The Big Island: Another Revolutionary Hawaiian Adventure

February 9th, 2012

As I sit here writing, in February in Washington, DC, I can glance down at my two-tone triceps and still feel the Hawaiian sun that was hitting my arms and neck just a few days ago as I pedaled across the Big Island. Since my return to DC earlier this week, I’ve been delighted by every person that has asked me where I went on vacation (or if I’ve started frequenting a tanning salon), as then I have had the opportunity to tell them that I had the pleasure of riding bikes in Hawaii for eight days. Oh- and it was a business trip.

For the second consecutive January, Revolution Cycles took a group of its managers on a Hawaiian riding retreat, during which we discussed everything from goals for the year to management strategies to best malasada filling (which, by the way, is chocolate). This year, we were also joined by many of the leaders of Wheel & Sprocket, a fantastic bicycle retailer based in Wisconsin, which presented us all with the unique chance to relax, share best practices, and ride bikes with some very insightful peers. The last piece of the puzzle- the gear- was provided by our very generous vendors, including bicycles from Felt, tech support from Shimano, clothing from Pearl Izumi, shoes from Bontrager, compression socks from Louis Garneau, and fuel from GU Energy and Nuun hydration.

Each and every day of the trip was packed with resplendent adventure, and when we weren’t exploring different areas of the island on two wheels, we were hiking or snorkeling through it. Mike, our expert tour guide, somehow packed approximately eight weeks of activity into eight days, although we still found time to enjoy a Mai Tai or two. We also enjoyed world class SAG support provided by Pinkey, who chased us up and down mountains in his van full of tubes and water. For Pinkey’s sake, we did take an afternoon away from the bikes so that he could enjoy a delicious fruity beverage inside of a whole pineapple (yes, he ate the pineapple, too).

On our first full day on the ground, we shook off our jet lag with a ride beginning in Hawi, the turnaround point for the Ironman World Championship, up and around some steep yet short hills through tropical rain forest to Pololu Valley Lookout. From the Lookout, I caught my first view of the northeastern coastline and the black sand beaches in the valley below. The stark juxtaposition of the brilliant green foliage and the shockingly clear blue waters of the Pololu Valley to the dry, barren land that comprises portions of Kailua-Kona rendered me speechless. This was the first of many scenes in Hawaii that simply looked too perfect to be real.

The next day, we did what all good cyclists do on vacation- we descended and then we stuffed our faces. We rode from Waimea via the Old Mamalohoa Highway and screamed down some monstrous curves. We made a quick stop at Tex Drive In to pick up several dozen world famous malasadas, and my mouth watered thinking about these Hawaiian donuts until we arrived at the Waipio Valley Lookout. As we stood overlooking another ridiculously picturesque view of the ocean and the mountains, licking the still warm sugar off of our fingers after consuming two or three malasadas each, we breathed a collective sigh of complete satisfaction.

Although we came close, we didn’t spend the entire trip in our saddles. We spent a fair amount of time touring the island in our vans, and in the competitive and creative spirit of Revolution Cycles, we partook in classic road trip word games (although the game that stuck was one that Caleb made up on the spot) that had us laughing until we cried and still competing even after we exited the van. A bicycle-centric trip also would not be complete without copious amounts of caffeine, and we ventured over to Kona Joe’s one morning to drink coffee brewed from freshly harvested beans and to take in more of the spectacular Big Island scenery.

There were many more miles of riding, including our epic climb from Hilo to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (twenty plus miles of incline that nearly killed me). There were delectable dinners shared with each other and some of our amazing friends from Raleigh Bicycles. And there were sunsets. For our final evening together, before we joined the Wheel & Sprocket and Raleigh teams for our second annual dinner at Roy’s, we took a quick detour. With sand in our toes, we stood together, Mike, Pinkey, Jakob, Jim, Katie, Angela, Caleb and I, to watch the sun disappear into the water one more time.

During my final morning on the Big Island, as I sat on the lanai with my laptop, drinking coffee, doing some work and looking out at the ocean, I began crafting my speech in my head that I would give to Mike about why it was necessary for me to stay in Hawaii, forever. I never delivered that speech, and I’m happy to be back in hectic, bike-loving DC, but I’ve already started counting the days until our next retreat.

Want more?  View our complete photo collection on Flickr.

A Revolutionary Challenge: World T.E.A.M. Sports’ Adventure Teen Challenge

August 13th, 2011

A Revolutionary Challenge

On August 9th and 10th, Pinkey and Angela spent two days assisting disabled and non-disabled teenagers as they participated in the inaugural Adventure Teen Challenge, an event organized by World T.E.A.M. Sports. The challenge, which took place within the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, allowed disabled and non-disabled participants to work together in teams of three to complete canoeing, hiking and, of course, cycling events. Pinkey and Angela tutored the volunteers in some basic bike mechanic skills prior to the event, and gave everyone an informative lesson on bicycle safety before the ride. Revolution Cycles also brought along some of our esteemed Allant bicycles from the City Hub for the participants and volunteers to use.

