Thursday, January 31, 2013

T-shirt SALE

We've got a new T-shirt for 2013 (details soon), so we need to move out the previous model years.

All Hub shirts are $7, 'til they're gone. In any color you want as long as it's brown. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Your Bike is Cold

It's really, really cold out. If you've ridden your bike today give yourself a pat on the back. Really, you can talk up being a hard core, year-round cyclist all you want, but you can't say that riding a bike into -6 deg. headwinds doesn't suck. You may have also noticed that your bike isn't working to it's fullest potential.

There are a number of things that can freeze on your bike. Grease, lube and water all freeze. Biking in Heels has a nice post about her adventures in frozen shift cables.

I've talked to a number of folks today (that number is 4) who described a problem as "I'm pedaling and then all of the sudden the bike stops moving forward. Like it's not 'catching'." What's happening there is that the pawls inside either the freewheel or freehub body are getting stuck in frozen grease, and not able to catch, they can't help push the wheel forward. Here's the inside guts from an old freewheel:

 That little guy is stuck down because of grime, not frozen grease, but it's the same idea.

Ok. So what do you do about stuck pawls? The easiest thing to do is warm it up a little. Just bring it inside for a bit. It won't take long, and it doesn't need to be in the warmest room in your house. Just wheel it in to an entryway for a couple of minutes before you roll out. It'll really help.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Almost Back in Action


I'm back in town. Bundled up and getting ready to open back up for biz tomorrow. It is COLD here. But it's not raining, so the trails are good to ride. Winter is actually a fun time to ride just about every kind of bike, as long you're dressed properly. You know, "there's no bad weather, only bad clothing...blah, blah, blah".

I wrote about bundling up a couple of years ago. I just re-read it and I still agree with most everything. I would add that these days I use sock liners (they're cheap) and I've splurged invested in a nice wool base layer t-shirt (not cheap, but worth every penny).

Anyway- we'll be back in action TOMORROW (11am-7pm Monday through Friday and 12-5pm Saturday)!!! Stop in for some PRO bike service, or to warm up (I'll crank up the heat to the mid-60s just for you) and say 'hi'!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Personal Record

I rode 34.2 miles of singletrack in one sitting today. That's a personal record. I rode the Bartram Trail near Augusta, GA. I heard about it from Drew at Andy Jordan's Bicycle Warehouse (crazy, but that's almost what I named the shop instead of Hub). The internet is great for a lot of things, but sometimes you just need a bike shop (subtle, right?). Rather than read through 1000s of anonymous trail reviews on a dozen different websites, sometimes it's good to talk to a real person who's ridden the trails. You find those people at bike shops.

Drew let me know that the western section of the trail was more challenging, so I started there.  The trail is 15.5 miles long (out and back for 31), plus a small loop (3.2) and runs along a reservoir.

It's super flowy, fast, not very technical. After doing the recommended section, I didn't feel like stopping, so I didn't. I don't have anything to do for the next 5 days so why not keep riding? Most rides I get to do are 1-2 hours, 6-7 miles. It's been a real treat to get out for some long rides my longest ride.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Soggy Feet

Oh man, this weather is killing me. First it was mud, today it was freezing rain.

This weather has also been killing my gear.  My bike was coated in a thin layer of ice in the back of the truck today. Worse than that (it's actually not all that bad, really- nothing a wipe down and a little chain lube can't fix)- I forgot that my MTB shoes were also in the back of the truck. They were back there for entire 7 hour freezing rain drive. Oops.

It's not the first time I've ended up with a pair of soggy shoes (usually it happens when I'm actually riding, not driving). The important thing in this situation is to dry them out as soon as possible. For two reasons- 1) You may want to use them again soon. 2) They longer they take to dry out, the more of a 'funk' they'll develop (trust me- it's gross).

All you need to speed up the drying process is some newspaper.

Not news.

Open up the shoes as much as possible- loosen the laces, undo the velcro. Crumple up a couple pages into balls and stuff them into the shoe.  Give it a little time to soak up water. I waited about 30 min. Pull out the soggy paper, replace it more dry paper, and repeat the process until the paper you pull out is dry. It took three rounds of paper to dry these babies out.

This works great with all kinds of shoes. No joke.

Tyler SP

11 miles of fast, fun singletrack in Tyler State Park.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Small Wheels Keep on Turnin'

 Have you been wondering what Erich has been up to during his winter sabbitical? Yeah, me too. Here you go:

Hi all! It's been weeks now since I've seen your smiling faces, and you are no doubt curious about what I've been up to during our Hub Bicycle Winter Sabbatical 2012\2013™. Well, prepare your hair for imminent shock-induced whitening, for the answer may well rattle you to the very foundations of your being.

I have been working on bikes.

