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A Columbia County Jaunt

This account comes to us courtesy of friend-of-the-shop Andrew, an able cyclist and willing story teller. There’s lots of riding out of the city – here’s a prime example:

Hello friends!

Turns out I had a pretty swell tour last weekend and I’d love to share! It’s pretty much my favorite tour route, having ridden it maybe 4 or 5 times, and it’s eminently accessible from good ol’ NY city.


After staying up far too late on Friday night fretting over Saturday’s forecast of rain, we made it to Grand Central just in time to catch the 7:43 train to Poughkeepsie. Unloading at Poughkeepsie around 10:45, we narrowly dodged the allure of the brown, vaguely-coffee-flavored water served at the station and started to wind our way through town headed east. We took advantage of the Dutchess rail trail to dodge some surface roads and made some last minute adjustments to the bikes – primarily moving my clip on fender rubber band-dealies from over my rear shift cable to under (it’s a great tweak.. really improves shifting responsiveness). The real fun started as soon as we crossed the Taconic State Parkway and entered the Taconic Hereford MUA, an area frequented by mountain bikers who seem to enjoy gawking at touring bikes and their riders with a solidly puzzled look. Having rained the night before, the air was as thick with mosquitoes as the mud was on our tires – fun stuff, really!


North of Taconic Hereford we started winding through the thick of Dutchess county towards Millbrook. Now, don’t get me wrong, Millbrook is a great little town and will furnish a fantastic BLT or 24 pack of Mountain Brew (check the Stewarts), but prepare yourself for a town full of fox hunts, just-a-touch-too-clean Range Rovers, and those really fancy slippers (loafers?) they sell at Saks and Barneys. In any case, we made our first real stop of the day for an early lunch and really enjoyed ourselves – like I said, the BLTs are great. Leaving town, we took a northeasterly track passing through seemingly endless and absolutely spectacular horse country. The roads here alternate between well shouldered but quite paved roads and nearly perfectly graded gravel roads. About halfway to our next major milestone, Millerton, we took a quick break in front of the Smithfield Presbetrian Church. The church is situated at the end of a valley, overlooks a kind of perfect graveyard, and is situated so close to a dairy farm that the smell of manure doesn’t leave your nose for the next half an hour!



From Smithfield, we climbed and then descended towards Millerton. Along Charlie Hill road a 10 foot clearing opens up a view over the Catskills. Clouds on Saturday, so no view for us. Bummer. Millerton came and passed without much to note. There is an Irving Coffee cafe along the route in case you have hankering for an infusion of caffeine. We made a quick farmers market stop for asparagus and some surprise (read: mediocre, would not repeat) enriched bread with cheese and jalapeno. From Millerton it’s a quick jaunt on big roads over to Connecticut through Lakeville and Salisbury.

Salisbury is a pretty key town along this whole journey – it’s pretty much the last opportunity to shop for dinner before the climb to camp. Oh, and it has a totally sick public fountain just adjacent to the town hall – great place to fill up for the night. The grocery store, tucked right off the main street, is pretty good for a standard sort of grocery. We loaded up on beer and a woefully overpriced mini bottle of olive oil and quickly downed a bag ‘o’ Smart Pop. That was pretty tight. From Salisbury the climb up Mt Riga road begins. I suspect a handful of you’re aware of Mt. Riga – it features pretty prominently in NYC Velo’s annual Taconic 150 and is pretty legendary as dirt road climbs in the area go. Mt Riga road climbs up through a huge private land to a town in southwestern Massachusetts, Mt. Washington. In most years, Mt Riga Road, and then Mt Washington Road are pretty well graded – this year someone had the bright idea to regrade about 3 miles with topsoil. It was “fun.”


As the climb up Mt. Riga road petered out we were petered out and were happy to be about halfway through our vertical for the day. We made our way across a couple miles of flat gravel and pavement to make it to the Mt Everett DNR area. Taking a right into the area the second to last climb began. At this point we were both pretty tired and ready to make it to our next destination, Guilder Pond; a small man made body of water at the foot of Mt Everett. During the day you’ll find a handful of compatriot enjoyers of the outdoors – but once the sun starts setting – it becomes great for a quick skinny dip. Fortunately, we both made it up the last climb at just the right time. The last groups from the day were packing in, we both had great spirits, and the rain still hadn’t yet started. We made our way through the woods, along a mini section of the AT and to a great rock that provides just enough gradient to get you into the water fast enough to mellow the cold.


