The Redbeard Blog / red is faster

  • T-Town Time

    “Pushing off at around 5am. Have room, as it's just me and the bikes. The bikes are usually well-behaved and will let you nap.”

    – Jeff Meyer, Pink Rhino

    All the way to T-Town, Jeff never touches the brakes. Black road, brilliant sky spool out, and out, carrying us into Jersey and then Pennsylvania.

    The wind at the open windows, is a relief, after weeks trapped in heat dome city.

    We talk over the wind, about our Brooklyn neighborhoods, the changing city, coffee rituals, the art and discipline of racing bikes. We talk about night rides and morning people. About time, about racing at thirty-five versus racing at eighteen.

    In less than two hours, we pull into the Java Joint, a drive-through coffee cart. Fueled up, we go another two hundred meters, and spill out of the car.

    This, is T-Town. You've heard so much about it from your friends. Your fastest friends. And now you are here, and it is smaller than you imagined, but also far, far bigger.


    You cross the footbridge into the infield, crowded with colorful tents.

    “If you're waking up, and the alarm clock is going off, that means you're alive,” you hear a coach tell a racer. “There's no alarm clocks on the other side, as far as I've heard.”

    Over the next hour, the bustle picks up, as riders shimmy into their skin suits, warm up on rollers, tinker with their bikes. They change wheels, cogs. They go over the rules for bike check, the minimum weight, the maximum distance between seat and bars, etc. They put bottles of ice on their backs. Some throw on ice vests.

    It's ninety-something degrees in Trexlertown, PA, and the track is open for warm-up. It's got the festive air of an ice-skating rink. Festive but nervous.

    You stand, on the bridge, and look down at the sunlit wooden track. A team passes beneath you in tight formation. It's like looking into a very clear Caribbean sea, and seeing a school of fish: very organized, matching, fast fish.

    Your heart, somersaults.


    It's nine o'clock on a Wednesday morning. The bleachers are empty, save for a few spectators in the top row. They are hoarding the scant shade up there. You join them. You throw a scarf over your legs, and fix your gaze on the track.

    The track, is a giant, unblinking, sunlit eye, on which a thrilling ballet is about to transpire.


    “Up up up up up up!”

    This is what the coaches yell at the racers every time they come around the track.


    It's not a word, it's a sound. It's the bellow of a warrior.


    Your vision feels sharper than usual: high contrast and zero shadow.

    But you struggle to understand the announcer. He's telling you little tidbits about the racers' lives in between rattling off times and speeds.

    “...says he wants to be a commercial pilot.”

    You understand only that the times are very fast, the speeds very high. The differences between one rider and another, one team and another, are minute.

    And you understand, also: “Redbeard Racing.”

    Mark Wagner. Evan Thomson. Nick Baker.

    Those are your names. Your people.

    Your people, qualify for the Team Sprint. Your heart, is full.


    “Hurry up and wait,” is the maxim of track racing. There is so much down time between races.

    You hang out in the tent with the Redbeard Racing and Pink Rhino boys, and Amelia. Amelia is the only girlfriend around. She jokes about an abacus on which she tracks Mark Wagner's drinking and peeing.

    BJ Ohlson of Pink Rhino finds out that he needs to clear out of his Airbnb earlier than he thought. He's sent his dad to collect his stuff, now he's on the phone with him.

    “Just tell me what you see and I'll tell you if it's mine," he says. "The towels are not mine. The Garmin charger is mine. Just the one bag. Yes. No. Yes. That's it. That's everything.”

    You catch Amelia's eye. She giggles. "I love having a playmate."

    Mark is spinning out his legs. The whirr of the trainer is a lullaby. You close your eyes, and doze.


    In between sessions you all hit the Applebee's for cherry limeade.

    The boys make short work of the lunch you order, but cannot eat. You are sated with sun, and excitement.


    Evening. Time for the team sprint final. After an agonizing delay due to technical difficulties at the start – the race is on – and over before you know it.

    Your people come in six-tenths of a second too slow.


    “This is yours. You've earned this.”

    A coach is yelling to his rider, who has broken away from the pack. He seems to have a decent lead, you think he's golden. But it's only lap 38 of 75 and a lot can still happen, and a lot does happen, and in the end, he does not win.

    A rider rolls off the track, his Garmin in his teeth. Time, in his teeth.

    Time, is different here. A T-Town minute is not a minute. It is, a lifetime.


    You catch the Beiber bus back to NYC, where you realize that the energy of Times Square is a blip, compared to the energy of T-Town.

    The sunburnt tops of your feet, confirm that the day was not a dream.


    Words and photos by Kasia Nikhamina

  • Don't miss this weekend of riding!

    We've got two rides this weekend - a social ride on Saturday led by Sixpoint Brewery and Kissena Cycling - and our usual Sunday ride to Piermont.
    Like what you see? Sign up for our weekly Rides email here.
    Sat 7/11 @ 2:30 PM
    Sixpoint social ride with Kissena Cycling Club. Start at Brooklyn Roasting at 25 Jay at 2:30 PM, ride down to the beach, finish at the Greenwood Park Beer Garden (around 4:30 PM) . All are welcome! Redbeard Bikes is proud to sponsor Kissena!

