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Mechanic’s Corner: Disc Brake Rotor Wear

We’re deep into the riding season, here in the Northern Hemisphere anyway. It’s time to consider the preventative maintenance that can keep your riding free of clicks, creaks and pops. In addition, wearable items are starting to see the effects of your daily mileage. To help maximize your Team Edition and Ride Prep Tool Kits, and any one of our premium bike repair stands, a couple of weeks back we took a look at the most common wear items today we’ll dive a little deeper. 

DISC BRAKE ROTOR MAINTENANCE

With the ever-increasing popularity of disc brakes (hydraulic and mechanical), one of the easiest bike maintenance procedures is to inspect disc brake rotors. This maintenance tip suggests a quick way to insure you are getting the best performance from your braking system.

WHY DO I NEED TO DO THIS?

Disc brake rotors endure a large amount of heat and friction on a regular basis. They can withstand large forces and are responsible for slowing our bikes down, which they do quite well. But as a result of these physical demands, it is a good idea to check them for wear regularly. Disc brake rotors will typically last through 2, maybe 3 pairs of brake pads (pad material and riding conditions influences this), but it’s never a bad idea to add a thickness check to any regular maintenance schedule. 

DISC BRAKE ROTOR MAINTENANCE – THICKNESS INSPECTION

Rotor inspection is easiest with the wheel removed because the minimum thickness standard is etched quite small on the rotor. This print is located on the outer surface and is presented something like  “Min. TH=1.5”. This is interpreted as “minimum thickness of 1.5mm”. Anything less than 1.5mm means it is time to replace (for this particular Shimano rotor). This measurement is not the standard for all rotors – for instance, Hayes is 1.52mm, Shimano is 1.5mm, Sram minimum disc brake rotor thickness is 1.55mm. However, these aren’t guidelines, but rather highlight the fact that there is no universal standard and looking closely at your specific rotors is crucial.  

Use your Feedback Sports Digital Calipers and measure the thickness at the braking surface, ensuring you have as much of the rotor braking surface within the calipers jaws (as seen). With such precise measurements, it’s good to check several points on the rotor, multiple times. 

If your rotors measure above the indicated minimum thickness then you’re in the clear. If your digital calipers measure below, contact your local bike shop (LBS) to purchase new ones. Your shop will have questions, so be sure to take note of your rotor size (140, 160, 180, 200, 203mm, etc.) , mounting style (centerlock or 6-bolt), and manufacturer of your disc brake caliper.

Since you’ve got the wheels out it is a good idea to double check your centerlock lockring or your rotor bolts for torque. The Team Edition Tool Kit includes the Bottom Bracket + Lockring Tool (which can manage standard and over-sized centerlock lockrings) and our Range Torque + Ratchet Wrench can handle 6-bolt, T25 torque specs.  If you’re replacing the rotors, be sure to face any writing on the rotor outward from the hub as pictured. 

Now that you’re confident you understand the mechanical status of your rotors, reinstall the wheels and get back to riding! Or replace them if needed, of course!

This simple check, and so many more to come, can be done with little mechanical experience. As we always say, with the right tools and a quality bike repair stand, anybody can service their bike. 

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Mechanic’s Corner: Q & A with David Gagnon of Specialized/Feedback Sports Cyclocross Team

In our Mechanic’s Corner series we’ve been shining the spotlight on the ones behind the scenes that make racing and riding happen for us, the mechanics. Earlier this week we announced that we would be the co-title sponsor of Maghalie Rochette and the CX Fever team. So let’s get to know her Mechanic, Coach, partner, and skilled baker, David Gagnon.

When did you start working as a bike mechanic and how did you get into it?

I raced triathlons when I was younger and quickly realized that having a bike that works properly is important. I liked working with my hands so I started doing small things on my bikes really young. When I was in university, we started a small bike shop where 3 of us really had to do every single task from building bikes to ordering and accounting, so I quickly learned the proper basics at that moment. That shop didn’t last long. It was a lot of work and we ended up closing after 3 years. From there I worked on my personal bikes but I never worked in a shop.

How did you transition into becoming a race mechanic? How long have you been working as a race mechanic at this point?

That really came out of necessity more than a transition. When Maghalie started racing cyclocross 7 years ago, there had to be someone for her in the pits and so I found myself working on her bikes and helping he out at the races more and more until it became clear that she was really good at this and that she would need full time support.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a race mechanic? What is the most stressful part, before, during, or after the race?

