The #15mpd – 15 miles per day, every day, for a year!

August 1, 2010.  That is when I start(ed) my commitment to ride a minimum of 15 miles a day, every day, no exceptions, no excuses.  OK – so significant muscle injuries or broken bones might be valid excuses.  But everything else is out.  Even the flu will be frowned upon as an excuse.  Let’s do it America – 15 miles a day, every day, for a year!

Consider what the average American suburban dweller does:   Keep reading →

Schleck brothers future still a question mark?

It was reported here at JustAnotherCyclist.com that the rumors of brothers Frank and Andy Schleck leaving the Riis Racing team (currently sponsored by Saxo Bank) at the end of this season were indeed true.  However, according to press releases by Bjarne Riis during the Tour de France, that may still not be set in stone.  It was revealed that SunGard – currently a minor sponsor of the team – would step up and fill the title sponsor role being vacated by Saxo Bank at the end of this season.  With this move, according to VeloNation:

With Sungard and the second, unnamed, sponsor on board, Riis will likely be able to afford to keep hold of the team’s two biggest assets: the Luxembourg brothers, Fränk and Andy Schleck. “We will continue at the same level,” said Riis, “We will still aim to be the World’s best cycling team.”

Andy Schleck, however, deflected direct questions and chose to focus on the current Tour de France by saying “Now we will get the Tour out of the way, then we will talk about it later in the year” (VeloNation)

It does not appear that this effects Bryan Nygaard’s plans to start a new pro cycling team based in Luxembourg.  It does, however, spur additional questions about exactly what theam the Schlecks will call home.

World class sprinter born in Washington state

Wenatchee, Washington, United States.  Current population: about 30,000.  Area: 7.3 sq miles.  Chief products: Apples, World Class Cycling Sprinters.

That’s right.  The boy from Wenatchee, Tyler Farrar of Garmin Transitions professional cycling team, is not only riding in the Tour de France, he’s nipping at the heels of sprinting powerhouse Mark Cavendish.  He achieved a second place finish in stage 6 while still suffering from a broken wrist.  For those unfamiliar, sprinters rely heavily on the arms, hands and wrists to provide a leverage point for the upper body to hold against the power of the legs as they turn the pedals over.  Before the unfortunate crash that broke his wrist, Farrar was a survivor in a Tour de France that was quickly losing sprinters capable of challenging Mark Cavendish.  The second place finish despite the injuries shows that Farrar can be a real threat.

Tyler Farrar was born June 2 1984.  Following Junior national titles in track as well as sprint events in 2002, he started his professional cycling career in 2003 with Team Jelly Belly.  His year with Jelly Belly was followed by a year each on Health Net-Maxxis and Cofidis (Lance Armstrong also once rode for Cofidis).  In 2008 he joined team Garmin-Transitions, where he remains today.

Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen rocks Second Saturday

Tall bikes on display

Midtown Sacramento was packed on July 10th for the monthly Second Saturday Art Walk, and bikes were everywhere.  For some, the bikes themselves were the artwork.  Custom tall bikes adorned with streamers and flowers were displayed in at least one location.  Symbols of creativity and individual craftsmanship to some, mere curiosities to others.  Either way, they seemed right at home amidst the predominately urban and utilitarian bicycle presence throughout the entire event.

For others, the bikes were a convinient workhorse, a mobile art gallery or shop.  And for a great many more, the bike was the only reasonable way to navigate to, from or through the Midtown Sacramento streets that become completely full of art lovers, party-goers and those just out to mingle.

Few other places in Sacramento embody the practical and community aspects of the bicycle lifestyle like the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen.  This fusion of ideas was demonstrated even more as the Bike Kitchen hosted a music-and-beer event right in the shop.  Bands like the country-rock group The Alkali Flats kicked out the jams to a backdrop of shelves of donated and repaired bikes and benches adorned with wheel truing stands.

Doug - Sacramento Bike Kitchen

According to Doug (Hear the full interview here), one of the volunteers working at the event, the Bike Kitchen is “…non-profit, volunteer run…tool co-op.”  The tools and parts that are present all over the shop all come from donations.  Anyone can come in off the street and for a “five dollar suggested donation” get help getting their bike back on the road.  The entire shop is staffed with volunteers, and will not only help you fix whatever is broken on your ride, but probably also teach you how to do it for yourself in the process.

If you can afford it,  if you can afford the 5 bucks to come out and donate and learn how to work on your bike what you’re doing is helping someone that can’t afford that.  You’re going to help a college student that wants to travel, or your going to help a homeless person that’s wanting to try to find a job.  You’re going to donate into the community that’s Sacramento – the bike community – and get someone on a bike that wouldn’t otherwise get there.

