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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sunday morning road ride starts this week-end!

Tired of rain, snow and cold? So are we! But the weather looks promising this week-end, sunny and in the 40's. So we are going to start up our popular Sunday morning road ride, a moderate 2 to 2 1/2 hour ride leaving from the shop at 9:00 a.m. You'll be back on Barracks Row in time for brunch! This is a "no drop" ride for all levels of riders, so don't worry about getting left behind. Be sure to check our Tweets for updates and cancellations.

Capitol Hill Bikes is Still on the Hill

We are pleased to announce that Capitol Hill Bikes is still on the Hill! After losing our lease in December, we have re-located to 719 8th Street SE (just 5 doors down from our old shop). We opened the doors on February 12, and are ready and eager to fill all of your cycling needs.

Please drop by and take a look at our 2010 James bikes. They have a great line-up of bikes that are perfect for commuting, riding the trails, or just cruising around town. One of my personal favorites is the Aurora, pictured above. In addition to its obvious beauty, this is one of the most versatile bikes on the planet, great for commuting and touring as well as training and group rides. If you are thinking of putting on some distance this Spring, you'll love the magic-carpet ride of the Reynolds 520 double-butted chromoly frame and the way the 27-speed Shiman/FSA drivetrain flattens the hills. Plus, the wide 32c tires float over rough roads and the cantilever brakes offer mud clearance and top-notch stopping power.

Tough enough to withstand the snow and mud, but smooth enough to take you through miles of riding. Come on in and give it a test, and let us know what you think!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Conquer the weather!

As the weather takes a turn for the worse, many cyclists tend to pack up their bikes for the winter. Here at CHB, we all ride regardless of the weather. With the right gear, there is no reason we can't ride year round. Outfitting your bike and body with the proper rain gear means you can continue to reap the benefits of commuting by bike even in the gloomiest of days.

The best way to cope with the rain is to install some fenders and throw on some water-resistant apparel. Fenders will eliminate spray coming off of the tires and look classy to boot. We carry durable composite plastic fenders that are easy to install and adjust. If you are in the market for a new bike, we carry several options that come with fenders installed.

The 2010 Jamis Commuter line comes with full coverage fenders out of the box. This is a great touch, but Jamis goes even further, equipping all Commuter models with internally-geared hubs. These are super low-maintenance systems that are enclosed and protected from the elements, ensuring that they will stay in good shape for years to come. The Commuter 3 (above) also comes with a fancy rear rack (including rack straps) and a generator light system that needs no batteries.

For those interested in a bike with drop bars, the steel-framed 2010 Jamis Aurora models also come with fenders. The Aurora Elite (above) comes with a burlier rear rack and straps appropriate for loaded touring. It also has disc brakes that offer excellent braking under any weather conditions.

And for your body, we now carry Portland's own Showers Pass. SP makes a wide range of rain gear for all riders, including pants, hats, and shoe covers. Unlike other jackets that feel like trash bags, SP makes jackets that fit well and breath right, all while being highly wind- and water-resistant. They also look good, in case that is a concern.

Enjoy the rain!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Riding into the sunset...

I hadn't any idea that life would change so quickly... After wrenching bikes at CHB since I transferred over from sales in late April, I find myself moving on towards my dream of living mobile in my RV and coaching triathletes to their race goals.

I got into the USAT certification class for level 1 coaches in Seattle at the beginning of October. I just need to get my CPR re-cert and a plane ticket. The USAT certification isn't absolutely necessary to coach, but it helps with credibility for someone new to the game. The most valuable training I will receive will be from apprenticing other coaches, including my own.

My personal coach, who has successfully gotten me across the line at two Ironmans and countless shorter races, has agreed to assist me in getting my personal practice set up. In the meantime, I have managed to pull together some employment opportunities that will afford me the chance to use and expand both my triathlon expertise and my bicycle knowledge!

I have to take a moment to express my gratitude to CHB for the opportunities they gave me to grow here. Bernie and Ben were excellent teachers in the world of bicycle mechanics. My abilities and knowledge increased significantly under their tutelage. Todd and Toast were generous with their tips and tricks for troublesome builds and repairs. These have proven valuable many times!

Denise and the sales staff have been teriffic co-workers as well. I will make sure that I stop in to say hello whenever I am in SE.... I mean the shop is just a short ride from Haines Point, where I go to get fast on the bike, so I have no excuse to stay away.

So here's to the next step towards living out a dream!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The kitchen sink

So the biking has been going relatively well so far. Only 3 flats since I started the trip just over a month ago. Not too shabby, considering my prior record of roughly 8 miles per tube....

