Spin VS Intervals

As I was opening the shop this morning I had a customer pop in to ask about my interval classes, as usual the question lead to “are intervals better than spin”.  So i decided to blog my answer to help you decide what your winter workouts are gonna look like.

I know convenience is a factor in choosing your training regiment and spin classes are very easy to do, you show up, towel and cycling shoes in hand, ride and sweat, and go home feeling accomplished.  I get it.  But there is a reason intervals on your own bike, that fits you perfectly, are gaining steam in popularity.  They work better. They make you stronger and faster in a short period of time.  Above all though they are structured, improving your fitness for spring using efforts that overlap between disciplines, allowing a rider to improve.

In my mind it is a pretty clear distinction between the two types of workout but I quickly realized through some internet searching, that most people think that a spin class can give you the fitness, form and function of an interval class.  This is just simply not the case.  Not to get too technical but any type of HIIT (high intensity interval training) is proven by the experts to isolate muscle better and improve your fitness faster than any other type of training.  I have known this since the 80s and hence I developed a unique program to keep my riders, and myself, on form with improved fitness during the off-season.

Another thing that causes me strife is the concept that sweating = working out hard = better fitness.  Many riders that participate in spin classes instead of intervals swear this to be true.  I feel this is not the case.  If you turn a fan on a rider indoors and their core temperature drops a few degrees does that mean he or she isn’t working as hard as the rest of riders in the room?  It’s the same workout, only now instead of dripping sweat and expending energy to keep cool, that rider can now use that energy to perform better and focus more on each effort.  By the way, we have a fan per person in my classes just for that purpose.

And finally equipment.  Spin class uses a universal adjustable bike that must be changed to fit the rider, every time he or she rides, and it has a resistance dial that is not measurable therefore you never really know if the effort you are doing is at the same resistance every time you do it.  Wait a tic, don’t you have a bike at home that is already perfectly set up for you? That is capable of shifting gears such that you could actually repeat an effort, in the same gear, every time?  Yeah, the bike in the corner of the basement collecting dust, waiting for next season’s adventures can do that. Throw that on a trainer and you are good to go.

I do have one more point, just like spin class, anyone with a small amount of cycling experience can do my intermediate interval classes, all levels of fitness take part, and everyone that takes my class feel the benefits within a short 3 weeks, even the ones only doing it once a week.  That is a bit crazy to think about….

As soon as the snow hits the ground many cyclists begin an indoor winter training regiment of some kind.  Join us and see the benefits of structured interval training, get stronger, faster, better.  Learn about your fit and your form.  Small classes yield the best results and we have a maximum of 7 people in each class.

Email us with any questions.

Here we grow… sorry I had to say it.

Hey everyone

So finally after all this time (6 years in business) we are able to expand and provide a better experience, more great products, and great service to all our customers.  I am delighted to announce that we are moving to a new and larger location.  The address is 1708 Lakeshore Road West in Mississauga in Clarkson Village, only a few km from our current location.

Why the move?  Simply put, our current location has become too small for the amount of business we are doing on a yearly basis.

What this means for you?  Same great service, same quality bikes and accessories with more variety, and if all goes well, an even better buying experience with the proper support that I feel every cyclist should have from their LBS (Local Bike Shop)

I am excited and proud to have made it this far, a special thanks to our awesome customers,  I hope to see all of you in our new place.  We will be moving within the next month or so but when the dust settles, drop by and say hi when you have a minute to spare.



The Hammer

Hey everyone

I have had lots of questions about diet and nutrition this year.  There are a plethora of products all claiming to be the best and all claiming to perform better than the next.  The human body is complex and each person absorbs what they need from their food in a different way and at a different rate.  So these questions, though everyone wants a simple answer, are actually very complicated and are individualized dependent totally on the athlete and their needs.

We carry only one brand of nutrition, and yes we have our reasons.  In our opinion replacing only what you use is a bad approach to fueling the human body.  Each of us is different remember, our needs are as individual as our personalities.  The “trick” is to find a fuel that supplies what you need, even if you are not entirely sure what you need.  This thought process results in a need for a blanket fuel source that your body can pick and choose what it is deficient in, depending on the athletic condition and environment.  In laymen’s terms, choose a fuel that supplies that safety blanket of nutrition.

Hammer nutrition is our fuel of choice, they have the largest “blanket” of products that can help you perform at your best. Their products are sugar free and slow burning resulting in no drops in energy or performance. They have pre ride, during, and post ride products tailored specifically for the athlete.  But don’t just take it from us.  Their products are reasonably priced and in single dose formats, so give them a try the next time you drop into the shop.

