Time for something a bit different.
December 03, 2010
You know, sometimes it is better to do just that – Do something completely different. I’ve been asked many times, “how do you stay so excited about riding day after day, year after year when working in the industry you practically live and breathe it?” The answer is easy: I make sure to take a break. I’d recommend the same for everyone. I’m sure because of where you live, some of you are FORCED to take a break whether you want to or not” It’s pretty hard to ride when there is 2’ of fresh snow and it is 15 below zero outside. That’s when you grab your skis, snowboard or sled and head out to enjoy a different type of outdoor activity. You could still ride; it just may be dark, rainy, muddy or worse. It might just feel like “work”. Don’t ever get to that point.
If you like riding as much as I do, try to not push it. Trying to get every day possible on a bike can get tiring and take the joy out of cycling. My trick is to hang up my bike(s) and just walk away. After about a week off the bike I feel an urge to go back and give my trusty steed a clean-up and some fresh lube, but then I hang it up again. Doing something different is not a bad thing, it’s called Cross training.
Some of the folks that know me know I do this pretty much every winter. I take up running. Running?? What the heck?? Hear me out. I find it to be a great sport for cross training. I can run from October through till spring and when I hop back on my bike I come into the year raring to go with some easily transferred fitness.
Through the winter months I am lucky because the weather permits me to ride (to work or out and about), so I get my cycling fix. I also take my little hound, Miss Molly, for her morning rips most days, but I really don’t consider that riding! I’m not heading out on the road bike for an 80-100 K’er or on my mountain bike for a good 3-5 hour ride. Those bikes are put away and will be for another few months.
So, as lame as it may sound to those of you reading this going, “WHAT??. What is he telling me to do??,” just try it. Try something different. If you don’t like running, no problem, there is squash, racquetball, yoga, snowboarding, WHATEVER floats y’er boat, just don’t force yourself to grind away through the wettest, darkest winter rides. If you are going to hop on your bike, keep it short and make sure it is strictly for fun, OK?
Trust me on this one. You will know when it is time to dig your gear out and head outside! And let me tell you, when you do, you will quickly remember why you love riding so much. You will be like a kid on their first bike again. And because of all the cross training have been doing, the only muscles on your body that are sore after that first ride will be your cheeks from grinning so much.
Enjoy your down time.
title photo by Ian Craib
Norco in the Community
December 03, 2010
A little more than a year ago at the 2010 Norco Product Launch we announced a commitment of $100,000 to be given annually towards community cycling initiatives and advocacy causes. Now more than a year deep, let's look back on what we have done and where some of the money has gone.
One of the many great causes that Norco has supported over the past year is Cyclebetes. Cyclebetes is an organization that raises money in support of Juvenile Diabetes through two main initiatives. A series of 24hr spin-a-thons in schools and community centres has been a great way of building awareness and raising money. The second aspect of the program is a cross-Canada tour on the tandem bike tagged 'Dia-Betsy'. Since the innagural tour of 2009, Cyclebetes has raised over 1 Million dollars towards finding a cure for Juvenile Diabetes. For more information on Cyclebetes check out cyclebetes.ca
The Ride to Conquer Cancer is another great initiative that last year alone got more than 12,000 people riding their bikes and collectively raised more than 30 million dollars. The Ride To Conquer Cancer is now the largest fund raising event in Canada benefiting the Canadian Cancer Society. Norco is the official Bike sponsor of the Ride To Conquer Cancer, so if you participate and need some repairs along the way - we are here to help..If you want to get involved with this program head on over to conquercancer.ca and sign up.
In addition to these two very large programs, Norco has also supported youth cycling programs such as Sprockids, Pedalheads and LifeCycles. These programs focus on cycling safety and riding skills for kids across the country. On a more government and infrastructure level, Norco supports among others: IMBA, Bikes Belong, CCA, and the VACC. The final area that has been largely supported out of the Norco community and advocacy fund is local clubs and organizations. Groups such as the Shed Bike Club, NSMBA and other regional programs have gained funding for events, trailbuilding and more through Norco.
Did you know that you too can apply for funding from Norco? If you are a part of a non-profit organization supporting cycling and require funding you can apply for a grant. To learn more head over to http://norco.com/company/advocacy/ and click on application guide. If your proposal fits with the goals and objectives of the program, Norco could be donating money to your cause.
Mountain Biking Through The Years. How Times Change
December 03, 2010
In its simplest form, a bicycle is nothing more than a couple of wheels held together by some pieces of metal. Looking closer at a modern bike though, it is a marvel of technology. The technology that goes into gearing, brakes and suspension alone are enough to make your head spin.
Looking back over even the last few decades , the times have changed. This time 20 years ago, we were looking at 18 and 21 speed drivetrains, cantilever brakes and steel frames. In 1991 The RockShox Mag 20 was one of very few suspension choices, XTR didn't exist and SRAM was barely a blip on the radar.
Moving ahead a mere ten years, things were picking up. If you were riding the latest and greatest product your bike could have been equipped with Shimano Airlines shifting, or maybe even the all new Sram XO lineup. 2001 was also the unveiling of the Marzocchi Carbon RAC fork.
The past 20 years have been a whirlwind of development. Technology has advanced so fast that looking at a bike only a few years old can seem like an antique compared to the latest and greatest just coming to market. Front suspension is using aerospace technology and rear-suspension has become essential in many mountain biking situations. A side by side comparison of suspension bikes 5 years apart helps to illustrate this point. Five years ago, bikes were awesome; they were lighter than ever before, smoother and less expensive. A bike from 2006 is by no means a bad bike; things have just gotten that much better with every passing day.
2006 Six 1 - $3279 ($3567 2011 Dollars)
Take a look at the 2006 Norco Six 1. This bike was light at 36lbs durable with 6" of travel and a great all round bike coming with a telescoping seatpost. This was actually the same platform that won Crankworx a year later.
As we move forward though, we look at what this bike's competition would be today. Head to head with the Six would be the 2011 Norco Range 2. The price and spec of these bikes are actually quite comparable. The Range 2 retails for $3650 and again has 6" of travel. The differences lie a bit deeper though. First off, the Range is a mere 30lbs and will pedal up like a champ while descending like a star. The Six was a great descender but struggled on the climbs - especially with an interrupted seattube and a less stable pedaling platform. Next we look at suspension. The Six came with a Marzocchi 66 which was a burly, strong and great fork to abuse. The Range though comes with a 2-Step, air adjustable fork, which is lighter, more adjustable and just as strong.
2011 Range 2 - $3650
So, what do we take out of this? This is not a reason to drop $4000 every year on a new bike, but it is a call to stay aware of what is out there. Bikes are getting lighter, stronger and more efficient every day. Your riding style could greatly benefit from the hard work that has gone into developing bikes into what they are today. If you want to have a look at what is available from Norco or any other brands, check out bicyclebuyersguide.com. It is a great tool for finding your next bike.