Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Papa Wheelies Holiday Party and Big Sale

Join us Thursday, December 8th for our 10th Annual
    This is our annual thank you to our customers...we couldn't do what we do without you!
    We will have bikes, beer, food, wine and fun from 5 - 10 PM Thursday, December 8th. And, oh yeah, everything in the store will be on sale at the best prices of the year!! If you've been waiting to get something bike-related, this is the time to buy.
(Thurs, Dec 8th - Mon, Dec 12)  
  • All new IN STOCK 2012 bikes  10% OFF
  • All new 2011 bicycles will be  20% OFF
  • All new 2010 bicycles at up to 70% OFF
Gift Card Sale: Can't figure out what to get for the cyclist in your life?
For one day only: any gift card $50 or more will get you an extra 20% of value!
($50 purchase = $60 gift card, $100 = $120 gift card)

Winter Bike Overhaul: 50% OFF! Reg. $200.00 (includes cables/housing, complete breakdown and reassembly of bike) $99.99

We now offer 12-month, 0% financing - Sign up for your own Papa Wheelies/Back Bay Bicycles Freedom to Ride Card today through GE Capital!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Saturday Morning Bicycle Clinic- Winter Riding 101

Join us at Papa Wheelies for a free bicycle clinic this coming Saturday, November 19, at 10:30 AM. This weeks discussion, Winter Riding 101, clothing, lighting, studded tires and bike modifications to keep you rolling strong through the coldest winter months. Mention this blog post to get 15% off any one, in stock, winter clothing piece. We will have coffee and snacks for all.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Papa Wheelies Saturday Morning Bicycle Clinics

Come join us at Papa Wheelies every Saturday morning from 10:30 am - noon through the new year. We'll provide coffee and snacks, and all the encouragement to get out there and ride your bike!
Click here for a full schedule of our upcoming clinics.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Krempels King of the road Challenge

We've created a Papa Wheelies Team for the upcoming Krempels King of the road Challenge, what will surely be a most excellent fall fundraiser bike ride to benefit the Krempels Center in Portsmouth, NH. Here is one awesome reason why we've jumped on board.

All of us here at Papa Wheelies Bike Shop are honored to be a part of this event. A chance to ride with our local cycling hero Teddy King? You bet! After all, we own our small claim to fame that Ted worked with us at Papa Wheelies for a summer in his collegiate cycling days. Over the years since then, we've watched him successfully grow into his current role on the professional Liquigas Cannondale cycling team. What better way to give back to a community that means so much to Ted, than by doing something he loves, riding his bike and getting as many cycling friends as he can to ride with him to raise money for such an amazing organization like the Krempels Center

Please sign up today and join our team, we would love to have you be a part of it. If you can't make it for the ride, please consider a donation on our page.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, August 15, 2011

24 Hours of Great Glen- Team Back Bay / Papa Wheelies, podium finishers!

Bottom row left to right, racers- "Papa" Dan Houston, Dakota Martin.
Top L-R racers Chris Rebula, Matt Fowler, Steve Jacques, Chris DeGrace, Dania Magri and being shouldered to the top place, Team Manager Rick Starry.

Just back from a successful and fun weekend racing mountain bikes at the 24 Hours of Great Glen at the base of Mount Washington in northern New Hampshire. This was my first ever 24 hour mountain bike race so I really had no expectations going in, other than expecting to suffer. The race course was fast, with some long downhill sections of fire road, making the roadie legs happy. I was able to put in some long hard efforts in these sections and sit up to recover just before the more technical climbs. 

Sponsored by Dan and both Back Bay and Papa Wheelies Bike Shops, we were fully stocked on fluids, energy food and bikes. I was racing the Stumpy 29'er test bike, and we had Chris Rebula racing our new 2012 EPIC Comp 29 test bike. Racer Matt Fowler rode a 2011 EPIC S-Works 29'er. We were all on Specialized mountain bikes in either 26 or 29 inch. 

