As we head into the fringe seasons of cycling there’s definitely a feeling of change going on around the bike shop. Cyclists are hunkering down for the winter and shopping for bikes has taken a back seat to shopping for Legos, Xbox games, and things for the significant others in your life. Around the bike shop, we have been busy getting merchandise setup for 2018, annual tune-ups are being performed, and online training seminars for the latest products have been coming down the pipes. However, given the circumstances, there has been quite a bit of cycling happening through our little bike shop.
The first big way to stay active on the bike is the proliferation of “smart trainers” and programs like Zwift, TrainerRoad, and several others. Smart trainers are those that have the ability to “interact” with some form of online program that provides engaging, real-world simulating, riding situations. Here at ABC, we love the Zwift program, and participate almost weekly in Zwift races, rides, or workouts. Basically, Zwift is a video game you play with your bike. You ride up and down mountains, race other riders from around the world, and explore virtual riding worlds without leaving the comfort of your climate controlled training station. We set up a Zwift demo station here at the shop with a Cycleops Magnus smart trainer which retails for $599 and it has been a huge hit for all that have given it a try.
Another “huge” hit around the shop has been our Fatboy fatbikes from Specialized. We were able to buy a few of the leftover models which allowed us to sell these great bikes for a really affordable price. The fatbike movement is catching on fast because they are just plain fun to ride. The comment we hear most about these bikes is that “they must be a bear to pedal around” but in reality they ride no different than a regular mountain bike in most situations but have amazing traction and stability for almost any off-road riding situation. We raced one in a cyclocross race, rode it at Vulture’s Knob, and are looking forward to the first snow day so we can take one out and really have some fun in the white stuff. The 2018 Fatboy can be ordered with a 1X drivetrain and comes with an external bottom bracket (if you know what that means then you’re celebrating with us).
Lastly, we have had a blast this fall riding on the all new Specialized Crux cyclocross platform. However, something new came through the big S this fall in the form of a 700c x 38 mm tire call the “Sawtooth.” Specialized introduced the Sawtooth last season in the 700c x 42 mm version but recently the 38 mm version was released. We quickly got a set in for testing and have immediately found our new favorite tire for rambling backroads and gravel. We are blessed by beautiful backroads all around Ashland that are mostly paved, so a 38 mm tire is a little more favorable than the 42 mm for us. We do, however, look forward to exploring some slightly more gravel-ly roads in the neighborhood as soon as possible.
Whatever you are doing to stay active this winter, remember that we have your back down at the bike shop and will help you stay rolling however we can. If your goal is to take a little break from the bike, bring it in and let us get it working better than new so that as soon as you decided to hit the pavement or trails again you’re not waiting on your bike to be repaired. Changing your cables, checking your chain-wear, and replacing that grimey handlebar tape can save you money in the long run and will most definitely help prevent break-downs when the sun is shining and you’d love to be out riding.