Seven Cycles Blog

bRad Across America – FINISHED

July 2nd, 2015 by Seven

18718024464_bf9bacd64c_kToday, we are very proud to say that Brad (bRad) finished the Trans Am Bike Race in 25 days 10 hours 31 minutes. 4406 miles. Astoria Oregon to Yorktown Virginia. Average miles, 176 per day. See previous reports on his progress here, here, here and here.

This is/was the ride of a lifetime, and Brad managed it with zero mechanicals and not one flat. He pushed through all the fatigue, kept his daily mileage up, and crushed it.

We’ll follow up with a full trip report and some insight from Brad into what it takes to race across the continent, but for today we’ll just say that we are so, so proud and happy for him.

bRad Across America – Almost Home

July 1st, 2015 by Seven

When last we visited our young hero, he was barreling through the Mid-West, spinning ever closer to the end of the Trans Am Bike Race.

Kentucky offered up climb after climb after climb. And dogs. Lots of chasing dogs. But that’s America, right? On into Virginia he rode, until today, in sight of Yorktown, and the finish. Stay tuned for the dramatic conclusion, and in the meantime, enjoy some photos from the road.19005435270_69660e7bb2_h19077456410_2262dad92c_h19106011230_ef6824843b_h19078916629_de2961192f_h19268920481_2085e4097c_h

On the Road – Daniel Sharp at Oregon Outback

June 26th, 2015 by Seven

Daniel Sharp and his Benedicto crew have been at it again. This time taking on the Oregon Outback. We find that the best thing to do with Daniel is to get out of the way and let his words and pictures tell the story, so we’ll do that. This isn’t nearly the whole story or all the pictures, just an excerpt.

I think I was nervous about the Outback. I didn’t sleep well for an entire week leading up to it. My mind was wound up with to-do lists and what-if scenarios. I had managed some good hard 60 to 70 mile road rides, but hadn’t done much fully loaded. What about the Bay Area Ridge Trail? That was 300 miles in 3 days, but that was six months ago and we packed light. What if I implode on day one?

dsharp_outback-26230001I think it’s funny that we went to great lengths to ride Amtrak down with the group. We stayed at the hotel where everyone departs, but when it comes close to “Grand Depart” time, we decided to head out a half hour early to “beat the pack” and avoid traffic. We had a 7:30 pm reservation at the Cowboy Dinner Tree. Not to be missed, they say. 30 ounces of steak, they say. Someone said if you want to catch your dinner time on day one, you’d better leave early.

dsharp_outback-26270023We roll out into cattle country and promptly flat at mile 43. You just have to give into these occurrences and help out as you can. We triple-team the flat change. Someone gets out the fresh tube and pumps it. Steve checked the casing and found a crazy little razor sharp sliver of stone protruding. We remount and keep rolling through cow country.

dsharp_outback-26300016How do you calculate the difference between pedaling a road bike with just two water bottles and minimal tools and a 50-pound loaded mountain bike? If math was your thing, I’m sure you could produce an equation, but I know what it feels like in my legs and in my mind.

dsharp_outback-26210023Our rollouts were pretty silent affairs. Nobody yelled “rolling out in five minutes.” You just silently stuff bags and fill bottles until it looks like everyone is ready. I like that unspoken group mind sometimes. Rolling out in the rain and chill is a bit of a somber affair that feels more like duty than a party.

dsharp_outback-26220012My right knee started to hurt at this point my mind started wondering if this was a trend, or just a momentary thing. Pavement turned to dirt, which led us to miles of descending. So much descending that you have to stop and rest and keep pedaling just to stay engaged. At this point we meet up with Bear Creek and things just get greener as we approach the reservoir. One last killer climb, though before a killer descent to the reservoir.

dsharp_outback-26270003Prineville was a turning point in our Outback. Mileage-wise we had completed 225 miles of the 363. Having completed two days was a huge boost in confidence. At this point, it felt like our bodies were adapting to the work and rhythm of bike by day camp by night. We started to get a feel for how much food we needed to pedal all day.

dsharp_outback-26330021I just keep making little goals. Just make it to that tree. Just make it to that rise up there. At some point the pure climbing gives way to rolling terrain, so good-sized climbs alternate with healthy descents.

dsharp_outback-26220017“Rise and shine cowboys – time to hit the road and pedal those bikes” yells a local woman cruising mainstreet at 6 am. She inspects a falling handrail on the vacant hotel and mutters something about how someone needs to get on these repairs. I think the hotel looks pretty good considering it was built in 1900. I read that the hotel shut its doors in 2009. At 7am one of the Outback riders rings the large bell next to the City Hall.

dsharp_outback-26220009And that’s it. No finish line, just the Deschutes River flowing peacefully by. We jump in and it’s bracing. It feels good to be done. Cold water feels amazing and it was the first shower I had in three days…I don’t think I really doubted I could do the Outback, I just maybe thought it might be harder…and maybe it would have been with different conditions.

Daniel rides a Seven Sola 29 SL.

Find the whole story and all the photos at Bendicto.co.

Where Does Performance Really Come From?

June 25th, 2015 by Seven
bxs_CDThere is this idea that, to perform really well, a bike has to be hyper-stiff, and/or the rider has to get into a maximally aerodynamic position, as if either of these characteristics, alone, yields speed.

In the last few weeks we’ve received dozens of photos of Seven riders taking on challenges like the Trans Am Bike Race, 600k brevets, the Green Mountain Double Century and Dirty Kanza. As a percentage, Seven is disproportionately represented at these events, which is to say, you see a lot more of our bikes at events that require maximum performance from racers and riders. And why is that?

Torsional rigidty, drivetrain stiffness and aerodynamics can all be good things, but in our experience they have to be balanced against fit and comfort. If the rider isn’t comfortable in his or her “aero” position, it won’t be possible to generate big power. If a rider isn’t comfortable on the bike, it will be exponentially more difficult to cover big distance.

When the chips are down and things like fit and comfort come to the fore, a custom Seven shines, because we seek those balances in all our designs. Peak performance, and peak fun, too, don’t come from shorthand answers to design questions. They come from thoughtful design, carefully chosen materials and a rider-specific approach.

bRad Across America – Through the Mid West

June 24th, 2015 by Seven

When last we checked Brad’s progress in the Trans Am Bike Race, he was cruising through the Rockies. Over the last few days, he’s really put the pedal down (pun intended) and crossed off all of Kansas and most of Missouri. He’ll cross the southern tip of Illinois and then head into Kentucky over the next few days. If he didn’t still have so far to go, we’d say he’s on the run in to the finish. And while he’s confessed to being tired, he’s still covering 150-200 miles a day, sometimes riding at after dark to avoid the mid-day heat.

As always, he sends back great photos, especially for a guy literally racing across the country. Follow him the rest of the way here19027082025_38ba609209_h18971113611_5ab98f8ee1_h18897279200_458e51e05a_h19058766416_d84ee686de_h18839421658_2d9b050de8_h.