Monthly Archives: May 2017

Bigger is Better

Let’s talk a bit about road tires. Pretty boring stuff from the outside looking in but really your tires make a huge difference in your road ride.

Back in the day we were all on 23c. Cuz thats what was available. Or at least we thought. A few of us started using 25c tires quite a few years ago. Maybe it was around 2012 for me. When the racer dudes saw those tires they just could not fathom such a big tire. They thought bigger contact patch and more weight equals a slower breakfast ride.

I didn’t care cuz they were so much smoother. You could feel the difference. That tire, along with dropping pressure 10 pounds was so much more comfortable. And as far as the pressure drop, you just did not notice it due to the higher volume of the tire. More volume equals less pressure. To take this to extremes just look at a fat bike tire. It’s huge but only need 5 pounds of air. Same thing here. At least to a degree. Also with all the wider rims being all the rage these days the 25 or 28c tires fit much better than in years past.

So fast forward 5 years and now almost everybody is on 25c road tires. Maybe a few hard core holdouts on 23c’s.  The same guys that said 29in MTB wheels were never going to take off.

My road tire.

So now that everyone is on 25’s what do I do? Well, its now 28c for me. Im exclusively on 28c tires now at 100 pounds of air. And not that Im a fast guy cuz Im not but I do not feel any slower on the bigger rubber. Most road bikes now come with 25c tire stock from the manufacturer. Some, like my Trek Domane came with whopping 32c tires. The BMC’s I sell now are 28c from the factory.

Same thing with the MTB. And I dont mean fat bike. Back in the day I would race on 1.9in MTB tires. 29er of course. But smaller tire with like 50 pounds of air. Remember Im a bigger guy…

Today I look at a 3in plus tire and it looks normal if not small to me. True, I’ve been exclusively on a fat bike for years now and if I still raced MTB’s I most likely would be smaller but overall, even on stock bikes spec’d from the factory, the tires are all getting bigger. 2.2 or even 2.3’s on everything now. Even the cross country rigs.

Cross bike? In years past I was on the very commen 34\35c tires. Today its nothing less than 40c. And we dont call them cross bikes anymore, even tho they they are. Now its a gravel bike. Unless you race it, then its a cross bike. But if you just ride and dont race its a gravel bike. I’ve never understood that but for the sake of marketing I have jumped on the gravel bike bandwagon. Call it what you like, its a road bike with wider tires.

So if you have been cycling for over 20 years throw away all that you know about tires and get bigger. Especially if you are getting up in years as I am. It will make your riding experience safer in the woods and comfortable on the road.

Had a great 40 mile ride this morn. Those longer morning rides kinda wear me down for the rest of the day. But I dont mind.

It’s all part of the experience.


Remember Me?


Its been awhile since I posted anything. Ive either been too busy or just in the Holiday time off mode. I just had two days off in the store and thats not going to happen again for a long time so I wanted to distance myself from work as much as I could.

When I left the store Saturday, I took everything I thought I was going to need to ride with me. Both bikes and all the fixin’s needed. Turns out I only needed one of the bikes.

First off I gatta mention Saturday’s group ride. With losing an employee this was to be my last Saturday to ride longer and I decided to head over to the “other” group ride. This is the long standing ride that I have done for many years. Most of the guys who ride with me over winter then head out to this ride when its all road bikes. Its faster. So I showed up to this group for the first time in about 5 years.

As we rolled out of town I could feel I was in trouble. Long story short, I was off the back in less than 10 minutes. I was solo’ing a bit at 20mph+ for about 5 more minutes trying to catch up to no avail. I was dropped in less than 15 minutes. How embarrassing. I flipped it, watched them ride into the horizon and put in 30 more miles before I got back to to the store. I guess this ride is no longer an option for me.

There not much more left to say about that. You get older. You get slower. And of course my weight, as always, is a factor.

Sunday I woke to rain. I finally get a day off and it rains. But around noon the sun broke out and the road were dry. I acually grabbed the road bike and set it up with the Garmin and some water to put in a short hour ride in the afternoon but that just did not happen. Instead I went out to eat with the Fam. So Sunday was a wash. I did drive over to the lake to see the return of the Pelicans.


They come every spring and stop for a couple days on their way north. Here maybe two weeks. Then all gone.

Monday I headed out to the State trails of Greenbush with the Farley EX. This bike was made for the rocky bumpy trails out there. Met up with some old friends out there and that made it a nice ride. But my knees started to hurt a bit and could not ride with them long. But it was nice to get out on the MTB again and hope to do so a few times this week before work.

Before I headed out to the trails Monday I stopped by the lake to check out the Pelicans again and saw this boat.


The US Burns Harbor.  You can’t tell from this pic but this is one of maybe 5 ships on ther Great Lakes that is 1000 feet long. That’s 3 football fields. The ship was way out there. Full zoom on the camera.


Here is the Burns Harbour all iced in for the winter in Milwaukee several years ago. I think 2012.  Its cool to see a ship sail by again after a few years go by.

I spend some time on my fav bench this morn. I tried to yesterday before my ride but it seemed people were lined up and waiting to sit there. Understandable considering it was a Holiday. But today most are at work and I got it for myself for at least 30 minutes.