Audio segment of interview with Doug at the Bicycle Kitchen

All proceeds from the sale of refreshments at the show go to support the Sacramento Bike Kitchen.  The scene of folks sporting polka-dot cycling caps talking to women in evening gowns was fantastic.  Add in the accompaniment of music by The Alkali Flats and it made for a great evening all around.

For more on the Sacramento Bike Kitchen, listen to the entire interview with Doug (QuickTime format)[local /wp-content/uploads/2010/07/DougFullInterview.mov]

Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen is located at 1915 I Street in downtown Sacramento, on the alley adjacent to the rail road tracks between H and I streets.

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Additional Photos

Peugeot securely locked to pole

Interior of Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen

Zombies!!!!

You know an event is a big deal when it has its own custom-branded porta potties…

Hint: Fulcrum Racing clip for pawls is the same on all of the wheels

This one killed me at first.  I broke the retaining clip that holds the pawls of my Fulcrum Racing 7 freehub.  It would sometimes take me a full revolution of more to get the pawls to extend enough via centrifugal force to engage and move me forward.

I bounced from local bike shop to bike shop trying to find a replacement part that wouldn’t take one to two weeks to arrive.  After identifying the two shops of a dozen or so in my area that actually sold Fulcrum, only one had a clip that was “only for Fulcrum Racing 1, 2 or 3″ according to the guy in the shop.  Things didn’t look promising for me.

But then I decided to go poke around the Fulcrum website.  I was very pleasantly surprised to find that they had complete parts lists there, along with the catalogs and user manuals (user manuals for wheelsets??)

Well, much to my surprise – and quite despite what the one guy that had a clip in stock told me – all of the wheelsets had the same part number.  There it was – good ol’ 5-R1-015.  Didn’t matter what wheel.  Didn’t matter if the hub was Campy or SRAM/Shimano.  It was the same part number.  Happy days!

Unfortunately when I found this out it was too late to drive back to the shop that had the clip.  Besides, it was about 30 miles or so away and I didn’t really want to make the trip.

On the advice of others, I tried a shop in Sacramento that I’d never been to before – Ikon Cycles (also on Facebook).  The guy was quite helpful.  He also didn’t have on in stick (D’oh!) but… he said he would call his supplier and call me back.  Sure enough, 30 minutes later he called me back.  His news – he’d have one for me the very next day.  Sure as hell beats the 7-14 days the other shops were talking about.

I understand that shops can have difficulties getting specific parts from suppliers.  But the guy at Ikon was super helpful and seemed to know what he was talking about.  And he didn’t even blink about taking the time to order a part that retailed for less than 5 dollars.  Awesome customer service.  I definitely know where I’ll be calling first for parts from now on.

For any others interested, I’ve included a copy of the  Fulcrum Wheels 2009 Spare Parts Catalog – just in case.

New home for JustAnotherCyclist

Finally got things squared away after moving JustAnotherCyclist.com to it’s new hosting provider.  There were a couple of hiccups, but things seem stable now.

Now – expect more content like video and audio right in the posts – instead of making you follow links and such.

Cheers – and thanks for sticking with JustAnotherCyclist.com!

is Cavendish really that bad?

It happened today.  I’ve felt it coming for some time – even thought about why it may be happening.  But there I sat on the edge of my couch.  I’d carefully planned my lunch break (I was working from home) to coincide with the mid-day Versus presentation of the end of Stage 5 of the Tour de France.  It was another flat stage – so all down to the sprinters.  The last few kilometers showed the normal dominance of the HTC Columbia lead out train (more on that choo-choo later)  But wait – Garmin snuck in there.  Things were getting interesting.  It was coming down to the line…  could go any way…

That is when it happend.  That is when I realized that I was not cheering on Tyler Farrar, hoping he could overcome his fractured wrist and take the win.  I wasn’t hoping for Thor Hushovd to win (as he should, if for no other reason than his name is Thor)  What was I hoping to see?  I wanted to see anything but Mark Cavendish riding across the line with his arms raised.  For a large number of reasons, I found myself rooting against someone rather than rooting for someone.

How the hell did that happen?

My wife thinks it is because he always wins.  That may be true.  I’ve definitely got an “always cheer for the underdog” type of mentality.  It is boring to look at the elevation profile for a stage and know “Yup – that’ll be Cav fumbling with his green sunglasses again…” (by the way – can anyone find video of that online?)