    Sun 7/12 @ 8 AM
    This Sunday we're heading to Piermont again (route TBD). Nothing like a spirited crew to help you over the hills! About 60 miles round-trip from DUMBO. This ride is best-suited for road bikes, but hybrids are welcome if you've been doing long distances already and are looking to push yourself! This is a no-drop ride. Please scroll down to "General Info" for details.
    Ride leader: Eddie
    ***NOTE: This week only, meeting spot is Brooklyn Roasting (25 Jay St), NOT Redbeard.
    Alternately: meet on NJ side of the GWB at 9:30 AM.***
    RSVP appreciated, questions welcome: kasia@redbeardbikes.com

    Sun 7/19: Piermont
    Sun 7/26: Piermont
    Sat 8/1: Social Ride to Astoria 
    Sun 8/2: Nyack
    Sat 8/8: Social ride to the Bronx via High Bridge
    Sun 8/9: Nyack
    EVENTS @ Redbeard:
    Tues 7/21 (8 PM): Redbeard Flat Fix Clinic - Road Bikes & Hybrids
    Tues 7/27 (8 PM): Redbeard Flat Fix Clinic - Bromptons 
    Fri 8/14 (8 PM): Our Life Unfolded
    Dmitry & Mila have ridden through Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Japan & Europe on their Bromptons! Join us for an evening of their stories & photos.
    Sun 8/16 (10 AM): Brompton Urban Challenge: scavenger hunt/photo competition

    7/25 The Epic Ride (Brooklyn Greenway Initiative)
    Join the Redbeard Bikes team when you register, and get 20% off cycling apparel at Redbeard Bikes till 7/24.

    Every Sunday morning we ride up the West Side, over the GWB, and into Jersey...

    As the summer progresses, we'll be increasing our distance, working towards two goals: the NYC Century for Vision Zero on September 13th, and the first ever Redbeard Bear Mountain ride (date TBD). There's still time to sign up for the Century!
    Redbeard rides are no-drop rides (unless otherwise indicated) and we welcome riders of all levels. That said, we try to keep a lively pace so that everyone gets a workout...and we return home at a reasonable hour. We usually roll at 12-14 mph on the way to the GWB. Once we cross into Jersey, away from pedestrians and joggers, we try to keep it at 15-17 mph. But, we always play it by ear! Depending on the size of the group and the skill of individual riders, we may split into A and B groups, especially on the way home.

    You are always welcome to cut out early, or split off, if our pace is too slow for you, but if you are riding with us, stick with us! It's more fun. New riders: we won't leave you behind and we'll always make sure you know the way home!

    If it's raining the morning of the ride, the ride is cancelled. That said, if it's just drizzling/looks like it might clear up, come on out! In these cases we will probably stay close to home (i.e. do laps in Prospect Park) and/or get breakfast.

    Please bring helmet, sunscreen, water, snacks, spare tube & flat fix kit. Rain cancels. RSVP appreciated but not required. Any questions, give us a shout.

    See you on the road!
  • 5/9 Redbeard Bikes Ride to Haverstraw, NY

    UPDATE: Postponed till Saturday, 5/23


    This Saturday, May 9th, we're hosting a special ride up to Haverstraw, NY, and back. This will be a faster, longer ride than our usual shop rides. 

    Chris Brinson, a friend and customer of Redbeard Bikes, has graciously offered to lead the ride.

    The route includes about 3500 feet of climbing, with a pace of 17MPH +. Participants should be comfortable riding in a group.  

    When: Saturday, 5/9, depart @ 7:30 AM sharp
    Where: Redbeard Bikes, 69 Jay Street in DUMBO

    Please RSVP by Wednesday, 5PM to kasia@redbeardbikes.com.

    We're hoping to organize more rides at this level. If you'd like to lead one, please give me a shout!

    P.S. Note that our usual no-drop ride to the Ranger Station / Market will still take place on Sunday, 5/10 -- that ride departs at 8 AM.

  • Services (aka TLC for your bike)

    Check out our newly updated Services page.

    Redbeard Bikes is a full-service shop. We offer a few different tune-up options, wheel builds, and bike builds.

    Want something that's not listed? Give us a shout. We are the home of YES.

  • Braver than the Elements | Rapha Ladies' Ride


    Join me on Saturday, 12/20, for the Braver than the Elements ride hosted by Rapha NYC Cycle Club. There will be a 40-50 mile group and a 60-80 mile route.

    More info and RSVP here.

    There are rides in other cities across the United States, too!



  • Two years a shop!

    Celebrate 2 years of Redbeard Bikes!

    Friday, 11/14 (6-8pm)

    RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/598180486975341/
    or email kasia@redbeardbikes.com.

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