Monday, December 29, 2008

And the number of the count shall be......

That's right, it is that time of year again.....inventory countin' time! I guess the only thing good about the current counting is the relative ease versus several years ago. Not that many years ago, we would count everything and write it out long hand on pieces of notebook paper. Each line would be entered into a spread sheet with columns for description and quantity. Then it was off to the invoices, catalogs and memory bank to assign costs to each item. It was rough when different distributors had different prices for the same item and we had no way to tell who sold us a particular Shimano Deore XT derailleur. I would manage to spread out this misery for a couple of weeks to come up with a number that was in the ballpark at best. Fast forward to today with each item being tracked on the computer. It is just a matter of calling up the entire inventory, printing it off and comparing the "should have" to the "do have" number. Once the counts are corrected, we get a nice exact (and accurate) inventory amount. All of this can be done in a day or two which is nice. The bad part is having to reconcile the counts. Every time the actual count differs from the computer count, we have to figure out why. Not fun. So if you call us this week and we seem to be grumpy, now you know why!

On another note, I talked to Grab On today about some original style MTN-1 grips. This grip has been around forever and has always been a popular item. The grip is still available but they are using a lower density foam to keep the costs down. The current foam is an 18-24 pound foam while the originals used a 46 pound foam. This made the original grips much firmer plus longer lasting. They are willing to make us a run of the grips using the original weight foam. There seems to be a decent amount of interest in the project, so we will likely order them in the next week and were told to expect a 3-4 week turnaround. So if you like a nice firm grip or are looking for a grip that looks appropriate on your vintage bike, give us a shout in a month or so.

Friday, December 19, 2008

MOMBAT press release

We sent out a MOMBAT press release, announcing the museum, to about 75 different outlets so it will be interesting to see what comes of it. So fat, Gary at Bike Radar, has picked it up . Karen, from Dirt Rag, wants some pictures so hopefully we'll get something there as well.

Here is what we sent around.


Museum of Mountain Bike Art & Technology Opens

Statesville, NC – December 18, 2008 – The sport of mountain biking is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary in 2009, and leading the celebration is The Museum of Mountain Bike Art & Technology, a recently opened museum that preserves and chronicles the evolution of the sport, it’s personalities and products.

In the mid 1970’s, the mountain bike sprang to life as a grassroots effort by a small group of riders in Marin County, California, who converted balloon-tired cruisers into trail bikes by removing superfluous equipment and installing knobby tires. The first purpose-built off road bikes were made in the late 1970's when the term “Mountain Bike’ was first used to describe them, and the sport grew rapidly worldwide in the following years. The original mass produced mountain bike, the Specialized Stumpjumper, arrived in stores in 1981. An example of this model now resides in the Smithsonian Institution, and a similar model is displayed at the Museum of Mountain Bike Art & Technology (MOMBAT).

Technological innovation is evident in the bicycles featured at MOMBAT, with the evolution of front and rear suspension designs, hydraulic disc brakes and the progression from five to 27 gears over the life of the sport. Frame materials also evolved, from basic steel tubes to wildly shaped and extremely lightweight composites and metals. Artistic design and construction is also found on bikes and components as some of the best examples of bicycle fabrication are on display at the museum, including details ranging from experimental to innovative and artful.

The museum’s collection contains over 400 bicycles, including more than 250 mountain bikes. Displayed alongside the bicycles at MOMBAT are hundreds of vintage parts and accessories and thousands of pieces of literature, including period catalogs and magazines that follow the evolution of the sport.

“With our location near the intersection of two major interstates, the museum is convenient for anyone traveling in the area, and we’ve had visitors from all around the U.S. and overseas as well.” said, Jeff Archer, the museum’s curator.

The museum also sponsors the Cackalacky Cup, an increasingly popular vintage-themed mountain bike festival that takes place each summer.

MOMBAT is located within First Flight Bicycles in historic downtown Statesville, NC. Admission is free and the museum is open to the public Monday-Friday, 10-6 and Saturday, 10-5. Visitors are welcomed and encouraged to take their time to view the exhibits. Those unable to visit the museum in person, can view much of the collection on the MOMBAT website, at

Jeff Archer
216 S. Center St.
Statesville, NC 28677
(704) 878-9683

Feel free to distribute it to anyone who might be interested. Thanks to Greg and Captain Dondo for helping us out on this little project.

Monday, December 15, 2008

An uncommon Thread

Last Thursday was an all-day meeting for the Carolina Thread Trail. The Thread Trail is an effort to get 15 counties to work together to unify their respective green-way plans. Within these 15 counties, there are probably 75 different municipalities that will need to get along. I am sure getting these folks to play together is like the proverbial kitty herding. The 800 pound gorilla smack dab in the middle of this 15 county universe would be Charlotte which makes all the other towns look like little satellites orbiting the Charlotte "Sun" while trying not to get pulled in and obliterated. The idea is to get each municipality to share their plan while using the counties to fill in the blank space between the towns. In Iredell County, home of Statesville, we have 3 towns plus the county government. What we need to do is get Mooresville, Troutman and Statesville working together to form their own plans and then get Iredell County to join the three plans together. Then Iredell county works with the adjacent counties to plan joining spots at the county borders. Hypothetically, when connected, there could be 500 miles of trails connected together!! This is a huge project and the talk is of 20+ years which likely means 40+ but it has to start somewhere.

Anyway, Thursday brought together 200 of these planners to listen to experts at each phase of green-way building: planning, funding, opposition, construction, maintenace and the selling of the concept to landowners. It sure made for a long day but it was a great learning experience. We even had an exercise at the end where you had to plan and build a trail on a map with your team members. It was interesting to balance the desires of different user groups with the given budget.

All in all, a great (but long) day. We even worked with the organizers to give away a Trek 4300 Disc mountain bike to one of the participants. If you get a chance, check out their web site at

Monday, December 8, 2008

Trail work @ the Itusi

We've been gearing up for another big work day at the Itusi Trail. The new loop, when completed, will bump us up to nearly 20 miles of volunteer built trail! bOb and I have been using the machines to rough cut the trail and on December 13, we will be having a large scale work day. This is what we will be working on: Photobucket

This section is definitely going to be a little tighter and more technical than the existing trail. If you get a chance, come out and help.

December 13, 2008
9:00 - 1:00
Bring your bike and ride the existing trail after trail work.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Itusi Trail web page

Forgot to mention that I have been working on improving the Itusi Trail web site. You can check on the progress @

Don't forget that we are having a work day on 12/13 from 9-2. We will be working on the new Phase IV which will give us close to 20 miles of trail when finished!

Store remodeling

Here are a couple of quick pictures of a few of the remodeling projects that we have going one:

Shorts rack on the new porch:

Water bottle "flower boxes":

Work in progress on the clothing racks for the back wall. I think they will end up looking a little different than these but this will give you an idea.