Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Frozen Finger Shootout

February and the coldest temps of the year come calling once again, and your extremities are always the first to notice. On a long winter's ride it can be hard to find gloves warm enough to keep you happy but dexterous enough to keep shifting and braking from becoming a nightmare.

In the distant past we gave up and found other things to do instead: we skied, we snowshoed, we sat on the couch eating potato chips. Mountain bikes with 26 x 2.1" studded tires or 29" tires just didn't cut it anyway once more than a few inches of snow ended up sticking to the ground.

But with the advent of fatbikes and the amazing awesomeness that they create on your local trails it seems sad to just bike-hybernate until the lovely days of spring.

45North Cobrafist Pogies v. Bar Mitts
So, whaddaya do? For years I used Bar Mitts for winter riding. The concept was simple: attach a neoprene overmitt of sorts to each side of your handlebar encompassing your shifter, brake lever and grip, and slip your hand into the open end wearing a minimal glove; then ride like you normally would.

The downside is that in order to attach the Bar Mitts to the outside end of your grips you need to strap a 1/2" wide integrated piece of velcro around the grip, narrowing the real estate for your hands to grip the bar. And things can get sweaty in there. Neoprene is great at stopping wind penetration, but it is essentially a humid wetsuit for your hands.

Enter 45North, the brand dedicated to winter and riding through it, no matter how harsh the conditions. Last winter they released the Cobrafist Pogies, essentially a pair of little condominiums for your hands, replete with climate control, waterproofness, and adjustable drawstring wrist cuffs. These things are structural! A bar-end plug anchors the outside to your handlebar, allowing you to utilize every millimeter of existing grip. On the inboard end, foam pieces seal the opening wrapped in a neoprene zippered sleeve. An elastic drawcord at the cuff can be left open to leave a wizard's sleeve effect, can shrink the wrist opening to a tight seal, or can be set anywhere in between! On top of your hands there is a diagonal zipper that functions as a vent. Leave it closed when you start and everything is cold; open it up when your hands start to heat up to cool things off like AC.

On a winter wonderland ride in Fort Rock, Exeter, New Hampshire last Thursday, I rode with the Cobrafists. I wore a thin pair of Specialized Deflector gloves that I normally wear on some of those first crisp Autumn mornings, but usually abandon by Thanksgiving or so for something more like a ski glove. For the first hour everything worked like a charm: thin gloves made it feel like a summer day in terms of shifting and breaking, after my hands heated up a bit I opened the vent somewhat and quickly regulated the environment back to perfect.

Then the left bar plug popped out! Full disclosure: I did punch a stout tree rather hard with my left fist when I deviated from the packed path and took a squirrelly run off the trail stage-left. Stopping to fix my mechanical(?), I thought I had gotten everything straightened out, but ended up with the plug popping out, followed by me punching it back in again and again. Eventually I pulled the whole thing off and zipped it up in the front of my jacket, which worked for about 20 minutes of riding until my left hand started to freeze, at which point I just loosely positioned the Cobrafist back over the grip and cinched the drawcord tight around my wrist to turn it into a glorified mitten, which worked enough to get me back to the parking lot with all 5 of those digits still intact!

And the Winner Is:

One with Bar Mitts, One with just Gloves!
Cobrafist Pogies: I think once I dial in the connection of the Cobrafist that it will be a fantastic system. In its defense, my hands came out fine on two occasions when I misjudged the width of a bridge underneath the snow and did a quick flying dismount/endo/landing-on-my-back-in-a-semi-frozen-stream! My only other beef with them is there is a little mesh pocket inside that my finger invariably worked around the wrong side of when entering them quickly.

Bar Mitts: Still work very well, and at about half the price these are definitely a viable option. Last winter I cut off the cumbersome velcro straps, poked tiny holes in each end, and squeezed expanding road bike bar end plugs through the holes, anchoring the ends into the handlebar just like the Cobrafists do. With that modification, and the ability to open the zippers that attach the Bar Mitts to the inboard side a little bit, I get plenty of ventilation and the ability to use the entire width of the grip.

Just Gloves: Gloves have worked well in the winter for forever. Most fatbikes these days are pretty simplified. More and more are 1x11 or 1x10 speed drivetrains, so you only need enough dexterity to use a single shifter and a pair of brake levers. When it gets really cold, however, your hands are the first thing to feel the effects, even with big, heavily insulated mitts. And now that I'm used to having a structure attached to my handlebars and have become used to being able to easily maneuver to my brake levers and shifter, I feel pretty clumsy in big, fat gloves.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Papa Wheelies Holiday Sale, December 3-15

In this age of electronics a quality bicycle is still a fantastic gift to find under the tree. And now is a great time to buy a a new bicycle for yourself or someone on your list. Our store is full of new 2016 bicycles, and the remaining 2015 and 2014 year models are at the best prices of the year!
If you are looking for something smaller, we have lots of great stocking stuffers and great accessories for the most Discerning cyclist on your list.

