Welcome Pro Bikes in Pittsburgh

We’d like to welcome Pro Bikes in Pittsburgh, PA to the Hincapie Dealer Family. Pro Bikes has 3 locations in the Western PA (Monroeville, South Hills and Squirrel Hill.  They carry a huge selection of bikes and accessories, and now you can find the new Hincapie Spring Collection in their showroom.

The new Monroeville store looks cool to us.

Pro Bikes sponsors several top level racing teams, bike rides and races, so they are very active in their community.  Stop by and see them if you’re in the area.  Tell them Hincapie HQ says hello.

Three Locations:

5876 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Phone: 412-586-5497

4030 William Penn Highway
Monroeville, PA 15146
Phone: 412-229-8473

102 Fort Couch Road
Bethel Park, PA 15241
Phone: 412-851-1109

Little 500 Fun

This weekend is the Little 500 at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. The “Little Five” as it’s commonly called is a very unique bicycle race that pits student against each other on identical, single speed, coaster brake bikes.  It was started in 1951 and follows the tradition of the Indianapolis 500 car race, so the students do 200 laps of the quarter mile cinder track at Bill Armstrong Stadium. I can say that this is truly a one-of-a-kind event, because I was in the stands in 1987.

My sister, Kelly was attending IU and she invited me to come for the weekend.  She wasn’t really inviting me to the bike race, but rather the incredible list of social activities and parties that surround the actual event.  I wasn’t riding competitively yet, but I had watched the movie “Breaking Away” and knew a little about the famous race.  I jumped at the chance to witness it firsthand.  I was thoroughly impressed.

The Little 500 is one of the biggest events of the spring semester at Indiana University.

After the usual college “social” functions and charity events (I do love how the Greek community 'PC' packages all that crazy partying), we packed into the stadium to watch the main event. There are actually rules for the participants in the race that make riding in the race fairly selective.  You have to be a full time student, an amateur cyclist, keep at least a 2.0 GPA and no substance abuse. In contrast, those rules do not apply if you want to enjoy the action from the bleachers!  It was one, huge, loud, enthusiastic pit of people surrounding that track as they shot the gun off for the traditional Indy start.

Everyone rides identical Schwinn bicycles.

I’ll spare you the details of the race, as you just need to watch “Breaking Away” to see how the whole thing works. Teams use the same bike and actually do bike exchanges where one rider will stand on the coaster break as he comes skidding into the exchange box while the new rider does his best cyclocross mount to rejoin the action.  It really is an amazing experience to watch the whole thing. These guys are real cyclists. They pedal those 46x18 gears like true track stars.  In the late 80’s the bikes were big heavy steel beasts, but they are now more sophisticated Schwinn machines (still flat-pedal, single-speed bikes with 36 hole 700c wheels rolling on 28-32mm tires).  If you get a chance to see this unique competition, send us some pictures. It might not be as well-known as a Paris-Roubaix or a Tour of CA, but it’s got its own history and traditions just like those famous races.  Like other great sporting events, you don’t have to actually participate to appreciate the achievements being accomplished in front of you.

What Jersey Hangs on Your Wall

The bike industry is a fairly small industry.  I am constantly amazed at the number of people I run into at bicycle business and events around the country that I have met or ridden with at one time or another.  It’s not uncommon to talk to a rider at a dealer in CA that has climbed to the top of Caesar’s Head in SC, or talk to a customer service rep in Chicago that has watched George win a stage of the Tour of CA.  Our industry is like a family with relatives living in different states.  You don’t always know the other person, but you always have some cycling in common. Hincapie Sales Manager, Lynn Joslin experienced this on a recent visit to Competitive Cyclist in Arkansas.

Competitive Cyclists' Wade Wolfenbarger took the 2010 Six Gap KOM Jersey in the 34 & under category.

While getting the tour of the facility with Hincapie Sales Rep, Robert Snedden she noticed a very familiar jersey handing on the wall.  She is well acquainted with the GA 6 Gap event jerseys and this one was a rather rare 6 Gap KOM jersey from 2010.  The 6 Gap Century is one of the most challenging rides in the southeast, regularly attracts over 3000 riders to the 100 mile event.  Turns out, Wade Wolfenbarger won the 6 Gap KOM competition at the challenging GA century ride last year and was proudly displaying his prize for all his colleagues to see.  (No, he wasn’t actually wearing it at his desk, but I am sure that it is an effective reminder to his coworkers of his climbing prowess.)  We make all the jerseys for the 6 Gap events, and it was a real treat for Lynn to see one so far west.  That’s just proof of the attraction that 11,200 feet of climbing in 100 miles can have on our cycling brethren.

