Tag Archives: bicycle

Are you riding the right bike? How can you tell?

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2 Headlights, 2 taillights, camera, Garmin computer, what, me, geeked out?

Many people, perhaps most, aren’t riding the right bike. Know how you can tell? Could be because you’re not on it right now. Do you look for reasons to ride someplace? Or do you drive because it’s more convenient?

I bring this up because this morning by daughter, who works in our Redwood City store, had to drive to work today (ear infection so she’s been told not to ride, and, unlike me, she’s sensible and does what the doctor says). It would be super-easy to just get in the car with her and go to work, and later drive home. Avoid the 400ft climb home and having to take a shower before dinner.

Umm… no. I’d much rather ride. I feel alive on my bike. It fits great, it feels like it wants to fly with every pedal stroke. My mind is engaged as I share the road with others, whereas in a car I’d be in drone mode.

On my commute home I often tell myself that I’m going to take it easy, but after the first two stop lights you get to are green, it’s inevitably all-systems-go for a fast ride home. My bike expects this. It’s dark, but I’m lit up with two tail lights, two headlights. Cars see me from a distance, and I live for that sound of their tires over bots dots, telling me they’re moving over to give me room. A long day at work and my bike has put me in the zone.

I get home breathless (I live at the end of that 400ft climb) and I’m still breathing hard when I enter the house. My wife asks if I’m OK, and I’m thinking, day after day, this is what I am, this is what my bike and I do, I’m not only OK but I’m alive.

So what is the “right bike?” It’s the bike that you can’t walk past without wanting to get out and ride. It’s the bike that you go out on a 70 mile ride earlier in the day and then later you might be running errands in a car, seeing other bikes on the road, and asking yourself why you’re not out riding. What makes such a bike so special? It’s the way it just seems to become a part of you when you’re on it. The feeling that IronMan gets when he puts on his suit. Maybe it’s super-light, maybe it’s got a custom paint job, maybe you live for that perfectly-shifting gear change you get with electric Di2 shifting.

It doesn’t have to be a fast high-end road bike. It might be a hybrid commuter, or a beautifully-styled cruiser. It could be a kid’s first bike. But I’d be really happy if it’s a Trek (or an Electra if a cruiser) from Chain Reaction, because that means we didn’t just sell a bike… we helped create a happier, healthier bike-person.

So where should you buy your next bike? From us, of course, because this is the dream we live for. If you just want to buy a bike because it’s the thing to do and everyone else has one, and it’s just going to sit around like so many other short-term “seemed like a good idea at the time” things, well, there’s lots of places for that. It would be a failure on my part for that to happen. But if you want to risk a life-changing experience, come to us. That’s what we live for. –Mike Jacoubowsky, Partner, Chain Reaction Bicycles

New Years Day Mt Hamilton ride details (check road conditions before heading out, due to fire)

Late-breaking news- due to a large grass fire near Grant Ranch, the road up Mt Hamilton might be closed. You may be able to get up-to-date info here; if there’s a yellow triangle on the map, click on it for any reference to road issues. You should also check the Caltrans site here. If both make no reference to road closures, we should be ok. –Mike–

We’re doing the annual New Years Day Mt Hamilton ride a bit differently this year, getting off to a much later-than-normal start because we’re taking the train! Anyone interested in joining us, we’ll be on the #422 CalTrain (the earliest southbound train on the holiday schedule) which leaves Redwood City at 9:07 and arrives in San Jose at 9:51am. From there plan on a 40 minute ride to the base of Mt Hamilton, so 10:30 should see us ready to go.

CalTrain #422 stops EVERYWHERE so you can join us anyplace along the way. If you haven’t taken a bike on CalTrain before, you’ll be placing it on a rack that stacks up to three other bikes next to it. I doubt the train will have that many bikes, but if it does, the potential for getting a scratch of two does exist. Also, good idea to write your final destination on a piece of masking tape and attach it to the top tube. For me, that would mean writing “REDWOOD CITY <======> SAN JOSE”. That way, on the way back in particular, people know not to stack a bike in front of yours if you’re getting off first.

Tickets for CalTrain have to be purchased BEFORE boarding, so allow a few minutes before arriving at the train station. Machines do take credit cards, even for small amounts.

If we start up the hill at 10:30, faster riders will be at the top by 12, slower riders 12:45 or so. Plan on spending 30 minutes at the top if it’s a beautiful day (which it should be!) and bring a camera! Also, bring crisp dollar bills for the coke machine. It will not accept soggy bills, so put them into a baggie and seal it. The descent is very long and not as fast as you’d think, so plan on an hour and a half ride back to the station, maybe even a bit longer. Returning trains leave from San Jose Caltrain every hour, on the hour, except for an extra train tossed in at 5:35pm. If you leave the top at 1pm, you should be able to make the 3pm return train.

If interested, send an email to MikeJ@ChainReaction.com so I have some idea if anyone’s coming. Not that it matters if it’s just two of us or 10… this ride goes on, no matter what.

The weather is expected to be in the upper 60s in San Jose but we could see as low as mid-40s on the climb and descent, so I’d recommend leg warmers, a light base layer, regular gloves and another pair of full-fingered, and a lightweight jacket. Hopefully you won’t need the extra clothing, but if you do, you’ll be really glad you brought it.

One last thing. Bring whatever you need to eat because, aside from cokes, you’ll be nowhere near a place you can buy food for four hours! Don’t risk bonking. It’s a long climb and you’re going to burn up a lot of calories.

–Mike–