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Cycling to ACL 2014

September 30th, 2014

Riding your bike to and from ACL is one of the most liberating and triumphant experiences you will ever know. A quick, energizing pedal leads you steps from the entrance. Our parking center is on the South side of Barton Springs Road, next to the Box Office. We will have mechanics and support on-site to perform emergency repairs, as well as locks, light, tubes and other accessories useful to festival-goers available for (cash only) purchase.

Do an ABC Check

We’ve seen some bad bikes at ACL. Like barely rideable. Don’t wait until show day to pull it out of the garage. You will be disappointed by crusty brake pads, rusted chains, crumbling tires, and locked drivetrains.

A – Air. Pump up your tires and make sure they hold air. Buy a spare tube before you need it! Even better, learn how to change a flat.

B – Brakes. Make sure your bike can stop. You’ll want both front and back brakes to work. Then check that the brake pads aren’t rubbing against your wheel. Why work harder than you have to? Save your energy for dancing.

C – Chain, Cassette, and Cranks. Turn your pedals backwards to make sure things spin smoothly. Put some chain lube on that rusty old thing. If the chain is sticking or jumping around you should get a mechanic to check it out. It could be a minor adjustment or a sticky link in the chain.

Basics

Wear a Helmet. A real life example from 2013. A helmetless rider on his 2 mile commute to ACL Festival eats it in a drainage culvert. We see him walking towards our tent dazed and confused. We get him to medical. An innocent short ride ends up in a concussion and a lost day of music. We know this because he visited 2 days later and told us. Could’ve been worse. Protect your brain.

Bring your cheap bike. If all you have is carbon and clipless, think about getting a less precious bike from Yellow Bike Project.

Quick Releases. Make sure all your quick releases are closed tightly. It’s really a drag to have a wheel pop off or have your seat slowly slide down until your knees hit your chin.

Check it Out. Ride around and check that your bike shifts and stops and generally feels road worthy before you get too far from home.

Use Lights!

You’ll be riding home after dark so you’ll need lights. The law requires a front white light and a rear red reflector or light. Don’t rely on just a reflector, get some blazing blinkies! You want to be seen from all sides. If you’ve already got lights, buy new batteries so you don’t start fading out halfway home.

Figure out your cargo carrying capacity

How are you going to carry your bottled water,  lawn chair and 15 foot pirate flagpole?

• If your bike has a rack and bags then try loading all your gear and doing a test run. Your bike will handle differently all loaded up.

• If you are rackless, dig out a backpack and check out the space you have.

• Do you really need that chair? How about a beach towel stuffed in your backpack instead.

• Buy water near the festival site. It’s heavy!!

• Think about riding home with all that stuff. The sunscreen stays in but the flagpole might not make the cut.

Lock Your Bike

Use a U-Lock or heavy cable lock. U-locks are recommended. Cables are cheaper, but vulnerable for cutting.

Lock your Front Wheel. If you have a quick release, thieves may quickly release it. Take it off and lock it with your frame and/or back wheel.

Map it out

Part of the fun of ACL is the planning and anticipation. How can you make it to two stages at once? What treats will be at the food court? What artisans will be at the SoCo Art market? Transport also takes some thought. We’ve got some more things for you to ponder.

Figure out your routes ahead of time. It’s always a good time to ride, so check out our suggested routes and pre-ride if you can. It’ll get you that much more psyched up.

- The City of Austin Bike Map is a great resource. The city bike routes are labeled and color coded for difficulty and experience level plus it has traffic laws and helpful tips. Find it online or pick it up at your local bike shop.

- Think about the flow of pedestrians, shuttle buses and drop-off locations. The hike and bike trails will be crowded with walkers so check out the Lance Armstrong Bikeway instead. If it gets too crowded, hop off and walk your bike.

- RidetheCity.com has some great route suggestions to get you all the way home BUT compare it to our route notes. We’ve ridden every year of ACL so that experience can’t be easily replicated.

