Showing posts from March, 2014

Highlights from the BYOB Pub Ride

The weather report was looking rather ominous on Saturday March 29th, 2014. It was to be the day of the 'Build Your Own Bike' pub ride hosted by the Sarasota County Off Road Riders. Cyclists were encouraged to scavenge together old klunkers with spare parts in a rusty soup of ingenuity and labor to build the ultimate pub cruiser for under $100.
The angry skies parted ways only minutes before the gathering began. Riders met at the Gazebo in Centennial Park on Venice Island and displayed their patchwork of frankenstein creations. While the weather made for a lower turnout than hoped for, those who did arrive brought the good stuff.

The cruisers ranged from those with outlandish geometry to those that were almost painful to observe. There was a bike painted with chalk in which people were encouraged to write their names on the dusty frame. One cruiser was so caked in rust that you needed a tetanus shot just for looking at it. One rode seated straight up reaching for handle bars …

Trail Building in Myakka State Forest

They say it takes a village to raise a child, well it takes a small army of tough volunteers to build a good trail. Construction has begun on the first mountain bike specific path in Myakka State Forest. The forest has 8,500 acres of pinewoods and wetlands which are connected through several dirt roads including north and south loops. There is a great deal of potential space for off road exploration.

Work on the "Palmetto Trail" has been going on since the beginning of 2014. The Sarasota County Off Road Riders (SCORR) have already sent a handful of teams into the woods with challenging results. It is challenging because the Palmettos are fighting back! Even a large crew of experienced builders must push hard to make headway through this area of new growth forest. Armed with some serious weapons, they tag, chop, dig, cut and rake one yard at a time. It can be a grueling slog.

To access the new build, riders must park at the north entrance just off East River Road. When facin…

A Love Affair with Hiking Boots

It was a frosty New England winter night when I pulled into the parking lot of the Auburn Mall. I was working a delivery route that took me 250 miles through small towns in western Massachusetts. My job was basically to be a mail man for small banks. Come rain or shine, come snow or high water, the checks must be delivered. That year the weather had been particularly frigid. The dented gray Hyundai hatchback work car had a moderate heater at best. The January squelch was bleeding into my sad summer sneakers, my feet were freezing. It was time for new shoes.
All my life I had been a sucker for low rise runners, preferably Nike or Reebok. However my needs were changing as was part of my identity. I scanned the shelves at Famous Footwear to discover a pair of black & gray Columbia hiking boots. They were 50% off and they looked warm. Most importantly, they were my size. I snatched them up like a greedy miner who had just unearthed gold.

I didn't even wait to get back to my car. …

The 'Build Your Own Bike' Pub Ride

The boys from SCORR are at it again! Their famous pub rides are becoming well known not only for great places to eat and drink but also for the creativity of the themes. This might be one to top them all - The BYOB pub ride is coming! It means "Build Your Own Bike" and it is a competition! It's time to get your wrenches working, start cruising garage sales and scan Craigslist. The Sarasota County Off Road Riders are having their first Dedicated Pub Ride Bicycle Build off.

There is a$100.GrandPrizefor theBest Overall Bike!

The Rules

1. Build a bike that you would be proud to ride at the next pub ride. The crazier, the better.

2. Think accessories, paint scheme, cup holders, music, light show, rust etc.

3. Don't spend more than $100.

Prizes will be awarded for Ugliest, Biggest POS, Cheapest Rebuild, Rustiest, Girliest and of course there is the $100. Grand Prize for the Best Overall Bike.
The BYOB Pub Ride happens Saturday March 29th, 2014. Riders will meet at the Venice Ga…

WTB Velociraptor MTB Tires Review

Let's face it, you never know when you are going to need new tires. A nasty thorn, a sharp nail or in my case a construction staple can find its way through your old skins. It is inevitable that you'll need to change up. I had been rolling on my Schwalbe Rapid Robs for a good year. I was very happy with their performance especially considering the price. My Rapid Rob review has become the number one most read story on my blog. So, I decided to record the adventures of my new rear replacement tire.
My local shop Real Bikes Englewood sold me a WTB Velociraptor 2.1. With front and rear specific treads the Velociraptors are a gnarly trail lovers dream pair. They first came out in 1994 and have been tearing up the muck ever since. Granted, jumping from the small, fast rolling knobs of the Rapid Rob to the huge paddles of the Velociraptor is a big leap but I assure you it was a necessary change.

Once again I know what you're thinking. You're thinking; Alex, you live in Flor…

Top Honors Awarded at Zoomers Banquet

On Sunday afternoon March 9th at the beautiful King's Gate country club in Port Charlotte, southwest Florida athletes gathered for the Zoomers Run & Triathlon Club's yearly awards ceremony. More than 50 members arrived, dressed in contrasting black & white attire each ready to share in the camaraderie and support that this group is so well known for.
The athletes were treated with breakfast food followed by sweets including cookies shaped like running shoes and a cake specially made for the occasion plus a cash bar. As everyone enjoyed lunch, a ten minute slideshow displayed the year in review. Not only did it include shots from the dozens of races that year but from Zoomers social activities and personal parties. As empty plates were collected, the proceedings began.

This ceremony is to award athletes for their performances in the 2013 Zoomer's Race Series. Runners accumulate points over the course of the year by competing in select races, their best six races ar…

Fatbikes Rule at the 2014 Tour de Picayune

Right now in odd corners of the world, mountain bike races are starting to favor a whole new type of ride. Born simultaneously in the snows of Alaska and the deserts of Arizona, the Fatbike is a strange brew of rubber and bravado. Made primarily by independent fabricators, the frames tend to be works of art. The gearing tends more towards that found on a DH rig though most are set up with a single speed. The forks are usually rigid with the only suspension to be found in the tires themselves.
On the Fatbike, the wheels are where it's at. Boasting 3.7" inches or more they are the largest tires available on a non-motorized vehicle. The wide, low pattern treads allow for compression of soft elements like snow or deep sand which is why they came in droves to the 2014 Tour de Picayune.

My wife and I counted no less than 16 Fatbikes at registration which gathered in front of the forestry center around 9am. Riders traveled from all over the state, some were even visiting from other…

Tempo Cyclery Rides Every Thursday

It's that time of year again! The Tempo & Timmy Time Trials start in March. If you have never been to these events, they are a blast. Ten miles against the clock in one of the most rider friendly neighborhoods in Sarasota. The group parks at the Tempo Cyclery bike shop at 5140 Palmer Plaza Blvd, Sarasota. From there it is a short ride to the race start at the corner of Palmer Ranch Parkway and Honore.

The Individual Time Trials begins at 6pm. You might want to arrive a little early so you can sign the insurance waiver and get a numbered sticker for your helmet so they can track your speed. Then you simply line up and go. After the race, riders return to Tempo for the all important after race beers.

The Tempo & Timmy Time Trials will now be held on the last Thursday of each month.
The dates are as follows (Weather permitting):

* March 27th
* April 24th
* May 29th
* June 26th
* July 31st
* August 28th

The races will take place in cases of rain but will be cancelled when lightning…