World T.E.A.M. Sports “is a movement to change the way the world perceives those with disabilities.” Headquarted in Arlington, Virginia, the Adventure Teen Challenge is one of many incredible events that this non-profit organizes. Learn more about getting involved with World T.E.A.M. Sports and see our collection of photos from the event below.

Monuments at Night: A Ride to Benefit Best Buddies

July 14th, 2011

Monuments at Night

On the evening of Saturday, July 9th, more than one hundred enthusiastic cyclists rolled out of the City Hub in Crystal City, Virginia to explore DC’s finest monuments at night by bike. This is the City Hub’s second annual Monuments at Night ride, and Revolution Cycles was proud to partner with Best Buddies for this year’s ride. All event proceeds benefitted the nonprofit organization. The group departed from the Hub at 8pm and took the Mt. Vernon Trail into DC as daylight dissolved into moonlight.

Monuments at Night

Following a scenic ride along the Potomac River, the cyclists’ first stop was the Jefferson Memorial, where people had a chance to park their bikes, to explore the monument and to take in the view of the city. Other stops included the Lincoln Memorial, Roosevelt Memorial, World War II Memorial and the Washington Monument, and riders were treated to fun facts about each stop (wherever our bullhorn was permitted). The City Hub’s Trek Allant bicycles were adorned with glow sticks, and the sight of more than one hundred illuminated bikes rolling through the nation’s capital was quite the attention-grabbing image.

After the ride, the group returned the bikes to the Hub and walked over to Jaleo, a Spanish tapas restaurant, for delicious food and refreshments. The cyclists were all smiles as the guests and ride leaders had a chance to share a beverage and mingle. The Revolution Cycles team would like to give a very special thanks to everyone who participated in this ride for their support of an important organization, Best Buddies.

Revolution Cycles has partnered with Best Buddies to help raise awareness of the organization and to support its fundraising and participation efforts for the 2011 Audi Best Buddies Challenge that will take place on Saturday, October 22nd. Best Buddies’ mission is to create opportunities for one-on-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and development disabilities, and Revolution is proud to be working with Best Buddies in 2011.

Learn more about the Best Buddies Challenge: Washington DC.

View the rest of our event photos on Facebook.

Ride 2 Recovery 2011

June 8th, 2011

Ride 2 Recovery 2011

Day 1

This all started when Jakob asked me if I wanted to do the Ride 2 Recovery again this year. After last year’s experience spending three days in the Rev van with Pinkey in 100-degree heat and listening to Spanish music, I told him that I wouldn’t miss it for the world. As the days counted down, I got more and more anxious thinking about all of the quality time I would soon be having with “the most interesting man in the world” and, ah… the stories I would have.

Learning our lesson from last year’s very busy first morning, we stayed the first night at the hotel with everyone else. When I went upstairs to go to sleep, I was looking forward to the next few days. As I walked into my room, it felt like a freezer. At first, I was thinking that this is great! It’s so hot out and I’m in an icebox. As I lay down to go to sleep, I tried to turn the A/C down but I couldn’t! There wasn’t even a plug that I could pull to shut it down. I went to sleep with all of my covers on, wearing sweats. My last thought of the night was “and it begins.”

Day 2

Waking up in the icebox that was my room, I thought, “where’s Pinkey?” For those of you who know of my first night with Ride 2 Recovery last year, Pinkey and I shared a very special night, to say the least. Knowing that I was the only one in the bed, I got up and was looking forward to the day. As I made my way down to the bike room, I met up with Pinkey and Tyler. We were blessed with Tyler, a tech who Shimano sends out just for these types of rides. Not only was he a Shimano tech, but he also had what most men would call their dream truck. Armed with this massive truck with four wheel-carriers, two bike racks, and enough tools to build a small town, I was happy to have Tyler on board.

As the morning went on, we started to get more and more stragglers coming into the bike room. With Pinkey and Tyler doing last minute tune-ups and adjustments, I knew that we were in good hands. I thought that things were going way too smoothly. The next thing I know, I have a line of people waiting for bike fits. Even as an experienced fitter, with the amount of people coming in to get fits, I had finally met my match. One of my customers from the Rockville store came towards me, and I knew that I had to impress him with the fit. With my customer in the trainer, I had to work my magic… and work it I did. There have been very few times when I have come to tears in recent years. The look on his face when he could pedal the bike with no pain brought tears to my eyes. This is why I do this ride.

After I gave an excuse about something being in my eyes, we went to take the van to get it checked out by the K-9s and the security detail before going onto Fort Myer for the opening ceremony. As I was standing by the van, waiting for the riders to come down the hotel ramp, I heard a car come by and a voice yell out, “hey Paper!” I looked over and, to my amazement, it was Jeremiah Johnson, the guy I knew from our shop in Stafford and who rode Ride 2 Recovery last year. Jeremiah helped me cope a little with some of the issues I had when I came home from the Middle East when I drove him home from Richmond last year. I never thought that he would remember me, much less know what I looked like from the back. We only had a minute to talk, but this shows how good these men and women are and that it’s the little things that can help us through, like riding a bike.

