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Thursday, July 30, 2009

How Not To: Bring A Cell Phone On A Group Ride



“Peanut butter Jelly…Peanut butter Jelly…Do the Peanut Butter Jelly with a Baseball Bat!” My cell phone rang. I forgot to put it on vibrate before the ride. It was 10am. I was on the rivet, just about to be schooled on Steep Creek Road, as the name implies, a climb in Northern Kentucky. Again it rang. “Peanut butter Jelly…Peanut butter Jelly…do the Peanut Butter Jelly with a Baseball Bat,” sang from my jersey pocket. I had to answer, if only to spare my Sunday Iffy Ride companions from my Family Guy ringtone (play video above to hear what I'm talking about.)

First off. Apologies all around. It gets under my skin when people on a group ride don’t put their phones on vibrate. It really digs deep when people answer cell phones while riding on a group ride. I did both on Sunday, twice. Sorry guys.

Me: Hello? (huff…puff)

JJ: Joe? It’s Jon Jon. (a young coworker working on the weekend)

Me: What’s (huff) up?

JJ: Are you riding your bike or something?

Me: Yeah. (huff) I’m on a hill (huff) in Northern Kentucky.

JJ: Ha! Sorry man. I can’t find that sponsor file.

Me: I (huff) emailed it to ya. (huff) Check your (huff) work email.

JJ: Oh yeah. Cool. I’ll get it there. Thanks.

Me: No prob. See ya later.

That’s precisely the reason I put my phone on vibrate when riding. First off, you save your riding partners from your personal annoying ring tone. Secondly, if you have a stock ring tone, you save everyone else from thinking that their phone is ringing and taking their hands off their bars to check thier pockets. Thirdly, it gives you an opportunity to check your phone at the top of hills or at the next stop. Fourth, you can avoid work calls on the weekend. Lastly, you wont ever be put in the position of being in the middle of a hill, having to answer your phone to spare your riding partners and then forget to put your phone on vibrate so it wont happen again.

“Peanut butter Jelly…Peanut butter Jelly…do the Peanut Butter Jelly with a Baseball Bat,” jammed out from my jersey again. "Son of a…," I thought. But, it still made me laugh. You guessed it, I was on climb number two of the day, again about to be gapped and nearly wheezing like a donkey.

Me: (5 seconds of wind noise and fumbling) Hello? (huff/wind noise)

Char: Joe Joe! It’s Charlie! You riding?!

Me: Yeah. (huff) On the Iffy Ride. (huff)

Char: Oh! I was just calling to see if you wanted to ride, but you’re already riding, that’s funny.

Me: Yeah. (huff)

Char: Okay. Have a good ride.

Me: Thanks. (huff) See you (huff) later.

Char: Later.

Some people, like two friends that are pilots, are on call. You are forgiven. It’s commendable to try to eek in a ride when ya can. Besides, people on call usually are pretty good about letting the others know that they are on call and may have to bail mid-ride. If you need to answer the phone and possibly bail mid ride to make a buck more power to ya. Folks expecting big news, like your baby is being born…I guess that’s a decent excuse to answer the phone while riding. However, no matter the occasion, for the sake of your riding pals, when you put your phone in your jersey pocket, put it on vibrate.

“Peanut butter Jelly…Peanut butter Jelly…do the Peanut Butter Jelly with a Baseball Bat!” Oh you got to be f-ing kidding me!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Warning: Bike Jersey May Cause Hallucinations

Like I was a speedy splash of color, perplexed and off balance, she cringed, hunched and looked cockeyed upward at me. An Annie eyed guy, who I assumed was her boyfriend, held her by her upper arm to keep her from falling as she tried to make sense of the streaming colors of my approaching team kit. Both skinny, pale faced and red-eyed, they freaked out on my team kit, she more than him. What made it odder was that they didn’t say a word and instead contorted their bodies toward the railing to allow my trailing colors to pass. That happened 100 yards after I was caught off guard by Raccoon Man.

With an red-collared pet adolescent Raccoon clinging to his upper back, in a cool with the world voice he said, “no problem brother,” as I gave him a heads up that I was approaching. I silently worried that the Raccoon would freak out and jump on me or over the railing into the river. “Thanks man,” I said and looked at my clock. Yep. Sure enough. It was just past 8 p.m. again on the western pedestrian walkway of Cincinnati’s Roebling Suspension Bridge.

