Monday, October 24, 2011

Old Man Winter is coming; be ready.

Well it has been a whirl wind summer, with lots of ups and very few downs. Our dear friend Joel is in another country climbing a mountain that has never been climbed with our local superhero Mark Jenkins. Pedar and I are holding down the fort....okay so Pedar is holding down the fort and I am trying not to get in his way. 

Speaking of Pedar, I had one of the best night rides of my entire life with him and Dan the Man from Cross Country Connection the other night.  It was an Giant Anthem ride, no offense to those of you who ride other bikes, we just prefer the superior suspension of the Maestro rear suspension.  (I learned product placement from the Biggest Loser.)  On the ride I had the pleasure of following Pedar's track.  I was moving out, thinking to myself, "Wow self, you are keeping up with Pedar."  Then, he turned to me and smiled, and like the moment in Christmas Vacation when Clark takes off down the ski hill on the sled with the new non caloric silicon kitchen lube,....poof, he was gone.  It is always awesome to see someone who is the master of his craft at work.  Thanks for that Pedar.

Which leads me to the purpose of this post....riding your bike in the winter.  We are about to be hit by a huge snowstorm.  Epic.  Ski people rejoice, it is your season.  For the rest of us, we will have to find ways to keep our bicycles functional in and on the road. 
This is not the way.  BUT, if you have to keep your bicycle outside in the winter, by all means, keep it lubed.  I recommend two very solid types of lubrication, both available at the Pedal House.  1. Tri-Flo.  It kicks booty and is highly effective.  2. Finish Line wet lube.  It is a little thicker but it is a fantastic lubrication that I use on my personal bicycles.  Either way you have a winner.  If these options are not for you, just make sure that you have a Teflon based lubrication in the winter to help keep the rust away, and for goodness sake, don't use WD-40.  It isn't a lube, it is a cleaner.  It will actually do the opposite for your bicycle.

When lubing your chain, start by adding small amounts of lubrication to each link on your chain.  Lube doesn't need to be on the outside plates, just the bushings.  After it sits for 15 or 20 minutes, wipe it down so that it doesn't collect dirt and grime. 

Also, keeping your bicycle clean helps it run better in tough conditions.  Use dish soap and water; scrub it down with soft brushes, (available at the Pedal House) and hose it down.  Don't use high pressure wands from the car wash as they can mess with pivots and bearings.  Be patient and clean it like you would a five month old baby. 

For more maintenance tips come to the clinics hosted by the Pedal House.  November 3rd, there is a free Tire Changing Clinic, and on November 17th, we have a Basic Maintenance Clinic for those of you who need a nice, comfortable environment to learn the basics about bicycle care and maintenance.  This two hour clinic is $35, and includes a question and answer section to help new riders get personalized instruction on his/her bicycles. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer is here, and for me that can only mean one thing; the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throwing Contest!  That is right, but since it doesn't start until September, well after our summer is off and running, I guess we will have to find something to do around here.  Well, here are a couple of things we have going on locally.

First off, this weekend there is the Dead Dog Classic road race.  Below is a video I found on Youtube highlighting the 2010 race.  This weekend you can see riders blasting through our Wyoming scenery like the long ago buffalo our ancestors chased....kind of.

And don't forget about the Tuesday night race series, the Laramie Mountain Bike Series, held in the most beautiful place in the world, Happy Jack recreation area. 

We also have the Laramie Enduro coming up.  Another video I found from the Youtubers gives us an inside look at the race.

The Tour de Wyoming is also on the horizon.  It is going to be supported by the Pedal House this year, so all you riders will finally have Joel's mechanical expertise to keep you on the road. 

So get out there and support your favorite local races and tours.  And thanks to all the Youtube people who put together these videos. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Big Brothers & Big Sisters

I was originally an Elementary Education teacher.  That was my degree.  I couldn't get in the door of any of the local elementary schools in our community so I dragged my feet out to the Cathedral Home with wild ideas about how abnormal the kids were.  I thought that I would see kids who were crazy, drooling, spitting, incoherent psychopaths with missing teeth, and instead I found out that my dream job was actually working with treatment kids...and here is the kicker...they are all so eerily normal.  Granted I did find the toothless psychopaths, but we are not talking about the people it takes to work with treatment kids...(joking of course.)

