Monday, February 21, 2011

Shop ride Sundays: It's Steiner time!

Yep, we are back in full cadence for this Sunday, Feb. 27th at the Steiner Ranch Steakhouse. We'll have 3-ride groups doing the usual routes. Advanced will leave first, followed by one or two Intermediate groups and finally the no-drop ride. When we say no-drop, we mean it.

For the first 6-miles or so you can start with any group, if you get dropped, stop and wait, then next group will be along in a few minutes. We strongly discourage any group ride first timers from going out with the Advanced ride since after a mile or two they'll pick up the pace and it's dangerous to you and everyone else if this is your first big group ride, you are out of breath and struggling to keep up, you are likely to make a silly mistake and fall, and worse still, bring someone else down. So pick an appropriate group to start with.

Once the Advanced and Intermediate groups turn off 620, although they complete the same route, they are NOT no drop and you'll have to work to stay with your group.

Don't forget, we leave on time, so that means 8:30 a.m. If you need to set-up, assembly bike etc. then I suggest planning to arrive no later than 8:05.

After the ride we'll assemble indoors or hopefully as the weather looks good, out on the deck for half price brunch and drinks. You can change in the bathrooms but please be discrete and respectful to other customers and to the restaurant for hosting us!

I won't be there Sunday, have a great and safe ride though! Mark.


Friday, February 18, 2011

The Cronometro Time Trial!

The Cronometro
A 18.9km Time Trial at
the J. Lorraine Ghost Town (Manor, TX)

March 12, 2011

· 12 Miles on a Challenging, Low Traffic Course (All Right Hand Turns) w/ traffic control

· Super Cool Start House!

· Insane Raffle for Gift Certificates and/or Merchandise!!! – Must be present to win.

· Professional Announcer

· Great Music

· Food and Beverages available!

· First 100 registered receive a FREE “Ghost Burger”!!!

· Lots of Ghost Town Fun at the post event Party and Awards Ceremony!!!

· Riders can race multiple categories at no additional cost (i.e., Age Group and then Single Speed, etc.)

For more info on this event please click here!

What Causes Chains to Skip?

Many people come in the shop complaining about their chain skipping. There are several causes of this.

1. The most common cause of chain skipping is misalignment of the rear cogs and the chain. There are several things that can cause the misalignment. The most common is improper cable tension, when the tension is incorrect the chain does not sit inline with the corresponding cassette cog and it is trying to jump to the next cog. A dirty cable can also cause the same effect since the dirt is not letting the cable move like it needs to. One more common issue is the hanger for the rear derailleur can affect the alignment if it is slightly bent.

2. The next most common cause is wear on the chain, cassette and/or the chainrings.

The chain is the most likely to wear out first since it is made entirely of very small moving parts, all of which tend to wear out faster when they are dirty or ridden dry. Chains on most modern drivetrains usually last anywhere from 1500 to 2000 miles. This can change depending on riding style, and on how you maintain your bike. If you keep your drivetrain clean and you tend to spin at a slightly higher cadence then you will get more mileage out of your chain. When the chain wears, it no longer sits evenly on the cassette cogs and chainrings. As this goes on the chain will eventually start to jump since the chain wears much faster than the cassette and chainrings. If you let your chain go too long it will start to wear down the teeth of the cassette first and finally the chainrings. If the chain is replaced before it is too worn the cassette and chainrings will outlast the chain many times over. There is a tool that measures chain wear that you can either buy for home use or you can bring your bike to Jack & Adam's and we can measure it for you.

3. This next cause is fairly rare, but it does happen. Sometimes your rear hub will start to slip or it can seize up.

There are a couple of small parts in your rear hub that if they get old or very dirty then they will not allow the clutch mechanism in your wheel to function correctly. If it gets too bad it can lead to the bearings seizing and making the hub skip or stop moving all together. The only way to prevent this is to have your rear hub overhauled periodically. Most hubs only need this once every 12 to 18 months, but there are a couple of brands that typically need to be cleaned more often( Mavic and DT are the most common ).

For the most part if you wash your bike regularly and replace your chain before it is too worn you should be able to avoid having chain skippage. And when in doubt before you start turning barrel adjusters try cleaning your chain and cassette, it can sometimes be something as small as dirt causing your bike to annoy you.

New Bike Odyssey: Part 2

Test Ride #2: Felt F3

As mentioned in a previous post, recently there has been much written about the benefits of an aero bike vs. a lower weight bike.  The aero bike is supposed to improve aerodynamics by 1.5% over a lighter bike.  And the lighter bike will saves you 0.2% in total weight, when you factor in rider weight. 

