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Olympia Cycle & Ski, 1813 Portage Ave

Friday, October 30, 2009

Specials: Ski Packages

It must be getting close to that time of year...our cross country ski selection has arrived! We have plenty of styles in almost every size in stock now, so no matter if you're looking for top end racing skis or if you need a set for bush-whacking, we've got you covered. Of course we also have boots, bindings, and poles. In the coming weeks we'll post a review or two of our favourites, but for now we're posting our package deals.

We've put these packages together for you to make it easier for you to get out the door and start skiing, but please keep in mind that if you'd like to come down and put together your own custom package we'll help you get exactly what you want according to your unique needs and of course we'll work out a custom package deal price for you. Most of our staff have had years of xc skiing and/or racing experience and there's nothing we'd rather do than use our expertise to get you set up perfectly. Below are our set package deals:

Intro Package, Fischer Ridge ski, Salomon Escape 5 boot, Salomon Profil binding, Salomon Escape pole, $290

NNN Package, Salomon Elite 6 or Fischer Vision skis, Fischer Touring boots, Fischer NNN Bindings, Salomon Escape pole, $350

Pilot Package, Salomon Elite 6 or Fischer Vision skis, Salomon Escape 6 boot (limited sizes, no substitutions), Salomon Pilot SP. binding, Salomon Escape pole, $350 Upgrade: add $40 for Escape/Siam 7 boots

Performance Package, Salomon Elite 7 skis, Salomon Escape 7 boots, Salomon Pilot Sp. bindings, Salomon Escape poles, $420 Upgrade: add $10 for Active/Vitane 7 boots

Superlight Package, Salomon Elite 9 ski, Salomon Active 9 boot, Salomon Pilot Sp. binding, Exel Nordic Experience poles, $570 Upgrade: add $20 for Pilot Equipe binding

Junior Package, Fischer RCS Jr. Waxable or Tisa Waxless Skis, Snow Monster boots, Profil Auto Jr. binding, Junior Escape pole, $230 Ask about our kids trade-in program

Thursday, October 29, 2009

News: RedFeather Snowshoes

Update: Prices for the snowshoes we reported on earlier (below) this week are in - $160 for the Explore model and $220 for the Rainier. We also have a youth model in stock for just $85.

We've got snowshoes! We're excited to announce that we've just added RedFeather snowshoes to our winter stock. We just got them up on the wall yesterday and at the time of this posting we still haven't sorted out all of the prices but we'll get the prices up very soon. Once the snow flies we'll take out a few pairs and write up a first hand review, but in the mean time you can go to the official RedFeather website to read all about them. We're currently stocking the Rainier and Explorer models.

Truth be told a few guys in the shop ordered in some of these snowshoes last year for their personal use so we already know what we're dealing with, so much so that we decided to officially add them to our stock this year. More info coming soon, but for now we'll leave you with this great tongue in cheek quote from RedFeather:

"We all go into the woods to preserve our sanity, and everyone knows the best way to preserve something is to freeze it". Bring on the winter :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bike Feature: Redline D440

Redline seems to consistantly put together some of the greatest deals out there, and this new 2010 D440 29er rigid mountain bike is no exception. It's got a full chromoly frame and rigid fork, the frame, fork, and hubs are disc ready if you'd like to replace the stock linear pull brakes (which are just fine for most applications) and it has a reliable Sram SX5 1x8 drivetrain. The tires are mid-width WTB Vulpine 2.1".

The geometry of this bike puts you in a very neutral position and the bike is clearly designed as a bit of a do-all rig that can be used on the daily commute or to have fun on the local trails. Despite the rigid set-up the bike feels plenty compliant, and of course its simplicity keeps the weight down. At just $590 it is almost as much a pleasure to buy as it is to ride. For all the specs you can visit the manufacture's site here. We have one of these in stock right now (17" size) so feel free to drop and and check it out anytime.

Events: Cross-Tastic CX Race, Oct 25 - update

Update: It looked like another great race out at Whitter Park. The usual local blogs will no doubt have recaps forthcoming but you can go here for the official summary, and here for some great pics of the A race taken by FOG member Garry Stewart.
Local bike enthusiest/racer Gary Sewell is going to a lot of work to put on the upcoming Cross-Tastic cyclocross bike race in Wittier Park on Sunday, October 25th, so we thought it was worth sticking up his posters here. For more info on his sure-to-be great race click here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Specials: Used XC Skis

We get a lot of questions this time of year about used cross country skis. Customers are used to seeing great deals on used bikes in the shop so they naturally inquire about skis as well, but the truth is we don't usually sell used skis. Instead we make our old ski stock (usually skis that we've provided to schools and clubs for a season) available at the Cross Country Ski Association of Manitoba's annual swap shop.
The swap shop, now in it's 27th year, is a great place to pick up inexpensive ski stuff. This year it will take place Saturday, Nov. 21st from 9:00 to 4:00 pm at the Windsor Park Nordic Centre. It costs just $1 to get in ($2 for a family) and there are always good deals to be had. For more info visit the CCSAM website events info page and scroll down until you see the swap shop posting.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Video: Southern Cross

This is one of the finest local race videos we have ever come across so we figured it was worth posting here (taken from the Fort Garry Bike Club blog, produced by DNB, shot at the recent Southern Cross).