As we drove past Arlington Cemetery, seeing the riders go by once again brought a tear to my eye. Pulling up to the field that overlooks Washington, I knew the ride was about to start! I thought, “great- now these guys can get out there and have fun.” After a brief delay, the police gave us the green light and we were on our way. With Pinkey as the driver for the day, I was given the camera. Well, let me tell you- I think that I’ve found my hidden talent. I took these pictures like I was the paparazzi! I was doing whatever it took to get the right picture, including hanging out of the window and snapping away.

With traffic getting heavy at points, Pinkey got the nickname Mario Andretti. The best part was that I found the bullhorn that was left in the van. Little did Pinkey know that there was a siren button. Can you blame me for hitting the siren button and hanging it out the window? We needed to move through traffic, and with Pinkey at the wheel, we were well on our way.

Not much else happened until we got to the U.S.O. stop for lunch. Pinkey had boxes of food and water in both hands, and I was stuck doing tech support. Not much tech support was needed at the time, but it gave me an excuse to talk with some of the guys. Don’t judge me, but I started to cry again when some of the guys came up to me and hugged me. They thanked us for being there and said that they couldn’t be doing this without our support. Seeing these grown men, missing limbs, as happy as they were just from being outside and riding a bike made me see that there was more to life than the little things that I was stressing over the previous day.

Day 3

Waking up in the hotel room on Day 3 was a surreal feeling. I guess with the little sleep we got and the heat, it was as if everyone was moving just a little slower than usual. It was my day to drive and I wasn’t going to let Pinkey show me up, so I hit the road with my coffee and told Pinkey to start taking the pictures. With the riders getting out much earlier than the day before, everyone was ready to go. The ride was about 20 miles more than the day before but the riders weren’t going to let that stop them. The riders were split into two different groups: group A, the slower group, and group B, the faster group. What got me was that most of the people in group B were the ones who were missing multiple limbs. I looked at Pinkey and said, “you have no excuse for not riding anymore!”

As the day went on, nothing out of the ordinary happened. Pinkey took the pictures and I drove like a mad man. We got to the hotel early enough to take our time fixing some of the bikes, and with three tech vehicles next to each other, it was a thing of beauty. It was an explosion of tools and handcycles and bikes everywhere. We then had dinner at the American Legion and, once again, it was amazing! I can’t say enough about the men and women who support the riders with the food and service that they provide. As we were bussed back to the hotel, I couldn’t help but start exchanging war stories with some of the guys and, for once in a long time, I felt that brotherhood again. I went to sleep that night saying to myself… today was a good day.

Day 4

For some reason, waking up was getting harder and harder. Maybe it was those comfy hotel beds, or maybe it was the heat from the day before. Either way, I can tell you that babies don’t even sleep that well. With a bagel and coffee behind us, Pinkey and I made our way to the van. I have to say that it was a little upsetting knowing that today was going to be our last day on the ride. Don’t worry- I didn’t cry again.

Throughout the ride, Pinkey and I both made friends, but one person stood out. Tim is his name, and he served his country well in the U.S. Army. At first glance, Tim looked like a healthy man with nothing wrong, but there was something about him that just seemed a little off. After talking with him, we found out that he was in the process of retiring and had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He has been fighting it for a couple of years, he told us, and was going in next week for surgery. As Pinkey and I sat there speechless, Tim went on to say that he had been looking forward to this ride for months and that it’s what kept his spirits high when he was undergoing treatment.

After talking with Tim, I started to realize that all of the men and women on this ride are dealing with something, and not just the ones who were missing limbs. Some are suffering from cancer and fighting battles, even though they are home. As the day went on, Pinkey and I started to talk about what amazing people these riders are, and that after seeing them ride as hard as they did, the little things really don’t matter anymore.

I can safely say that Pinkey took more away from this ride than he wanted to. After meeting the people we did, it was hard not to stay to the end down in Virginia Beach. Although we had to, we were still reluctant to leave. As Pinkey was taking the last set of pictures, I was hugging goodbye some of the people I knew from last year and, of course, Tim. The ride back home was long, but for some reason, neither Pinkey nor I seemed to mind.

Dressed to Ride: Revolutionize National Bike Month

May 17th, 2011

Dressed to Ride

The moment that we have all been waiting for is upon us: Bike to Work Week. The month of May has been an exciting and productive National Bike Month thus far, as we finally experienced the dawning of spring in the DC area, group rides went into full effect, and cycling education and awareness have continued to grow. This week, from Monday, May 16th to Friday, May 20th, rookie and veteran commuters alike are encouraged to ride to work with the support of organizations such as WABA and BikeArlington, the League of American Bicyclists and, of course, Revolution Cycles.