I recently rode and reviewed the Felt AR4, an aero bike (read the review here) so it was time to ride a feather light racing bike.  

Let me begin by saying that I know that if I pushed away from the dinner table a little earlier each night it would make a much greater weight difference in the total weight equation and improve my power to weight ratio.  Lower overall body weight would have a larger effect than shedding a little over one pound in bike weight. This being said riding a sub 15 pound bike like the Felt F3 is still really amazing.  

The F3 is jittery but in a very good way.  It reminded me of a little puppy that always wants to play.  It is just ready to go at all times...

F3: Come on do you want to do some intervals, hill repeats, sprints?
Me: No, I’m good but thanks for asking.
F3: Are you sure I could really go for some sprints.  Come on sprints, sprints, sprints.
Me: Once again I appreciate the offer but I am just getting in some miles today.
F3: Oh okay, I will just roll along and be happy. Hey is that a city limit sign? Are you sure you don’t want to sprint?

The climbing ability of this bike is unmatched it just turns hills into little bumps.  Descending is also amazing and feels like you are falling out of the sky, it is just that fast. Climbing and descending are aided by the SRAM S30 AL Race wheels which roll fantastically.

The only negative I have about this bike is simply a personal preference towards a Shimano groupset.  The F3 is fitted with SRAM Red and this is truly an innovative groupset that provides fantastic weight savings and is generally slightly less expensive than an equivalent Shimano group.  I ride with several guys that swear by SRAM and say they will never go back to Shimano. However, I am just so used to Shimano that making the change was slightly outside my comfort zone.  

The F3 is a fantastic bike and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who has ridden and enjoys the SRAM groupset and wants a super responsive road bike that is light and climbs and descends fantastically.  

What will I ride next?


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Austin’s new, all female triathlon team!

Monday, February 28 – 7:00pm
Come meet Team Lipstick – Austin’s newest, all female triathlon team!!!
Meet the Founder and CEO, Laura Cozik.
Ask questions about joining their programs.
And shop til you drop at this exclusive Team Lipstick night of shopping at Jack and Adams Bicycles!!

Learn More about Laura and Team Lipstick Here!

Pure Polar Plunge at Quarry Lake

Can't wait for the Splash-n-Dash to start? No worries! Our friends at Pure Austin Fitness are hosting the first-ever Pure Polar Plunge at Quarry Lake.

Everyone is welcome to plunge into the cool waters of the Quarry on Sunday, February 20th. Plunges will take place at 11am, 1pm and 3pm so be sure to come by for one of the big JUMPS!

The Pure Polar Plunge is the perfect ice bath to reduce soreness and help with recovery, especially after a long run like the Austin Marathon. With Barton Springs closed, this is the perfect spot to meet up for some much needed recovery after pounding the pavement. Bring your friends and take the plunge together.

Pure Polar Plunge
Sunday, February 20th
11am, 1pm or 3pm

Pure Austin Fitness
Quarry Lake
4210 W. Braker Ln.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Manzano Mile

The Manzano Mile, hosted by USA Olympian Leo Manzano, is an all-comers track meet consisting of individual mile and mile relay events. Individual mile events range from Age Groups 10 years to Grand Masters (50+), and there are special relay categories for Corporate, Fit Industry, and Media teams. The event closes with the Open Male and Female mile races.

The Texas School for the Deaf, located in central Austin, will serve as the host venue.

The event benefits the Leo Manzano foundation.

Click here for more info!


Friday, February 11, 2011

New Bike Odyssey: Part 1

I have worked at the shop for a little under a year and it has been a great experience.  But as a bike guy this time has been a blessing and a curse.  It is a blessing because everyday I get to talk to people about bikes and get to work with a wide variety of customers, everyone from people getting their first bike to the customer upgrading to their dream bike.  It's a curse because as a bike guy a day does not go by where I do not look at our lineup at bikes and think "boy I would sure like to have that bike".  So to break the curse I have started the process of replacing my 5 year old road bike with a new one.  

At the shop we recommend that all customers test ride a bike before purchase so I have decided to practice what we preach (to a great extent according to some of my co-workers).  It is so important to test ride a new bike because bike riding is so subjective.  Of course there is quantitative data like heart rate, total time, power, bike weight, etc. but everything else is subjective.  I feel great vs. I feel terrible.  I can't get warmed up vs. I'm on fire.  Hills, what hills vs WHAT! More hills?