Honestly, it’s a great job. You have to be very adaptable and flexible with work conditions. You won’t always have the perfect light, the perfect environment and/or the perfect conditions to get the bikes ready, but if you are a bit creative and have the right tools, it becomes fun. For me, I see these different work conditions more as an opportunity to be creative and find solutions more than challenges. The biggest challenge for me is all the driving. Being from Canada, we often drive down to the US for a few weeks at a time and go from one race to another and a lot of times it means a ton of driving. Driving 40-60 hours per week can get hard on the body and mind sometimes.

The most stressful part for me is the first 30-60 seconds of the race. There’s a lot of traffic and if a crash is going to really mess up the race, it’s most likely going to happen in the first few turns. Once they go by the pits once, I’m pretty stress free. Since most of time it’s just Maghalie and I at the races, getting the race bikes ready, building the setup at the races, and packing everything up isn’t really stressful. It’s actually relaxing 🙂

What are some of the most challenging last minute or on the fly repairs you’ve had to do?

Honestly, nothing very exciting here. We come to the races prepared with all our equipment working 100% and spares of everything and Maghalie runs 3 or 4 bikes per weekend so if for whatever reason one bike isn’t perfect, we can usually do without it and I can fix things stress free following the race.

Only one time I remember being a little worried. At Supercross Cup in NY a few years back, it was very, very windy and one of Maghalie’s bikes fell on the ground really hard 15mins before the start – the frame was broken. That got me a little stressed but we ended up using a friend’s bike that we fitted as best as we could in 15mins as a pit bike for Maghalie. That friend was over 6ft tall, and had a 58cm bike, wider bars, longer cranks & a different company shifting/braking system. So needless to say, it was quite the change for Maghalie when she had to come in the pits. It was super muddy so she had to come in every half lap. We made it work and Maghalie went on to win, and sweep her first ever UCI race weekend!

Do you have any pre-race rituals? What are they?

Nope, no rituals. Except cleaning the bikes, do a proper bolt check and double check tire pressure.

How do you balance being a coach as well as a mechanic?

It’s actually great cause I can see the race from the inside and adjust training a lot with equipment testing and such. I only work as a mechanic for Maghalie and a few close friends that sometimes need help at home or at the races so my job is mostly coaching. Working as a mechanic feels more like a hobby and a nice change sometimes 🙂

You work with Maghalie exclusively all season, what sort of unique challenges does that present throughout the season and how do you move past those?

Working only with Maghalie is great, it gives us a lot of breathing room and a realistic amount of work and logistics that leave us enough time that we don’t feel overwhelmed. We do end up spending a ton of time together driving, training, travelling, eating, etc. and that could be a challenge for a lot of people, but we get along pretty well and we actually feel very fortunate that we can both do what we love, together, for a living. There is no one else in the world I would do this with.

You and Maghalie would be what most consider to be a privateer program, what are some of the largest challenges you face as a mechanic/only staff? What are some of the benefits?

You know, it looks like that from the outside, but Maghalie’s family help us out a lot. Maghalie’s mom and dad come to a lot of races and they are always happy to help, whether it’s in the pits or with the logistics of travel. Magh’s dad is a big cycling fan and for him, to have the pit passes and be around that environment makes him really happy and excited.

In North America, cyclocross is a very tight knit world and when the races require a bit more manpower, we’re always very fortunate to have friends at the races helping us. I’m also good friends with a lot of mechanics from North American teams/riders and so we help each other out in the pits. I’ll catch for them when their rider comes in and they’ll do the same for me when Maghalie comes in. CX in North America is a small world and everybody is super helpful. I could go on for days talking about situation where Cannondale Cyclocrossworld carried Magh’s bikes from one race to another or when we drove other team’s mechanics at the airport or used their bike wash area, etc. It’s a big family.

In terms of the benefits of being just the two of us, well, there are a lot. We only book 1 hotel room. We travel in the same car. It’s very easy for us to make or change plans since we don’t have to fit in other people schedules.

Having experienced a lot of different countries and meeting a lot of other mechanics, what are some differences you notice between the way North American mechanics approach a repair and the way European mechanic’s do? Are there differences in the relationships they have with their riders compared to that of North American teams?