Our Best Bike Prices of the Year

All In Stock 2016 Bikes          10% OFF
All In Stock 2015 Bikes          20% OFF
All In Stock 2014 Bikes          30% OFF
Charge Cooker Fat Bikes          $999.99
All In Stock Kids Bikes           10% OFF
Holiday Deals

Short-Sleeve Jerseys            50% OFF 
All Sunglasses                     25% OFF
Cannondale Quick Helmets     only $25
Serfas Lights                       25% OFF
All Mavic Shoes                    30% OFF
Garmin Edge 25 GPS              $50 OFF
                      All CycleOps Trainers            20% OFF*   Thru Dec 7th
Serfas U-Locks                      $10 OFF


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Park Tool School Classes are Back

Papa Wheelies Bike Shop is proud to announce a whole new slate of Bicycle Repair Education for Winter 2015-16 season. We've developed our classes around a curriculum designed by the Park Tool Company, makers of the number-one brand of bicycle tools in the world.

 All of our bike-repair classes are taught by Ian Herchenroder, who has 10+ years of experience wrenching and teaching in bike shops. He is only a handful of credits shy of earning his Masters Ed degree from UNH in musical education, so he brings a great ability to connect with and communicate to his students. You'll learn the best ways to care for and fix problems on your road and mountain bikes using pro tools and procedures.

The course textbook for all the classes is Park Tool's Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair. It uses color photos and instructions to clearly explain the topics covered in our class and over 100 more various repairs and maintenance tasks including servicing bearing assemblies, wheels, braking and shifting systems, adjusting components, and more! We have 15 courses scheduled for December - February. Call or email ian@papa-wheelies.com today to sign up - classes fill up very fast.

Rider Essentials Class - 3 hours - $50 - Max 8 students per class
Designed for the new rider or riders that want to familiarize themselves with their bicycles. Class covers essential maintenance procedures, pre-ride safety checks, and hands-on emergency repairs. This class consists of one 3 hour session. Cost $50.
No textbook or materials required
3 Class Options: Sat, Dec 5 / Sat, Jan 9 / Thu, Feb 4

Basic Maintenance Class - 6 hours - $125 - Max 5 students per class
Back by popular demand, this class is designed for the rider who wants to learn about all of the systems on their personal bike. This class focuses on knowing how the bicycle works and when there is a problem. The course covers general mechanical principles, demonstrations of all bicycle systems, and basic maintenance procedures. The course consists of two 3 hour sessions and is customized to the students.
Textbook required: Park Tool Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair (BBB-3).
Materials required: Your personal bicycle. Loaners are available at request.
7 Class Options: Tue, Dec 1 & 8 / Thu, Dec 10 & 17 / Sat, Dec 12 & 9 / Thu, Jan 7 & 14 / Sat, Jan 16 & 23 / Tue, Feb 9 & 11 / Feb 16 & 18

Advanced Maintenance Class - 9 hours - $225 - Max 4 students per class
This is a new class this season and builds on prior bicycle repair experiences. This class is designed for the rider who is familiar with basic maintenance procedures on their bike and focuses on gaining more experience. The course covers proper set-up and adjustment of major bicycle components. The course consists of three 3 hour sessions and is customized to the students.
Prerequisites: Student must have taken the Basic Maintenance Class or provide a brief statement describing their bicycle repair experience.
Textbook required: Park Tool Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair (BBB-3).
Materials required: Your personal bicycle.
3 Class Options: Tue, Jan 5 & 12 & 19 / Jan 26 & 28 & Feb 2 / Sat, Feb 6 & 13 & 20

MTB Master Class - 3 hours - $50 - Max 8 students per class
Although the other classes are applicable to all bicycles, including mountain bikes, this class is uniquely designed for a mountain biker’s needs. Class covers MTB set-up including tires, suspension, and rider controls, as well as advanced trailside repair skills. The course consists of one 3 hour session and is customized to the students.
Prerequisites: Student must have taken the Basic Maintenance Class or provide a brief statement describing their bicycle repair experience.
Materials required: Your personal bicycle.
2 Class Options: Tue, Dec 15 / Sat, Jan 30

Textbooks (Park Tool's Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair) are available at Papa Wheelies Bike Shop for $24.99. Call or email to reserve a copy.

All Classes must have a minimum of two students enrolled by the first class to proceed.
*Classes are not limited to these listed. If students are interested in any other topics or private lessons please contact Ian at the shop. 

Park's Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair, it is authored by C. Calvin Jones, a world-renowned bicycle mechanic. It is one of the most up-to-date resources available and it contains information on all of the latest technologies and components.

