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Club founder sees interest on upswing
t By KIMBERLY McGUIRE
Freewheelin'. Twelve thousand miles
Bicycling can be fun, good exercise
and a cheap way to get around. But for
Michael Gleason and the members of
the Carolina Velo Club, it means much
Competitive cycling requires a huge
commitment of time and money and a
certain kind of endurance, according to
Gleason, the coach and manager of the
, Chapel Hill-based club.
Typical training for a race might
involve six weeks of 45-to 100-mile rides
a day, Gleason says. That translates into
two to six hours a day of pedaling,
"sprinting up the hills and making time
on the flats," Gleason says.
At 29, red-haired Gleason is in tip-top
shape. Every muscle in his body is toned
and there isn't an ounce of fat on his lean
frame. He loves the sport and, if he had
his way, he'd devote all his time to it.
His primary role is as manager of the
15-member club. "To organize and
promote the club takes as much energy
. , . ' , . . as training for a race," Gleason says. "If
chad Gleason, racing enthusiast , can helD some guv wno has potential
for making the Olympics by setting up a
training program or encouraging him,
that's my obligation, too."
"My own interest really started about
4'2 years ago when 1 worked at
Tumbleweed (Cycle Shop). I was able to
go out and ride 25 or even up to 100
miles a day. 1 found it was an incredible
release. It's hard to describe," Gleason
He raced full time for about a year
and then, because of time constraints
and financial responsibilities, had to
give it up.
"1 still like to train for occasional
races to keep fit," he says. "But the
prime age for most racing is 22 to 24."
For many, biking competition is a
way of life. "The top racers don't work
, much, or their families support them so
they can devote all their time to
training," Gleason says.
"Our top three guys are totally
commited to the sport," he says.
"Ronnie Henson (Raleigh) and Patrick
Day (Raleigh) just got back from a five
day race in the Dominican Republic
where they placed first and eighth.
These guys are fantastic."
Gleason says it is the best year yet for
the Velo Club (from the french word
"velocited" for bicycle). "Our hopes are
high for the Olympic trials this
summ,er " Gleason says. They will go as
a team "in spirit," Gleason says, but they
He talks about strategy in races
planning to "control the pack" toward a
finish in order to let one team member
take the lead but this is usually
unpredictable. Competitive cycling is
more often a very personal and
Gleason emphasized the hours of
training alone and the need for a strong
commitment financially to the sport. "1
can compare this to the long-distance
runner and we have the same kinds of
problems, but with the added expense
because of equipment costs. A new tube,
for instance, costs at least $25.00, he
says. The club members also pay all
their own travel expenses.
But despite the cost, interest in bike
racing is on the upswing. "It's the top
sport in Europe," Gleason says. "1 think
it's changing a lot here. 1 see more
people (spectators) at the races now.
And with the price of gasoline going up,
people will look at bikes seriously as aq
alternative. That inevitably means more
people will get into racing."
Velo's oldest rider was 65, but he's no
longer with the group. "I've seen 'em up
to 80 years old still competing," Gleason
says. The over-35 age group is called the
"veterans." Other ranks include, from
youngest up, midgets, juniors,
J f y
J . Y , '
Bicycle racing catches on in Chapel Hill
intermediates, seniors (Olympic level)
Gleason's dream is to make a career of
coaching racers and building custom
equipment. Til predict that bike racing
will be recognized as a professional
sport here within five years," Gleason
says. "Then there will be the money to
support a coach and a team and
equipment and travel costs.
"As it is, Gleason divides his time
between working as a cook at the
Pyewacket Cafe (Gleason professes a
natural foods diet for his racers) and
cycling on his own.
Gleason is training now for the State
Road Race on June 26th which is a 104
mile event in Clemmons, N.C. That
means up at 8 in the morning for a two
hour ride before he goes to work at 1 1 :00
But what about those mornings when
he has trouble getting out of the sack
and on the road for another long
distance ride? "Honestly," Gleason says
in a convincing tone, "I've never been
confronted with that situation. I always
look forward to getting on the bike."
