Yesterday, I posted PART ONE of this interview with J.D. Clement of Palo Alto Bicycles. J.D. has been entrenched in the Bike Industry for years – working professionally for California Giant and BMC Pro Cycling as well as a number of bike shops in the San Francisco Bay Area. He’s currently wrenching for Palo Alto Bicycles. In Part 2 today, J.D. shares with us a few tips about caring for your bike and some Group Ride tips:
Tell us a bit about Palo Alto Bicycles.
I now work at Palo Alto Bicycles and absolutely love it. There are a lot of hard working people there that make the shop a great place. I can learn something new there every day and I have been around for quite some time now. Working with racers and teams is very fun, but working in a shop is far more enjoyable because of the customer. Great customers make the days fun and enjoyable. I am able to talk with multiple people each day not only about their bicycles, but their family, jobs, life struggles, and fun times. The cycling community is something that is great to be apart of and I am able to interact with tons of different personalities each day that are part of the community.
As a bike mechanic, what’s the biggest thing that most riders neglect in keeping up their bikes?
The best thing someone can do with their bicycle is replace the cables and chain. These parts can wear down faster than some might think and if replaced often enough your bike can be running as smooth as the first day you bought it. Over time the cables gum up and even though the bike will still shift into each gear it can lose a crispness that it should have. Because this takes some time to happen it can be easy to forget what the shifting was like when we rolled out on our first ride. Yes, bike parts do wear out and most bikes out on the road can be considered high performance machines, but with proper maintenance a bike that has a lot of miles on it can still ride like a brand new bike. At home, the best bicycle care is simply to wash the bike. Warm soapy water and a gentle shower can turn a dirty bike into a happy bike.
Why do you love the San Francisco peninsula for riding?
I love this area for riding simply because there are so many places to ride. I have lived in a lot of beautiful places. Lake Tahoe and Jackson Hole are two of the most beautiful, but in terms of road riding it is very hard to put together a great ride unless you want to ride fifty or sixty miles. Here we have short loops and long loops. I can ride to Skyline and back in an hour or I can ride out to the coast and back for a long ride. West Alpine is by far my favorite road to ride on. Check it out for a great climb. (Palo Alto Bicycles website has great local rides listed HERE.)
Any group ride tips for riders thinking of jumping in a group?
Jumping into a group ride can be tough. A lot of group rides are pretty fast and there is unspoken etiquette that can be hard to figure out. It is, after all, unspoken. The best advice I can give when joining a group ride is make sure you know someone else that does the ride so they can give you advice on how to ride and be safe. Also, be honest with your own abilities. Some group rides are faster paced, riders and bikes are closer together, and the roads are tougher to ride. Start slow and be safe. It is, after all, a group ride and not a race. Truthfully though, the group ride always turns into a race. Always have fun with it though. Group rides can provide an amazing amount of fun and community on the bike.
Palo Alto Bicycles, founded in 1930, is the most established and storied shop in the San Francisco area. You can find J.D. most days behind the service counter at the shop on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto. If you need a tune-up, overhaul, or bike build, he’s the man. Be sure to stop in and say hello!