If you want to read up on the hammer lineup, click on this link and have a look.



First spring ride…fresh, not frozen!

5730584132_6d19fb8ed3_zI went for my first spring ride on Monday of this week.  Just shy of 10 degrees, roads still super dirty and salty, and drivers not quite ready for cyclists on the road.  I dressed perfectly for the ride which got me thinking, how should the new to cold weather rider deal with cold temps.  Even the most seasoned rider rolls the dice a little when it comes to staying warm, there are so many variables that can affect your core temperature. There are a few simple rules to keep in mind that should help you decide what to wear and what not to wear.

Rule #1 – outer layer –  block the wind, the wind in winter/spring riding is the enemy, it can pull the heat out of you so fast, no amount of pounding on the pedals will help you keep warm if you don’t block the wind.

Rule #2 – cold extremities can quickly ruin a ride, your hands get stiff and unresponsive resulting in slow reflexes for braking and makes shifting difficult, and cold feet can be rather painful, so keep your hands and feet warm.  A descent set of booties and good winter gloves are essential for every cyclist.

Rule #3 – Insulation – the number of layers between you and your outer layer is really the tough part, but I tend to err on the side of caution, I dress a little heavy, I would rather be too warm than too cold.  Every -5 degrees I add a layer, but as I said earlier, there are many variables that help with this.  IE: sunny day low wind – or cloudy and blistering windchill will determine the amount of layers necessary.

Rule #4 – cover your head, you lose most of your heat through your head.

This is what I wore on Monday, but each rider has their own special needs so lets get into some of the details and you can put your own personal spin on it.

Layer #1 – I tend to wear my shop kit as my first layer, couple of reasons why I do this.  Firstly, I have yet to find a chamois better than the one I have in my shop bib shorts which makes my ride enjoyable for my bum.  Second reason is even simpler, my kit is like a second skin, comfortable beyond belief, and it moves very well with me.  It is always a good idea to buy a really good set of shorts and jersey, one great kit is better than three bad ones.

Layer #2 – Since it is 10 degrees, I was able to get away with a set bib tights without a chamois (chamois is in the shorts), and a cycling winter jacket, add a set of booties over my cycling shoes and a simple wind stopping cycling specific beanie (very thin hat that fits under my helmet and keeps my head and ears nice and toasty) and I was good to go.

On my ride i did not layer as much as I would normally on an overcast day, without the sun, even at 10 degrees the low lying areas around Oakville can be downright chilly, but I knew since this was my first ride of the season I would be pushing pretty hard and therefore creating more heat.

I hope this helps a little and see you out on the road.

A unique perspective….sort of….with a side of piping hot purpose!

So you want to buy a bike this spring, good on you.  But what type of bike do you need?  What is the purpose of the bicycle?  There is so much info on the internet it is almost overwhelming.  What brand, what model, how much will it cost, what is good and what should you avoid?  Unfortunately relying on anonymous reviews from people with standards that may not match your own, could result in buyers remorse.  The internet can lead you in the wrong direction when it comes to buying the right bike for the purpose you had in mind.

I get it, and I would like to help.  Regardless if you buy a bike from me or a different shop, I want your cycling experience to be fun and light hearted.  That is the essence of cycling after all.

Regardless of the internet content, or the opinions of strangers half way around the globe.  There are a few key questions I ask everyone of my customers on the hunt for a new ride.  Ask yourself some of these questions and you may be able to filter out some of the BS and come to a viable solution that fits your needs.

  • So, what do you see yourself doing on the bike?  What is it’s purpose? (trails, road rides, family outings, transportation, riding Niagara on the lake with your honey while tasting wine and cheese?)
  • How often do you see yourself riding the bike?  (If you only want to ride occasionally, a cost effective bike may be all you need.  If you see yourself speeding up or down the mountain side, on road, or off road, you may need to open the purse strings a little to ensure a safe and reliable ride)
  • Would you prefer an upright position on the bike, or a more sporting position? (personally i find this one can confuse people a little, your position on a properly sized bicycle can be adjusted to suit your body type and preferences, bikes are very very versatile)
  • What is your budget? or What do you want to spend?  (two similar questions that can result in two completely different answers 😉

So there it is, 4 simple questions to help you put some thought into the purchase of your bike and may help you a little to determine it’s cost.

