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Click to open image!This Saturday Newhall Bicycle Company is marking the end of Summer with a 7:30 am road ride followed by a BBQ and sale at the shop.  It sounds like the road ride will venture into the sf valley and then towards the beach for a ride totaling about 75 miles.  There will be a shortened route option as well with a detour up the infamous Box Canyon.  That ride should total about 37 miles.  Either way it should be a good time for all.  If you can’t make the ride, come by the shop afterward and see if you can round up some deals and grub.

As of right now there is no mountain ride planned.  If people are interested in getting one together, call the shop and let Roger know.

http://www.newhallbike.com/

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This was refreshing to read for a change.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/02/in-a-first-lapd-chief-vows-to-better-protect-cyclists-train-officers-on-biker-rights.html

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You may have recently read about Torelli’s Montefalco road bike in the last issue of ROAD.  Well the short story is that it is an all carbon road frame weighing in around 900 grams, depending on size.  The review said it is stiff, comfortable, climbs well and descends well.  I read this and became interested knowing that Newhall Bicycle Company carries Torelli, however a new frameset was not in my plans, especially considering the current economic climate. 

Fast forward to a week ago when I called Roger at Newhall Bicycle Company.  I wanted to say hey, and was curious about a frameset made by another manufacturer that he carries.  I know, a new frameset was not in my plans.  It was at that point that he said that I needed to come by and see something he just got in.  I stopped by that evening after work and Roger showed me the Torelli Montefalco-Newhall Bicycle Company Edition.    It looked great with the NBC colors (green, yellow and some red) and graphics, and it weighed next to nothing.  Again I was not planning on this purchase, but this was too unique to pass up.  After shuffling some things around, and consulting the wife, I called Roger to confirm my purchase.

After reviewing the geometry on Torelli’s site, I saw that the large had a 57cm virtual top tube, and 57cm seat tube, just like my Pinella.  I even called Torelli, to discuss the sizing, because I was concerned for some reason.  I tend to be a little obsessive.  I know, an obsessive roadie, big surprise.  Anyway, after several consultations and reviews, I decided on the large and I was on my way.  I built it up on a Saturday morning, and had it over to Roger’s for cabling the following Monday.  However, when I had it built up it seemed really big.  I must have measured it 3 different ways, 5 times against the Pinella.  Each time it was right on, however something still seemed wrong. I finally realized that it is just the larger tubes, and that massive headtube.  The headtube is not only tall, it is thick.  While the top diameter is 1-1/8″, and the bottom is 1-1/2″, ultimately providing some sort of super stiffness/control.  I don’t know, what it is exactly supposed to do, but it is supposed to be good.

Still being a little concerned about the sizing, Roger wanted me to take it for a test ride in the morning and see how everything felt.  That night I dropped the stem down, which I was thankful for the following morning, and got her ready for the trial run. 

That morning I awoke to pouring rain.  Yes, pouring rain in Southern California, it happens.  However nothing was going to stop me, I had to take this mother out for a trial run.  I have got to say this is the nicest riding bike I have ever owned.  I like steel, but this thing is smooth.  It is the nicest combination of smoothness and stiffness I have ever experienced, and is really a pleasure to ride.  As it turns out the sizing is perfect, and the tall headtube allows me to run the stem without any spacers.  I’ve always wanted to do that.    Performance-wise this baby purrs.  On downhills and flats, it just motors.  Every pedal turn is efficient and creates speed as it eats up the road.  Other carbon bikes I have ridden seemed “dead”, in other words, not lively like a metal bike.  This ride is very comforable, but is still lively.  On the hills, it makes climbing seem easier.  I am sure this is because of the combination of weight and stiffness.  The total build with Campy Chorus and Centaur weighs in at 15.5 pounds (with pedals, cages, computer), which is not too shabby, at least by my standards.  My only issue is that I haven’t had a lot of time to ride it.  I am hoping for some quality saddle time this weekend to really feel this thing out.

The Pinella is not dead.  I am building her up with Shimano components I already have, so she’ll still be around and cruising the mean streets of Santa Clarita.  Here are a few more pictures:

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Finding a good bike shop is kind of like finding a good auto mechanic or contractor.  Once you find them, you’ll never go anywhere else.  That is what happened with Newhall Bicycle Company and me.  Over my life, I’ve been to my fair share of bike shops, and I am used to the various elitist attitudes and “hard sells” that you can find in shops.  Generally the bike these shops “sell” you on is either the model they are trying to get rid of, or what they can make the most money on.   Either way, it is generally not what is in your best interest. 

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This brings me to Roger Hasper at Newhall Bicycle Company.  Rest assured, Roger will always sell you what will work best for you, not him.  Basically, tell him what you want to do with the bike, and he will get something that will fit your needs and budget.  The only “hard sell” you’ll ever get is for Campagnolo.  It is always in good fun, but Roger is a firm believer that Campy is best, and he is not afraid to share that opinion.  Heck, he converted me.  I was a long time Shimano guy, and never saw any reason to switch, until I did.  Anyway, that is another story, for another time.   

If you are in Santa Clarita this weekend for the Tour, stop by the shop and see what it is all about.   

24343 Railroad Ave.Newhall, CA 91321, 661-284-6187

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With the Tour of California (TOC) coming to our fine city in about 3 weeks, I thought I might share my views about the City of Santa Clarita, and how it treats its local cyclists throughout 364 days of the year. 

It is important to note that Santa Clarita is a suburb of Los Angeles, that is located approximately 30 miles north of “downtown”.  The population is primarily made up of what one might have called “yuppies” a decade ago,  and has the image of being somewhat upscale.  To be fair, I probably fall into that “yuppie” crowd, even if I do not think of myself that way.  As a result of our demographics, we probably have the largest concentration of full sized trucks and SUVs in the country.  Apparently a “minivan” is too uncool, and not nearly big enough for most, so the SUV is the vehicle of choice for most.  As you can imagine, Starbucks is pretty popular as well.

With all of that being said, Santa Clarita’s population continues to grow, even with the economic slowdown/recession.  As a result of this growth, traffic is getting worse and worse, making road expansion a necessity.  I fully understand this need, as I drive a car to work everyday myself.  I am certainly not someone who believes that cars have no place in society.  Anyway, the City of Santa Clarita’s answer to our growing traffic problem is to add more lanes to existing roads.  In other words, roads that had two lanes now have three.  Additionally, there are no bike lanes being added at the time the additional lanes are being added.  As you can imagine, this creates an unnecessarily dangerous situation on our local roads.

When this activity started last year I became concerned.  As a result of my concern, I still don’t really know how it happened, I was contacted by one of our fine traffic engineers.  I have to say, this guy had the people skills of cardboard box.  But it was nice to see that he took the time to call.  In a nutshell:

Me  “Hey I am concerned about the extra lane being added to an already dngerous road.”

Him  “We added an extra 18″ to accommodate cyclists”

Me  “Wow, I am wider than 18″, and I am only 160 pounds.”

Him  “We get maybe a hundred bikes through that area a day and thousands of cars” (I thought 100  bikes was a lot)  loooong pause

Me  “So the cars win?”

Him  “Yes.”

Me  “Thanks for calling”

My point.  The City of Santa Clarita is more than happy to reap the financial and other benefits associated with the hosting of stages 6 and 7 of the 2008 TOC, while during the rest of the year they could care less about local cyclists trying to use our local roads.   I would love for the city to become truly bicycle friendly by making some very reasonable accommodations for its bicycle riding citizens.  Nothing major, maybe some bike lanes and “share the road” signs to start.  I figured this would be a good time to bring it up. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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