Volume 1 / Issue 018
The newsletter for active cycling lifestyles
Volume 1, Issue 18 / ISSN 1945-1776
A Note from Kevin
I have to brag on my training buddy Regina this time as she has finally joined the peloton! Regina is such a fine rider that she could ride with anyone but has slowly been earning her stripes. Oh. I got dropped on the ride in question by George, a sprightly 74 years young!
The next Custom Bike Fit Consulting Trip, May 15th-17th in Dallas, is at the Cooper Fitness Center cycling studio, depending on demand. Let me know if you need help with planning your next dream bike. The best suggestion is to email me so we can make an appointment. The Cooper Fitness Center is at 12200 Preston Road in Dallas. It is at the back of the Cooper Aerobics Center complex. The cycling studio is the first thing you see when you enter the Fitness Center. They will provide locker facilities and I promise an awesome experience.
In our Q&A section we have two questions. One talks about what is wrong with some 650 wheel bikes and the other talks about not judging a book by its cover, or what I think of bike fenders.
Cynthia Heinz will add her woman’s perspective as a new cyclist, discussing her commitment to get off the trainer and on the road with her Parlee Z3.
Don’t forget to visit our blog as new stuff is posted there almost daily. It is easy to subscribe to the blog so you can get updates sent to you.
Thanks again for letting me share with you a little about cycling. I respect your time and will strive to continue to make it worth it.
Our every other weekend trips to Dallas are getting back on schedule but are still demand based. I am also adding Houston and Austin so if you need help, I will get to you somehow. If you want me to come to your city and do custom bike fit consultations for you and your colleagues, contact me and we can arrange it. To make it cost effective for you, I need to be able to work with a group of people so let’s talk.
Dallas Custom Bike Fit Consulting Trip, May 15th – 17th. Consultations will be held in the Cooper Fitness Center in the spin classroom.
Dallas Custom Bike Fit Consulting Trip, May 29th – May 31st. Consultations will be held in the Cooper Fitness Center in the spin classroom.
I have been studying newsletters and websites since updating my website and have a suggestion about your newsletter. I am one of the people most interested in what you have to say but I am so busy now, the newsletter is too long sometimes. Why don’t you put the first paragraph or two in the newsletter and then put a “read more” link in there so if somebody likes that article they can finish it and if not they can easily keep reading? You are my only dealer and I want people to look forward to getting material from you.
Wow, what a great idea? Of course I see newsletters and ezines done like this and your suggestion is being implemented this week. Thanks so much for speaking up.
Feature Article – You Don’t Have to be a Bike Racer to Ride with Them
I had three observations during this ride. First, riding with proficient Masters cyclists is very smooth. Everyone was at least a decent bike handler, but all looked where they were going and made real attempts to ride in a straight line. Second, my Fountain of Youth theory got some major support as I was dropped by a 74 year young cyclist on a longish hill. At 52, it was a great vision for the future, because if George can do it, so can I. Finally, I got to see Regina do some outstanding riding with people that were faster than her and this is the basis of my story today.
Regina has been friends with Toni and me for almost a decade. I saw her get her first Colnago and learn how to ride as an adult. She has always been super fit, but had never learned to ride a bike as a youngster. As such, Regina had to overcome significant fears of the unknown and faced these fears as an adult and mother who “knows better.”
Knowing that you can take a horse to water but can’t make them drink, I continually spoke to Regina about learning the tricks of the proficient road cyclists. With the power to weight ratio that a petite yet strong woman would have, Regina learned that she quickly could out climb many men, yet had not learned how to channel this strength and power to make her rides more enjoyable. I think this is the way everyone approaches riding with a group as opposed to riding alongside a group of cyclists. I see this pattern many times with triathletes who are riding in a group. They have the potential and the raw skills yet have not actualized them in this context.
The breakthrough on this ride was quite simple, really. I was riding alongside Regina when we were in the middle of a 3/4 mile climb and the two people in front of us picked up the pace. (Yes, George was one of them!) As a small gap opened, I knew that I could not respond but asked Regina to close the gap. I got passed by two people at the same time and Regina passed one of them, grabbed the wheel on the next guy, then jumped up to George’s wheel, and finally leapfrogged him to crest the hill with Roberto, the leader!
Regina looked fantastic and was really not spending more energy than before, but used that energy wisely. She interacted with the group rather than just riding her pace, regardless of the speed of the peloton. This “letting go” of individuality to join the peloton is a huge step. The possibilities for rapid improvement are significant now.