The bridge, a model for New York’s Brooklyn Bridge that locals call “the pretty bridge,” seems to lure a cast of castaways late in the evening, about the same time I wrap up my northern Kentucky rides and cross the bridge to head home before dark. As far as I can tell, the traffic of characters seems to travel southward into Covington, Kentucky this time of day. Judging that below the bridge on the Cincinnati side of the Ohio River is a makeshift homeless camp, I’m guessing that maybe a shelter or a soup kitchen opens on the Covington side of the bridge around 8:30 p.m. Maybe these folks are heading in for the night or to grab a free bite. As I digested my encounter while rolling past Great American Ballpark, home of the Reds, I couldn’t help but think that she could be on the cusp of needing medical attention. I looked around thinking I might see a police officer. I didn’t see one. So I, like the hallucinating couple and Raccoon Man, went about my business of getting to where I was going.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cyclo Confessions Of A Bar Tape Addict

Finding the perfect bar tape for your bike is like finding the pefect set of shoes, necktie or handbag to go with an outfit. Last week, I put some new stripped bar tape on my cyclocross bike. I hated it. Two days later I ripped it off and sprung for something else. It felt wasteful. At the same time I knew I couldn't go a week, let alone the whole season, with that hideous tape. Then I found out about another cyclist who has changed bar tape no less than seven times in the last eight months, a bonafide bar tape addict.

In order to keep this cyclists identity a secret we have put them in the Witness Protection Plan. We hired an expert at the medical textbook center to block out the eyes and other personal features in the photo and we will refer to this cyclist only as Bar Tape Addict. The Best Bike Blog Ever* now presents the exclusive interview as it unrolled on Facebook earlier today.

TBBBE Thanks for coming out of your bar tape closet and sharing your unique addiction with the cycling world.

BTA It is an embarrassing monkey on my back and I am often ridiculed for my beliefs but if a contribution to your blog can be educational for others, I am happy to help.

TBBBE How many rolls of bar tape have you put on your bikes in the past year?

BTA 7 (since Dec' 08)

TBBBE What has been the least amount of rides between tape changes

BTA 1 week

TBBBE How much money have you spent on bar tape in the past year?

BTA $200

TBBBE (cough) JESUS! Excuse me. Is bar tape the cycling version of shoes or purses for you?

BTA Yeah, actually. I guess it's sort of like that.

TBBBE Would you call it an addiction?

BTA This is an addiction. And, I have not found a treatment center that can help conquer it.

TBBBE If someone were shopping for bar tape what would you suggest? White, black or a color matching the frame?

BTA It depends on your mood or the season. (my bike) had red/white stripped for the winter holiday season, then bright green to match my kit, then pink for Spring, then there was pink Camo for the State Championship Race, and lately it's been white to feel fast.....you get my point.

TBBBE Makes sense to me. Which was the biggest mistake?

BTA The bright green because it was paper thin.

TBBBE What texture/finish do you like the best? Rubbery, shiney or that soft Fizik fine velvet?

BTA I know I will risk sounding "lude" but, I like thick and grippy. I dont wear gloves while riding on the road so I need some padding. I like grippy tape for my cross bike.

TBBBE Being an aficianado of bar tape, you must have a favorite brand.

BTA Bontrager

TBBBE Why do you change your bar tape so often?

BTA I change my tape based on my mood or for an upcoming race.

TBBBE Do you find yourself mentally criticizing other peoples bar tape?

BTA YES!! LOL

TBBBE As a bar tape fashion expert, do you have pet peeves about other's bar tape?

BTA Dirty, worn out tape. Like your shoe reference....you can tell a lot about someone by their shoes!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alberto Contador or Ryan From "The Office" You Decide

A Facebook friend pointed out the similarity, and I had to see for myself. Pretty close. Pretty close.



In The Tour De France Mind Of Columbia HTC's Bradley Wiggins

I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. Ya know, Bert Grabsh really looks like a tube of braunschweiger in his rainbow skinsuit. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m coo-coo for Weetabix. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I heard Boonen was racing. Where the heck is he? I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. Maybe I should’ve went with the blue shades. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I am soo sick of looking at Kloden’s butt. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris. I’m taking it day by day till Paris.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Facebook Friday: What's New On Your Cyclocross Bike This Season?

