Monthly Archives: June 2009

LightLane: Your own personal (virtual) bike lane

This is actually a pretty cool concept for those that commute/ride in the dark. It’s a traditional LED rear light that also emits green lasers that create a “virtual” bike lane around the rider.

I think they should develop a model that could also project words/phrases behind the rider. My suggestions would be:

  • Please dont’ hit me
  • I’m a human under this helmet
  • If you can read this, you’re too close!

Tour de France – The Movie or Cycling Separated at Birth

I’m getting very excited about our trip to the Tour de France in a couple weeks, so the video above just further stoked my cycling flame. Some of the comparisons are pretty funny. My favs are:

  • Moby or Michael Stipe as Levi
  • Jon Heder (Napolean Dynomite) as Andy Schleck
  • Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) as Chris Horner.

But the real question is who would play Jens Voigt?

Summertime fun office pranks – the foiled cube

foiled office cube 1

It’s that time of year in the ThinkCash offices – so when you go on vacation there is a good chance you will get pranked. You might get “peanuted” or “Hasselhoffed“, but this time the team went with the classic cube foiling.

foiled office cube 2

This was a pretty thorough job including umbrellas, coins, . . .

foiled office cube 3

and even the Kleenex box and tissues. I also thought the empty aluminum foil containers in the trash can was a nice touch.

Flash-Point FP60 Carbon Wheels Review

Kuota Kredo with Flash-Point FP 60 wheels

I finally feel like I’ve put enough miles on my Flash-Point FP60 carbon wheels to give them a proper review.  Keep in mind the following:

  • I’m a 150 lb Cat 4 cyclist
  • Have an FTP of ~300 watts
  • Live in Fort Worth, so most of the terrain is rolling or short steep hills (no long, sustained climbs)
  • I’ve previously owned/ridden Mavic Ksyrium SLs, Shimano Ultegra wheels, Easton EC70 wheels and my current everyday wheels are Shimano WH 7850SLs (which I ride tubeless with Fusion 2 tires).
  • The Flash-Points have Continental GP4000 tires (which is my tire of choice for the last few years).

I haven’t raced on the FP60s yet (hard to believe I’m a “racer” and haven’t done a race this season and it is JUNE), but I have used them on long solo training rides, fast groups rides and some local 100K rally rides (also known as “T-Shirt Races” in Texas).

Here where my hopes when I purchased the wheels:

  1. They would be faster at speed (north of 23-25 mph) and that the difference would be noticeable on a solo attack, riding at the front or in a small break-away.
  2. The extra weight (the wheels weigh ~1,800 grams) wouldn’t slow me down on the climbs.
  3. The deep profile of the rims wouldn’t be a problem in crosswinds (since we have a lot of wind in N. Texas).
  4. They would be stiff, but not beat me up on a 75+ mile ride.
  5. They would be durable enough to use for racing and training.

Flash Point FP60 carbon wheel

So far I have been happy on all 4 points.