This is the reason I encourage triathletes to get their road bike out once a week and ride with a group a little faster than they. This way the intensity of the group can create an incentive to push way beyond one’s perceived limits. This is almost impossible to recreate when riding alone.
The lesson here is, Regina wanted to be in control of her pace despite what the group did, and she finally “broke the code” to discover that she doesn’t lose anything by joining the pack but does gain another perspective and the ability to ride with many more people without trouble.
Triathletes typically don’t draft when racing and I think they miss out on a lot of learning and range building by avoiding this on the bike. If you run with the fast runners, swim with the fast swimmers and ride with the fast cyclists, good things happen. Regina proved that though she has never raced, the tricks the racers use can and do make a big difference in the enjoyment of riding a bicycle well.
Until next time,
Cynthia Speaks for Women – On the Road
It took an awful lot of coercing, cajoling, and baby-talking to get me to give in and give it a whirl, but I agreed last October to learn to ride. I worked directly with Kevin Saunders, renowned cyclist and owner of KGS Bikes based in San Antonio, TX. I figured if I was going to do it, I needed to learn from the best as I had no technique, no finesse, and truthfully, no clue. Further, I was smart enough to realize that if I bought the wrong bike and tried things the wrong way, I would have wasted thousands of dollars on a bike that would never be used again. Fear was an understatement for me. Clipping myself into the pedals the first time seriously caused me to tremble from head to toe, and I screamed “We’re gonna die!!!” nearly the entire 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rides. To this day I still sometimes remind Kevin that I might indeed die this time. He assures me, as he always does, that I will be fine.
So all last Fall I rode on the tandem outdoors and just got used to the feel of the bike. I learned how to pedal smoothly, how to stand up on the bike, how to clip in and out of the pedals quickly and effectively, and what it felt like to ride really fast down a hill. I got over a ton of my fears, both cycling fears and life fears (which many of you have read about), and really changed the shape of my body in the process.
Winter came and Kevin said it was time for Stage II of my training. I ordered my pink Parlee (custom-fitted with a proprietary system to ensure a perfect fit and maximum power with force applied in all the right places to remove the risk of injury) and then brought it indoors. We hooked up my Parlee to a Tacx trainer, which is where I’ve been every morning all winter. I meet up with Kevin and Cara at 6:00a every day and we cycle and change the world. Indoors I’ve learned a number of valuable lessons as well. Kevin has me on different training programs that teach me to maximize my efficiency and increase my average wattage and rpms.
At the beginning of winter I was sitting at about 105 & 55, respectively, now my averages come in around 140 & 80, which is MUCH better than before. I still practice getting in and out of the pedals and am also incredibly comfortable shifting gears and knowing which gear I should be in for every situation. If you haven’t been able to figure it out by now, I was the nerdy ‘safety kid’ growing up. It brought me much relief to know that I could learn to shift off the road in a safe environment instead of on the road while also trying to learn the pedal thing, the feel of the bike, etc.
Now I’m ready for Stage III (at least this is what Kevin told me)! I did take my Parlee out on one ride a few months ago just to see if I could do it alone. It was a fascinating experience and I felt so prepared for it! Other than that, however, I have not been on my single-man bike outdoors. Tis the season! I do have a few fears creeping back over it, but you will travel with me through this journey and hopefully encourage me by sharing your own personal experiences.
What I love about cycling is that it’s never too late in life to start. Further, with the program Kevin has me on, I’ve truly had my hand held the entire time and he assures me I will be running with the big dogs by the end of summer. I work for a physician practice here in town and was recently invited on a competitive ride by someone very high up in my industry. I have committed to doing that ride before the end of summer. Here’s what I’ll be learning on the road…bike handling skills, turning, drafting, and confidence on downhills riding a solo bike. Here’s to summer!
Feel free to drop me a line anytime or send questions to: email@example.com
Q & A with Kevin
I love my tri bike but it is slow. I can’t pedal fast enough on the downhills to keep up. I have a Kuota with 650 wheels and somebody told me that those wheels are no good. Is this the problem?
Thanks for writing. Your bike is fine and so are the wheels. The problem is in your gearing.
I will bet you a nickel that your bike has a 53/39 (# of teeth per chainring) gear set on the front. With 650 wheels this is too low. The good thing about 650′s is, they are smaller and as such are stiffer, lighter, climb and accelerate better and are more aerodynamic. The bad thing about them is you need to compensate in the gearing for the smaller size wheels. Many bike shops don’t take this into consideration and as such you can “run out of gear” quickly on a downhill or with the wind.
