Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Eliot School Bike Rodeo

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.

This guy was doing a great job of documenting the day's events.

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.
Photo: Philip Keyes

NEMBA Wicked Ride of the East
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

IBC Halloween Ride

On Saturday October 25th IBC Boston hosted a little Halloween ride around Boston and Cambridge. The weather looked ominous and the forecast was grim but quite a few brave souls showed up for a cruise and some post-ride recovery barbecue from Redbones.

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.

Steve The Pirate showed up. Garrr!

Todd the Roadie race mechanic showed up too. Yarp!

The woman on the left is from Holland, she was psyched to see so many Americans on bikes.

Me and Chris Agee. Who's scarier, really?

Dan from Montana. The Elderly Drunken Master.

The crew enjoys some Allston scenery.

Taking a lane in Harvard Square. Craig was dressed as the future Vice President. I didn't have the heart to tell him that he looked nothing like Joe Biden. Behind him are Leonel and Andrew Correa Leonel is a former Colombian National Team Pro. Andrew is his eight year old son, he was on the front of the ride the entire time. Leonel had to hold him back or he would have dropped us all. This kid is going to be a contender.

Miriam and a relative of Austin Powers...Boston Powers?

The weather held for us and we all made it back dry and hungry for some killer barbecue.

Welcome to our bloggish thingy.

A man of many wheelie faces.

No real news or content here. Just wanted to welcome everyone to our blog ( I hear all the kids have them these days). The man in the photo is Dan. He's from Wisconsin, they all make faces when they ride out there. I'm sure someone will come along and post something interesting or inspiring sooner or later....