For the final installment of our Revolutionize National Bike Month series, we will be presenting different clothing options for commuters. We have surprised folks around DC with on-the-spot tune-ups, we have discussed safety, and we have offered CatEye lights at an incredible price to help you prepare for your ride. But, now that you have all of the right equipment for your bicycle, what are you going to wear? Don’t worry- we have a few suggestions for you in that department as well.



Option 1: Everyday Attire

If your commute is relatively short, and your aim is to minimize your transition process when you arrive at your destination, riding in your everyday office attire may be the best option for your commute. There are plenty of helpful accessories that can increase your comfort while riding- ankle biters can secure your pant leg while you ride, and a rack and pannier setup can move your load from your back to the bike. For many people who want to travel from point A to point B on a bicycle without sporting the spandex, everyday attire can be a realistic option that allows commuters to roll up to the office, lock up the bike, stash the helmet and get to work.

Option 2: Pearl Izumi Drop Tail Cycling Suit

For the commuter with a longer or more strenuous ride, this easy to pull on, pull off suit will allow you to ride to work and quickly change out of your cycling apparel before beginning your work day. In DC, we are not strangers to hot and humid summer riding conditions, and an easy-on, easy-off option is a great way to ride into work and still feel fresh at your desk after a quick wardrobe change. The piece featured in the video is a women-specific design, but for both men and women, there are a variety of options such as the Pearl Izumi Launch shorts [pictured right] that are also simple to throw on and provide a comfortable, reasonable commuting experience.

Option 3: Gore Bike Wear Xenon Bibtights

The Xenon Bibtights, which are available for men and women from Gore Bike Wear, offer a high-tech, high-performance option for cyclists. These bibs may not be a first thought for commuters- they are designed for long distance road riding- but for the cyclist who wants to depart on a fitness ride at the end of the workday, the Xenon bibs are a great choice. You can ride into work in your office attire or in your bibs, and then instead of suffering through a stuffy gym workout after a long day at the office, you can be ready to ride in minutes.

Other commuting clothing options abound, and the key to a successful ride is finding the perfect combination to meet your specific needs. For more tips on clothing, bikes and commuting equipment, stop by Revolution Cycles, and enjoy Bike to Work Week!

Safety is Sexy: Revolutionize National Bike Month

May 10th, 2011

Safety is Sexy

Bike to Work Day is less than two weeks away, and safety should be a priority when planning your bicycle commute. To encourage people to ride to work on Friday, May 20th, and to ride safely, we’re offering one of our favorite front lights for only $10. That’s right- for less than it would cost you to put three gallons of gas in your automobile, you can snag a brand new CatEye EL450 front light, originally $44.99. These powerful little lights can be mounted on nearly all handlebars and helmets, and the OptiCube lens offers 720 candlepower worth of illumination.

If those features aren’t enough to send you running (or rolling) to the nearest Revolution Cycles, you should also know that the CatEye EL450 has three power modes: high, low and flashing. The high mode is fantastic if you ride on the trails at night or in the early morning. The low mode is spectacular if you ride in fairly well lit areas and want to ensure that motorists, pedestrians and other cyclists see you coming. The flashing mode is also great for increasing your visibility, but more importantly, the flashing mode is incredible for spontaneous bicycle dance parties.



Rear lights can add a little something special to your bicycle dance party, too, and having a red rear light is essential for commuting. Available in a variety of flash modes and powers as well, rear lights make you visible to approaching motorists and cyclists when riding at dawn, dusk or anytime in between.

To learn more about the CatEye EL450 and our tips for illuminating your bicycle commute, visit any Revolution Cycles location.

Pinkey’s Surprise Tune-Ups: Revolutionize National Bike Month

May 3rd, 2011

Pinkey's Surprise Tune-Up

May is National Bike Month, and for the next few weeks, leading up to Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 20th, we’re going to be supplying you with healthy doses of insight and entertainment to encourage you to choose to use your bicycle as your method of transportation. We’re going to Revolutionize National Bike Month, and when Bike to Work Day 2011 arrives, you’ll be ready to roll with all of the essential information that a bicycle commuter needs.

Whether your bike is new or old, making sure that it is mechanically sound is one of the most important aspects of ensuring that your commute is comfortable and safe. We know that there are a lot of busy bike commuters in the DC area, so for our first Revolutionize National Bike Month enterprise, we ventured out to provide a few lucky cyclists with a quick, on-the-spot tune-up, compliments of our master mechanic and co-owner, Pinkey.

See Pinkey in action and after the video, check out our tips on how you can keep your bike in good shape.

Clean Your Drivetrain!

