Seven Cycles Blog

Carole’s Orange Crush Evergreen

April 27th, 2015 by Seven

forest1This is Carole. We built her this steel, Orange Crush Evergreen last year with our friends at Halter’s Cycles in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey. A recent email let us know a few things about Carole. First, she has ridden her bike a lot, including right through this last snowy winter. Second, she loves it. Third, she is one hell of a photographer.

Right away we asked if we could share some pictures of her Evergreen with you, and not only did she say that was ok. She sent us more pictures. We were going to pick just a few, as we normally do, but they’re all so good, we’re including every one.

We say it over and over again, we put a lot of time into building bikes for people, but they’re the ones who make us look good.

 

Check out Carole’s photos below:

 

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Cobbleside at Paris-Roubaix

April 24th, 2015 by Seven

Paris-Roubaix Officiel - photo - Rob Vandermark

After the Paris-Roubaix Challenge on Saturday, we took our tired bodies back to the course for the pro race on Sunday, and we were lucky enough to get inside the start area, to walk among the bikes and riders as they prepared for the mayhem to come. It was fascinating to see all the tweaks, to tire pressure, saddle height, etc. that the racers insisted on making right up to the moments before the starter’s pistol sounded. The nervousness in the air was palpable. Paris-Roubaix has a controlled start, which means the entire peloton gets rolling parade-style before anyone is allowed to go full tilt.

Unlike the morning of our own date with the cobbles, the sun shone brightly. Support cars with a dozen bikes on top rolled out in an endless procession. Many of them would reach the finish with just one, if any at all.

Paris-Roubaix start - photo - Rob VandermarkFrom the start, we went directly to the Arenberg Forest where a sort of carnival was underway. There were so many cycling fans there it was hard to get a good sight line to the race, and when the peloton arrived it was more by the rumbling of the ground that we knew it. The cobble bed is raised there, and you can feel the passing of more than a hundred charging bodies in your feet. The whole mass of them was still moving very fast at that point.

Carnival at Arenburg Forest - Rob Vandermark

Leaders through the Arenburg Forest - video image - Rob VandermarkNext we went to the Carrefour de l’Arbre, 242km into the race, where the winning move tends to take place. Here we were right up at cobbleside, and the flatness of the area let us see the riders coming from something like a mile away. There was a dust cloud and a wave of cheering.

Sky slog - video image - Rob Vandermark

Jurgen Roelandts leads through sector 5 - photo - Rob Vandermark

The first through were coated in dust, and having been out on the punishing course all day, most of them looked exhausted and angry, like disgruntled ghosts of the group we had seen at the start in the morning. Dirt caked at their noses and mouths, and there was ample evidence of crashes, blood, torn clothing and mud caked across their bodies.

After the leaders came through we expected the peloton, but Paris-Roubaix abhors a peloton, and the race was completely strung out, riders coming past in twos and threes.

Nearing the velodrome - photo - Rob Vandermark

We listened to the finish huddled around a radio perched on a card, and though we don’t speak Flemish, the emotion in the voices, and in all the other fans cluttered by the roadside told the whole story. When the German, John Degenkolb, won, a few incomprehensible curses were muttered, and the locals trudged away disappointed.

Winning and Losing at the Radio - photo - Rob Vandermark

We didn’t have a horse in this race, as the saying goes, and the whole day was thrilling from our perspective. It really is a thing you can’t imagine until you see it, even if you’ve raced bikes before, even if you’ve watched on TV, even if you rode the same cobbles the day before.

On the Road – Evergreening Paris

April 22nd, 2015 by Seven

 

???????????????????????????????We caught the red eye, the last flight on the departures board before an air traffic controller’s strike shut down the Charles De Gaulle Airport. We set our bikes up at the hotel (we’ve got reassembly down to 22 minutes now), and immediately hit the pavement, excited to see Paris from the saddles of our Evergreen SLs.

???????????????????????????????It might be lame to cast Paris, the City of Light, as an amalgam of American metropolises, but to us, Paris was like a perfect cross between Boston and New York, windy and narrow like our hometown in Massachusetts, but congested and massive like the Big Apple. Fortunately, Paris’ motorists don’t resemble Americans. They drive a bit more slowly (the roads don’t permit much speed), and they are far more accepting of cyclists. We don’t recall a single horn being honked in anger, despite the fact all the bike lanes run opposite the flow of traffic. This was confusing and occasionally terrifying, for a pair of over-tired, over-excited Americans, but it seems to work well for Parisian cyclists. It would be hard not to want to ride a bike there every day, or all day on the one day you had, which is what we did.

 

???????????????????????????????Characterizing the riding in Paris in general is hard, because the whole city doesn’t conform to any one style. There are cobbles aplenty, as well as the asphalt you expect from any place this massive, but there is also a fair amount of dirt and mixed-surface, whether it’s grassy verges or sprawling park and garden spaces. Our shake out ride did more than whet our appetites for more, but having skipped food after coming off the plane, we needed to get back to the hotel and prepare for the real exploration to come.

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We gave ourselves some time the next morning to rest and refuel, not throwing legs over top tubes until 10am, but it was fourteen more hours before we returned. We wanted to maximize our ride time here, to do a week’s worth of exploration in the one day we had, and there is always something to see in Paris, some bit of architecture, an open plaza, an opportunity for food that kept us going until midnight.

???????????????????????????????We followed the Seine out into the suburbs, clinging to it like a trail of bread crumbs, trusting it to take us someplace great, and it delivered everything, from the drama of the city center, to factory districts, to bucolic suburbs and a lone hill overlooking the magical sprawl. We found urban double track, and abandoned, nearly primitive sections of the city’s manufacturing past.

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???????????????????????????????We could have kept on riding, but rolling back into the hotel after a full day and night on our bikes seemed smart with the Paris-Roubaix Challenge on tap for the weekend. We did another ride around the city center in the morning, before repacking our bikes and boarding the train to Lille and the shuttle on to Saint Quentin, where our adventure would continue.

 

Chris’s Evergreen SL

April 21st, 2015 by Seven

This is the kind of letter we love to get. Not only does Chris love his new bike, even more importantly he loves the type of riding his Evergreen SL is helping him discover. His photos and letter, below.

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Hey guys,

The Evergreen worked out great. Since I got it in March, I’ve taken it to CA and cycled down Rt. 1 from Carmel to Cambria. This was a 10 day trip full of camping and kayak surfing with the family (my wife and 2 yr. were driving with the gear). I have never had such an amazing cycling adventure – the handling, speed, and ride quality of the Evergreen exceeded my expectations. Putting it together in a hotel room in Monterey was a trip! So great. Now I’m looking for routes for Evergreening my commute in Houston, TX. I’m surprised at what pops out once I start looking!

All the best and more to come,

Chris

 

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Cancer: An Endurance Event

April 20th, 2015 by Seven

quay-sideIt’s hard to know what to do or say when a friend gets cancer. Platitudes ring hollow. Too much attention can be overbearing. Our good friend Pamela (aka: The Fixie Pixie) received the bad news recently, breast cancer, an aggressive Her2 Positive form, that will require some difficult treatment. As an endurance rider, Pamela is someone we all admire, someone whose determination brings her through a lot of hard miles on the bike.

Everyone who knows her believes she will overcome this, which doesn’t make it easier for her. But, the traits that make her good at what she does on the bike will make her good at what she faces with the coming treatment. It’s hard to know what to do, other than spreading the word, so that’s what we’re doing.

Read her story in her own words here. Find her fundraising page for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation here.