- Think about day time vs night time. Johnson Creek Trail is a great way to ride to the festival but it’s really, really dark at night. Exposition is a better choice going north with its wide bike lanes and street lights. Robert E Lee is much more fun as a screaming downhill than slogging uphill with a line of cars behind you in a narrow lane. Lamar has a climbing bike lane up to Treadwell then you can turn into the neighborhood.

- Live in the ‘burbs? Think about driving to a friend’s house, a CapMetro park-and-ride in town, or a safe (and legal) parking spot, unload your bike and pedal the rest of the way in. Skip the worst hassles of driving but still make it home before daybreak.

- Plan for the best entrance and exit. ACL loves bikes! There are rows and rows of bike racks and a Mellow Johnny’s support tent at BOTH festival gates.

Learn about traffic laws related to bikes

- Bikes have to follow the same traffic laws as cars! That means stopping at stop signs and red lights! Did I mention how expensive the tickets are?

- Bikes must have lights at night. White light in the front and a red light or reflector in the back. You wouldn’t drive your car with no lights, right?

- Bikes must ride with the flow of traffic. Riding against traffic is one of the most avoidable causes of car/bike accidents.

- It’s legal to ride on MOST sidewalks in Austin BUT not all. It can be more dangerous on the sidewalk with all the driveways and pedestrians. If you are on the sidewalk, pay attention since the car drivers won’t be looking for you. Roughly, the outlawed sidewalks are (see the city website for full list):

o 5th & 6th St between I-35 and Blanco (Sweetish Hill )

o The Drag (Guadalupe) and ALL of UT campus

o Congress Ave, Brazos and Colorado between Lady Bird Lake and the Capitol.

- When riding on hike and bike trails, bikes must yield to the pedestrians! Also, Town Lake Trail has a 10mph speed limit for bikes.

Trek Domane 4.3 Disc

September 30th, 2014

Like it or not, disc brakes on road bikes are here.  The key players in the cycling industry are pushing forward with the technology and the rapidly expanding Endurance/Gravel bike market is helping to drive the demand.  While out taking photos of our new Nero Jersey, we had the privilege of riding a Domane 4.3  disc and were able to get a first hand look at what all the fuss is about.  Skeptical in the way that all old cyclists are, we wanted to see just exactly what this bike was all about.  How it compared to the bikes we were used to, the pros & cons, etc.  There is so much vehement discussion on this topic online (keep your children away from the comments section of these articles!), so we’ll try our best to stay away from subjective emotions and simply list the facts of the new technology.

Fact 1:

The Domane, it’s IsoSpeed Decoupler and endurance geometry are known entities.  Based upon an eighteen month study by Trek, and proven in the pro Peloton, the decoupler allows for greater vertical compliance over rough roads without sacrificing power transfer to the pedals.  This technology has been so successful that it has made it’s way into Trek’s flag ship cyclocross bike, the Boone.  Pair this decoupler with Trek’s endurance geometry and you have a bike designed for the cobbled classics, grand fondos and gravel road rides out in Bandera, Tx.

Fact 2:

The addition of thru axles to the wheels helps to create greater torsional stiffness.  In basic terms, these disc wheels, like most MTB disc wheels use axles instead of skewers.  This addition offers an increase in stability while cornering.  Paired with the endurance geometry and IsoSpeed decoupler, Trek’s intention is to create a bike that inspires the comfort and confidence to control the bike in less than ideal conditions.  While there is only so much shredding to be had on the Town Lake greenbelt, our riders commented on the thru axle almost immediately.

