Our 2015 Christmas Lights Ride… Oh Yes We Did!!!

Our dedicated, long-term readers may recall how last year around this time I got a little melancholy and reminisced about the good times we used to have on our annual Christmas Lights Rides in a December 14th blog entry.  I ended that entry with this thought, “Perhaps we’ll consider hosting a reprisal of the David Hunter loop next year!”

queingWell, guess what?!  Last night we and three other tandem teams joined our long-time friend and owner of Atlanta Cycling, Don Dutson, for his annual Christmas Lights Ride from the Vinings, Georgia store.  Hard to believe it was 17 years ago that we did our first Christmas Lights Ride with Don, but despite the passage of time it was just as much fun as ever.  In fact, we’re already looking forward to next years ride!

I thought about doing an “organic” tandem club ride following the same route used by David Hunter when we last did an in-town Christmas Lights ride several years back. It would have started near Fellini’s Pizza on Howell Mill Road, visited Centennial Park, Peachtree Road past the Fox and taken us through Sherwood Forest and then back to Fellini’s via Atlantic Station.  Another thought was to ride from Fellini’s or some other good post ride eatery to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and spend some time touring their Christmas Lights in the Gardens exhibition, but that would have been a bit pricey and taken the entire evening.  After conferring with Roger Strauss the consensus was to tag onto the Atlanta Cycling ride as it wouldn’t matter if there was light or strong interest to be a success. Even if just one or two couples showed up it would be a good time and there’s always safety in numbers.

The ride began at Atlanta Cycling’s Vinings store where most riders honored Don’s request for the donation of a toy to benefit the Metro Atlanta Children’s Village.  Debbie and I had to pack our cycling clothes in the truck along with the tandem and go to the ride start right from work.  We arrived around 5:30 which gave us plenty of time to get dressed and ready for the 6:30 ride start.

lovelydebbieThe temperature was right around 42°F but the 60% humidity and 8-10 mph winds made it feel a bit colder when we were standing around outside.  Thankfully, the store was open and we decided to do most of our meeting and greeting in the warmth of the showroom. It worked out well for the store as I ended up buying Debbie some new cycling glasses (a) because I forgot to bring a pair for her with clear lenses, and (b) because she needed a new pair anyway.  Her wrap-around white & pink Tifosi “Slip” lenses (below, left) have proven to be just a bit too big for her face as cycling eyewear but are great on the motorcycles, so I picked up a pair of the Tifosi race pink, very minimalist “WISP” glasses (below, right) for her last night and they are a perfect fit!

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As we did our shopping, got the tandem out and prepped for the ride we were joined by about 40 other intrepid cyclists, many of who had taken the time to decorate their bikes and bodies will all kinds of different Christmas lights, festive headwear and other fun stuff; what a hoot!  Best of all, we were also joined by three other long-time friends and tandem couples, two of whom had been there with us back in 1997 for that very first Christmas Lights Ride!

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Upper Left, Mark & Debbie; Upper Right, Randy & Claudia; Lower Left, Linda & Eric and Lower Right, Roger & Eve. As you can see, we opted to dress for the “slow, leisurely ride” that was advertised with the same purple velour jackets we wore in 1997.  They were great until the tempo picked up as we hit the hills around Chastain Park, at which point I’d wished we went with our Pearl Izumi winter weight jersey/jackets that breathe a bit better. (Photos by Eve Kofsky)

linda_eric  roger_eveRandy & Claudia definitely set the bar high for decorating with their lovely head pieces and fully illuminated tandem frame.  However, Linda & Eric hit it out the park with their faux water bottle mP3 player that was belting out Christmas songs for the hour-long, 12-mile ride.  I was thinking how cool it would have been if about 10 of the bikes on the ride had Blue Tooth speakers tied into a single mp3 player pumping out the carols.  Roger & Eve had some interesting lights attached to their spokes that changed color throughout the ride.  While we missed the mark on Christmas lights I think we claimed the brightest lights award with our diNotte head and taillights — very bright just by themselves — and my 14-year old, insanely bright Lights n Motion LiOn HID headlamp.

Don led us through a couple of cul-de-sac neighborhoods where the exterior illumination (think Clark Griswold) was pretty spectacular.  We also saw about a dozen other homes that had pretty nice Christmas Lights displays, but not nearly as many as I would have expected.  But, let’s be honest, this kind of ride is all about having stupid fun and we did that in spades.  It was just as much if not more fun that I remembered.

