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Staff Spotlight: Skip

The first in our monthly segment where we get to know a little more about the people that work here. This interview was held on a Tuesday night in our downstairs office. 

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Darien: I'm here with Skip as part of the new Recycled Cycles Mooz-et, So Skip…

Skip: Is it Mooz-ette or mew-set? Moos-ette? Mewz-et...anyhow…

Darien: I hear this isn’t your real name? Is that True?

Mike and Skip kinda posing

Mike and Skip kinda posing

Skip: That’s correct, my real name is quite different than Skip. It is Frederick George Delaney IV. I got Skip as a nickname at birth. My mother was not too happy to name me after my father and my father's father and my father's father's father.

D: So it wasn't her choice?

S: No, not her choice.

D: But she gave you the nickname?

S: Yes

D: Moving along, it's obvious that you are into bikes but what got you into bikes? What started this for you? I assume you were a child?

S: Uh, well you know, a bicycle meant transportation for me as a kid. I had a friend in junior high who totally got me into road bikes. He happened to be a really good junior road racer and I played with him. There was a lot of BMX going on in southern California.

D: It was pretty big in California at that time, right?

Matching shades! So sick!

Matching shades! So sick!

S: Yeah, yeah in the early 80's BMX was huge and I wanted one badly. What I ended up with was an old Schwinn stingray with a BMX conversion kit which was offered at the time.

D: Hell yeah! So you were cool then?

S: No, not exactly. It wasn't a real BMX bike. It was a converted stingray and I wanted a true square frame BMX, not the cantilevered stingray frame.

D: But people still thought you were cool?

S: I thought I was cool [laughs cooly]

D: What can people come into the shop and talk to you about?

S: Well, I'm pretty knowledgeable about what we sell... but my strongest point is vintage stuff. Any 70's, 80's road bikes with Campy or Suntour and vintage BMX bikes are my favorites. I've got a bit of knowledge about some 3 speed stuff too.

Skip holding a baby! and a drink it looks like?

Skip holding a baby! and a drink it looks like?

D: You are the best when it come to spotting jewels in our piles of parts to price. I can't count the number of times you've spotted a part priced at $5 and said that it is going for $50 on eBay.

S: Yeeeah let's reprice that.

D: What do you think about the new bike share program?

S: Well *cough* I think that people riding bikes is a good thing. I think those bikes are an eye sore to a certain extent. They are  everywhere and often in the way. The one thing you can count on is that if someone rides one of those bikes, they are going to realize they need a bike. It might turn into a good thing. Hopefully that will bring them down to a local shop to buy a bike. I have mixed emotions. Its cool to see that there are bikes for people to ride but I wish there was more organization and order.

D:  What do you think this means for the future of biking? Is that going to increase the amount of infrastructure? Are we going to see more bikes and less cars?

S: Well in the future I think there will be more infrastructure in Seattle, in particular additional dedicated and shared bike lanes. I know that the DOT has the go ahead to finish up the "missing link" down in Ballard.

D: Finally! [read about it here]

S: I think they should be done within 2 years? Stages will be ongoing but I think they are already breaking ground in Ballard. I think the future of bicycling is ever changing. We are going to see more electric bikes. My hunch is you're going to see hardcore cyclists adding an electric bicycle in their arsenal.

Skip's commuter

Skip's commuter

D: Thanks for sitting down with me Skip.

S: I had fun and I'm looking forward to the newsletter coming out.

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(Edited for hilarity and length)

(All photos from Facebook so you can't get mad at me Skip)

Locks of Love

old and new

old and new

You may have noticed, there are a lot more people in Seattle than there used to be. The tech industry took a real shine to Seattle, many huge companies are bringing in people to work in their monolithic dream structures. A lot of these new people are millennials-types living on their own for the first time out of college, who haven't had the optimism hammered out of them by harsh reality yet. These are people that bike thieves prey on.

This is why you need a lock. 

The world is a beautiful place but property theft is, and will always be a reality. If you have something perceived useful or valuable that you leave outside for long enough, somebody will try to steal it. Fortunately, if you are mindful of where you keep your stuff and have a decent lock, you won’t have to waste money on buying the same things time and time again.

