Monday, 20 June 2016

SUMMER BIKE SALE!

Once again its been a long time with no post but this time there's something a little different for you.....our sizzling Summer Bike Sale!
We have a few new bicycles at the shop which need to find riders so we came up with some pretty aggressive reductions to see if that might help move them to new homes. Please note that these are for sale in Bermuda only and prices are in Bermuda dollars, cash or card. We can probably be persuaded to take US dollars as well :-)

First off is the KHS Flite 500 road bike.Available in 52cm size it features a hydroformed alloy frame with carbon fork and carbon chainstays for a comfortable ride and optimal power transmission. 20-Speed Shimano 105 gearing and a compact crankset provide a wide range of gears ideal for Bermuda's roads. Original price was $1,420.00 and the Sale Price is $994.00.

Next up is the Free Agent Champ BMXer. This is a standard 20" wheel BMX bike from one of the top builders in the business. One size fits all. Single speed and equipped with coaster brake and rear wheel linear-pull brake. Was $335.00 and now reduced to $260.00. Several colour options available.





For His and Hers bikes, we have the Manhattan Cycles Green 3 in a 17" Ladies and 20" Gents. Colours as shown.

This bike has classic roadster styling, front and rear linear-pull brakes, alloy rims with stainless spokes and a low-maintenance 3-Speed Shimano hub gear. Here is a bike which is great for summer cruising, commuting or just flouting a little retro style. The price has been reduced from $665.00 to $465.00.



Only one left of the KHS Aguila 29er in size Large. The fork features hydraulic lockout and 100mm of travel. Disc brakes are hydraulic and the Shimano drivetrain is 27-Speed to easily cope with any terrain. The original sticker price was $1,070.00 and we'll be happy to let this last one go for $825.00.




Finally, we have the KHS Vitamin A fitness bike. Suitable for on-road use or light trail riding it features a 21-Speed Shimano drivetrain, lightweight alloy frame with cromoly fork and linear-pull brakes for excellent stopping power and simple wheel removal. This bike is reduced from its original shop price of $625.00 to $499.00. Available in Small and Medium.




For further info on availability, please send us a message or call on 232-2103 or 532-2103. Once again, Bermuda availability only and prices are good until they're gone!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

To torque....or not to torque!

While working on a client's bike the other week I found a flaw which could have conceivably resulted in a nasty accident for him. Note that he had been riding the bike with no indication of a problem right up until then.

Take a look at these photos:



As you can clearly see, the stem clamp failed when I tried to remove it...and not at one bolt but at all four! 

Your immediate reaction to this might be "I'll be sure not to buy that brand of stem" but the truth of the matter is that this brand of stem is excellent and I have used them many times on many different bikes with no problems. The issue actually is all about torque. 

Modern lightweight equipment is made to be assembled with very specific torque guidelines (level of tightening). In this case all four bolts were over-tightened, setting up stress risers in the metal which resulted in the hairline cracks around the area where the bolts seat and eventually a complete fracture. The problem would not have occurred if whoever did the initial assembly had observed the torque value printed or engraved into the body of the stem (or the instructions which came with it) and had been sure not to exceed it. 

I've met a number of people over the years who think they can do safe assembly without using a torque wrench but why take the risk? Using a good torque wrench can help to prevent a lot of potential problems and is absolutely essential with carbon bikes and components.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Just completed last week.....a beautiful custom Pedal Force RS3 ISP bicycle.
The customer supplied his own well-used two-year old Dura Ace 9000 mechanical groupset and saddle. Everything else was new, including a sparkling set of iRT 38C Carbon Clincher wheels. This beauty has already been christened "B-52".
He reports that it rides like a dream, is easily a match on the hills for his two other bikes and is even leaning towards the opinion that it may be quicker into the wind than all of them. Time, of course, will tell.
And just as a footnote....this Dura Ace 9000 equipment functions superbly even though it has somewhere in the region of 12,000 to 15,000 miles of hard riding on it in all weathers. The only new bits have been chains and brake pads.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Here's something that has nothing at all to do with bikes or riding them!