Email Ian to sign up for a session or call the store 603-427-2060

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Papa Wheelies Winter Overhaul & Bike Fit Specials

Warm Fall Greetings to you from our Bicycle Service Shop! After a very busy spring, summer and fall of keeping wheels turning, brakes working and gears clicking, we're cranking up for another one of our busy seasons, which is, Winter! Ah, winter...The time for playing in the snow, skiing or snowshoeing, fat biking, or just doing something different to balance out life and help prepare our minds and bodies for another fun riding season. Or maybe for some, forgetting about the bike for a little while. We would like to take the opportunity to let you know that now is the best time to bring in your bike! Much like lawnmowers, some people temporarily forget about bikes until the snow melts, the grass turns green then starts growing. That often builds the classic scenario, the mower needs some fixing and just when you're ready to mow. You call or bring it to the small engine shop and you're waiting a few weeks for your trusty mower to be ready. We'd like to change that thought process when you relate it to your bicycles. Trust me, we have a very difficult time communicating to folks that it's going to be two weeks before we can even touch your bike during the busy season. That's why now is the best time for us to get your bike ready to go, so that all you need to do come spring time is air up the tires, lube the chain and ride! Because really, the riding is what it's all about and when the time comes, we all just want to go out and ride.

In hopes that you will get on board with our thought process and as an incentive to get your bikes here, we are again running our ever popular Winter Overhaul Specials from now, right through February 15, 2016. This is the most extensive service we offer. We strip the entire bike to the frame, clean every inch of the frame and fork, soak and scrub your drive parts, open up your hubs, headset and bottom bracket bearings and add new bearings and fresh grease. At the same time, most bikes need common wear items such as a new chain, gears, chain rings or brake pads and we also will remove, install and adjust these items at the same time. Parts needed are extra costs of course, but the labor to remove, install and adjust is all included. As an added value to this service, we replace all your shift and brake cables and respective housing, at no additional cost for these small parts. This is a $45 dollar value. So normally you would pay $250 labor and $45 parts at a minimum with just cables and housing. We're cutting the labor charge by half and complimenting that with fresh new cables and housing. So the Overhaul is $125 which includes the new cables and housings! 

The service I describe above is the most common scenario we encounter with the winter overhauls. Other services we offer are more specific to the particular bike and intended use. We do sometimes customize services on a case by case basis, such as with full or front suspension mountain bikes and disc brakes. Suspension and hydraulic brake service is very often an overlooked part of the bike. The old thought "If it works, don't fix it" can not apply here! Suspension shocks and forks provide us with maximum fun while out on the bike, but we need to treat them nicely and service them at least once a year under normal riding conditions. At the same time at least once a season or every other season, folks running hydraulic disc brakes should have the brakes serviced and mineral oil or DOT fluids replaced and replenished to ensure longevity on your investment and ability to maximize fun time. 

This year, we are adding another value added service to make your cycling experience better. Now you can overhaul your bike and get your fit on said bike overhauled too! If your back hurts sometimes, or you suffer from subtle knee pain, numb hands or other bicycle fit related issues, you can get a Full 3d Fit from our Fit team. Using every advantage you can to better your performance or comfort while out enjoying the ride. In conjunction with our Service Special you can now get the Full Fit at half price ($125) right through February 15, 2016.

We're here for you all year long with a variety of services to cover all your cycling needs! We currently have one of the most experienced and knowledgeable bicycle service departments in the greater seacoast and southern Maine area, with a combined 95+ years experience servicing and riding bikes. Please come visit or call to book your service or fit appointment today.

Thanks for reading,
The Papa Wheelies Team

Thursday, November 12, 2015

We are Charge Bikes Dealers - Papa Wheelies Bike Shop

Photo courtesy of Robbie Jenkins Photo

Another bike added to our fat bike universe the Charge Bikes Cooker Maxi 1. This bike is killer and at $1200.00 it's a absolute bargain. Come on in to the shop to see it in person and take a spin.

Monday, November 9, 2015

SABR Open House Night

We've been big supporters of SABR since we opened our doors in 2001. SABR does a lot of good things for riding, from infrastructure like the Pease pedestrian bridge to putting on events and making other events financially possible, like Bike/Walk to Work Day, much of it behind the scenes.
SABR is holding an Open House this Thursday night, November 19th at 3S Artspace where they will be highlighting everything they do and all kinds of volunteer opportunities. There will be free appetizers and a cash bar. Come on out - we'll see you there! There will be a Bicycle Benefits ride at 4:00 pm, then the event will run 5:30 - 7:00pm

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Papa Wheelies Bike Shop - Sala Fat Bike Demo Day

How exciting is this? Ever wonder what this whole fat bike thing is all about? Well here is your chance to come on out hang out with the @papawheeliesbikeshop crew and ride some awesome bikes! The @salsacycles dirt demo will be @strathamhill off route 33 between the hours of 10am - 4pm on November 15. With a plethora of fat bikes both full, front, and rigid suspension as well as some awesome gravel grinding warbirds, and the new salsa mariachi it should be a day full of fun!! Got any questions don't be afraid to give us a ring @ 603-427-2060, we hope to see you out there! @salsacycles @qualitybike ‪#‎fatbikes‬ ‪#‎fatbiking‬ ‪#‎salsademotour‬ ‪#‎portsmouth‬ ‪#‎nh‬ ‪#‎demofatbikes‬ ‪#‎salsacycles‬ ‪#‎ridenh‬