We Believe in the Group Ride

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We believe in the Group Ride. We respect the Group Ride. We teach the Group Ride. We enjoy the Group Ride.

We enjoy the Group Ride more than many things in our life when done “right”. Our way embraces the group ride as an art that is performed based on a set of techniques and expectations. Here’s a glimpse:

-We set expectations for safety and technique.
-We teach people.
-We ride a good tempo.
-We ride together.
-We communicate about pace: slow or fast.
-We stop for mechanical issues.
-We don’t attack.
-We don’t try to drop people.
-We respect that some climb slower than others.
-We respect that some descend faster than others.
-We re-group at the top and the bottom.

Re-group? What does that mean?

-The group is a shoulder-to-shoulder, double pace line whenever possible.
-The group is wheel to wheel, front-to-back, with no gaps larger than 12”.
-The group rides tight to the right side of the road.
-The riders in this pace line calmly point out unfortunate blemishes in the asphalt to each other.
-The riders in the pace line take a steady pull at the front of this pace line for 30 – 120 seconds depending on the pace, wind and traffic.
-The lead rider on the left of this pace line drops back at the end of a pull on the left side of the pace line.
-The lead rider on the right of this pace line drops back at the end of a pull on the right side of the pace line.
-The riders in the group move left just a bit to make room for the rotation.
-The new lead riders tap the pedals just a bit harder then before to overcome the wind now in their faces.
-The riders from back to front of this pace line with a calm but audible voice let each other know when a car is back, “CAR BACK”.
-Most times the car passes the double pace line but other times leadership needs to single up the pace line and will indicate “SINGLE UP”.
-Single pace lines are ridden wheel to wheel (no fanning out or staggering).
-Riders look through the rider in front of them, not at the wheel in front of them.
-Riders on the front pull for 15-30 seconds and drop to the back on the left when they feel safe to do so.
-A double pace line is reformed when leadership feels it is safe to do so again.

When we Group Ride this way we move along at a pleasantly brisk pace.
When we Group Ride this way we visit with friends.
When we Group Ride this way we learn to trust the riders around us.
When we Group Ride this way we enjoy each other and stop for coffee at the end.
When we Group Ride this way we can’t wait for next Thursday.

We Welcome Velocio Apparel

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For the last four years, we’ve had great success offering cycling apparel at CBS.  We’ve been incredibly discerning, and have sifted through many clothing lines, options, and materials to offer what we feel is the very best product you can buy.

Recently, we’ve become introduced to the American clothing company Velocio.   Velocio’s headquarters are based in New Hampshire, and the majority of their line is built in Italy.   In other industries, and even in the bicycle industry, it can sometimes seem like hyperbole to equate Made in Italy to be the best.  Our experience has been that select Italian factories actually do make the very best cycling apparel and this can be seen in the durability of materials, quality of sewing, and choice of zippers, chamois, and grippers.

After doing some research on Velocio, talking to friends (JD, CM) and paying attention to the brand on social media, we became motivated to represent Velocio at CBS, and were equally honored that they wanted to work with us.

Perhaps what we like best about Velocio is how they start the conversation with you-the-end-user on their website:

“We aren’t a women’s brand. We’re a let’s-look-at-this-differently brand.  We ponder the expectations for color, trim, and fabrics, for the models in our marketing, for the final products we create.”

What’s more, the depth of Velocio’s line shows maturity, promise, and sets them apart from the burgeoning genre of new cycling apparel companies that are nothing more than a single jersey and sock offering.

If we had to pare it down to five reasons to try Velocio, they would include:

1.  The Velocio Signature Guarantee:   Try any piece of clothing from Velocio’s Signature line for up to 30 days.   Wear it, wash it, live in it for 30-days and if you’re not satisfied, you can return it.

2.  Fantastic Fit:  Clothing comes down to fit.   No one piece of clothing will fit everyone perfectly but the Velocio line seems to do what few other companies can do:  design clothing to fit women and men of varying shapes, sizes, and preferences.   Velocio is neither aero nor baggy in fitting.   The fit is flattering, inspiring, and provides confidence.

3.  Responsibility:   Velocio has purposefully taking the initiative to talk about how they value the source of their raw materials, the workplace quality of their manufacturing facility, and the balance of function and environmental impact when creating clothing.   Velocio works with a family-owned Italian manufacturer whose facility is [% link: name=”Blue Design” content=”Blue Design” %] certified, a system for sustainable textile production.

