The Giro, The Tour, Rocks Demise, Boonen, and all the other things on my mind…

Lance Can't Climb. Denis Menchov can. Lance has now dropped to 22 after stage 5. This should be a good wake up call to remind
Mr.Armstrong that riding a few domestic cyclecross races does not count as training for the Tour. I assume by now, as his
lungs are sucking in the thin Italian air, he is painfully aware of this.

General Classification after Stage 4
1 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
2 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana
5 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
6 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
7 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
8 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
9 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
10 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team

As for the tour, it seems we can't have a nice bike race without creating scandal, or in this case pre-scandal. Boonen is facing
a two year suspension and will not be receiving any team backing to try to get him into the tour, Lance is in question after a
curious credential-less tester showed up and left empty handed. Who will be available to race?

Im fairly sure Rock is dead. or at least badly, badly, injured.
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Spring Break Mini-Tour on the Nature Coast Trail…

Or “Fighting the head-wind in style”It’s True. April 5TH marked the first day of Spring Break for the Alachua County School system. It was also the day long planned to be the first of three in series of fun and rewarding cycling days. The plans were simple… ride bicycles from Bikes and More to the Nature Coast Trail,  stop at Fanning Springs for a swim, and continue on to the Gulf coastal town of Steinhatchee. That would have us doing 70 miles the first day, then would allow for a leisurely return with day two bringing 60miles and day 3 only 50miles.  All the best laid plans in the world can’t account for a last minute wind change. That’s right, 40knots , head on! Suddenly our cycle trip became work. Not the fun work, but actual “should we just quit and go home?” work. Not ones to be deterred by cycling headfirst into the wind we did what any rational cyclists would do, we changed our plans. Now we decided, as the wind was NOT going away, we would reverse our route and hit the short days first, into the wind, and use the tailwind to help us get home on the 70 mile stretch.

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Now is as good a time as any to introduce everyone to Lorin. He is the Gentleman riding the white Specialized touring hybrid. I am on the black Spooky Kittnepaste. He is a great cycle touring partner and one of the best friends a guy could have.Our journey started out with a quick ride to the town of Newberry. Just past Newberry is the Hitchin Post, home of Mud Truck Racin’. You know, where you would go if you had a mud truck and wanted to race it…As you can see from the cycle computer, the headwind slowed us down to a painful 8mph.  At just 21 miles into the first day we really had to think hard on how much we were willing to put up with to make the trip successful.

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Somewhere between mud truck racing and the Middle of Nowhere, we found a small gas station and stopped for soda and Peanuts. The locals were friendly and informed us that a journey of such proportion was “crazy”. Yup. So crazy it just might work. The next town on our list was Trenton, home of the Nature Coast Trailhead.

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It’s always important to have the proper gear when traveling. With my trusty pineapple/watermelon knife at the ready, no mid-ride snacks would go unopened. (I didn’t end up using that knife even once, for anything at all, but it was nice having it there…) Ample food and drink supplies make any cycling adventure all the more successful. A bike that fits properly is the most important item one can take cycling. (For those curious that is a 1×8 internal gearing setup with a 44/16)

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As day one progressed it became evident that the wind was taking it’s toll on us and the only resolve would be to end the day early and camp at Manatee Springs. Well… Spring Break being what it is, Manatee Springs was full. They couldn’t fit two cycle/campers in anywhere but the Rangers at Fanning Springs were amazing. They provided us a campsite, wood, and restrooms for $5each. The “campsite” was a bluff overlooking the flooded and swollen Suwannee River. We were told the spring was closed because of the river flooding, but the river worked just fine for an afternoon shower.  The air got cool towards the evening and we spent the better part of the night hanging out around the tiny campfire. Refreshing.

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Day2: Stienhatchee or bust.Wind again. This time it’s personal. Not really, but the wind was crazy. Seriously crazy wind. Sideways, fast, mind-numbing, soul-crushing wind. The day started with a detour and the promise of graded back roads… A kind Sheriff stopped us at the beginning of our 10 mile graded road to inform us that it was a suicide mission and although the map showed the roads as public, they were being leased by a Hunt Club and we were NOT WELCOME to use the roads. He did not stop us, but said that our chances of being shot at were exceedingly high and firmly implied that we should take another route. He then spent 10 minutes giving us “country” directions with right turns at cow fields and large trees and left turns at water towers and “the new road”. We thanked him kindly then looked at our map and did our own Reroute. We went with the safe bet and got back on the Nature Coast Trail. Lunch was at the Carriage Inn. The food was warm and good and the service was very friendly. The locals gave us dirty looks for wearing such fine looking attire, I’m sure they were just jealous of my fancy shoes and spandexey shorts. Or maybe we smelled bad…

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We rode the NCT  to it’s budget inspired, unceremonious end. Then we back tracked to the last paved road and continued west on US19. US19 is used by logging trucks. Lots of them.

