The Redbeard Blog
October 17, 2016
- October 03, 2016
- September 25, 2016
August 25, 2016
Head's up that Redbeard Bikes will be closed on Monday, 9/5 for Labor Day.
We will be open regular hours Saturday, 9/3 and Sunday 9/4 (11 AM to 6 PM).
August 15, 2016
Graydon shares their notes from the road. We hope they will inspire you to go on a bike adventure!
I’ve been exploring the roads and trails in the Poconos around Hawley and Honesdale for the past few years now, and have found some truly remarkable riding. My in-laws have a house up there and we escape to it as often as possible in the summer. On one ride you can link up gravel roads around lakes, meandering roads through farmland and beautiful climbs and descents through deep woods.
Once, while stopping for coffee in Honesdale, one of the servers told me about a local century ride called the Maple City Century. I was happy to see the routes were posted on the website and got to work testing out portions of it. The ride organizer linked up some of the most remote and beautiful gravel roads in the surrounding area and though the organized ride looks like fun, I was eager to do the route unsupported and with friends instead.
My good friend Alex and I put a date on the calendar, picked out our gear and set out to PA on a Friday night, planning to spend Saturday riding the century route. Like any adventure, things rarely go as planned. Saturday started rainy with severe thunderstorms in the forecast for Saturday, so at the last minute we decided to improvise: we’d do some cross trails nearby, save the long ride for Sunday, but do a modified version of it because we needed to get back to NYC.
There was a nearby nature preserve that I’d always wanted to check out, Dick and Nancy Eales Preserve. It has a cool looking network of trails, so on Saturday we headed over to check it out. We quickly realized our cross bikes (my Surly Straggler and Alex’s Gunnar Crosshairs) were woefully ill-equipped for some of the more technical single track, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time!
There were torrential down pours and we spent a good deal of time off the bike, hiking over rock gardens and steep run-ups, but neither of us could wipe the smiles off of our faces. Dick and Nancy’s Preserve is located on a hilltop, has great views and kind of feels like you’re riding around parts of Maine or Canada; super wild and rocky with a diverse mix of terrain and plant-life. After our ride we picked up BBQ from Kundlas (the legendary local BBQ spot) and packed in the calories in anticipation of the next day’s ride.
Seeing as we couldn’t do the full 100 miles on Sunday, I planned for us to do a 60 mile portion of the route. We set out early and by mile 3 we were already off the main roads on on to some of my favorite gravel roads. Cycling in this part of Pennsylvania is beautiful but tiring. Lots of short extremely steep punchy climbs and technical descents. The first 13 or so miles are gravel roads through woods and around lakes, then to farm roads and then back to gravel. My Surly Straggler was the perfect tool for the job. Comfortable and confident on gravel and responsive enough to climb well. Alex had borrowed his wife’s Gunnar and was having a great time finally enjoying all of the perks a gravel bike has to offer.
By mile 30 we reached the Delaware and continued along the road that parallels it. Soon Alex and I noticed that the barking behind us was getting closer. When we turned around to look we saw a rather large German Shepherd charging towards us. Alex and I picked up the pace and the dog was still gaining on us. Soon I ran out of gears and we were both at a flat out sprint! Fortunately our furry friend gave up the chase and Alex and I used that extra adrenaline to put some miles behind us.
The gravel road turned narrow, then turned into dirt, then to a technical double track with the Delaware about 200 feet below us to our left and a hillside to our right. Awesome views were made a little more sobering with the prospect of choosing a bad line and ending up falling a long way down to the river. At a certain point we had a waterfall crossing our path and had to dismount and pick our way across carefully.
By the time our dirt trail running along the river finally hit a main road we were pretty beat.
We stopped to check the route and I noticed a little road on Google Maps that seemed to be a nice little shortcut. I figured, if it’s on Google Maps, it should be rideable, right? I couldn’t have been more wrong. We struck out for the road and were greeted by a long brutal gravel road climb. Tires were spinning under the gravel and we were redlining. The road kept climbing and little by little started to deteriorate. Eventually we had get off our bikes and push them up what was pretty much a dry-ish rocky creek bed heading up the hill. This was no longer a bike ride, it was a “bike push.” As our “road” turned more into a technical hiking trail I looked at Alexand said “Should we go back?”