Anyhow, I've been doing quite a bit of thinking (mostly when pedaling uphill) about how to cut some of the weight. Ollie's looking a bit more curvy than when we first started. I seem to be acquiring things more quickly than I can shed them: a pretty cool beer can camping stove from the Hoadleys during my sojourn in Shepherdstown, a second (and incidentally much-needed) sweater from my Aunt Barbara in Cumberland, some good hand lotion from Pam (I had developed dry and cracked "farmer's hands" from all of the field work which was just too inefficient when I tried to use gloves so I worked without them) while staying at her home in Bedford one evening on my way east....

Now, I've tried doing a bit of thinking outside the box (or outside the pannier, if you will) and kicked around some ideas: combining the spice kit and first aid kit, for example. Each has its own merits: the traditional first aid kit's space blanket doubles as a shiny cape for costume parties, while the culinary emergency kit would come in handy if I were to, say, run into Michael Pollan at a state park and he wanted to talk about the burgeoning local mushroom culture and asked what I was making on the camp stove and so I invited him to stay for dinner and then as I was handing him a plate of macaroni I became suddenly paralyzed with an overwhelming fear that the food around the campsite was lacking the appropriate level of epicurean sophistication and was just crying out for... oh, I dunno... herbes de provence. (It could happen. Luckily I have a stash of it with me, along with about 25 other must-have seasonings.) But then, I don't know that curry powder or spanish saffron would have helped much with the bangs and scrapes along the way, so perhaps I should keep the Band-aids and Neosporin and Aspirin and... okay, the whole first aid kit. Shoot.

The hills I've made it up thus far along the way are going to make way for mountains pretty soon. Anyone out there have tips on what to scrap to shave some weight off the bike? I've already sent the full-size pepper grinder and whisk home....

(What's really sad is that I'm serious about the grinder and the whisk.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

...Swine flu the economy and how cycling saves all..

So... we are all sick of it, maybe I should say we're all fed up with it. The news coverage on the swine flu. Anyways, the recent media coverage may be the best thing to happen to the country at this time. Think about it, would you rather listen to media coverage talk about the swine flu or report stock markets like baseball box scores... The other point why swine flu is beneficial to the county is it is helping to jump start the economy... Again, during a recession spending, not saving is a good practice but everyone goes about it backwards... but with swine flu people are going out and BUYING hand sanitizer, something no one would spend money on 2 weeks ago. I believe I ending up at this conclusion at the end of a short ride, as most of my thoughts are materialized in the saddle... Maybe the government even introduced swine flu to take the public mind off the economy- OK that is a stretch... Here is another stretch, rain is bad for the bike business.... but good for malls. The last few rainy weekends have been driving people to the malls where they SPEND MONEY. Can the government control the weather too... Anyways the last rant I have is riding your bike gets you outside, being outside exposes to you germs, these build up your immune systems making your body stronger. The fitness thing also helps health too. Besides health benefits and mental sanity that cycling provides it also boosts the economy. If you are riding your bike you will need stuff, tubes, tyers, lube and parts, this pumps money into the economy... This is still cheaper than maintaining a car. And better for green fitness. (A gym uses lots of energy to power tread mills and all the other stuff that goes a long with it...)

Not sure if I've made any sense but ride your bike it will make you happier....

Pet rocks

So a mechanic friend of mine once told me that there are 2 types of bike owners. I got into a discussion about this with a couple of guys from Anapolis over lunch at a corner store a few days ago.

The first are "dog" bike owners. These are the people who ride their bikes into the ground. They will not bring their bike into the shop for a tune-up until the handlebars have been zip tied back on at least three times. Their bikes are covered in mud and make odd creaking sounds sometimes. The brakes mostly work. They love to ride, but don't have the patience or finesse to keep everything rolling smoothly. If the wheels turn, that's what matters.

Then there are the "cat" bike owners. These types are very in tune with their machines. They know every nuanced sound change and notice slight shifts in performance. They regularly tune things up, cleaning and lubing the chain after a ride in the rain, checking the bolts and cables before each big ride. They love their bikes as much as the "dog" owners but are borderline OCD.

On my trip, I have also run into a 3rd category: "fish" bike owners. These are people who ride a bike a few times a year or less. They don't know why the bike would be creaky after sitting in their parents' damp shed for 8 years. They bring it into the shop when they get a flat tire, perplexed by the whole idea of changing a tire themselves. (These are the same people who come back to the pet store with the belly-up goldfish they'd gotten their 4-year-old a week before but forgot to feed. The fish, not the 4-year-old... I hope.)

I am not an elitist. Hardly. While I like to think of myself in the "cat" group, I am some hybrid of all of these, to a degree. Heck, up until a few months ago, I would have been in a 4th category: "pet rock" bike owner.

Which one are you?