4.  Fair Play:   Upon reviewing Velocio’s site, it’s clear they value women and men equally and are committed to offering parity in garments, a refreshing and non-biased view of how men and women enjoy riding bicycles, and a broad color palette across both lines.

5.  Happiness:   Velocio is a brand that equates bicycle riding and happiness.  This is a subtle but important distinction.  Riding is not painful, it is not about suffering, and it’s not about grey skies in horrific conditions.   Certainly this happens, and these days can be the most meaningful on the bike, but the company is about joy, not pain.

We encourage you to come visit us and see the Velocio clothing line in person.   Use us as a resource to touch, feel, and see the apparel in person.

Interview with Steve Fisher

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We’ve had the pleasure getting to know local racer Steve Fisher over the years as a cyclist racing cyclocross and road. We’ve seen Steve begin his racing as a junior, and progress through the ranks onto a professional road team, Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis.

Steve just finished racing the Tour of California and was kind enough to sit down and answer some questions about his experience at the race last week.

You just finished another Tour of California. How many times have you done this race? Where did you end up this year on GC? What was your best day?
This year was my second Amgen Tour of California. I finished 113th on GC, but to be honest I had to look that up just now. My best day came on the first stage in Sacramento when I made it into the breakaway.

Tell us a bit about your team, Jelly Belly, and what specific role you were assigned to going into the Tour of California.
The ATOC is always a huge race for Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis. Jelly Belly is located in California and the team has a lot of fans throughout the state. My specific role almost every day was to try and get into the day long breakaway in order to gain exposure for our sponsors. I successfully made the breakaway on the first stage. On the other days I did my best to protect our leaders throughout the stage.

Give us a sense of just how difficult it is to complete this 8 stage race. From the outside, most people think US domestic racing pales in comparison to European 1-day classics or grand tours. You have a very real perspective, give us a sense for just how taxing this race can be each day, and all week.
I can’t speak to exactly how hard this race might be in comparison to bigger European races, but it is definitely hard! I woke up on the eighth day and the first thing I thought of was my friend that is doing the Giro right now. My thought was thank goodness this is my last day, my buddy has almost two weeks to go!

There are many very hard moments or hours in a race like California, but there are also quite a few relatively easy hours. A lot of people may look at the course profile for a given stage and think that it’s going to be easy or hard, but the how the peloton races that course will have a much greater effect. For example if the early break on a hilly stage only contains three non-threatening riders then the first few hills of the day will probably be relaxed in the peloton. If twelve dangerous riders get away early and build a large advantage quickly on a flat stage then the whole stage might be very hard.

If we sat in on the most stressful team meeting prior to a stage, what would we hear and see and feel on the team bus? What factors were adding to the stress?
Our team meetings with Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis aren’t too stressful. There is certainly some pressure to get into the breakaways, but we know that we are surrounded by capable teammates. That’s both calming and inspires confidence. This year’s ATOC had quite a few windy days and that can add a lot of stress. There were several days where just about everyone in the peloton was aware of a certain turn in the race that could lead to splits in a crosswind. When there are only one or two turns like that in the whole stage the fight for position before them can start very early. It seemed more often than not this year we’d make those turns and it would still be headwind and the peloton wouldn’t split. Unfortunately you’ve always got to be fighting and preparing for each turn because some days it will split.

When you watch NFL from the couch, everyone looks about the same size, and about the same speed. Then you go to a game. And you see how small the field actually feels, and how large the players stand. You are one of the few riders from the area who actually get to cross the tape, kit up, and race the biggest race in America. Tell us how different the speeds are in the peloton versus merely spectating, and where it’s really eye opening.
Perhaps the simplest and also biggest difference is that the ATOC peloton goes fast for longer periods of time than in smaller races. The speed during the leadout for the final sprint might only be a little faster than it was at Redlands, but the speed might pick up 15k before the finish rather than 5k out. In a higher level race each rider is a little bit closer together in terms of ability too. That makes for very competitive racing with everyone giving it their best shot.

