January 2013

Prices are dropping like snowflakes and temperatures! In honor of winter’s latest cute little snowstorm we are going to add a “price chill” to all our winter gear – now 25% off through the weekend.


Gloves, leg warmers, arm warmers, snowshoes and the big one – Studded tires. And fenders, fenders are good for winter riding.


We still have 26″ and 700c Nokian, 45 North and one lonely Kenda. So come on in and deck out your ride with winter stuff before winter goes back into hibernation. A studded tire can be a big help into spring as the freeze thaw can make the morning ride to work treacherous.


Having a winter bike means never having to say you’re sorry!

If you don’t know who Kent Peterson is and you like bikes and bike stuff you should check his blog out.

image courtesy Dmitry Gudkov via the Atlantic Cities

Kent is a great rider, reviewer, mechanic, blogger and bike advocate. He is a pointer outer of things that maybe you have not thought of and that maybe the bike industry does not want you to think about. He also has a rambunctious twitter account where we saw this great article about bike commuting that was written in response to this great article about hardcore bike commuting. Here is the response article from the Atlantic Cities website. And as ever, just ride!

You Don’t Have to Be Superhuman to Commute by Bicycle


“Nice story, but completely alienating to 98 percent of people who might want to ride to work.”

That was the tweet from photographer Dmitry Gudkov about this weekend’s New York Times story on a group of long-distance bike commuters who ride as much as 40 miles each way, year-round, from the city’s upscale suburbs to the office towers of Manhattan. The article profiled a number of high-achieving riders who definitely qualify as outliers, such as Christian Edstrom, who twice a week leaves his Westchester house at 4:40 a.m. to get to his job at JP Morgan, averaging a 17-mile-per-hour pace:

Having sheathed his legs in NASA-worthy Capo bib shorts — woven from high-tech fibers that compress leg muscles to minimize fatigue — he pulled on a pair of winter cycling tights lined with fleece from the waist to the thighs. Next came over-the-calf Smartwool ski socks under Sidi Genius 5.5 shoes strategically packed with chemical toe warmers. To shield his torso, he wore a wool base layer under an Italian long-sleeve racing jersey, and a windproof vest reinforced in front to block freezing gusts and meshed in the back to vent excess heat. On his head, an Assos Fuguhelm racing cap with vents on top to minimize sweating, and a pair of Oakley Jawbones sunglasses. The final touch: a pair of $19 insulated work gloves, coated with beeswax to make them water resistant.

Long-distance commuters such as Edstrom and the others interviewed for the piece – including a 20-strong group from Ridgewood, New Jersey, that rides in a pace line at around 22 miles per hour – are fun to read about, for sure. In my fantasy life, I am clinging to the back of their peloton. But Gudkov is right that the image of the road warrior in space-age gear, pedaling a custom-built bike worth thousands of dollars over icy predawn roads, is off-putting to most ordinary folks. And it’s ordinary folks who make up the 98 percent of New Yorkers who use bicycles for transportation in New York City.

Gudkov has captured many of them in his charming series of #BikeNYC portraits (that title comes from the Twitter hashtag used by many in the city’s cycling community). These are people who travel many miles at a pace more like 10 miles an hour. They wear regular clothes and ride the bikes that they can afford.

But everyone who bikes in New York or any other city has certain things in common. The Type-A strivers on their carbon-fiber steeds; the skinny-jeans-wearing fixie riders; the elevator repairman in work clothes on his anonymous hybrid; the fashionable businesswoman on her folder; the82-year-old photographer on his cruiser. All of them benefit from an increased recognition that bicycles are a legitimate way to get from one place to another, and that you don’t have to be some kind of a freak to use them.

That recognition is not merely symbolic. It becomes very tangible in the form of protected bicycle infrastructure, such as the trails cited in the Times article, and in pro-bicycle regulations — such as the Bicycle Access to Office Buildings Law, instituted in 2009, which requires many office buildings to grant access to bikes.

All of these factors have combined to double the number of bicycle commuters in New York between 2007 and 2011, according to New York City Department of Transportation figures. The DOT aims for 2017 levels to be triple the 2007 numbers. It looks like there’s a good chance of meeting that goal. Most of those new riders won’t be in the Lycra-clad suburbanite demographic (although let’s give those people a round of applause). No, most new riders will be average people on average bikes, maybe not worthy of a feature in the Times, but perhaps more valuable in their very ordinariness.

The other night I was riding back to Brooklyn from Manhattan around 7 in the evening. The temperature hovered in the high 20s. Not many years ago, this was considered a hard-core commute. I used to be able to brag about riding all winter long, because almost nobody else did it.

But on this January evening in 2013, I was gratified to see how many people were cycling over the Manhattan Bridge, despite the darkness and the gusty winds. I wasn’t a particularly tough customer, after all. Just part of a parade of red and white blinking lights, happily making its way over the East River. 

Everyone asks, “Pretty slow this time of year?”


Nope. First there was the construction and painting of these here walls. Then trying to figure out where everything should go. Xtracycle get their own chunk of wall so all the longtail stuff is in one place, saddles and folding tires, too. And that cascades over to the pannier selection which is now less cramped and looking to expand.

There are also some that choose to flee the cold and dark of Iowa for sunnier warmer lands so some bikes get boxed and shipped away.


We can Xtracycle that.

Then it always seems that there are projects people save up til winter to spring on us also. Like the customer that decided he had finally had enough of sew ups on his hi flange 5 speed freewheel Dura Ace wheelset and his 6 speed freewheeling Campagnolo Record wheelset. So he hunted up some classic clincher rims for us to rebuild them.


And then the new stuff starts showing up, like boxes and boxes of Lazer helmets, and Masi Road bikes next week.


And then there is some travel, like going to Cyclocross World Championships and then taking the train out to NAHBS. And the 30¢ Squad took a zipcar up to Dubuque and did the Triple D last weekend. Pretty slow this time of year? Never!

And we are back. The break was good, and needed, and many miles were ridden and beers drank and coffees too. And a couple of few (five?) bike crashes as well. The good life! But it was not all relaxation, there was some work, too. Like coming into the shop for a day to build up this Surly Disc Trucker with purdy MK Fenders. A great bike for the last build of 2012.


And the first bike of 2013 to be built up was this stunningly light and purdy Masi Evoluzione with 11 speed Dura Ace group. This is a bike that looks good leaning against a cardboard box!


Wowsers, 15 lbs 13 oz with reflectors computer cages and pedals according to the shop scale.

Back to the heavy lifters (which are more our style) we did some remodling in the shop here and so had to gather some materials with the zero emission Xtracyle / Bikes at Work / Super Duty- Dual Piston-Overhead Cam-Sport Utility Vehicle with onboard safety and navigation “Brain”. Which is an actual human brain.


A bigger and better repair area along with more display space.


All over but the painting. And another year of work of course. Hope to see you soon!