As the Tour Peloton makes it’s way toward the Alps, cyclocross is on the brain. I’ve done my last road race. Sure there’s a mountain bike race or two sprinkled between now and late September, but those are for fun. The Cyclocross pre-season is here, and it’s almost as fun as the races. Registration is open for the first few OVCX races. Friends are talking about swapping good parts from the road bike to the CX rig. Bottom brackets seat post tubes are being cleaned. I sold my trusty Jamis Nova pit bike to finance some upgrades on the IF Planet X, namely an Easton EC90-X carbon fork. My Jamis Xenith’s Sram Red drivetrain has migrated to the Planet X with a new chain. The new $69 Vittoria file tread tubulars are getting glued to the tubular Zipp 404’s. In addition, the CX bike will see some new cables, brake pads and bar tape. I'm hoping the bike will tip the scales at a scant 17.5 pounds. I talked to Mitch at BioWheels bike shop in Cincinnati the other day and they said sales of cross stuff is way ahead of last year. I distinctively remember there being quite a few CX bikes on the floor a few weeks ago, now it looks like they might have to order a few more.

With that, it’s Facebook Friday on The Best Bike Blog Ever. On Thursday’s I post a question to my bike crazed Facebook friends and on Friday’s we post the answers here. If you’d like to join the fun, send a request via the Facebook link on the right of page.

Today’s question is: What’s new on the CX rig this season?

Duane: Lesseee....Felt just recalled the fork on my CX bike. Not sure what that's all about yet. Assuming I have a bike to ride, I'm hoping to convert it from Shimano 9-speed to SRAM Rival. I love the SRAM stuff. I just haven't resolved the funding issue yet. That and some really squishy Octto bar tape.




Amanda: The Redline Conquest Pro unless someone wants to help me out with a lighter rig? Maybe just some tubulars and fast wheels?




Eric: A cyclocross bike. I have the pedals.





Shannon: Meet the new rig, same as the old rig: '06 Bianchi Cross-Concept/Ultegra/candies. Raced 5x. A bike for me to grow into.






Jaden: New Redline Conquest Team frameset- check. Hopefully some tubular wheels and tires to come.






Justin: a flat handlebar and some nice fat tires. I mean straight, not flat. None of this drop bar nonsense.






Ryan: Complete component overhaul, going from Ultegra 9-Speed with Avid Shorty brakes to SRAM Rival 10 Speed, and TRP brakes, also will be rolling on some bullet proof Mavic CXP30 tubulars with the old style TUFO tubulars unless it is real nasty out.

B-jet: Everything! The plan is Seven Ti Mudhoney frame, Dura Ace 7800, Tubulars, TRP Cantis.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Manx Missile? What’s Wrong With Cuddle Comet?

Unless you’re in Europe, The Manx Missile nickname for Columbia HTC sprinter Mark Cavendish leaves more questions than answers. It took 2 hours on Wiki pages and a bottle of scotch before I learned what Manx actually is. Then I passed out.

Manx is a breed of cat with a spinal mutation that causes them to have short or under-developed tails. Really! It’s true. Check out the little nubbin' in the picture. They are cute and cuddly, which does bode well for Cavendish’s spirited post race teammate hugging. However, I doubt any man wants to be nicknamed after something with a short tail. Additionally, I do recall, while watching the podium presentation, a female in the room pointed out that Caven-dash did deliver quite an express package to the finish line. Seriously, Cavendish is from the Isle of Man, which floats in the water off the coast of England. Locally the island, language and people are known as Manx.

I’m sure Manx is a wonderful place, but it might as well be the moon. That’s coming from someone who’s probably more traveled than most. Traveling to Scotland, Germany, and The Netherlands, I’ve probably flown over the Isle quite a few times and didn’t even know it. Till you read this, I’m guessing you didn’t know much about Manx and might be consulting your World Atlas right now. Secondly, I don’t think Manx Missile has the same panache of Petacchi’s Ale-Jet or McEwen’s Pocket Rocket. May I suggest the following nickname idea’s for Mark Cavendish:

Cannon-dish (or any knock off’s of his name such as: Kickin' Kavendish, Caven-dash, Caven-dart, Cannon-flash). While not as creative as Manx Missile, they are all more understandable without consulting the World Atlas.