Bikes are beautiful, refined machines that deserve to be invested in. A lock should be the first thing you buy after a bike if you plan to use a bike for its best purpose, incredibly efficient transportation. Lock companies have many options to offer but they are competing for your money, so it’s not the best place to look for simple information. For more useful information, look to outdoor retailers like REI. They carry a variety of brands and fabrics, so they are more likely to offer unbiased information.

Or you know, you could also get simple and practical information from a local friendly bike shop newsletter.

Here at the shop, I tell people that there are really only two types of locks; locks that can resist bolt cutters, and everything else. Bolt cutters are silent (key word silent) tools that can slice through metal and braided cable. They are also cheap and easy to conceal, which makes them the #1 tool used in bike theft.

a potential thief

a potential thief

Steel Shackle lock

Steel Shackle lock

In general, you want a lock made of steel. Yes, this is a heavy material, but you are an amazingly fit person who rides a bike, so you can handle the extra weight (resistance training!). Solid steel is really the only material that even comes close to standing up to bolt cutters, and because of this, you want a steel-shackle or steel link chain style lock.

The Abus steel chain link lock. At $46, it's my top recommendation.  

The Abus steel chain link lock. At $46, it's my top recommendation.  

I prefer chains for the convenience of a much larger locking area and the ability to weave around things on a bike-riddled rack. When riding together in a group, it's fun to be the cool guy that locks everybody (and dictates when everyone leaves).

We carry the Steel-o-Chain lock (pictured) in store and is our lowest priced bolt-cut resistant lock.

Steel-shackle U locks are the most common type of lock and their solid shape makes them rattle less when mounted. They are also available combined together in a pack with a cable, which is typically threaded through the front wheel for extra security. However, I think if somebody is out stealing bikes, cables can be irrelevant because they already have a pair of bolt cutters.

Kryptonite is the brand of U locks we carry and they offer a anti-theft reimbursement program which you can read about [HERE] but the gist of the small print is, you have to register the lock prior to the theft, and you need to have some part of the lock to prove it was physically broken.

Kinda "large" fine print if you ask me but hey, something is better than nothing.

Reuben's Brew in Ballard is my favorite spot for the obligitory post ride pint.

Reuben's Brew in Ballard is my favorite spot for the obligitory post ride pint.

You can also pick between key or combination lock styles. Combo-style locks are good if you don't want to carry keys or want to easily share a lock (I've been known to keep a spare lock on a frequented bike rack in order to avoid of carrying a heavy lock on a longer road ride). Although keyed locks are more secure (nobody can guess/overhear your combo) and way easier to unlock in the dark after a few post ride pints. It's really a matter of preference.

Bike Radar recently did a great write up/test of a bunch of locks and their resistance to different means of theft [HERE]. They really did a great job and is worth the read if I have piqued your interest with this article about locks. We can special order most of these locks and tell you more about them. We love talking with people now that we’ve slowed down considerably (off season).

If your bike does get stolen (sad face emoji), recovery is not common but you can give yourself an advantage by registering your bike with the manufacturer (if you bought a new bike) and BikeIndex.org with your serial number. Check it out [HERE].

"My bike was still outside when I came out! Thanks locks!"

"My bike was still outside when I came out! Thanks locks!"

Bike theft is a problem that will probably always exist, but that doesn't mean you can't keep your bicycle safe. Buying and carrying a lock may seem like a hassle, but it’s a way smaller hassle than having to walk back home and to work in the morning.

Water falls from the sky

Water above and below.

Water above and below.

 

There is a good chance that right now, it is raining here in Seattle. It rains more here than it doesn't and we have names for all our different types of rain. Drizzle, misty, dewy, hazy, sprinkle, pouring, dumping, storming and even sideways rain can occur within the span of one day. A fun way to single out the locals from the tourists is simply look for the umbrellas. Seattleites tend to shun the waterproof dome for the more practical jacket, especially the commute-y ones. Cycling with an umbrella, while a visually humorous spectacle, is almost impossible so a good jacket is essential if you plan to bike anywhere.