A simple and fast way to lengthen the life of your drivetrain components is to keep them clean. All of the road dirt that accumulates on your chain, cassette and derailleurs creates additional friction as those parts move together to power your ride, so keeping them clean and well-lubricated not only looks great, but will improve the quality and durability of your ride. To get started, you’ll need a biodegradable solvent, bicycle lubricant, and some rags. With your bike elevated (in a repair stand is the easiest way, but feel free to get creative), wipe off your chain and your cassette using a rag dipped in the solvent. Remove as much of the road dirt as possible (hint: with the bike elevated, you can pedal backwards while carefully holding the chain). Once you’ve cleaned the components, apply a moderate amount of lube to the chain while pedaling backwards. Make sure to cover the entire length of the chain and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, use a different rag to remove the excess lube from the outside of the chain. You only need the inside of the links to be lubricated, and excessive amounts of lubricant attract dirt.

Inflate Your Tires!

Schrader V PrestaTire inflation is an essential aspect of bicycle maintenance. Properly inflated tires will not only help you to ride more efficiently, but also you will experience fewer flats and longer tire life with proper inflation. To begin, know your valve type. For presta valves, you will need to unscrew the tip and gently press down on the tip to open the valve. For schrader valves, simply attach your pump head to the valve. There are many different types of pumps, so be sure to read the instructions for your particular model to ensure that you are using the proper setup based on your valve type. To determine what tire pressure you need, check the sidewall of the tire, where a recommended PSI range is printed. Pressure varies based on tire type and size as well as riding conditions and rider weight, but it is important not to inflate past the manufacturer’s recommendation. Be sure to check your tire pressure regularly, as the rubber in your tubes is porous and it is natural for tires to lose pressure over time. We also recommend carrying a spare tube on your commute, just in case.

Visit us at any location to learn more about these tips, to get a free service estimate on your bike, or to find out more about Bike to Work Month!

Pinkey at Work

Tour de Hawaii

January 28th, 2011

It all started with a trip to the airport in January for seven Revolution leaders.  After carpooling to the airport, flying across the country and landing at LAX, Mike drew a map of the Big Island on a napkin at lunch and started to preview three month’s worth of activities that we all wanted to enjoy in six days.  Excitement continued to build as we chipped away at our five-hour layover.

Once in Hawaii, we had a quick drive down part of the Ironman course and we arrived at our home for the next week, a gorgeous eight-bedroom house with an incredible lanai and swimming pool to boot.  To get ready for the week, from grocery shopping to the bike shop we went.  We have new friends and old friends in Kona, Hawaii.  The new friends are Bike Works.  They got us set up on carbon road bikes to use for the week and outfitted our Mommy vans with bike racks.  The old friend is a customer of our Clarendon store who was returning his rented bike to Bike Works and recognized our kits!  (“It’s a small world after all…”)  Like über-efficient kids on Christmas morning, we set our bikes up with our pedals and saddles and got them on the cars.

Most days were a kind of triathlon (seemed like an appropriate way to approach our time on the island).  That day, the first part of the triathlon was to get the groceries.  We then transitioned into our Revolution kits and headed out for the second event (typical in a tri), bike riding.  The first ride was the only ride we didn’t turn into a race.  We began in Waikoloa and headed towards (but not all the way to) Hawi.  Let me tell you, the cure for jet lag is a bike ride on the Big Island.  We cruised at a moderate pace and saw incredible things.  Lava fields- acres of lava- brand new earth- stretched out before us with specs of green life to break it up.  Whales off shore seemingly swimming some sort of parallel course, flipping their tales and creating huge splashes to get noticed.  Incredibly lush scapes and the smell of jasmine.  In Hawaii, the scenery is always changing.  After about 15 miles, we headed back to the beach, transitioned into our suits and hit the beach for some snorkeling.  In fact, it was Jim’s first time dawning the mask and snorkel.  Naturally, he took to it like a fish to water.

By the end of our first full day in paradise, we were all a little sun kissed and high on endorphins.  Nothing complements that better than an amazing dinner of Ahi and Mahi Mahi on the lanai, family style.

Tuesday helped us prepare for Wednesday- arguably the fullest day of them all.  On Wednesday, some of us headed out for a ride from the house to Waikoloa.  Others met us at the beach with the van and our snorkeling gear.  The ride was along Hwy 19, which cuts through miles and miles of take-your-breath-away lava fields.  An interesting natural graffiti tradition has developed in these black fields.  People take white coral from the beaches and use it to spell out messages to loved ones, or words of encouragement to anyone trying to conquer the Hawaiian winds.  The day before I noticed a message to “Katie.”  At the start of our ride, I asked that folks keep an eye out for “I love you Katie” written in the lava.  Just a few miles in, I’d forgotten I was supposed to be looking for my message and was focused on the ride.  Luckily, Caleb hadn’t forgotten.  Without warning, he started yelling, “I LOVE KATIE, I LOVE KATIE!”  It took several yards before any of us realized what the heck he was yelling about (I mean, I am pretty lovable).  The group took a moment to stretch and I had a photo op with my graffiti.  A short while later, two things happened.  1- Joe turned back to help Pinkey with getting the vans to the beach (and on the way back saw Lance Armstrong who was out for a jog!).  2- Mike jumped.  At first, no one took the bait.  I heard grumblings of “don’t fall for it,” “I’m not going,” and “let’s just hang out.”  I almost hung back, but as I saw Mike start to pull away, I couldn’t help myself.  I jumped, too.  Had I made that decision much later, I might not have caught up to him. The two of us worked together to cheat the Hawaiian wind and pulled in to the Waikoloa parking lot with a good ten-minute head start on stretching.  Thus was born the Tour de Hawaii. [pullquote_right]The two of us worked together to cheat the Hawaiian wind and pulled in to the Waikoloa parking lot with a good ten-minute head start on stretching.  Thus was born the Tour de Hawaii.[/pullquote_right]

