Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Thom Parsons is the Newton store's service department head honcho and he expects, demands actually, to be called Mr. Manager by all those that serve him.
Anyhow, congratulations are in order. He had a very successful racing season and claimed first place in the Root 66 MTB series. He races in the Pro/Semi pro open class (on a 29er single speed) and competed against some very tough dudes. On top of that he’s now been selected as a member of the Gary Fisher 29er Crew and will race for the team in 2009.
Thom is a dedicated mountain biker and a great ambassador for the sport. He will begin leading NEMBA group rides in Cutler park and hopes to develop a youth MTB ride program, also at Cutler park. To keep his gigantic ego in check please stop in, insist on seeing the service manager, and tell him he looks fat.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Bike #1. Trek Allant and Allant WSD.
The Allant is the most junior member of this elite winter survival team, having only arrived in our store in early November, but it has already shown itself to be perfectly suited to everyday use in all conditions. Referencing back to Trek's previous experiments with the European-produced Navigator bikes in 2002/2003, the Allant comes stock with full fenders, chainguard and a touring rack (men's) or front rack (WSD). You need only find some comfy winter riding clothes (more on those in future posts) and you are ready to ride all over town, regardless of what the weather throws at you. As if you needed any further enticement, it's under $600 and is a hoot to ride. I'm not saying we've been riding them around the store whooping for joy, I'm just saying...
Bike #2. Gary Fisher Simple City 8, or Simple City 3
Perhaps the Allant is not enough for you. Perhaps you are one of those people who know that true Dutch city bikes were, and are, the only viable means of urban transport. You know that external gears are for sloped-forehead neanderthals who think "nother" and "irregardless" are acceptable, not to mention real, words. Well, despair no more you stalwart Europhiles, your new bicycle has arrived.
As luck would have it, you don't need to be euro-centric to appreciate the fine points of this series. Gary Fisher has updated classic Dutch cycle design with a few improvements, the most notable of which is the switch to aluminum instead of steel frames. This reduces the overall weight of the bicycle by a few pounds and also makes the bike more suited to high moisture and salt environments, such as the entire northeast. Combine this comfortable, but lightweight frame with a quality Shimano internally-geared hub, full fenders and chainguide and you've got a low-maintenance, high performing bicycle that should last as long as it's European cousins (IE. decades). The eight speed version has the added bonus of a giant front basket that is perfect for carrying all the snowballs, chestnuts, rum or tinsel that you need to make your winter as happy as you can bear it to be.
Bike #3: Trek Soho S
One Speed. Uno, Ein, Un. For years messengers, track racers and lazy people have all known the joy of riding a bike with but one speed. You are free to worry about anything except what gear you are in and you'll always know about how fast you're going. Toss some fenders onto this dark (literally) horse of Trek's line and you've got yourself this simplest, easiest to maintain, urban bike that Trek offers. Like the previous bikes this offering includes a full aluminum frame so you don't have to worry if you ride around day-in, day-out in horrible weather. As a bonus, this bike is convertible between freewheel and fixed gear so you can quickly alter your drive system to suit your mood; freewheel for those lazy, cruising days and fixed for your more manic, late-to-work rides. Furthermore, this is the lightest of these three bikes, weighing only about 22 pounds, so even those of you in 4th floor walkups can stand to shoulder it when you get home. The only downside to this bike is its popularity. As winter gets nearer our stock of this model is quickly dwindling, so do come in and check one out before that smug neighbor of yours beats you to it.
Sorry folks, that's all for now. Please join us again at an undisclosed point in the future for more installments of our winter survival guide. Until then, stay warm and have fun out there.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
This is just the thing to convert ANY bike into a Single Speed or Fixed Gear. The Eno boasts an elliptical axle, allowing it to be rotated in the drop outs, thereby tensioning the chain. It is a very cool and useful piece of equipment. The version pictured here is a 130mm spaced flip/flop. Meaning it can be used with a freewheel or set up as a fixed gear. The hub is also available in a 135mm Disk Version.
The brake levers are gutted Campagnolo Record shift levers. They now function as brake levers only. They are very ergonomic and very light. Not too bad looking either.
Of the recent builds we have done here at IBC, this is my favorite. The end result was unique, clean, and cool.
