Monday, December 31, 2012

NY Boat Show Points The Way To Spring Bike Repair

We talked the other day about Valentine's Day and spring. Guess what, the famous New York Boat Show  opens this week at the Javits Center in Manhattan, and runs January 3-6, 2013. Now, tell me it's not the time to get your bike running in tip top shape.
Our brick-and-mortar shop has taught me a lot - not only about bikes but also human nature: 

“Bikeman my chain fell off.”

“My tires went flat.”

“My chain got rusty.”

“My gear wont shift”

Break-downs that happen at the end of summer typically translate to “I’ll fix it later.” Subscribe to our YouTube channel for the BikemanforU Interactive Show. Season 2 coming soon. 


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fixie Bike Gets An Origin8 Crank Set - Live on YouNow

All fixies are single speed in the 12/29/12 episode of BikemanforU's live interactive show, featuring Origin8 cranksets in seven colors and two arm lengths.

In this Fixie Conversion series, our guru of bicycle repair shows us how to work with flip flop hubs, standard wheels, crank removal and installation, chainsight adjustment, and bottom bracket removal and installation.
The live streamed action takes place Saturdays at High Noon (that's 12 pm Eastern) on YouNow's sports channel.
Visit our fan page and check out all our broadcasts.

Live Stream Box-Bike Build Flows Into "Lovie Dovie"

The holidays being just over and guess what, I was in my local pharmacy yesterday and, sure enough, all over the place the reindeer were already replaced with everything valentine.
When people recite how fast time goes by my quick response is you ain't seen nothing yet. So if Valentine's Day is close, spring must be around the corner. We are beginning to build bikes for spring as we speak.

Last Saturday at noon, BikemanforU did a live video interactive show. 

The subject is totally instructional:  How to build a bike out of a box, and, conversely, how to pack a bike into a box for shipping, storage, travel, or whatever purpose you have in mind.

Our allotted broadcast time was 30 minutes. The YouNow producers must have been significantly impressed by our content as they let us finish our one-hour broadcast.

I strongly urge you to check out this live stream, which takes place every Saturday at 12 Noon Eastern on the sports channel . Or visit our page for more broadcasts.

 --Mr. Pump

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sandy Hook School Shooting Tragedy

Anger plus guns equals catastrophe. 
And the good guys come. 
Millions strong compared to the one

"I’ll use whatever power this office holds..."
                                                              -- President Barack Obama

President Obama, you have our support.

-- Mr. Pump 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Live Show Dec. 15 - How To Buy A Second-Hand Bike

Never Fear BikemanforU Is Here

Who: BikemanforU
When: Saturday, Dec. 15, at 12pm, EST
Where: Westhampton Beach, NY
On: YouNow Live Network
What To Look For In A Used Bike: Our subject today mirrors a strong dedication that BikemanforU possesses to stimulate our fellow viewers to "fix up" that bike which has succumbed to dust, rust, and neglect. Follow us as we demonstrate how little it may take to rejuvenate that forlorn bicycle, for your kids, your significant other, your parents, your friend, a needy person, or maybe even yourself. 

But first, you need to know if the bike's worth fixing! Please join in at High Noon. If you missed the broadcast, watch the rerun.

  -- Mr. Pump

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How Far Do You Go In Fixing An Old Schwinn?

How much effort goes into fixing up an old bicycle - even a Schwinn made in Chicago - usually comes down to the pocketbook.

For a vintage bicycle specialist like the BikemanforU, restoration means making the necessary repairs that will put the bike back on the road. We use old parts where we can, but sometimes we opt for new - even if that means letting go of a "Schwinn approved" caliper brake.

In Schwinn Speedster Restoration part 6, a vintage three-speed bike gets new brakes and a fresh Sturmey Archer shifter with a complete cable change. You can watch the full SSR Series here.

While our Speedster gets the star treatment, sort of, another old Schwinn, a ladies Breeze, is limited to new tires and tubes. 

What's the difference, if any? Check out the videos above and below, then let us know what you'd have done.


Both are featured videos from YouTube's How To Guru of bike repair.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Back Room Takes On A New Purpose - Front Office

There is a small first-floor room in the back of our brick-and-mortar showroom, which, way back when, functioned as a dressing room for Body Glove and other cycling apparel. Later, it was a storeroom when our clothing business gave way to other categories.

Most recently, it’s a catch-all area. Pam and I use this as our book keeping spot. It has a three-screen computer, which is mostly used by the BikemanforU and Pam.

The room is ready for an over hall. Catch-all stuff is going out, to be replaced by several more computers, including a Mac that BMFU uses for video editing and which is currently in his house.

I’m happily calling it a consolidation effort.  Now, with the exception of an off-site warehouse, all our systems will be in one location. That is, until our next expansion.