  1. SPEED – These wheels are noticeable faster at speed. They are made by Zipp and basically have all the technology of the Zipp 404 rims, sans the dimples. The hubs are incredible smooth and just spinning them in the work-stand gives the feeling of “speed.” During fast group rides and rallies I felt like I wasn’t having to work quite as hard at the front. However, it is hard to know how much is the placebo effect or maybe just better fitness on my part. So I did a pseudo-scientific test (nothing like my VO2 Max testing at TCU). I have an out-and-back training loop that I do regularly out to Cresson, TX. Since the winds predominately come out of the South, the first half is into a headwind – giving the benefit of the tailwind coming home.  Normally if I push it hard, I can average 19.5 mph on this 66 mile route (there are several hills, traffic lights, stop signs, etc. on the way). On my “test” ride with the FP60s I was able to average over 20 mph for the first time on this route. The wind was very average (10-15 mph) so I’ll say that these wheels were 0.5 mph faster. Using some rough calculations, these wheels probably save 20-25 watts when riding in the wind. This may not seem like much, but that is a huge difference.
  2. WEIGHT – Didn’t notice the extra weight of these wheels on the hills. Most of the experts say that unless you are climbing Mt. Ventoux, you are always better off choosing aerodynamics over weight – I tend to agree.
  3. CROSSWINDS – This is something I was really worried about. We get some pretty nasty winds (regularly 25-30 mph with gusts in the 50 mph range) so as I lighter rider I was worried about being blown all over the road. This hasn’t been a problem. In fact, I would argue that I felt similar effects from crosswinds on my Mavic Ksyrium SLs with their bladed spokes. I don’t know if crosswinds are less of a problem because of the Zipp-designed toroidal shape of the rim. . . but I’ll take it.
  4. COMFORT – These wheels are stiff, but not uncomfortable. Unlike Mavic Cosmic Carbonnes, these are truly carbon wheels with a aluminum braking surface as opposed to an aluminum rim with a carbon fairing. With the right tire pressure (for my weight I run them 95-100 psi up front and 105 psi in the rear) I would say that they are as comfortable as any other clincher.
  5. DURABILITY – I have had zero problems with the wheels. One of the benefits of the extra weight of these wheels (versus their Zipp 404 cousin) is that they are extremely durable. Haven’t had to true the wheels once yet and they just feel beefy with the bladed spokes. My local wrench said that he sees lots of problems with Zipps, but hasn’t had a customer with Flash-Point issues yet (granted there are many more Zipps on the road).

I’m very happy with the wheels. I would be happy with them at the MSRP of $1,300, luckily I got them for even less on eBay – so I’m very happy with my purchase.

TOMS shoes review – great post bike ride shoe

TOMS shoes

I recently ordered a pair of TOMS shoes. You’ve probably seen the AT&T Wireless  commercial that features TOMS (they give a free pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair sold).  These shoes follow the current “barefoot revolution” which believes that the healthiest shoes for your feet/body are those with the least padding, sole, support, etc. Basically, let your feet do what nature intended. I thought TOMS would make a great post-ride shoe – let the feet “breath” after being in tight cycling shoes for 4 hours.

TOMS shoes 2

I’ve been really happy with the shoes. They are insanely comfortable and are slightly less casual than wearing sandals or flip flops. In fact, they have become my “go-to” comfortable shoes for casual days in the office (which is any day that ends in “y”).

It’s also nice to spend the money with a company that is doing some good, as you can see from the video below.

Perspective & Cycling – How do you measure success?

perspective

My buddy Anthony and his family joined us for a little block-party last weekend and we started talking about how we met. Anthony is a “riding” buddy – someone you initially meet on rides, start riding with more and eventually become friends off the bike as well. We both started riding about the same time (exactly 3 years ago). We realized that our first big ride was 3 years ago at the Weatherford Peach Pedal. We survived the 100K ride, which was the longest ride ever for both of us at the time, and finished with an average moving speed of just over 16 mph (I think we stopped twice at rest areas).  For similar rides we’ll now average 23 mph with no stops. I chronicled some of this in my Evolution of a Cyclist, but it’s amazing how quickly your perspective changes when you get serious about cycling.

Here are a few other things that quickly change when you get into cycling:

  • You have no problem walking around a public place in tight, colorful, lycra shorts that leave nothing to the imagination
  • Spending $5,000 on a bike doesn’t seem crazy; in fact, it is often a smart decision
  • In converse to the point above, riding a bike with only one gear is “cool”
  • You get really excited at Christmas time . . . for the special “Holiday Flavor” Clif Bars
  • You also get excited when you get the weekly email special from CompetitiveCyclist.com. The excitement can reach a dangerous level when those emails contain the following works “50% off Zipp . . .”
  • You’ll watch a feed of a pro race on your computer, with Italian commentators – even if you don’t speak Italian
  • You’ll develop a new appreciation for your wife/girlfriend as you discover the hassles of shaving your legs
  • Riding your bike for 4 hours doesn’t sound like a punishment; in fact, that may not even be considered a “long” ride