Southern Cross 2009 from dnb on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Product Review: Alfine internally geared hub

Last winter we featured a Surly Puglsey on this site, and since then we've built a few more up for our customers, like the one pictured here:

As you might already know the Pugsley is the ultimate winter bike, built to accomodate incredibly large tires. How can you improve it even further? Add an internally geared hub so you have gear choices without winter maintanance issues. The Shimano Alfine 8 speed internally geared hub is essentially a high end version of the Nexus hub found on some cruiser and comfort bikes. Improvements over the lower end model include a lighter weight, smoother shifting, and quieter operation.

Internally geared hubs like the Alfine offer an advantage in winter or other rough condition riding because the gearing is sealed off to the elements, leaving your shifting unaffected by freezing contaminants, excessive mud buildup, sand particles, and so on. There's also no deraillieur hanging down from your bike frame waiting to get whacked by a rock or bent in a fall. As a cool little side benefit you can also shift an internally geared hub while standing still at a stop light or trailside. Kinda neat.

We were very happy to build up this Pugsley at a customer's request with the Alfine hub and can say first hand that it shifts very smoothly and offers a good gear range that should be suitable for anything that local conditions can offer. It is of course a bit heavier than a conventional hub, but we compaired the weight difference to the deraillieurs and shifter units that it replaces and even when compared with high end, light weight parts the net weight difference is minimal.

The Alfine can be mated to either a grip shift style shifter or a trigger shifter (but you have to use specific models that are made for the Alfine). If you want more info on compatability with your bike feel free to give us a shout or come down to the shop - we'd be happy to look into building a new wheel up for you too.

Video: Wpg Bike Shorts Preview

A Bike Shorts Film Fest played recently at Cinemathique and one of our shop regulars, Tom Kolesnik, submitted a short film on request. We thought we'd include it here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

News: New Site Design

Well if you've been to this site before you've likely noticed by now that things have changed a bit. The shop owner recently came back from the InterBike trade show in Las Vegas and asked if this site could look a little more 'Vegas'. We don't know exactly what happened down there but this is our attempt to fulfill his wish. Sorry, no dancing girls or white tigers, but there is a little neon (the same neon that's in the front windows of the shop) and a sort of funky skyline image of Winnipeg. We've also incorporated a ubiquitious page into the homepage to hopefully make it easier for you to navigate through our weekly posts which you can now sort using the category column to the right, or you can search using keywords. Of course you can also subscribe to this blog and follow it using your favourite syndicated feed reader. It may take another day or two for all of the home page links to be live but things should be fully operational soon (isn't that what the Emperor said?). We may add a few more features in the days to come. All of our old reviews, product features, and so on will still be available by clicking on the archive link. Hope you enjoy the new layout.

Events: Southern Cross (updated w. results and report)

Southern Cross proved once again to be a highlight of the year. For a full race report and links to pics and video go to the Altona Bicycle Enthusiasts Society (ABES) site.

Product Review: Cycleops Indoor Trainers

It's getting to be that time of year again, when we (at least some of the time) drag our bikes inside and put them on the indoor trainers. Many of our customers have discovered that using their existing bike, whether it's a road, mountain, hybrid, or comfort bike, on a trainer is more pleasurable than using an 'indoor bike'. That's not to say you can't get some great quality indoor bikes, but using your own bike ensures you're riding in the position you're used to and comfortable with. And if you already have a bike you like why spend the extra money on a full indoor bike when a trainer will in many cases do as good a job if not better.

We carry trainers from a few manufactures but one of our most popular is Cycleops. We have 3 different models from them in stock right now: The Mag+, the Magneto, and the Fluid2. Costs are $260, $340, and $400 respectively. We'll get into more detail on the differences between these models in an upcoming post but for now we'll simply say that the Mag+ trainer uses magnetic resistance that does a good job of providing smooth and varied resistance to challange any fitness level, while the Fluid2 provides a more 'real world' feel where the progressive resistance better simulates what it feels like to be out on the open road. Either model, as well as the one in between, will do a great job of keeping you in shape and they are all rock solid.