British Bullet. Sure people from the Isle of Man probably prefer Manx, but nicknames need to cast a wider umbrella. Plus, a bullet with a British flag would make a killer logo or bike paint job.

Space Shuttle Columbia. He’s fast like a rocket. His team is Columbia. Uh…what? Oooh, forgot about that. Nevermind.

Marcus The Tank Engine. Fun and kid friendly, could make for great merchandising.

Highspeed Hugger or Cuddle Comet. Take your pick. They’re both gold baby. GOLD!

Expeditious Cavendishious. Okay I shouldn’t have opened up the Thesaurus.

Juvi Jet or Jumpin Juvi. What? He’s fast. He’s young. C’mon.

Okay. Maybe Manx Missile isn’t all that bad after all.

Monday, July 13, 2009

No Radios: Tour De France Turns to Twitter Type Text Messages


(Nose Hit News Service:) In a bold move, essentially thumbing thier collective noses at the Tour De France radio ban, tour teams will turn to Twitter style text messaging during Tuesday's 194.5km stage from Limoges to Issoudon and Friday's 200km-long ride from Vittel to Colmar. Many teams are running on-bike GPS already. In anticipation of the radio silent stages units have been equipped with SMS technology and features to send & receive text messages to and from the team car. The technology is in its beta form at the moment. Like Twitter, messages to riders will be limited to 140 characters. The example message pictured above is like a director sportif shouting "Get to the front you slacker. There's a headwind 2k ahead."

“It was tough deciding which language to go with,” according to a team mechanic, "but we all decided on English, the new language of the Tour De France," he quipped. Teams have received a crash course in deciphering text messages. For example instead of a team director shouting “Go go go, there’s been a split in the peloton and Contador’s been caught out, the gap is at 22 seconds,” GPS/text units will display “Go 2 frnt drilit conta d drpd gap 22.” Riders, in the past who’ve turned down the volume of their earpieces to quash the over excited directors screaming in their ears, are excited about the quieter more relaxed technology. The younger riders are super excited about the radio-silent stages. “I text on my bike all the time,” said one white jersey contender.

Here is how some common cycling phrases will appear on bike mounted GPS units and translate to tour text:




















Attack now. The summit is in 5 kilometers.




















Jens drop back to team car to pick up water bottles




















Yellow jersey has been dropped go to front and increase speed to 65 kilometers per hour




















Gap to breakaway is at 3 minutes and 31 seconds and increasing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fix It: Broken Cycling Jersey Zipper

Ka-bloop! Zip! Ka-bloop! Zip! So there I was at the table, my jersey zipper unable to cover up the spare tire. Ka-bloop! Maybe it was a sign. Maybe I’ve spent too much time reading the Fat Cyclist blog and not enough time riding. My jersey zipper broke during a post-ride lunch at Paxton’s revealing my untanned and untamed tiger trail exposed for all of Loveland to see. The little metal piece at the start of the zipper fell off somewhere. Great. I was THAT guy. Mom's covered their children's eyes. Eventually, I was able to zip it and roll the lower part of my jersey to keep El Gutto in check, for at least another 20 minutes. Then I got on my bike. Ka-bloop! Dammit. My riding buddies were quick to tell me that Widmers, the local dry cleaning chain, could fix it or I could send it back to Verge. At home, I had a stroke of genius.

In the laundry room were a few recent race bib numbers, still with their safety pins in them. The curve at the top of the pin that holds the pointy business-end caught my eye. It was the right length and, if cut in half, could simply be pinched on to my zipper to replace the little metal piece that fell off. Brilliant!

I broke out the wire clippers and snipped the curved piece in half. I slide the metal piece over the end of the zipper and crimped it with pliers. (photo shows an original jersey zipper on the left and my fix-it job on the right) Wah-freaking-lah! I zipped up. Zipped down. Zipped up. Zipped down. It worked to perfection. That's something to keep in mind in case of a race day blowout.

Missed Yellow By A Metric Second: Tour De France Stage 4 Results