Monday, October 31, 2011

Don't Forget How to Ride

Well I got in a surf and I got in a fun little adventure on my bike this weekend. Unfortunately I went to the Indian Casino Sunday afternoon and lost money that was meant for a new handlebar and seat post for my new frame. Luckily, we tend to forget the bad and remember the good when it comes to memories, at least I do.(Hubby's gonna disagree with that statement) What I'm trying to say is I had a good weekend.
For the past week I've been thinking about my first bike, I could of sworn it was an electric blue Schwinn BMX. I was wrong. I'm kind of glad though because the real 1st bike is a little more girlier than what I thought I had. Although, now that I see it, I think it's my brother's hand me down. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I scoured my parents photo albums and found this early piece of Freebird Velo history. Look at that, just like today- I'm still trying to get aero but only able to drop a couple of inches. Still got scratched up limbs and a determined look. I love how riding can turn you into a child. I love it, it happens to me every time I go out for a ride. I hoot, sing, stop to look at random animals, pick up weird crap in the street. Of course, I get a little more serious when I have to start pedaling upwards or try to keep up with others, but I always tend to let out a giggle or two, maybe spout off lines from Caddyshack. I keep it real, I'm not pro, I don't race. I even gave up racing hubby because apparently he thinks my Thomas Voekler impression is hilarious and he can't race me while laughing. Sad thing is I wasn't trying to impersonate him. Riding is fun, keep it that way, and be safe out there.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Do You Neon?

George was ahead of the game

Which camp do you fall into? Do you dare not leave your house in pre-dawn hours without your high-visibility neon-pea jacket? Or do you sacrifice some visibility for a bit of common fashion sense. In recent years we have seen fluorescent jackets take over charity rides and Stateside gran fondos. For some reason being in a group of 500 to 1000 cyclists isn't safe enough for some people, they have to don their neon-garb, even if it's 80 degrees and blindingly bright. Most days I can spot at least one jacket or vest while I'm out riding. Up until recently Sugoi and Canari were the only brands that had a corner on the fluoro market. You could walk into any massive sports retail store and find the cycling section by following the soft neon glow of sub par wind jackets. Nowadays more brands are hopping on the neon band-wagon.
This is not me, It's the Tiny Neon Girl

Don't get me wrong, I understand where these people are coming from. They maybe had some close calls, have known someone who has gotten hit, watched the news or read an article about how dangerous it is to ride around on 2 wheels. Therefore they follow the soft neon glow in their local Sportchalet and find the neon-jacket that will protect them from agitated soccer moms and teen drivers. I have had close calls with both types of drivers but never once have I thought about buying high visibility clothing, I just keep my eyes and ears open. I have never owned a single piece of neon cycling gear, although I'm sorry to say I wore nothing but neon skiing gear in the 80's, on the mountain only. Not a good decade for me, besides the fact I was kind of pudgy. That may have been where my hatred for bright clothing originated.

Smart and Classy just like…uh,
not like me.

This all changed when Embrocation Cycling Journal came out with their Hi-Viz shoe covers this spring. I got scared because I had visions of hot pink ski pants and neon purple parkas, what if my OCD comes back, I have a tendency of going overboard when I like something. I did some more research on the shoe covers and I'm ready to buy. I then thought about maybe picking up a brighter jacket for the dark and danky winter season. I personally am going for the Rapha rain jacket in red. I needed more of a rain jacket, but the Rapha yellow Pro-jacket gets style points, maybe when it goes on sale.
My cold weather/rain jacket of choice this year

Assos Air Jack Jacket
If you can afford it, congratulations

I've seen research where green is the most visible color while driving, I'm in a rush so I can't find the exact article but I did read it, I swear. I think the Assos Air Jack seems perfect for winter riding, sans douchey model. It's bright but not annoyingly bright, plus, who wouldn't want to look like a june bug. Red is a good go to color too, you can see it and it's classic looking. I understand that neon yellow and green is the optimum color when riding at dusk and dawn but I believe that if you have bright enough lights and reflective stripes/bands on your clothing the cars aren't gonna get you. Riding is dangerous, we except it every time we throw our leg over the top tube. You guys can buy/wear whatever you want, I'm just giving my opinion on what I like when it comes to being seen while riding. Have at it.

