Category Archives: Cycling

Check out the Tour de Donut Benefit for Make-a-Wish This Weekend

Shipley’s Donuts+Cycling 28 miles=Tour de Donut!

If your chances of winning the Tour de France waved bye bye long ago, do not fret. You still have a chance at winning the Tour de Donut. Sure it may not take you along the gorgeous French countryside, but you will be helping raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which will make you feel better than putting on some old yellow jersey.

How does Shipley’s tie into cycling, you ask? For each donut you eat, you get seconds taken off your time. The trick is to not eat so many donuts that you can’t finish.

Here are the details:
THE WHAT: Sun and Ski Sports Tour de Donut
THE WHERE: The race begins at the Katy Mills Mall. You can find the route here.
THE WHEN: Sunday, November 2 at 8:00 am

There is also a 55 mile ride that will take place that is a recommended ride for preparing for the MS 150.

Find more registration info here, and please call Carl Foy with any questions at 281 340 5000 x145.

Be Ready for the Cycling Season by Preparing in the Off Season

Whether you’ve decided to enter the BP MS 150 for Team Sun & Ski or other races in your area, it’s easy to lose focus on your training during the winter months.  Stefan Rothe of Rothe Training in Austin, Texas offers the following tips in his blog to keep you focused so you start the cycling season right:

  1. You should review ’08 and see what you accomplished. That can be a number (i.e. your 40K Watts or time) or a placing (i.e. win at a specific race).
  2. You should know what you want to achieve in ’09. Specificity is key here, so the more in detail the better. I.e. raise LT Power by 20W; do a sub-56min 40KK; win a State Criterium Championship
  3. You need a plan on what to do in the next 3-4 months:
  • How long should I take off from riding? Or should I not?
  • How do I incorporate off-the-bike strength training with regular riding?
  • Will doing cyclocross races hurt me in my preparation for the next road season?
  • I like to run. What days of the week do should I do that?
  • Is intensity or volume more important in the month of October, November, and December?

The above figure shows an example of a monocyle as part of an Annual Training Plan. Note the phases of Transition, Preparation, and Competition and how volume and intensity varies. (from: Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training. Tudor Bompa. Human Kinetcis Publishers. 1999)

This time of the year is also very good time to go and check your health by a health professional. A regular physical exam or a simple blood test at your doctor’s office could identify any small problems which you should know about before getting back into “training mode” again.

Getting a Threshold Test done is also highly recommended for this part of the season. You want to know where your performance is as of right now so you can train accordingly in the upcoming month. Knowing your threshold power or heart rate is crucial when following a structured training plan which is based on your individual training zones.

Want to make sure you are meeting your goals this off season instead of packing on the holiday pounds?  Track your calories, distance, heart rate and even distance and location with this awesome Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS Heart Rate Monitor.

A Checklist for Using Your Bike to Commute

Although gas prices are down somewhat, they are still a lot more than they used to be.  Since riding your bike is economical, good for the environment, and helps you lose weight, we are all about helping our customers use them.  Aside from the obvious, here’s what you need to make the economical switch to a bike:

The Absolute Necessities

1.) a Bike Lock.  It is very unwise to leave a bike unlocked for any period of time.  Even if you have your bike registered, most stolen bikes never come back.  A cable lock is the most economical choice as well as the easist to put on, but is also the easiest to cut.  A U-lock with a rectangular keyhole shape is the hardest to pick.  When you put your lock on, be sure to put it through both the tire and over the frame of the bike for maximum security.

2.) a Helmet.  A hardcore fall or a collision could leave you brain damaged or even dead.  A simple helmet is inexpensive and can make all the difference.  What makes one helmet different from another?  A basic helmet can get you covered, but the higher end helmets a.) come in different sizes, b.) are ergonomically shaped to provide less wind resistance and c.) will be more properly ventilated.

3.) Bike Lights.  Inevitably you will ride at night or in twilight.  In some states, it is mandatory to have a bike light in the front as well as the back of your bike.  Some lights are bigger and brighter than others, so consider this in your search.

4.) Bottle Cage and Water Bottle.  Your car needs fuel and so do you.  Getting dehydrated can leave you stranded somewhere and can make any ride a very unpleasant experience.

Other Helpful Accessories

1.) A Rear Frame Wrack.  If you are commuting with your bike, you’ll probably be carrying something.  A rear frame wrack will allow you to tie things to your bike, including a trunk.

2.) A Tailwind Trailer.  There’s no use in leaving the little ones at home.  Hook up your trailer to your bike and take the kids to the store, the park, or wherever you need to go.

If you’d like to calculate how many miles you’ve ridden and how much gas you’ve saved, get a trip computer.  You can also calculate all the calories you burn as you go. 😀

Are you a fan of cycling as a form of sustainable transportation?  Consider joining our Facebook group “Get Green, Get Fit, Get a Bike” for more cool updates.  Join NuRide to earn as you ride.  If you need a bike, visit one of our stores and you’ll be on your way in no time.

