A new kind of bike

I recently had the chance to try a new kind of bike from Travelon, a new company (disclosure: this is my friend’s dad’s company) that is aiming at utilitarian riders who want something simple and low-maintenance for riding around town, riding with the kids, and taking scenic expeditions.

As you can see, it’s styled like a comfort bike. And it is comfortable. The geometry allows for setting a good seat height for pedaling, yet allowing both feet to touch the ground comfortably while seated and stopped.

But the key is the drivetrain. First – there’s no deraileur! This means less breakdowns and less maintenance. No greasy chain handling or confusing adjustments to cable tension. Which is nice for those who just want to ride.

All the magic happens inside the “Continuously Variable Planetary Hub.” If you’re interested in that technology, head over to their website and a neat little video shows you how it works – Travelon NuVinci hub technology.

Second – there are no gears! You can adjust the torque just like a traditional bike, but because of this fancy new hub technology the gears are not incremental. Rather, you increase and decrease torque along an analog continuum. This means that you simply turn the tension up or down to just the right setting for the terrain you’re covering. And you can make these adjustments while stopped – you don’t need to be pedaling to change “gears.”

Check out this snapshot of the indicator and it’ll give you a clearer picture:

I love the clear, simple, and intuitive design of the indicator.

And I always like to learn about the latest cycling technology. For more info, check out their website: Travelon Bikes.

It could have been YOU! (Seriously)

Well, my little experiment this weekend didn’t work out so well…

Despite the fact that hundreds of visitors came to the site this weekend, nobody entered the little ride report contest I had setup for a free book giveaway.

I guess everybody was busy riding and recuperating – we had great weather this weekend, and I certainly saw a lot of riders out on the roads.

Oh well. Happy riding. And don’t forget – you can always pick up a copy of the book here. 😉

Photo credit: JanneM

Sun, Sun, Sun – and a free book!

To celebrate this weekend of sunny and warm weather in the Boston area, and the arrival of May (no more April showers!) I’m giving away a free signed copy of Road Biking Massachusetts to some lucky cyclist within reach of this blog. Will ship to anywhere in Massachusetts or neighboring states.

Here’s the deal: best ride report wins!

It can be a short ride, long ride, hilly ride, flat ride, club ride, group ride, solo ride. Just share some thoughts about a riding experience from the weekend. Extra points for a funny or creative report.

Send a photo along for more bonus points.

I’ll select a lucky winner and feature the ride report on this blog.

All entries must be in by midnight Sunday night.

Send your note here with the contact form. Once I get your submission, I’ll email you back so you can send me a photo via email attachment.


A great holiday gift for the cyclist in your life

Tis the season for a shameless plug…

Available at most local bike shops in Massachusetts, several Visitors Centers, and all the major bookstores – or even online if you have a little more time before your holiday gathering…

Road Biking Massachusetts is a compilation of forty great routes of varying lenghth, terrain and difficulty. Each route includes a detailed description, turn by turn directions, and a complete and detailed map.

The forty routes in Road Biking Massachusetts are divided into four categories according to degree of difficulty. These classifications are subjective, taking into account the combination of distance, road grade, and bike-handling skills necessary to negotiate the full tour. Each route’s name indicates its relative degree of difficulty.

Rambles are the easiest and shortest rides in the book, accessible to almost all riders, and should be easily completed in one day. They are usually less than 35 miles long and are generally on flat to slightly rolling terrain.

Cruises are intermediate in difficulty and distance. They are generally 25 to 50 miles long and may include some moderate climbs. Cruises generally will be completed easily by an experienced rider in one day, but inexperienced or out-of-shape riders may want to take two days with an overnight stop.

Challenges are difficult, designed especially for experienced riders in good condition. They are usually 40 to 60 miles long and may include some steep climbs. They should be a challenge even for fairly fit riders attempting to complete them in one day. Less experienced or fit riders should expect to take two days.

Classics are long and hard. They are more than 60 miles and may be more than 100. They can include steep climbs and high-speed descents. Even fit and experienced riders will want to take two days. These rides are not recommended for less fit and experienced riders unless they are done in shorter stages.

Click Here to Buy Now!

Happy Holidays!

Fells trail plan debate continues

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” — Duke Ellington

On September 20th, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation will unveil it’s latest version of plans for the Middlesex Fells. As can be seen in this recent article, the debate between various users of the urban park has re-heated and all are curious to see what the DCR has in store.