A special thanks to industry friend James at Exposure Lights USA for setting up our team with lights, a couple of us already ride only these, the finest cycling lights on the planet, but the rest of the group was pretty psyched to check them out. We were well stocked on the super bright Exposure Diablo with single cell piggyback battery on the helmet and MaxxD on the handlebars. Of the two night laps we each did, we only had to charge up once and had more than enough fire power for the race and we were able to maintain daylight lap times thanks to the brightness of the Exposure Lights.

Out of two specific shop teams, we had two podium finishes. Our Coed five person team fought hard through the last lap to firmly hold third place in class after completing 30 laps, racing 249 miles, ascending 35,550 feet, and finishing 15th place overall.

Here is a link to our total stats- Team Back Bay - Papa Wheelies

Our two person duo Back Bay / Papa Wheelies - Warriors of Radness Part II team held on to their third place finish after an impressive 27 laps completed, racing 224 miles and ascending 31,995 feet on course. We can't thank our Team manager Rick Starry enough for wrenching our bikes, keeping us on time for the our next lap, feeding and hydrating us, and just for his impressive overall professionalism. Thanks Rick! To the rest of our support staff, Anne Marie, Ollie (grilled and buttery banana bread man), Roxy, and a few forgotten names, a big thanks to you all as well...

Other Back Bay Bicycles notables from the race. Shop Manager Mike Wissell, racing on the super strong four person BoLoco / Going Down Swinging team completed an impressive 36 laps on the course! They firmly took first place in the Men's Pro overall and first in class. I took a pull from Mike out on my last lap through some of those fire road sections and he was super fast, I held on for a couple of minutes as he faded into the distance, but what a help it was to grab his wheel for that short amount of time. Thanks, Mike!

The 2011 Queen of Dirt, Back Bay employee Lauren Kling, dominated the Women's Solo 0-39 age category and completed 14 laps, totaling 116 miles and climbing 16,590 feet on course. 

Friends of Papa Wheelies also racing and powered by Specialized Bikes and Exposure Lights, Rich Matthes and Rami El Rayess racing on the Foggy Goggle / NorEast Team also held a firm grip on their category for the team win.

This was a fantastic event, we all suffered a bit, but in the end, we all had great time out on our bikes. 

Here is  a look at one of our laps on course. Like most of my laps, I started the timer late after starting the lap. 
Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 5, 2011

2012 Cannondale SuperSix EVO- Mount Washington Hill Climb Bike & First Ride Impressions

The 2012 SuperSix EVO with SRAM Red.

Smooth as Silk, and Lightning Fast! These are just a few very technical words to describe the 2012 Cannondale SuperSix EVO 2. I've been riding Cannondale road bikes for over 10 years now and they have evolved a lot since my 2000 era CAAD 4 Aluminum R1000. More recently, I've been riding a couple of different Cannondale's. I have a 2004 Aluminum R3000 with Optimo tubing, that I just love to ride, it's responsive with excellent power transfer and not too stiff to provide a harsh ride. I also ride a the 2007 SystemSix which was my first road bike with a blend of carbon and aluminum. The SystemSix has been by the far the lightest and stiffest, but also the fastest road bike I've ridden, until now! 

As pictured above, the SuperSix EVO has been changed from the stock build to accommodate my upcoming up-hill race on Mount Washington. I've added a SRAM X9 mountain bike rear derailleur, a SRAM 11-36 tooth cassette, and SRAM chain and paired up with a Cannondale Carbon Compact Crank. This is going to be the ideal gearing choice for the average 12% grade up the hill, 7.6 miles to the summit. Other subtle changes I made were in regards to my fit, so I widened the handlebar to 44cm and installed a longer, 110 mm stem.

 Gears for Hill Climbers.

Having spent a few hours yesterday morning dialing in the bike for the first ride, before I knew it, I was out on the roads of Southern Maine heading for some nice little hills around Mount Hope in the Sanford area. The roads leading up to the climbs are generally light rolling, but mostly flat. I am instantly amazed at how comfortable the ride is, bumps and cracks in the road surface pass under me unnoticed and I'm speeding right along with maximum efficiency, all pedal effort just progressing me forward. Standing up to sprint, I jet ahead in amazingly fast form (as fast as I can push this bike).