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Even into the wind we made great time. We took a few detours and found some really nice logging roads that went to nowhere.  They were smooth but still a little difficult to manage with the B.O.B. We found our way to Steinhatchee with not trouble at all!

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After a quick stop to grab some Cheerwine, we made our way to the Steinhatchee River. The Gulf Coast has a very unique and comfortable feel to it. It was the reason we decided on the Gulf as our destination, that and Oysters on the half shell. I got my one and only flat tire on the bridge over the river. I rode it flat all the way down the other side and changed it in a parking lot. It took less than 4 minutes even with the trailer and panniers. (Because we had the right tools and the proper know how, plus we are awesome)

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We cheated a little and treated ourselves to a Motel. The sun was going to be setting soon and the idea of riding back out of town to “camp” was a little unappealing. Add to the equation “Record COLD temps” for the date and it was a no brain-er. It only got down to 30 degrees, but this is Florida in April!!! As I mentioned before, we were on an In-the -half-shell mission. We dropped the B.O.B. and all our bags, got showered up and into “normal people” clothes and hit the town. By ‘hit the town’ I mean we went to one of the two restaurants that was open. They didn’t have “half-shells” so we had appetizers and split. Across from the eatery was a bar. I went in first and checked it out. It had just the right amount of Southern-Honkeytonk-Smokey-Beenthereforeverishness that we were looking for. We tied up the horses and headed in to Crabby Dad’s bar for a cold one. One of the gentlemen that we Saddled up next to had seen us on our way in and was happy to talk to us. Another gentleman joined in on the conversation and before you know it we were talking books, movies, cycling, politics, and beer with half the bar. The other half of the bar was occupied by several local, vocal, “ladies” that had obviously not left the bar from the previous night and had been drinking the day away. Needless to say, we were a welcome change from the locals, as even the bartender planted herself in our corner of the bar and joined in on the conversation. As the beer flowed we watched the Gulf swallow the sun. We had a few more for good measure and headed off in search of Half-shells. When asked where we were off to, we shared our mission for Half-shells and were promptly informed that the town of Steinhatchee does not serve oysters that way.”that’s not right” is mumbled to myself as we rode our bikes back to our Motel. We went right past our motel, down the street, and right up to the front door off the other seafood joint in town. We locked our bikes and went out to the “dockside seating”. We ordered oysters anyways and blue crab fingers too. Both were missing the mark compared to the briny goodness that we had come for. Crappy seafood and several beers later we zig-zagged our way back to the Motel for some tv and sleep.

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Day 3:It is a little know fact that I could subside solely on kippered fish snacks and Ramen Noodles, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The first tin of fish was gone by 8:30am, the second by 8:33, and the third, with Ramen Noodles instead of crackers was gone shortly there after.Fish tins emptied of their contents, Goodies powders washed down with Soda, and sunscreen on all the spots that got missed the previous two days, we were ready to roll out for our 70mile return trip. The wind would be at our back and the trip would be a breeze…. Where is the breeze??! Did the wind change overnight? Why is it not blowing with all it’s force right now,  like it did the two days before?????. Yup the wind changed, but only slightly. We got a sideways tailwind that helped more than it hurt.

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The route was easy, back the way we came minus the headwind. We got going at 20mph before we caught the tailwind. This was going to be great.And it was, kinda. The sideways-ness of the tailwind kept us pedaling at 15 to 20 mph rather than the 25 to 30mph that we had been daydreaming about the two days before.We made it back to the NCT in no time flat. Our side trip on the way out caused us to miss the old railroad bridge the first time through, but we found it going back.

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Upon arrival back at the Trailhead, we were overpowered by the smell of Florida BBQ. We followed our noses around the corner to a BBQ restaurant and headed in for a well deserved lunch. The trek from start to lunch was just over 40 miles and we were hungry. The ribs were smoky and good. The sweet tea was ice cold and fresh.We put on more sunblock and pushed on towards home. Only 30miles to go. It’s as if we were already done.