To help get the biggest subjective picture I can, I plan to ride 3-6 bikes before making my buying decision.  I will blog my thoughts about each bike.

So come with me on my...New Bike Odyssey. 

Test Ride #1: Felt AR4

Recently there has been a ton of press about bike manufacturers introducing aerodynamic bike frames to their road bike arsenal. The thinking is that the more aero the bike the easier it will slice through the wind and the faster the rider will go.  However, the trade off is most times the aero bikes are slightly heavier than the standard road bikes. In some recent tests the aero bikes have beaten lighter bikes on the same course.

Research has shown that moving from a lighter bike to an aero bike improves aerodynamics by 1.5%.  Where as moving to a lighter bike only saves 0.2% in total weight (when rider weight is included).  It was based on this information that I was really looking forward to riding the Felt AR4.  

First off this is a great riding bike. On the flats you can really feel it just fly and eat up the road in gulps.  On rollers and descents this thing descends like lightning.  It is just so fast.  And if you run into a head wind "fuhgetaboutit".  The AR slices through it like a hot knife through butta.  Another amazing feature of the bike is the new Ultegra 6700 component group.  The new Ultegra group is fantastic.  Very crisp shifting, the newly redesigned hoods/shifters feel great, and braking is fantastic.  

If I have to point out any negatives it would be that due to the slightly increased weight this bike does not seem to climb as well as some other bikes I have ridden.  Also since I am used to riding a skinny tubed bike I noticed that the AR was susceptible to cross winds.  For the triathlete that is used to riding an aero frame this should not be an issue, but just something that I noticed.

This is a perfect bike for someone who does long solo rides and needs to get as much aero advantage as possible without going to a tri bike.  This bike would also be ideal for the rider who likes to go off the front on group rides or plans to participate in draft legal triathlons.

What will I ride next?


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2011 North American Handmade Bike Show Come to Austin!

For the first time ever the North American Handmade Bike Show will take place in Austin at the Austin Convention Center, February 25th-27th.

Do not let this great event pass you by. This is a rare opportunity to meet the world's greatest bicycle builders and see the fabulous custom bicycles they design and build. Accompanying the show is a seminar series that gives a unique insider look at the world of handmade frame building. The show moves from city to city each year, so it won't be back in Texas for quite a while.

Admission is $22 at the door or $18 in advance online. Seminar passes are available also.
Complete show information and pictures of handmade bicycles can be found here.

Austin's own custom builder, Alchemy Bicycles, will be featuring bikes at the event.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Cronometro

The Cronometro
Presented by Austin Nationals Cycling
J. Lorraine Ghost Town (Manor, TX)
Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Cronometro Time Trial is coming up on Saturday, March 12 and here is what to expect! The course is a 12 mile loop – all right hand turns. It consists of a challenging mix of false flats, rollers, one nasty climb, and a few really fast descents. And yes, it starts at a bona fide Ghost Town!

It’s the perfect excuse to become one with your TT equipment before the season gets fully underway. Not to mention, see how all of the winter trainer sessions are paying off!

There's a super cool start house (think Tour de France!!!), great music and a professional announcer to get your mojo going. Can you say chip timing? Yes -- there's that too!

Afterward, they're having a party! Awards ceremony, live music and an insane raffle for over $3k in merchandise and gift certificates from Jack & Adams Bicycles, Pure Austin , Polar Bottle, NeWorlDeli, Tifosi, Yeti Coolers, Willie’s World Cycling, Nordy Design/Bicycle Painting, Holland Racing, Arundel, Advanced Bodywork Center, Veloce’ Speedwear, and The Law Offices of Bradley Houston.

The J. Lorraine Ghost Town is a really cool venue with plenty of parking, restrooms, and a licensed kitchen serving beer, wine and food. In fact, they’re giving away free Ghost Burgers to the first 100 registered.

Not really into Tri/TT Bikes? No problem -- there's Road Bike (think Eddy Merckx), Single Speed, and Tandem categories to boot!

We look forward to seeing everyone for some real Ghost Town fun!

Friday, February 4, 2011

$100 QR Rebate

Purchase a new 2010 or 2011 Quintanaroo bike from Jack & Adam's Bicycles between now and February 14th, 2011 and receive up to a $100 rebate from QR. You can use that extra $$$ on your Valentine (or on yourself, we won't tell.)