I put a 56/44 set of chainrings on bikes with 650 wheels and that solves the problem. A 56/11 with 650 wheels is very close in gear inches (123.8) to the 53/11 with 700′s in gear inches (126.6). What this means is for one revolution of the pedals, the 650 wheel will travel 123.8″ and the 700 bike will travel 126.6″. Gear inches are the most accurate way we describe gearing but for this question, just change your chainrings and maybe the cassette as well and you will have a fast bike indeed!
I just rode the Houston to Austin MS 150 and even though the first day was cancelled due to weather, I saw some people preparing to do the ride anyway. Get this. They had road bikes with little fenders strapped on with rubber bands. I thought it looked ridiculous and went up to the guy who said he bought them from you! Do you encourage people buying your bikes to become freds? Why would anyone ruin a perfectly good road bike with fenders?
I know exactly who you ran into, Larry from Scotland. He comes from a country that has tons of inclement weather and from a hardy breed of people who ride rain or shine. He had SKS Raceblade fenders on his Parlee and you are correct, they are half fenders that attach to the seatstays and fork with big rubber straps.
Not wishing to be nosey, but have you ever ridden a bike in the rain with fenders? Fenders do an amazing job of eliminating water and grit that sprays up your back and trickles down your shorts. Ninety miles of abrasive pumping by road water will certainly result in a case of chafing that you won’t soon forget. Also, the front fender keeps a lot of gunk off the bike and out of the headset. Finally a lot of spray is eliminated from behind so anyone on your wheel will thank you profusely.
Because of style points, many people in dryer climates “poo poo” fenders but I can tell you they are worth their weight in gold. If you go to an area like Portland, see how many bikes don’t have fenders when a large group rides in the rain!
Since the SKS fenders are designed for modern road bikes they cause no damage and are installed in minutes. I think that you may be prudent to think about the relative comfort of our friend Larry vs. you had you both done 90 miles in the rain. Thanks very much for the question, though as I am sure many people thought the same thing you did without knowing!
Cooper Complete – We have arranged for 10% off anything you buy from Cooper Complete if you put “KGS” in the coupon link and then “recalculate”.
Cooper Clinic - The world renowned Cooper Clinic is starting to create medical exams and services aimed at professional adults who ride bicycles.
Cooper Fitness Center – The Cooper Fitness Center has a special strength training introductory program for cyclists.
These links are to our frame builders and other providers that make KGS Bikes the premiere fitting studio and cycling boutique in the world:
Co-Motion Cycles – We’ve long enjoyed a reputation for building tandems that simply handle better.
Guru Bikes – Our approach is based on combining the best of both worlds: cutting edge technology delivered by hand and with an old school attention-to-detail.
Lew Racing – Lew Racing has achieved a following among racing cyclists because of the wheel’s tremendously high strength, low weight and the meticulous attention to engineered performance inherent in its design.
Parlee Cycles – Simply put, PARLEE frames are the best built and best riding carbon fiber frames available today, at any price. They are functional works of art.
Rocket 7 – Since 1999, Rocket7 has been handcrafting cycling shoes in the USA with the finest materials available.
Sem Custom Paint – Dave Sem is the best extreme detail painter in the world.
Serotta – Only Serottas have the extensive engineering of our proprietary Colorado Concept tubing design. It’s the foundation behind the unique ride of each and every Serotta.
Source Endurance – They are teaming with us to provide physiological testing, data analysis, training consultation and long-term coaching. They have two state-of-the art labs, one in Austin and one in San Marcus. We are proud to recommend them and invite you to check them out.
Storck Bicycles – Numerous innovations in frame and component design that are standard in the industry today were developed, patented, and introduced by Storck Bicycle.
Tacx – Home of the Fortius Virtual Reality trainer. This is the trainer component of our “Ultimate Spin Bike”. Tacx also makes many other fine products. KGS Bikes is an Authorized Tacx Testing Center.
Topolino Technology – Our wheels embody this ethic: A fundamental redesign of wheel construction to take advantage of extraordinary materials with amazing properties, yielding a wheelset that performs like no other.
Zinn Cycles – For more than a quarter of a century, Zinn Cycles have been working to make cycling more enjoyable for customers, and that commitment remains at the heart of everything they do.
About KGS Bikes and Kevin
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