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!

 

Give GABRAKY A Chance
Aug 2011 23

When I first began to cycle, I used excuses as my motivation to ride. One excuse was that I didn’t spend much time with my father, “Pops,” and since he was into cycling, I thought this would be a great way of bridging the gap. A second excuse was my fitness, or at this time, my lack there of. As a former multi-sport athlete in high school, and a U.S. Marine with a completed contract, I seemed to have lost good reason to stay in shape, and now I longed for the return of my athletic competitive edge. Finally, and possibly the most significant excuse for me to ride was GABRAKY. I always excel at achieving my goals when I challenge myself through personal determination. My good friend and close riding partner, Tim the Renaissance Man, says “Effort without execution equals failure.” I tend to agree, and I feel like a good start is wasted, if you don’t finish it.

GABRAKY is a fundraiser bicycle ride for the Grand Theatre in Frankfort, KY. It was started by my good friend, Ed Stodola, an avid cyclist who has ridden with me on every “Horsey Hundred” (an annual century ride on Memorial Day weekend sponsored by our local bike club, the Bluegrass Cycling Club) that I have completed. Last year, Ed rode across the United States from Washington state to Maine. GABRAKY was originally called “Grand Autumn Bicycle Ride Across Kentucky,” but in 2009 it gained a backing from the state government and the name changed to “Governor’s Autumn Bike Ride Across KY.” This year the ride takes on another name change because the format has been slightly altered to improve some of the event logistics and allow for a more accommodating finish. This year’s name is “Governor’s Autumn Bicycle Ride Around Kentucky,” and the ride will not travel coast to coast as it always has in the past. Initially, it may seem that this would cause the ride to lose some of its’ luster or attraction, however I believe the true experience of this awesome three day ride will still produce the same cycling and group connection results.

The primary reason that I highly recommend this ride to any and all cyclists is for the total experience it provides. Leading up to the ride tends to produce some anxiety, and on Day 1, I usually experience a “what was I thinking moment? 225 miles in 3 days over the hilly roads of Kentucky?” Then, you will begin to settle in to a certain comfort level by lunch time on Day 2, realizing that you are in a war, not a battle. You will begin to enjoy the “group connection” that is mutually shared by all riders. Then on Day 3, as your mind begins to wander from the doses of adrenaline, energy, and fatigue, you will reach a point where you realize you ARE going to make it, and at that very moment, your overall cycling passion level soars to a new high. This same moment also lets you know that you are capable of completing any bicycle ride you set out to. And although you reach a moment when you are ready for the ride to just be over, on Day 4, you will experience a void that was filled by your bike the previous three days.

The first year that “Pops” completed GABRAKY, he did it on his Trek hybrid bike. He immediately purchased a Giant carbon road bike afterwards, and he’s been hooked ever since. After riding GABRAKY near the end of my first ever cycling season, I discovered my passion for pedaling, and I haven’t used any excuse to ride since. I also bought a new Trek carbon frame road bike shortly after. My good friend, Tim the Renaissance Man, completed his first GABRAKY with only about 3 months of cycling under his belt, and he too rode it on his Giant hybrid, but is looking forward to completing it on his new Litespeed carbon frame road bike this year.

I could go on forever about my memories and awesome experiences of riding in GABRAKY, but the feeling of accomplishment you receive when you complete it yourself, will trump anything you can read about it. So, if you are passionate about pedaling, and want to experience a cycling euphoria, PLEASE give GABRAKY a chance! To register, simply go to www.gabraky.com. I hope to see you at the State Capitol on Friday morning, October 7, 2011, ready to ride. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Masher

YOOKAY-YOOUHVELL CHALLENGE!
Sep 2011 02

This Challenge is Interactive – PLEASE comment in and VOTE for UK or U of L! Ahh, just around the corner lies the beloved American pastime, football season! Everything from high school to college, to the NFL, and of coarse, fantasy football. Plain and simple, it’s huge in America. Football is the most watched sport in America, with the NFL being the most watched sport on television. So, the Renaissance Man and I, Masher, have decided to come up with our own special challenge to help kick off the gridiron season and incorporate a little cycling into it, of coarse.