How To Guide for Bicycle Lubrication

Bicycles are made up of many parts that work best and last longest when properly lubed. The diagram below shows the lube points for modern bicycles. And below, we explain what’s involved.

Lubricants And Grease

The lubricant used the most is a liquid lube, which we sell in small drip and spray containers. We recommend purchasing our cycling-specific lubes because they’re perfectly formulated for your two-wheeler. This matters because the typical all-around lubes sold at hardware stores are often too thick or too thin to lubricate your bike properly. And, they’ll usually leave an oily residue that can make a mess of your machine and clothing. Also, some products will attack the seals on bike components damaging your equipment.

Liquid lubes come in a wide and sometimes confusing variety. We can recommend one perfect for your bike and our riding conditions. You only need a small container and it’ll last for many rides.

Depending on how much you plan to work on your bike, you may want to pick up some grease, too. This is a thicker lube, about the consistency of Crisco shortening. We sell it in squeeze tubes.

You can’t see it, but grease is what’s inside the headset (steering mechanism), hubs, bottom bracket and pedals. There are bearings inside these components and they sit in a bed of grease that keeps them lubed and turning freely.

Because grease is thick and these systems are protected from the elements, it’s unlikely you’ll need to work on these parts. However, grease is also used to lubricate threads and parts that fit together, such as the seatpost and stem and the associated bolts. If you plan to work on these parts, it’s good to have some grease on hand.

Lubing Your Bike Part By Part

How often you lube your bike depends on how you use it. Ideally, the moving parts will always be lightly lubed. A dry, squeaking bike needs lube. A bike covered with grime means you’re using too much lube (or the wrong lube).

Applying lube is just a matter of dripping or spraying some on, operating the part to get the lube down inside, letting it sit for a bit for the lube to fully penetrate and then wiping off the excess.

Chain: lubricate the lower run of links (see diagram) as you pedal backwards with your hand until you’ve lightly coated the entire chain.

Brakes: lube the pivot points where the brake parts move against each other. If there’s a quick-release mechanism and/or adjustment barrel (sometimes on the brake lever; see diagram), lightly lube these, too (on the threads for the adjustment barrel). Do NOT get lube on the brake pads or rims!

Derailleurs: wet the pivot points on the derailleur bodies. And, for the rear, while the bike’s resting on its side, apply a little to the center of the derailleur pulleys. Lube the adjustment barrel, too.

Clipless pedals: apply lube if your shoes and pedals are creaking when you ride and/or it’s difficult to get in or out. Remember to remove your shoes before walking into the house so you don’t leave oily footprints across the carpet!

Cables: most brake and shift cables don’t require lube because they’re inside nylon-lined housing. If yours bind, however, you can add lube if your bike has split housing stops. These allow accessing the cables and lubing. It’s done by opening the brake quick release to create slack and then pulling slightly to free the housing from the frame stops. You can then slide the housing to get at the cable inside. For derailleurs, shift onto the largest cog or ring and then move the levers back without pedaling. This creates enough slack to get the housing out of the stops and lube the shift cables (if necessary, don’t forget to lube where the cables pass beneath the bottom bracket, too).

Suspension fork: double-check that your lube won’t harm nylon or rubber seals. If it’s safe, you can apply a few drops to the upper fork legs and push down on your handlebars a few times to compress the fork and work the lube past the seals. This will keep the fork’s action smooth.

If you have any further questions or need more detail, please visit one of our full service Bike Shops for further assistance!

Bike Manufacturers Expected to Increase Bike Prices 20%

Is it just a bad dream?  No, it is not.  The increased prices in raw materials as well as the higher prices for shipping will cause all 2009 bike brands to increase their prices 20%.   If you go to Sun and Ski in about one month, you will see consistently higher prices that were brought on by our manufacturers.

If you are looking for a great deal on a bike, we are having a bike blowout at all of our stores from September 18-September 28.  This is a great opportunity to get a bike at a low cost before the 2009 models come out.

Why is Sun and Ski such a great place to buy a bike? Used bikes and bikes from discount stores do not come with maintenance.  You can spend less money on the bike but more getting it taken care of.  Sun and Ski covers most major maintenance for the life of your bike, and even offers flat insurance.  A happy bike=a happy rider :D.

Looking to use your bike as a viable source of transportation?  Support our efforts to Get Green, Get Fit, Get a Bike by joining our Facebook group supporting the cause.

Non-Profit Sustrans Gets the UK Cycling Again

Exercise doesn’t have to consist of running on a treadmill (which I not-so-lovingly called “the gerbil wheel”) or counting down the minutes on the stationary bike.  Not only can exercise be fun, it can be a means for transportation.  Like a car or a plane, your body is a machine which is perfectly able to get you from point A to point B.