Still with me? Good. Most importantly, I have been working on my own bikes, something that I rarely accomplish when I'm busy fixing bikes for all of you kind folk. I took some time this week to pay a visit to a good friend's shop and finally build some new wheels for my mountain bike. I've had all of the parts sitting around for four months now, so this is pretty much right on schedule for me. They are high on the list of my dream wheels, Mavic XM819 disc rims laced to a DT Swiss 240 rear and a Hope Pro Evo2 front. For the non bike jargon speakers out there, they are the bike world equivalent of a champion boxer: quick, burly and able to be hit over and over again with few ill effects. This serves me well as I'm a chubby dude who ascribes to the style of mountain biking commonly reffered to as "monster trucking." However, I'm getting ahead of myself here.

In my years in the bike industry I have noticed that many people view wheel-building as a dark art akin to alchemy, pastry making or economics. Thankfully, it requires fewer rare elements, data sets or pounds of high-quality butter than any of those. In fact, the base materials are  pretty straightforward, as evidenced below.

Not pictured is the secret ingredient, love. Just kidding, the secret ingredient is a rigorous adherence to proper technique. I mean, really, who needs love anyway...right? (*sobs quietly in corner*). Wheel building is not an art, it is a science that can be, and has been, quantified and reduced to a duplicable technique. As with any science, there is a learning curve and a bonus for previous experience. My first wheel build took me four hours for only a rear wheel, ten years later I can now build a pair in just over half that time and Emily is even faster than I.

Having addressed the scientific side of things, i would be remiss if I didn't mention the real reason I like building wheels, the meditative aspect. Unlike many hard sciences where one sets up an experiment and lets it run, often for hours, wheel building requires active attention from start to finish. Those of you who have seen my work space at Hub will not be shocked to discover that I struggle with ADD and the disorganization that can come with it. Wheel building provides me the ability to hyper-focus on one thing for hours on end, a welcome change of pace. Plus, when I'm finished, I've got, hopefully, a sweet new set of wheels a lucky client or I to beat up. Photographic proof backs me up here.

My initial ride confirms my suspicions, these are some fine wheels. My previous wheels spun quickly and smoothly, but were built around a lower number of spokes and relatively flexible rims. They would be great for lighter riders or dedicated XC racers, but I needed something sturdier. These have noticeably less flex under acceleration and hard cornering. As a bonus, they are tubeless ready with nothing more than the included valves required. It is a great payout for just an afternoon's worth of work and I look forward to getting in some more rides if winter stays this mild.

I hope everyone's been having a great 2013. As I've already beat my number of posts from 2012, I hope to stay on a roll and yammer at you all more often. Stay safe out there.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mentally Prepared

Sometimes (not all of the time, but sometimes) it's good to go out for a ride you're not ready for.

I'm in Austin, and headed back to Rocky Hill Ranch with a crew (and one dog) for a ride. We never really talked about how long we were going to go for. I'm the kind of gal that appreciates knowing the time/distance of a ride so that I can make sure I leave enough in the tank to make it through. Usually it comes down to having enough in the mental tank, more than the physical tank. I think the original plan was to do a 'medium loop' of around 12ish miles. We ended up doing 25. The last chunk of miles made it clear that everyone was running out of gas. In the end, we did it and it was fun.

Here's my first attempt at mountain bike videography. It's all from the first hour (of 4.5hrs) of the ride, so everybody's in good shape here. As far as I can tell from watching 1000s of MTB videos, the key ingredients to a making a good one are- slow motion, dudes getting airborne, and an obscure hip hop soundtrack. This has none of that.

RHR from Hub Bicycle on Vimeo.

By the time we were back at the lodge, eating a disgusting combination of snacks (my stomach says you shouldn't mix energy bars) everyone was back to normal. It was a great ride, and really satisfying to push it a little further than usual.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


The middle of this country is soggy right now. The most mountain biking I've done on this trip has been inside. In Kentucky I totally stuck out, bike wise, but I had high hopes for getting some time on an IMBA Epic in Arkansas. Unfortunately, the weather killed that plan.

Riding muddy trails is not only no fun, it puts a hurtin' on your bike and most importantly destroys the trails. Trails that can often take a ton of advocacy to gain the right to ride on in the first place. (That was an awkward sentence, but you get the point.) So no riding in AR, no big deal, on to TX... Where I encountered more trail closures, due to sogginess.

I walked a little of this trail (I already forgot the name, but it was near Dallas), to see what was up. The trail was sticky muddy- kind of like what I found in Kentucky. It's weird. I'm no dirt expert, but the mud we get in New England seems to have more dead plant bits in it that keep it from getting really sticky. This stuff was more like clay than dirt. Sticky or not, I'm not going to ride on any of it.

I finally found a little trail system near Waco- it was nothing "Epic", but it was really nice to get out of the truck and stretch my legs. As someone who often worries about getting lost (we've all got our hang ups), I appreciated how very well marked it was.

