Spring Bike Events That Ya Might Be Into

April 20th and Every Sunday Thereafter barring rain: Sunday Whatevering Rides

Every Sunday, we go for a rambling, slowish, dirt strewn ride through the forgotten roads of Frederick. The rides are casual in pace (12-15 mph on flats) and usually have loads of climbing, because flat roads are boring. You need to bring: good lights, bright enough to see with, a spare tube, fattish road tires. Meet at the shop at 5, wheels down at 5.30. Back around 9, usually. 20-30 miles for the spring, going to 30-50 miles by summer’s end. Questions can be addressed to bikedrfrederick (at) gmail.com  Sign up on the appropriate day on our event’s page.  We’ll try to post up a map if we have time, for that week’s route.  


April 23rd and every Wednesday Thereafter barring rain:  Wednesday Night Climbing Ride.  

Meet at the 7th Street Starbucks, Frederick Maryland.  
Wheels down at 5:30. 12-16 mph pace to the climbs and re-grouping at the top. Expect 25 miles and harder/slightly longer as we get more daylight.  Bring your extra legs! 


April 25th and every Friday as trail conditions allow:  Friday Mountain Rides at the Shed.

Meet on an alternating schedule (see events page for exact info) between the maintenance shed on Mountaindale Road and the Hamburg Parking Lot.  Ride speed adjusted to whoever shows up.  Some fitness and technical ability is expected.  Ride until dusk.



April 26th: Frederick Watershed Cleanup

If you love and use the Frederick Watershed, then come out and give back to it. All sorts of trash gets thrown around up there, because some people think that nature is a great place for an old TV or a tire. We’re going to do our part to help clean it up. This whole thing is part of the Annual Potomac Watershed Cleanup. Our ‘shed drains right into the Monocacy and that goes right into the Potomac, which goes into the bay. It’s a pretty good idea to keep all that clean, ’cause we drink that water, play in it, fish in it, etc. Anyway, we’re gettin’ together with our friends at the Common Market, The Frederick Bicycle Coalition, The Bike Escape to make this happen. There’s gunna be a raffle for some prizes, including gift cards to the aforementioned businesses. Meet up is at the foot of the mountain on mtn dale road, where there is an old county maintenance shed. Map link at our facebook events page! www.facebook.com/bikedrfrederick


May 9th Salsa Demo Day

The Salsa demo truck is rolling into town. 
Join us in the Frederick Watershed for an afternoon of trying out cool bikes, hitting some rad trails and tearing it up down some dirt roads. All ya gotta bring is your normal riding gear w. a helmet, and your shoes and pedals. We’ll fit ya up, adjust suspension and tire pressure, and get ya rollin’. We’re going to set up the truck at the same place we did last time, the intersection of Fishing Creek Rd and the dirt side of Gambrill Park Rd. Map link at our events page. Fun starts at 3pm and goes till dark.

We’ll have all of the Salsa bikes out there except the Colossal and the Vaya. The truck is only so big! Let us know you are coming and share this with your friends!  

May 17th: Waffles and Wheels at Bike Doctor Frederick

Join us on May 17th for a day of Waffles and Wheels. La Pearl Waffles will be cooking up fresh made Belgian Waffles out front and we’ll be raffling off some rad bike gear and a FAT TIRE LIMITED EDITION CRUISER BIKE! Here’s a link to detailed who, what, where, when so you know exactly what’s up.  Raffle Tickets are available now at the shop.  20 bucks cash or check.  


Emmitsburg Trail Work Series May 4th.

Emmitsburg is working on a cool new mountain bike trail system. More places to ride, especially within a quick drive, are always welcome. They need our help to make rock the casbah. Trail work is a ton of fun, even if it is work. You get to shape a trail that you can later ride on. That’s… very rad. 
They’re providing a light breakfast of coffee, OJ, bagels and fruit before work begins. Afterward, BBQ. You can never have too much BBQ.
Meet at Rainbow Lake on Hampton Valley Road. It’s a pretty location, if you have never been out there.
Dress ready to work.

Thanks for helping make our area more rad!

Bike Doctor Frederick’s 4th Annual X-mas Lights Ride

Ha! The 4th Annual Bike Doctor Frederick Xmas Lights ride in downtown Frederick is fast approaching.

