- Jeff on 2014 EC SWAP MEET – SUNDAY, MARCH 23RD! OUR 3RD!
- rey gerochi on 2014 EC SWAP MEET – SUNDAY, MARCH 23RD! OUR 3RD!
- Mike Morgenfeld on The EC Custom Salsa Fargo Ti Build – Part 1/The Front Wheel
- Jim on Photo Caption Contest – What’s Been Seen, Can’t Be UnSeen!
- Jeff on THE EC STRAVA/COSMO LEADERBOARD REWARDS
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First off, let me establish my cred here: I’ve been a member of the Bicycle Trails Council (there used to be an “East Bay” appended at the end but since the Bicycle Trails Council of Marin is no longer in existence, my understanding is that our East Bay group is the BTC now. Hmmm, I guess that now also makes us the oldest IMBA-affiliated mountain bike organization) for over 20 years, and I used to sit on it’s board and even led some rides when I was younger, faster and more fit. Back then, the BTC rides and events attracted fewer riders and were pretty easy to manage. The Internet existed but there was virtually no social media. People knew about a BTCEB event either by word of mouth or by visiting the website.
Fast forward to 2014 where people are hooked into Facebook, Meetup and other Internet-based forms of keeping current with various happenings. Instead of having 20 or so folks showing up on their hardtail or fully rigid mountain bikes (the olden days), there are now often 70 or more people showing up for a BTC Gala ride. The Gala rides occur on the second Saturday of each month and are usually held at various East Bay parks. I hadn’t been on a BTC ride for quite a while and some friends who regularly go had been urging me to try one out. I need to confess, that with the exception of trails that are closed for races, I’m somewhat opposed to large groups of riders (or runners or horses) on multi-use trails. My experience is that most large groups of riders are anarchy in motion – people are out there rippin’ it up and having a good time, sometimes at the consequence of making it a bad experience for other trail users. This is especially true in a heavily populated, urban area like the East Bay with access to lots of parks by lots of people. I had been curious to see how the BTC handled this (or how they didn’t handlethis), so I signed up for the September 13th Gala Ride at Anthony Chabot Park.
My son, Adam, and I got to the Marciel Gate start with enough time to spare to do a little schmoozing. I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of people representing Endless Cycles plus a few others I remember from my more active years with the BTC. I felt like I might have been at an old high school reunion except with cool bikes and fit people. Adam and I decided to hang with the “B” group (there weren’t too many in the “A” group and they looked pretty damn fast). So there we were, with at least 25 riders (Holy Cow!) in our group alone. Our initial ride leader, Brent, arranged for a few stops to see how the group was hanging together. The BTC folks with us decided not only to have a sweeper rider but a “middle sweeper” as well. From Marciel Gate, the ride course was to be Redtail Trail to Soaring Hawk Trail, then MacDonald Trail to Parkhurst St., followed by the Skyline Blvd. median singletrack (a real treat if you’ve never done it), Goldenrod Trail to Brandon, then back to Marciel via Redtail Trail. After our group finished Soaring Hawk, we reformed at the Bort Meadows parking lot on Redwood Rd. The BTC ride leaders really had their act together because they took a poll at that point to see who might want avoid the climb up MacDonald by heading back along Brandon from Bort Meadows. At that point those of us remaining for the longer ride became the “B+” riders. It was a great ride with frequent meet-ups to make sure that all riders were together. I actually enjoyed this because it gave me some opportunity to talk to other riders, get a little nutrition and to catch my breath. Hey, it’s a social ride! Back at Marciel Gate the BTC had post-ride snacks and very refreshing beverages. It was great to mingle with other riders and also to talk with the BTC cognoscente about this and other events. I was impressed with the way the BTC managed the rides and the riders; everyone seemed to have a good time and the ride leaders clearly kept speed, safety and fun as their primary concerns.
In summary, the BTC have the Gala rides really dialed in. They have a ride-and-party formula that works and I sincerely hope these events will lead to more riders joining the BTC. The rides and trails are fun, but the message is that without groups like the BTC working to ensure trail access to mountain biking, the sport wouldn’t be what it is today and shops like Endless Cycles might be selling a hell of a lot fewer bikes than they do. I’m glad that Endless is a member of this particular advocacy group.
(photos in this post are courtesy of the BTCEB website & are of various past Gala Rides)
To ride or not to ride
That is the question.
To accept the gathering storm clouds as portents
Of unsafe cycling conditions
Or to consider them as beacons
Heralding possible adventure
That is the question
Should one heed the warnings of the undependable,
With their satellite photos and backwards scribblings
Or should one relent to the overwhelming desires
Of his own heart’s calling?
