January 2013

Scout-A-Route: McKinney Falls

Date: January 5, 2013 @ 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Date: January 12, 2013 @ 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Location: - Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop
400 Nueces
Austin, Texas

This 20 mile out and back ride provides a variety of riding terrain (flat, climbs, descents).  The shorter group stops at the park for a break and to regroup. Then heads back to the shop.  There is a 6 mile extension option (for a total of 26 miles) that continues past the park, regrouping at the gas station on the corner of Salt Springs and Thaxton. We continue on Salt Springs to Willlian Cannon. Once back on Mckinney Falls Pkwy, we head back the way we rode out.

These rides are co-hosted by Mellow Johnny’s and the Austin Cycling Association.  This no-drop, co-ed group ride is perfect for the cyclist new to riding or bike commuting, returning to the bike or just looking for a more casual ride.  The routes are designed to help riders navigate the city bike routes and other safe bike commuting options.

Thank you for making this a popular Saturday morning ride.  In response, we are now hosting two groups for this ride.  The first group is designed for those who can average 14-16mph for 20-30 miles with one or two regrouping points.  This group follows the same route but is provided with an extended mileage option.

The second group is our traditional Scout-a-Route.  We average 12mph for distances between 15-25 miles with regrouping points.

Both rides are intended to explore, so leave your heart rate monitor at home, bring some spare dollars for the occasional refreshment stop and enjoy the view.

General group ride expectation:  helmet, bike in good working condition, water and nutrition, flat changing tools, and no headphones/radios.  We encourage you to ride your bike down.  If you do drive, please park in the street.

For pre-ride coffee or snack, meet at Juan Pelota Café a half hour before ride time.

Questions or information contact rides@mellowjohnnys.com.

Tuesday Morning Blazing Saddle Ride

Date: January 8, 2013 @ 6:15 am to 8:45 am
Date: January 15, 2013 @ 6:15 am to 8:45 am
Date: January 22, 2013 @ 6:15 am to 8:45 am
Date: January 29, 2013 @ 6:15 am to 8:45 am
Location: - Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop
400 Nueces
Austin, Texas

Join Mellow Johnny’s and Team 787Racing for a blazing fast morning road ride.  Meet at the shop for a 6:15am sharp roll out.  This ride is for the cyclist who wants to put in some fast miles before heading off to work.  It is NOT a “no drop” ride.  Rides average 20+mph, covering ~40 miles (2-2.5 hours) of hill work in West Austin. So, if you can’t keep up, you may find yourself rolling along solo.

***LIGHTS ARE A MUST*** (this time of year)

General group ride expectation: Lights, helmet, road bike in good working condition, water and nutrition, flat changing tools, bike lights and no headphones.  We encourage you to ride your bike down but if you are driving, please park in the street.

For more information or questions contact Stephanie or Julie at ride@mellowjohnnys.com

You can contact bike rentals at http://www.mellowjohnnys.com/products-and-service/rentals/

Give Your Bike a Bath

Date: January 11, 2013 @ 2:39 pm
Location:

Prevent Catastrophic Failure for $20. Give your Bike a Bath.


By Dave Ryther, Service Manager

[caption id="attachment_8291" align="alignleft" width="201" caption="A Dirty Superfly"][/caption]

You’ve proven your mettle building your base mileage on cold and wet Texas roads. You’ve made your commute down dusty Town Lake trails as others sat in their warm cars. You’ve poured out every ounce of fluid your body holds during indoor trainer sessions. What did you do when you were done? Probably took a shower, right?

Meanwhile, your bike sits festering in its own filth.  Give it a bath.

You wash your car. You wash your dog. Why not your bike?

Your bike needs much more frequent cleaning in the winter months than you might think to remove

[caption id="attachment_8292" align="alignright" width="201" caption="Getting Sudsy"][/caption]the grit, sweat, and foreign matter that attaches your ride. The finer dusts that accumulate on a bike from trail usage and drought parched road shoulders are extremely abrasive and eat away at the important tolerances that allow modern drive trains to work as well as they do. Trainer sweat is loaded with corrosives that may be invisible when they leave your body, but allowing them to build up and dry will encourage chemical processes that can eat through bolts and handlebars in no time, creating a recipe for part failure and potentially terrible injury.

The solution to sludge removal is simple: Mellow Johnny’s professional bike wash!

As with everything we do in the MJ’s service department, our bike washes and lubes are top of the line. Drop off your bike in the morning (as early as 7am, no appointment necessary) and we’ll

[caption id="attachment_8293" align="alignleft" width="201" caption="Clean and Ready to Ride"][/caption]

hand a bike back to you by noon that will look as fresh as the day it was born, lubed and ready to bite off whatever you feed it. Our wash process and special cleaners remove the volatiles that have worked their way into your chain, derailleur and even under your bar tape. We can slow the degradation process that, if left unchecked, creates a constant need for costly parts replacement. It’s a little soapy prevention that can keep that your bike safe and performing to the standard you expect. Not bad for $20.

