be dark and dreary, but wearing some kind of eyewear helps to keep your face a little bit warmer and will prevent the massive tearing up that happens on cold descents. Why does that happen anyway?
Embrocation Is For Your Legs: At some point on a particularly cold Ohio day back when I was a junior, I had this idea that, if embrocation worked on my legs, it’d probably work on the rest of my body. So, I slathered some Ruud Baaker (yeah, that’s old school) on my chest, arms and feet before suiting up to ride. The result, I assure you, was neither pleasant nor warm.
If you use embrocation (on your legs) on really cold or rainy days, give it a topcoat. Apply super hot embro and use a layer of Vaseline or, if you’re super hardcore, duck fat (literally….a product that used to be sold by Ruud Bakker). Your legs will stay hot long after you actually need them to!
Try Fenders: Yes, fenders do not go a long way toward making your multi-thousand dollar bike look pretty, but they will keep road spray off your legs and backside.
MacGyver It: Stuck without the exact right combination for a cold day? Improvise. Little newspaper or a map down your shirt and the thin plastic bags from newspapers that have been delivered to people’s homes, can go a long way in a tough situation
Avoid Breakdowns: When its cold and crappy, the worst thing to have to do is dismount and fix a flat or tweak some other mechanical. Make sure your equipment is dialed and tires are beefy and without nicks in the tread.
Move: Sounds crazy, but it’s not cold everywhere! After a decade of riding in cold, Ohio winters I tired of the struggle and moved to LA. Sure, the place was miserable, but the riding was great and, in six years of living there, I never once used or needed anything more than knee warmers.
Jan 9, 2010
Posted by MJR
Maybe you heard the news about the Cervelo Test team’s newest member—Joao Correia. If you didn’t, here’s a great story in the NYT Incredible guy, great father, successful businessman and now a first-year rider on the world’s 7th ranked ProTour team at the ripe old age of 34.
After getting the news, I kept thinking of a great story about Joao that I wanted to tell.
So, back in the fall of 2004 this guy starts working for Bicycling Magazine where I had been an editor for a bunch of years. The guy starts working on the ad sales side of the magazine which was like kryptonite to us. His first day was literally at the Interbike tradeshow in Las Vegas. The first thing I hear about his is that he was pro rider at some point. “Pro what” I asked. “Pro bull rider?” The dude weighed over 200 pounds and, for all the world didn’t look like he’d ever touched a bike let alone been a pro. Of course it was Joao.
We go on to work together for a few years and I hear rumblings that the guy’s been riding. He’s still a pretty robust guy, but he’s getting a little toned up. There’s also a lot of smack talking going on with the always-competitive ad sales team that JC was leading. Smack talking that came to a head around the time Bicycling was hosting an industry ride on the weekend of the San Francisco Grand Prix. The ride was a three-ish hour road loop around Tam. The way the loop worked was we’d ride relatively flat for about ten miles, then the climbing would start. Initially we’d do a couple 1000-foot-ish climbs with a bunch of rollers that culminated in a roughly 1000-foot push called ‘Seven Bitches’ up to the high point on Tam.
So the ad guys are talking smack with each other as we roll over the first few climbs, and somehow, JC and his 200lbs are hanging tight. Still, the way some of Joao’s ad guys see it, they’re going to have a chance to put it to the boss as we head up Tam! We go up the ‘Seven Bitches’ and I’m just assuming that Joao’s going to get dropped by the team. As we hit the Seventh and final bitch, I turn around and who is right behind me--and in front of everyone else--of course its Joao.
Looking back, it was a real turning point. We all realized that the guy’s engine was much, much larger than anyone on the ride. If had a chassis that was 25 or 30-pounds less, he’d be way, way, way off the front.
Eventually Joao would start working with Max Testa, get down to about 150-pounds and, to everyone's astonishment, would land a spot on the Bissell squad.
Just as the fall started turning to winter a few months ago I was in New York and JC wanted to grab coffee. It seemed a little strange when he rolled up on a yellow decaled Cervelo instead of his Bissell team Pinarello. It seemed even more strange when he said he thought he had a spot on the Test Team. I mean, this is a guy that was well over 200lbs not all that long ago and, by his own admission, thought of eating as a sport. He made his way onto the world’s leading Pro Tour teams. The story is incredible and JC is proof that you can chase your dreams.
Keep up with Joao this year as he goes after it. His first race is the Etoile de Besseges early next month and, with any luck, he’ll get a spot on the Tour of California team. Whatever you do, don’t under estimate the guy!