Monday, February 28, 2011

Ride Studio Cafe Kickoff Party

On Thursday March 3rd from 6:30-9:30 pm at the Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington the raffle to end all raffles will be held to raise money for Tim Johnson's Ride On Washington to support Bikes Belong! When I say its the raffle to end all raffles I am really not exaggerating.

I have done a few raffles in my time. Frankly I am beginning to think the real reason people are so nice to me is that I somehow have an ability to create a prize list filled with serious swag. And not one XL t-shirt from the early '90s but a prize list worth winning. Wiis, Ipods, etc. But I digress. This raffle blows them all out of the water. And I have personally been blown away by how everyone I have talked to has been so enthusiastic and supportive of Bikes Belong and this event. It really has resonated. And for this I tip my hat to Tim Johnson, Richard Fries and Bikes Belong. I hope the Ride On Washington gets the attention outside of our circle of friends and cyclists it deserves. The fact that Tim and Richard and an ever growing list of supporters are riding their bikes for 5-days to the National Bike Summit speaks volumes. I got caught up in this same wave of enthusiasm about it and I know lots of other people have as well.
But on to the night at the Ride Studio Cafe! This Thursday drop everything and come to the Studio! The kick off party will be so much fun. Tim Johnson and Richard Fries will be our celebrity quests for the evening! Harpoon has donated the beer for the party and the Ride Studio Cafe has provided the space, the food and coffee. Raffle tickets will be $10 and all proceeds will go to Tim Johnson's Ride On Washington and Bikes Belong. Our goal for this 5-day advocacy mission was $100,000. The pledge funds that each rider who has committed to the ride has raised over $10,000 to date. The other pieces of the fundraising puzzle will be these fundraising evenings we will be doing in each of the 5 stops along the way.

Ok so what does your $10 raffle ticket get you a chance to win? For starters and I honestly can't even believe Tim agreed to this is a piece of 'cross history. The biggest news is that TJ is donating one of his Cyclo-cross National Championships skinsuits to the raffle! I may have to buy every ticket we have to ensure I have that for my cross shrine! I know I am a bit of a crossfan superfreak but that is a huge part of American cross history right there!

Also being raffled off that evening:

Cannondale donated an autographed Nibali jersey
Pedro's donated an MTK Tool Kit
Rapha is donating some pieces of their always stylish clothing
Mad Alchemy is donating some Tim Johnson's signature blend embrocation and their new hot of the presses Start Oil
CXmagazine is donating subs to their fine magazine
Embrocation Journal is in the mix
Light & Motion is donating 3 light products
and we also have a Wii, an Ipod, and a garmin (non cycle computer style)
Dave Chiu is donating one of his framed pictures
Harpoon has added some swag as well as their great beer
The list keeps growing daily.

On Friday, March 4th at 8 am Dave Chiu and I will roll out from City Hall with Tim Johnson and a small peloton of riders heading towards Washington DC for the National Bike Summit. Dave and I are planning on riding two days. 100 miles each day. Thank you so much to everyone who has stepped up and supported all the riders efforts and Bikes Belong's mission! Dave and I will be flying the brand new double secret Ride Studio Cafe's race team kit made by Rapha. I am so honored to be such a small part of this ride and to be able to ride with Dave and represent the Ride Studio Cafe.
I had to post up some spy shots of Dave's customized Cervelo R3 Ride Studio Cafe team bike. The attention to detail and the sense of design of everything that comes out of the Studio is amazing. The R3 is a sexy bike on its own but with the RSC's design treatment it is just stunning. But its not all about good looks. It is going to be a great machine for the ride. Granted it does remind me of the original Hup Noir so I am biased.
If this is how nice the bikes look I cannot even wait to see how stylish the Rapha Ride Studio Cafe team kit is going to be. If you have never been to an event at the Studio you will be in for a big treat. The Studio is all about Coffee, Bikes and community and these events are a big piece of that. Again a huge Hup Hug to everyone who helped with the fundraising, who donated to the raffle, who agreed to help with the ride and for everyone who makes this cycling community so amazing!
And a special thank you to all our sponsors and supporters including: Bikes Belong, Pedro's USA, The Ride Studio Cafe, Firefly Bicycles, Red Bull,,, Rapha, The Marriott Corporation, SRAM, Cannondale, Light & Motion, Harpoon and Mad Alchemy

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tim Johnson's Ride On Washington

Bikes Belong. Its not something we hear a lot in the press and from our Government. But Bikes do belong. If you are reading this you probably get this. Because there is about a 100% chance that if you are reading this you ride a bike. Or are at the least very interested in cycling. And for this I applaud you. Its not easy being a cyclist in the United States. We have to fight for our right to exist on roadways all the time. And we need people to fight for us where it counts. We need people to lobby for safe routes to schools for kids, and to make sure cycling is part of every community with safe routes either via bike lanes, or bike paths and/or proper city planning. Cycling is the answer to so many of our societies problems right now.