If you’re a climbing fan, or just looking for a first-class century ride to challenge you and your friends, check out the 6 Gap Century. There is a shorter 3 Gap Fifty if you want to finish up earlier to take Wade’s picture at the finish line.  If you do the ride, make sure you get the event jersey to commemorate your accomplishment. You might even want to hang it on your wall.

Weekly Training Series Fun

Last night, Mother Nature combined with the collective power of our local superstars to make our weekly Tuesday Night World Championship ride one of the hardest of the year.  Practically constant 30mph winds meant that only the strong, and the incredibly crafty, could survive the race.  Even with the brutal conditions (and the resulting severe beating I received) last night, I can’t help but smile at the event.  There is just no substitute for the fun and fitness you can get at a weekly training race.

Weeknight training races are hard to beat for putting some speed in your legs.

The King Racing Group Thursday Night Criterium is one example of some serious high quality mid-week racing at Fair Park in Dallas, TX.  This weekly series runs all summer from March to September.  New this season, KRG awards yellow Hincapie Equipe leader jerseys to the series point leaders of each category every week.  They regularly get a collection of top level racers to keep the action hot on every level.

Elbowz Racing Team members are regular participants at the King Racing Group Thursday Night Criterium.

Lately the guys from Elbowz Racing have been ruling the night. Elbowz Racing Elite Cycling Team is an elite cycling team founded by MotoGP star, Ben Spies.  That’s right.  Spies is not just one of the fastest motorcycle racers on the planet, but he’s pretty fast on the pedals as well.  We made them some pretty cool Hincapie Velocity kits featuring many of the same sponsors that support Ben’s MotoGP effort.

MotoGP star Ben Spies uses bicycle racing to stay fit for motorcycle racing.
Hincapie jerseys are well represented at the KRG criteriums on Thursday nights.

If you’re in the Dallas area on a Thursday night, check out the King Racing Group criterium.  They vary the course up once in a while just to keep things interesting.  Good luck to everyone tomorrow night.

While I'm on the subject...how DOES Ben get his motorcycle to stick to the pavement???

Getting in the Spirit for Paris Roubaix

We had a great time on our Paris Roubaix celebration ride today. We promised cobblestones and we delivered!  Thanks to the dedicated fans that came out to join us.

We planned a route that featured 2 Pave sections (ok, we’re calling both of them Pave, but one was more like gravel).  We headed north from the Hincapie HQ on the Swamp Rabbit Trail to Pave section #1.  This is the short gravel section of the trail after Roe Ford Rd. that we normally curse, but today it was more reasonable.  You could tell that some of the group had been reading rider diaries from the race, because the pace immediately quickened over the rocks.  Just like in France, right!

We started from a gravel parking lot behind Hincapie HQ to get in the spirit quickly.

From there we headed back towards downtown over the base of Paris Mountain where (just by chance) we found Pave section #2, an unexpected Pave section very close to George’s house.  In the spirit of the weekend, the DOT had ground up the asphalt to prepare for a repaving.  At this point, as a rumbled over the rough surface, I couldn’t help but wonder how close this was to the actual torture they will face during the race.  I settled on “not even close” as I rode one-handed trying to shoot some video of the experience.

 

After the construction zone we headed back down North Main, retracing part of the USPro RR course. We were headed to Pave section #3, the only authentic “cobblestone” section in downtown Greenville. This would culminate our celebration and get all of us charged up for the weekend’s race.  Or it would at least give us a truer understanding of what George and the BMC boys will go through on Sunday.

We found our Roubaix replica cobbles behind the Upcountry History Museum.

Before you tell me that there are other cobblestone sections in Greenville, please realize that we aren’t talking about smooth brickwork with little tiny gaps between bricks. We’re not talking about the smooth, decorative pavers scattered around downtown. If you can roll your baby stroller across it without waking up junior, it’s not a true section of Pave.  We rolled up to the stones in front of the Upcountry History Museum thinking we would finally experience a little bit of Paris Roubaix.  What an experience it was?!?!  Those guys are crazy. One well traveled cyclist was with us and who had actually ridden through the Arenberg Forest on his bike.  He confirmed that the Pave section we finished on was indeed close to what they ride in the actual race.  Big difference is…we rode about 100 meters…and they will ride over 50 kilometers of that stuff on Sunday!  It was humbling to realize what they actually go through.  Good luck to George and the BMC boys this weekend.  Everyone that finishes that race deserves a trophy.

Those are some nasty rocks!

We didn't have any major mishaps, but we did break a shifter cable on our Pave.
Vantage Jerseys and Bib Shorts
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