The first thing that comes to mind is swapping parts vs. fixing stuff. I feel like Euro Mechanics will spend a lot of time trying to fix things and be very creative making custom tools for custom parts that they custom fixed as where here we’re most likely going to just put a new derailleur on the bike instead of fixing it. I guess that also reflects on  the overall lifestyle and choices of Europe vs. North America.

In terms of the relationship between mechanics and riders, in Europe a lot of riders have their dad, brother, husband, father in law, etc. be their mechanic. It’s not uncommon here in North America to see the same thing, but in terms of team structure, the American teams will most likely provide a mechanic for the riders, where in Europe, the rider has to have his own mechanic, the team will most likely not supply one.

What is the number one thing home mechanics can do to keep their bike in excellent working condition?

Clean it. Lube it & Protect it with some sort of shine/polish often. And pay attention to the bike when you do so. That way you’ll go over the bike and parts very carefully every time you wash/lube/protect it and you’ll see quickly what there is to fix, change, etc.

The one thing I tell people is make sure your cleaning setup is easily accessible. Leave the pressure washer plugged in water, or keep a hose and a work stand out. That way, it takes a lot less time and you’re not discouraged by the fact that you have to setup before cleaning. You can just come back from a ride, throw your bike on the repair stand, start the hose or pressure washer, clean, lube protect and you’ll be able to keep a close eye on things that need replacement, fixing, etc.

Your Instagram is chock full of phenomenal food photos, specifically loaves of bread and pizza, could you give us one simple recipe for bread or pizza?

Hahaha. I love baking. Pizza & bread are probably my favorite food. Pizza is a very simple recipe that you can make on the BBQ or in the oven at home if you have a baking stone. It’s delicious and it can be healthy if you put good stuff on it. We have a sourdough culture that we use at home, so we need to do something everyday with it or throw away a bit of it, so we try to bake at least every other day.

Quick Pizza, could be done with sourdough too if you have a starter

Dough-

1-Anytime before 2PM, Sprinkle a bit of yeast (like a teaspoon or so) on 400G of +- room temperature water.
2- Add 500G of pizza four (00 type) if you have some or just any flour to the water, a pinch of salt and knead for +-5mins
3- Let it rise for 30-60mins, Go back and knead again a few turns.
4- Let it sit for another little bit, until it +-doubles in size.
5- Take it out of the bowl, fold in a ball one last time on the counter, line a bowl with Olive oil, throw the dough ball in that olive oil lined bowl. Put in the fridge until 1h to dinner.
6- Take it out, split the dough in as many pizzas as you want to make. let it rest on the counter +-30 minutes before stretching it to a pizza!

Sauce –

1- Can of San Marzano Tomatoes. Drain the juice from the can.
2- Put the tomatoes in a bowl, break them with your hands, add a bit of salt & basil to taste and there’s your sauce.

Put in whatever you want on top of that and you have a yourself a nice pizza. I really like just the classic Margherita with a top quality fresh mozzarella on top of that sauce. Never gets old and lets you appreciate the quality of the dough and sauce 🙂

Bon appétit.

 

If you’d like to learn how to glue tubular tires from David, check out this post. 

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Feedback Sports Goes World Cup

Feedback Sports has signed on as Co-Title Sponsor to form the 2019-20 Specialized/Feedback Sports Cyclocross Team. The team consists of seasoned professional cyclocross racer Maghalie Rochette, and her mechanic and coach David Gagnon.

“Feedback Sports products are designed to simplify cycling and are a reflection of our internal passions as racers and mechanics. Maghalie and David are true professionals and offer the level of scrutiny of our products we ask from our sponsored partners”, said Doug Hudson, Owner of Feedback Sports. “They mirror our passion for racing, balanced with a deep love of cycling and an infectious positive attitude. We are delighted to have Maghalie and David representing Feedback Sports in our first title sponsorship of a World Cup cyclocross program. It’s long been a dream of mine to have our logo on a World Cup Cyclocross jersey, and after 15 years, this is the right time and Maghalie and David are the right people. ”

Maghalie got her start professionally in 2014 with the LUNA Pro Team (now Clif Pro Team), primarily racing XCO mountain bike with an abbreviated cyclocross program. 2018 marked the beginning of CX Fever, her privateer campaign to target her truest passion of World Cup Cyclocross. During the 2018/2019 season Maghalie accomplished impressive North American results – making several podiums at key UCI events and taking home the Canadian National Title. While those results alone are a success for some, Rochette also captured her first Pan-American Championship.