Chapel Hill repair shops
similar in price, service
By SARI 1IARRAR
If you don't want to fix your own flat tires
and can't find a friend willing to overhaul,
your bicycle, who would you trust to repair
In Chapel Hill and Carrboro, three shops
offer repair services: the Chapel Hill Cycle
Shop, the Clean Machine and Tumbleweed
Cyclery. Up-to-date information on their
prices and services is hard to find, but their
owners have supplied information to help
select the shop that suits your needs.
Dave VVitten, who opened the Chapel Hill
Cycle Shop five years ago, estimated that the
shop's three mechanics repair 100 bicycles a
week. He always offers estimates before
beginning a repair job, and said repairs
usually take a day or less to complete. Repair
parts are guaranteed for a year.
At the Chapel Hill Cycle Shop, a flat tire
costs $2.50 plus the price of a new tube to
repair. The labor charge for replacing a gear
cr brake cable is $ 1.75, and a cable costs about
75 cents. Truing a wheel costs $3 and a
complete overhaul is $24. A tuneup, including
adjusting gear and brake cables, truing
wheels, oiling the chain and pumping tires,
Witten said his mechanics all have three to
fcur years cf experience repairing bicycles
and are avid cyclists. During the winter, they
conducted a six to seven-week bike repair
ccurre with the Carolina Union, which may
' fcs repeated next fall.
Gcrdcn Sinners!, co-owner of the Clean
Area bike-shop mechanics repair various problems
...also provide maintenance services
Machine, said his shop repairs at least 10
bicycles a day and offers a 30-day warranty on
parts and labor. "Repairs usually take one
day" Sumerel said, "depending on the time of
year. In the spring it takes longer than in
winter or late summer." The Clean Machine,
which has two factory-trained mechanics on
duty, will give an estimate before beginning
Sumerel said the price of a tuneup varied
from $ 1 to $40, usually falling between $5 and
$10. Truing a wheel costs $2 to $5, staying at
$2 if no spokes need replacing. The labor
charge on flat tires is $2 and $35 for a
complete overhaul. Replacing gear and brake
cables costs $1.50 to $2.50.
"When we repair bicycles," Peter Simpson,
co-owner of Tumbleweed Cyclery said, "we
like to fix things rather than replace them.'l
think that makes us different from most
shops. Our mechanics have 20 years
cumulative experience in repairing bikes." All
repairs carry a year's warranty, and you can
get an estimate before repair work begins.
The labor charge for a flat tire is $2, plus the
price of a new tube, and $ 1 for replacing gear
and brake cables. A complete overhaul costs
$24. Wheel truing is priced by the job.
Bikers must follow town traffic ordinances;
7 mph limit on sidewalks!
This advice is prepared by Student Legal
Services, which maintains an office in Suite A of
the Carolina Union. UNC students have prepaid
for this service and may obtain advice at no
The town of Chapel Hill has recently enacted a
bicycle ordinance. Generally, all state and town
traffic regulations apply to bicycles since they are
considered vehicles under state law.
Under the Chapel Hill bicycle ordinance,
cyclists are required to ride in single file, keep to
the right except when passing and obey all traffic
control signs and signals.
The town has begun construction of bikeways
and certain rules must be observed. When
passing a pedestrian on the bikeway, the biker
must give an audible warning. Before entering
the bikeway, the rider must yield the right of way
to all approaching bicycles or pedestrians.
Further, the cyclist must ride only in the
designated direction of travel.
Bicycles are prohibited on the sidewalk on
either side of Franklin Street or Rosemary Street
from Henderson to Columbia Streets. Bicycles
are permitted on other sidewalks, but the ride
must not exceed 7 mph, must yield to pedestrians
and must give an audible warning before passing
When a bicycle enters a roadway, it must yield
to all approaching vehicles. If there is a bikeway,
the cyclist cannot ride on the street except when
the bikeway does not run his way or when
traveling southward on Airport Road between
Estes Drive and Airport Drive.
At intersections, cyclists using bikelanes or
paths have the right of way over vehicles making
turning movements from parallel lanes of the
roadway. To make a left turn from a bikeway,
observe all traffic signals and proceed to Point A
(see diagram). Wait for the green light or a break
in the traffic if there is no signal and proceed with
the flow of traffic.
When riding at night, a bicycle must have a
headlight visible from 300 feet and a red light or
reflector visible from 200 feet.
