Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Reasons to Ride: Cycle For Life, Orlando

On October 6th, come out with us and stretch your legs for a cause! The CF Cycle For Life charity ride is a great way to have a blast and support a great cause. Plus you get to ride with our smiling mugs!

Cycle For Life supports the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. With several distances, 30mi, 64mi or 100mi (a century) to choose from, anyone can participate. There are plenty of sag stops and mechanics on hand to
ensure that you have a great time while supporting a great cause.

Rider Party

Interested but would like to know more? come to the Cycle for Life Rider Party on August 7th, 2013. Come talk to people participating in and those running the event and a few people who can share some pretty personal stories about cystic fibrosis.
Held at The Tap Room at Dubsdread, There will also be prizes, raffles, a free jersey and a route preview. So, if you are worried about the terrain or grade, it's a great way to see what you could be up against.
Let them know you're coming:
The Rider Party Facebook Event Page is here.
Don't have facebook? No big deal, email
Still want more information, click here!

What is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis is a disease that is often found in carriers when they are very young (often 2-5 years old). It is a condition where one's mucus throughout their body is very thick and sticky. This causes serious problems in obvious areas such as breathing and digestion but also has a larger effect on the body. People fighting cystic fibrosis are prone to lung disease, struggle with nutrition, growth and basic development.
This genetic disorder is one of the most common in white children through out this country and has been increasing over the past 40 years.

If you're like me, you respond much more to a face than stats and numbers. So check out this video:

Help Us, Help You!
Pick from any of our designs!

The Orange Cycle family will be riding the 60mi. ride with our smiles and Orange Cycle jerseys. If you would like to join our team, the more the merrier! When you sign up for the ride, select our team!
Raise $150, come in to the shop with proof of the fundraising and we'll give you a free Orange Cycle jersey along with 25% off the matching shorts.
For more info, click here

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hincapie: The Only Time You'll Hear 'Comfort' and 'Race Cut' in the same sentence.

Hincapie isn't afraid to stray from the black/red/white mantra

Hincapie is a name known in cycling. First, as one of the best domestiques (support rider) in the business. Armstrong's right hand man through all of his Tour de France victories as well as riding for Alberto Contador in 2007 and Cadel Evans in 2011.
He and his brother started a now, well-known cycling apparel company called, Hincapie and this three time national champion transferred his knack for rider support directly into the clothing line. We were especially impressed with this year's line and thought it was about time we tried it out! Neal and myself put the Nitro kit while Mel tried the Chromatic.

The Fabrics

Hincapie has always been known for fabrics that are a level above many other equally priced kits. The Nitro is no exception. If you are a person that is very picky about how your lycra feels, you have to give this a try. I firmly believe that Hincapie is blending Egyptian cotton and lamb's skin, however, they call it TourTek fabric. Designed to take moisture off the rider's body, it is also very light weight.
On the back, chest and sides of the Nitro is Accelerator Mesh. Hanging flat and light, it provides the best air flow and breath-ability without limiting coverage and feel.
When hit with light, the
Chromatic sleeves turn
a bright white
Both sleeve and bib cuffs are designed with a sleek, DimpleTek band. Similar to high-end Louis Garneau and Sugoi products, it relies on a longer, inter-weaved polyester and spandex mesh. This maintains comfort and position without the annoying rubber cuff.

A really clever feature for several of this year's kits is the addition of HyperOptic fabrics in the sleeve and short cuffs. undetectable in normal lighting, when hit by light, the highly reflective sub-fabrics shine through to create extremely bright material.

The Chamois

The fabrics could be weaved with gold and diamonds and it still wouldn't matter if the chamois was no good. Neal and myself tried out Hincapie's Pro chamois while Mel rode the women's Power chamois. Both are designed with dual density foam so they are supportive without losing breathability.
Coming from thicker pads, like the Sugoi RS or the Gore Xenon, all three of us were a bit skeptical at the lack of thickness in the Hincapie line. However, we were surprised to find the same support as a pillow-top style chamois. The advantage to a sleeker pad is that when the rider stands or shifts their weight, the pad disappears. I do not mean the support is lost, you forget that you have padding between your legs.

Bottom Line
A confident and low-profile chamois, in combination with some of the most breathable and comfort-based fabrics on the market make Hincapie clothing a great product. When you add the clever features, like blended reflective material and a perfect fit for any body, it's hard to see why anyone would pass it up.

It's clear that George Hincapie now puts as much effort into creating a thoughtful product, able to create a comfortable experience, as he did while making a name for himself in the peloton.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Keep It Clean!

This means you need to clean your bike.
So you and your loved one decide it would be romantic to take your bikes to the coast for a nice ride on the beach. You may think nothing of this decision other than looking forward to the quality time, however, your bike is screaming "What have I done to deserve this?!?! I thought we were friends!"