That's some low gearing!

Arriving at the base of the first climb on Fox Farm Hill road, I am able to maintain 7.5/8.5 MPH, 80-90 cadence and my heart rate around 170-180, well shy of my max HR. I find myself using the 34 chain ring with 28 or 32t cog and climbing with ease. As I stand on the pedals to climb, the bike just shoots uphill defying all gravity. Since that first lap was so much fun I descend and go back to hit it again! On the second descent, I push it hard to hit a fast speed, there's some nice corners and bends in the road and the bike just floats through with pin point precision where ever I want it to go. I'm able to experience even more bliss as I start to climb Mount Hope, it's amazing how this bike rides, accelerates, and how comfortable it is.

Our Super Star Cat, Harry, in full approval of the SuperSix EVO.

Here is my ride up and around Mount Hope from the park and ride in South Berwick, ME.

I'll be blogging a bit on my training on this bike in the next couple of weeks ahead of the race and definitely a blog on the race itself. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011 NEMBA Adventure Series- Bradbury Mountain State Park

Andrew just after set-up ready to hand off the first demo ride of the day.

Just back from a fun day supporting riders and providing demo bikes for folks to try at the NEMBA Mountain Bike Adventure Series at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, Maine.
It's always a good time mixing with mountain bikers, seeing the expression on their face when they come back from a super fun demo ride. We had a former NEMBA chapter president, Peter, who was reluctant to try a 29'er, give in and go out for a ride. His first comment was really priceless, "Oh My God" he exclaimed as he came back with the Stumpjumper comp 29. He was really excited about the bike and the whole feel of riding a 29 inch MTB. As he said, "now I have to buy another bike". We agree, one can never have enough bicycles to ride. Other riders we're equally excited and we even had one guy go out for a ride on our Specialized Tarmac test bike. All in all, a great day hanging out and rapping with folks spreading the good vibe. 
We already are anxious to be at the next NEMBA event, NEMBA Fest the weekend of October 8-9 at Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, NH.  Hope to see you there!

Enjoy the ride!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

2012 Specialized Dealer Product Launch- Mountain Bike Demo day.

After a morning where I needed more coffee than I would normally, I was ready for a few more product presentations. Actually, I wanted to hang around at breakfast a little more and watch the finish to that day's Tour de France coverage they were showing in the dining hall of the Monterey Convention Center. Instead, I filled a to go cup full of caffeine goodness and went up to the ATB/Kids presentation. After that, we were off to the Performance Mountain product overview. Surviving both of those and anxious to go ride bikes, I was in my room changing for the Mountain demo ride. All of the East coast dealers hopped on the shuttle bus headed to Toro Park in Salinas, about a 25 minute ride east from Monterey. Bike riding is fun!

 The 2012 S-Works EPIC 29'er.

One of my goals with the MTB demo was to compare the EPIC 29 to the Stumpjumper 29. Selfishly, so I can narrow down my choice for my next mountain bike investment, but also to be able to give a good idea on the different handling characteristics of both bikes to folks looking at purchasing either of these two bikes. 

The EPIC's handling is exceptional, it climbs very efficiently and also descends quite well. This bike made from Super-light FACT IS 11m full carbon with dedicated 29er geometry, PF30 bottom brackett (PF= press fit), of course, all the suspension pivots have sealed cartridge bearings. The rear frame dropouts are 142mm wide which make the bike handle great and keeps frame flex at the axle non-existent. The rear shock is a FOX shock made specifically and exclusively for Specialized and designed for this bike. It has the new Kashima coating on the shaft which helps reduce friction and provide longevity and durability. New for 2012 a special tune on the shock that delivers a seamless transition from efficient pedaling on smooth terrain to fully active on rough terrain. Providing the front suspension is the RockShox SID 29 fork with Specialized Brain inertia-valve damping and has 100mm of air-sprung travel. Specialized rolls this bike on the Roval Control SL 29 wheelset with carbon rims. They're wicked light, stiff, & durable. They climb and handle fantastic. For drive components it is spec'd with SRAM XX 10 Speed 2x10 gearing. It was plenty of low gearing for any of the climbing we were about to encounter.  