Who: You and 100 other riders. Kids who can easily pedal 4 miles can come along, if they have lights and a helmet.
Where: Baker Park Bell Tower, next to the Armory.
When: 7:30 sharp, or earlier by a bit. It’s cold, no one likes hanging around for stragglers
What is it?: A X-mas lights viewing ride around Frederick City. A few miles, casual pace, mostly flat. We ride as a big group, no one gets spit off the back.
What do I bring: A bike, a rear blinky light or enough battery powered xmas lights that you dont need a blinkie. Gotta decorate your bike. BRING A LOCK, if you are coming to the post ride hang out at Firestones.
The Competition: We’ll be giving out good prizes for the top 3 decorated bikes. Employees can’t compete, so don’t worry about that. Any December holiday counts, so do whatever you want on that front. The bigger, the better. Last year we had someone toting an actual tree around, a snoopy mobile, bikes with ornaments, bikes made up like giant sparkling reindeer… photos here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.526507777367752.126464.359366150748583&type=3
Post Ride Party thing (21+): Firestones on Market Street.

Still have questions: Email us at bikedrfrederick (at) gmail (dot) com

Here’s the deal: We ride around in the bitter cold and look at good and bad X-Mas lights on houses in various parts of the city. It’s a short ride, probably ok for kids over say… 8, that are used to pedaling. It’s a super casual pace, we ride as a big X-mas theme’d Amoeba, and eventually end up at Firestones for the afterwhatever. You have to decorate your bike. The more extravagantly the better. Any December based Holiday theme applies, not just X-mas. We will post helpful hints about this as the time draws near. The top 3 decorated bikes (popular vote) win some cool bike theme’d prizes. Much better than last year, where we gave out some peach colored glasses and some half eaten cheetos.


It’s a perennial problem.  People are always faster than me.  Better climbers, better on the flats.  They have better bikes, or weigh forty pounds less.  They have less years on them, or more miles in them.  And so I’m always off the back.  So I’ve taken to subtly sabotaging their bikes, in order to slow ’em down a bit.  Here’s my quick in dirty guide to making them slower and you faster.
1.  Fill their inner tubes with water.  About 2 cups per tire.  Take out the valve stem, dump it in.
2.  Put 6 rolls of pennies in the seat tube.  Remove seatpost, insert rolls of coins, tamp with paper, reinstall post.  Adds about 4 pounds to the frame.
3.  Lube their chain with butter.  It will seem nice and quiet for about 20 miles, then it will wear off and start making a horrible racket, demoralizing the rider.
4.  Over tighten their brakes.  So they just rub when they are climbing…
5.  Dial in the limit screws on the rear derailleur, so they can’t get in really high or low gears.
Note: don’t actually do any of this.  It’s a joke.  The real way to slow anyone down is to feed them a huge burrito preride, and an extra large ice cream cone.

The impending autumn means a few things at the shop.  More time for bike fitting, weird custom builds, endless cups of coffee.  Wool jerseys and rides where it’s ok to wear jeans.  Our clinics really took off last year.  We covered all sorts of topics, everything from disc brake bleeding (3 different brands!) to bike camping to recycled bike jewellery making.  We’d like to open it up this year to suggestions.  What do you want to learn about?  Chances are we either have someone on staff who can talk about it, or know someone who can.  Are skills clinics more rad than mechanical clinics? Do we need more art?  Do we need to have classes on road etiquette?  Let us know, either via email, or if you are reading this via the blogosphere, in the comments.  Our email address is bikedrfrederick (at) gmail (dot) com

We’ll be starting clinics in about two weeks, the first of which is always the comprehensive, hands on fix a flat clinics that takes place at 7pm on the first Wednesday of October.  Figure it will take about an hour.


Don’t forget to register for the Bike Doctor Frederick Grand Fondue.  It’s coming up in about a month, and we already have a good group of folks showing up, so sign up before it fills up!  For those that don’t know, the Grand Fondue is a semi organized ride that takes in the rural roads of Frederick County.  There will be dirt roads, gravel roads, normal roads and tiny barely paved roads.  Four ride lengths are on offer, so there is something for {almost} everyone.  You don’t need a whatevering bike to do this ride, but it’s not a bad idea!  Way more info on the ride here.  You can register via paypal here, and just email us with what your t shirt size is and your ride length.  Again, our email address is: bikedrfrederick (at) gmail (dot) com.  We’d love to see you out there!