Now that we were wet and then dry and, most importantly, rid of the salty crust we’d both accumulated over the day, we began up the last climb to our camp site. The final climb leaves from the Guilder Pond parking lot through a gate and up a service road that washed out last year. While for the first couple hundred feet the grade seems reasonably, the next couple hundred serve a pretty nice punch. A fairly insane grade coupled with a loose unused gravel surface and 3 foot deep ruts sung the death knell for whatever sweat free cleanliness we gained in our quick dip. Resorting to hike-a-bike towards the top, we were more than relieved to reach our camp for the night: a beautiful east facing grassy clearing on the flanks of Mt Everett with a stone lean-to if conditions somehow got so bad.

The camp on Mt Everett is absolutely spectacular – think ¼ of a football field (are acres a better measure – who even knows how big a football field is??) of supple short grass with a sweeping eastward view. I presume the state manages the area for AT through hikers, but having spent at least one night there for the past 6 or 7 years and never having seen anyone, I’m starting to suspect that nearly nobody knows of the place. There is ample hard firewood in the woods surrounding and an absolutely unbeatable view over western Massachusetts. One summer a tour of mine coincided with 4th of July weekend – I couldn’t count the number of towns whose fireworks I could see. Tent up, fire roaring, some drizzle started, and we both tired of the day.


Sunday morning we woke around 6:30 greeted by a crystal clear sky and blazing sun – a fine surprise after a forecasted cloudy day! The rain never picked up too strongly overnight so the tent was damp outside but not soaked. We quickly proceeded to fire up the burner and get the Aeropress pressing. A grapefruit and coffee later, we were packing up camp and readying for the day. Sometime between stuffing my sleeping bag and pulling down the tent I remembered how awesome yet far far far away the outhouse at the Guilder Pond lot was. Persevering through the remainder of packing, we hit the road for day two of our two day tour. Making a quick stop at the outhouse, and then again at the pond, we started the largely downhill and northerly journey to Great Barrington for another coffee and breakfast.




After an uneventful but beautiful and downhill trip to Great Barrington we made it to the main street. Now, there are a couple of differing opinions on where to go in Great Barrington. My traditional stop is Fuel right on the main street there. The egg sandwich is pretty much unbeatable (no seriously, help me beat it!), and the company can be, well… downright strange. This past Saturday we sat in the front of the cafe to keep an eye on bikes and after about 10 minutes struck up conversation with our neighbor. His large pursuit in life is the creation of geometric projection models to channel light into 3D forms to purify water and kill bacteria and viruses — frankly I only half understood the depth of what he was talking about. He’s also fascinated by women’s clothing. Interesting conversation for sure. If anyone of you ever make it to Fuel and meet a fellow with two gold front teeth – strike up a conversation, you won’t be disappointed!


The alternate option in Great Barrington is Rubi’s Coffee. Okay, so the espresso there is better, and the food is probably better too – but an egg sandwich and great company – I haven’t been convinced to change. Regardless, a stop at Rubiner’s Cheesemongers in front of Rubi’s is in store. Since we had cheese left over from our groceries the day before, we limited our shopping to local salami and a baguette to replace our surprise bread from the day before. While the place is a bit spendy, you know it’s the right place when the fellow slicing the salami laments that his early work schedule was getting in the way of the morel hunting he otherwise would have done in the morning.


Leaving Great Barrington we took a pretty much directly southern tack winding along well graded dirt roads in the shadow of Mt Everett and our campsite headed directly to Connecticut. Some of my fondest memories of this route come from this portion of the tour – the route rewards with views of the entire Mt Everett massif and delights with beautiful farmland interspersed with wetlands. Entering Connecticut, we shot a bit eastward to head Between the Lakes and down Wildcat Hollow to hit the Housatonic Valley.


After a quick jaunt along the Housatonic river, we came to a bridge blocked by a Jersey barrier donning the message that ‘Ye shall not pass’ – okay, okay. Since we didn’t need anything at the time we didn’t cross the river to Falls Village and instead took a wee trail along the river towards the falls. I’ll take a quick moment to note that you shouldn’t count on much from Falls Village beyond booze – that said, the fine old lady at the liquor store is always a treat to visit.