-- Mr. Pump

P.S. We gave you a scope of these digs in our Dec. 8 YouNow live show.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Live Launch Inspires A Sit-Down Tire Install

Here's a look at our latest YouNow live show, when BikemanforU brings your hometown local bike shop to the world wide web in real time.
We tried out a few new ideas for this event. We used a tripod/monopod with two cameras - the iphone for the live stream and a handycam for taping.
But even though camera man SonofA's hand is rock steady, the extra weight and equipment are a distraction, so we'll probably try something different next time.
Our wifi apparently reaches outdoors and into the bike cave, so look for the action to take place outdoors this Saturday at high noon Eastern. Please fan us because we need your thumbs up!
We prefer shooting outdoors. Inclement weather kept the Dec. 8 show inside our brick-and-mortar shop, which led to a couple of firsts. We opened with the past, recapping our history and how the BikemanforU came into being. 

Next, for the first time that anyone can remember, the world's most outrageous bike mechanic installed a tire while being seated himself. That's not the take-away, though.
What's new is a documentary in development, chronicling the building of a tadpole recumbent trike. Here's a look at Three CARDS, the trailer.
The other guy in the video is Joshua Michael Morris, a genuinely warm and compassionate human being with a remarkable story. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Live Show Set For Dec. 8 on YouNow

Never Fear BikemanforU Is Here

Who: BikemanforU
When: Saturday Dec. 8, 2012, Saturday High Noon, EST
Where: Westhampton Beach, NY
On: www.younow.com/sports/bikemanforu
Why: I previously wrote about getting our feet wet with live internet broadcasting, so here we go again. YouHow is a fledgling company with about 10 employees. They accept anyone willing to act in front of a camera - some of the content is, well, enough said.

We will be under the sport category. Please join in. 

  -- Mr. Pump

Monday, December 3, 2012

Massive Bike Build Goes Live For Sandy Relief

Our live coverage of Bike NYC Forward was an adventure in technology and people. We were ready for glitches like the vaporizing of our bandwith from LTE to 4G and back. Everything worked out well, and we also found ourselves working side by side with some of the best people serving the cycling comunity in metropolitan NYC.
We were going for a 15-minute broadcast and were happy with our six-minute live show - which left us more time to assemble bikes for people in the NYC areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy.
Our next live show will be in our own bike shop, with BikemanforU, Mr. Pump, SonofA, and BMX Boy. Tune us in Saturday at noon, US Eastern time, on the live network at YouNow or fan our page for chance to win prizes and giveaways. Log in with facebook to be part of the show or sit back and enjoy it.
Below is the fast-mo 100 Bike Build video with stellar music playlist that BMFU edited and posted on our YouTube Channel after he got home.

 Bevan Harris, our Giant USA rep, organized the bike build with support from Transportation Alternatives and Recycle-A-Bicycle, two NYC bike advocacy groups.
Bevan and BikemanforU
The RAB work shop received 100 new Giant Revel 2 mountain bikes, along with helmets and locks. Bevan reached out to the community for help and bike mechanics, including our crew, jumped in to donate their time.
Our crew arrived Saturday morning at RAB's large brick warehouse in Long Island City, Queens, stoked for this massive bike build, dubbed Ride NYC forward.
Many hands make light work. All 100 bicycles were assembled and ready by 4pm that day.
The bikes will be distributed through community groups serving NYC, the Rockaways, Red Hook, lower east side, and coastal Staten Island. Sign up your group as a distribution point. Bikes and gear are being given away through Jan. 31, 2013.
As part of our live coverage, BMFU chatted with RAB mechanic, Chris, and Susan, who runs the DUMBO shop in Brooklyn.
A non-profit, community-based bike shop, RAB offers full service repairs and refurbishes donated bikes for sale. Proceeds directly support the organization's youth programs, which its website says include job training, environmental education, recycled arts, and its Ride Club. 


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Going Live Today - Ride NYC Forward 'Sandy' Relief

We used two cameras with this test broadcast for today's upcoming live BikemanforU Show. Above is our actual live stream as it appeared on YouNow while below is broadcast taped for YouTube.

Today, Dec. 1, BikemanforU and crew will be streaming live coverage of Ride NYC Forward Transportation Relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

We go live at 12 noon, eastern time, on www.younow.com/users/bikemanforu Watch and enjoy, or log in with facebook and be on the show!

If you're around NYC, meet up with BikemanforU, SonofA, and BMX Boy today 10am-3pm at Recycle-A-Bicycle warehouse in Long Island City, Queens.

The crew will be among the bicycle mechanics donating time to assemble 100 new bicycles. The bikes will be given away through community groups in NYC, the Rockaways, Red Hook, and coastal Staten Island.

The new Revel 2 mountain bikes, along with helmets and locks, were donated by Giant USA, largest bicycle manufacturer in the world, for distribution by Transportation Alternatives and Recycle-A-Bicycle, two NYC bike advocacy groups. The event is being spearheaded by Bevan Harris, our Giant rep.