Lastly, the shop rides:

There are only two right now, both on Sunday.  The women’s road ride is every Sunday morning.  It’s location varies, but if you qualify (ie you are not a guy), head over to the BDF women’s group ride Facebook page, like it, and get more info!

Sunday evening (meet at 5, wheels down at 5.30) is the whatevering ride, 30-50 miles of mixed surface road riding.  Bring: a suitable bike, real lights (200 lumen min) a relaxed attitude and a willingness to climb lots of hills.

-The Bike Doctor Crew


Grand Fondue Part Deux

The Bike Doctor Frederick’s Grand Fondue will take in some of the most beautiful and challenging terrain in Frederick County.  We’ll be hosting it on the 20th of October, 2013.

Here’s what the Grand Fondue is about:  Not Racing.  Great roads.  Hard Climbs.  Food.  Drink.  Scenery.  Maybe a band.  Also, a really cheap entry fee.  A no-profit venture.  Races are pricey.  100-150 bucks for a day of riding.  What about a big ride that costs riders 20 bucks, gets them some wine and food and a free t-shirt?  That’s what we’re talking about!

Our Grand Fondue is about eating and riding.  Ride a huge ride, come back to a scenic winery in Middletown for a communal chili cookup, and wash it all back with some Merlot and Mead and chocolate fondue.  Andre, who used to work at our shop, is also part owner of the Orchid Cellar, a family owned Winery that specializes in traditional and contemporary meads.  The Orchid Cellar will be hosting the after party, where riders can grab some food, sample some wine, and enjoy a beautiful valley overlook.  We’ll also have a few fire pits going!

The Grand Fondue Frederick is going to be a beautiful but hard ride.  There will be gobs of climbing, dirt roads, and then more climbing.  Nothing will be timed, there will be no winners.  It’s going to be a challenging but relaxed ride, an easy pace to ease the legs through the terrain.  We’ll take in some of the finest and smallest roads in Frederick County.  Even the 35 mile ride is going to be challenging, even with 1/3 of the miles and 1/3 of the elevation.  Don’t worry though, even the shortest ride has some fantastic scenery and barely travelled roads.

Here’s some details:

What: Four possible rides: a quick, almost easy 20 mile, a 30ish mile ride, hard but not super long, a really hard 65 miler, and a 99.9 miler, really hard, and really long.  Really.  

When: October 20th


100 mile and 65 mile rides start from the Orchid Cellar at 7am, so get there earlier to sign a waver and give us money, if you didn’t in advance.  At the latest, get there at 6.30.  You think you won’t need headlight, but the last riders last time got in well after dark. 
The shorter rides will leave from the Orchid Cellar at 1pm.  Again, get there earlier.  There will be a mechanic on hand if you have minor issues with your bike.  He won’t have cables, housing, chains, tires or cassettes.  We are talking basic stuff: tighten this, loosen that.  This is a cheap event, and we wanna keep it that way.  If you have doubts as to whether your bike can handle the ride, get it into the shop at least a week prior to the event.
It’s hilly, and the pace will be decidedly relaxed, so it’s not like we are gunna knock this out in 2 hours.

Who:  The Bike Doctor Frederick and The Orchid Cellar are hosting this event.  Because this is a winery, you need to bring an ID with you if you want to partake.  This isn’t a 21+ event, and we have to card because of that.

How Much:  The entry fee is really reasonable.  The support on the ride therefor is minimal.  We’ll go into what to bring in a minute here but first the cost…
$20 and some beans.  Yeah, some beans.  The chili is going to be communal (one pot veggie, one meatatrian), and everyone has to pitch in some good beans to cook up.  Bring some kidney or pinto beans, 1 can per person.  We’ll cook it up so it’s ready to eat when you get back.

What does my 20 bucks get me?  
Two glasses of either Merlot or Mead, a Tshirt with something about the Fondue on it, access to the chili pot, and fondue based desert.  We’re also talking to a few local bands about coming out to play.  There will be a few sag wagons, but KNOW YOUR LIMITS.  If 13,000 feet of climbing sounds like a lot, it is.  The riding will be hard, even if the pace is not.  There will be gravel and dirt roads.  Challenges galore.  Please sign up for the appropriate ride for your abilities.  Remember, even the short ride will be rad!  We’ll have a mechanic who is roving around, but he will be minimally equipped.  The 65 miler and the 100 are both harder this year.  Rougher, too.  Come prepared.