Above Falls Village is a set of waterfalls (and as a result, a hydro plant), that serve as a great excuse to take an hour or two off and enjoy the warm weather. Dropping our bikes, we quickly scaled the lowest of the falls and set about eating lunch and finishing up the two beers we hadn’t quite had the will to finish the night prior. Had the sun been out in full force at this point of the day it would have been a no brainer to take a quick dip. The lowest waterfall runs over a smooth slanted rock that, combined with a sheen of algae, makes a great waterslide. In any case, the intermittent shade had us gawking at 30lb carp longer than we otherwise would have, and balking at actually getting in the water. Eventually (maybe it was the beer), we decided to venture in to a pool above the lowest fall. Deep enough to take a quick dip, I eventually made it in after standing knee deep far longer than was necessary or appropriate. Realizing that the day was starting to get on, we made moves to get rolling. Descending the falls in bare feet, as soon as I warned about how slippery the rocks were my feet were level with my head in midair and I was back down on the wet rock!


Rolling again, we crossed the Housatonic, barely dodging Falls Village and set our path between the train tracks and river. Starting paved, and quickly becoming well graded dirt, the road wove between the track-and-river and track-and-land. The high afternoon was marked by a river full of fly fishermen and a hot sun – not much to complain about. If anyone’s ever taken the Amtrack to Vermont, the track that we we’re riding along during this portion of the tour was the bane of your train ride – it’s in such poor condition that the train is relegated to crawling along at a solid 30 miles an hour. Beautiful place, sadly horrible tracks.

Popping out at West Cornwall, a fantastically preppy village – J. McLaughlan has some kind of warehouse/outlet/headquarters there – we crossed back westward through the only covered bridge of our tour and set a southbound route on Route 7. Now, generally I like to avoid Route 7; it’s busy and loud and fast, generally no fun on tour. The 5 or so miles below West Cornwall is barely the only exception – the road runs through a state park (Housatonic Meadows) and is largely downhill, making it a quick way to rack up some miles. While taking Route 7 was a bit contrary to our original route, it made sense at the time and worked out pretty well. Also to note, Route 7 is immensely popular with motorcycles: loud, fast, helmets and no. For those the slightest intrigued (myself included, I’ve got a ratty KLR 650), the variety can be pretty interesting!


Route 7 winds out of Housatonic Meadow as it meets Route 4, our next turn. We took a quick break at the intersection gas station and enjoyed our time with ice cream bars, candy, and motorcycles. Apparently Connecticut doesn’t have a helmet law (I still can’t get over the fact that folks ride without helmets in any case…). From the gas station we headed up Route 4 to the west. 4 climbs up from the Housatonic and was the first leg of our strategy to dodge the remainder of Route 7 between where we were and Kent. At the crest of Route 4, we took a southern tack and followed the ridge-line roughly parallel to the Housatonic River and Route 7. The roads up there were surprisingly fantastic – great quality dirt and pavement through beautiful farm and country. Sooner or later our route took us screaming down the same hill we descended into Kent, CT.

Arriving in Kent we had about two and a half hours before a train made any stops along the Harlem line – our route home. Since there’s quite little around many of the Harlem Line stops, we decided to spend our time in Kent. I’m not sure it was a great decision. Passing up and down Route 7 through town we could hardly find a restaurant or bar that was remotely appealing. Settling on a ‘pizza and pasta’ kind of place, we ordered a couple of beers, a salad and a pizza. The beer was great, everything else was hardly more than filling. Whatever, did the job – just be warned that there’s not much in Kent.

With full stomachs, we headed west from Kent with our target set on the Tenmile River Station along the Harlem Line. Arriving with enough time to relax, we hit the grass and fell asleep, nearly missing our train home.

All in all, a pretty damn swell weekend out on the bike. The route has become one of my favorites of all time and I have no doubt that I’ll be out there at least once more this summer.

Our rough route is on RideWithGPS:

Day 1
Day 2

While the route is probably 90% accurate, we switched some things around on the second day, primarily after West Cornwall.

Thanks for reading all this – stuck on a train home from Boston right now so things got a bit outta hand.

