Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Reader photo submissions...

The first one is from dRjOn. It was taken in Scotland at the start of the West Highland Way. Jon visited the shop in 2008 while he was out for the Single Speed World Championships in Napa.

The following two were taken by Randall D. Williams. Randall was visiting from Sioux City, IA. He came in one Saturday morning and we talked about Sioux City as I had toured on my bike through there (stayed the night there as well) in 1989 as part of a cross-country bike trip. The first one is taken from Abbott's Lagoon.

This is of Tomales Bay looking north.
Thanks to both Jon and Randall for e-mailing the photos and for permission to use them.

(What's playing: Joe Jackson Fools In Love)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Salsa Fargo SLX, Salsa Vaya...

Salsa's introduction of the new lower priced Fargo SLX along with the new Vaya has definitely been popular. Within days of their becoming available, they have sold out at the distributor level. However, I have managed to snag some and have one of each left and available. The Fargo SLX is a size Large. The Vaya is a 57cm and is $1549. (edit 5/23/10 - the Vaya is sold. It looks like early June I'm hoping to have more).

The Fargo SLX comes to me in a very unassembled state. Unlike most bikes that are at least 85% assembled, the Fargo SLX is about 50% assembled. Because it takes me a fairly significant amount of time to assemble a Fargo SLX, my price is $1425. During the assembly, bolts get grease on the threads, hubs get adjusted properly (a little too tight for my likes from Shimano), wheels checked. And most important, I take the time to make sure the cable routing out of the brake lever is clean. As it comes, the cable housing exits the Tektro body at an almost 90 degree angle and must bend up immediately to follow the curve of the Woodchipper bar resulting in too tight of a bend. I modify the Tektro lever so the cable housing can follow a much more natural bend resulting in smooth cable movement within the housing. Takes about 15-20 minutes extra to get it done right, but in the end, whoever ends up with a bike that I assemble will have a much more pleasant long-term experience with their bike.

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BTW, that XL Fargo XT I posted recently is gone - it got converted to Woodchipper bars, 22/32/44 XT crank, and WTB Pathway 38 tires. The 38 Pathway tires on the widish Salsa Semi rims actually measured out at about 42. They look great on the Fargo. As soon as the 45 Firecross XC wear out, I'm going to throw a set of the Pathways on my cross bike.

(What's playing: Beck Little One)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Parlez vous 650b...

If you are into 650b tires for your mountain bike or city bike or rando bike, I've got tires for you. Small selection of rando 650b tires, but a nice selection of 650b tires for your mountain bike. Here's what I got: Kenda Nevegal, Pacenti Neo-Moto in 21. and 2.3, Pacenti Quasi-Moto, and WTB's new Wolverine. Also have rims from Velocity - Blunts and Synergy. I can build wheels for conversions or keep your rims wrapped in rubber. Give me a ring or drop me an e-mail if'n you needs some 650b speak.

(What's playing: Robert Johnson Crossroad Blues, followed by Eric Clapton's version on KWMR)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Yelp or youch...

Always thought "yelp" was something that a dog did when it got stung on the butt by a bee. It appears that Yelp is also some sort of forum that anyone can write a review of any business. Now, I'm not here complaining because someone wrote a bad review about my bike shop. Quite the contrary. I'm complaining because it seems too many folks wrote glowing reviews about the shop. Seems Yelp has some sort of filter that hides reviews they deem unfit for Yelp.

Here's the link to the Yelp page for Black Mountain Cycles. If you go to the bottom, there is a little, easily missed bit that says "1 to 3 of 3 (3 filtered)." The "3 filtered" is a link where you have to type in a security code which lets you see the 3 filtered reviews. Fact of the matter is that these three filtered reviews are also darn nice reviews that were done by customers, but someone at Yelp decided they wouldn't show up on a quick view of the Black Mountain Cycles Yelp page. Why?

I don't know why. I sent an e-mail to someone at Yelp who called me a while back wanting me to sign up for a Yelp business account. I couldn't figure out why I should and how it would benefit me so I declined. Never got a reply to my e-mail asking why the reviews were filtered. They must care more about signing up businesses than why reviews are filtered.

Should also point out that all the filtered reviews are 5-star reviews. Even the review that Yelp pulled totally because it "violated their review guidelines or terms of service," was a 5 star review. So, in my book, I've got seven reviews on Yelp. All are 5-star reviews. I'm pretty pleased with that. Yet, on a quick glance, folks only get to see three reviews. Strange.

And to the folks who wrote reviews, thank you.

(What's playing: Sitting in Studio A at KWMR monitoring the board)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New adventure bikes in the shop...

Part of what makes a bike shop a bike shop is bikes. And part of what makes a successful bike shop is the selling of bikes. Well, I've got some great bikes to sell and I need to sell some soon. I'm hoping that folks in the Bay Area who are looking for adventure bikes can make the trek out to Point Reyes Station to check out my selection of bikes from Bruce Gordon, Salsa, and Surly. Bikes that can take you on your favorite 2 hour adventure or on a multi-week touring adventure.