What to bring:  This part is going to sound preachy, but it contains the important nuggets, so bear with me. A bike with low enough gears to get you through a big HILLY ride.  Water.  Lots of food, including something to get you through if you start to bonk.  That means Gu or some other sort of energy Gel.  Appropriate clothing.  We’ll be huffing up huge hills and coming down them pretty fast.  Sweat+steep roads=wind chill.  We won’t have spare clothing, so figure out what works and bring it.  There will be very few places to stop for additional food.  There will be only a few designated rest stops, and they will have minimal provisions: extra water, Gatorade, basic snacks.  This is not a supported century ride.  This is a big ride in the country with like minded folks.  Please bring a blinkie light, if it is overcast, starts to rain, or you just get caught out in the dark, we want you to be safe.  Spare tubes (2 per person), a patch kit and a enough C02 or a hand pump to fix at least 2 flats.  We will be on some dirt roads, so please bring a bike you will be comfortable riding on such surfaces.  If it is a road bike, get some durable 25mm tires or 28′s if they fit.  Ask in the shop if you are unclear on any of this.

How to sign up: Stop by the shop or email us.  We’ll set you up with a paypal address to pay on-line.  We need to get registration moving, so think about it this week then let us know ASAP.  bikedrfrederick(at)gmail(dot)com

We hope to see you out there!


Five Cents of Cola and a Paper Cup

Before team cars escorted the racers, hovering like nervous grandmothers, before there were feed zones, magic spray, magic food or any conception of how hydration works, riders would come into a small town on the Tour de France and raid a soda fountain.  They’d run into the shop, steal a bunch of drinks, and run out again, the angry proprietor blocked by rabid fans.  Riders would shove a bunch of sodas down their jersey and ride back into the peloton to distribute them to teammates, friends and rivals.  Tom Simpson had a coke a teammate stole from a bar before his fateful climb up Mont Ventoux.  Of course, he also had a bunch of speed, some brandy, and was woefully dehydrated on a really hot day.  So let’s not blame the coke on his untimely death.  It was probably the healthiest thing he ingested that day.

Coke survives in cycling, despite all odds.  No one swills red wine on rides anymore (well almost no one), nor do they drink 40 espressos (Gino Bartali, subject of our newest men’s shirt), and they certainly don’t light up 2 packs a day, pound sausage or eat gobs of creamy sea food the night before a big stage (see Jaques Anquetil).  But they still drink coke.  Of course it’s not the only thing they down.  A host of really boring, quickly outdated sports drinks make up the bulk of the peloton’s liquid intake.  Many teams ban the public consumption of Coke.  Despite the blacklisting, Nicholas Roche writes in his memoir about life in the peloton: “Our manager drove alongside and gave me a Coke.  To some teams, it’s a not a big thing, but at Credit-Agricole and lots of other teams, it’s a big deal, because we’re not allowed to drink Coke.  If you have a can, everyone is your friend.  Some guys will even try to buy it off you, but the ethical thing to do is have a few swigs and pass it around.  Next time, you could be the guy asking for a drink.”

There is something cutting and refreshing about coke. The acid and the sugar combination slices through the sickening taste of endless energy food.  The caffeine provides a welcome boost when the system is lagging, and the carbonation helps settle stomachs tortured by heat, gels and endless road buzz.

Coke was originally served in small glass bottles.  My dad tells stories about buying a case of glass bottled coke from the grocery store, filling galvanized pails with ice and soda and heading to South Park to shill the sodas for 10 cents, a 50% profit margin…  The idea of a 5 or 10 cent soda never seemed feasible in my lifetime, until I found myself in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, at a Soda Fountain tucked in the back of a dusty, careworn 5 and Dime.  I assumed the sign for the 5 cent coke was either a joke or a vintage sign but there it was, being served in Dixiecups for 5 cents a pour.  So I had a cup or two.

At the risk of being cycling’s Andy Rooney, Coke should really only come in glass bottles.  Aluminum is what you make rims out of, and stems.  Not beverage containers.  And plastic… let’s not get started with plastic. The thick, greenish glass insulates the soda, keeping it cold on sweat soaked Maryland summer days.  My favorite stop on long whatevering rides is the Mountaindale Convenience Store, on Mountaindale Road, where the back cooler houses 8 oz glass bottles of Coke.  They have an opener behind the counter, but it’s best to use a pedal or a multi-tool.  That, and a frozen Snickers bar, and you can climb anything.