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Note, our waiter/photographer did a “double shot” with the camera and this was the second photo. Eve’s quizzical look was associated with our waiter’s operation of Eve’s new camera and Eric had, well, already turned his attention back to his pizza after the first photo hence the blur!

After the ride we drove about a mile over to the New York Pizza Exchange for a late night dinner with our friends.  It was a grand time and a  nice change from the typical Saturday or Sunday afternoon / late morning tandem club rides.  Miss Debbie and I were wishing we didn’t have to get up and go to work as we would have spent easily another hour hanging out with our friends.

Can’t wait until next year!!!

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Not Much To Write About, But We’re Still Riding!

Lest anyone think we’d given up tandem cycling for motorcycling, no way no how.  We were out last weekend when we grabbed this selfie with a GoPro and we were also able to enjoy another beautiful day today with a nice ride after being rained-out on Saturday.

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As for the lack of blog activity, I just haven’t been heavily motivated to write about anything this week on either blog.  We’re supposed to join a local bike shop for a Christmas Lights ride on Wednesday night which could be pretty interesting as I expect the temps to be in the mid- to upper-30°F’ which is bit cold when the sun’s not there to give you some of that infra-red heat.  We’ll see how that plays itself out; perhaps that will lend itself to some blog banter.

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Tandem Decals; Yes… We Still Have Them!

Just in case anyone had forgotten, we continue to be your source for tandem decals!  Yup, the “classic” tandem decals that you see so many of when you go to tandem rallies.  And, believe it or not, in 15 years we’ve never changed the pricing: $2.50/ea (min of 2).

decalsIn fact, after discovering that I’d just about ran out, our friend Charlie at ATOC quickly sent out a fresh batch and we would love nothing more than to see these all quickly leave our home en route to tandem enthusiasts across the nation!

So, if you’re new to the tandem community or if you’ve changed “tandem haulers” and don’t have a tandem decal on the new tandem support vehicle, there’s not better time than the present to rectify that situation!

As always, you can find all of the details along with installation videos and examples of how you can morph your tandem decals into triplets, quads and quints at our partner website, TheTandemLink.com by clicking HERE.  Remember, even though the images on the web page are black, the decals (or, technically speaking the transfers) are white!

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Posted in For Sale, Shameless Promotions, Whimsical Or Entertaining | 1 Comment

Evelyn Hill Cycling Apparel by Sommerville Sports

I received a note this past week from our dear friend Barbara Kornbluh at Tandem East in Pittsgrove, New Jersey.  It’s not all that unusual to get a note or a  call from Barbara or her husband Mel, but it is always exciting since it usually means there’s something new coming: a get-together, a special event, a tandem tour, a new tandem components or perhaps even a new tandem bike offering.
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This week it was breaking news on a new line of women’s apparel designed by Barbara and produced in partnership with Sommerville Sports.  For those who don’t know, this is truly a family affair in that Sommerville Sports is a cycling gear company that Barbara & Mel’s son Jed plays a major role in as a co-owner and National Sales Manager.  That inside track may explain how Mel and close friends end up with really cool jerseys like the one at right, and how Evelyn Hill Cycling Apparel came to be.  And, without giving up any state secrets, I would also note that the name of Barbara’s clothing line also has a family connection; very cool!

So, without further delay, here’s the announcement:

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Over 35 years in the making, Barbara Kornbluh’s apparel line is here!

We’re very proud to introduce our women’s clothing line! Evelyn Hill Cycling was created by Tandems East’s Barbara Kornbluh, a bicycle industry veteran with over 40 years and 100,000+ miles in the saddle. Confounded by the lack of clothing choices for women not interested in pinning on race numbers, Barbara engineered a product line to meet the apparel needs of real women – everyday cyclists and commuters – with a cut that’s both comfortable and flattering.

Over the past year, Barbara has been working hard with production partners Sommerville Sports to engineer a clothing line to meet the needs of women in all sizes. From fabrics to colorful prints, each item has been carefully selected to meet the needs of our customers. It has been our goal from the beginning to produce cycling apparel that looks and feels good both on AND off of the bike, and with a wide array of colors and prints we’re certain you’ll find something that fits your style.

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Our website and social media will be updated in the following weeks with online ordering details, trunk show dates, and upcoming events we will be attending to show off our new line. If this isn’t for you, please feel free to unsubscribe via the link below – However, we hope you’ll remain subscribed, spread the word, and try out the goods!