Aside from her athletic achievements she’s a wonderful advocate for the sport, passionate wood worker, and cheese lover.

Maghalie commented “When we decided to build this team, David and I wrote down a list of the companies we dreamed to partner with. For us, the best partners are people that we like and that we want to work and spend time with. The best partners are also the ones who make the products we believe in. Feedback Sports fit exactly that profile. The whole team is passionate about cycling, and passionate about making quality products…they want to be the best at what they do and have fun while doing it, which is the same philosophy David and I have towards our racing endeavors. For us, there is a lot to learn from the way they run their company, and that’s inspiring. ”

She added,”We are extremely proud to have Feedback Sports as a co-title sponsor this year. I’m excited to be representing them in the races I’ll be doing. I like the company and I’m seriously proud to have their logos on my kit. Plus, I know that everyone in the company will be watching the races, because that’s how passionate they are about the sport, and to me, that’s super motivating. I have no doubt this will be a fun year working with them! Feedback Sports really has the CX Fever!”

David Gagnon, Maghalie’s partner, mechanic, and coach is a large part of the team. Although we don’t get to see the work put in behind the racing scenes, David makes the same commitment throughout the season as Maghalie. He also has plenty of racing experience himself, formerly racing on the ITU triathlon circuit. He also has deep understanding of physiology, working as Head Coach and Co-Owner of the performance center PowerWatts Nord in Quebec, Canada. Beyond sport, David is also a food lover and is at home in the kitchen or over the grill.
David is excited to be part of the Feedback Sports team, stating “Feedback Sports is an example that it is possible to blend perfectly business, life, family and sport together. Their strong presence and support of the racing scene in the past decade shows how passionate they are about racing and for these reasons, we couldn’t be more proud to be associated with such a great company.”

“When people watch bike races, they see the bike and the rider. But when you look at everything that goes behind the race itself, you quickly realize that there is a lot more going on. Travelling to races, preparing the bikes, warming-up and cooling down from the race and storing your bikes back at home – Feedback Sports products are an essential part of what we need to make this team happen.”

“For us this year, Feedback Sports products are the unsung heroes and we’re incredibly excited to bring them to the front row with us.”

To learn more about Maghalie’s plans for the upcoming season, check out this Cyclocross Magazine interview. And because #crossiscoming, check out David’s top tips for gluing tubulars and see what Maghalie thinks about trainers vs rollers. 

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Mechanic’s Corner: Summer Maintenance Essentials with Mike Gavagan (Gav The Mechanic)

It’s mid summer, and all the miles on the bike are adding up – it’s time for some basic maintenance to your bike. Fortunately, some of the most common wear items and how to check them over are well within the grasp of even new mechanics. Mike Gavagan, seasoned technical veteran, will share some tips! 

Tires and Sealant

The classic signs of service are excessive wear on the tread, cuts or tears, worn knobs, flat spots, or visible tire casing. When in doubt, replace the tire. And as you’ll no doubt notice, rear tires wear faster! Use the Dual-Sided Pick to pull out any debris from the tire – glass and small pieces of metal can sit in the tire, just waiting to be the source of your next flat. 

If your tires are in good shape and you are running a tubeless tire system, it may be time to refresh your tubeless sealant. You can do this without breaking the seal/bead of the tire . Using your Valve Core Wrench, remove the presta valve core. Using a sealant injector to add 1-2 oz of sealant to your tire (check the manufacturer’s suggested volume). Inject the sealant at the 6 o’clock position. After the sealant has been injected rotate the tire to the 12 o’clock position and then remove the sealant injector. Trust me, you’ll avoid a lot of mess if you do this. Finally make sure the valve nut is finger tight.

If your tire has to be replaced or you want to visually inspect how much sealant is left in your tire, you’ll need to break the bead and remove at least one side from the rim. This is also a great time to clean out any old or dried sealant from inside the tire. This will allow your wheels to spin more balanced. When tubeless sealant dries, it forms a sealant ball, or simply dries to the inside of there tire like a thin skin. Using a set of Steel Core Tire Levers remove one side of the tire. If you are replacing the tire remove the old tire from the rim and install the new tire in the correct tread direction but not installing the tire completely.

Dump in the recommended sealant volume and install the tire bead back onto the rim. You will likely need a high volume floor pump, charger pump or a compressor to re-set the tire bead onto the rim. Pump it back up until the tire seats completely – don’t be alarmed if you hear a loud pop, and don’t exceed the tire’s maximum pressure. Once the bead is seated on both sides, you can then set your tires back to your preferred riding pressure.