A few more bits of news:

There are three weekly shop rides.  The two that always happen in the same place are the Wednesday climbing ride and the Sunday whatevering ride, which both leave from the shop.  The women’s ride rotates around town.  Come into the shop or email us to get on the invite only facebook page for the women’s ride. bikedrfrederick@gmail.com

Brian’s Wednesday night climbing ride, which, believe it or not, happens on Wednesday.  Wheels down at 5.30 from the shop. Fastish hill climbing ride.  Popular with those who like the pain.

Sunday night whatevering rides.  Join James, Andre, Dan the Younger, and whoever else on a 30-45 mile ride thru the local backwoods.  Dirt, climbing, pain, but at a slow, semi conversational pace.  Might be some singletrack, dirt roads, etc.  We’ll stop, chat, swim, whatever.  Roadish bike.  Bring tail light and a good head light, too. 200 lumen min.  Good means you could go down a black tunnel covered in dirt at night with it.  Meet at 5 at the shop, wheels down at 5.30.  Check Facebook for weather updates.

Whatevering 101, Ride Numbero Uno

Original Whateverists. Vintage racing in France. You know it’s serious when you need googles. We should start selling those.

It’s time for some continuing education.  We’re going to be offering hands on classes in whatevering this spring, summer and fall.  There will be 101 course, senior level courses and even doctoral level courses.  Locally epic is the theme.  Finding a road you had no idea existed.  Exploring a forgotten piece of single track.  Swimming in a pond hidden in the woods.  Taking a picture of a fleeting black bear.  Going way too fast on a skinny tire on a sketchy dirt road.  We keep talking about it, now we’re going to show you what whatevering is all about.  We’ll prep you, give you the syllabus here and on the blog.  You’ll show up to class all ready to rock.   The classes will vary in difficulty, but the idea is inclusiveness.  That said, not everyone wants to be a whateverist, and that’s ok.

Our first class will be on May 4th.  Everyone’s invited, but class size is limited.  Sub 25 miles.  Plenty of dirt and climbing in that span, so bring your legs.  The good stuff is always hard to get to.  These are some of the more mellow dirt roads, and some of the easier climbs to be had, making this route about as intro as you can get.

We’ll have a roughly mid ride stop where we nosh on some food.  Bring a sandwich, something real to eat.  The shop will have basic refreshments at that mid point.  Some easy eats, some drinks.

The start of ride will be a Q and A, and cover how to ride on dirt, what to do in corners, etc.  We’ll take the first dirt road slow, and then show you just how little there is to be scared of.

Nutshell info:

Where: sub 25 mile Middletown Valley loop, leaving from Middletown Recreation Park, off of Route 17.  Here’s an unfinished route map.

When: Saturday May 4th, 10am until whenever it’s over.  Block off a good chunk of hours.

How much: $5, payable at the shop in advance, or if tickets are still available, the day off.  Limit 15 riders.

Prerequisites: the desire to check out whatevering, a roadish bike or cross bike in good working order with at least 25mm tires, and a handful of spare tubes + a working pump. The ability to ride 25 miles with lots of little hills.

What we’ll provide:  Some grub and water half wayish thru, and some more at the end.  Help fixing flats and basic mechanicals.  No sag wagon, no crazy mechanical support.  If your bike breaks in half, or you get 15 flats, you gotta have someone come get you.  This is ultra low budget.  Not a Grand Fondue.

Email w/ Questions: bikedrfrederick (at ) gmail (dot) com


A few more bits of news:

There are two functioning weekly shop rides, as of this week.

Brian’s Wednesday night climbing ride, which, believe it or not, happens on Wednesday.  Wheels down at 5.30 from the shop. Fastish hill climbing ride.  Popular with those who like the pain.

Sunday night whatevering rides.  Join James, Andre, Dan the Younger, and whoever else on a 30-45 mile ride thru the local backwoods.  Dirt, climbing, pain, but at a slow, semi conversational pace.  Might be some singletrack, dirt roads, etc.  We’ll stop, chat, swim, whatever.  Roadish bike.  Bring tail light and a good head light, too.  Good means you could go down a black tunnel covered in dirt at night with it.  Meet at 5 at the shop, wheels down at 5.30.