 Cows and Mountain Bikers always mix!
I rallied with a couple of other dealers I had become friends with while at this event so we could all ride together. Myself and another guy, Stu, out of the four of us, wanted to do the harder loop that Specialized had mapped out for us and so Tom and Scott just agreed to follow us. Little did they (or I) know how much climbing we would end up doing. Along the way, about half way up, we met up with these cows just grazing on grass, some in the middle of the trail. We don't see anything like this back east, but we just waited for them to move out of the way and off we went.

Monterey Bay can be seen of in the distance.

I'm a climbing junkie, some times I just can't get enough. So, while I was suffering from the self inflicted pain I was putting upon myself, I was giddy inside looking up at the remainder of the climb. Though not technically difficult terrain, it was quite steep and pretty warm out, so I was feeling it.

 We rode the grassy skyline ridge to the summit.

 Representing Papa in the West

Arriving at the summit, I found this high altitude cow just grazing.

1800 ft above sea level, prefect grains to eat here.

We figured out at the top of this really long climb that we had gone well beyond the route that was mapped out for the demo ride, but thankfully one of us had the map, which had the trails we needed to ride down. For a little bit, it was a "finger in the wind" approach to find our way back, but this just added to the riding adventure and gave us some sweet single track and a nice long descent to the Demo venue.

My second demo ride and first love, the 2012 S-Works Stumpjumper 29.

We eventually made it back with enough time to take another ride and I immediately took out the S-Works Stumpjumper 29'er. Within the first few feet of my ride, I just knew, the Stumpy is the bike for me! Everything about it, the seating position, geometry, superior handling, increased travel and more...This bike rips! I took the shorter of the two loops and had a blast! Great single track, desert/western style with a few good launcher jumps and some fun berm corners. This bike is just incredible and with the Specialized Purgatory and Ground Control tires mounted up on the Roval Control Trail 29 wheel set the hook up was mind-blowing! The 130mm travel Fox F130 shock was super plush and responsive mated with the all new proprietary to Specialized Remote Brain Auto Sag rear shock it allows for maximum pedaling efficiency and bump compliance.

This is my GPS track of the EPIC & Stumpy demo rides at Toro Park in Salinas, CA, courtesy of Strava (check them out).

Thanks for reading, I had a blast representing Papa Wheelies and Back Bay Bicycles at the event. I got to speak with Mike Synard after dinner on the last night and thanked him for having us and complimented him on a great team he has working under him, including us here at Papa's and Back Bay, as he said on the first day, "We are Specialized".  


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

2012 Specialized Dealer Product Launch- A day of presentations and a little Sailing

Day two, a heavy schedule full of Marketing, Women's gear, City and Urban Bikes, SBCU and Equipment, and both hard and soft goods presentations. All that in depth information can be a bit overwhelming and tiring on the brain, so what better way to end the day than with a nice little sail on the Pacific Ocean in Monterey Bay. Thanks to Scott, our Specialized Bicycles Representative, for taking us out there. Even though I was completely gripped, like in my my early days rock climbing, it was really awesome, and I didn't get sea sick thanks to the dramamine I popped just before we headed down to the pier. This Blog post will be mostly pictorial from here on out, so enjoy! 

Monterey Bay Sailing, enough said

This is Nilla, Monterey Bay Sailing's Mascot.
Many Sea Otters in the harbor.
Captain Ray.

Scott Fader, our Specialized Bicycles Representative.

Seals just chillin on the docks.
Sails up!
Monterey Bay, just beautiful!
Scott Bumpus from Seaside Cycles snapping pics.
One of the many fishing boats out on the bay.
Looking toward Santa Cruz.
Coast Guard boat.
NOAA boat.