Should one way the possibility of involuntary cycle departure
Resulting in unwanted familiarity with asphalt and gravel
Against the excruciating dullness of mundane domesticity
Where the greatest challenge is the avoidance
Of Honey-do entreaties?
Oh, but for a clear sign
Such as a clarion call from a fellow cyclists
Embroiled in the same rumination!
For is it not better to have one
With whom to share an adventure
And upon whom to heap with the burden of folly
Should ones effort prove unwise??
If only such internal strife
O’er possible heavenly actions
Had been rendered unlikely
By finding myself in the fabled land called California!
Time must not be allowed
To be the final arbitrator!
I Shall Ride!
Dawn thy cycling gear!
Mount thy cycle!
Onward for shop honor, bragging rights and Saint Schwinn!
OK, I’m not writing about Fantasy Island, but I AM going to attempt to wax eloquent about some shoes.
Recently, I found myself feeling down in the dumps and decided that I needed to take some action and what’s a guy to do but…check out some bike shoes? Let’s go back in time about 10 years ago, and in another life, when I had been introduced to Sidi mountain bike shoes at a store in Hayward that EC’s own J Mo was managing. I believe Scott was also working there as a part-time mechanic as well. Both of them had told me that if I needed new shoes, that Sidi couldn’t be beat. So, I naively tried on a pair and, after walking around, jumping up and down and looking at myself in a mirror, I told Jeff that he was a true bastard, that I hated him and that I had to buy the shoes because I didn’t want to take them off!! I got a good deal but still had to pay in excess of $200 over ten years ago in order to walk out with this magic foot ware.
Fast forward to the very recent future (like about now). I took a look at the bike shoes EC now has to offer, tried some on and decided I wanted to stick with mountain bike shoes regardless of whether I was riding the road or trails. I had a bad experience with road bike shoes when I used to commute to work via bike and BART. I found that I needed to perfect the “heel walk” after having fallen while walking on the slick BART platforms with exposed cleats. I really wanted to “walk the talk” when on a road bike by having the proper shoes but I realized that BART platforms, nice floors and the potential of having to run away from bad guys weren’t suited to roadie shoes. I guess if I were on a supported road bike team, only having to have the shoes on when I mounted and dismounted from my one-off, $50,000 carbon nano-tube bike (my soigneurs would surely be there to assist me), I probably would have really appreciated the feather weight and stiffness of good road bike shoes. Unfortunately, I’m not that person.
So there I am, trying out shoes at Endless. I slipped on the Bontrager RL MTB shoes and was transported back to when I bought the Sidis. There was Jeff at one end of the shop and Scott at the other, both encouraging me to try on shoes (I should have known. Bastards!). I tried on other 43mm shoes but this model not only felt totally comfortable but had more room in the toe box than other 43mm models. The soles were super stiff while the uppers felt compliant without being mushy. They were also a hell of a lot less expensive than the Sidis I purchased over 10 years ago. This made it a whole lot easier to sell on the home front (aka ‘She Who Must Be Pleased’) by making a comparison. (My God, how did I get away with buying those Sidis in the first place? I think there must have been some jewelry involved.). After wearing these shoes for over a month, both on and off-road, I’ve decided to make them my road bike shoes. I can keep them looking spiffy with minimal effort as road shoes whereas if I used them equally for both road and off-road, they’d be pretty trashed. I’ve kept the old Sidis as dedicated MTB shoes, but when they’re toast (and that’s almost now) I may be looking at another pair of the Bontrager RL MTB shoes.
It didn’t seem like it was that long ago. There I was, just another older guy on a road ride sort of keeping up but having a good time. However, I was bugged because many of the other riders seemed to be able to keep up a conversation with one-another while riding but I felt like an outsider. I’d fake responses or use generalized answers like “Oh yeah?”, “Hmmmm”, or the always effective, “Wow!”. As sometimes happens as one gets older (OK, we’ll distinguish between old – as in my Dad was old – and older – as in I’m getting older but not old. Yeah, right…), one’s hearing is not as good under certain circumstances as it once was. I really noticed this on road rides as the speed increased and the wind made buffeting noises around my ears. I saw the Endless Cycles post about a new product, Wind Blox, that claimed to mitigate this effect and, possibly, allow me to hear other riders. “Hey”, I thought, “I’m in!”