It tips the scales at just over fifteen pounds without even trying, this is going to be a fun bike to ride.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
We sell a whole lot of kids bikes here at The IBC. Once in a while a local school asks us to come and support a "Bike Rodeo", this is a great way to see some of our smaller customers in action.
Basically a Bike Rodeo is an event where kids take a quiz on bicycle safety, get fitted for a helmet, then perform a series of skills drills on an obstacle course, all so they can earn a license to ride their bikes to school. Out here in the burbs quite a few kids do actually ride to school, sometimes with their parents as guides, altogether pretty darn cool.
We were there to perform safety checks on the bikes prior to the obstacle course portion of the event. Pumping up tires, turning forks around so they face the right way, throwing some lube on the chain, tightening brakes, and telling every kid how awesome their bike is...that's what we do.
These things are always a good time, looking forward to seeing some of these kids out at our Mountain Bike Skills Rides in the spring. Stay posted for more on that.
Harold Parker State Forest, Andover, MA
I can't remember the last time I've had this much fun, and I've had a lot of fun recently. The folks from NEMBA went out and marked a 25 mile loop around Harold Parker. This is what you might call real mountain biking. An amalgam of flowy, high speed, singletrack and super techy rocky, rooty weirdness. All that in a beautiful pine forest, the ground blanketed with pine needles, multi-colored leaves floating on every pond and stream.
I've been up to HP just a few times although it is just twenty minutes from my house in Somerville. If you're strapped for time it's tough to hit up a new spot, the potential of being late for work or caught out in the dark is a strong deterrent. The rides I had done there were pretty excellent though, so I knew if a real insider set up a loop it would likely be a hoot. It's nice when I'm actually right about something.
Miriam, Jane, and I set out on the full 25 mile Expert loop, they were on their single speeds, I was, as per unusual on my Remedy 8. Six inches of travel makes the roots a non-factor and HP boasts plenty of rocks and ledges to hurl yourself off, it was a good ride to have. I had the fully rigid SS Ferrous 29er AKA "The Dunderchee" on the car but decided to stick with "The Thunder-Catcher" for the day.
I've gotten a lot more comfortable with new bike. It really feels fast and efficient, yet at the same time it talks to me "Hey, go ride off that thing". "Uh, what's on the other side?". "I dunno, jus' ride off it whuss-bag". "Ok...AAH!". We have that conversation a lot. I'm really enjoying trying to crack the code on technical ascents again. That's one thing I have missed over the past three years of dedicated single speeding, you are limited as to what you can climb.
While we were out there we ran into Cary Fridrich, Super-fast Cambridge Bike/Embrocation 'Cross guy. "What're all these arrows for?" he asked. He had no idea it was a big NEMBA event, he thought this was a normal Sunday at Harold Parker. After a bit Miriam and Jane struck off on their own and let me chase Cary down. Once I found him we rode together for the rest of the day. He would use his 'Cross skills to get through some of the tricky stuff but his mountain bike skills are coming around. One of the last moves of the day was a sketchy, slippery rock face into a sharp, precipitous corner deal. There was a gaggle of big bike havin', shin guard wearin' blokes at the top sizing it up. I rode by them and dropped it, my smashing-bashing machine making it a cake walk. Cary followed right behind making it look a little more frightening but gettin 'er done. "You are a mountain biker!" I yelled back. Hopefully we'll see the guy out at some more MTB races this summer.
Unfortunately I forgot the camera at home, though it may not have been so unfortunate. If I had brought it I would have been stopping every three minutes to take shot of the ridiculous scenery, instead of having a rip-roaring, non-stop ride. I'm thinking I may head up this Thursday and try my best to recreate the loop. I'll be armed with my NEMBA HP Loop map and a Camelbak full of Halloween candy. Seriously, if you're reading this, you have Thursday off (or you want to blow it off), and you want to hit Harold Parker drop me a line at the shop any day but Thursday or Sunday. This is not an empty gesture, if you have a mountain bike, you're reading this blog, and you have the slightest inclination to call in sick to work to ride, you are my kind of people.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I chose to ride my Schwinn Varsity, all thirty-six Lbs. of it. This bike possesses mystical qualities which render it virtually maintenance free. It's like a Unicorn with a basket.