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Archives for March, 2012

Quality Gear… at a Great Price

I recently saw a few tweets from people looking for online stores to purchase their running, cycling and outdoors gear. I also have a friend simply looking for a pair of bike shorts and a tech shirt to wear during spin classes, but these sites have more than that to offer.

This is a short and sweet post highlighting a handful of sites you may want to visit.

LeftLane Sports (you have to register with the site) –road bikes, cycling gear, hiking daypacks, sleeping bags, bodyboards, and other outdoors products. Really good prices and a decent variety, so worth a look.

BlueSky Cycling — An online outfit that has a small selection of products, including cycling apparel, sunglasses, shoes, and shin guards and body armor. BlueSky also offers a variety of different accessories, ranging from helmets and hydration to skins and pumps.

Aero Tech Designs — manufactures bike shorts and cycling jerseys out of their western PA-based facility. In addition to regular cycling and mountain biking gear, Aero Technologies also makes jackets, fitness shorts, and cold weather gear.

Peak 1 Sports — a quality retailer for custom cycling jerseys and apparel. Unlike many other stores, Peak 1 Sports offers quality wind jackets, vests, arm and knee warmers, which can be harder to find than other cycling clothing.

Bike Nashbar — An old school favorite among cyclists and mountain bikers… Bike Nashbar has been around much longer than most online outlets, and provides a wide variety of products from high-quality vendors for a good price.

Feel free to get in touch if you have other sites you’ve had good shopping experiences with.

Happy shopping!

This weekend will feature a run/walk and meet-and-greet hosted by the Alameda Running and Walking Club — a first-time meeting for a group created late last year.

The ultimate goal of the Alameda Running and Walking Club is to help Alameda runners and walkers find people with the same pace they can explore the island with.

The group will meet this Saturday at 9:00 a.m. at 600 Westline Drive (Crown Beach Memorial Park).

Here is a bit more about the group and meeting:

The group’s organizer will have name tags for everyone to write down how they like to run and walk, including such factors as distance, location, pace, time of day. Then participants will mingle and hopefully meet other people that have similar running and walking goals and habits.
Organizers hope everyone will find at least one other person in the group that suits their exercise style and the entire group will go out for a run or walk. Organizers say they hope this event will help start to build community within the membership so people can more easily find friends to run and walk with.
Guests are welcome to attend. The club hopes to host at least one of these meet/greet events each month.

If you’re an Alameda runner, you’re probably aware of the large number of athletes you can stumble across on the trails. However, it’s a fractured running community and can sometimes be difficult to find training partners running close to your pace. Hopefully this group will be able to offer a higher level of structure, and you can even find a new running buddy.

Originally discovered this news on Alameda Patch, a great online resource for Alameda residents.




I am out of running and cycling for now due to a knee injury.  That does not mean that you should stop training too.  REI – Berkeley is putting out the word for their triathlon training sessions.  I like the Berkeley store and think triathlon classes are a great way to get started and find training partners in your area.  I am not affiliated with REI in any way.  I just think it is a good idea.

I thought you and your members may be interested in a free presentation coming up at REI Berkeley. Would you like to post to your website or email distribution?

Triathlon Basics–Try a Tri?
7 pm–8:30 pm, Tuesday, April 3
REI Berkeley, 1338 San Pablo Ave
Is it time to TRY a TRI? From Sprint to Ironman, triathlons offer a
variety of opportunities to challenge yourself and help get you into
shape. Join REI’s Kappe Rousseau to discover the ins-and-outs of
triathlons: types, distances, how to get started, how to train, and
what to expect on race day. If you register for this free class at, we will hold a seat for you until the scheduled
start time.

Athletes like music — but trying to experience the outdoors with your expensive MP3 player and earbuds can end in disaster. That’s why press statements regarding new electronics geared towards athletes tend to pique my interests.

The Ematic electronics company recently announced the eSport Clip MP3/video player, a $29 media player with 4GB flash memory storage. The device also includes a 5-megapixel camera, USB 2.0 port, and a 1.8″ color display.