Tubeless Tires Demystified

Date: January 16, 2013 @ 9:43 pm
Location:

Tubeless Road Wheels 411


By Will Black

While tubeless tire technology has been around for quite some time on mountain bike, it is only now starting to become

[caption id="attachment_8337" align="alignright" width="202" caption="Tubeless Tire and Rim"][/caption]commonplace in the road bike world. The set up is just as the name suggests—you no longer have an inner tube, which achieves both an almost flat-proof setup and improves overall ride quality. Let’s cover the characteristics and advantages first, then we’ll take you through the conversion process.

By removing the tube you have completely eliminated pinch flats. These are caused when you hit a hole or object which compresses the tire in such a way that the tube gets pinched between the rim and the tire. Eliminating the tube eliminates the pinch. The other culprit of flat tires is punctures from debris we encounter on road shoulders. While a large cut or tear will still cause a failure, any of the typical stone, glass, or small metal shards will now be sealed and repaired on the fly by a tubeless-sealant system.

Ride quality improves with tubeless systems because of lower tire pressure required. Most tubeless tires are inflated in the 90-100 pound range, which not only allows the tire to work more effectively as a shock absorber but also improves both cornering traction and decreases rolling resistance. Softer tires means more surface on the road more of the time.

The most common question is, “but what do I do if I get a flat?” Simple answer, you got back to pre-tubeless time and install a tube just as you would with a normal tubed tire. Just remove the tubeless valve installed on you rim and replace it with the new inner tube.

[caption id="attachment_8338" align="alignright" width="205" caption="Tubeless Kit"][/caption]

While we won't say you will never have another flat, we do believe you have now greatly decreased the likelihood, and you’ve made your bike ride better in the process. We think it’s a winning proposition.

Bike Setup


First, have to have a tubeless ready rim. Several bikes are coming from the factory with them already installed and they will call this out on the rim to let you know that they are compatible. You cannot run this system if your rim is not compatible, as it will allow the tire to "blow" off the rim due to the bead of the rim not holding the tire firmly enough. Second, you’ll need to use a tubeless ready tire. It will hold onto the bead of the rim and seal properly.

Now that we have that out of the way, the next step is to install a tubeless rim strip and valve, which will completely seal your rim internally. Now you are ready to install your tubeless-ready tire and the sealant, which is basically the same procedure to install a standard innertube. Depending on the sealant, it typically takes 1-2 ounces. Read the instructions on the sealant packaging.

Zombie Pizza: Pedicab Diaries

Date: January 16, 2013 @ 9:52 pm
Location:

By Sarah Mattson








When I started pedicabbing a few months ago for some extra cash, little did I know the hilarity that I would be so blessed to witness night after night.  Around 2:10 am a rolling wave of insatiable hunger overcomes street-goers of Austin. Unassuming tourists, besties hanging out, college parents, bouncers, even entire bachelorette parties, all, without warning, transform into.... Pizza Zombies. With diminished coordination and blubbering motor skills they stagger the streets shoveling melty pizza flesh towards their emotionless faces. More often than not, pizza falls sadly to the curb, only to be retrieved by an opportunistic zombie who scoops up a handful of fateful street pepperoni. Unaware that their shoes are missing or their cell phone is on the ground these zombies are less than terrifying. I gladly take them to their destinations for the appropriate monetary fee. This wonderful spectacle is just one of many great aspects of the pedicab business. Laughter, tears, rage-- all a part of the night-time drama on the streets of Austin. As a personal chauffeur, I am able to interact with the excitement yet maintain a comfortable level of stealth to avoid controversy.


Early evenings are very peaceful tending to the pleasant dinner crowd or the convention center visitors. Other times when rides are sparse, there are hours of down-time to spend drinking coffee and loitering with other pedi-friends. On a good night it’s nonstop action.  Cabs are zipping around the streets: racing one another, pulling round corners, tearing through alleys. It is one of the only jobs that I am aware of that your daily salary is directly proportionate to the amount of time and effort you put into it. The harder, the longer the ride, the more you connect with your patrons, the better tip you will receive. Ideally. There are always exceptions to this rule, for relying on people’s generosity is constant gamble. Patrons are a mixed bag of characters with unique backgrounds and varying stories. I find it’s best to be open minded and give anyone a ride anywhere for whatever price is reasonable to them.


Pedicabbing is a fantastic job for a bike-lover-outside person. What cyclist wouldn’t want to pedal around and use those legs to make money?  Being a private contractor with the liberty to work whenever you feel like it is pretty dang rad as well.  All it takes is good health, a slight knowledge of Austin locale and the initiative to fraternize with strangers.  With the right attitude and several weeks in the saddle ringing that darn bell, the ability to haul 3 full-grown humans to West campus or up a 7% grade to their hotel may be obtainable.  Acute mental prowess of the streets will increase, pants won’t fit due to massive thigh bulge and spontaneous conversations arise with absolutely anyone. Money will be made or not. No matter what the night brings, if nothing else, I will have created the appropriate caloric deficit to for a slice of pizza.

