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Nov 27, 2010

Holiday Season Gift Guide

With the holiday gift giving season just around the corner we thought we would whet your whistle with a few products that we think would be great to receive and equally fun to give.

We have broken down the gifts into a few categories based on price, so, find your comfortable price level and come on in for a visit.

Under $25

Items in this range are great for your bike riding friends or as stocking stuffers.  Here are a couple of our favorites -

DringDring Bells - Handpainted in beautiful Montreal, these bells come in many whimsical flavours and, as the name implies, have that classic "dringdring" sound when rung. $25
Crane Bells - quite simply, some of the most classic looking bells around and our #1 selling bell.  There are 4 models to choose from, all with slightly different tones.  $18
NiteRider Lightning Bug and Stinger Lights - available in 6 colours with easy on/off removal these little lights pack a punch.  The 1/2 watt Stinger taillight is visable up to 1km away.  $17-$25


PDW Radbot and Spaceship Lights - straight outta Portland, these lights offer amazing visability and great design.  The taillight is one of the brightest we've seen with some interesting flash modes and an built in reflector.  The headlight offers a cool blue tint and plenty of light for roaming around the city.  $30-$35
Peterboro and Nantucket Baskets - we have many different colours, styles, and shapes for the perfect look and added carrying capacity on your bike.  A great addition to any bike. $50-$60
Basil Shopper XL and Blossom Panniers - Basil style and value are hard to beat.  Numerous styles and colours - everything from the feminine Blossom to the more masculine D'Azur series. $65 and $70 respectively. 
Nutcase Helmets - our #1 helmet line with colours and patterns for every taste.  Keep it classic with the solid colours or go a little wild with many of the patterned versions.  Price range $50-$65.


Brooks B17 Leather Saddle, Brooks Small Saddle Bags, Accessories - we are very proud to have Calgary's largest selection of Brooks saddles and accessories.  Brooks products add a touch of class to any kind of bicycle.  We have 9 different models of saddles, bags, tape, grips, toestraps, and even the Oxford rain cape.

Po Campo Bags - handmade in Chicago these bags are perfect for those gals that want to cycle, bring some goodies, and do it in style.  3 styles to choose from - the Handlebar clutch, Bungee handbag, and Rack bag.  Simply gorgeous!  $95-$170 
Strider PREBike - available in 5 colours, Strider PREBikes (also called run bikes) are the best way to teach your youngster to balance a bike, giving them the skills and confidence to ride.  So much fun!  $129



Brooks Colt Leather Saddle - This "new" saddle is a reintroduction of a classic model from a decade or two ago.  Hand hammered copper rivets, colour options, included rain cover, and a shape similar to the venerable Turbo - this saddle is perfect for that classic stell road bike restoration or as a nice addition to your current steed.  $220
Brooks Oxford Rain Cape - One of the nicest bike wear items we have ever seen!  Seam taped, waterproof, reflective, rolls up and attaches to your seat.  $330
NiteRider MiNewt Cordless Light - Bright enough for use on trails, with 3 light levels including flash mode.  Built in Li-Ion battery that can be charged on the wall or with a USB cable included.  The commuter's dream light.  $155

Our gift guide isn't complete without mentioning the ultimate gift - a new bike!  We have bikes starting from under $300 for a simple 3-speed city bike and new 2011 bikes are already starting to trickle in.  Give us a call or pop in for a visit - we'd love to chat!

*** UPDATE ***  We are having a sale all through December with some crazy deals.  Here is the info -


57cm Brodie Romax - AT COST!
53cm Brodie Remus - AT COST!
57cm Batavus CS - AT COST!
54cm Batavus Lento Classic - AT COST!
Batavus Breukelen and Staccato Bicycles - 10% OFF
Dahon Ciao! P8 - AT COST!


Sale Ends December 31 2010 or when specified products are sold out.

Nov 10, 2010

Winter Cycling Thoughts and Strategies

First off, let me confess that I have come to love winter cycling. Cycling through the winter can be fun, you generally keep really warm due to the extra effort required, you have the pathways almost to yourself, and motorists are often going much slower than summer due to the road conditions.

The keys to a successful season of winter cycling are"

1- Preparation of your bicycle
2 - Planning of your clothing choices
3 - Route planning around the city

Your Bike

If you already have a bike you use for commuting or running errands, you can do a few things to that bike to get it ready for winter:

1 - The most important accessory is a set of full fenders, if you don't already have them. Full fenders will keep you dry and keep the nasty road salt off your bike too. There are sizes to fit most, but not all bikes, and this single investment can make the biggest difference in keeping you clean and dry, also keeping the nasty road salt off the working parts of your bike, thus reducing maintenance costs.

2 - Consider giving your bike a pre-winter service to make sure all your cables and drive train are well lubricated and that your brakes are working well. Any amount of water that gets into your cables/housing can freeze, seizing your shifting or making your brakes much less effective.

Upgrade to end-to-end brake and shift housing which can eliminate entry points for water.