By Thursday morning, it felt as if we’d been on the island for years.  I’m convinced there’s some sort of space/time phenomenon that occurs when you go to Hawaii.  Some folks stayed local Thursday morning, renting surfboards, paddle boards and snorkeling.  Others headed for a short bike ride or beach-bumming out in Waikoloa.  After a hard day’s work of relaxing, we gathered back at “home” for lobster and steak.  Things were tough in Hawaii.

It’s a good thing we took it easy on Thursday because Friday was a big day.  On Friday, we headed for the epic volcano ride.  This is a ride we’d been talking about doing since we’d booked the trip.  27 miles up, 27 miles down.  Mostly 27 miles up.  A steady 4-8% grade.  In the days leading up to the ride, we were rambunctious and quick to talk a good game.  Silence fell over the vans as we made our way along the winding roads of the coast to the starting point of the ride.  Silence continued to keep its hold on the group as we readied our bikes and went through our individual pre-ride rituals in the parking lot of the beach at the base of the volcano.  The group stayed together for the first half of the ride.  Then Caleb decided to jump.  We were convinced it wouldn’t be long before we saw him again, so we let him go and continued at a steady pace.  Amazingly, we did not catch sight of him.  Jim, Mike, Jakob and I began pacelining in an effort to catch him.  One by one, we “popped.”  First, we lost Jim.  Then, Mike was off the back.  The next thing I knew, we were averaging 17 mph uphill and I didn’t even care to look at my wattage (thanks Cycleops for sending us the Powertap wheels to use!).  I couldn’t hold the pace much longer, so I popped and set Jakob free to go catch Caleb.  Now alone, it was just me and the volcano.  I have to admit, for a 27-mile climb, the scenery really managed to take quite a bit of the edge off.  The next thing I knew, I saw a mirage of Jakob and Caleb on the horizon.  It’s amazing what seeing your competitors will do to boost your cadence.  I don’t know how it happened, but I began going 18-20 mph uphill and the van was within sight.  Check out our Facebook page to see a picture of Jakob screaming some obscenity or another as he cracked 1000 watts trying to catch me at the finish.  A proud moment.

You’d think that’d be enough for one day, but not for the Revolution crew.  We cruised back down the volcano, changed and drove right back up to enjoy lunch and a hike (why not?) down the caldera and through some lava tubes.  Turn your headlamp off in there and you can’t see your hand in front of your face!

Saturday was road trip day.  Some of us began the day by grabbing the best cup of joe we’ve had in our lifetimes.  Imagine a coffee shop perched on a serene cliff side of the Big Island coast.  The coffee plants are “trained” (they must be smarter coffee plants than in other places) to grow on trellises so each bean gets the perfect amount of sunlight, shade and rain.  Yep, it’s prettier than you could dream.  This moment (sitting at the outdoor coffee bar keeping our eyes open for breaching whales) was a calm and perfect moment before the craziness of the day ahead.  After caffeinating, the seven of us piled into our two caravans.  Both groups listened to and “sang” along with Lava 105.3 on the way to our first stop- malasadas.  Mmmmm…. who needs lunch when there are Hawaiian doughnuts to be had?  I certainly don’t.  I tried to be stealth about it, but it did not go unnoticed that I (the female representative) managed to scarf down both my doughnuts well before lunch even hit the table.  Oh well, no sense pretending to be a lady about things of this nature.

From doughnuts to Akaka Falls to Mauna Kea to take a peek at the stars and the Milky Way at the Mauna Kea Observatory.  The drive there was a little more terrifying than maybe we’d prepared for.  Not really to my surprise, the road to the top of the mountain was steep and winding with a speed limit about 15 mph too fast.  At the top of the mountain, we peeped many many more stars than any of us are used to seeing on a regular basis (a few of them shooting), but the moon was too close to full for us to get a good view of the Milky Way in all of its glory.  Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to go back…

Despite the Hawaiian space/time vortex situation, our last full day on the Big Island came entirely too soon.  In spite of our impending trip back to reality, we managed to live well.  Much like Thursday, some of us rode and some of us surfed and found our destinies as paddle boarders (Jakob…).  This was the only stage on which I did not manage to eek a first place spot.  I’d like to say I was being nice, but Mike whooped the Akaka out of me.  We jockeyed for position on the way to Waikoloa for several miles, and finally he jumped and I couldn’t catch him.  Some teammates, huh?  We regrouped, ate and then showered/changed for the most delicious dinner I’ve had in years at a place called Roy’s.  At “home” following the meal, we had a productive bike buying clinic (believe it or not, it was actually productive) and a cigar on the lanai, chuckling about funny moments and reminiscing about favorite experiences.