– Andrew

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Product Highlight: Surly Ice Cream Truck Fat Bike

Straight from the horse’s mouth (sorry Philip) comes this tell-all about Fat Bikes by our very own Service Manager, Philip O. Colón:


I’ve had a Surly Ice Cream Truck for a year now; I got it right before the first snow last year because I didn’t want to stop commuting to the shop and also wanted to be able to mountain bike through the winter. I was on the fence for quite a while about a fat bike – I didn’t know if it would be a redundant bike or if I would actually enjoy it. They look cumbersome with their large wheels and most have steel frames.

As it turns out, I didn’t ride my mountain bike once in 2015 – it was a fat bike year. The Surly Ice Cream Truck is not just a fat bike; it’s an enduro bike. With it’s slack geometry and symmetrical front and rear end, it’s been a great, versatile ride. It uses a press-fit 100mm bottom bracket, for which Surly makes a crank that will reach WAY around the fat tire and hit all the gears in the back. I was able to snag a Wolf Tooth 30t chainring as soon as it came out for the Surly M.W.O.D. crank and was living in 1×11 heaven. The build I chose was similar to what Surly has specified on their website, but with a SRAM X1 drivetrain and Shimano SLX hydraulic brakes. The bike shifts in all sloppy conditions, under a lot of stress uphill, and while braking smoothly and confidently. The greatest feature of this bike though? I can change the dropouts on the rear end with what Surly calls their MDS chips (Modular Dropout System). With four dropouts to choose from I can run a thru-axle or quick release, Shimano Direct Mount specific, or a single speed set-up to have all sorts of drive-train options.


I commute from Queens, just on the other side of the Mets stadium, over the 59th street bridge to either our East Village or Hell’s Kitchen store 5-6 days a week. There has not been a day that I couldn’t do it. Even with the snowstorm dubbed Snowzilla this past weekend I rode in on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, during and after the storm, on the Ice Cream Truck. 34” of snowfall in Corona? ‘SNOW PROBLEM. Want to meet up with a friend stuck in their hood for coffee? ‘ICE TO SEE YOU. You get the [snow] drift. Puns aside, the 4.8” wide tires easily float over the snow and slush. With a set of detachable fat bike fenders from SKS I also stayed (relatively) dry and comfortable.


As I said before, where the bike really surprised me was on the MTB trail. I’ve ridden at Cunningham in and out of the snow many times. I’ve also strapped it to the top of a car and taken it to Graham Hills, Sprain Ridge, and Blue Mountain Parks in dry dirt. Riding at low pressure of 2-4 psi, the bike sticks to the trail and grabs everything. Obstacles that even seem too large for a 29 inch wheel are swallowed up by the massive Surly Bud and Lou tires.

fatbike3 fatbike4

We’ve sold quite a few here at NYC Velo; customers mostly take them out of the city and ride upstate in the winter or take them out to Long Island for use on the beach. Luckily (for me), I’ve gotten to test ride just about all of them before they go out because it’s my job here to ensure that our customers walk out with a great, fully functioning bike. For anyone who thinks that a fat bike is a superfluous idea, I’d advise said person to take one out for a spin. I love mine but I don’t think I would have gotten it if I hadn’t tried them out first.

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5ive Points with Ryan van Duzer

After a lengthy hiatus, we’ve revived our 5ive Points interview series, with the help of cyclist/artist/blogger/FOS pedal-strike.

In addition to conducting the interview below with our subject, pedal-strike graciously provided another fantastic example of her food art, the likeness of Ryan himself.

Our subject, Ryan van Duzer, is a cyclist, bike advocate, filmmaker, & TV host, in no particular order.  Ryan has ridden his bike from Honduras to his home in Colorado,  been named the City of Boulder Commuter of the Year, served in the Peace Corps, been a bike advocate for People for Bikes and the League of American Bicyclists, filmed the Race Across America, and hosted outdoor programs for the Travel Channel, the History Channel, NPR, National Geographic, and Men’s Journal.  We’re proud to have him on our show:

NYC Velo: What bike(s) do you ride?
Ryan van Duzer: I ride a few different bikes, cruisers, road bikes and mtn. But my favorite bike is my Duzer Cruzer, a limited edition three speed from New Belgium Brewery.

: What’s your favorite ride?
RVD: My favorite route is across the USA! Seriously, I love riding through all the different landscapes of this amazing country. Not too mention, I’m really charmed by small town America, especially in the Southern states.