Another Scenario: On a routine road ride you are submerged in one of the many flash storms that plague our state. For a second you think about finding cover, ducking out until it passes. Then your inner-roadie kicks in and you decide to push through, solidifying your all condition prowess. Your bike, on the other hand, is about excited as being snowed in at a cabin shared with your in laws.

In a round about way, I am trying to say, ride your bike where ever and when ever you would like. But if you don't keep it clean, you might be looking at hospital sized bills from your local wrench. To fend off a 2nd mortgage to get your bike rolling, here are some tips on keeping your bike clean!

Drive Train
This chain needs some love.
While the whole bike does need attention after a ride, the drive train (crank, chain, cassette, derailleurs) is very important. With the small bolts, pullies, and pivots, it is very easy to gum up the works.
Also, like oil to a car, a chain needs a good glaze of lube on it to run properly and reduce wear on the rest of the parts. When the chain goes through rain or dirt, too much grime can become caked on.
The trick is cleaning and lubing your chain. Many of us here in the shop are pretty impressed with Globalbike Chain Wipes and VeloShine. They simplifies the process to a few wipes each time. And let's be honest, it needs to be easy for us to do it as often as we should.
For more info about Globalbike wipes, click here or VeloShine, click here.

Not sure how to lube your chain? I could give you a detailed play-by-play but Amy Shreve does a much better job:

Another great product to keep the drive train happy is Finish Line Bike Floss. Just like floss for your teeth, Finish Line knows there are nooks and crannies that dirt can setup shop. And you need more than a rag to get in and kick dirt out. Bike Floss makes it easy to do a thorough job.

For more info on some bike floss, click here

The Rest of the Bike

To make your bike shine like it deserves a rotating platform and a Vanna-style model standing beside it. There's a little more involved than a rag and good intentions. Find a bike wash that you like. Having a bike-specific cleaner not only guarantees no harm to your precious as well as cutting down time spent cleaning. Simple Green has made a great cleaner that is not only safe for the environment but has degreaser properties to help cut through dirt and grime.
For more info on Simple Green, click here

What Not to Do
Sometimes less is more, and bike maintenance is no exception. There are many situations where not doing something could save you more money than being overly proactive. Here are a couple pointers:

  • Do NOT use a hose on your bike. While it may make sense to wash off your bike, hosing the components often time pushes dirt further into very serious points like bottom brackets and headsets. 
  • Do NOT mistreat your chain. Lubing one's chain is an art. If you've never done it, there will be a little bit of a learning curve. Come into the shop and we can go over it a little bit. Until then, here are a couple of points. Always clean the chain off before lubing. Do not over lube the chain. Always wipe off all excess lube. After you've lubed your chain, let the bike sit for at least a matter of hours, preferably over night.
  • Leave your discs alone. If you are a mountain bike or CX rider, there is a good chance you have disc brakes. There is also a good chance that you don't know there is a very temperamental coating on the discs themselves and any sort of lube, degreaser, even grease from your fingers can do serious damage. Best to just leave them alone. 
  • No WD40! If you love buying a new bike every year and constantly losing a battle to rust and failing parts, by all means, cover your bike in WD40. But it is not meant as a lubricant and is inappropriate for any part of your bike. Don't do it. 
If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and we will try to answer them as soon as possible!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pack & Play: How to Carry Everything You Need on Your Bike

Riding to destinations is a great way to get into biking. It is hard to think of multiple hours doing nothing but pedaling as enjoyable when you've never done it. So having a destination, like the grocery store, the local coffee shop or even work, can be the ice breaker into biking.
When there is a destination there are often accessories a rider needs. Even if it's not much, it is hard to grab a cup of joe without a bike lock and wallet. Spend some time there and you may be looking to take your computer or a book. So, as always, here to help, here are a few bag systems to help you get everything you need to everywhere you want to go!
We are going to focus on three major bag systems. There are a lot of different options but these are great places to start!

Messenger Bag / Backpack

The backpack is probably the easiest initial way to carry your things. Most people have a backpack. Your standard Jansport may not be comfortable or stable while riding. Osprey brand bags, are designed to not only be comfortable on the rider's back, but also keep the needs of all types of riders in mind. Bike-specific backpacks usually come with very helpful features like built-in rain covers, places to put lights and vented arm and back pads to prefect sweaty back.
The downside to using this system is that all your items are on your back. It can be strenuous on the rider. Also, the more you need to take, the more weight will be resting on your back.

Rear Rack

If commuting or longer distance rides are what you are going for, you probably want to invest in a rear rack. The rear rack attached so the back of the bike frame and can support multiple bags of the top and sides. Using a rear rack is the way to go if you are going to the grocery store as well because it has structure to
keep the bread, eggs and milk safe. There are many different back options, from side bags (paniers) to smaller top bags.