The Rapha Brevet Jersey and Vest gets an honorable mention. I saw it at the Rahpa store up in San Fransisco and fell in love with it, alas, I sacrificed it for the Woman's Vest. It has reflective stripes on both the jersey and vest. The vest is bright pink and is kind of reminiscent of my 80's ski days, I guess that's why I liked it so much .

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sharing the Love

I had a bit of a conundrum this weekend. It was perfect Southern California Fall weather, 80 degrees, sunny, breezy. It's perfect weather for a nice long ride, or…. for a surf. Yes I said it, surf. I want to go surf. I haven't been down to the beach for a month and it's killing me. I love my bike and I had a blast riding this weekend, but I'm lacking something. I miss having salt water drip out of my nose, the smell of fresh wax, the sound of Velcro, I even miss dancing over rocks at low tide. What I wouldn't do right now for a bruise or cut on the bottom of my foot.

I'm a very guilty person. I feel like I'm cheating on my bike when I go surf. I love my bike, way too much. I named her, I talk to her, I even pat her on the handlebars and thank her when we had an especially good ride. When we stay in hotels I put her by the bed so I can look at her while I fall asleep. I even told my hubby that the next house we get needs a big bedroom so I can hang the bikes in there. This makes me sound like a lunatic but it's all true, I blame my Mom, she had the same obsession with her car. I don't have this connection with my surfboard. I love it, but I don't love it, love it. My connection/love with surfing comes from being in the ocean. Nature can be incredible, I've barked with sea lions 2 feet away from me, had dolphins breach right in front of me (too close for comfort actually), and have watched biblical sunsets. By the way, salt water cures everything. It's the truth, mental, physical ailments, it's a cure-all. It's like Windex for Greeks.
Don't get me wrong, cycling can also let you enjoy nature, and if you're lucky enough you can earn your right to some amazing vistas and some real hidden gems, just pedal. Another characteristic that cycling and surfing share is the feeling you get while doing them, weightlessness. Gliding across the face of a wave is like no other feeling in the world, and a twisty, smoothly paved, perfectly pitched descent can make you hoot with abandon. Like a floaty bird. I love them both and I'm lucky to have the ability to do them on a regular basis. But as cyclists we should all count our blessings every time we click into our pedals that we are able to do what we do and share this sport with such an amazing group of people. That's probably one of the biggest reasons why I ride more than surf.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Word of the Day

Oh, my, is that one of my shirts? I'm sorry.
But if you'd like one go here.

There's a word that seems to be burning through the cycling world these days. You probably already know it. The word of the day is suffering. Now I understand when lay people hear us speak of this word at the cafe or see us wearing a t-shirt relating to it they might hear and see something completely different. Yes there is bad suffering; cancer, poverty, depression. But there is also a good kind of suffering. The kind that makes us stronger, creates bonds between strangers, cramps our legs into the shape of Bavarian pretzels, and can at times make us giggle manically due to the early onset of bonkdom.
Yeah, there is something special about suffering on a bicycle, and it's different for everybody, it's relative. One man's slight rise on the horizon is another man's 13%. I found this 60's Tour documentary on Competitive Cyclist's blog this morning and absolutely fell in love with it. The beginning shows spectators having picnics with wine, bread, and cheese, nun's giving the thumbs up, and of course the publicity caravan. Now wait until after the Bar/bistro bombardments and we get to the crash segment which leads to the suffering. Wait some more and you get to rider #20. I have never seen anybody push themselves like he did. I don't know if it's courageous or foolish. I won't spoil the rest of the video for you, just watch and learn.

Andy Hampsten was made famous for suffering
during the 1988 Giro.