I started as an English Teacher, but quickly grew bored of the curriculum filled with rules that aren't followed anywhere but the classroom.  I did, however, fall in love with the kids because they were so real.  They wouldn't accept anything but the truth from a teacher, and they even challenged the facts found in the truth.  It was fantastic because it made me focus in on the things I love about life, and I wanted to share that love for life with the kids.  My love for life has always, as long as I can remember, been most intense when in the saddle of a bicycle.  So, we started working on bikes, and to make sure it looked somewhat like English, we started writing about our process.  Now, some nine years later, and thanks to a plethora of people, there is a Vocational Education Program based entirely on the concept of fixing bicycles.  It is a dream job.

Well this past Saturday I was able to share the fruits of the Vocational labor (of too many people to mention) with the local community.  The Cathedral Home Advanced Bicycle Mechanics class, in conjunction with the Pedal House, held a 2 Hour Basic Maintenance class for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization here in Laramie.

As you can see, the snow cut back on our participation, but the kids and Bigs that did show up were AWESOME!  Not to mention how fantastic my advanced kids were in helping assist with the instruction.

Overall, I think it was a big success.  David, Michael, Dezarae, and Katie learned how to service a couple of parts on their bicycles.  My advance class was able to demonstrate their knowledge in a real world setting while meeting Wyoming and California Vocational State Learning Standards, and I was able to enjoy the company of both groups.  It was a pretty good day.

So to everyone at the Cathedral Home, and everyone at Big Brothers and Big Sisters, thanks for sharing your life with kids.  And to all the young people who have been in both programs, thank you for sharing your life with us.  Until next time, Happy Trails from the Pedal House. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Trainer Time Again.

Well for the last couple of days we have been able to sit in a saddle and be outside with the wind in our faces. I even saw a few people brave enough to ride Roger's Canyon road out at the end of Ninth Street, braving the mild weather and the viscous dogs that run wild and unkept by the residents of our rural and rugged outskirts of town. So what do you do when a dog chases you? a good old fashioned water bottle squirt to the face. And for all of you who would wear a Camel Back on a road ride, pedal faster.

But none of us could pedal fast enough to get away from old man winter. But, if you have the itch that only cycling can scratch, then you need penicillin. If you can't afford penicillin, then you might need to find other means to satisfy your cycling psoriasis. Spin classes are one way to go. It is like a stationary Tour de France, and if you have a Calvin and Hobbs style imagination then you can always come in first.

But if you are like me, then you might need to set something up a little closer to home.

I hate riding a trainer, but it is a great way to kill an hour and keep a few miles on your legs.

As you can see, I am posted in front of the old boob tube, and I don't watch all of the race videos to motivate me. Instead I have created a little game called sitcom sprints. I watch the program and spin comfortably, but during the commercials I sprint...okay two minute sprints would kill me, so I just go hard for two minutes. (Notice Pedar's rollers tucked neatly away by the door.)

Speaking of commercials, I decided that sometimes I needed to channel surf but had a hard time keeping the remote close, so I made this remote caddy from some old cloth scraps I had laying around from my frame pad fixie days. Pretty snazzy, I know. If you have a good way to fight cabin fever....besides skiing, let me know, I would love to hear about it. Thanks, and as always, happy trails from the Pedal House.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Pedal House Cabin Fever/"Thank You" to our Customers Party.

I am just going to say it; "I love the Pedal House." Thanks to the P-House I have learned a thing or two about business, community, and of course I have become a better mechanic due to the teaching of Joel "the Master" Charles, and Pedar "Shock Therapy" Enger. So, in keeping with the custom of my people, I wanted to thank those of you who helped us be THE bicycle shop in the region. But How?

Well, after a brain storm session of epic proportion, Jessica and I decided, let's try to kill all of the brain cells that store the knowledge I have gained, by drinking in celebration of our customers; PARTY TIME. As you can see, an eclectic group of Pedal House aficionados were in attendance. It was a high class affair. So if you missed the party, you missed our thanks too, so let me say it here; Thank you very much for supporting the Pedal House, and we hope we can continue to help keep you on your bicycle.

By the way, when the majority of the customers left, and we were down to the seedier side of the Pedal House, it got kind of grimy. All I can say is, can you remember high sch...I mean college? We can, thanks to Pedar the Tank!