Below is Mr. Pump's taping for our YouTube channel while SonofA streams live video through the YouNow app on his iphone 5.  

Everyone jumps in as BikemanforU and crew assemble a Giant Reign 2 high performance mountain bike for a brick-and-mortar customer while the cameras rolled for this live test.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Bicycles To Ease 'Sandy' Transportation Woes

We received an important email this week from Bevan Harris, our Giant Bicycles rep, whose territory encompasses greater New York City and all of Long Island, including the metropolitan area devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

Bevan's email was a plea for help. The world's largest bicycle manufacturer has donated a large quantity of new bicycles to be distributed as transportation relief to people most affected by the storm. 

Bevan was seeking help assembling 100 Revel 2 mountain bikes that were delivered to the Recycle-A-Bicycle warehouse in Long Island City, in the borough of Queens, and next to the East River. .

By the end of the day, we informed Bevan that we would be there, on his designated day at his designated time, with our truck and three bicycle mechanics, assembly stands, tools and support equipment.

We will keep you informed on this worthy project as it progresses.

-- Mr. Pump

Stockpiling Hurricane Losses On Long Island

BikemanforU reported an unusual sight recently on the way with his family to a high school football game at Stonybrook University on Long Island, about 30 miles east of Manhattan.

Driving west on the Long Island Expressway, he noticed a remarkable number of small, independent wrecker trucks headed in the opposite direction, away from the city.

These flatbed tow trucks were overflowing with cars. Some even had two on the flatbed with another vehicle towed behind.

Knowing fully well that we were on the fringes of the severely damaged area of Hurricane Sandy a month earlier, family members began calling out, "There is another one." "Look at all of them."

We turned off shortly afterward for the university's Sea Wolf Stadium, only to watch our own Westhampton Beach Hurricanes lose 37-7 against the Sayville High School Golden Flashes. The irony of our mascot's name was not lost upon us.

Though unusual for BMFU to be traveling the expressway two days in a row, the very next day he drove with me to a late day appointment even closer to Manhattan. I began to see the same scenario of small wreckers, each with several cars in tow, heading east in the same direction as the day before.

We began to hypothesize that insurance companies were preparing for some sort of mass salvage effort. According to news reports, storm-damaged vehicles are being stockpiled by the thousands.

Local and national news coverage continues on relief and clean-up around Manhattan, Staten Island, and the western tip of Long Island. As I sat down to check my email the next morning, that storm-ravaged region seemed to be at a cold, dark, standstill. Until one email, dated 11pm the night before, caught my attention.

-- Mr. Pump

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Getting Our Feet Wet In The Stream of Live

Among the best rewards of being in the bike business is dealing with customers that fall into several great categories -- fun, function, commuting, and exercise.  All are healthy categories that attract good people. By good, I mean people who are fun and satisfying to work with or ride a bike together. 

Our concentration of product offerings for maximum customer satisfaction  has been focused in the direction of recreational cycling for the last 35 years because that category of bicycle rider has been our primary customer in our brick-and-mortar shop.

However, we haven’t been in a cocoon all that time.  Our expansion into the internet opened a whole new world to us! 

Rather than list a catalog filled with products on 60,000 pages, we're deepening  our relationship with the biking enthusiast and his or her family - with emphasis not only on accessories and how to use them, but also how to make your own repairs. I hope you agree our YouTube videos attest to that fact.

Listening to your needs and answering your many questions is the customer relationship that we cultivate. What does this have to do with 'Getting Our feet wet?'  

The BikemanforU and his crew have jumped head and feet into a prototype test of streaming video on younow.com.  

This new live spontaneous, extemporaneous broadcast video show takes people from all around the world and puts them into web cam categories based on their interests. They can either talk, perform, or instruct interactively with the viewer.

We have more futuristic ideas coming to continue our goal of including you as a partner in our hometown bicycle shop show.

Stay tuned

--Mr. Pump

PS You've been good, so please apply the coupon code holidayreward to save 15% when you order parts and accessories with BikemanforU .

Monday, November 26, 2012

Reviving The Impromptu Bike Rental

Extemporaneously - Performed or uttered on the spur of the moment-usually without clearly known causes or relationships, as defined in Mirriam Webster's online dictionary.
We rented bikes at our brick-and-mortar shop for more than thirty years. Three years ago, however, we discontinued our popular rental program when liability insurance became cost prohibitive. 
That's over now. Our insurance agent has found an economical solution for us, so we'll be ordering our bike for spring rentals once again.
What a headache!

Our rentals in previous years used a 21-speed hybrid bike in various sizes and frames for men and women. Simple enough, yet we often questioned our sanity.