All waterproof fabrics (for clothing) are basically synthetic sheets with holes tiny enough for water vapor to get through but not full on water drops. To be advertised as waterproof, a jacket has to withstand a level of pressurized water before letting moisture through which is measured in either psi or mm/24hr. Waterproofness at a single moment in time or either over a 24hr period.

Something you mind find at a department/sporting good store.

Something you mind find at a department/sporting good store.

A generic light polyester rain/wind coat you might find at Target comes in at about 3 to 5 psi and doesn't even get a waterproof rating. A Gore-Tex or similar style membrane can be rated up to 40 psi and 30,000mm/24hr. Those are the realistic two ends of the spectrum in terms of consumer waterproof fabrics but new technologies are being developed all the time and I'm sure in the not so distant future, we will have paper thin jackets that have adjustable breathability/waterproofness that can charge your phone, heat itself and shoot a bunch of "high-visibility" colored lasers everywhere.

In all honesty, unless you are getting paid to be on your bike, you probably won’t be outside long enough to need anything rated more than 10,000mm/24hr. Biking is also technically exercise (really fun exercise!) so breathability is more of a relevant factor in bike commuting, especially when you spend 10 minutes getting all bundled up in preparation of the big hill you go down first thing in your morning commute where wind chill makes it feel like -30F, only to start sweating as soon the clouds break and you start pedaling.

This baselayer from Smartwool is my favorite you can buy. We can special order them for you.

This baselayer from Smartwool is my favorite you can buy. We can special order them for you.

Wearing a very low breathability jacket while exerting yourself can make for a very clammy and slimy ride. Personally, a thin wool base layer is essential for any water showered biking excursion. Its moisture wicking and heat retaining properties can make even the most plastic bag of jackets feel much better by keeping your salty sweat off you.

If you come check out our clothing some time, you'll notice that a lot of bike clothing manufacturers will add underarm zippers that can open and greatly increase the general breathability of the jacket and bring the total number of zipper pulls on your person to 25 (hey, they are awfully convenient). Waterproof performance clothing doesn't tend to be very stylish but more and more companies are finding that people actually care about how they look and are expanding their lines to accommodate this emerging market. Although, high price tends to keep this out of reach for most people who don't work at Amazon or Tableau.

As for what we stock, Showers Pass is one of the best companies to make waterproof rain gear and their Refuge Jacket is one of our favorites. At just shy of $300, it isn't a cheap piece of clothing but with a 25,000ish mm/hr waterproof rating and huge forward facing underarm vents that scoop air very efficiently, it makes it our best jacket for the upcoming 9 months of falling sky water. Not to mention they are out of Portland (local-ish!) and have an amazing lifetime warranty.

Endura is another great bike-tech clothing company which makes the Lumilite II jacket. At just over $150, it's one of the more affordable of our offerings. I've also probably seen more cyclists wear this water shield than any other. Which may be due to the fact that it is undoubtedly the loudest jacket I have ever seen. With an eye-taxing Hi-vis yellow AND green offerings, a wide array of highly reflective chevrons and an integrated tail light, this is the best jacket for the rider who wants to "take the lane" and let cars know that he has every right to the lane. Pairs well with a handlebar light and head lamp. Rated 10,000mm/24hr with plenty of underarm venting, you'll stay dry, comfortable and VERY VISIBLE.

Now in stock at our shop!

Now in stock at our shop!

We also carry a few other brands like Pearl Izumi and Bellwether. These companies have cheaper, not technically waterproof offerings, which lend themselves to more wind resistance. Those two jackets just happen to be ones that we really like and have carried for a long time. We also get new stuff all the time and love to hear what you personally like. For example, at the time of writing this, we just received some of Showers Pass new Crosspoint waterproof gloves which have been very popular out of the gate.

If you haven’t bought one already (you’re streets behind!), a reliable and comfortable jacket is one of the few pieces of clothing that is worth investing in. With all the spray, mist, sprinkles, thunder showers and drops falling from the sky in the next few months, you'll probably be wearing it most of the time.