I know I may have not felt exactly like #20 but I've come kind of close, well not even close, but remember, it's relative. On an out and back ride we had 30 mph head and cross winds on the last half of a 62 mile ride. First half of ride we had an average speed of 20 mph, that nasty second half was an average speed of 9 mph. Not fun. Correction, not fun at the time but now I can look back on the ride and laugh about it and look forward to the next bought of accidental stupidity.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's Coming! The Big Sale is Coming!

It's almost here everybody, the SALE OF EPIC PORPORTIONS is a couple of days away. I need to clear out older stock to make room for new designs. What makes this sale so EPIC? Here, take a peek at what will be happening this weekend:

-Half-off all pre-printed* t-shirts (*sample t-shirts used for photos, advertised size only)

-Free FBV t-shirt with the purchase of any art work

-New t-shirt designs at one time amazingly low prices

-New paintings! buy 'em now for investment, you never know, I may
become famous, plus you get a free t-shirt.

-Feel good about your purchase knowing you're supporting a
homegrown cycling company. Good Karma is priceless.
Freebird Velo is a one girl operation. I'm the one girl, a self professed cycling addict who loves to create. FreeBird Velo HQ's is based in Redlands, Southern California. A lovely little cycling town known for the longest running stage race in America. Needless to say I'm spoiled when it comes to riding conditions, but I do love it when the weather turns a bit nasty.
All the t-shirt designs you see on the shop are a one of a kind creation, you won't see these on other cycling websites. You'll know it's original when you see Maurice, the cycling pigeon. He's named after the winner of the first Tour de France. I chose a pigeon because that's what we (cyclists) look like after a long ass ride, all dazed and confused but with a bit of a smile. All items on the FBV Etsy shop are screen printed by hand, one by one as the orders come in. I take great care in each order and I pride myself in the quality and uniqueness of each item. So wear your FreeBird Velo tees with pride and show your passion for the best sport in the world.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bike shop of the Week

I'm introducing a new feature to Freebird Velo: BIKE SHOP OF THE WEEK, which may turn into bike shop of the month, or even bike shop of the year, who knows, I can be flaky when it comes to computer work. I like bike shops, too much if you ask my hubby, he's always accompanying me to random shops across California. I know online shops are a pain in the local bike shops ass, cheaper prices, wider selection, and just plain easy. But online shops are missing something: tactility and community.

We need to touch these bikes and parts that we lust after. We need to ride them, lift them, ping the carbon with your fingers, admire the craftsmanship of a steel bike. Take my handlebars for example- I know it made a huge difference when I was looking to be able to hold and compare about 10-15 different bars. Yes this quest lasted over the course of a month and 7 different shops but I ended up finding what I think to be the best bars in the world. I couldn't say the same for my hubby, he bought his online and had to return them because they were a complete mis-fit. We also need to visit shops for camaraderie, whether it's chit chatting with the manager or watching the mechanic work on your baby. And be nice to your local mechanic, you may need a quick fix sometime and they're more likely to help you out if you treat them kindly. Bring em cookies or beer, depending on who you're working with and how much you know them. Support your local bike shop dammit! Now, here we go.

I'd like to introduce my first shop Velo Pasadena. I visited the shop when I first switched over from mountain to road. Since they're an hour away my visits aren't as plenty as I'd liked but each visit made has been worth my while. Open since 1988 by Hrach Gevrikyan, ex-pro road racer and Armenian National Champion. The shop has everything: cycling history, classic steel, beautiful new carbon, good clothing selection, all with a splash of Italian: De Rosa, Colnago, Campagnolo, Capo(I know, US, but it's made in Italy), Castelli, and 3T. Check out the display of vintage Campy, I do every time and I can't get enough. Hanging from the ceiling are vintage bikes that any aficionado would love to have in their collection. It's almost sensory overload so take your time. When you're done drooling head over to Intelligentsia's Pasadena Cafe, num, num coffee. I love Pasadena, it's probably my favorite city in Los Angeles, it's clean, there's good shopping, great food, and it's one of the most bike friendly cities in Southern California, definitely worth the trip.

2562 East Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA

55 East Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA