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!
The Kevin Morris Story by Masher
I’ve known Kevin Morris for almost two years now, since I joined forces at Team Fayette as an employee in the H2O Maestro plumbing division of Fayette Heating & Air. Kevin is a commercial service technician in the HVAC department and is also a licensed electrician. I see Kevin almost every morning in the break room before we begin our work day, however these days we are starting to see a lot LESS of him.
Morris is an outgoing guy, the kind of person that probably never met a stranger growing up. He is very good at talking to anyone and everyone, finding out what he has in common with you, and proceeding to make friendship through it. He is a family man with high interests in the outdoors, especially fishing and most recently bicycling. Kevin is a typical blue collar American with an extraordinary story of improved fitness, and his story holds some chapters not yet revealed, it’s a work in progress. Check out the recent conversation Masher had with Kevin Morris and listen to some pretty motivating words if you are trying to lose weight. It’s also interesting how his perception of cyclists has changed from “dorky” to “a new love in life.”
If you’ve ever needed to lose any weight, whether i’ts 10 pounds more than 100 pounds, there’s a good chance that you also wanted to lose that excess weight. And it’s completely normal, if you tried one or two or more different methods, but failed. Some failures are caused by health reasons, while others are simply a lack of commitment. It’s never easy, I know personally, having gained and lost, lost and gained weight several times in my adult life. I certainly need to shed some excess pounds right now, and have failed to commit myself to a plan, but I’m very motivated by Kevin Morris’s story. You see, Kevin made a commitment, and is on the brink of losing 100 pounds. And he is not finished!
QUESTION: So what was different about this time? Surely you tried a diet plan or two in the past, and what have you done that has allowed you to follow through this time and what convinced you to do it most?
ANSWER: “Commitment is absolutely the key to success in losing excess weight. When I decided to get on this (no sugar, low carb) diet, I made myself go four months before I cheated, and I only cheated then by having a dinner out and piece of cake with my wife on our anniversary. Then it was straight back to the meal plan. It probably sounds somewhat corny as an excuse, but I was convinced I wasn’t going to be the person who couldn’t be active with my son, who is only one year old now.”
QUESTION: Why the low carb, no sugar meal plan similar to the “Atkins Diet?” There are so many options out there, what made you try this one and stick with it?
ANSWER: “I struggle with too many options, such as a “Weight Watchers” plan or counting calories, etc. I needed a plan that had more limitations, so I would know I can only eat this or that, and it’s a lot easier for me to plan my meals this way.”
QUESTION: Don’t you get burnt out on the same old meals?
ANSWER: “No, it’s amazing how diverse a salad can be when you change it up by adding or subtracting the foods that are on the plan such as meats, cheese, and nuts. And it’s not salad all the time, but salad is something I love so I eat it as often as possible. 0-sugar peanut butter has become my dessert, and I look forward to my spoonful every night!”
QUESTION: So exactly how much have you lost, you look like a different person? Of coarse, seeing you all the time, it’s not as noticeable every day, but it’s crazy to look back at a picture from the old you.
ANSWER: “Well, I was around 350 at my heaviest, and I’ve sort of plateaued over the last two weeks, but I now weigh 255. My original goal was to get to 265 with out having to exercise. I hate exercising, in fact, I told myself I would quit the plan before I start a workout.”
QUESTION: Almost 100 pounds? WOW, that’s amazing!!! You obviously changed your mind about exercise since you recently bought a bike and began cycling, right?
ANSWER: “Sorta, kinda. In my mind, I consider exercise as working out indoors, at a gym, etc. Since I ride my bike outside, I just feel like I’m relaxing in the outdoors more. I perceive bicycling more as a recreational sport, than a workout or exercise plan.
MASHER COMMENT: “I can relate somewhat, but I know for a fact, that I can get as much out of a bike ride as I put into it. As a former moderate runner, I compare the two sports by claiming that the worst part of a run is the run and you always feel better when you finish, but the worst part of a bike ride is the end, and the best part is the ride! Either way, I would much rather be outside than inside on a treadmill or stationary bike any day.”
QUESTION: So why cycling? Of all the outdoor “recreations” or sports you could have dove into, what made you pick bicycling?
ANSWER: “Well, I have to give that credit to you, Pearl (KP the Masher). I didn’t have the first clue what to expect from bicycling, but I remember passing people on bikes on the road and thinking they were a bit dorky, and slowing down traffic. Now I am much more aware of cyclists on the roadways and am happy to be riding myself. I had no idea what I needed to get started and where to go get it, so that’s where you came in and gave me great advice. If I didn’t know you and pick your brain about cycling, I’m confident I would have never given it a thought. I owe a big thanks to Masher.”
QUESTION: What keeps you motivated? You have slowed down some on the weight loss, which typically means you are getting close to your target healthy weight, so what will keep you on track now?
ANSWER: “That’s what I worried about, but staying focused is part of the commitment. I know we are going into a tough time of year for cycling because the days get shorter, and the weather gets tough to ride in, so I already got a membership to a local gym, and plan to do exactly what I thought I never would. I plan to work out and stay on the same diet, it’s worked for me so far, and I know it has. Looking at some of the old pictures of me are a brutal reminder of where I came from, and that is great motivation to stay on track.
MASHER CLOSING COMMENT: “Kevin is a very good friend, I am proud of him. He has given me more motivation, that I need right now, to improve my health. I have ridden over 2500 miles this year to date, including 3 centuries, and in 3 different states, and I feel like I’ve got a good grasp on my exercise, however I definitely can improve my eating habits. I WILL have my own weight loss story soon, too, I am confident of it, because I am ready to make a commitment. It is very gratifying to hear him give me credit for him becoming a new bicyclist. As our Mission reads here at RAM Cycling, we are committed to raising bicycling awareness, and what better way to do so than to add people to our bike population. In fact, Kevin also bought a bike for his wife, who is an avid runner, and she is also enjoying getting started in our beloved sport, as is her cousin, who followed suit. Thanks to RAM Cycling, we have added 3 bikes to the area! Keep up the good work Kevin, I hope you join RAM Cycling for a century ride next year, and you have plenty of time to train for GABRAKY 2012, also!
Masher’s new ride as of October 15, 2011 is a brand new 2011 Jamis Zenith Pro carbon frame road bike with SRAM Force components. As you can see, it is a beautiful black, white, and yellow machine, and it rides as good as it looks. I purchased the bike from Troy Hearn at Capital City Cycles in Frankfort, KY.
I took it out for my first ride on my birthday, although it wasn’t an actual b-day gift. I was joined by some friends and family for a 30 mile out-and-back ride including the Legacy Trail. My initial impression was that it begged to take off from the group, but I didn’t think that was necessary, considering we had two teenagers with us. I was able to satisfy that craving on my second ride, though, and it delivered excitement as I hoped. The bike is very responsive, handles like no bike I’ve been on before, and turns on a dime. It is very quick, climbs well, and in general, it’s fun to ride. I’m sure when I take it to it’s first big group ride, it will be a head turner. I am still getting used to the SRAM Force “double-tap” shifters, but the bike as a whole is AWESOME! I would compare it to my Trek Pilot road bike as though I went from a sports sedan to a true sports car. For example: from a Nissan Maxima to a Nissan 370Z. Oh yeah, it’s like that!
Why a new bike? Not totally sure the correct answer to that yet. I have hit a spot in my cycling career and fitness training where I feel like I needed a change of scenery, change of pace, and I hope this bike will help provide that much needed bump in my road. I also feel like I was ready for a step up in bike including upgrading frame, components, etc. and decided it is more cost effective to buy new than try to upscale. I’m super excited about receiving free lifetime tune ups, as well.
Why Jamis? This is a little easier to answer: first, I trusted all of Troy’s (Capital City Cycles) recommendations in relation to bike, size, components and cost. I feel like I got the most bike for my bucks spent. I also did some research online, and decided I wanted the SRAM and Jamis has built a solid name for themselves over recent years. I did notice some pretty good close out deals by purchasing a bike from a direct dealer online, but my final decision was to go with Capital City Cycles and the Jamis Zenith Pro. (The bike weighed in at 17.2 pounds fully built with computer and water bottles mounted.) My philosophy is, “if you can’t support local people, you shouldn’t expect them to support you!”