One more bike ride, a couple plane rides, out of the space/time vortex and back to reality we went.  Something about the cold of the DC area is now easier to endure.  And something tells me that I should be developing my strategy and training regimen for the Revolution Tour 2012…

Angela’s Swan Song

December 9th, 2010

Angela Koch left one of the country’s most established bicycle-friendly cities, Portland, to join Revolution Cycles in our dream of getting more people on bikes everyday, and the progress that we’ve made with her help is incredible.  Circumstances change and people move on, and in a few days, we’ll be watching Angela ride off into the sunset, but we’re grateful for the energy, passion and knowledge that she has brought to her role as our Events and Advocacy Coordinator this year.  With no small amount of humor and chutzpah, Angela has worked tirelessly to increase cycling participation in our communities and to improve riding conditions by developing relationships with local advocates.  We wish Angela the best of luck in her future endeavors.

And now, a few parting words from Angela:

I’m leaving in a few days to head south on my next great adventure. I’m going to be close to family but deciding to leave was, well, kind of a bummer. I was asked to write a final swan song but I’m finding it difficult to put together words that clearly describe my feelings. So, relying on a quick fix employed by any mediocre writer worth his salt, I’ll turn to quotes to guide the way.

If I leave here tomorrow, will you still remember me?

Revolution Cycles | Angela Leading

It’s true, there’s a little bit of ego in all of us when we leave a position and I hope I was able to make a positive impact in even the tiniest way here in the DC area. Not just because I’m goofy enough to quote Skynyrd and wear crazy knee socks and bright blue glasses but because this is my passion: I want to be a bicycle change agent.

As I move on, I hope to see Hub Spins grow and more people join in on fun social rides such as touring the monuments at night (and getting kicked out by the Feds) or biking in the middle of the frigid winter to drink cocoa and see the National Tree. There are countless creative ways to get more butts on bikes and to those of you who supported this cause by joining us on rides, I say thank you. To those of you who haven’t yet, I ask why not? All the cool kids are doing it!

I also hope more of you will participate in the public process by visiting Arlington, Rockville or DC Bike Advisory Committee meetings, advocating for improved enforcement or engineering in your neighborhood, supporting your local advocates or engaging in bike programming. Read this amazing guide put together by our friends at FABB to learn how to advocate for better bike facilities. Join WABA. Write your electeds every single time something good happens when you’re on your bike and tell them thank you for supporting bike-friendly programs and projects. Speak up to your friends, neighbors and loved ones and become an advocate in your own circle, to your own tribe. Be a bike ambassador everyday and make bikes memorable for good reasons.

It’s the way you ride the trail that counts, here’s a happy one for you.

Revolution Cycles | Monuments Hub Spin

I recall my excitement over learning about the many urban trails and bikeways when I first moved here from Portland. Those were my happy trail days and while I’m a seasoned cyclist here, I still haven’t lost the joy of riding here. The greater DC area has grown increasingly bike-friendly to the degree that we now boast the 6th highest commuter rates in the country (according to the American Community Survey 2009 report). Arlington County is putting in automated bike counters (leading the country by doing so) and sharrows and continues to maintain programs that support and encourage cycling. DC has its new cycletracks and bike lights and plenty of new bike lanes to boast about. Capital Bikeshare is one of the finest examples in the country of high-level partnerships that are undoubtedly increasing the profile of bikes as a solution to many problems. Our own City Hub is also a top notch, unique example of encouragement, retail and advocacy all rolled into one. There are plenty of great initiatives that are taking place right here in DC, so hats off to the many community leaders, planners, transportation professionals and electeds who work to make that happen. And helmets off to those of you who ride everyday or just started riding. Keep it up!

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

If you don’t do this kind of work, it’s hard to wrap your brain around how progressive it is for Revolution to have created this position, so since I’m leaving, I don’t mind one bit making a shameless plug. For bike retail to openly embrace advocacy and fully integrate it into their culture and business structure is unprecedented in the bike shop world. As scary as it was to be a part of a team carving a new path, I am thrilled to have had this opportunity and look forward to seeing many great things from this company and the next person to fill my shoes. This job has been a dream and that makes leaving it so much harder for me. But life happens and I must move on. Free bird.

I hate goodbyes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.

Revolution Cycles | Angela Outside of the Hub

So this is it, my final goodbye yet I agree with Charles M. Schulz that hellos are much better than goodbyes. Rather than leaving here with a sad farewell, I’d like to say thank you to all the wonderful people at Revolution, our community partners and friends, those who support this great work and everyone who rides a bike. I’m leaving Revolution but I’m not leaving the revolution so I’m sure we’ll meet again.