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On the outskirts of Gainesville we crossed over I75 on a very curious pedestrian bridge. It hangs off the side of the overpass like a cage and has a metal mesh grate that supports daring travelers. I spent the ride across the bridge looking down at passing trucks.

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Riding through your hometown with bikes loaded down with enough gear for a trans-Continental is fun, but odd. We made it. Mission success. The ride up 6th to the shop turned into a field sprint. We both won. Good game. The trip sat in planning for a month, all the plans were shot from the word go, we towed camping gear on a 160 mile trip to use it once, we rode into the wind for most of the ride, and we would do it all over again at the drop of a hat.  Just today we were sitting down watching traffic through the window of a Restaurant talking about where the next trip would be to and when we would have the time.  I can’t wait. It’s going to be awesome.  Just like us.

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holy pizza pants.

OK, the last month(s) in pictures. go.

Our good friend Kevin made it in to pick up his new Bianchi. Although the bike is not as awesome as Kev, it’s a pretty rad bike.

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Stevel came by to show us the new Tarsier Lights!

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They work great. Best lighting system ever. US made locally in Gainesville with the finest parts money can buy. See link above photo for Tarsier Lighting Systems website, or click here <—————

Jim brought in Hankerstanker, the trail-running,always barking, high-energy, supercool dog.

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The Swamp Classic Road Race presented by Chain Reaction and the UF cycling team was a great success for 352 Racing. We entered the Cat3 solo TT and took 1st, Team Cat 3,4,5 TT and took 1st, and then on day two, we had an impressive run in the critts.

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Andrea, Dave, Eric, and Justin took 1st place in the Team 3,4,5 TT. Well done!

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We showed up in full force for the Gainesville Critt.

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Amanda, Neal, and I just returned from FROSTBIKE , hosted by QBP. It was a weekend of fun, learning, and drooling over new products.

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QBP puts on an amazing show and there is no question why they are the industry leader and standard for bicycle parts distribution! Everything they do is well done and it was great to visit the warehouse and see where the magic happens. frostbike2.jpg

Thanks for visiting us and checking out the blog. I promise, “more updates” and better content soon. For now, pictures will have to work.

love,

Paul

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352 Racing in full effect.

We have a race team. It is awesome. We have positions open on our 5person Ladies squad. If you have interest in racing or training with us, simply stop in the shop or call. Talk to Dave, he is King of Raceteam Mountain. 352racesquadsm.jpg

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the 'catch up' blog.

Ahoy,

Pardon the lack of updating… it’s all my fault. I have been neglecting the blog and avoiding it with excuses like ” a video blog would be easier…” or “I’m ready to blog, but uploading pictures takes fooooooorrrrrreverrrrrrrrr” .  So now I am taking the time to lay it all down for everyone.  Here we go…

We have a new face around the shop…

James

James is super nice and ready to help you find your next bike. He is also well versed in BMX.

After Interbike, we came home with tons of great new product ideas. Some of them worked out really well. We have rolled out some great new products that arrived just in time for the holidays… hint hint*

Twin Six makes really fantastic riding gear for women and men. It is finally here and in stock.

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Sidi is our newest and only shoe line. They make the finest Italian cycling shoes. period.

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Our first Campagnolo Super Record 11spd Group has arrived. It has so many carbons it’s out of control.

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Yep, it’s awesome. Why 11 and not 10? because you can.

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Riders view from the cockpit of a Super Record 11 equiped super bicycle.  It looks so ready for action. I want to hop on and destroy the competition. Except with a bicycle this nice, there is no competition. It’s lonely at the top… at least thats what this bike says because it’s so awesome.

Our 2009 Felt Cafe bikes are in. They look AND ride great!!1!

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 Arena Bagage and Bicycle Works has turned out the usual pile of totally amazing bags. They are custom, take months to get, and are worth every penny.  We have several for sale, and many more on happy customers backs…

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Where else did you think he got is Arena Baggage and Bicycle Works bags from? duh…

Speaking of Happy Customers… We have been making them non-stop.  If you are a happy bikes and more customer and would like to be featured in our “happy customers” section, simply send in a picture of yourself in a 352 shirt, or on your bicycle being happy, and we will include you (send photos and good tidings to: bikesandmoregainesville@gmail.com)

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You would be this happy too if you were riding your new Felt Cafe 24 with all the goodies installed.