As in any sport, there’s always a pecking order. As you line up each day, what is the unspoken, or maybe very overt pecking order in terms of teams within the peloton?
The ATOC certainly has as interesting dynamic with several powerful World Tour teams that want to control the race. Any team should be able to get the respect they need though if they are organized though. Next time you are watching a race on TV note how most teams are riding together throughout the stage, not just in the finale. This isn’t just important for communication, protecting a leader and being friends. If a team is riding altogether their position will be respected by the other teams and it’s much easier to maintain that positioning. No team is going to just let a single rider into their line, but an organized team of riders can insert themselves towards the front when needed.

Earlier this year, Cycling News released a short video from a race that was filmed with a Shimano camera, and gave some really sobering audio of what goes down in a final sprint. It was alarming to hear how much yelling and directing was going on by lots of riders. What team do you find is the most vocal, and most directive?
Naming names here, but Etixx-Quick Step is pretty vocal throughout the race. Sometimes it’s amongst themselves to coordinate some sort of team effort, but often times it’s at other riders to manipulate them in someway. Nine times out of ten if someone on another team is yelling at you in a bike race and it isn’t safety related you should probably ignore them. They’re probably trying to get you to do some work on their behalf or something along those lines.

Without naming a team or specific rider, what can you tell us about some antics inside the peloton this year?
A bit of a let down here, but I don’t really have any cool stories along these lines this year.

This is one of the few races when many Euros come over to race. Of course you’ve been around European racers on the road and racing cross. What are some of the funniest phrases in Euro-glish that you hear riders and teams use?
I chuckle a bit anytime I hear someone say, “What means this?” I’m sure I heard some funnier phrases, but they’re escaping me right now. I do enjoy watching some foreign riders follow their breakfast habits as if they are some sort of religion. There are two major European race breakfast religions. First, there is the toast breakfast religion. This follower will have six or more pieces of toast for breakfast and maybe a piece of fruit if they are feeling wild. Second, there is the pasta breakfast religion. This follower will eat pasta for breakfast. I find this quite unappetizing as you most likely had that for dinner the night before. I call these breakfast religions because the followers MUST eat these same things every morning, otherwise they might not even bother starting.

How does the rest of your season look? Will you be racing Colorado this year? When does your cross season start?
Next up I’ve got two one-day races in Winston-Salem, NC and Philadelphia, PA. After that I’ll do Tour de Beauce Quebec before taking a short break. Then I’ll be in for a big adventure to the 2-week Tour of Qinghai Lake in China. Things are a little less certain after that, but I could be doing Utah, Colorado and Alberta. My cyclocross season is still a bit of question mark, but I’m sure I’ll be having some fun in the dirt at some point starting in September.

Most of us will never forget at Waves4Water Day 2 when you repeatedly went off the front, like 3 times, and made HUGE digs on the rest of the field. Do you feel like racing California this year has given you more tools to work with during cyclocross? Are you more prepared than any year previous to have a great cross season?
The road season and especially the big stage races certainly gives me a lot fitness heading into the cyclocross season. It’s a nice feeling jumping into a cross race with a lot of pedaling and knowing that I’ve got a good sized engine. I suppose that I’m on my way to being well prepared for a good cross season, but I’ve got a lot of road racing on my plate between now and then.

All photos courtesy of Brian Hodes at VeloImages

Seven Cycles Talks About “The Specific Women”

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Who is the specific woman? We see a lot of “women’s specific” bikes out in the world, but we have yet to meet any specific women. In all the fittings and all the designs we have done, what is resoundingly clear is that women’s bodies are pretty non-specific. In fact, women’s bodies vary more than men’s do, in proportion, so it’s a hard task to design something that will fit most women, even of the same height, in any more than a cursory way. Making a man’s bike smaller doesn’t get at the half of it.

So we consider what makes women different than men. For example, women generally (but not always) have a wider pelvic arch than men, greater pelvic tilt also. These things affect saddle position and saddle height. Generally speaking (but not always) women have longer legs relative to their height than men do. Their weight is lower and farther back, which affects the center of gravity, handling and reach. Their shoulders are usually (but not always) narrower, and they have smaller hands (sometimes), all of which impacts front-end geometry and handling.

The generalized differences are informative, but really, when it comes right down to it, every rider, male or female, is an individual, with specific geometric needs, with a tubeset that matches their riding preferences, with their own aesthetic sense and ideas for their bike. That’s why we make rider-specific bikes.

As far as we can tell, there is no specific woman, but there might be a specific bike for every woman (or man), who wants one.