Front Basket

The front basket is fantastic for anyone looking for that classic vintage bike look without losing too much function. There are many different options and looks in the realm of front baskets. Some are made of wicker, others are metal. The only downside about adding weight to the front of the bike is it changes how the bike handles.

Whatever your goal, don't let lack of pocket space stop you! Equip yourself with the right bag to hold whatever you may want to do. Try something new like biking to get groceries or run errands on your bike. Turn something mundane and stressful into something fun and enjoyable!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fun in the Sun

The time has come again, and it seems we are always surprised. Florida summers are other-worldly. If you ever wanted to see what an ant feels like under a magnifying glass, go out on a ride, in Florida, this time of year, with no sun protection. But don't let the heat stop you from getting on the bike. To fend off the giant magnifying glass, here are a few steps that will ensure you have fun and stay cool!

Water is Your Friend!
Step one in your quest for outdoor ability is drinking at least double the amount of water you normally take on a ride. So drink and do it often. A good rule of thumb is that if you are thirsty, or thinking you could use a drink, you should have had a drink twenty minutes ago!

The Camelbak Podium Chill bottle is great for keeping your water cool and refreshing. For more info on the Podium, click here

Up the Electrolytes
When you sweat, it's not just water pouring out your body but electrolytes and sodium. Ignore this loss and you might as well not drink any water. Use an electrolyte/sodium-rich mix to make sure you are adequately supporting your body.
A great tool to make sure you are supplying your body with what you need is the EFS Sports Drink. For more info, click here

Don't Push It
Take more brakes and keep an eye out for shade. Remember, the body can only replenish an average of 1/3 the expended vitamins and minerals. Take frequent stops and forget about keeping your legs warmed up. Give your body time to catch up. If you are the kind of person that prefers not to listen to your body and power through situations until it's too late to recover, wear a heart rate monitor. This way you can ignore your body but listen to the watch!
The Polar FT7 is an accurate and affordable heart rate system. For more info, click here

Protect Yourself
Covering your body is becoming more and more a requirement over a preference. The more we learn about skin cancers and keeping your body healthy, sun screen doesn't always do the required work. Sun protective  garments can be the difference between a successful ride, and going home in an ambulance.
Pearl Izumi makes a great line of sun protective gear that breathes, wicks away sweat and protects from the sun. For more info, click here

Change Up your Schedule
Now that the climate has changed, your riding times may need to change as well. Early mornings and later in the night are great times to ride before it gets hot or after it has already cooled down. You may find that changing the time will give you a whole new riding experience!

There's Always the Trainer
If you have tried to get out and just can't seem to beat the heat, you may want to look for a good trainer. It is not as exhilarating as riding your favorite trail, but it is better than ignoring your bike! Plus there are training video programs that could set you up to impress everyone when you do get back on the road. Check out The Sufferfest that puts you right in the thick of actual pro races!
Blackburn's Tech Fluid is a solid trainer that fits just about any style bike! For more info, click here

Monday, July 1, 2013

Under Pressure: What Your Tire Pressure Says About You

Tire Pressure, seems to be as diverse as astrological signs. However, many people are not fully aware what it means to have different tire pressure or what they could change with just a couple pushes on the pump.

The Basics


When you look at a tube it is going to give you its measurements, usually it says something like "700 x 20/28" Hopefully, everyone realizes this does not mean 700 x 0.7142... (math joke). 700 is the height of the tire and the width is 20 mm at the minimum and 28mm at the max. So, if your tire height/width is within the range the tube provides, you are ready to go.


Your tire has a size on it, as well as a pressure range. It will say something to the effect of "90 - 120." This is key for when you are pumping up your tires. Go past it regularly and you are asking for trouble. At the same time, going too low and it could be just as hazardous.


There are two types of valves that tubes come with, schraeder and presta. While Schraeder is familiar to everyone and a little more intuitive, presta's lock-nut design makes it perfect for higher pressure tires.
If you are not familiar with presta valves, read all about how to work with them, check out our post about it!

Why Change Up Your Tire Pressure?

So you understand the basics of everything you're inflating. Now what pressure do you prefer? Most people do not know more than one pressure and don't realize the difference in ride it can provide. The whole thing is a fairly easy thought process: More pressure --> stiffer tire --> less surface on the road --> less rolling resistance. Or the other way: Less pressure --> more tire flex --> more surface on the road --> cushier ride.
The only thing to remember in this thought process is that lower pressure does not always mean more traction.

Everybody's Different

Everybody has different muscle flexibility, fluctuating weight, riding styles and terrain. Don't let anybody tell you one tire pressure is better than another and don't be closed minded about trying a new number for a couple rides. You'll be surprised what a difference it makes!