Coming back into the Harbor.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

2012 Specialized Dealer Product Launch- Road Demo Day

The official start of the 2012 Specialized Product launch is now in the books and after a nice healthy breakfast consisting of fresh locally grown fruits, a few eggs, a delicious bagel with cream cheese and most important item of all, coffee, we filed into the auditorium for a welcome from the founder of Specialized, Mike Sinyard. I took this photo of him with as he began to speak, admittedly it's not a great pic with the bright, white background, but his passion for the company, and most importantly for cycling, is very infectious and inspirational. His main theme, "We are Specialized". He is very grateful and thankful to all the dealers for what we do. I'm jumping ahead of myself here a bit, but I've been hearing the same message from all the speakers at the various presentations this week, and I'm amazingly impressed with the team of folks Mike has working for Specialized, all very knowledgeable, passionate about the brand and sport, and all incredibly well spoken. They've all made me feel very positive about this brand (not that I wasn't before), and the support network they provide to us at the dealer level. After the welcome presentation, we had some priorities to attend to- riding bikes!

The 2012 S-Works Tarmac SL4

So my goal with the road demo was to expose myself to the Tarmac and Roubaix, both quite popular bikes in our market. As I'm handed the Tarmac from one of the demo folks, the first thing I notice is how incredibly light this bike is. Spec'd with SRAM Red, Roval wheels, the new SL4 frame has a 19% increase in stiffness-to-weight ratio over the 2011 SL3 Tarmac. As I ride down the lovely Monterey bike path, I feel just how well this bike handles through some tight corners, it's early in the morning, so there aren't too many tourists around and I'm able to step up the tempo a bit and stand on the pedals and sprint for a few pedal strokes, not surprisingly, the bike just propels forward with lightning speed! As I start to head out of town and off the bike path into Pacific Grove, I head up some hills and away from the coast. I love to climb hills on my bike and I am quite amazed at just quickly, and confidently this bike climbed. Returning to the coastal road and about seven miles into my ride, I really started putting some hard efforts into the pedals, trying to get a good workout in the process, but more importantly, trying to really get a feel for the bike's response to my input and force applied. Well, it answered all my questions and far exceeded any expectations that I hadn't really thought about. I have ridden Cannondale bikes for nearly all of my road riding days, but the fit and feel of this bike really has me reconsidering my brand and model of choice. 

 A parting shot, fast and furious on the 2012 S-Works Tarmac SL4

The 2012 Specialized Roubaix Pro 

The Roubaix Pro Test Ride was equally awesome as compared to the Tarmac. The last time I rode a Roubaix was in 2005 at the 2006 Dealer Launch, which was actually the first generation Roubaix. Now going on six years of refinement on the product category, they've done a very nice job with capturing and perfecting comfort while riding this bike and increasing performance as it relates to a riders input on the bike. Immediately, I noticed just how comfortable the bike is to ride. Thinking back to that first ride in 2005, there is a significant update in performance on the forth coming Roubaix generation. The bike is a little less slack in the geometry, which increases the handling capability, and makes the bike very predictable at speed and quick to react when you need it, but not so slack as to make the bike feel uncomfortable, or slow and sluggish. That balance they've achieved on this model is rather impressive and I think it's still going to be a very popular bike with our customers. As Josh mentioned in his blog review of the 2011 Roubaix SL3 Expert review it's really the perfect bike for our old beat up New England roads and for folks who want to go fast and be very comfortable on this bike.  I'll include a few more photo's from the road demo, I took more on my Roubaix ride, since I was using that as more of a cool down, I really put myself in the red zone on the Tarmac, completely on purpose of course. Enjoy the pics, and thanks for reading.


 During my pre-ride check, GPS on, wallet secured, food items packed.

 Model Branding
 The mighty Pacific Ocean in the background.

Zertz inserts with model branding.

2012 Specialized Dealer Product Launch- Travel Day

Yosemite Valley from 25,000 feet in the sky!