I talked to Jeff at Endless about this product and he offered to let me beta-test a pair. In electric lime green. Yeah, Endless colors and they worked! But they also stood out like electric lime green growths from my head. Not cool. And, being that I had already pretty much lost my cool card some years ago, definitely not cool. But I wore them on one of the Endless Saturday road rides and I seemed to hear better. Wow! No, really, Wow!!
Right around the same time, one of my sisters had also seen Endless’ blog about Wind Blox. She wasn’t sure Endless would sell them so she got a pair directly from the manufacturer and gave them to me. The difference was that my sister gave me a black pair. These blended in much better with my helmet straps and elicited fewer comments from the cycling cognoscenti.
Still, being a part-time skeptic, I took them off for a ride to see whether I was imagining the improvement. I then put them back on my road helmet and have kept them there ever sense. They work. Yes, I still get some comments about the way they look, but I file them into the same category as those comments I used to get about my first Camelbak hydration pack before they became so ubiquitous: Comments like, “Hey, robo-biker!” or “Why not have the water/hydration fluid delivered directly to your veins by catheter?” It’s tough being a cutting edge trend setter. But now I’m one that isn’t dying of thirst AND can hear while riding a bike!
THE 2015 EC CYCLING KIT!
The 2015 EC Kit has finally been finalized! After much back and forth, customer input, design limitations, etc, this is what we are proud to be offering for 2015! It is a different look for us, while at the same time keeping our 3 main colors and background in play, just with different priorities. We know it won’t appeal to everyone, but we didn’t want to offer the “same ‘ole thing that is just slightly different” again this year. Hopefully you’ll continue to fly our colors and pick up a set when available!
When will that be you ask? This weekend at out Humongous Sale, we will begin taking pre-orders and have a fitting kit available for you to help figure out what size you’ll need. We are using Fast Freddie Apparel/Zaavy again this year so if you purchased last year’s kit, you already know what size you’ll need! And remember, you’ll need to pre-order/prepay by the end of October to get our kits AT OUR VERY BEST PRICES!! Prices will be posted later this week!
I’m really no different from the nay-sayers (or should I say the ‘nattering nabobs of negativism’? No, that’s ‘too Spiro Agnew’ for those of you who may remember). For too many years I made fun of people who wore rear view mirrors on their glasses while cycling. “Hah! What a bunch of nerds!”
Well, about a year ago, while on an Endless Saturday road ride, I talked to some of the riders who wore them. They swore by how effective they were. Did I mention my hearing isn’t what it once was (though it is better since I started wearing Wind Blox)? I was discovering that riders ahead of me were yelling “Car back!” before I even knew a car was coming. I began to realize this could be nasty on a solo ride or one that I was sweeping. I was also starting to appreciate cars with low-restriction exhausts because I could hear them (and don’t even get me started about electric cars that can sneak up on you like a metallic ninja!) So I cashed in my cool card and bought a glasses-mounted rear view mirror , aptly named “Rear Vu” Bike Mirror, at Endless.
It took a couple of rides for me to get it dialed in (bending the stem, moving the mirror and getting used to glancing at it) but now I’d never go back to road riding without one. They’re sturdy, the weight penalty is about nil, they’re cheap, (did I mention they’re cheap?), the return policy is incredible and the gentleman who makes them lives in Fremont! I’ve become so used to them that when I ride off-road, I automatically glance at my upper left looking for what’s behind me. I don’t really need them for mountain biking because I’m more concerned with what’s coming at me (roots, rocks, skunks, etc.) than who might be sneaking up on me from behind. But for riding the road, I can now say I feel they are a necessity! I normally wear glasses and sometimes actually find myself looking to find a mirror to my left when walking!
Yes, I’m a more humble human being but better, and safer, for it.
Before we opened Endless Cycles, we were just like you, bicycle enthusiasts who liked frequenting and shopping at bike shops. One problem that each and everyone of them had though was processing a Special Order when they didn’t have exactly what you needed. You’d give them your money and then wait. And wait. And wait some more. You’d sometimes even get lame excuses like “that manufacturer only ships product after the 4th blue moon after the fall equinox” or “what special order? You placed a special order?” or the infamous, “the special order guy is out right now”. BS, someone dropped the ball. When we opened EC, we aimed to fix that. If we don’t have the item you want but can get it, well then, you pay for it and we will order it asap! Most of the time you’ll get it the next day! Sometimes, even the same day! Maybe a week, max! It’s hardly ever more than 10 days! And we match internet pricing as well as long as it’s a legit price! Why do we do this? Because we can and it’s not called a SPECIAL ORDER for nothing! It’s SPECIAL! So skip the internet and don’t settle for an another bike shop that says, “special order, that’ll take at least a month.” Stop by EC and we will get it for you asap! Why? Because WE GET IT!