: What’s your favorite post-ride food?
RVD: My favorite post-ride food is BURRITOS!!! A big, fat smothered burrito (vegetarian).

: What is one thing you always carry on a ride?
RVD: I don’t bring much on my rides, not even extra tubes usually, but I always bring my phone, so when I crash, I can call a pretty girl to help me.

: What’s next?
RVD: I really want to ride the Continental Divide Trail. I’ve done many long tours, but never an off road tour, and that really excites me!

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An NYC Velo Commuter Q&A with Meghan Boledovich

Meghan Boledovich is the forager for Manhattan eatery PRINT, whose primary role is to act as a liaison between the farm and the table within the restaurant. Seeking out farmers and artisans both within the region and outside of it, she establishes relationships that serve to supply unique ingredients for the restaurant’s globally inspired and locally sourced menu. Mornings are often spent at the greenmarket and on Print’s rooftop garden, searching for ingredients. During peak growing season you’ll find her scoping out local farms in pursuit of a sustainable balance between the needs of the farmer and the standards of PRINT.

Meghan’s diverse background in food began with the inspirational time she spent studying and later teaching in Aix-en-Provence and Bordeaux, France. During her time abroad she immersed herself in the vibrant daily markets and explored the incredible abundance of artisan foods and local purveyors.

She found a way to correlate her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas in Anthropology with her passion for gastronomy upon acceptance into the Food Studies Masters Program at New York University, where she analyzed urban food cultures and systems within a global framework.

Prior to her arrival at PRINT, her work experience in the food industry included positions as a biodynamic wine retailer, greenmarket manager, organizer of a community cooking club, urban farmer, content developer for various food tech sites, sous chef, and youth culinary instructor.

In her free time you will find her in her kitchen experimenting with seasonal ingredients and sharing meals with friends. It is this fulfillment that comes from cooking with such vibrant local ingredients that she hopes to share with customers through her foraging work at PRINT and through the Foragers Corner blog with recipes inspired by ingredients of the season.

In order to get her speciality produce from the USQ Greenmarket up to the restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen, Meghan decided it would be more efficient, and also leave a lower carbon footprint, if she biked it there herself. A year ago her colleague from the NYU Food Studies Program, Allison Schneider , Owner of Haven’s Kitchen, helped her to obtain a custom built bike for hauling vegetables for a small business concept. Although the new business plan is on hold, she wanted to make use of this incredible transportation source she calls the vegcycle. The vegcycle holds up to 7 flats of berries and tomatoes, and over 100 lbs of vegetables!

NYC Velo: Why Do You Commute? Meghan Boledovich: I got tired of taxi drivers ignoring/denying me with all my bags and boxes of produce, sometimes I would wait 20 minutes for someone to take me uptown. So, I decided it would be easier to just bike it there myself.

NYCV: How long have you been commuting?

M.B: I have been riding my bike to work for years, (even when I only lived 7 blocks from my old job, I would ride) but I have only been riding/hauling produce in my “vegcycle ” for a few months.

NYCV: Is NYC commuter friendly?

M.B: A lot of people think riding bikes , especially in Manhattan is dangerous, but I think if you ride cautiously and more or less like a Granny you will be fine. With the vegcycle I feel really safe, it is slow, bulky and I am up high, it is sort of like the SUV of bikes.

NYCV: Where do you ride/commute?

M.B: On the vegcycle I ride from my parking spot lot in the West Village (Hudson Urban Bicycles ) over to USQ Greenmarket, then I load it up and head across 17th Street to the Westside Highway up 30 blocks to Print which is on 11th and 47th.

NYCV: What is your go to commuter bike?

MB: My vegcycle ! (we could put the brand, etc if you want I dont know it off hand)

NYCV: How long is your commute?

M.B: Over and up the westside highway takes me about 25-30 mins with my cart (probably would only take 10-15 on my regular bike)

NYCV: What is your favorite bike accessory?

M.B: Does my vegcycle metal cart count as an accessory? I like how it has sleek design and yet an urban rustic raw feel because of the metal and the steel rivets.

I guess I would also say my chain lock?