The forecast has promised at least 1 1/2 days of dry weather, so I hope to get some more mountain biking in on this mountain biking trip. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

BIkes and Bourbon

I'm in Georgetown, KY (Kentucky's Treasure), hanging out with my good pals, the Dr. and the Honorable Mrs. Dr. The country is beautiful here, rolling hills and horse farms and whatnot. Yesterday was a bike-free day for me. It's important to take a rest day when you're training as hard as I am.

I'm not really a bourbon drinker. But when in Kentucky I went to Buffalo Trace and took a tour lead by someone's adorable grandpa, Fred. That man knows his bourbon. I learned that this distillery got around prohibition by making 'medicinal' booze, that 'bourbon' doesn't actually have to be made in KY (but more than 95% is), and the material, size, & color of the warehouse where barrels are aged have an effect on how the booze turns out. There are so many details that need to be attended to- it's really impressive.


The hole in the side of the barrel is called the 'bung hole".

Stored bung holes up

Small batch hand bottling and labeling line.

Today I tried to go for a ride, but I got stuck. Literally. I got rolling early enough that the beginning part of the trail was still frozen. The part that was shadowed by a hillside. As soon as I rounded a corner into the sun I hit the stickiest mud I've ever encountered. After a little more than 100 feet of trail my bike looked like this:

The wheels completely stopped rolling. Oh well. Tomorrow I'm headed south, where I hope to find drier trails.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ray's MTB Indoor Park

The first stop on my MTB road trip was Cleveland, OH to check out Ray's MTB Indoor Park. Cleveland (like Boston) has long, crappy (if you're a mountain biker) winters, so why not ride inside? Trainers are no fun (IMHO), so how about riding inside and actually going someplace?

Ray's is in a warehouse. That's it. Nothing fancy, and not noticeable if you're not looking for it. Also not really noticeable if you are looking for it. It was a little hard to find because the sign was very unassuming. It's tucked away in an industrial park, along with construction companies and whatnot.

Inside the warehouse are a couple of fire-placed lounge areas, a bunch of picnic tables and a ton of fun/challenging stuff to ride. There's lots here for street/dirt jump/bmx bikes- plenty of opportunity to get air born. I can't really tell you anything about the park/street/jumps. That's not really my thing (I do kind of wish it was, but I'm a big wimp), so I stuck to the XC sections for the most part. There are clearly marked Beginner/Novice, Sport, and Expert areas. Within those areas the more difficult features (like drops) are really well marked. The beginner area starts out with a couple of routes combining berms, logs, and some (not too) skinnies that were pretty low to the ground. It was a nice place to spend a few minutes warming up.

I spent most of my time in the Sport section. Skinnier skinnies, some teeter totters, more natural features like rocks and logs. Challenging enough stuff to keep it interesting. I didn't get any pics of the Expert section, but you can imagine it looking a lot like the Sport, just higher off the ground.

I did a couple of laps around the place with my clipless pedals, but decided that platforms were going to be a lot safer. I always feel a little silly paying for bike parts I already have one (or two) of at home, but it was the only way I was going to feel comfortable enough to try more challenging stuff. Plus they look great.

Having platform pedals also made me realize how much I rely on being clipped in to get my back wheel up off the ground. Which is cheating. It was great practice to not be able to cheat.

They have a good little selection of stuff for sale like gloves, grips, helmets and pedals (for knuckleheads who don't bring them), but they're quick to point out they're not a bike shop.


This is why I'm dehydrated.

Overall, it was super fun, and much more of a work out than I was expecting. The staff- all dudes- was friendly and approachable. There were lots of dudes riding. Which is not surprising, since mountain biking is a dude (or bro) dominated sport. I did see a couple of other women riding, and one little girl totally ripping it up on a pink & white coaster brake bike. She was fearless and I kind of want to grow up to be her.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Snow Machine

I almost forgot that winter was a thing you have to deal with. Last year I missed the very small bit of snow we had, because I was out punching SUVs. This year I didn't get out in time, so I've had a chance to take the Surly Moonlander for some proper winter fatbiking.

Obese Patricia, but her friends call her... wait for it... Fatty Patty

Parts of the trails I hit up yesterday were packed down by snowshoers, and the fatties (4" wide tires) did great hugging the trails. Even better were the places I had to break trail- it felt like I was floating up and over the snow. I was expecting the steering to be squirrely, but it felt stable for the most part. That could also be due to the fact I was going very slow. Very, very slow. If I needed to make one or two changes (and I do) the first is that the bike is geared very high for snow travel. Since this is a bit of a frankenbike build, I'll have to see what kind of granny gear situation I can work up. The other thing I'm going to have to change up is the pedal choice. I prefer clipless pedals for all types of riding (except for commuting, usually), but both the pedals and the bottoms of my shoes were getting clogged up with snow making them super frustrating to get into. Next ride I'm going platform, fo sho.

I like that the rear tire, the venerable Endomorph,  leaves recognizable tracks, reminiscent of another snow machine. I did a nice little loop, with a quick out-n-back section. There I saw the tracks and thought "Somebody else is out here on a bike!", before I realized that it was me. Heh.