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As the saying goes, “the family that rides Felt X-City Internal 8′s and Bianchi Volpe’s together, stays together”

Awesome customers, awesome bikes. We’re keeping it awesome. Awesome.

We also have our new water bottles in. They are the best bottles on the market, and not just because they have our fancy logo on them, no, they are the best because they out perform every other bottle ever made, ever.

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We have been working hard to stock the shop with fun, unique, and hard to find items. As I’m sure you know, we are a Spooky Bikes dealer, and I am a huge fan of American Made bicycles. Spooky offers a full selection of American Made Aluminum and Steel bikes that are soft on your budget and hard on the competition.  dsc00447.JPG

(this is not a posed shot, we just happened to all be working on Spookys at the same time… )

I love these bikes sooooooooo much that I have switched almost ALL of my rides over to Spooky frames. I dropped my old road bike in favor of a very sleek sub 14lb not-uci-legal-because-it-is-too-light spooky Skeletor. The frame comes in just at 1000grams and is very much UCI legal as long as you build it with one or two parts made of metal and not carbon…

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Neal has made this lime green Darkside his XC bike of choice, and I couldn’t second that choice any more. I admit that I am envious of the frame color, as a purveyor of all things gaudy, it is the holy grail of bike colors. dsc00450.JPG

However, my new Super Touch frame is a close second…

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I may have said it before, but it’s worth a second mention, Spooky Bikes are SUPER HIGH QUALITY AMERICAN MADE BICYCLE FRAMES  and they won’t break the bank.  Custom sizes and colors available. always.

We have the cases and walls full of neat new products, and the racks full of fantastic bicycles.  Please stop in next time you’re in the area and say, “hi“.

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Wishing you and yours a happy holiday…

love,

Paul and the Bikes and More Crew

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oh Snap! This weekends events…

Gainesville Cycle Club put on their annual back to back century rides, the Santa Fe Century and the Horsefarm 100, this weekend.  We opted for the shorter metric century route on Sunday during the Horsefarm.  The turnout for the weekend was fantastic. The weather was better than anyone could have asked for and a good time was had by all. We bumped into some renegade riders mid-ride, stopped for Hotdogs, and got to see several Bald Eagles during the ride.  As always the SAG support was out in full force and the rest stops were fully stocked with anything a cyclist could want.  If you haven’t made it to Gainesville for the Horsefarm, you’re missing out.

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October 1st. Awesome.

We have been under new ownership/management for one year.  Awesome.

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September update… go

Hello interwebs dwellers. It’s been a fun month here at the shop. We managed to secure a fantastic line of bikes and have been eagerly building them up for  you to see. These are the awesome new bikes!!!

This line represents the highest quality bike we could bring you and is backed by a fantastic company with great customer service and top notch product warranty.  All the bikes that we have received thus far have been nicer than expected.

Amanda, Neal, and I just returned from Interbike in Vegas. We have pictures to prove it. Behold, PICTURES…

awesome amandaIndustry Nine is awesome. I want to get these in stock. I don’t have them, but I want them. groupsmall.jpgss-coupler-tandem.jpg

The  2009 Bianchi Lineup is AWESOME. Steel steel steel. We will be stocking ALL of bianchi’s steel road line.  It is awesome to see Bianchi using the material that most of their bikes have been made out of, historically.  They have been making steel road bikes for longer than most bike companies have been making bikes. Go Bianchi

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The Raleigh Lineup also knocked my socks off. I think Raleigh went back to their roots and came up with a line of English Town bikes that is really tops.

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Raleigh will still have their ever popular Venture comfort bikes available and we will have them in stock.

Now of all the things I saw at Interbike, the best bikes all came from FELT. Here are some stock photos of the 2009 line

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We also have decided to bring back a select few KHS bikes for 2009. Mostly inexpensive road bikes, trikes, and the ever popular GREEN.

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The 2009 line up looks like this:

Bianchi steel road bikes

KHS entry level aluminum road bikes

Raleigh comfort bikes and classic town bikes

Felt Tri, Track, Comfort, Road, Beach Cruisers, and BMX

We can order but will not stock Nirve, and Diamondback.

Also be on the lookout for new models showing up from Spooky Bikes.

We locked down a deal with TWIN 6 clothing and will be stocking Jerseys and Soft goods. (by “locked down” i mean we went and talked to them and by “deal” i mean we payed them some money for some jerseys. )

You should also expect to see Pearl Izumi and Canari rounding out our clothing offerings.  Both lines had nice things for 09.