Point Reyes Station? But that's so far away! Well, it's within only a couple of hours from the farthest points of the Bay Area (and Sacramento/Davis is still within that range). A lot of folks will drive a couple hours to get to a ride or a race. Why not drive a bit to get to a shop that has some great touring, cross, and adventure bikes? Point Reyes Station is also a great destination. We have an incredible National Park. We have even more amazing riding in the area - both on and off-road. We also have great food featuring a lot of locally grown and raised flora and fauna.

So, what are you waiting for? Come on out to Point Reyes Station. I'll show you some great riding routes, tell you about each of the restaurants, and maybe even help you with your next bike purchase.

Here are some new ones that are in the shop:

Bruce Gordon BLT - $2195 w/o bags, $2545 with the Ortlieb bags as shown.
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Salsa Fargo XT, Surly Long Haul Trucker, Raleigh Sojourn (59cm and price to move at $950).
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Salsa Vaya 57cm ($1549) with a Surly Cross Check in 58 and 54. The 54 has been converted to triple. Standard Cross Checks are $1049. The converted triple bike is $1095. I can also change out the tires to up to a 45 Panaracer Fire Cross for a monster of a cross bike. The Salsa Vaya is in total short supply and I have one here for you.
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Here's one of the few remaining Salsa Fargo XT build bikes, size XL. The new Fargo comlplete bikes will be built with SLX parts - very nice parts, but there is nothing like a complete XT group. The Fargo SLX bikes will be $1425. This XT Salsa Fargo is $1595 - a screaming deal. If you are on the north side of about 6'3", this is a great bike for on and off-roading.
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Fargo dropout, XT derailleur, Avid BB7 brakes (the SLX will come with Avid BB5 brakes, not bad, but not BB7's).
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Fargo with XT cranks.
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(What's playing: The Stone Foxes Lookin' Pretty Good)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Big photo upload...

Uploaded a bunch of photos to my flickr page in preparation of updating my website. There's a couple more bikes I need to photograph, but for now, this is enough. The photo title is a link to the bike photo set.

1985 Fat Chance
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1991 Ibis SS
Team Ibis SS 001

1988 Mantis Valkyrie
Valkyrie 001

1984(?) Steve Potts Custom - this particular bike has every option Steve offered on his custom bikes. It is likely the only frame/bike built with every option. Some of the options include: early WTB hubs, Campy wheels skewers with modified Hi-E end caps, machined stem w/ 4-bolt face-plate (pre-dates the Thomson stem by years), faux lugs at the head tube and on the chain stay (Steve says this was the only frame he did the faux lug on the chainstay), the flattened chain stay and seat stay bridges are known as picnic table bridges, custom outer chainring guard, fixed angle seat post, and, of course, early WTB roller-cams front and rear.

This blue Potts and green Potts (aka the Ross Potts) came from a local couple and are now owned by a friend.
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Green Potts 001

Another custom Steve Potts from the early days.
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A Swift that was made in collaboration between Steve Potts and Mark Slate.
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1984 Ritchey Team Comp. The day after I finished building this bike, I completed a 50 mile mountain bike ride in Orange County in support of Project Rwanda. This bike is super fun.
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1985 Specialized Team Stumpjumper
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1984 Salsa ala Carte - this bike also carried me on a cross-country bike trip in 1989.
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1998 WTB Phoenix
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(What's playing: Joan Armatrading I Love It When You Call Me Names)

Black Mountain Cycles t-shirts in the wild...

Pleasant surprise e-mail yesterday. By the way, the trick to taking self-portraits, Stephen, is having really long arms. That's Black Mountain over his left shoulder. Thanks for the photo Stephen.

(What's playing: Elton John Love Song)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday foto...

Been busy. Not much time for posting, but time for riding. Monday saw my butt on the saddle for 5 hours of mixed-terrain goodness involving Bolinas Ridge, Old Railroad Grade, Hoo-Koo-E-Koo on the cross bike. Here's a couple of shots from the top of Mt. Tam and the cross bike at the top of Randall heading onto Bolinas Ridge. You can click on the photo to see a bigger image on flickr.

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(What's playing: The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Picture Saturday...

The weather has been pretty dang awesome in these neck of the woods - well, when it's not raining or the wind is howling. But other than that, it's been really great. Here's some images of some road riding. The first set is from the Marshall Wall loop one early morning a week or so ago. The last three are from a wind-blown ride last Thursday. It might have been a-blowing, but the tailwind on the way back was spectacular. Enjoy your weekend.

Hicks Valley Road
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They (who are they?) say black is slimming.
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Weekday morning rides on back-country roads is the best. I get the road all to myself.
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From the top of the Marshall Wall looking over Tomales Bay with Inverness Ridge in the background.
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A few of my favorite things - my bike, full fenders, a Zefal HPX frame pump, Velox bar-end plugs, Defeet wool socks, Swobo wool knee warmers, and the road all to myself.
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From a ride on Thursday out to Kehoe Beach and back. The wind speed recordings this day measured out at the lighthouse were being measured at 30mph with gusts in the 50mh range. I didn't experience quite that strong of wind, but it was blowing pretty good out of the north.

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Looking out over the National Seashore, M Ranch, and the Pacific from the top of Pierce Point Road. I never get tired of this view.
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(What's playing: dinking around on youtube listening to some Dramarama)