I know we are nearing the end of the 2011 riding season, and I’m sad about that, but I am very excited about training through the winter and rolling out early in 2012 with goals to accumulate more miles than ever in a single year, and attending one “Big Ride” charity event every month from April through October. In fact, please post a comment and let us know when and where your favorite ride is, so we can add it to our most wanted list and try to attend in 2012! And stay tuned for the first ever RAM Cycling Ride Event, it is still in planning phase, and we hope to have some more solid details by the end of the year!
In closing, thanks again Troy Hearn, Capital City Cycles, and Jamis for my new Zentih Pro road bike! I am looking forward to the next phase in my cycling like, thanks to you and your product! *Masher
Working towards my personal goal to add more bikes to the road in my area, I had yet another coworker and good friend that called me this week inquiring about cycling. Exciting news to me, as I love to converse about cycling with anyone, especially someone that respects my opinion about the sport and wants to start riding. So now that I’ve recently been through this scenario more than once, I thought, it would be real helpful if new cyclists, or people considering cycling as a hobby, had a point of reference to get them started.
That’s the vision of this blog. Hopefully, it will prove helpful to anyone considering the opportunity to begin cycling, and more importantly, help them find a new passion. RAM Cycling is living proof that all it takes to become passionate about bicycling is to get started. I will address the introduction to cycling in an outline format with some FAQs to follow. As always, feel free to send any additional questions by posting a comment below, and we will do our best to find the correct answer for you!
RAM CYCLING: INTRO TO CYCLING
I. GEAR NECESSARY
A. Must Have
1. Bicycle (mountain, road, hybrid, commuter, etc. . . it’s your choice)
2. Helmet (please take our advice on this, I promise)
3. Air pump (inflate tires to proper pressure before every ride)
4. Bike All-Purpose Bag (mounts under seat or on handlebars)
5. Water (stay hydrated on every ride)
6. First Aid Kit (keep in AP bag for emergencies)
7. Compact Bike Tool Kit (needed for minor bike adjustments)
8. Spare Tube/Tire Repair Kit & Compact Pump or CO2 Inflator
B. Enhancement Items
1. Shoes & Clip-less Pedals (get comfortable with the bike first)
2. Cycling Shorts or Bibs (with built in chamois or padding)
3. Cycling Jersey (with front zipper and rear pockets)
4. Gloves (fingerless for summer, full finger for winter)
5. Lights/Reflectors (not just for seeing, but for being seen)
6. Sunglasses (or protective glasses to keep out flies, bugs, etc.)
7. Bike Computer (for tracking stats and knowing your speed at all times)
8. Money & Snacks ( store in AP bag or jersey pockets)
II. WHERE TO RIDE
A. Mountain Bikes
1. Trails or Trail Parks
2. Roads (not recommended)
B. Road Bikes
1. Paved Trails
2. Roads (and bike lanes in towns)
III. WHO TO RIDE WITH
A. Group Rides
1. Local Clubs (great way to learn road rules and safety habits)
2. Private Groups (not organized, but still a group)
B. Solo Rides
1. Alone (bicycling gives you freedom to ride anytime)
IV. FAQs SECTION
Q: Where can I ride on the road, and when?
A: Ride on the roads at any time, just be sure to be highly visible, especially in low lighted times of day, and follow the rules of the road as if you were driving a vehicle. Use arm signals in traffic and make eye contact with drivers. Not permitted to ride on parkways or interstates, everywhere else is fair game!
Q: What kind of bike should I buy? New or Used?
A: Consider what you plan to use the bike for most and start there. If you want to ride dirt tracks, get a mountain bike. If you want to commute to work, get a touring or commuter bike, and so on. I recommend starting out getting a used bike until you find the passion of cycling that interests you most, then spend the big bucks for the bike of your dreams.
Q: Where should I buy my bike?
A: Used bikes, you can find good deals on the Internet, just be sure to check out the seller’s background. New bikes are also on the web, but I recommend finding a local bike shop close to you and developing a relationship with them for buying and servicing your bike. They sometimes have used bikes for sale, as well.
Q: I want to ride a road bike, but the traffic scares me. How can I get over the fear of riding on the road?
A: Road fear affects us all to some extent. Join a local cycling club if possible, the group riding experience will help create a confidence for road riding. It will also teach you safe riding and group ride etiquette. Find a route and time of day for cycling that feels safe and comfortable, then plan to ride accordingly.
Q: What do I do if I have a flat tire on a ride?