THE RIVALRY

As is the case with most states, there typically lies a rivalry between big time in-state schools or nearby intrastate schools, the great Bluegrass State is no different. The rivalry between Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats is as intense and heated as most. For the most part, UK fans hate U of L, and vice versa. I happen to be an exception to the rule (sort of). Out of respect to many of my close friends, that unfortunately have to root for UK, I choose not to be a hater and root against them as long as they’re not playing U of L ( or at least not in front of my friends). Renaissance Man is equally respectful as a UK fan. As a Cards fan, the worst part about the rivalry is that I live in “Wildcat Territory” only 15 minutes from the University of Kentucky campus. As a lifelong Louisville fan, I can honestly admit that we are much less stressed because it’s not the end of the world when we lose to UK or have a rough season here or there, however when UK loses to The Ville or when they have a rough season, the end of the world must be near, along with the coach’s contract. The recent history favors the Cats with 4 straight wins in football and 2 consecutive in basketball. I, for one, hope this year breaks both streaks, but we have our work cut out for us since both games will be played in Lexington.

THE CHALLENGE

Pretty simple, a grueling 8.5 mile bicycle race between Renaissance & Masher. The course will be a common training loop for us both, one that we currently ride a weekly time trial on as part of our regular 25-30 mile course. It is a 4.2 mile route around some horse farms just southwest of Georgetown, with mostly flat terrain and a few rollers towards the end. Our ultimate goal is to finish the loop in twelve minutes or less, and so far, we have achieved times from 12:25-13:45. The game day challenge will be more demanding than usual, having to complete the loop twice. Now here’s the interesting part, the actual challenge: the winner of the race will be granted one point for every 15 seconds of victory that will apply to the UK-U of L football game. For instance, if Renaissance beats Masher by 35 seconds, that means he gets his team (UK) and 2 points. In other words, the outcome of our race may not predict the outcome of the football game, but it could possibly salvage somewhat of a victory, morally anyways, because the loser of the challenge also loses some of their pride. Ultimately, it’s all for fun, no matter what the outcome!

THE PRIZE

The prizes are grand and awesome! Pride, sanity, and happiness to the winner, while the loser will receive humiliation, disgrace, and depression (at least momentarily). The winner of the YOOKAY-YOOUHVELL CHALLENGE will get to wear their team colors to church on Sunday, with pride and a smile on their face. Unfortunately, the loser has to wear the opponents colors with school name to the same 10:30 Mass at St. John Catholic Church. This will be devastating for one of us, but it’s all in good fun and friendship. I think it will be worse if I lose, because while Renaissance is a huge Kentucky fan, he is a Louisville grad, and has had to wear their colors once before. So, now it’s official. The Challenge is set! Who are you voting for? UK or U of L? Renaissance or Masher?

A Ride On The Legacy Trail
Sep 2011 12

This past week, Renaissance & Masher decided to pick up the pace a little and enjoy a round trip tour from downtown Georgetown to downtown Lexington via the, newly opened last fall, Legacy Trail. Our typical weekday rides consist of a twenty to thirty mile loop, depending on the heat index, and time of ride start. The trek from home to the end of The Legacy Trail is a 35 total mile trip, and with daylight beginning to last shorter as the days go by, we had to take our average pace from 14-15 mph up to 16 mph in order to finish the ride safely before night fall.

I think we both enjoyed the boost in speed, it’s nice to progress in a training regimen from time to time. Whether we are enjoying a typical loop with our weekly time trial, or a hilly route, or just a relaxing recovery ride, we are always training for a grand ride. We mostly train for century (100 mile) rides, but another big ride coming up in October will be our second annual GABRAKY ride, which will consist of 225 miles over a Friday through Sunday weekend. Training for century rides includes riding distances typically ranging from 20-65 miles, sometimes on flat courses and sometimes on tougher hilly roads. We focus on speed, endurance, proper nutrition and hydration, and base miles. These training skills are necessary to complete century rides, especially considering many of the summer rides reach temperatures over 100.

You don’t have to be an avid cyclist to enjoy the new local path, The Legacy Trail. In fact, you don’t even have to be a cyclist. The trail is open to walkers, runners, and all types of bicycles. Renaissance & Masher rode on the Legacy Trail many times last winter when we couldn’t get off work in time to beat the daylight, and didn’t want to chance our lives on the roads with vehicles after dark. We would turn on the spotlights and tail lights and go get our 16 miles in on the trail, sometimes dodging others with the same idea. We rode in the rain, freezing rain, snow, wind, dark, and sometimes I thought is it really worth it? It was without a doubt, worth every mile we gained. The beautiful thing about cycling is that, unlike some other forms of exercise, there is not nearly the level of suffering through the workout. With some exercise routines, the best part is when you finish, however, for Renaissance & Masher, the ride is always the best part, whether it’s a 20 mile leisure loop or a century ride at a heat index of 110.