“We’ve come this far,” he replied, “let's just get to the other side.”
After a few more miles of bushwhacking we finally stumbled onto a gravel road! Muddy and exhausted we pressed on trying to make up the lost time from my “shortcut.” Eventually we hit one of the main roads in the area and came upon a tiny gas station. We grabbed Cokes and dug into our snack and settled down for a much needed rest. Once again we reassessed the route and decided on a paved main road that we could take to hammer it back to town.
Even though we abandoned the gravel we were still greeted with awesome views and long rolling downhills (which are hard to come by in this part of the Poconos) that allowed us to cruise back into town. Nothing like bombing hills at 43mph after miles and miles of slowly grinding it out on gravel climbs! We got back to our car muddy tired and thoroughly satisfied with our adventure. We got back to my in-laws house and devoured homemade quiches made by Alex’s wife, and drank beer. No better way to end a ride if you ask me.
We had a plan for the weekend that turned into something else and I wouldn’t have it another way. We saw beautiful roads and scenery, pushed ourselves to the limit, ate really good food and turned misfortune into adventure. Looking forward to the next one!
August 03, 2016
“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.”
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
July 11, 2016
What’s in a commuter?
Keith was looking for a bike that could be everything — daily commuter through Brooklyn and Manhattan, upstate dirt crusher — a bike that would look good, and ride even better.
The Evergreen was the best platform for this super-build.
The first bike we built for Keith, a couple years ago, was a custom painted Parlee. Titanium frames are magic, so we didn’t need any paint on the Evergreen. The Chris King Turquoise kit gives the bike just the right amount of zing. To give the bike a well rounded personality, we laced the hubs to Hed Belgium Plus rims. The wheels can take a 25mm race tire, or a 35mm plushy deluxe (the Compass Bon Jon Pass will be nice). The Evergreen’s personality changes right with the tires.
We dialed the geometry for stability, we dialed the acceleration to 11. This was the note we received from Keith after his first ride:
“Rode in today and damn man…the best way to describe the ride is it floats on the road.”
Next up, Keith puts the bike through its paces in the Berkshires. Can’t wait.
Words & Photos: Ilya Nikhamin
This post originally appeared on the Seven Cycles blog.
July 10, 2016
This Saturday, 7/16, take one of our beautiful Parlee, Mosaic, or Seven builds for a spin in Prospect Park!
We have Di2 & eTAP builds available.
Meet at Redbeard Bikes at 7 AM. Ilya will set up each bike for the rider. Roll at 7:30 AM; return to the shop by 10 AM.
RSVP to email@example.com, with the following:
-what you currently ride (make, model, size)
-what kind of bike you'd like to try -- or say "blind date," and we'll choose one for you!
July 03, 2016
Redbeard Bikes will be closed on Monday, July 4th, for Independence Day.
We'll be open regular hours (11 AM to 6 PM) on Saturday, July 2nd, and Sunday, July 3rd.
Please note there is no organized shop ride on Sunday, July 3rd.
June 22, 2016
Summer's here and we'd all love to get out of the city for a bike vacation.
We put together a list of our favorite bike tour companies for you!
Cinghiale Tours: run by Andy Hampsten. We've gotten rave reviews of this tour from a few of our customers. One rider has gone 3 times now.
Velodrom out of Barcelona: Ilya studied bike fitting with Javier, the founder. The tours he puts on are amazing.
Okolo Bike Tours: spectacular riding in small groups in Croatia, run by Mike Garrigan, former Canadian national champion athlete.
Ingamba: a friend of a friend runs this one, looks promising from their Instagram feed
Cognoscenti in Boulder: awesome riding and food, based out of Boulder, CO, home of Mosaic Cycles.