We are now an Ortlieb dealer and will be getting more stock in soon. We have a few bags but we want more. They are awesome.

From all of us here (mostly just me at my computer) to all of you out there (yes, all of you.), we look forward to offering you the best cycle products available for the 2009 season.

Love,
Bikes and More

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Matthew Brown R.I.P.

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hugging you always.

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August I should update more often… July if you say I write enough.

Ok, I missed July in full, June was rather uninspired, but now August… Time for sweet blog redemption. Lets start out with this: Dear kind blog reader, Thank you ever-so-much for taking the time to read the meager offerings that we provide.  It is easy to get caught up in the daily in’s and out’s of the shop, so much so that I often find myself reflecting on the day while staring into the bottom of a pint glass,  rather than sharing my thoughts here, where they belong.  Now, early Monday morning, glass of fresh, not from concentrate, cool, and delicious grapefruit juice on the desk, I bring you….  THE AUGUST UPDATE!!!

The changes around the shop have been overwhelmingly fantastic. Many (read “almost all”)  of our staff have chosen to leave their respective positions at other fine Gainesville bicycle shops, and join our team.  ( *note:  i say “team” because we do stuff together, outside of work. With any luck we will excel beyond bowling against each other and perhaps be able to challenge other shops. end note. ) 

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(Top L>R: Dave, Brian, Jim. Bottom L>R: Ben, Paul, Neal)

With our new staff and constantly evolving shop image, we are set to bring about some new life to the Gainesville bike shop scene.  2009 is going to be a very exciting year for us, as we are in the process of fine tuning our bike lines. We are in negotiations with a very fun and exciting bike company and with any luck will begin stocking their bikes by late 2008/ early 2009.  We will not be stocking Nirve bicycles any longer, and Diamondback bicycles are not expected to make it into the 2009 roster. Bianchi will be a major player with their city, hybrid, and road lines, while Raleigh will fill out the Comfort bike section. Off-road bikes, mid to upper end road, beach cruisers, and Tri bikes will all come from our new brand, that is yet to be announced. This is big, very big. We are all excited about it.

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We posted some time ago about the Spooky Skeletor . We now have our first one built and on the road. It handles like a dream. It climbs like a Sherpa, handling my weight with ease, and descends like a middle aged man on one of those really tall, very steep water slides.  (read “scary fast”). It doesn’t get speed wobbles, and has no noticeable flex in the sprints. The Edge 2.0 fork that comes with it is a masterpiece. The steering is super sharp, and it holds it’s lines on corners.  The bike in it’s current form weighs in at a scant 14.8lbs. Mind you, that’s full Campy Record with Zipp 303′s, but still, that’s not exactly a hard build to come by.  Carbon rims are almost the standard, and Campy Record parts are a must for razor sharp shifting.

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July saw more renovation work done on the shop with the completion of the new bathroom. Gone are the sheets of fist-hole-punched drywall, and the curling, black-grease stained linoleum floor. Gone is the leaking sink, and the toilet with a makeshift tank cover. Gone is the door, riddled with screwdriver stab marks, no latch, and duct-taped frame.  We have entered a new phase in bathroom aesthetics. We now have high gloss white wainscoting, that gives way to calming cucumber green walls. The toilet, sink, mirrors, cabinets, and flooring have all been replaced.  It is now both a changing room, and a restroom. It is easily the cleanest place in the shop.  “Come on down to bikes and more, we have a clean bathroom” is not going to be our new slogan, but it could be, if we wanted it to be. but its not. but it could be. seriously.

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We have tickets to Vegas. Look out Interbike at the Sands Convention and Expo Center, here we come. Wooo.

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The Tour is over, and sadly, nobody was able to place Sastre as the winner. Next year, the challenge will be to pick who will be caught doping, bonus points for Non EPO related busts. Double extra secret bonus points for picking the rider, the drug, and the stage.  What a sad state of affairs, when cycling’s greatest race is not against fellow cyclists or the most challenging road courses, but simply against the clock, to see how far one can push the envelope before being busted for using “undetectable substances” . Totally lame. Thanks Ricco. (this just in… special news flash thank you to Miss Moreno for being the first to Podium in the Olympics)  For the record I am not for or against doping, I’m just in favor of playing by the rules. If the IOC or UCI want to allow performance enhancing drugs, great, but until they do, the use of performance boosters still counts as cheating in my book.

ricco “wins”?

Keep it rubber-side down,

Paul

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