The non-profit Sustrans understands this and has taken great strides to create the National Cycling Network across the United Kingdom.  Since 1977, the organization has helped create 10,000 miles of bike routes across the UK.  Now, over 75% of Brits live less than two miles from a route.  If everyone in the UK (approximately 61 million people) just biked five miles a week instead of driving a car, the entire country would save 526,727,396 gallons of gas every single year.  That would allow someone getting 30 miles to the gallon to drive from New York to Los Angeles 5,267,2739 times.

If everyone in the U.S. (approximately 300 million people) biked five miles a week instead of driving, it would save 2,609,879,542 gallons of gas a year which would fuel 26,098,795 trips from New York to Los Angeles.

Take a look at what Sustrans is doing, and if you don’t already have one, get green, get fit, and get a bike today.  Sun and Ski has gearheads in Texas, Florida, Tennesee, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Georgia and Ohio who would love to see you riding a bike.

**stats would assume vehicle is getting 30 miles to the gallon.**

The Most Fuel Efficient Vehicle? You, on a Bike!

The big debate continues.   Between the new 2009 diesels coming out or some of the hybrids that are popping out on the market, it’s hard to decide the best way to save on gas in the near future.  Add talks of hydrogen vehicles, and it’s even more confusing.  What is the most efficient vehicle out there, anyway?

A human on a bike.

A gallon of gasoline contains 31,000 calories.  If a person actually consumed that many calories, they would be able to ride 912 miles on the equivalent of one gallon of gas.  Considering we’d be happy to get 30 miles a gallon in a car, the comparison isn’t even close.  Granted, a bike is much slower and weighs less, but it certainly isn’t going to cost you $75 at the pump.

For this and other super interesting facts, visit  To start biking today, check out the bikes at one of our many stores.

14 Energy-Food Tips for Cycling Stronger & Longer

1. Your body can store roughly an hour-and-a-half to two-hours worth of glycogen (muscle fuel). So, if you’re riding longer, you need to carry food (or stop to purchase it) and consume enough calories to keep from developing a glycogen deficit and running out of energy.

2. It’s best to carry energy drinks (versus water) because they are easily consumed and provide fuel in the form of steady complex carbohydrates, as well as replenishing electrolytes and minerals lost through sweating.

3. Start drinking before you’re thirsty because by the time your brain signals thirst, you’ve already lost one percent of your body weight in sweat!

4. You should carry an energy drink you enjoy because if it tastes good, you’ll drink more. And, if it tastes bad, you won’t drink enough, if at all. Be sure to taste test while riding because the drink may taste differently than it did at home.

5. Cold liquids are absorbed by your system more quickly. Keep your drinks cooler longer by inserting ice or by freezing half-full bottles the night before the ride and topping them off in the morning. You might also consider using insulated bottles. If you’re using a hydration pack, adding ice will keep your torso cool, too.

6. When you’re carrying energy drink in two bottles, lower the concentration in your second bottle because as you fatigue and heat up, you’ll likely prefer less flavor and sweetness.

7. If you’re riding hard, it’s also important that your energy drink isn’t too concentrated. Too rich a mixture can upset your stomach and even slow down or prevent absorption.

8. To make sure you’re properly hydrated before an event, check your urine. It should be pale yellow or clear. Dark yellow and strong-smelling urine is a reminder to drink a few more glasses of liquid, although vitamin pills can have a coloring effect as well. Another key sign of proper hydration is having to get up during the night before the event to urinate.

9. Jersey pockets are designed to carry energy bars, fig bars, fruit and energy gels. Plus, it’s easy to reach the food stored this way so you’re more likely to eat it.

10. For competition, when it can be hard to retrieve food from a pocket, racers sometimes use electrical tape to stick packets of energy gel to their top tube or stem for easy access.

11. For high-intensity events or rides, energy gels and drinks work better than energy bars. They can be swallowed in seconds (chewing an energy bar can interfere with breathing) and the ingredients enter your system quickly.

12. Twenty miles into a century is no time to find out that the energy drink your training partner recommended upsets your stomach. So be sure to experiment in training or on rides that are not as important as your big event to make sure that your food and drink choices are right for you.

13. Energy drinks specifically formulated for pre-workout provide easily digested liquid calories designed to enhance endurance. Look for an all-purpose supplement that supplies healthy complex carbohydrates and protein with low sugar and fat. The carbos replenish your energy reserves, while protein helps your muscles recover and rebuild from the trauma of hard efforts. You may find that energy bars, fruit and cereal make good pre-workout meals, too.

14. Eat within one hour of your workout/event and you’ll recover fastest. During this hour the muscles absorb the most nutrients and glycogen, an energy reserve in your muscles, is replaced most efficiently.