Earlier in one of my posts, I talked about quality and value in the bicycle industry.  I have a quote pinned to the wall right by the front counter in my store.  Benjamin Franklin once said “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten”.  I live and do business using this simple quote as my guide.  There isn’t a bike in the store that I would not ride myself.    The brands I carry deliver the value my customer deserves for their hard earned dollar.

Please keep in mind, though we service every kind of pedal powered bike, I know my products best and I have hand picked them because of the quality, and value they offer.  I won’t be able to help with any online purchases or with a brand from a different shop that I don’t carry.  Hopefully the questions above will help you if this is the case.

With that said, I hope to see you in the shop this year, perhaps I have your next sweet ride sitting in my showroom.



Sale comes first….and the truth second? Sorry you’ve got the wrong bike shop

Every once in a while I get reminded by the universe that not all things hinge on price, and that the truth in my industry has great value to those who appreciate it.  Having something new or falling for the “oooh shiny” attitude of today’s marketing is not what cycling is about.  For many years now, if you didn’t have the latest product or the newest bike, you wouldn’t be taken seriously, that is changing finally.

People are starting to wake up to the quality of a product rather than just the price, and I think this is a great thing.  Benjamin Franklin once said “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”  – enough said.

A gentlemen came into my shop this morning and we had a long discussion about the nuances and collective goodness of riding a bike.  It was an invigorating conversation, positive and uplifting.  He was riding a vintage 30-year-old steel 7 speed road bike, all bundled up for the cold, happy as a clam.

I appreciate him greatly and all those who enjoy riding a bike simply because…..

I guess what I am saying is, ride what you have, get on and enjoy, all you have to do is let go of the ego and stop pining for what your neighbor or riding buddy has.  Stop listening to the magazines, commercials, and ads.  Carbon, steel, aluminum, titanium, or bamboo, who cares.  If you are new to the sport, get strong, and take the time to learn what you can about the sport.  Find a shop that is willing to share experiences and methods proven out on the road or trail to keep you moving. If you are an avid rider that has been at it for years, take the time and help out the newbie, more than likely he or she doesn’t have the knowledge or skill to really understand what a great sport this is. Give back!

Don’t get me wrong, having a new ride or some new equipment is great, as long it is good quality it will last you for years, but that is not what is important, just get out there and ride, find some peace, and above all have fun.

Just a thought…..

Onwards and Upwards, right?

So this is our first blog…ever!  I know, it’s hard to believe but it’s true, we’re on virginal ground, lol.  So I was hoping this could be integrated into our new website but unfortunately we had to set up a different site, so hopefully we can stay on top of this as well as the website.

Basically, this part of our site is just to list whatever we have on sale or just to put our musings into the world wide interweb.  We’ll try really hard not to complain as the world is bombarded with enough negativity and hopefully we can share our tips and tricks so that everyone can become a better cyclist, not just for themselves but for others as well.

Thanks for reading!

Simple tips for training indoors

Hey Everyone

As we all whine and complain about the weather, and try to find excuses not to get on the trainer,(though we all know we should) there are a multiple ways to get us on, and keep us from going brain dead on our bikes as our legs spin out the required km.

1.  Mix up the music:  for me music is very motivating on the bike, but keep an ear on the beat and try to match it up with the workout you are doing.  Making a playlist on a streaming music website can really help with motivation and keep your brain awake.

2.  Watch videos:  Movies, documentaries, race videos, whatever tickles your fancy.  Just make sure you aren’t working out on a set of rollers while watching a bicycle racing video, that could end badly.

3.  Read a book:  I know this seems difficult to do, but there are products out there that allow you to lay a book on a handlebar mounted “shelf”.

4.  Silly but true:  Face your trainer and bike in a different direction, I know this sounds a bit hokey but it does work for some people.

5.  A really good fan:  Sweating your butt off is not the measure of a good workout, though a lot of info on the net would say differently.  Keep your temp down and you can work harder.  A good focused fan can make the difference between an enjoyable workout and a very unpleasant wet one.

6.  Goals:  this is harder to pin down, but if you have a epic ride, event, or charity ride it can really help with “doing the work”.  Nobody wants to get caught with their pants down when there is 100 km ride you are not prepared for.

7.  Funky juice:  This works for many of my students, one bottle filled with water, and the other filled with a beverage of your choice, no not beer or wine, more like juices or energy mixes.   Be inventive, vary it up.  Remember though, if you are using energy mixes that contain sugars, that will convert into potentially unwanted calories.

So seven tips so far, and none of them make the ride much easier, but think about all that endurance/power/strength/speed you can gain…. if you just get on and ride.


Van de Velo