But, for now, as a final adieu, I leave you with this: announce your pass, don’t be afraid to add a little color to life and, of course, more cowbell!

Cheers,

Angela

PS: a final parting gift to anyone who would like to sing and bike with us on Saturday on the Ugly Sweater Ride. Credit and thank you to my PDX friends for the modified lyrics.

Deck the Roads

Written by: Amy Stork, Jim Waigand, and Jeff Bernards, Modified by: the Bikecraft Carolers

Deck the roads with tons of cyclists, Fa la la la la la la la la

Tis the season for idealists, Fa la la la la la la la la

Don we now our rain apparel, Fa la la la la la la la la

Call your friend, and sing bike carols, Fa la la la la la la la la

Grab your helmet and your u-lock, Fa la la la la la la la la

Join the sheep who’ve left the flock, Fa la la la la la la la la

Hitch your trailer to your seat post, Fa la la la la la la la la

To the store to get some French Roast, Fa la la la la la la la la

Pedal til the old year passes, Fa la la la la la la la la

Cold air fogging up your glasses, Fa la la la la la la la la

Summer soon will come again, Fa la la la la la la la la

Just keep riding with the wind. Fa la la la la la la la la

Shimano Mt. Demo 2010: Jim’s Notes from Asheville, North Carolina

November 23rd, 2010

Shimano Mt. Demo 2010

In September, Jim Richardson, the general manager in our Stafford, Virginia location, had the privilege of traveling to Asheville, North Carolina to spend three days testing out all of the latest and greatest toys from Shimano.  Jim is an avid mountain biker, and these are his thoughts and feelings on this year’s Shimano mountain component line-up.

Day 1: Introductions and Education

I got to the hotel at about 3:00 and waited for all of the guys to get here.  I grabbed my room, which was exceedingly cool.  As people showed up, we did introductions all around and it didn’t take long for the education to get started.

We talked about the new Shimano XTR and XT groups- I didn’t know that there was as much to them as there is.  The best part of the new XTR is the brake levers.  You hook your finger in (yes, finger- it is one-finger braking), and it has such a great feel to it.  You can set them up however you want them so that you can have them as soft or as responsive as you would like.  With the XT, the brake levers are still the best feature.  They have a familiar feel to anyone who has used XT in the past, but the power on the new XT brakes is fantastic.

*Shimano XTR M975 Hydraulic Brake Lever Set

MSRP: $229.99

Weight: 442g

Set includes right and left levers and Shimano BH-59 hydraulic hoses

Preparations for the day.

Day 2: The Riding Begins

We rode at Bent Creek after a very good breakfast at the Bent Creek Lodge.  Light rain started as we got to the trailhead.  We rode 17 miles at a pretty good clip with some pretty long climbs and some very good descents.  The downhill runs were very exciting for this flatlander, and I came out unscathed.  The rain made the trails and roots slick.  Because of the rain, the trails were like clay and I could hear the soil in the chain as I rode, but even with the crunching and gunking, the Dyna-Sys shifting still worked perfectly. [pullquote_left]Because of the rain, the trails were like clay and I could hear the soil in the chain as I rode, but even with the crunching and gunking, the Dyna-Sys shifting still worked perfectly.[/pullquote_left] I was riding the XTR wheelset, which was incredibly stiff and light, and when I went airborne, it handled the beating that my 200lb. frame put on it very well.

We had a great late lunch at a Mexican pizza place. The authentic Mexican food hit the spot after that ride.  Later that evening, we had steak, chicken and veggies cooked on the grill- delicious! We talked a lot more about what we felt on the ride and our moment of “wow.”  We talked for about two hours about product.  I was already looking forward to tomorrow.

*Shimano XTR M988 Trail 21C Rim Tubeless Wheelset

MSRP: $1,499.99

Weight: 1688g

Set includes front and rear tubeless-ready wheels and is compatible with thru axles in both wheels

Jim's XTR Loaner Bike.

Day 3: More Riding!

We went to Mills River to start the day’s riding.  We started out with a quick descent followed by a fire road climb followed by a single-track climb followed by a super, super gnarly descent with drops, rocks, roots, logs and everything else except the kitchen sink.  AWESOME!!  We rode about ten miles but it felt more like 20.  When I was downshifting on the front derailleur from the middle ring to the little ring, it felt as smooth as if I was shifting along on the cassette.  The Dyna-Sys system felt so natural, and there was none of the spinning out that you usual experience when you drop from a big ring to a little ring in the front. That was my BIG moment of “wow”!

After another great day of riding, we hung out around the house for a while before going out for food.  The riding was absolutely fantastic. The hanging out was fantastic.  The education was fantastic.  I’m ready to get home to start telling everyone about Dyna-Sys.  And I can’t wait to ride again in Asheville, North Carolina!

Fantastic!

The luxurious Shimano accommodations.