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5ive Points – Andrew Meo of Rocket Espresso Milano


Over 14 years ago Andrew Meo and partners at Rocket Espresso purchased machine manufacturing rights from legendary Italian espresso machine builder ECM and set about turning the legendary machines into some of the finest, most meticulously manufactured espresso machines around.  To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Giro d’Italia, Rocket Espresso produced 100 iterations of their Giotto espresso machine, each one numbered from 1 to 100 and including a Maglia Rosa-inspired pressure gauge and a panel containing the engraved names of the winners of each edition.

At present, two Giotto machines have made their permanent residence here in the shop at NYC Velo.

NYC Velo: What bicycle do you ride?
Andrew Meo: Wilier Cento Uno Superleggera with Campag record and Mavic ultimates for racing. Training bike a Bianchi 928 with SRM crankset.

NYCV: What’s your favorite ride/route?
A.M: The hills behind Bergamo Italy have some fantastic rides, this area is about an hours ride from where we live in Crema (Italy).

NYCV: What’s your favorite post-ride food?
A.M: Living in Italy that would definitely be a great plate of Pasta!

NYCV: What’s next for you?
A.M: I moved here from New Zealand 6 years ago to start Rocket Espresso. The brand has been very successful and we now have a lot of Pro Tour riders buying Rocket Espresso machines which is fantastic being such a fan of the sport. I am still racing every weekend here and the racing is fantastic so I am very fortunate. Now my son, Felix who is 16 is racing very well, so some weekends I am torn between racing myself or going to watch him race!

Andrew Meo speaking espresso.








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5ive Points with Jeff Jones

NYC Velo is proud to present a 5ive Points interview with Jeff Jones of Jeff Jones Custom Bicycles, a custom bicycle builder from Medford, OR.  Jeff’s bikes have garnered a staggering amount of acclaim throughout the bike world, as well as in the design world – he was featured in New York City’s Museum of Arts and Design exhibit, Bespoke: The Handbuilt Bicycle, in 2010.

In Jeff’s own words, “I’m a cyclists committed to the non-suspended bicycle.  My ideas and passion have created an exceptional ride – a geometry that delivers superb handling, comfort, and efficiency.”

We, like many cyclists, are big fans of Jeff’s work and look forward to seeing more of his bikes here in NYC!

NYC Velo: What bike do you ride?

Jeff Jones: I have about five bikes built up and ride them all. Recently I’ve been riding a new bike I built up with a longer wheelbase. Yesterday I rode with the kids to school on my old GT tandem.

NYCV: What’s your favorite ride/route?

JJ: Ride from the shop, over the mountain, sleep in the woods and ride home the next day.

NYCV: What’s your favorite post-ride food?

JJ: Homemade pizza and a big fruit smoothie.

NYCV: What’s one think you always carry on a ride?

JJ: My tool kit with my old Ti Cool Tool.

NYCV: What’s next for you in cycling?

JJ: More bikes and riding.


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Interview: Dario Parla Bici #1

On the heels of our recent Pegoretti Reponsorium Bike of the Week post, and continuing the Month of Dario theme, the crack NYC Velo investigative team is initiating a monthly dialogue with Dario Pegoretti, speaking to him directly from his studio in Caldonazzo Italy. The life of this frame builder, his every day, and where he finds his inspiration are a sample of the topics of covered in this ongoing conversation. Cyclists (or fans of cycling, art, machinery, and all things fatta a mano) who are interested in what this artist is up to, the new frame designs he’s working on, the art he’s into, and the wine he’s drinking should stay tuned to the NYC Velo News “blog” and Facebook pages for more.

NYC VELO : Where do you find inspiration? Are there specific artists that you look to (or return to) when thinking of a paint scheme for a frame? From what other sources do you draw from and/or possibly reference in your painting?

DARIO PEGORETTI : Something that I read or I see walking on the street can spark inspiration. Sometimes I scketch on a paper before I make a drawing on the computer and design the paint-scheme. My Ciavete frame (Ciavete frames are a hand painted one at a time, each completely different from the next and based on what ever is inspiring him at the time) paint-schemes generally come from a specific painting or something I might see in a magazine. Some years ago I painted some frames using the colors that are common in the adobe style structures I saw during a visit to New Mexico. I love abstract expressionism. Some specific painters that inspire me, Emilio Vedova , Scanavino, Mathieu and others. I have a passion for street art too, stencils and graffiti.  Aboriginal art is full of passion and the colors are amazing. Japanese design and calligraphy intrigues me too.