* How do you lower our reliance on petroleum? Cycling.

* How do you turn an unhealthy population into one that is healthy and fit? Cycling

* How do you fight depression and ADHD? Cycling

* How do you build walkable and rideable cities? Cycling

The list goes on and on. I have a really good friend named Richard Fries. He certainly wasn't the first friend I had in cycling but he is the one I have been friends with for the longest period of time. Richard and I have been good friends for over a decade. He has been and still is a mentor to me and a role model. He makes me a better person. And he definitely has forced me to look outside myself and give back to cycling. He is the one who taught me that a bike can be a transformative thing in your life. And that it can change not only you but a culture and society. He walks the walk as well. He is a year long commuter, a fierce bike advocate and really gets it. He has changed how I look at the bike that is for sure. When Richard took his role at Bikes Belong I was so stoked for him. Because it is him. He has done an amazing job spreading the word and fighting the good fight to make sure Bikes Belong!

When he told me that he was planning to ride with three time national cyclo-cross champion, International bike racer and local cycling icon Tim Johnson to Washington, DC to the National Bike Summit the first words out of my mouth were "how can I help?" Just spread the word he said. I did that the best I could. And the more people I talked to I realized its time for me to walk the walk. Tim Johnson's Ride On Washington resonated so much with me that I decided then and there I would join the ride. I signed on with a friend to do two days. 100 miles each day. From Boston to Hartford and then Hartford to NYC! I have committed to raising $1,000 for the event! Thanks to my generous friends and family I am already half way there. If you can please donate anything to any of the riders pledge funds! One of the things that has impressed me so much about Bikes Belong is that "it manages to convert every dollar it receives into $1,800 in Government funding for bike paths, bike lanes, bike programs and bike facilities*."*From Meredith Millers Blog
I have been blown away by peoples support and enthusiasm about this. Tim Johnson is the nicest guy you will ever meet. He is a fierce bike racer but is one of the good guys. He gives back. Obviously as this fundraiser proves. There is a great article in Velonews that talks about his commitment right here. He has gotten 100% behind this and has gotten his sponsors Cannondale, Lazer and Redbull really excited about the event and the cause. Bike racers don't usually do advocacy. I am not talking about the PROs they do a great job in my opinion. The modern athlete really gets it. Its not just about winning races anymore. Its about winning the hearts and minds. And you do that by being a role model and being a great spokesperson and human being. The racers I am talking about are the rank and file. Its the 800 pound gorilla in the room of bike advocacy. Bike racers race and advocates fight for our rights. And the two never really work together. Well this ride may be the game changer that flips that paradigm. Bike racers are flocking to this because of people like Tim Johnson and Meredith Miller. Meredith is another pro cross racer. She just signed on to be a part of the ride! That says so much about Meredith as well as the power of this ride. Both their presence will send such a message. That you have to give back. If they can do it how can a Cat 4 road racer or expert mtn bike racer say they don't have time to do a trail day or help with Bikes Belong?
The ride will leave on March 4th from Boston. It will be a 5-day ride. Along the way we will do fundraisers to raise funds and awareness for Bikes Belong. Tim Johnson, Meredith Miller, Richard Fries, and a group of dedicated riders will embark on this journey together. We are getting amazing support from our family and friends. We have already received amazing support from our "sponsors" including the Bikes Belong Foundation, Red Bull,,, SRAM, Cannondale, Thule and others. The riders from the bike industry who are doing the ride reads like a who's who of bike culture: Jeremy Dunn of Embrocation Cycling Journal, Slate Olson of Rapha, Matt Simpson of Pedro's, Pete Smith of Mad Alchemy, Kevin Wolfson of the newly launched Firefly Bicycles, Dave Chiu of the Ride Studio Cafe and many, many others.
We met Tim Johnson and the Pedro's boys at the Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington the other day for a bit of a tune up ride. We talked a lot about the event. I was blown away by Tim's willingness to do what ever he can to help spread the word about the event and to make it a success. There are so many exciting things coming to bear on this ride its hard to put it down in one post. I will do my best to get the word out but for now save the date of March 3rd! The Ride Studio Cafe has been generous enough to allow us to have a send off/fundraiser night at the RSC! If you have been to one of these events in the past you know how much fun they are! And in this case it is for a really great cause. I will get all the details together and get the word out but for now put a big red star on your calendar. It will be a night with Tim Johnson at the Ride Studio Cafe for Bikes Belong! We will have a fundraiser with a raffle. We will serve all the usual great food and yes Harpoon beer has agreed to sponsor the night! It will be a ton of fun and I hope to see you all there!
For now I just want to say thank you to Tim Johnson, Meredith Miller and Richard Fries for making this effort to bring so much awareness to Bikes Belong...because they do! See you out there on the ride!