For anyone who doesn't already know, I'm in Boston at the moment with Sheila who has been here for medical treatment and surgery at Brigham & Womens Hospital. This has been a successful experience thus far and on Friday, July 3rd she was advised by her surgeons that she would be discharged from hospital on the Fourth of July. This news immediately filled both of us with feelings of great patriotism even though neither of us is an American. Little did we understand the process of being discharged from a top drawer American medical institution!
If you're ever in hospital in Bermuda you should know that the biggest challenge you face once the physician handling your case discharges you is that the various members of his support squad immediately forget that you exist. You're then compelled to keep pressing the Call button or sending attending family members to search for them in an effort to remind them that you're still there and would like to go home. This can take most of the day or, if there's a shift change during this time, perhaps into the next day. 
At BWH the wait can be lengthy but the time is filled with visits from all sorts of nice people representing various post-surgical services. In Sheila's case, she had very thorough examinations by the departments of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. In each case she answered many of the same questions plus went for several pleasant walks all around the ward and up and down stairs. All of these tests were passed with flying colours....we thought we'd be out the door in seconds! 
We then discovered that's not exactly how it works. All of these kind folk then have to write reports which they then must submit to the poor surgical resident whose unfortunate lot it was to be working on the country's most important summer holiday. Only then would we be "signed" out. After that, all the discharge papers and prescriptions needed to be assembled with the nurse-in-charge finally giving us a complete debrief followed by a question and answer period. To put things into perspective, the discharge process began around 10.30 a.m. and we walked out of the ward at 6.20 p.m.
Now was my chance to actually play a useful role in the proceedings...or so I thought. Sheila and I took the elevator from the tenth floor to the lobby of the mostly-deserted hospital. The plan was to take a taxi back to Cambridge Street but I reasoned that it would be easier to fill the prescriptions we needed at the CVS pharmacy about two blocks away than to try to go out later in the evening and pick them up. Feeling quite pleased with myself at coming up with this clever strategy I parked Sheila in a comfortable chaise, armed her with her smartphone and set off on the quick side-trip to CVS. 
The pharmacy itself was easily located and was also open. I was beginning to think I was on a bit of a roll until I walked up to the shuttered prescription counter and read a small printed note which said the dispensing side was closed and that to fill any prescriptions I should take myself off to the CVS dispensary at Boston Children's Hospital which was a three minute walk away. 
After briefly panicking and thinking of trying to find the Walgreen's somewhere near the subway stop I'd got off earlier in the day and a healthy stroll from where I was, I walked out of the shopping center and round the corner to find the Children's Hospital staring me in the face. I was back on that roll again!
I picked my way through the yellow tape guiding pedestrians through the labyrinth of re-modelling being done to the hospital's front entrance and approached the Information desk. Security at this hospital is a step up from BWH. My identification was scanned and I was given my very own visitor's pass which was to be clipped to my clothing. I was then directed to a pair of security guards, one of whom accompanied me on the key-only elevator to the second floor where CVS was located. I was impressed to say the least and would feel confident that if I had a child being treated at BCH he or she would be most unlikely to be abducted.
Once in CVS the pharmacist was very helpful, assured me that my Rx card would be honoured and asked me to take a seat for twenty minutes while he sorted the prescriptions. While I was sitting there looking at pharmacist-of-the-month photos on the walls and flipping through various pharmaceutical leaflets, a man came in towing behind him a boy of about four years who had the worst hacking cough I have ever heard....believe me, this kid was in the right place! All I could think was that I needed to keep a wide margin between him and myself. A bit of a heated discussion ensued between the pharmacist and the child's father over payment and I started to worry that this might drag on well into the evening. However, it was sorted out quickly and they mercifully left the premises instead of sitting down to wait with me for their prescription to be filled and infecting me with whatever dreadful malady the poor waif was suffering from.
Once in possession of the required drugs, I then followed a reverse process back through security to extricate myself from the building and with this done, determined by frenzied text that Sheila had not got up and wandered off. The rest of the return trip to BWH was uneventful and Sheila was very understanding as she knows well my propensity for losing any sense of direction at all when in a city. Once reunited, we were soon in a cab and on our way to the condo in Cambridge :)


Sunday, 5 July 2015

Cycle Cellar's new face

The bike shop was dealt an untimely blow when we discovered in June that we had to make an unscheduled visit to Boston for medical treatment for Sheila. This effectively meant that the shop had to be closed for however long the Boston trip would last.
Just when things were looking really bleak my good friend Kelly Sullivan stepped forward and has agreed to open the shop for business on Saturdays. Kelly has had lots of experience as a rider over the years and I was able to give her a mini-crash course on how the shop operates. Her skills are mostly in the sales area so there will be no service in our absence.
Kelly has already had a positive impact on Cycle Cellar. She brings fresh views and a can-do outlook to the little shop. The positive comments are starting to roll in  and we are so happy to have her looking after things!

Friday, 5 June 2015

The final word on compact cranks

The experiment is over. I fitted a 46 tooth outer ring so ended up with 46/34 x 12/23 gearing. This was definitely an improvement but I think I may just be too used to a cassette with more 2-tooth jumps between gears so couldn't gel with the straight block run from 12 through 19.
So.......from this weekend it will be a standard 130 mm BCD crank fitted with 50/38 rings and a 12/25 at the rear dérailleur. All of which means that for me I still don't see the point of using a compact crank in Bermuda for competitive riding.
For my next post I plan to cover a bike build I'll be doing for one of my favourite clients :)

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Bermuda Day and the Sinclair Packwood Memorial Road Race

Bermuda Day is celebrated next Monday on May 25th. Our first "real" holiday of the year. It's a day when we have the big parade in Hamilton in the afternoon, fitted dinghy racing, the half marathon and some fast and furious bike racing.
Thinking about this year's edition of what is arguably Bermuda's premier showcase for cycle racing, it's not difficult to cast one's mind back over some of the great races from previous years. There are a number which stand out in my mind because the winner was able to get away from the bunch and ride solo to the finish in what is usually billed as a "sprinters" event with the bunch arriving at the finishing straight more or less intact. However, without a doubt the best-ever victory was that perpetrated by Jeff Payne in 1997 when he and another rider got away early in the race and effectively did a two-up time trial all the way to the finishing straight where he out-sprinted his companion to cross the line first. 
Jeff is one of those rare perennial athletes. He was 58 years old then and while one of the strongest time triallists in Bermuda at the time he knew he was not the favourite for this "sprinters" event. His companion was a comparative (but very strong) novice and Jeff reasoned that if they could get enough of a lead to remain out of sight of the main group they might stay away until the finish and that's exactly what happened. Speaking with some of the other riders after the race it appeared that everyone else looked to the pre-race favourite to lead the chase and by the time they realized that he was having none of it the race was over except for the minor placings. 
It's interesting to note that Jeff is the only person to have won this race and also the Bermuda Day Half Marathon, a feat which he accomplished in 1980. I think its unlikely we will see that double repeated for quite some time yet.