Brake Pads and Rotors

Check to see that there is an adequate amount of brake pad left – this goes for disc brake and rim brake systems. Many rim brake pads will have a small line indicating their wear limit. If you are running disc brakes, you want to see about 2.5mm of brake pad material left. If the brake pads are worn past this point it’s a good idea to replace them. Also check to see if the pads are wearing evenly. If one is significantly more worn than the other, it could result in the pad backing contacting the rotor and generally poor braking, as well as damage to the rotors. 

If your brake pads are worn down to the metal it is most definitely time to replace not only the brake pads but the rotors as well. More about this topic in our next post!

Drivetrain

If you are experiencing poor shifting regardless of derailleur adjustments, excessive noise from your chain, or excessive chain slap, it’s probably time for a new chain and or cassette. If the cassette has excessive burring on the teeth of the cogs a brand new chain may not sync with old cassette and may slip or pop in certain gears. Shifting performance will also suffer. Other ways to look for wear on your drivetrain, is if the teeth of the cogs, or the teeth of your chain rings have a very sharp shark tooth profile on the loaded edge. If you notice this shark tooth profile then it is time to replace. Our chain tool is ready to do the job, even for new Sram AXS 12-speed drivetrains. 

Visit Your Local Bike Shop

If you’re uncomfortable making any of these repairs, or unsure of if you should replace a part due to wear, always be sure to take your bike to your local bike shop. But having this information can at least help you be informed, and help you and your mechanic communicate. 

Mike Gavagan is the owner and sole mechanic of Gav the Mechanic. Mike has years of retail service experience, but has also worked for numerous pro and amateur teams such as Drapac Cycling, Specialized S-Racing, Rally UHC, and Slipstream Sports.

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The Feedback Sports Gift Guide

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

It’s that time of year!! Everyone is busy playing reindeer games; slogging through the mud and snow, spraying each other with power-washers, picking grass out of chains, and the whirring of an Omnium Over-Drive fills the air like the Carol of the Bells, …wait. We got the holidays mixed up with the peak of Cyclocross season. Let’s try that again.  Ahem. THE HOLIDAYS are UPON US!!  And while our products have been listed in several amazing Holiday Bicycle Gift Guides*, we thought we’d put a little gift guide together of our own.  We asked several co-workers to share what their favorite Feedback Sports Product is and why.


The Feedback Sports Gift Guide

  1. Thomas McDaniel (Product Marketing Manager): “The Dual-Sided Pic. It’s one of those tools that forces you to look at your bike differently. When I put it in my hand I automatically want to slow down and pay close attention to how my bike is doing – in that way it’s one of the most important tools in my collection.” – This says a lot because Thomas’s “collection” is…robust.  
  2. Scott Knight (Western Sales Manager): “The Bottle Opener. Because it’s ridiculously over-built and awesome.”
  3. Jeff Nitta (Vice President): “The Velo Wall Post.  I like its simplicity for hanging bikes when prepping them for a ride.  I have one at the end of my garage so I can pump up the tires, lube the chain and check to make sure the bike is ready to go.  When I’m done with it I fold it up and it’s out of the way.”
  4. Sammy Rutherford (Eastern Sales Manager: “My Omnium Trainer!! Nothing keeps my legs in better cycling shape during the off-season.”
  5. Will Allen (Product Engineer): “My favorite FBS product is the one currently in development.  The products we currently have are all great, but what we’re working on for the future is even better.”  Wow. Well played, Will. 
  6. Mike Guinta (Product Engineer): “Eggnog.”  “Mike, we don’t make eggnog.”  “…Fine. Tools. I like the tools.”
  7. Lisa Hudson (Co-Owner/Accounting): “The Velo Hinge because it maximizes the storage space for my quiver of bikes!

And there you have it–straight from the folks at Feedback Sports.


We wish you a very merry Holiday Season.  We hope you enjoy the time with your family, friends annnnnnnnd, we also hope you get the chance to sneak out for a ride. It’s never too cold. Never.

*And finally, here’s that list of legitimate Gift Guides we mentioned earlier, plus a contest that would make someone’s holiday very Merry, indeed. 