Greetings from a cool, foggy, misty, Monterey, California. While everyone in Seacoast New Hampshire is sweating it out back home, we're here, well, I'm here in representation of Papa Wheelies Bike Shop for the 2012 Product Launch from Specialized Bicycles. What a treat! I must say, these guys go all out for their dealers. Before I get into a few details on the event, let me tell you about the journey so far. It all started Monday morning with a 3:30 AM wake up. In the car for 4:15 AM and off to Logan International for the first leg of the flight to the west coast. On the plane and headed for my connection in Chicago, I awoke to some chatter over the intercom from the pilot saying that instead of circling over O'Hare (like we had been for over an hour, due to some nasty T-Storms) and risking running out of fuel, we were diverting to Indianapolis to refuel and sit out the bad weather. Moans and groans were heard from most of the folks in the cabin as concern grew over possible missed connections or family and friends who would be waiting for flights that were now delayed. I thought about all this too, but figured what the heck, I'm in no real rush to get anywhere, so I turned on my iPod (a little Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon) and just kept to myself. Well in the end, my connecting flight was also delayed into O'Hare, so after hiking around the halls of one of the largest, busiest, airports in the world with gate changes and such, I was on a plane bound for San Jose, CA arriving only a couple of hours late.

Arriving in San Jose we were greeted by our friendly Specialized contact at baggage claim, who would have us assemble for the shuttle bus ride to Specialized Head Quarters in Morgan Hill. I say us because I was with probably thirty or so other East Coast Dealers on the flight from Chicago to San Jose. After a short scenic ride, I was eating a yummy, fat, burrito followed by a self guided tour of the facility. They've done a lot of improvements to the building since I was there in 2005, including a new retail lab, SBCU classrooms (SBCU= Specialized Bicycles Components University), the newly expanded test lab, where the had bike frames in process of being tested for torsional and vertical compliance in machine jigs on head tube fatigue, pedal induced torsional stiffness testing at the bottom bracket, also wheel testing both vertical and aggressive side load tests, torsional handlebar and stem testing, and so on. They've also got quite the collection of bikes in the museum including the World Championship Bike ridden by the man himself, Mario Cipollini. Below are a few pictures from the museum.

 Mario's 2002 World Championship bike.

DACIPO Wine & Olive Oil / hair lube.

Shaun Palmer's 1999 NORBA National Championship DH bike.

Fabian Cancellara's 2010 Yellow Jersey Bike

After the Morgan Hill tour, we hopped back on the bus for the lovely ride to Monterey. I was thoroughly exhausted from the days traveling. There's something about jet travel that just beats me up, it's not like you're doing much at all, but the adrenaline spikes from take off and landing and running around trying to catch connections can be just brutal, oh woe is me. Anyway, I checked in to the dealer event, meeting up with Lennard Zinn in the hotel lobby. In my previous role at a local bike parts distributor, I had worked a little with Lennard on some product reviews through his weekly Tech article in Velo News, so it was nice to see him. I then checked into my room, relaxed for a little bit and then headed down to dinner and met up with our Specialized Rep, chatted with him and other New England dealers for a bit and went back to the room fully intending to write up this blog post, but as quickly as I started brainstorming about all the thoughts in my head, I passed out with my lap top in my lap of all places, and drooling (not really) on my pillow. So, stay tuned, I might be a day & three hours behind, but there is more to come on the official day one of this product launch including riding some fast and fun road bikes along the picturesque 17 Mile Drive. 

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Christmas in July Overhaul Special! Save $50 bucks!

Our summer gift to you! Save $50 dollars on a complete overhaul and get a complimentary set of both brake and shift cables & housing ($35 dollar value) for the whole month of July.


If you've been training & riding all season or just getting ready to ride now into the fall, you might be due for a complete overhaul. Bring your bike in to Papa Wheelies for a complete overhaul. This service normally costs you $200, but for the month of July it's $150 including all new cables and housing. Call (603) 427.2060 or stop by the shop to schedule an appointment.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Two Timer on a Twenty Niner

2011 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29 Test Bike.