About a month ago, I bought a carbon fiber 2014 Salsa Beargrease. I test rode this bike at a Salsa Demo day at Endless Cycles earlier this year. My intent at that time was not to buy a fat tire bike. I was at the demo to test ride the 2014 Spearfish with the new split pivot design (by the way, it was awesome and a way better ride than my 2013 Spearfish, which doesn’t have the split pivot). For the heck of it, I took out the fat bike too. I tested a carbon fiber Salsa Beargrease, which has no suspension. Salsa calls this bike their racing fat bike.
Despite this beefy bike’s looks, due to the big, fat tires and fat frame, it was pretty light (31 lbs) and it had low enough gearing to peddle uphill easily. When I hit the down hills, I had a grin on my face. The big tires give the bike lots of traction, which made me feel more in control, instead of feeling scared of falling and skinning my knees and elbows or worse if I didn’t tap on the brakes and slow down (I am a big chicken about hurting myself). On the Beargrease, I didn’t want to slow down. Granted, the fat, heavier than normal tires increases the Beargrease’s rotational mass, but with it’s bigger footprint, I found myself peddling on fast down hills and through turns because I felt safe. Big tires = lots of traction.
I didn’t buy the bike then. My complaint was that there was too much vibration on the handle bars at speed. Scott at Endless told me to let out some air from the front tire and the tire would absorb more of the vibration. My demo time was over though, so I couldn’t try doing that. I told Scott that if Salsa came out with a full suspension fat bike, I would be very interested.
About a month ago, Salsa came back for another demo day. They were featuring their 2015 bikes. Salsa introduced the full suspension fat bike, the Bucksaw at that demo day. I was very excited about it so I was at the demo early in order to take this baby out. The Bucksaw was not carbon fiber, but was aluminum and it was still light. But, for some reason, I was not as impressed with the ride as I was with the Beargrease. Or, maybe, I was just only as impressed as I was with the Beargrease. But, because of the price difference between the Bucksaw and the Beargrease, I asked myself, “Do I really need full suspension on a fat bike?” The Bucksaw was a little heavier than the Beargrease and it cost more. I asked the Salsa rep if they were going to come out with a full suspension carbon fat tire bike. The response was that if they did, it would be very, very expensive.
I loved the Beargrease I had test rode earlier in the year, and I told Jeff at Endless Cycles that I’d get the Beargrease if it had front suspension. As always, Jeff had a solution. I could change out the carbon fork for a RockShox Bluto fork.” I said ok, and bought the 2014 Beargrease off the showroom floor and ordered a Bluto fork for it.
I’ve been taking the bike to Lake Chabot on the Endless Cycles Tuesday night rides and on an occasional weekend trail ride. I’ve also ridden it on a 15 mile Thursday night Endless Cycles road ride out on Cull Canyon. I even ride it around Castro Valley. I LOVE THIS BIKE. It’s really lightweight, t’s fun to ride, and, as a side benefit, I am the center of attention. I had a guy stop me on the road to take a picture of me and the bike for his mountain biking girlfriend (at least that what he said). I get a lot of comments, like “Where’s the engine?”, “Oooh, big fat tires”, “Is it heavy?”, “Looks like a motorcycle”, “Can’t take a motorcycle on a trail”, “Can I pick it up?”, “I’ve never seen a bike with tires like that before”, and “Do you take it to the snow?” Regarding the last comment, I hate the snow—too cold, but I will say, although it was initially developed for the snow and works great on the beach as well, but you don’t need sand or snow to ride this bike, I ride it everywhere. Currently the bike won’t fit on my Yakima bike rack because the tire trays are too small for the fat tires, so, until I figure out how adapt that, I ride it from my house to wherever I want to ride (locally).
I mentioned earlier that the Beargrease is big framed, which adds to its beefy looks. Well, I was at the Castro Valley Fall Festival recently, walking my Beargrease through the fair, and there was a guy walking towards me with his standard, but now wimpy looking in comparison mountain bike . He looked at me, he looked at my bike, then back at me…I think I felt him physically shrink. My Beargrease is just badassss looking.