Charm City Gastro-Whatevering

Cities are full of nuance and texture.  Urban life unfolds on a variety of stages, many hidden, obscure or inaccessible.  Unless you have a bike, of course.  Tourism is mainly conducted by two main modes of transport: car and foot.  Drive to a neighborhood, park, walk around.  But how do you drive to the neighborhood? Usually the fastest way possible, often navigating by GPS.  Shuttling between guidebook neighborhoods in a speeding car is a great way to miss everything in between.  Aqua astroturf backyards.  Screen door paintings, murals, corner shops, hidden markets, and most importantly, good eats.  Riding lets you go fast enough to get out of bad areas fast, but slow enough that you can observe the scene surrounding you, stopping right in front of places you want to check out.  No paying for parking, no tickets, no forgetting where you parked.

Andre had to drop a case of Mead off at Woodberry Kitchen, and I needed to get out on my bike.  So we combined missions, threw the bikes on the back of his wagon, and drove east.  We found parking near the Kitchen, and went in search of some grub.

Our first stop was Artifact Coffee, where I dorked out on a house made apple tart and some Hario drip coffee and Andre kept it OG with an Earl Grey Latte.  I knew Andre needed a Vinyl fix, so we scoped out Atomic Books, which has a great little punk rock record store tucked in the back.  After snagging an LP of dubious artistic merit, we rode down Falls Road, a post industrial nightmare of a road, serving as a handy low traffic connection between Hampden and Charles Village.  Andre had never really done any serious city riding, and he lucked on his first foray.  Light traffic and polite drivers were the theme throughout the day.

In Federal Hill, we hit some cobbles, took in the harbor view, and dipped into Cross Street Market for some more food.  Andre flipped at the variety, struggling to pick between the vendors.

Eventually he ended up with ye ole squid on a stick, drenched in plum sauce and Siracha, and I threw down on some Bruce Lee Wings.  We split a Buffalo steak and cheese, which was covered in every possible condiment, including a secret garlic sauce.

Thusly crushed by calories, we rode the back alleys of South Baltimore and pedalled up to Lexington Market in midtown.  Andre bought us a pair of Jamacian Beef Patties, and bellies thus sated, it was time to head back to the car.  After a brief bit of whatevering thru the Johns Hopkins campus, we found ourselves back in Hampden.  We closed out the day with some overpriced sodas and headed home.

Here’s a link to a map of the route, should you decide to get your foodie fix via bike.  http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2275917

On Saturday April 13th, we’re hosting a Trek Demo Day at the Gambrill Tea room in Gambrill State Park.  It’ll be happening from 10-3.  Test rad mtn bikes in a huge size run.  We’ll have more details on Facebook really soon.  Call or email for details.

Two bits of shop news:  The Wednesday evening hill climb rides w/ Brian are happening now.   Join us at the shop at 5 for a quick ride up some big hills!  Sunday evening shop rides will start the Sunday following Easter.  These are real whatevering rides, with dirt roads, hills, a casual pace, and encroaching darkness.  Email for details or call.  Wheels down at 5.30 from the shop.


The Evens are coming to Bike Doctor Frederick

evens poster2 copy


The Evens (DC legends Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina {ex members of Fugazi, Warmers, Minor Threat and more}) are coming to our shop to rock out with their brand of politically and socially conscious music.  March 9th, which is a Saturday. We’ll be selling advance tix at the shop for 5 bucks, so just stop by the shop with five bucks cash. If we get a good turn out, it might sell out, so come in soon. Doors at 7, show starts at 7.30 sharp, so don’t be late. We’re going to do a ride from downtown to the show, meeting at the Gazebo in Baker Park. Stay posted for details on that.

http://www.dischord.com/band/evens for more on the band.

Ye Ole Holiday Sale, Dec 15 & 16

The Holdiday Flyer, in all it's lime green glory

A Holiday Sale at Bike Doctor Frederick & MoreMost holiday sales are bogus.  Things are artificially marked up and then marked down.  Scarves bought for 12 dollars at wholesale are priced at 48 dollars, then put on sale for 24 dollars.  This is how typical retail works.  Price padding, perceived value.  You think you are getting a steal of a deal, when in fact you are just paying exactly what the retailer wants you to pay.  We don’t do that.  Upfront honesty is important to us.  Our products are priced at what they should be priced at, which is of course based on how much they cost us.  We don’t often hold sales, because we’re already selling stuff at what it should be priced at.  Also, it’s hard to talk about this kinda thing and still hold people’s interest.  But we’re breaking the rules this winter, because we know bike stuff is expensive, and sometimes its nice to get a real break,not a perceived one.  We can’t afford to do it all the time.  We aren’t buying bikes at 250 dollars and selling them for 1000, at 50% off.So here it is: really our best sale of the year.  December 15 and 16th.  That’s a Saturday and Sunday.  No special extended hours.  10-6 on Saturday and 11-5 on Sunday.  Here’s the gritty on it:

  • Tent Sale Pricing on all bikes, even special orders.  That’s the best pricing we do, ever.
  • At least 10% off all accessories.  Some stuff will be higher.  Helmets, lights, handlebar tape, tires will be 15% off.
  • 15% off on all current clothing
  • Additional 25% off on all clearance clothing, which is already at ridiculous pricing.
  • Additional 25% off on all clearance shoes.  We have a boat load of them.  Take advantage!
  • 20% off on Shimano M087 shoes (great mtn shoe) and Shimano M520 pedal combos.  This isn’t clearance stuff, its just an awesome deal.  20% off only if you get the pair.
  • Great deals on stocking stuffers, including loads of stuff normal bike shops don’t stock, handmade t-shirts, hand screened pint glasses, artwork, handmade whimsical bells, the list goes on.
  • 20% off on all Books and DVDs.  We have some really great books!  Buy one for someone you like, even if that’s yourself.

Here’s a quick peek at some chimerical stocking stuffers that won’t end up in the regift pile.Vital Pint Glasses, Pretty!These simple, colorful pint glasses are hand printed in Denver, Colorado by Vital Industries, which is just two folks making well designed mostly bike themed objects d’ home.  That wasn’t supposed to be real French, so don’t send any mean letters!  20 bucks gets you 2 of these.  They also make classy looking ‘old fashioned’ glasses, which is either a juice glass or a bourbon glass, depending on how your tastes run and maybe your age.Recycled Dog CollarsRuff Again makes these dog collars out of old inner tubes that we give them.  Locally made, and well made.  They are tough, come in fun colors, and are fully adjustable.  Small, Medium and Large sizes, with the biggest topping out just under 25 bucks.crane bells from japan!Crane hand-painted bells.  Made and painted in Osaka Japan.  Crane started by using recycled rotary telephone bells, but those eventually ran out, so they copied that tone and look with these beautiful bells.  They also come in silver aluminum, real brass and real copper.  The painted ones are a bit more than the plain ones, but they are lovely fast little paintings, and each one is unique.  They are just under $25!Dear John, earringsWe commissioned Dear John Goods, a local company specializing in upcycled products, to make a variety of jewelry from bike parts.  There are a bunch of different flavors, all priced below 25 bucks.  Support local artisians!

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Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder with a Healthy Dose of Underbiking

Brian and James underbiking in the Frederick Watershed, shot by Matt Delorme.


Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder with a Healthy Dose of Underbiking.

Also in this post: dubious connections between art and riding, youtube videos you can click on at work (if you have headphones), upcoming clinics, changes at the shop, shop rides that you need thick socks for, and more, maybe. Scroll down to get to the news stuff.

Life is about addition. New friends, new connections, linking in, moving up, promotions, new children, new hobbies, new exercise regimes. Buy more, do more, electronically schedule life so it’s broken down into life bites to optimize time. Time however, can not be optimized. It proceeds at it’s own pace, and it is only your actions within time that can be changed. We often buy advice on how to reverse our overlife habits. Subscribe to Real Simple magazine (it’s all about buying more stuff, not getting rid of stuff, contrary to it’s title), subscribe to the ‘O’ channel, reading time management books, the list goes on. Our overlife culture is deeply ingrained. Instead of getting the time management book from the library, we buy it, don’t read it, and add it to our shelf, where it collects dust and looks self important. Overlife habits are hard to break. Probably impossible. Hence all of the capitalism being introduced in formerly communist countries. More is always better.

Agnes was fond of a quick cocktail napkin doodle.

Or is it? Reduction actually does have its merits. Let’s look for example, at the work of Agnes Martin. Martin was a Minimalist artist (in form if not in spirit) whose work aimed to elevate the core elements of painting and drawing through the process of distillation. Strip away the content: no more traditional subject. The subject is line and color and light. The surface of the painting is the entire content. Martin viewed the work as meditative, a refuge for the eyes and mind. By removing the concept of a traditional subject, Martin arrives at pure expression, simultaneously reducing potential readings and enlarging the readings into the realm of the infinite. You can read a Martin anyway you want, with no subject to hang a preconceived notion on. Martin conveys a sense of openness with exceedingly simple materials. She does not rely on gimmicks, mind games, illusions, metaphor, virtuosity or history. Martin’s sublime work is based on distillation and reduction, her goals reached in the simplest way possible.

