Riding a bicycle is of course a whole body activity, and one part that is often overlooked but key to keeping healthy is the epidermis. There are lots of things that can hurt the wrapping of your meat sack. There are things that can take you off the bicycle, from chafing to road rash, sunburn and even skin cancer, So it’s important to prevent what damage you can to your flesh blanket. OK, I’m out of words for skin, so let’s get into it. Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor so refer to one for more information. And I don’t get paid for mentioning these brands, though I wouldn’t mind it.Continue reading
In the last week or so, I’ve had a bunch of things go wrong with Sophie the Fairdale. Several flats required professional intervention. Now I’m having to get more puncture-resistant tires and they’er not cheap. Ka-ching. My trusty Garmin watch has finally begun to give out because I basically broke the walk and bike functions by using it so much. I’m able to upgrade it even though the warranty is out. More ka-ching. The bike also needed adjustment to the gearing and brakes needed new pads. The Sun & Ski Sports bike shop mechanics say I ride a lot. Apparently I’m in the 90th percentile of people biking. I suppose I do, but I always thought they were being nice, since I know there are plenty of people doing more. One of my mantras is “Comparison is the death of joy,” said the Buddha, but sometimes that’s hard to follow. Anyway, if you ride your bike, repairs and replacement of parts are inevitable.Continue reading
After pedaling 6,860 miles on Sophie, my Fairdale Weekender Archer, she was due for an overhaul. Shifting gears wasn’t hard, but the teeth on the cog were beginning to look like shark teeth — a key indicator they were wearing out. So I took her by Sun and Ski Sports and got a new chain ring, cassette and chain. (A new derailleur is probably next.) This is that story.Continue reading
Should I Go to Ol’ Mexico? I Dunno
I was talking with a young woman today who told me she was going to Austin’s Yellow Bike Project to work on her bike. She would be taking it to Mexico in May as part of Bikes Across Borders. A couple of dozen anarchists ride for a couple of weeks to a town where they have relationships with people there, donate the bike, and take the bus home. Sounds fun, scary, dangerous, hard, and maybe a bit crazy. Oh yeah, inefficient. Why not just send the bikes by truck? Well, that would be boring and harder to raise money for. Continue reading
Hey there! Yes, you, reading this blog. Let me say thank you. I really appreciate it. You’re one of a select, special number of people who will see this. That’s pretty cool. Sure, it might be nice if thousands saw it, but I kinda like it like this. It’s more intimate. Although I’ve never met most of you, it’s like I’m telling a handful of friends about my bike ride. So yeah, let me tell you about it. Continue reading
The other day I checked my Strava stats and found that I had biked 10,100.7 miles on my Fuji Silhouette since Janurary 1, 2016. I knew that I was honing in on this milestone but was surprised that it snuck up on me. It’s a pretty awesome achievement — another notch in the belt of my amateur bicycling story. Not too shabby! In fact, that’s awesome! So in this blog I’ll cover some of the thoughts I’ve had after reaching this pretty incredible achievement. Continue reading
Sun & Ski Sports has been one of A Dude Abikes’s go-to shops since he participated in the Mamma Jamma Ride to Beat Breast Cancer in 2015. A representative of the store was at a training ride and offered a really generous discount on repairs and parts for participants. I took him up on that and found that my old mechanic from a local shop was now was there.
So it felt like kismet, and they always treat me right, so I keep going back. In this post I’ll have some photos of the shop and let you know a few things about it. By the way, if this sounds like a commercial, it is not a sponsored post — I actually do shop here and believe in the store and everything I’ve written below. But hey, Sun & Ski, if you love this, let A Dude know!
Origins, Selection and Locations
Sun & Ski started in 1980 as Tennis & Ski as mostly a snow sports shop. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, and now with 30 stores from Colorado to Massachusetts, they have a wide selection. From bikes and accessories (sunbelt) and patio furniture (northeast), outdoor clothing, camping gear, swimwear, running apparel, Garmin, Go Pro and other technology, sunglasses, and lots more, you’ll find it. For the full selection, see www.SundandSki.com and here’s a full list of brands.
One of the benefits to shopping at Sun & Ski is that because of their size, they can get good pricing from suppliers. But unlike big box stores, they don’t carry every single sporting item under the sun. This combination of a good selection and good pricing makes them a better option for many items. I got a great pair of Vasquez hiking boots for my big trip up north in 2016. (See my blog post Mountain Time: Biking and Hiking the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming.)
Good Customer Service Really Is Important
On top of selection and price is customer service. I’ve never had a bad experience at this store, at least not one I can remember. A few times when it was really busy, I’ve waited longer than I wanted, but that’s life. All the workers there are friendly and knowledgable. Nobody’s perfect, but they do their best to do a good job and often go above and beyond.
Mike the bike shop manager takes time to explain any issues. He’ll make suggestions on what my options are for either parts, repairs or accessories knowing that I’m on a low budget. If he thinks I can save money by buying the part and fixing something myself, he’ll tell me. And sometimes I do go to Austin Yellow Bike Project. But usually I’d rather have a pro do it. This is not always the case at some other bike shops, I’ve noticed. I’ve given shout outs to other great local shops before, though.
Another perk is is the return policy. They will work with you to come up with a good solution if you buy something that doesn’t work. Of course, save that receipt and don’t wait too long!
Repair is Top Notch
The shop has a variety of service levels for different needs. They won’t overcharge you for a full tune-up if you just need a new tire. I’ve had wheels rebuilt, drive train overhauled, wheels trued, brake and shifter cables replaced, and plenty of other work done to the old Fuji Silhouette. I ended up putting alot more miles on it than anyone expected, but they were still happy to work on the bike.
So they are definitely NOT “bike snobs” who will only talk to you if you have a really expensive bike. Because of their good work, buying a new bike has not been needed. Of course I want a way fancier bike than my budget allows. They do have a layaway and credit programs if that interests you.
In Summation (Or Sunnation, if You Prefer)
There’s alot more to say about the store, like the other departments, directions, hours, and so on. Alot of that you can find on their website. But I mostly just know about the bike shop, so I’ve limited my comments to that. Overall, it’s a great place that I enjoy visiting when I’m cycling by on my way to Shoal Creek as I was tonight or to other parts west, even when I don’t need to buy something.
If you’re near a Sun & Ski and haven’t checked one out before, you might want to go on by. If not, you can look at their website and see if they have anything you want. Tell ’em A Dude sent ya! Of course if it’s not in Austin they’re going to say who?
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