Thanks,

Barbara Kornbluh
Evelyn Hill Cycling

Posted in Bloggishnish, Industry News, Pimpin' for our Friends, Shameless Promotions, Technology & Equip. | 1 Comment

Public Radio & Podcasts: A Perfect Match

I’m not a public radio junkie, but public radio does have a special place in my media consumption habits, even though it becomes a love-hate relationship during election seasons when the wonderful on-air personalities and producers political leanings tend to become a bit more obvious.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s far more balanced than the more obvious infotainment networks that I refuse to look to for “news”; thank goodness for NPR and BBC America is all I’ll say.  But, the recent elections were not the catalyst for this entry.  Instead, I was moved to “pen” this entry by the passing of Tom Magliozzi a couple of weeks ago.

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While I wasn’t a Car Talk addict who listened every Saturday, I collected every episode on Podcast and would pull those Podcasts out when we made our 12-hour road trips to Pennsylvania twice a year.  Yup, it was those hours of back-to-back Car Talk that has made those trips seem faster than they were as time would fly by while being entertained by Tom & Ray Magliozzi, aka, Click & Clack… the Tappet Brothers.  For those who listened to Car Talk, you’ll no doubt understand what I’m talking about. To those who don’t recall or truly never heard them, here’s a very nice remembrance from Car Talk’s home station, WBUR, that our friend Dr. Gabe Mirkin brought to my attention is his weekly update.  Gabe used “Tommy’s” passing due to complications with Alzheimer’s disease to educate readers about dementia and what they can do to reduce their risk of becoming afflicted; it’s a very enjoyable watching experience:

Other public radio programs that are regular staples in my Podcast diet include “A Prairie Home Companion”, “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me” and our friend Diane Lees show “The Outspoken Cyclist”.

DianeLeesI’ll confess that I’m drawn to Diane’s show when they feature builders more so than the other wonderful subjects and guests who shared thoughts on advocacy, health, competition, politics and a myriad of other topics.  I’ve previously shared a few lists of favorites here in the blog that I will confess that I revisit from time to time.  Some of my favorite of favorites include:

 

 

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You Mean Cycling Tights Don’t Really Last Forever?

tandemtimeThe weather gods were kind and granted us a weekend with cool temps, but sunny blue skies that beckoned us to hit the roads on our tandem.  Debbie has been less than enthusiastic about heading out to ride before the thermometer tickles 60°F but with the warming rays of the sun and cycling tights, long-sleeve jerseys and gloves she was good to go at 52°F on both Saturday & Sunday.

During Saturday’s ride I finally decided that my Pearl Izumi bib knickers had to go.  They’d always been a bit too big from day 1, but over the years had not gotten any smaller (not necessarily a bad thing, by the way).   Saturday afternoon I went out in search of some new ones and much to my surprise, I found only one of the four local bike shops had any bib knickers and tights in stock.  Oh, sure… they all offered to order some for me.  But, if there’s one constant in cycling apparel it’s the lack of consistency in sizing from manufacturer to manufacturer.  So, being able to try on cycling shorts, tights, jerseys, jackets and even things like arm warmers is a must.

castelli_knckThe one store that had a selection of bib knickers in stock was the Performance Bike shop and after trying on small, medium and large house-branded Performance and Castelli bib knickers I narrowed the field to the Large-size Castelli Ergo’s and the Small-size Performance Thermals: like I said, you gotta try ‘em on.  I bought both the Castelli and Performance knickers as I figured it would be a good idea to have a couple of pair since we tend to ride twice a weekend when we can.

castelli_tightAfter getting them home I tried both on again and decided that the Castelli’s were definitely keepers, the Performance ones… not so much.  So, I decided I’d return those and order up a second pair of the Castelli’s off the Performance website since they only had the one pair of Large Castelli knickers at the store.  While I was at it, I decided I’d also replace my bib tights, as they also seemed to be getting a bit long in the tooth.