Finally, all bicycles owned by persons living in
Chapel Hill must be registered. This can be done
at the Police Department or fire stations.
Advice for the day:
1) . Bicycle riders must obey all traffic laws
2) . Remember that the most treacherous place
for bicycles is intersections.
3) . Be sure to yield right of way to pedestrians.
Combination of knowledge, dealer
essential to quality bicycle selection
1 Summer is a time for many things. It's a time
for fresh air and flowers, for sunshine and blue
skies for birds and bees, and beer, so it seems,
more than books.
Spring is a time when people start" mopping
winter's dust off their bicycles, for as most of us
have known since we were kids, spring is
unquestionably the time for bicycling.
It's also the time you might start thinking
about buying a bike if you don't already own
But what do you look for? Do you kick the
tires and try to look knowledgeable or just listen
to the salesman's song and dance? Are there any
ways you'ean judge the quality of a bicycle before
you get it out on the road? You bet, and here are
just a few.
The most basic consideration is efficiency. A
good bike will give you the best return on energy
You may find that the difference is being able
to zip up a hill on a good bike while having to
labor up it on a bad one. Owners of inferior
bicycles probably never realize what they're
One thing to look for is lightness. Surprisingly,
a few pounds can make a world of difference.
A bicycle weighing more than 34 pounds is
The supposed hallmark pf bicycle quality is a .
That means that all of the weld joints on the
frame are reinforced with metal fittings.
"Lugging" is simply the method used to
strpnirthpn th lioht metals of a hieh mialitv
frame, but lugged joints do not necessarily Arrows point to lued welds
guarantee high quality.
. You will not find them on the highest-priced Such parts can be notoriously inaccurate and
racing frames, and many heavy frames are can have a habit of skipping gears,
lugged even though they don't need it. As a . Derailleurs are usually judged by brand
matter of fact, some cheaper models now offer names. Sun Tour seems to be a standard. Again,
artificial lugging. ask your dealer.
Most good frames are lugged, but don't take it Other features to consider are chain-guards
for granted that all lugged frames are good. which, depending on how you dress, may not be
High quality in a frame means rigidity as well necessary,
as lightness. Kick-stands are often eliminated for weight
Frames that flex even a little from the force of reduction but they can be quite handy at times,
hard pedaling represent in the long run a lot of Serrated pedals grip tennis shoes well but let
spent energy that gets you nowhere. leather-soled shoes slip. Riding bare-foot on
Rigidity is impossible to judge on sight so them is like standing on a saw.
you'll just have to trust the dealer on this one. Quick-release wheels allow you to remove the
Coasting ability should also be of major wheels at the snap of a switch,
concern to the prospective buyer. Oddly enough, some bikes with quick-release
Tests by Consumer Report showed that there wheels do not have quick-release brakes,
was a 2-to-l difference in coasting ability This may make it difficult for the tire to clear
between the most and least efficient bicycles. the brake shoes when you want to remove the
In other words, of the 51 bikes tested the most wheels. v
efficient were twice as fast coasting as the least Locally, bicycles range in price from about
efficient. $130 to $800. Dealers here say that the most
And that can make a big difference in the work popular price range with students is between
you have to do. $175 and $195.
Mechanical differences seem to be of little High-quality bikes can be purchased in the
consequence here what it all boils down to is $250 to $300 price range with a productive limit
rims and tires. of about $400. Costs more than $400 usually buy
The higher-pressure, thinner tires are the most prestige and custom frames,
efficient. The above information can give you a good
The difference between rims is one of weight, start in knowing what to look for in a bicycle.
Steel rims are cheaper and stronger while alloy But be sure to shop around and remember that
rims are lighter but more expensive. a reputable dealer is invaluable. Finding the right
Decide what you want your bicycle for. Steel dealer is an important point all too often
rims are probably fine for riding to school or just overlooked. Where you buy your bike makes a
traveling around, but on a long trip the lighter big difference.
allowy rims are better. A good dealer offers a warranty covering
Derailleurs (the gear shift mechanisms) differ minor adjustments and defective workmanship
considerably among bicycles. and materials for about six months. In buying a
A hard-shifting bike may indicate a derailleur bicycle, he can be your best friend.
that requires excessive force to operate.
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