Most of our rental customers don't own a bicycle and may not have even ridden a bike since childhood. But, hey, they're on vacation in 'The Hamptons.' It’s a cloudy non-beach day; 'lets rent a bike.'

Carrying out an idea drawn from youthful memory can be an exhilirating experience. First come the excited phone calls. Vacationers arrive aglow with anticipation. Let the fun begin! 

They eagerly drink in the sight of shiny new bicycles. We're super busy in summer, so there's plenty of time to examine potential rides.  By the time we turn to the next customer, the promise of excitment is palpable.

Personalized attention is a thrill in itself because when you're a customer, it really is all about you. For a high-powered escapee from Manhattan, being measured and outfitted with just the right bike and helmet is often half the fun. And they get to ride, too? Not so fast.

Bicycles today are not like those ridden by the boy or girl of yesteryear. This realization usually sets in when our now grown-up customer holds the handlebars or sits on the seat.

This next stage in the rental process frequently entails patiently answering a lot of time-consuming questions. It's also when we wonder if we're nuts to rent bikes.
'What are all these levers for?'
(Me) 'Shifters.'
Customer pushes. 
'Nothing happens.'
'When do you shift? Oh, let me try it.'
'There aren't any brakes.'
'Look! I can pedal backwards.'
'Oh, I can't touch my feet to the ground.'

And on and on, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, when the season officially ends and the rental bikes are sold.

As we reinvigorate our rental program after a reluctant hiatus, the prospect is giving us new energy, as well. The fleet of bikes we're ordering may help us address those same questions in a new and enjoyable way.

Trust Me, It's Fun

Being a resort community bike shop, I imagine there’s many differences between us and a traditional bike shop. We're crammed into a small outdoor and indoor space. Add a vacationing crowd wanting to stuff every imaginable sports activity into a short weekend, and we end up with mass organized bedlam.
Its been in BikemanforU's mind for quite some time to capture the scene on live video, you guessed it, extemporaneously.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Let'em See You Coming...and Going!

We received a monthly catalog supplement today from one of our major suppliers. Seven of its 50 pages were filled with bicycle lights. 
On a separate note, our representative for Serfas, one of our favorite makers of bicycle accessories, has indicated to us that bike lights are one of their key growth categories, too. 
We're not surprised. As more people start riding a bike, they're becoming hip to the idea that drivers need to see you in daylight hours as well as at night.
A headlight and taillight with strong flashing or pulsing modes are must-have bike accessories, whether you're a short hop commuter running errands, out for a neighborhood cruise, or cycling every day in traffic.
I have some additional thoughts…stay tuned


Monday, November 19, 2012

Are 29ers Legitimate Yet?

A  26" Mountain Bike
From their onset in the 1970s, all legitimate mountain bikes and all-terrain bikes have had a 26-inch wheel, fitted with tires that range in width from 1.75 to 2.125  and even beyond, depending upon the frame configuaration, up to three inches wide. 

About three years ago, we began to hear about and see what the bicycle retail industry labeled a "29er" mountain bike. 
This gave the impression that the wheel size was 29 inches in diameter opposed to the traditional 26-inch mountain or ATB bike.
When you look at a 29er, the bike jumps out at you. The whole bicycle looks huge when compared to a traditional 26-inch MTB. 

The truth being a 29er is a 700c wheel size with an ISO measurement of 622 -- the same bead seat diameter as a road bike and most hybrids. 

While hybrids and 29ers share the same ISO number, most 29er tires are too wide to fit inside a hybrid fork. One exception is the 700x40 tire, which fits both.

Meanwhile, the traditional mountain bike wheel ISO is 559 -- the same ISO number that 26" cruiser bike wheels share. That, however is another story.
Send us pictures of your 29er. Is this for real or just another fad? Let us know your opinion.

 --Mr. Pump

P.S. We have tested the 29er, just around the lot, and they seem phenomenal.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Summer Customer's Insightful Remark

Mr. Pump and BikemanforU

When you say New York to people in our internet metropolis, the first mental reference may be to visualize Manhattan, huge city that it is. However, there are suburban, rural, and large farmland areas in throughout our large state.

Our brick-and-mortar store is located in Westhampton Beach, about 75 miles east of NYC, on Long Island, which, by the way, really is an island. 

Our population is roughly 1,800 year-round residents. That number increases five- to 8-fold between Memorial and Labor days. The increase is due to summer people, the majority coming from NYC, enjoying their second homes during the warm vacation months. 

We affectionately refer to them as weekend warriors. Families stay out of the city while the wage earner commutes weekdays. Our b&m customers are recreational leisure cyclists, typically riding a hybrid bike. 

During a chat the other day with one of our NYC customers, we began to reminisce about the end of the summer. He mentioned how much the BikemanforU and the staff are appreciated in our community. 

I also indicated to our customer that the BMFU and I are pretty close to each other. He replied, "I can tell by looking in your eyes."

-- Mr. Pump