I highly recommend to anyone who would like to feel better, to give the Legacy Trail a chance. Whether you want to ride, walk, or run, we are all welcome to participate at our own pace and intensity level, for any distance we wish to achieve, and all free from the hustle and bustle of traffic. Please be courteous of other users, though, and do not stop in the middle of the path. If you need a break, or stop to talk to passers by, or just stop to enjoy scenery, kindly step off the path to keep others moving safely! The Legacy Trail boasts some beautiful scenery, long flat winding sections, to gently rolling terrain, modern bridges, interesting art work on the path, and much, much more. RAM Cycling is trying to get a Sunday afternoon ride scheduled with friends in the very near future. With the rides we are already committed to, it looks as though it will probably be sometime in late September, but once we get it started, we hope to make it a monthly routine. Keep your eyes open for the first RAM Cycling ride on the Legacy Trail, coming soon. But don’t feel like you have to wait on us to get a group together, get on out there and enjoy an awesome path without the scares of busy traffic infested roads. Enjoy the Legacy Trail today!

YOOKAY-YOOUHVELL CHALLENGE RESULTS
Oct 2011 03

Well folks its official, the results are in! Amazingly enough it happens to be a clean sweep weekend. In the road race portion of the challenge, the weather was magnificent. The race between Renaissance Man & Masher began around 8:30 AM on Falconwood Lane, the air was crisp and cool in the upper 50s. The race was witnessed by a caravan of family members, Kennedy Pearl, Johnathon Stout, Charlie Pearl III, Preston Pearl, and Dawson Pearl, escorted by Kevin “Terd” Hargrave. As the race turned onto the rollers section on North Yarnalton Road, the pace picked up for good.

Masher pulled out to an early lead, only to forfeit it to Renaissance Man on the first climb. Renaissance Man pulled away briefly as the course passed over several hills, but Masher closed the gap at the second turn which put the race on Bethel Road. Renaissance Man tried to keep Masher out of his draft on the slight downhill, but he stayed glued to his back wheel until the road flattened out, which is when Masher retook the lead for good. It remained close up the next short climb, but some space was created down the long gradual incline that led to the merging back onto Falconwood Lane. At the start/finish line, Masher had gained a 54 second lead on the first loop. Split times were very similar for the second loop, with no miracle come back win. When both men had safely crossed the finish line, they were separated by 2 minutes and 28 seconds, which after doing the math from the challenge, this gave Masher 9 points with his underdog Cardinals in the football game that would be played later that night. The group was all smiles, we had a great time. After all, it was all for good fun. Masher was still nervous about the game and the results of the challenge, in fact, the group briefly talked about what ugly UK shirt that the Renaissance Man would make him wear to church the next day if he lost.

U of L Cards defeated Kentucky Wildcats 24-17 in a game that came down to the last possession, preserving the clean sweep for Masher. “At the start of the 4th quarter, I was starting to feel safe about winning the challenge and not having to wear an ugly UK shirt in front of all my friends at church, but I never felt safe with the Cards’ lead in the game. I’ve seen it too many times. It would have been bitter sweet to win the race, lose the game, but win the challenge. Thankfully I got the clean sweep, and it is FULLY SWEET,” claimed by Masher.

“As the winner of the YOOKAY-YOOUHVELL CHALLENGE, I would like to thank my sponsors: Capital City Cycles, Trek Bikes, Road I.D., Clif Bar Shot Blocks, Pearl Izumi, Bell Helmets, One Good EarBud, Louis Garneau, 5 Hour Energy, the Louisville Cardinals, and most importantly RAM Cycling. I actually don’t have any official sponsors, but I couldn’t have done it with out these brands!!! Please tell all your friends and family about RAM Cycling, and PLEASE give us your feed back. It only takes a moment to post a comment on our blog website.  I would also like to thank my partner, the Renaissance Man for accepting my challenge and the tough race he ran. Both of our times have greatly improved over this race course since we set the challenge. This short ride put us right on the brink of 2000 miles together for the year. That’s awesome – we only had a couple hundred together at this time last year! It’s up to you what the challenge will be during basketball season.”    *Masher

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