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TLC for Your Bike Repair Stand

Your trusty wash and work stand has tirelessly held onto your bike(s) hundreds of times so you can freely use both hands to wash, fiddle, adjust, and dial in your favorite ride to keep it in tip top shape, but when is the last time you gave your stand a little love in return? The nice thing about our line of bike repair stands is that they don’t require much, but with a little bit of TLC and inspection of potentially worn parts, you can keep your stand functioning like the first day you laid eyes on each other.  If you’re into bike maintenance and keeping everything in tip-top shape–why not include your bike repair stand?  Read on to find out how to keep things wash and work  running smoothly, which leads to your bike running smoothly, which in turn leads to adorable canines and world peace.

Now that your stand is dirty from the grime that has come off of your bike from a good season of riding, here are a few helpful tips and tricks to get your stand dialed so you can focus on keeping your bike clean and happy.

Clean it up.

Feedback Sports repair stands are made from premium materials to stand up to the elements, so they aren’t afraid of a little soap and water. Some basic Dawn dish soap in a bucket of warm water will serve as a safe and friendly cleaning agent that’s both easy on the stand and your hands. A soft brush such as the one that you use for cleaning your bike is typically sufficient for removing grime around moving parts and will be easy on your stand’s finish.

(PRO tip: Instead of adding soap first then adding water to create the bubbles, reverse the process by adding soap to water and allowing it to dissolve for a moment. A shot of pressured water will agitate the solution and give you bubbles that will last exponentially longer and be more effective for cleaning).

Shake and dry.

After you give your stand a sudsy bath, grab onto the main center tubes and give the stand a good shake to get some water off of the surfaces. A drop motion followed by an abrupt stop is typically a good method for shaking some of the water off. Follow up with a soft and absorbent cloth over all of the main surfaces to remove any grime you may have missed in the washing phase. Letting your stand hang out in the warmth of the sun will allow all of the non-reachable places to dry out entirely.

(Sunglasses optional; however, your stand does appreciate stylish accessories to accentuate it’s already silky good looks).
Keep things moving freely.

Your repair stand has moving parts that like to stay moving freely. Keeping these moving parts lubricated periodically will protect them during repeated wash cycles and make your life easier when it comes time to setting your stand up or folding it back down.  Give a drop of chain lube to areas such as the barrel nut inside the QR levers or the cam interface of the QR to make the actuation smoother. Follow up with a rag to pick up any excess chain lube that may have dripped.

(Note: Don’t lubricate the main telescoping tube as it will not have sufficient grip for keeping your bike suspended in the spot you want it).
Take a closer look.

Once everything has been cleaned up, a good once over to see how your parts are wearing is a good idea. Pay attention to rubber foot plugs and clamp jaws as they typically see the most amount of wear on the stand. Having some spare parts in your toolbox is a nice way to minimize any downtime in case something does need to be replaced from wear. Replacement parts can be found at the following link: Work Stand Replacement Parts .

Enjoy a cold one.

Finally, don’t forget to grab a cold drink and use your stand’s bottle opener to access the delicious contents inside. Sit back, relax, and take a moment to marvel over your freshly cleaned ride and repair stand.

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Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 3: Trek-Segafredo

A professional World Tour team brings around 50 bikes to the Tour de France.  Reliable equipment and mechanics is a must for any successful team. We provide the equipment, but the mechanics provide their top-notch skills. Our 3rd and final segment of “Unsung Heroes of the Tour” focuses on Trek-Segafredo’s head TdF mechanic: Kenneth Van de Wiele.

You may have caught Kenneth in this recent Wall Street Journal video: “How to Fix a Bicycle From a Moving Car“. He explains what it’s like maintaining a bike at 40+mph.  You know.  Just an average “day in the life” of a professional World Tour mechanic. See more about Kenneth in the Q/A below!

Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 3: 

Kenneth Van de Wiele / Trek-Segafredo
Belgium (Ghent)

How did you get your start as a bike mechanic? I started as an intern in the bike shop from Walter Godefroot in Ghent while I was still racing myself.

Favorite stage of the TdF: Mountain stage to Mont Ventoux.

Best story from working at a race: The car leaving me behind on top of the Paterberg during the Tour of Flanders 2013, with 1 lap to go.

What is your bike of choice?  Trek Madone 9  (Have you SEEN this bike?  Go on.  Click the link.)

What do you in your past-time?  Ride my bike, run and enjoy life.

Favorite Feedback Sports Product: The Sprint work stand.

*Follow Kenneth on Instagram and Twitter for more!