Out of curiosity I decided to go and see when I bought my bib knickers and bib tights as I knew it was a while back, but wasn’t sure just how old they were.  Yes, as alluded to yesterday, I’m pretty anal about some things and another one of those things is keeping track of purchases & expenditures using Quicken and ledgers before then that all got transcribed into Quicken.  Doing a quick search yielded a pretty amazing discovery:

  • My Nashbar bib tights were bought back in 1996 when I was commuting to work and/or riding during my lunch hour year round, pre-tandem.
  • My Pearl Izumi bib knickers were a bit more “fresh” in that I didn’t buy those until 2000, making them 14-years old.
  • Turns out Debbie’s REI tights which are also due for replacement have truly delivered a lot of life for the money, as they were bought right after we started tandeming during fall 1997.

I must say, I’m really impressed with how well all three of these garments have held-up. I suspect their thicker material have given them longer life than the typical tights and shorts that become pretty darn thin as they age.  Pretty sure all of these tights and knickers will be “retired” once the new ones arrive.  Well, and once I get Debbie out to shop for some new tights.  I almost bought her a pair and had to remind myself about my own sizing experiences; never assume!

Posted in Bloggishnish, Technology & Equip. | 7 Comments

Preserving Your Bike Fit… Capturing Those Dimensions

skatesI am admittedly a bit more anal about certain things than many of my peers on a broad range of subjects; cycling equipment is one of them.  Not so much the training, fitness or racing stuff…; I’m truly an equipment freak.  The same was true when I was actively involved in alpine skiing (I travelled with a tool box, waxes, iron, ski vices, files, etc), speed skating (sharpening jig, files, wet stones, oils) and, well, you get the idea.

Tool BoxSo, when we travel to cycling events it should not come as a surprise that I bring along a work stand, a well-stocked tool box, a spare & replacement parts box, battery-powered drill, Dremmel tool and various bolt extractors, drill bits and cut-off tools, mud guards and a spare wheel set.  Interestingly enough, the majority of my time spent fixing bikes at rallies has been on other folks bikes, not ours.

However, one of the most important things that I keep in my tool box is a diagram of our tandem that includes most of the key dimensions needed to make sure our riding positions can be accurately replicated if a saddle, seat post, stem or other key component needs to come off the bike, or if we need have an opportunity to ride another bike and want to make sure a poor bike fit doesn’t take away from the riding experience. The three dimensions along the bottom are the stoker set-ups for our triplet which I updated just before the recent Southern Tandem Rally in Columbus, Georgia.

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It was this second set of fitting dimensions and Debbie’s saddle nose to handlebar distance that caught my attention this past week.  I’d pulled out the dimensioned drawing of the tandem for another project and noticed the discrepancy in the saddle nose to handlebar on the original tandem image and the more recent update I made when preparing to move Debbie’s saddle from the Calfee tandem to our triplet at STR.

After thinking about it for a minute and thinking back to some of my observations about the new Selle Anatomica Titanico saddle it dawned on me that Debbie’s Titanico truly had gotten longer over the past two years: 2 cm longer.  It was one of those “you’re an idiot” moments when it finally dawned on me that the old and new Titanico saddles were exactly the same length… when new!  However, as you begin to extend the saddle nose bolt to tighten-up the leather saddle cover as it stretches the saddle nose moves closer to the handlebars and, in effect, the saddle becomes longer.  I confirmed this when I pulled the new old stock (NOS) Titanico that a member of the tandem community sent to me after reading my quandary in an earlier blog entry about the Selle Anatomica redesigned rails.

Speaking of the Selle Anatomica redesign, for those who didn’t follow the comments that followed that blog entry, the folks at Selle are aware of the limitation on fore/aft saddle adjustably that their 2014 saddle rail design change created and they will be making another change in 2015 that will correct that.  I also checked and confirmed that while the saddle we purchased will not work for Debbie on our tandem or triplet, it will work for me… noting that I’m under the 160# threshold for the need to move to the X-model.  So, the saddle may not go on the block as I’ve always wanted to give it a shot.  If it fits well I may put the Titanico on the triplet and get an X-model for the tandem just so I get a bit more life out of the cover.

Anyway, my take-away here is… I’ve found that it’s a good idea to keep your bike fitting dimensions written down somewhere for all of your bikes.  In addition to making it easy to get your bike fit sorted out if the saddle or other key components get moved and something doesn’t feel right, and can also be used to see how much you’ve changed things over time… remembering that as we continue to age or change our riding habits bike fit can also change.   And, in case anyone has bikes with different crank lengths, I always recommend using the pedal axle to saddle top dimension for setting saddle height vs. crank axle.  It’s amazing how uncomfortable a sudden 5mm +/- in saddle height change can feel.

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