Pablo Casals only smoked strawberry flavored pipe tobacco, claiming it brought him closer core of Bach’s soul.

Maybe Minimalism isn’t your bag. It is certainly best viewed in person, where the picture can take up your whole visual plane. So let’s move on to something you don’t need to take a road trip to experience. Music. You can listen anywhere, with some headphones. So plug in, put this You Tube video on as something to listen to (not to watch) and read on. The concept of reduction in music is as old as music itself. Even during the height of musical elaboration, composers were looking at how to get more with less. Could the emotional heft of a Chamber Orchestra be carried by just 3 players? Just one? J.S. Bach tested the waters. His works for Solo Cello convey the full range of human emotion with an instrument that is often viewed as a supporting instrument. It’s like rewriting a book to only focus of the supporting characters, and realizing we know more about the protagonist because we have seen him through the eyes of those around him. Or like making a magnificent house out of stones, but no mortar, windows or wood. Pablo Casals made the Cello Solo work his life, practicing them every single morning from his early teens on. Here he is, channeling the emotions of the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, and the Cold War in this recording from 1954. To take an instrument with a relatively limited range and reveal it’s capacity for empathy is to unlock the power of reduction and distillation.

There are of course contemporary versions of this concept. Brian recently told me about Bill Orcutt, who makes challenging, compelling music with a guitar stripped of most of it’s strings. His reduction of the strings has forced him to compose music in a nontraditional, inventive fashion. The sound of the missing strings is as important as the sound of the remaining strings. Here’s a track of him playing a two string guitar. This reduction of the capability of the instrument as a key to creativity plays an important part in Morphine, a band based around a 2 string slide bass guitar. It also features heavily in the Rolling Stones’ mid-career output, where Keith Richards had custom built 5 string guitars made to facilitate his new style of gut bucket blues guitar. Listen to Exile on Mainstreet for a prime example of that sound.

Rock garden plus 28mm tires. Yes

Underbiking is the cycling equivalent of this bare bones approach. Take a bike designed for a narrow purpose and use it for something it clearly was not designed for. By using one bike for almost all of your cycling needs you are expanding your riding abilities, and rediscovering what it means to ride in the first place. Riding a road bike on mountain bike trails forces you to look at the trails in a different light. Rocks and soil have a different dimension. Trail elements normally eaten by suspension are amplified and must be reconsidered under thin tires and a total lack of suspension. Being under prepared for the conditions ahead allows you to re-read your riding, and rethink what it means to go fast, to handle a bike, to maintain traction, to know the landscape. Technology that is specifically designed to make our ride easier also alienates from the very trails we are trying to experience. Many mountain trails are rideable on a road bike with some patience and skill. Lines must be carefully considered, traction becomes a superfluous luxury, braking is a concept more than an absolute.

There are other ways to go underbiking. Ride a townie on a group road ride, take a slow mountain bike on a casual ride with the family, so you have to work harder to keep up on a cruise around the ‘hood, take a fixed gear on an overnite tour. Explore beyond, and find something in riding you didn’t even know existed.

Shop news!

3 dollar American Made Koozies with your favorite cycling hero ever.

We’re gearing up for the Holidays. Check out our new Bike Doctor epic koozies, which at 3 bucks are a great stocking stuffer.

Join us this Wednesday for a class on how to make some cool recycled bike part jewelry and or tree ornaments. The class, which is taught by a local art teacher and former professional crafter, will be two hours of inventive hands on crafting. We’ll supply everything. If you have some old weird small bike bits you want to bring, great, but we’ll have lots of stuff, and all the tools needed. 10 bucks gets you in. RSVP on our wordpress blog at: www.bikedoctorfrederick.wordpress.com under the clinics / classes link at the top of the page.

Check out that same link for other upcoming clinics, and be sure to watch our facebook page for breaking deals and sales.

Don’t forget that we have a big clearance section going right now, with great deals on shoes, clothes, socks, tires and more. Everything in the clearance section is at least 20 percent off, and some is way more! Lots of great shoes for over 50% off.