Downsides, the black “paint job” (I don’t know what you would call it, it’s not exactly paint) on the frame is not even (note from the editor: it’s the naked clear coated carbon fiber, no paint. Naked carbon fiber has no uniform look) but I don’t mind it. Also, sometimes, I feel the wheels make the bike a little too bouncy, i.e. hard downward strokes on the pedal make the bike bounce a little. Scott suggests taking out some more air, and I’ll have to try that. Right now, I use 8 psi in the front and 10 psi in the rear tire. I make sure to move my butt away the seat when I’m going downhill over bumps. I don’t want that seat to bounce up and knock me off the bike (I guess this would be true on any bike though). Once, I did see Mike at EC bounce a fat tire from his Mukluk like it was a basketball! Finally, the brakes are not hydraulic, and are too mushy for my taste. One of my many fears is coming down the steep last part of Live Oak and not being able to stop for cross traffic. I’m considering putting hydraulic brakes on the bike.
Now, my 2013 Salsa Spearfish is just sitting in my garage feeling neglected. I can’t help it though, the Beargrease is just so much fun to ride. And for newbie riders, I think starting out on a fat bike could do wonders for building confidence on the trail. There’s just something comfortable and comforting about the big ole, fat tires.
Georgia – Boffo Ride Leader & Shop Consigliere
Action Photo provided by Don K.
A Bayside Ride
On Mondays a group of us from EC usually like to get together for a ride as it’s the day the shop is closed and everyone, if they wants to, can all make it. This particular past Monday, however, there was a slight problem. Scott, co-owner of EC, had recently pulled a calf muscle while riding Wilder Ranch in Santa Cruz. Several other people, who normally ride, were also either fatigued or recovering from injury themselves. My son, Adam, had just completed his first long run in a long time and was feeling it. John, a retired fire fighter friend of mine, had suffered an injury that required surgery and he was still recuperating. So, I was wondering what to do when…Satori! (sudden enlightenment) – this might be an opportunity to just do a recovery ride instead of the all out type of ride we normally do.
We all met at the San Leandro Marina to ride the Hayward Shoreline Trail (let’s call it the HST because I’m a lazy typist). The HST is part of the East Bay Regional Parks District and is, for all intents, almost flat. It meanders along the Bay from the Marina to the Shoreline Interpretative Center adjacent to Highway 92 (you’ve probably noticed it on your right while approaching the San Mateo Bridge west bound). The round trip distance is approximately 15 miles, although it might be a bit more if you meander around some side trails. There are several access points along the way which means you’re not locked into riding from the Marina. On a hot day, this trail is hard to beat. There are breezes coming in across the Bay, hills are almost non-existent and the views are spectacular. The flip side is, of course, on a cool day being next to the Bay can be a damn cold experience. C’est la vie.
Fortunately, for our group of four, the weather was balmy and it was perfect for our recovery cruise. Everyone’s aches and pains seemed to fade away while pedaling at an easy pace and enjoying the views across the Bay on one side and the beautiful wetlands on the other. I was also struck by the thought that the HST would be a great place to bring a beginner rider who might balk at climbing hills or be scared of descending. Here they would get the dirt experience (although the first mile or so heading south from the Marina is paved) and not be faced with decisions on when to shift or brake for changing conditions or have thoughts of how to seriously maim the jerk who expected him/her to be able to avoid serious injury while dealing with unfamiliar equipment and terrain.
When we finished, we did what almost all mountain bikers do: decide whether pizza or Mexican food would be the best post-ride choice. We wound up at Rubiano’s, a new pizza place on Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro. Really good pizza combined with local craft beers on tap ain’t a bad way to complete a ride. Even a recovery ride!
Thanks to a few of our members, who have wanted a place to bring you more in depth posts about Endless Cycles and the products we represent and events we sponsor, and the cycling trips we participate in, The EC Blog has been resuscitated! Look for new posts to begin to appear within the week!
And, if you have anything you’d like to submit or something you’d recommend that we take a look at, send an email to email@example.com! We’ll take a look at it, and if it’s appropriate, we’ll post it!
LET THE PIGEONS LOOSE!
Hey There! It’s been just over 6 months since we re-commisioned this blog, but, alas, the content we had wanted to produce never materialized. That’s primarily due to the amount of time it takes for us to develop content, write it and post it. It has become more than a one man dealeo and I couldn’t recruit any stable contributors.Extra time is, still, very much a rare commodity and maintaining the blog, well, there just isn’t enough time.
We still maintain a Facebook page daily and that allows us to keep you up to date in quick hits! We try to post AS THINGS HAPPEN!
We will continue to leave access to all of our past blog posts, for anyone who wants to relive the past!
So, join us over at Facebook!