As with all our partnerships, Feedback Sports is pleased to support team Trek-Segafredo.
As the Tour comes to a close, we wish the mechanics, the team directors and riders all the best!

 

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Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 2: Lotto Soudal

Welcome to our Unsung Heroes of the Tour / Part Deux.  This week we’re focusing on Team Lotto Soudal.  We’d like to wish the team a HUGE congrats on De Gendt’s Mont Ventoux win. What a FINISH! But as we’ve said before, no rider wins alone.  It takes the entire team and staff to get them there.  So let’s take a peek inside this background of success as we showcase Lotto Soudal mechanic, Steven Van Olmen.

*Make sure you read through the whole thing…because we have a fun little treat at the end…

Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 2: 

Steven Van Olmen / Lotto Soudal
Belgian mechanic – born in 1976

How did you get your start as a bike mechanic? I was a rider in the development team of sports director Herman Frison until 2001. I started immediately after as a mechanic in that team.

Favorite stage of the TdF: I’m always happy to be in Paris, but the atmosphere of on the local circuit, and the sprint of Champs Elysées can’t be beat.

Best story from working at a race: A few years ago I was in the car with sports director Roberto Damiani. The car had to stop to fix a problem but the sports director left, forgetting I was still at the side of the road. Fortunately another car from another team picked me up. A few kms further Damiani was aware he forgot me and stopped at the side of the road, so I could jump in the car again.

What is your bike of choice?  The Ridley Noah SL: very stylish frame from our sponsor Ridley.

What do you in your past-time?  Not so much spare time but I ride my bike sometimes. And Australia is my second home country. I went there for the first time in 2005 for Tour Down Under and go there every year from Christmas till Tour Down Under to see Australian friends.

Favorite Feedback Sports Product: Of course the Sprint stand. It’s very stable which is very important for a mechanic, made from nice materials and it looks good.

Steven Van Olmen

Pretty sweet, right? But you don’t have to be a pro mechanic for a World Tour team to get your hands on a Sprint stand.  You can win one with Team Lotto Soudal and Feedback Sports!! You might be screaming at your computer or favorite hand-held device right now, “HOW CAN I WIN?!?!”  Shhhhh. We’ll tell you. 

 

HOW TO WIN!
First, like the Facebook page of Lotto Soudal Cycling Team Fanpage and Feedback Sports. Then send Lotto Soudal, a private message (all hush-hush, and secret-like) on Facebook with your answers to the following questions:

  1. Where is Feedback Sports located?
  2. What is the name of the founder of Feedback Sports?
  3. The Le Tour de France stage to Mont Ventoux, won by Thomas De Gendt, didn’t finish at the summit. To which location was the finish line moved?

*Contest ends Sunday, July 17th at 16:00 CEST (Sunday AM here in the States, folks). The winner will be determined by draw (1 entry per person).

 

 

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Unsung Heroes of the Tour: Part 1

During the Tour de France, it can be easy to focus on the racers.  Admittedly we’re guilty of it too! They’re fast, flashy and dedicated! They exhibit skills mere mortals only dream of.  But there’s a group that often gets overlooked, that one could argue have the same qualities as the racers–the mechanics.  Without this support crew working tirelessly behind the scenes, the show (as they say) could not go on.  Over the next few weeks we’ll be focusing on these mighty, (yet often silent) Tour de France giants.  So hop in the team car and join us for the ride!

Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 1:  

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Pascal Ridel / Tinkoff Sport

Bio: Pascal has enriched team Tinkoff with his presence for some years. He came to Tinkoff after a period with Credit Agricole. Pascal has a reputation for doing things properly and he always makes sure that the team truck is fully stocked for every situation – a crucial consideration that has come in handy many times.

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*We’re betting that last part is probably simplifying things.  If you’ve watched a single stage…wait… even about a ten minute span of a single stage, you know that anything can happen. An experienced mechanic anticipates every possible scenario within a race.  Pascal and his crew are clearly dialed and they pass this gift off to the riders each and every day.

Like all the World Tour teams we partner with, we feel quite fortunate to work with Tinkoff Sport. We’re cheering loudly from Colorado–and wish the mechanics, the team directors and of course the riders the best of luck at this year’s Tour de France!!

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*Remember: check the #winwithtinkoff contest DAILY for your chance to win Feedback Sports products and more!  And you could be prepared for anything–just like Pascal.