3 - For icy conditions, or just to increase your confidence, consider a set of studded tires. They are available in many sizes and can make a huge difference in making it easier to choose to cycle on marginal condition days. There are lower priced options out there but be warned: tires that do not have stainless studs or carbide tips will wear out a lot faster. In our experience, avoid those cheaper tires and get the better stainless stud/carbide tips models - they'll last for many years - especially if you rotate them front-to-back every season.

4 - Lights. Get. Lit. There are so many high quality lighting options available these days that can fit any budget. We highly recommend purchasing USB rechargeable versions and also recommend having an extra set ready to go, just in case. Colder temperatures eat into battery life so keep them charged.

And be nice, don't set your lights to blinky mode when on the pathways - save that for the roads. Blinking headlights can make it hard for approaching cyclists to see - so be nice, be solid (light mode, that is).

Your Clothing

One word for you - Layers! We’ve all heard this before but it bears repeating - layer your clothing for maximum warmth but also the ability to remove layers if you get too warm. Thinner layers close to the skin, thicker layers on the outside. Being really cold can be dangerous, being really cold and damp is even more dangerous! If you have a good ski/snowboard coat, that will probably work for those really cold days. On the “warmer” winter days, you might find it tough to get the perfect combination of layers - just keep experimenting and find what works best for you and your style.

My brother, Jesse, with a small backpack full of layers on the Lake Minnewanka Trail in Banff.

Wool! Wool! Wool! Personally, I find merino wool layers are unbeatable in winter. Although they can be more expensive to purchase then other options like cotton "longjohns" or techie-poly base layers, they are unmatched in their performance characteristics, which include -

- Anti-stink: Wool is natures wonder material and has anti-bacterial characteristics which keeps you from smelling like a sweaty hockey bag

- Moisture wicking: Wool maintains its insulating properties even when it's soaked and is amazing as moving moisture away from your body

- Warmth: There is no better material out there for keeping you warm. There are many different "weights" of merino available. We recommend purchasing some micro-weight base layers and a couple mid-weight mid-layers.

Keeping fingers and toes comfortable can be tough and everyone has different comfort levels. There is no magic bullet here, simply try different combinations of socks and gloves. The “layering” principle discussed earlier is worth trying too. Pogies are also a great option for many looking to keep their fingers warm.

For those who have the budget, and prefer to be clipped in, there are now companies making very warm winter-specific footwear. Waterproof, lightweight hiking boots can also be a great choice if you prefer to use standard pedals.

Finally, a selection of toques and neckwarmers or scarves will go a long way to keeping you comfy and if you wear a helmet, covers are available to keep the wind out of those helmet vents.


Your Routes

Here is Calgary we are blessed with a great pathway system - and in winter, the pathway is cleared of snow regularly making it the ideal choice for getting to downtown. (The pathways are almost always cleared before the roads, but shhhhhhhhh - don’t tell motorists!) If the pathways are not part of your cycle route, consider using the following strategies.

- Use the City of Calgary's Park-n-Bike locations to get in and out of downtown.  Not only will you have a great time cycling, you'll probably miss a lot of the usual winter gong-show that is getting out of the downtown on poorly maintained streets.  By the time you get to your car, traffic will be lighter, your day will have eased away, and your daily exercise has been taken care of!  Win-Win-Win!

- Turn on your lights during the day so cars can see you easier.

- Take your space on the road by riding in the right-most tire rut.

- Signal your turns so motorists can anticipate your actions, be predictable.

- Take quieter side streets so you can be separated from heavier trafficked roads if they are rideable.

- Simply slow down and take it a little more easy, especially if you are sharing road space with cars. Ice can be hiding under the snow or that "brown snow" or "brown sugar" or "SNIRT" can send you to the ground in a heartbeat.

Finally, have fun out there and remember that not only are you having a blast in the snow, you are getting fitter, saving money, and making your community more livable - all by simply riding your bike.

Get out there this winter!  You'll love it!


Frostbike by Tom Babin
Bike Calgary Winter Cycling Info
Do you have any suggestions or tips to share? Leave us a comment.

Nov 1, 2010


Alright folks, now is the time to get in on some ridiculously good deals on remaining 2010 bikes.  The sale will run until these bikes are all gone to happy new owners.  Here is the breakdown...

Brodie Ocho regular $1150 now $950! - 53cm and 56cm only
Brodie Romax regular $1899 now $1499! - 57cm only
KHS Urban Soul regular $419 now $359
KHS Green regular $379 now $289!
Batavus BuB regular $649 now $549!
Dahon Ciao P8 regular $1199 - now $899!
Pashley Sonnet regular $999 - now $749! - 22" only
Batavus CS Spirit regular $1250 - now $799! - 57cm only

Also ongoing is our 50% off table!  There are all sorts of items on the table - everything from baskets to fenders, grips to cablesets - hurry down!  

Finally - we found about a dozen pairs of Diadora cycling shoes in the basement, various sizes, all brand new but around 7 years old.  ALL SHOES $30/pair!