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.