Most people I’ve encountered in the Fells have been pleasant and respectful, whether they are hiking, walking a dog, or riding a bike. Sure, some hikers litter, some unfriendly dogs are unleashed, and some bikers are rude, but that is by far the exception rather than the rule. Hopefully the DCR will come up with a good plan that will increase enjoyment and usage for everyone, and if there are more responsible people in the park, hopefully less incidents like this will occur.

Photo credit: donjd2

CRW Fall Century Ride – A New England Classic

One of my favorite century rides is the CRW Fall Century ride. The Charles River Wheelmen designed a difficult, but beautiful route for this ride, which takes place each September. This year’s ride is on Sunday, September 19th.

This route was the basis for one of the chapters in my book, the Souhegan River Classic. Here’s an excerpt which describes the ride:

Based on the popular Fall Century Ride of the Charles River Wheelmen, the Souhegan River Classic is a challenging century — virtually all of the route’s 5,500 feet of climbing are crammed into the first 62 miles. Painful, but beautiful, the Souhegan River Classic takes you through the best cycling roads of North-Central Massachusetts to the best cycling roads of South Central New Hampshire. Be sure that you are in good shape and pack well, as food and water stops are few and far between.

It is a tough ride, but so worth it. The ride starts in Central Massachusetts, in Acton, and follows a super scenic route through Groton and Lunenburge and up into New Hampshire. Here are some more photos from along the route.

Note that pre-registration is required this year and the ride is limited to 500 riders. All the details are on the CRW web site.

Fall Century Pre-Ride Meeting
Pre-Ride Meeting
Pausing on a country road
Pausing on a country road

If you’ve not yet done your first century ride, or one this hard, check out James Wannop’s eBook on how to train for a century ride (affiliate link). It’s perhaps the most comprehensive guide dedicated exclusively to tackling a century ride. All the details about his book can be found on his website bicyclecenturytraining.com.

Guilt-fueled Riding

Usually a great workout is rewarded with a small treat. Maybe a scoop of ice cream, a slice of pizza, or a beer. Ok, maybe a bowl of ice cream, a few slices of pizza or a few beers.

Today the order was reversed. The tasty afterglow of my visit to Kane’s Donughts in Saugus (see previous post), home of the “world’s largest coffee roll” and delicious doughnuts, soon gave way to guilty motivation to get on the bike. Fortunately, it was a beautiful sunny, warm day to burn those extra calories.

Photo credit: Pink Sherbert Photography

Featured Ride: Mount Greylock Challenge

Climb it because it is there. When you summit Mount Greylock, you will be reaching the highest point in all of Massachusetts, where you can enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of the Berkshires. Unclip and climb the Veterans War Memorial at the summit to fully soak it all in. This challenging ride will bring you from Pittsfield to the summit in the first third of the ride. After completing the brake-burning descent (which requires great care and patience), you’ll head over to Williamstown, a quaint town that is home to Williams College. The second half of the route takes you south through the valley, giving you a rest and a chance to appreciate the mountain range from a different perspective while climbing back toward Pittsfield at a more moderate pace. Plan to do the ride during the spring or summer as the Mount Greylock Scenic Byway is accessible only from mid-May through mid-October. Get more details, turn-by-turn directions, and map in the book Road Biking Massachusetts (affiliate link).

The New England Velodrome Becomes The Northeast Velodrome

Back in March, there were some sudden changes made at the New England Velodrome, which many simply described as a hostile takeover of sorts. The message sent out by Tony Eberhardt was posted in many places and generated a lot of curiosity. Subsequently, Cyclocross Magazine did a two part story which interviewed the parties involved. Here’s Part 1 – the interview with the folks from the Cycle Loft. Here’s Part 2 – the interview with Tony.

So, now the track appears to be up and running under a new name – The Northeast Velodrome.

Photo credit: Incase

Enjoy A Colonial Ride This Saturday

The Nashoba Valley Pedalers are hosting a “Colonial Ramble” with modest distance options (10, 21, or 33) and a modest pace (“no need to race through this relaxing ride”), though there will be some hills. The ride starts in Acton and travels through Concord, Westford and Carlisle. Great cycling country. A great way to start your season, if you haven’t begun to ramp up yet.

Photo Credit: Gregory Leaf