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5ive Points with Nigel Hall & Dan Manco of Grimpeur Bros. Coffee

Nigel Hall is a Co-Founder of Grimpeur Bros. Specialty Coffee and an interactive designer at Tremor Video. He’s fond of adventures and has spent time in Kenya doing field biology research. During his time there, he climbed Mt. Meru in Tanzania and hitch-hiked from Kenya to Rwanda and back. On weekends, you’ll find Nigel racing bikes for David Jordan Racing, backpacking in the Catskills or Adirondacks, and/or knocking out his wife’s insanely long honey-do list and hanging with the family.

Dan Manco is also a Co-Founder of Grimpeur Bros. Specialty Coffee in addition to his work as a highly accomplished digital strategist, marketer, product developer, producer, and serial entrepreneur. Dan loves all things cycling and coffee related. He recently relocated his family to Austin, TX, from Brooklyn, NY, though he makes a point to get back to NYC as often as he can but it’s never as much as he’d like.

NYC Velo: What’s your favorite bike?

Nigel Hall: I have two favorite bikes. My mountain bike and my road bike. My mountain bike is a 1996-era, Reynolds 531, Walter Croll with a Girvin Suspension Stem and a kinesis aluminum fork. Yes, that’s right, a Girvin Suspension Steam – a relic. I converted it to my commuter bike and it’s a ton of fun to ride around the city. You can really accelerate and maintain speed with it. The stem absorbs all the potholes in the road and I really like the recoil on it. It’s plush and smooth. It’s an oldie, but goodie.

My other favorite bike is my road bike. It’s a Scott Addict R1 – pure machine. It’s light, stiff, and elegant. Similar to my Walter Croll mountain bike, the Scott just feels like it’s a part of me when I ride – pushing me to go further and faster.

Dan Manco: It’s cross season so my favorite bike is my 2010 Kona “Jake The Snake” procured at NYC Velo (we did not solicit that plug, ed.). I’ve been riding it so much that I rode my 2011 Scott CR1 Elite the other day after a long break and it was like going on a date with a new girlfriend. Jake is a fun, tough, just all-round solid CX bike. And doubles as a great commuter bike. Post-cyclocross season, my CR1 “China White” will return as my fave…she’s jealous right now.

NYCV: What’s your favorite ride?

NH: The only riding that I have done in NY has been the typical 9W route and WAY too many laps in Central and Prospect Park. I enjoy it because it suits my style of riding – nice rollers and some flat areas where you can get speed and maintain it. I prefer to take River Road into Nyack and then do some climbing up Bradley and then make my way back on 9W.

DM: In Austin, my favorite ride starts 10 minutes from my front door, the hills of Westlake Hills. They’re steep, short pitches (think the Piermont on ramp on to 9W back towards the GW except longer) and just a lot of fun. And they connect to even steeper climbs in Northwest Austin (Ladera Norte, Jester, Courtyard, Bee Cave Rd., the 360 Loop, Lost Creek, and the Dam Loop). They’re great, scenic routes to climb and are car-light. In NYC, hands down it’s 9W and River Road. I love those routes so much we named the Grimpeur Bros. signature espresso and peaberry single origin 9Dub Espresso and River Road Peaberry Single Origin respectively. And they are available for purchase at NYC Velo. Yes they are!

NYCV: What do you always bring with you on a ride?

NH: A very simple multitool that can handle repairs to get me home, spare tube, air and food. Food is most critical. I’m skinny and I burn calories like crazy. I need to eat. I get the “fringale” too easy, even at my fittest.

DM: Helmet, Road ID, driver’s license, $20, iPhone, tire irons, spare tube, Lezyne tire pump, patch kit, and Halt! dog repellent (3 words: Texas. Country. Dawgs.)

NYCV: What’s your favorite post-ride food?

NH: My favorite post-ride food is an organic burger from Prime Meats with one of their cocktails. Prime Meats is farm-to-table, local and fresh. The burgers are one of my favorites in all of NY, and nothing goes with it better than one of their cocktails. All of their mixes are freshly made and it’s the perfect combo after a good ride.

DM: Espresso or a single origin coffee pour-over plus whatever protein I can find…current protein favorite: Texas BBQ (J Mueller BBQ in South Austin).