Is it because I’m completely sick of hearing the term “Lead Out Train”?  Yea – that might just be it.  Seriously need to call it something different.  It is almost as infuriating as the “Manx Missle” comments.  Makes me want to form my fingers into a gun and shoot them all in the head.

Mostly, I have to be honest and say it is unfair of me.  Sure, the guy is cocky, but all those stage wins gives a person at least some justification for being cocky.  I tried to be really mad at him for the Tour de Suise crash – but I’m still not sure I objectively think he was actually in the wrong there.  From now on maybe I’ll just salute him on every win the way he saluted folks

Rough start to TdF for riders – and me

This has been a tough start to the Tour for me. First off I spend the first three days without internet access and spotty-at-best cell coverage.  I mean – how in the hell am I supposed to properly enjoy and communicate about the tour without twitter??  Imagine my horror as I look on suffering alone, in isolation, as my pick for the overall win Andy Schleck cradled his arm, looking as if we wouldn’t be able to get back on the bike.  Or waiting on the edge of my seat for a smallest nugget of information out of Phil Liggett regarding the state of Tyler Farrar.  This tour is already started with precious few sprinters to challenge Mark Cavendish.

Keep reading →

Opinion: Landis finds soapbox at Wall Street Journal

According to an article posted at Wall Street Journal online, Floyd Landis has engaged “in hours of interviews with The Wall Street Journal in May.”  This article is apparently a distilled transcript of those interviews with little to no commentary on any other points of view aside from a couple “no comment” or “I deny everything” quotes.  To be fair to the Wall Street Journal, however, those accused in Landis’s statements have been fairly tight lipped on the issue by choice.

I’ve approached this issue with some skepticism since it first broke.  I’ll agree with other statements that have been made that the credibility of Floyd Landis is somewhat in question.  However, I’m neither a Texas flag waving Armstrongian, nor a Texas flag burning anti-Armstrongian.  While I would find it very disappointing, I concede the possibility that Lance Armstrong may have a couple of bags of blood hanging in his closet next to whatever skeleton may also be there.  It was with this open mindset that I was actually looking forward to reading this article – hoping journalistic impartiality would prevail at the WSJ and I could get some compelling information.

Instead, I got hundreds of words of direct quotes from Floyd Landis, followed by this gem:

One evening during the camp, a handful of team members piled into a black Chevrolet Suburban for a night on the town, with Mr. Armstrong serving as the master of ceremonies.

Mr. Landis had met Mr. Armstrong briefly in the past, but most of what he knew about the world’s most famous cyclist was what he’d read in Mr. Armstrong’s 2000 memoir, “It’s Not About the Bike.” Mr. Landis had devoured the book, in which Mr. Armstrong chronicled his comeback from testicular cancer and portrayed himself as a modest and devoted family man.

Mr. Armstrong took the wheel of the Suburban and roared off through the streets. Stop signs didn’t rate more than a tap of the brake, Mr. Landis said. Some traffic signals were wholly ignored and speed limits went unheeded. In the middle of the trip, Mr. Landis said, another rider asked, jokingly, “Are there no cops in this town?”

The journey ended at the Yellow Rose, a strip club on the north side of town. Don King, the club’s general manager, said Mr. Armstrong and other cyclists on his teams have been coming to the club for about a decade. The riders were ushered into a booth. They ordered drinks and mingled with the dancers.

Later that night, some of the cyclists drove downtown to the offices of the agency that represents Mr. Armstrong. There, the party accelerated, according to Mr. Landis. Four strippers arrived at the offices with two bouncers and began performing a private show for the cyclists and others, he said. Mr. Landis and another young rider who attended, Walker Ferguson, said some people were snorting what appeared to be cocaine.

It is right here that any hope of honest journalism faded.  Notice it is no longer clear in the article that these allegations are the unsubstantiated words of Floyd Landis.  Instead, reporters Rhaveeed Albergotti And Vanessa O’Connell have shifted to present Landis’s claims as fact.  It was at this point my opinion started to shift towards one side of this debate.  Given that parties, strippers and cocaine actually have nothing to do with doping in pro cycling, this started to take on the odor of a smear campaign from a disgruntled Floyd Landis as some have claimed.  And of the Wall Street Journal realizing the sensational nature of those claims and throwing journalistic due diligence out the window in favor of sensational words.  Shameful.

All of this being said, there is definitely a part of me left with a nagging soundtrack of Perl Jam’s song “Jeremy” ringing in my head as I mull all this over.  “Floyd Landis spoke in… class today.