A: It’s not if, it’s when. That’s why I highly recommend keeping an AP bag attached to your bike with all the necessities for bike or tire repair on the go. You can carry CO2 inflators or buy a compact pump that mounts to your bike’s frame.
Q: Do I really need cycling shorts, jersey, clip in shoes, and pedals?
A: If you are riding as a commute to work, no. For pretty much all other aspects of cycling, yes. Without going into a lot of detail about each enhancement item, once you get each, you will see and understand the difference.
Q: When is the best time of the year to start cycling?
A: TODAY! The sooner you start cycling, the sooner you may discover your hidden passion for the sport.
Hope this info helps you get started into cycling, and allows you to develop a love for the bike and the experience. If you have additional questions, please feel free to post a comment on this blog. I definitely recommend joining a local bike club if you have one available, because of the wealth of info they make available to you, as well as the experience and knowledge you gain by riding with groups. If you are in or near the Lexington, KY area, check out the Bluegrass Cycling Club at bgcycling.org . I also recommend finding a local bike shop to cater to your needs for clothing, gear, and more knowledge. Now get out there and get started CYCLING!!! *Masher
As the season winded down in 2011, I had my mind set on a new bike purchase and pulled the trigger in October, buying a new Jamis Zenith Pro road bike. I was anxious to begin putting miles on the new wheels, so I chose to take the standard set up on the bike and hop on. Hind sight proved that was not a smart decision. I rode moderately through the winter months, and with the mild weather, began accumulating great base miles in March, but I was not comfortable on the new bike like I was the old one.
I loved the feel of my new ride, the new components & gears, and the look. However, when I went out for a 15-30 mile ride, I experienced finger numbness, lower back pain, and some moderate knee soreness. I actually caught myself thinking at one point “I wonder if I could buy back my old bike?” That’s when I got some much needed advice in the form of a referral from my good friend and cycling companion Tim, the Renaissance Man. “Call Pedal Power Bike Shop and schedule a custom fitting with Alan. Trust me.” So I did. I spent about three hours on a Saturday early in March, being custom fit with my new bicycle, and I am proud to say we are now a real pair. Since being fit by Alan Brady at Pedal Power, I have accumulated over 500 miles on the new bike, and it feels great. No more pain and discomfort on an average ride, and no more thinking about the old bike . . . it’s now a great memory, but a good bike for another new local cyclist!
I should have known sooner to ask Tim for help, because he went through a similar experience. As his first ever cycling season closed out in 2010, he completed a ride across the state of Kentucky on his Giant hybrid frame bicycle, and decided he was committed to cycling. That’s when he got a new Litespeed carbon frame road bike for Christmas, and began the new season a lot faster than the previous. After completing his first century ride in April in Georgia, he began to have some serious discomfort on the new bike. He had purchased the bicycle online, taking advantage of some points that had built up on an account. He had the bike adjusted and fit at a local shop, but as he began to feel comfort issues arising, he began to question some of the settings. He, like me, loved the new bike, and just thought he had to suffer through some of the new pains.
In the month of May, he completed the Horsey Hundred century bike ride in our hometown of Georgetown, KY. Following the Memorial Day weekend riding, he could not bear the pain any more. Now, the numbness in his hands was occurring even when not on the bike, and he got to a point when he lost all strength in his hands, making it nearly unbearable to ride. After seeing several doctors and specialists in the medical field, and being recommended for surgery, he decided to follow his original gut instinct and have a second opinion on his bike fit.
He was spot on! He visited Pedal Power Bike Shop in Lexington, KY and had his custom bike fitting session with Alan Brady. Alan is certified by the Seratta International Cycling Institute (SICI), and uses the techniques and standards that he learned at the SICI school. Both Tim and I highly recommend going to see Alan and Pedal Power if you experience any discomfort on your bike. Trust us! A direct link to Pedal Power is on the right side column of this page and our home page. Please feel free to click on it and check out all of the services that they offer.
I would have to say that my custom bike fitting with Alan Brady at Pedal Power Bike Shop is one of the most thorough experiences I’ve ever had with my bike, other than an actual ride, and because of that experience, my rides are once again enjoyable. So if you’ve added or lost weight, or had any uncomfortable rides lately, maybe a custom bike fit is just what you need, whether you have a new or older bike. Please feel free to share this info with all of your cycling friends and tell Alan that RAM Cycling sent you!