Monday, February 14, 2011


It hit me this Sunday while meeting up for a ride with Dave Chiu and the newly formed Ride Studio Cafe race team that the Ride Studio has become like Cheers. Not the lame tourist attraction but the show. Granted this is now dating me. And the kids will be like Cheers what? I loved that show. But this isn't about a trip down memory lane of pop culture its more about the concept of Cheers. A place where you feel at home and welcomed. Where you are all the same. Pubs can be like this. That's why regulars are regulars. But why was the theme song to Cheers running through my head as I was getting ready to ride outside in 20 degree weather with 4 foot high snow banks and the possibility of certain death or at the very least laying it down on the pave nagging at the back of my head?
I have talked about my love of the Ride Studio Cafe and the parties and gatherings that occur there on a regular basis. But what's beginning to reveal itself to me is the pure genius of the RSC. Is it a high-end bike store/fit studio? Yes it really is that and a mighty fine one at that. Is it a Cafe with a real flavor for celebrating the finest coffee in the world? Oh yes it is that and more. They really go deep to find new blends and roasters. Since partaking of their pour over coffee I literally cannot drink Starbucks. And that is saying a lot as I am a total coffee addict. But now I am an addict with taste. So it is both those things and clearly outpaces any bike shop or coffee shop in its respective discipline. But what they have done that in my mind has never been done before is create a space for cyclists and coffee lovers to just be themselves and to feel at home. And that is why the Cheers theme song kept playing in my head all Sunday.
I'd made a ride date with Dave Chiu to meet his new team and learn about the Cervelo bikes they will be riding. Dave and Rob Vandermark had given me some insights into what they were putting together. A solid squad with some Rapha like qualities. They are a strong group of road racers and will be very competitive on the road racing scene but they are more than just a road team pumped up on adrenaline and testosterone. Hence my Rapha reference. They will also celebrate the riding, they will bring that same culture we love in cross to the road scene, they will put energy into endurance rides and just spread the love of riding road bikes and being ambassadors for the RSC.

But as I was sitting in the Studio Cafe pulling my shoe covers over my sidis. Biker after biker kept rolling in for a coffee post ride or were getting a ham and cheese croissant before heading out. Richard Fries rolled in, Jeff Bramhall and Katherine Snell were there. In talking with my Hup teammate Michele Smith she said she had bumped into Rosey and Mike Wissell on the way to Lexington. It is a hub and its a place for us. Bikers who love to ride and love good coffee. I mean it was 20 degrees out and at least 40 riders where in the studio talking about how great their ride was and chatting and enjoying having a space that is our own. We don't have to feel like we are grossing out the general public in a cafe or restaurant. Gone are the stares of annoyance from patrons at a coffee shop of all our gear being strewn across a bench. What occupies the space at the RSC is total celebration of the ride and rider.
There are so many layers to this story and I will try and dig into them to better communicate it both for the reader and myself as I am still digesting it all and its meaning. A couple of things really put an exclamation point on this feeling I had Sunday. The Ride Studio Cafe does feel like a second home. Rob is so welcoming. Andrea is the coolest bike mechanic in the world. And she is nice enough to not mock me even though I am the most hamfisted biker on the planet. But what I loved about it was just the total and utter bike geeking that was going on. I met a guy with a beautiful DeSalvo. We talked about steel bikes. He checked out my Sycip. We connected the dots back to Yash. We all kitted up and headed out for a really nice winter ride. I met friends out on the road and we all came back to the RSC.

After our ride as we were all hanging around I was in a group talking about the ride and catching up with some friends. The door opened and someone came in with the pimpest Look race bike you have ever seen. Totally over the top. Lightweight wheels etc. No expense spared. The conversation stopped. All eyes locked on the bike. Heads turned. Hushed whispers about the bike. Then the cacophony of voices and conversations kicked back in, the rider was welcomed into the hub and we once again reveled in this amazing culture and the space that now has become a haven for us on a cold day.

Spring will be here soon. What was a 6 foot high snowbank is now a 4 foot high snowbank. Lots of really cool stuff percolating at the Ride Studio Cafe. Before the RSC we used to have to wait all year until Fall to get that same feeling we get from cross season where we have this big sense of a community. Not anymore. And we get to check out really fantastic bikes and great coffee at the same time.