NYCV: What’s next?

NH: More Grimpeur Bros.  Coffee and more racing – shooting to upgrade to Cat 3 in 2013. More family. Enjoying life and eating great food. More awesomeness. More adventures.

DM: More cross racing. More climbing. More coffee. More Grimpeur Bros. More Life.


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5ive Points with Claudette Lajam, M.D.

This 5ive Points episode features a very special friend of ours. Dr. Claudette Lajam, also known as “Orthochick,” is not only a well-known orthopedic surgeon at NYU Hospital for Joint Disease, but is also a longstanding member of New York City’s cycling and bike racing communities. Claudette has helped countless riders find proper treatment when the unfortunate/inevitable injury occurs. She also rides for our newest sponsored shop team, W&D Racing/ NYC Velo.
Claudette sat down with us for a few minutes to talk about what riding and racing in NYC is like. Thanks Claudette!

NYC Velo: What bike do you ride?
Claudette Lajam: It depends on the day. For commuting, my Brompton folding bike.  My road bike is an electric pink  Pinarello 4:16.  For Cyclocross, a Felt F1x.

NYCV: What’s your favorite ride?
CL: The ride home from work after a long day! But seriously, Last year I was able to ride part of the USA Pro Cycling tour stage from Gunnison, CO to Crested Butte, CO.  Takes your breath away, literally, at 9600 ft elevation!

NYCV: What’s your favorite post-ride food?
CL: Wafels and Dinges Wafel with Nutella and fresh whipped cream. Yum!

NYCV: What is one thing you always carry on a ride?
CL: My cell phone.  And I wear my Road ID.  I wish I had thought of that product.

NYCV: What’s next?
CL: It has been my privilege to take care of many members of the NYC cycling community. My chairman and the department at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases have been incredibly supportive here. We at NYU HJD are committed to providing the best care to the injured cyclist. We’ve carried this through to the national level also.  It is my privilege to be on the Board of the Medicine of Cycling organization, which educates health care professionals about treating cycling-related health issues. This is an ever-expanding part of our mission and we just keep getting better.
One of the scariest things that can happen to a cyclist is to sustain an injury.  Many riders don’t know what to do, or feel lost and frustrated. We are working to make sure that any injured cyclist can find good medical care in a timely manner without going bankrupt.

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5ive Points with Kelly Mclean of Sky Pro Cycling

On a recent trip out east (to see our friends at Fizik in Italy) we had the rare opportunity to share drinks and a pizza pie with Kelly Mclean, Sponsorship Executive for the Sky Professional Cycling team.  Kelly was taking part in the Fizik factory tour as a liason between 2 of the professional cyclists on Sky Pro Cycling, Salvatore Puccio and Davide Appollonio, and Fizik, a sponsor of the UCI ProTeam.  Though not a professional cyclist herself, Kelly is quite proud of the team and its accomplishments.  She’s based in Manchester (Sky is a British telecom company) and prior to her position with Sky Pro Cycling worked for a number of years for British Cycling, the sports’ national governing body.  During our “interview”, she successfully dodged many a question about Mark Cavendish, save one (“Do you call him Cav? In the States we call him Cav.”, “No, I call him Mark.”), but did tip us off on something about Cav being photographed riding his bike atop the new Jaguar (another team sponsor) shooting brake sedan…..we hope that’s not their leadout strategy next week!

NYC Velo: What’s your favorite bike?
Kelly Mclean: I hope to get a Specialized upon my return home to the UK.  I’ve been inspired to get on a road bike after watching the Granfondo and seeing the Fizik facility!

NYCV: What’s your favorite ride?
KM: I did a ride in Japan a couple years ago, I can’t remember which mountain I climbed, but I don’t think it was Mt Fuji, definitely not Mt. Fuji.

NYCV: What do you always bring with you on a ride?
KM: I have 2 cell phones for work, both iPhones with different Sky Pro Cycling cases.

NYCV: What’s your favorite post-ride food?
KM: Definitely a roast dinner, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, a bottle of red wine, live jazz, and a view of the Cheshire countryside.

NYCV: What’s next?
KM: For Sky Pro cycling, definitely Wiggins in yellow and Cav in Green at the Tour de France, and Cav wins gold at the London Games.


Photo: IG Markets / Team Sky