Was nice to relax a bit before work and I hope to do this a lot more in the near future.


You can see the boardwalk here. Ive also decided I need to walk more in the mornings that I dont ride so I’ve got two knee braces and will try to spend some time walking here. Since Im there anyway. Walking the boardwalk here will sort of kill two birds with one stone. Not that I want to kill any birds.


This moring I saw this guy on the beach. He\she took off before I could ready my camera, but got this shot in anyway. I did not throw a stone at it.

So a longer post today trying to cover almost a week. Today I sit down and pound out an entirely new work schedule with one less guy. Hopefully I can find some time in there to ride. Will see.


Oakley and Online

Im no longer selling Oakleys in my store. I’ve been a Oakley dealer for 9 years now and every year they get harder and harder to sell.

First off, they are the best. By far. No comparison. I would be hard pressed to wear anything else. Second off, they are the most expensive. Very pricey and not worth it to many but not me. I notice the difference between them and a cheaper sunglass.

So then why ditch them? Like everything else these days its the internet sales that take away the brick and mortar stores sales. And thats not exclusive to Oakley. But is much easier to do with sunglasses. Easy to ship. Sizing not that big a deal.

Why am I thinking of this now? I just bought two pair online for less than I paid as a dealer.

I just bought these Jawbreakers.

These glasses would have costed me $115 dollars as a dealer, retail for over $200. Its no wonder I could not sell a lot of these. Im sure the color is discontinued or something but so what. It’s hard to figure out how much sales my store loses to online. I can tell you its almost 100% of Shimano and Oakley (last year). You can buy Shimano at or below dealer cost in the UK. With a day or two shipping. More on this later.

A couple weeks ago I was up in Marquette and was hiking up Sugerloaf Mountain. I put my Oakley Carbon Blades ($400 retail) up on my hat and a half hour later they were gone. Fell off my head at some point. I hiked back a bit but no go. There was a ton of people hiking there and Im sure one of them scored a pair of nice Oakleys. I  was upset but nothing I could do so I moved on.

So then after I bought the Jawbreakers I went back to the site and bought these too.

Retail for $210. I paid $89 with Prizm polarized lens no less. Again, Im sure they are a discontinued item. But nice glasses for sure.

So this is what stores like mine put up with. I can’t compete with that. One would say: Why dont you just put your stuff online too? I could, but no way could I compete with those prices. I would pay more for the glasses than they are selling off these sites. So no, can’t do it.

Back to Shimano, I can, and have, bought Shimano parts off one of these websites for my store. How can they sell it cheaper to me than Shimano themselves can sell it to me? Here’s how.

Let’s say you’re a bike company in the UK. Doesn’t matter what country over there. Let’s say you build 1000 bikes a year and get a cut from Shimano parts for volume. Thats fair I guess. Let’s say Shimano gives you yet another price break at 2000 groups. They buy 2000 groups, use 1000 for their builds and sell off the other 1000 groups to a internet warehouse for a good profit. They get the stuff even cheaper AND get an extra revenue stream with the extra parts. For them its a win\win. For us its a loss.

And thats how parts are sold cheaper than bike stores can buy it. There are many companies working hard to stop that with their product. Sram is one. They do not allow any UK online company to sell to the US. Of course some stuff sneaks thru.

Bike stores as we know it have to change with the times. You have to assume your parts sales will decrease more and more in time. The sooner you make changes to accomodate that the better off you are. I am making changes.

And this is not just the bike industry. Store like Gander Mountain and other huge retail chains are dying by the month. Either you change the way to do business or die a slow fiscal death. So what’s it going to be?


Boring Weekend

As close as I got to a ride Sunday.

I guess by my standards the weekend was a bust. My Saturday moring ride was short. Then work was slow. Then rain moved in mid afternoon.

I was supposed to head up to Marquette and I held hope right up to early Sunday morn. But I got up to rain at 6am and went back to bed. After I finally got up it was cold, wet and foggy so I just went in to work. I can get a lot of paperwork done alone when the store is closed.

But as I finished entering bill into my Quickbooks I looked out and the sun was shining. I walked outside and it was 20 degrees warmer. This was around noonish so I quickly finished up and grabbed my bike and stuff to ride and headed home.

By the time I got home, the wind switched back off the lake, it dropped 20 degrees (again) and was cloudy. That took the wind out of my sails so I went inside and took a nap. Then got up and cut the grass and needed to wear a jacket to do it. Pretty depressing since I had a 20 minute window to ride and missed it. Really I could have rode but I was just tired of wearing all the winter clothes still. That get old in late May.

I really could have used a couple days away to ride my bike this weekend. But when the weather dudes called for 70% chance of rain on Sunday and 40% for today I just could not risk spending the money.  And its sunny here now so that adds to the disappointment. Maybe another weekend will work out. But that will leave only one person in the store for two days. That’s not favorable.

I did not get my 6 hour riding goal last week but I was surprisingly close. Like within 20 minutes. I thought it would have been much less with the crappy weather.

Anyway, Im thinking a little MTBing this week before work. I’ve only got two rides on it and both were about a hour about two weeks ago.

That’s it for today. Pretty boring stuff.