Riding on Vacation
Jul 2011 11

RAM Cycling is now on Twitter! Become a follower of RAM Cycling and show your support for The Renaissance Man & Masher as we bicycle.

Today we were able to ride earlier than usual entirely thanks to a wonderful event called Vacation. We arrived in Panama City Beach, FL this past Saturday and managed to get out early enough to spin up about 25 miles before the sun became to high this morning. It’s definitely HOT! Not much of an ocean breeze right now, infact, the ocean didn’t even feel refreshing yesterday, it felt about the same as my body temperature. No matter how the sun, air, and water feel though, it is awesome to be on vacation at the beach with great friends and a bicycle!!

We plan to explore some more of the PCB area in the days to come, so please stay posted for new ride details and photos.

In closing, Congrats to the state of Georgia for successfully passing the great bicycle friendly law that requires motor vehicles to keep a safe distance of 3 feet between them and cyclist when passing!! This law was put into place effective July 1 in Georgia. Please support a RAM Cycling effort to push for this “3 FEET 2 PASS” law in our great state of Kentucky!

R & R for the Bikes Too!
Jul 2011 15

This week on vacation has been very enjoyable. I am a little worried that I may get too used to being able to ride my bike every morning if I want to, but I know that reality won’t continue upon arrival back to the real world. Well, at least we have taken advantage of it while we can. The last 2 days have been good workouts, although its as flat as it can be, there has been a good ocean breeze which has resulted in strong head wind going out, and then same tailwind coming back in. The wind can be a good training aid, somewhat providing resistance similar to climbing.

Off of the bike, we have enjoyed plenty of sun time both at the beach and the pool at our condo resort. I have met and spoke to several families this week on multiple days, including some nice folks from Bowling Green and Louisville, and another cyclist who also brought his bike from Kansas City. In short conversation, he confirmed that KY is also behind the state of Missouri in bicycle friendly legislation, stating that they have had the “3 feet 2 pass” law in place for sometime now, and recently passed a law allowing cyclist riding in bike lanes to continue through intersections at red lights after stopping when there is no oncoming traffic present. More sad confirmation for us being behind the times, but don’t fret yet. RAM Cycling intends to pave the way for future bicycle friendly laws to come about in the great Bluegrass state. We need your help, we can’t do it alone.

A couple of easy things you can do to show support for improving our bicycling rights and laws in Kentucky are #1: Send us a simple message by clicking on the box in the bottom right corner or the RAM Cycling.com webpage; or #2: call or write your state Senator or Representative and let them know how you feel about bicycling laws. They want to hear your ideas, because they represent us, and if an issue is important to us, it is important to them. If you don’t know how to contact your legislators, please send us a message @ our web page, let us know the town you live in, and we will send you the info you need. THANKS for your help!

Quotes To Live By
Jul 2011 27

“The best way out is always through.”   Robert Frost

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson

“He who has never learned to obey, cannot be a good commander.”   Aristotle

“To climb steep hills, requires a slow pace at first.”   William Shakespeare

“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re probably right.”   Unknown

“The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.”   Paul Valery

“Happiness is where we find it, but rarely where we seek it.”   J. Petit Senn

“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.”   Vince Lombardi

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”    Wayne Gretzky

“Most people don’t stick with a challenge long enough to catch their second wind.”    Unknown

“RAM backwards stands for More Accessible Roads.”   Renaissance Man

“In order to become a more bicycle friendly America, we must first become a more friendly America.”    Masher

“Pain is only weakness leaving the body.”   Senior Drill Instructor SSGT Kur

By the way, the photo above was the last day Renaissance Man wore the vacation goatee. “Too itchy and irritating when sweating while on the bike,” he says.

Interview With A Bike Shop Owner
Jul 2011 28

The Masher recently sat at the counter at Capital City Cycles and had a chat with owner, Troy Hearn. He enlightened me on some bicycle topics, and informed me that bicycling in America was first started in New York City. Infact, the “New York Bike Club” was the group of folks that originally formed the Department of Transportation because they were seeking better roads to ride on. Funny, that’s an issue we still struggle with today. The rest of the conversation is also very informative!

Masher: How long have you been in the bicycle business? 

Troy: 22 years total and started Capital City Cycles 4 years ago.

Masher: Do you consider this to be your dream job?

Troy: No, but unsure what my dream job would be if the money part wasn’t an issue. Considering I have to make a living, this is what I want to be doing. If I didn’t require income, I would be riding a bike another 20-30 hrs per week.

It may not be his dream job, but it sounds like he’s in the right neighborhood!

Masher: What is a typical ride for you, and what is your favorite ride? 

Troy: Well I like mountain biking a little more than road riding, so my favorite ride would be on a dry, fast, single track trail. My typical ride is every morning before work either a 10 mile mountain bike ride or a 50 mile road ride.

Masher: What kind of changes have you witnessed in your 20+ years in the bike sales and service industry?

Troy: For starters, the average price of bikes has been on a steady increase, as has the number of people riding. It seems as if the movement comes more from the north and is beginning to really become more and more popular as it moves south. Even though states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Colorado generally have a shorter riding season, they are way ahead of us in the number of bike lanes and public accessible trails to ride on. 20 years ago, it was rare to come across a cyclist, and they were thought of as different. Now it seems that if you aren’t a cyclist, you at least know one, and while back then you only had one bike, now it is very common for folks to have multiple bikes (mountain, road, time trial or triathlon, hybrid, etc.) and ride them all. This generation of cyclist also seems to be more passionate about riding, which is probably why it’s spreading so rapidly.

Masher: What advice do you offer to new cyclists to improve their riding experience? And what advice can you offer to cyclists who are somewhat experienced, but maybe want to take their ride to another level?

Troy: Primarily 3 things. First, I recommend joining a local bike club. Ours is the  ”Bluegrass Cycling Club.” Their group rides can be very accomodating  to beginners and novices, while teaching some basic ride safety, and how to properly care for your bike. This is also the best way for experienced riders to get even better, because you tend to push yourself a little more when riding in a pack, and this helps you become stronger and faster. Second, there is always the internet, where you can find some very helpful information, just like this conversation piece. Obviously, some of the web info can be subjective and some objective, therefore, last but not least, I highly recommend consulting a local bike shop.

I agree with the third tip, they are experts shen it comes to bikes. I have visited all of the area bike shops at one time or another, and I am proud to say I choose to patronize Capital City Cycles, because of the relationship I have developed with Troy and his very friendly staff, and their willingness to educate me about my bike and other necessary cycling gear! You can rest assured that whoever you develop a relationship with, they will be there for you when you need them because the Internet can’t give you a hands-on training of how to change a flat tire on the side of the road.

Masher: How do you feel about our current bike laws in Kentucky in general? 

Troy: What bike laws?! Of the total number of cyclists in America, I would guess that about 2% are racers, while 98% are some form of casual rider, and of that group, I bet less than 5% ride on the road. Most people, even the majority of work commuters, are riding on the sidewalk or just around their subdivisions, with no desire to get onto the road with vehicles.

Masher: How do you think updating the bicycling laws (if we have any) in Kentucky, including the push for a ”3 Feet 2 Pass” law, will benefit your business and other bike shops.

Troy: I don’t think I will see a difference, because the majority of new riders will still be afraid of the roads. I support updating legislation, but the bigger issue is education.

I agree, we need more education, especially for drivers. I disagree, though, that we won’t all benefit from improved legislation. When we are able to pass some new laws including, “3 Feet 2 Pass,” then we can turn the focus onto more education, and of coarse, the other key element is enforcement. I hope at some point I can change Troy’s mind on this opinion. Only time will tell!

Masher: Would you like to, or do you have any future plans to expand your business or open new locations?

Troy: Yes, I would love to expand my business here in Frankfort one day, with a larger shop, but haven’t given much thought to any other locations.

Masher: Anything else you would like to add in closing? Any advice for my readers that can improve their bicycling experience?

Troy: Think globally, and act locally! Things will never get better on your street if you don’t help your neighbor. Ask you city, county, and state officials to keep the roads clean. If they could run the street sweepers over the shoulders and emergency lanes once in a while, we would have instant bike lanes, and that would be wise use of our roadways, that we ALL pay for!

Excellent, I couldn’t have said it better. It’s true. We would all be content to ride on the shoulder, provided that there’s room, or on the other side of the rumble strip on the bypass and/or local highways, rather than in the flow of speeding traffic, but it’s nearly impossible with all of the debris that lies in these areas.  I intend to take his advice and post the names and phone numbers of some of those officials, so we can kindly make the request to sweep our roadways and shoulders (that’s good for the economy too, because it equates to jobs)!

I enjoyed my chat with Troy, and in closing, I would like to recommend giving Capital City Cycles a chance to earn your business, if you aren’t already loyal to another bike shop. If you are considering buying a new bike like I am, Troy will give you lifetime free tune ups on a bike you buy from him as long as you own it. That’s a great way to justify spending a few more dollars on nicer components, or a lighter frame, or a better wheelset, because in the long run as you save on the tune ups, these upgrades pay for themselves!

 

CYCLING GEAR: The Summer Season Basics
Aug 2011 09

The sport of bicycling can be compared to numerous other athletic hobbies or pastimes from an equipment point of view. You could simply own nothing more than a bike, or you can own as much as a garage full of gear that goes with the bike, or like me, be somewhere in between! Obviously, since bikes can be found for a few dollars at a yard sale, all the way to high end bikes in the tens of thousands of dollars price range, it’s also safe to assume the same is true for bicycling equipment.

Equipment would be defined as any accessory to enhance your bicycling experience, which can include, but is not limited to, helmets, clothing, shoes, pedals, reflectors and lighting, bike components, gloves, etc., etc.

Today, I am going to address some basic warm weather clothing equipment. As a road cyclist, I tend to only wear tight fitting clothing. This is for mainly for safety reasons and to help with wind drag. On a typical ride, Renaissance & Masher will spin up anywhere from 20-50 miles on the best back roads with the least amount of traffic as possible, and you will find both of us donning a helmet, cycle jersey, bib shorts, gloves, protective eye glasses, and clip-on shoes, which attach to the pedals.

As is the case with most sporting hobbies, there are brand name attire products, and also generics. The difference? Same as usual. You get what you pay for. What are you paying for? Comfort, fit, durability, and of coarse the look of a nice logo! Some of the big brand names include Pearl Izumi, Descente, Shimano, Sidi, Castelli, Louis Garneau, Giordana. The Masher seems to own more gear with the Pearl Izumi logo attached, not sure why, but I think it has something to do with the name. I will say this though, so far, my favorite and most comfortable bib shorts are another brand.

Okay, enough about the brands, let’s talk a little about the actual function of road cycling clothing. Most of it depends on whether you intend to ride around the subdivision with the family, commute to work, or in our case train for, and consequently complete century rides. I highly recommend one thing above all else on all of these rides. A HELMET! You never know when a fall could happen, and believe me, it only takes a split second for your head to make contact with the pavement.

Helmet:   A device worn on your head to protect your skull and brain. Currently, both Renaissance & Masher wear Bell helmets. They are light weight, designed to allow good air flow, and comfortable. Masher has unfortunately also tested the durability of his once.

Cycling Jersey:   The shirt worn on a bicycle ride. These are typically very light weight and tight fitting with zippers on front for extra ventilation and three pockets on the rear for storing important things that can easily be accessed, such as, maps, cell phone, snacks, money, etc. We both have various brands of jerseys, including a couple that were earned. Some of the big ride events offer a cycling jersey for sale, and we wear them as a token of an accomplishment. Others are plain, and a couple show our true colors (when it comes to who we root for in college sports).

Shorts or Bib Shorts: A spandex material lined with padding in the seat that are worn as shorts. This is one of the most important articles of clothing on a ride of any significant distance. RAM prefers to wear the bib shorts because they are more secure, don’t move around as much when in the saddle, and they also do a good job of assisting in forming the body which ultimately aids in support and comfort over a long trek on the bike. This is truly where you get what you pay for, especially in the comfort of the padding.

Cycling Socks: A high compression sock that is designed to wick moisture away from the feet, they come in all sorts of lengths and colors. Try to avoid cotton socks at all cost when cycling for more than a few miles, otherwise you may experience feet fungus and/or other problems associated with wet feet – all that equates to uncomfortable and possible even time off the bike. RAM prefers the ankle length, either way, you’re destined to get numerous tan lines that are impossible to hide at the beach, when you commit to wearing the full cycling gear.

Clip-On Shoes:   The name says it all. Cycling shoes are true to the uniform in regards to weight, and similar to the bike frame in regards to stiffness. Road shoes are designed to be attached to the pedals in order to prevent foot slippage, and also to help provide more power to the pedaling process. Yes, you will forget to unclip from the pedal at some point and inevitably fall, stuck to the bike. Hopefully, you won’t get hurt, it usually happens as you’re stopping, therefor, at least you’re at a slow speed. More importantly, hopefully, you don’t have a huge audience when it happens, because it can be more hurtful to your pride than your body.

Other Accessories Recommended:   Gloves – fingerless in the hot season, and preferably a wicking material with some light padding. It is important for your entire outfit to breathe, otherwise your body will overheat very easily. Head Beanie or Buff – similar to a do rag, it’s purpose is to keep the sweat out of you eyes, keep the head cool, and protect from sunburn. Protective Eye or Sunglasses – also, the name says it all. RAM always recommends wearing glasses to protect your eyes from bugs, road debris, rain, or whatever else may be in the air, and we recommend tinted lenses during high sunlight times, and clear or polarized during low visibility times. Last, but not least, RAM highly recommends wearing a Road ID – this is, as their slogan says, “It’s who you are!” In case of emergency, in any case, this will allow folks to help you without jeopardizing your health until paramedics can arrive on site. It could save your life.

Now we need your feedback. Please send us a message, and let us know what your favorite gear is, so we can try it out. In the near future, RAM Cycling intends to design some custom cycling gear and we want to use the best. So make a recommendation of a particular brand and we will try it out over the upcoming riding seasons, then we will rate them, and decide to make a brand “Our Brand.” It only takes a second to post a comment or drop an email, either way, let us know what you wear.

The right or wrong cycling gear, can ultimately be the difference in your enjoyment level while on the bike.

 

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