Fact 3:

Disc brakes offer more braking power than standard rim brakes.  I believe that the big debate is whether road bikes need the extra braking power and if they offer the same modulation as rim brakes.  These are certainly valid points, but disc brakes also offer some other key advantages.  In most cases, disc brakes allow for greater tire clearance, allowing you to sport bigger tires if the terrain calls for them.  You could easily throw a pair of 28c tires onto the Domane and float over some pretty gnarly terrain.  The lack of rim brakes also allow for easier installation of fenders and provide much more stopping power in wet weather.    In addition, if the wheel gets out of true (bent) during a ride you will still have consistent stopping power.  If you know that you have a lot of braking power at your finger tips, the theory is that you will go faster before and between braking.  It’s why the brakes on F1 cars are massive discs.

Convinced?

Well, with the Domane, the great thing is that you don’t have to be.  This bike comes in multiple disc and rim brake options, and every model retains that proven Trek Endurance Geometry.  We have both styles in stock and invite you to swing by to compare them for yourself.

Trek Boone

September 30th, 2014

Tick Tock…


Cyclocross is a race of efficiency.  Being able to shave a second off the hairpin and power up the climb is a Tick.  The ability to brake a bit later and claim your line is a Tock.  The Trek Boone is a purpose built race bike, designed to find those lost seconds.

This is our accountant, EJ’s new bike, and all of that Tick, Tock stuff is probably bad news for him.  He’s officially out of excuses.

The Chrome Sherman

September 26th, 2014

Kevin Girkins, one of our fantastic employees and an accomplished cyclist was kind enough to write a review of the Chrome bag he has been using for the past year.  Now, I’m not saying that you’ll be as fast as Kevin, if you buy one of these.  But I’m not saying you won’t be either.  Chrome has recently discontinued this unique bag, and we just have a few in stock at a marked down price.  If you’re interested, this may be your last opportunity.

Click here to view or purchase the bag on our online store, or keep reading for his review.

The Chrome Sherman


To start, the reason I purchased this bag is for a weekly criterium series we have here in Austin called “The Driveway”, and the wheels I race on are tubulars.  The race is here in town and easy enough for me to ride to, so why take the car to a bicycle race that only lasts an hour and is 10 miles down the road?  With this and my equipment in mind, it was time to make a purchase.  But who makes a bag I can actually strap wheels to?  Knowing Chrome’s purpose built bags and lifetime warranty I decided to give them a shot when I saw the Sherman, a bag specifically built for carrying a wheelset and other items.  Plus, it just looks good and not too goofy for what it’s meant to do.  No big logos and neutral coloring considering you’re going to be carrying some potentially dirty equipment.

The bag is built heavy, and I mean that in a good way.  Cassettes, bladed spokes, skewers are a few of the concerns.  Luckily, Chrome thought of comfort as well and put a very thick tear resistant patch inside the bag on the center of the back panel so your wheel axle doesn’t dig into your back.  It works!

When opening it up for the first time I was surprised to see how much storage there was, but after some use I was unhappy to see there were no outside pockets on the bag.  Once your wheels are stowed away and properly secured in the upright position there is no way to reach the pockets of the bag without taking them back out and rearranging.  Since my initial impression I have been able to reach behind the wheels to inner pockets, but would still recommend one of Chromes small phone bags that fit directly onto the shoulder strap.  Regardless, my wheels are held extremely well and Chrome even thought to make the bag a tri-fold so that the wheels don’t have to lay directly on top of each other and have a buffer layer so as to not scratch them or ding up spokes, which is a big deal depending on how nice your wheels are.

I typically carry a change of clothes, a snack or sandwich, cassette tools and allens, extra tube, sealant, a few varying extras and 2, 80mm deep carbon wheels in this bag with comfort and confidence that none of it will get damaged or fall out.  When I do the wheel swap at the races everything is conveniently organized with the layout of this bag and easy to access.  There is still additional space in the bag too, so don’t think you’re going to be leaving other necessities at home.

After a good season of hauling wheels back and forth, the Driveway bag has held up extremely well and still looks brand new except for a few grease marks on the inside of the bag. Overall I give it a 5 stars out of 5 rating to the Sherman because I’m happy about every dollar I spent on it and the gas I’ll be saving by riding my bike to the races.

Come get one!




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