Ladies' Night at Mellow Johnny's

Date: January 17, 2013 @ 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Location:

Ladies' Night at Mellow Johnny's!
Thursday January 17th 7pm-9pm & Thursday February 7th 7pm-9pm

Arrange a babysitter, ditch your TPS reports, or call your BFF... it’s ladies’ night at Mellow Johnny’s! Join us for an open house and a 1hr clinic on cycling just for you.  Clinic will cover topics like comfort and fit on the bike,  maintenance tips, techniques, and how-tos. And, leave you feeling more confident, knowledgeable, and inspired to enjoy your time on the bike.  Our store will be open after with a chance to ask any individual questions you may have and get to know our staff.

Ladies' night is free and will provide wine and cheese. RSVP to Lauren to reserve your night. Limit 25.

Scout-a-Route Ride: Southern Culture (off the grid)

Date: January 19, 2013 @ 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Location: - Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop
400 Nueces
Austin, Texas

This 18-mile route takes us south of downtown via Bouldin, rolling through the Emerald Forest to South 1st Street and back.

These rides are co-hosted by Mellow Johnny’s and the Austin Cycling Association.  This no-drop, co-ed group ride is perfect for the cyclist new to riding or bike commuting, returning to the bike or just looking for a more casual ride.  The routes are designed to help riders navigate the city bike routes and other safe bike commuting options.

Thank you for making this a popular Saturday morning ride.  In response, we are now hosting two groups for this ride.  The first group is designed for those who can average 14-16mph for 20-30 miles with one or two regrouping points.  This group follows the same route but is provided with an extended mileage option.

The second group is our traditional Scout-a-route.  We average 12mph for distances between 15-25 miles with regrouping points.

Both rides are intended to explore, so leave your heart rate monitor at home, bring some spare dollars for the occasional refreshment stop and enjoy the view.

General group ride expectation:  helmet, bike in good working condition, water and nutrition, flat changing tools,  and no headphones/radios.  We encourage you to ride your bike to the ride but if you are driving, please, park in the street.

For pre-ride coffee or snack, meet at Juan Pelota Café a half hour before ride time.

Questions or information contact Stephanie or Julie at ride@mellowjohnnys.com .

Bike rentals http://www.mellowjohnnys.com/products-and-service/rentals/

Single Bike Rider Seeks Long Term Motivation

Date: January 30, 2013 @ 12:06 pm
Location:

When the remote control is more attractive than the pedals, what moves you?

By Thomas Miller

When I was 29 years old I jumped on the Ironman band wagon.  Having never done a triathlon before, I signed up for Ironman Brazil with the goal of completing an Ironman before the age of thirty.  It was a ridiculous and terrible idea.  This may be hard to believe, but the body needs a little time to adapt to the training volume required to complete a long distance triathlon.  During that time I was constantly plagued by IT band issues, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, etc.  I bought an aluminum Motobecane that I ordered off the internet for $195 (huge mistake, by the way) and had the distinct honor of being the only person in the entire event to have downtube shifters on their bike.

Everything was shiny and new.  I was embarking on some madcap adventure half way across the planet, learning new things daily and making huge leaps in fitness.  For whatever reason I had decided to change my lifestyle and motivation was never a question.  My motivation was my utter ignorance of it all.

It’s now been six years since that race.  In that time I’ve done approximately a billion more triathlons, a decent number of road races, duathlons, cyclocross races, and even a few trail runs.  I’ve worked in bike shops for 5 ½ of those 6 years, and generally ride my bike daily.  Truly, this is my chosen career and I know for a fact that the bicycle has changed my life in many positive ways.

But I’m tired.

This winter I’ve been sick or traveling and spending more time on my Wii than on the road.  It’s cold and miserable and what the hell am I training for?  A mid-pack finish in another local race?  Geez, I’m finding a hard time getting out the door for that.  As Greg Lemond famously quipped, “It doesn’t get any easier, you just go faster.”  Training and racing are always terrifically painful, so why sign up for a mediocre result.

I’m too old. I started too late. I like beer a little too much.

Then I thought about the last time I rode by myself and how I figured out the secret of life, if just for a moment.  Then my friends suggested a training camp in Kerrville and that sounded fun.  Then I saw some maniac riding a double decker bike down Lamar and saw the Rapha Team Sky kit the very same day.  And finally, I remembered that I have the ability to define my experience.

Racing can be life consuming and uber serious, but cruising to East Side Pies can be life affirming and hilarious.  I wasn’t tired of cycling.  I’m just tired of the way I’ve been cycling recently.

So, here we go.  My advice, for what it’s worth.  If you’re having a tough time staying motivated this winter, just take a step back.  Think about when you first started cycling and all of the mistakes you’ve made along the way.  Think of the short cuts you’ve found and the great neighborhoods you’ve ridden through.  Think about those climbs that you used to fear and the way you attack them now.  The satisfaction of an early morning ride and how it just puts you in a better mood for the rest of the day.  Rent a mountain bike for a day, or ride without an agenda.  Try commuting to work or take a night ride through downtown.  Remember that this is supposed to be fun.

And if none of that works, watch this.