Only recently have I exposed myself to the beauty of the 29'er bicycle. This post title says Two Timer because I'm feeling like I've been cheating on my regular old 26 inch wheeled bikes on the last Two Rides and because I have now done Two Rides on our 29'er test bike. Everything I'd heard and read about before actually trying the Big Wheels was all summed up quite nicely once aboard. Just Riding Along (JRA) in the parking lot of the shop on a few different bikes, was an instant attention grabber. They all felt incredibly stable and rolled nicely along.

Here at Papa Wheelies, we have two 29'er Test Bikes from Specialized, an EPIC Comp 29 in a large frame, and a Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29, medium frame size. I personally have a 2007 Stumpy FSR (26 inch wheel/ 5 inch travel bike) so I have been gravitating toward the Stumpy Test Bike, because it's in my size, but also because I like a little more travel than the EPIC has. I took sometime last week on a day off to ride some of my favorite trails at Mount Agamenticus, these are trails I know quite well and that I have been riding for a long time. I thought that would be the best way for me to compare the 29'er bike. Instantly, I was hooked as I climbed up Ring trail with ease, rolling over rocks and roots quickly and smoothly. What I noticed as I climbed up the switchback Horse trail was how less twitchy it was compared to my regular MTB. It seemed as if I could roll around the switchbacks more smoothly, where if I was riding my 26" bike, I might have had to do a bit more negotiating with my front wheel at every turn, using more energy in the process. The wheels and bike went directly to the position I pointed it, when and where I needed it, all my effort in pedaling making the bike propel forward.

As I summited the Big A, I looked forward to the descent toward Second Hill. I love to climb, but who doesn't love to go down hill too? As I started down Chestnut Oak I was absolutely amazed at the handling of the bike through big rocks & roots, into corners, flying with a smooth flow down the trail. Again as compared to my 26'er, I would have had to pre-jump and compress the suspension through a couple of sections to make it through smoothly at my acceptable rate of speed. Railing into some of the tighter corners, I could counter my body weight into the rear suspension, much like my 26, but even faster!  There's a rock drop/ roll off as you start the traverse over toward Second Hill that I've never felt totally positive about rolling over on my 26 inch Stumpy, I've always felt like I had to get way back off the saddle or even in some cases, I've walked down through it if the conditions were super slick or if it was really dark on some of my night rides. The 29'er just made me feel super confident going in that it was no big deal rolling down the rock and I did it with great skill, thinking to myself how much fun it was on this bike. 

Every question I asked in my head about the bike, I was given the answer in the handling and responsiveness of the bike. For example, as many riders who frequent Mount Aggie know, often times you'll be riding at a fairly quick clip and come into left a corner, through a stream and there's a rutted root section as you exit the water and corner. See pic below.

You can see at the far end of the stream the roots. On my 26 Stumpy, I would hit the first root and have to pull up hard on the front end to get my wheels to clear the roots better. With the 29 Stumpy, I was able to pop my front tire on top of the first root, along with my momentum I only had to apply a quick and easy pedal stroke and the wheel just rolled over the second root with minimal effort and less energy used. The rest of this first ride was pretty tame and I ended, feeling less "worked". 

My second ride on this bike was just the other night after a mostly rainy day. I was unsure how the bike would handle through slick rocks and roots and with other riders to influence the speed of the ride. As I reached the top of the first real technical climb on the Lime trail, I just knew the 29'er was/is for me. The whole ride I nailed the real technical climbs and rock/root sections. At the rides end, I felt great, not nearly as tired as I would have felt if I had been on my 26. Now one of the regular old 26 inch wheel bikes I own sits quietly up for sale to fund my next big bike purchase, some 29'er, bike model yet to be determined.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cannondale Mountain Bike Sale is on now!

Looking for a new Cannondale Mountain Bike? We're currently running a -20% off sale on the Trail SL2, Trail SL3, & the Trail SL4. Mention this blog post for a complimentary Papa Wheelies / Back Bay Bicycles water bottle. In addition, with any new bike sale, you save 20% on all accessories and every new bike comes with our legendary "Lifetime of free service".

*Sale is on while supplies last.