If you head over to WalMart’s website, the device is now available for just $22.

Honestly, I haven’t tried Ematic’s products before — and never heard of the company before receiving the press release — but the Ematic eSport Clip MP3 player is a relatively low-cost investment to a possibly decent product.

Some bike essentials

Now that bicycling season is upon us here in California, it is time for bicycle ideas.  It is the beginning of March so a lot of us are starting to go farther and faster on our bikes.  New riders take heed in what I say.  For you veterans, this is a reminder to do a pre-ride check.

Go say hi to your bike.  While you are there, take a good look at it.  The cob webs should be off by now.  If not, give the bike a bath.  Get some degreaser and clean the chain and sprockets real good.  Use a chain brush or a tooth brush will work.  It is important to keep your chain and sprockets clean because dirt and debris stick to the greasy buildup on your chain and act like sandpaper.  The abrasive action will wear out your chain and sprockets.  You will be amazed at how much it cost to replace your sprockets.  Most casual riders just buy a new bike.  It cost $200 to $300 for the parts and $100 to $200 to have a bike shop install them.  Be nice to your bike.  If you keep it clean and lubricated, it will last a long time and rarely need tuning.

Now that your bike is nice and clean give it a close look and make sure everything is tight.  Make sure your brakes still work and the tires are in good shape.  If you have any doubts about the tires, replace them.  If you look at your tires and think “they look worn but they will be okay” replace them.  Don’t go cheap on the tires.  Get good performance or Continental tires.  I am sure there are other good tires but I have had good luck with these brands.

Learn how to fix flats and replace the tires yourself.  There is nothing wrong with taking your bike to the shop to have the tires changed.  It is good to know how to do basic repairs yourself.  We do strange things on our bikes.  We will drive 100 miles out into the country then ride our bikes another 50 miles farther into the country.  If something happens in a remote place, you could be in for a long walk back to your car.  Be prepared.

I carry a bike pouch under my saddle.  I did an inventory today see what I really carry.  Here is my list of essentials:

  • Spare tube – Tubes are easy to replace and I don’t have to mess around with finding the hole and fixing it.  Every now and then, you will stumble across some poor soul with a flat and no spare tube or patch kit.  It is easy to give someone a tube and be on your way.  If you give away your patch kit, you are giving away some insurance.
  • Tire levers – Plastic tire levers make it easy to remove and install the tire in the event of a flat.  I like to carry plastic levers because they are flat and do not puncture my spare tube.
  • Patch kit – I am currently carrying a small glueless patch kit with 6 patches.  I usually carry a patch kit with glue but I am random when I buy a new kit.  I like to replace the kit every 1-2 years in the event the glue dries out.
  • Small tire pump – I have a push-pull style pump that pumps air in both directions.  The pump is good for both Schrader and Presta valves.  A lot of people like co2 pumps but I don’t like the idea of having one or two chances at repairing a flat.
  • ID in two pockets – In case I fall, it good for the paramedics to know where to send the bill.  I have about 5 road id tags but decided that it would be better to lose them then keep them in my bag.
  • Allen wrenches – 3mm and 5mm.  These are the main tools I need for my bike.  Most clamps and bolts are one of these sizes.
  • Roctane gels – 2 packages, in case I need some calories.
  • First aid kit – If you fall and get some skin flaps, it is so nice to be able to clean the wound and put a band aide on it.
  • $70.25 – It is good to carry some cash in case you want to buy some lunch or cool socks.  I usually carry $20.  I don’t know how I managed to get an odd number in my bag.
  • Spare car key
  • Safety pin
  • 2 twist ties
  • 2 zip ties


There are a lot of different opinions on what you need to carry.  You can to a web search for seat bag tire repair kits for more suggestions.  You can buy the stuff from an online retailer or your local bike shop.  I prefer the local bike shops.  A lot of times you can catch someone from the store to tell you about how to stock your pouch.  If the store is crowded, you might catch someone passing by to ask their opinion.  Either way, it is more fun to go look at the items in the store.