They all adjust to almost any size bike wheel (though we recommend using a slick tire on the rear of your bike) and they fold nicely to be hidden away if you don't have the space to leave your bike and trainer out all the time.

If you'd like to feel them for yourself feel free to bring your bike down to the shop to use the trainers for a few minutes. As always we're happy to answer any questions and offer advice in person.

Bike Feature: Electra Coaster 3i

If the dreary, cold weather has been getting you down lately (we'll admit it's not our favourite) feel free to come down to the shop and kick some tires, like the ones on this really sweet Electra Coaster 3i. It's a simple kind of bike that's perfect for crummy days because it has coaster brakes that are uneffected by the wet conditions and its internally geared 3 speed hub is pretected from the elements as well. That simplicity means there's very little to clean off after the wet ride too. The low seat hight provides confidence is slippery conditions and the wide tires help keep the rubber down. Plus, the bike is just plain fun - there's nothing like a simple cruiser to cheer up even the most depressing weather.

We have a couple of these in stock at the moment (one size fits most) with a sale price of $525 - the regular price is $630. Come on down and check it out in the comfort of our warm and dry shop, and maybe pick up some Starbuck's on the way home. Anything to take the chill off.

Video: Bourkevale CX Event

Here's a video montage from the recent Bourkevale CX Event. Feel free to send in your video links of recent bike or ski races and events and we'll happily post them as well. This video is courtesy of Tom Kolesnik.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bike Feature: Electra Cruiser Coaster 1

They don't come much simpler than this. The Electra Cruiser Coaster 1 is the kind of bike you learned to ride on as a kid if you're over 60, or if you're 20 you call the bike "retro" and want to try out what your generation has missed out on. Namely, simplicity. Put down your iPhone for a second and climb on board a cruiser with no gears and a rear coaster brake. You pedal forward to move, you pedal backwards to brake. That's pretty much it, and yet somehow it's so much more.

We have a couple of these models in stock at the time of this posting, as pictured and also in green. Oh, and if you really can't put down your iPhone you can buy an official Electra cell phone / PDA holder for your bike, along with many other cool accessories.

Events: Belgian Club Supercross

Congrats to Hal, Ian, and many others associated with the Olympia Cycling Club and beyond for the work they did putting on a great cyclocross race at the Belgian Club. A great time was had by all, as evidenced by the many pics, videos, and blog entries. The most comprehensive list of blog reports and pics is probably listed here, so check it out!

Product Review: Pearl Izumi Whisper Jacket

We have a good selection of men's and women's cool weather jackets in stock, and lets face it, this hasn't been the warmest summer on record, so this week we're featuring a women's jacket from Pearl Izumi: The Whisper.

Maybe it's called the Whisper because it's fairly understated. We like the fact that it can not only be worn on your daily commute but can be worn into the office or into the coffee shop on the way home without drawing unwanted attention, while still remaining very visible on the road thanks to good colour choices and reflective piping.

The Whisper has been a perennial favourite, but got even better this year with an updated style and a softer fabric. While very wind and water resistant the fabric feels nice against your skin, unlike some older, more `plastic` feeling jackets. The collar in particular feels nice even when the jacket is zipped all the way up. The Whisper is well ventilated and of course has a full zippered pocket in the back. It's pretty form fitting, which tends to look more flattering but also helps from feeling like a parachute in Winnipeg wind.

This is a fairly lightweight jacket, intended for cool summer days (or nights), or when there's rain or excessive wind. It can also be used as an outer layer in the early spring or late fall. At $93 it doesn't cost that much for a jacket that will last many seasons and greatly enhance your riding comfort on less than ideal days.

We have a few colours and sizes in stock. We also have similar jackets available from companies like Cannondale, and of course we have men's styles as well, so feel free to check out our selection today.

Product Review: Surly Wool Cap

Well it feels like the cool weather may be here to stay for the season, which is a good reason to review Surly wool caps this week. These caps have a fit similar to a traditional cycling cap though they feel a little bit bigger. They're also heavier and do a better job of keeping your head warm in cooler conditions. The 100% merino wool is not the least bit scratchy and although the caps only come in one size they seem to fit most heads well.

We think the caps are most useful on days when you need a little bit of warmth but don't require a full toque, or when it's quite cold and you want to layer with the cap and then a thin toque over top of that. Compared with a thicker toque a thin toque / wool cap combo has the added benefit of providing you with layering warmth and a visor.

These hats don't come cheap (relatively speaking at least) with a cost of $70 each, but they're the kind of thing you'll end up wearing for years, wondering how you ever lived without it. We have 3 different colours/styles in stock at the moment so come down to the shop and pick up your favourite today.