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Archive for the ‘thin rubber’ Category

It wouldn’t be good to resist the Autumn light that makes it easier than normal to get out on the bike and onto the Monon Trail. In a few weeks, Winter will have us scavenging for motivation like junk-yard raccoons. Today tosses the thing in front of us like a juicy sirloin. Don’t waste the moment, I tell myself.

After a month of travel and bad sleep, the belly fills up the Lycra biker’s shirt a bit more amply than in the heat of summer. Dressing up like a biker in form-fit color is one of the few acceptable spaces for a man of conventional preferences to strike out in just this way. But there are lots of other splashes of yellows and blues on bikers of all ages, many shapes, and both genders on the Monon this afternoon. I’m in good company. (more…)

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Bike shops seem to enjoy a high-spirited ambience in disproportionate numbers. It is not uncommon for camaraderie to season the interaction between owners, staff, and customers.

Yet even in this remarkable arena, Asheville’s Liberty Bicycles stands out.

This Trek-heavy and expansive shop is filled with dogs, most lolly-gagging comfortably on the floor but one or two prancing about in high spirits. Better yet, the customer service is simply unbeatable. Not only efficient, accurate, and knowledgeable, but kind, personable, and humane as well.

If my experience serves as an accurate thermometer—after watching LB’s team interact with other customers, I have no doubt that it does—these folks will always go the extra mile for you. This was my first visit to gorgeous Asheville. I rented a Trek Madone from Liberty Bicycles and enjoyed three days of cycling in this majestic terrain. Liberty Bike’s easy rental arrangements made everything seamless.

Nothing but the best here for bike novices, aficionados, and experts of western North Carolina

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Sandbagger (noun)

Definition (from about.com)

1. Generally, any golfer who misleads others about his ability level, claiming to be worse than he actually is at golf.

2. More specifically, a golfer who artificially inflates his handicap index in order to better his chances of winning tournaments or bets.

A sandbagger is considered by many to be the lowest form of life on a golf course. Sandbaggers can inflate their handicap indexes by selectively leaving out their best rounds of golf when they post scores for handicap purposes.

Related words: ‘to sandbag’, ‘bait-and-switch’, ‘beneath contempt’, ‘spawn of Satan’

Rev’d Dr. John Bernard, President of Charlotte-based United World Mission, is a confirmed sandbagger on two wheels and thin rubber. Since taking up biking over a year ago, John (before today a long-time friend of the author) has insisted upon his beginner status and modest athletic achievements. In spite of losing nearly thirty pounds and making inroads into body sculpting of the middle-aged-man variety, Dr. Bernard has articulated and sustained a persuasive case for non-heroic status on the road. (more…)

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χαλεπὰ τὰ καλά. ‘Hard are the good things.’

I remember the day my beloved Greek professor, Jerry Hawthorne, taught us that the Greeks had understood ‘No pain, no gain’ long before it became a truism of our culture. Decades ago at Wheaton College, Jerry warned us that life’s achievements, improvements, and ennobling experiences—learning Greek, for example—would not come easily.

Gasping for breath, lungs and legs searing on yet another climb on a rented Trek Madone, the truth comes home with all the concreteness in the world.

John and Todd—fellow journeyers, breakfast-table philosophers—have been at this biking thing for a while. I have known for a year that I must join them, even before we covenanted to ride together twice a year for as long as body and mind remain intact. Yet I have dawdled. (more…)

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When the weather turns chill but not yet icy, it’s time to get out these Louis Garneu full-finger cycling gloves. I reckon them useful down to about 30 degrees. Below that and you need sturdier stuff.

The EX-Z pulls on easily and provides good comfort. They are well-constructed and should last a few seasons, use limited to their weather window.

Nor will the break the bank.

After a few months of acquaintance, mine feel like old friends.

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Really cold-weather riding calls for warmer stuff than the Louis Garneau Stopzone shoe covers. But rainy weather and your garden-variety start-of-winter stuff will be cheerfully warded off by thise waterproof covers.

They pull nicely over shoes, leaving the business parts of the underside of them uncovered so they can get on with their work. A zipper and a velcro strip makes sure the product stays where it belongs. Durabilty seems reasonable and the $25 price is smack in the value category.

A good thing for tender toes.

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I was skeptical that a product with this low price tag could adjust to my glasses and required angle of vision and prove sturdy enough to qualify as a keeper.

I was wrong. Bike Peddler’s Take a Look eyeglass mirror does both.

It must be said that an eye-glass-attached mirror is not for every cyclist. Some body types—mine included—make it difficult to get a helpful angle of vision over the hunched shoulders of the in-action cyclist. A handle-bar-mounted mirror has some advantages here.

Yet the dexterity and light weight of the eyeglass approach has its compensating virtues. I’ve trained myself to glance up slightly and focus on an 11:30 clock position to gain security that no car or other cyclist is on my left flank before I pass or turn left. A little effort makes the ‘Take a Look’ an ally in the battle of the road.

It would be too much to call this a revolutionary product. Yet, price and capacity combine to make it a potential game-changer. Skepticism not firmly in my rear view mirror, I’m a fan.

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