Cycling as Fitness with Bryant McGee

Bryant is one of our newest customers and local bike enthusiasts. He has been riding for around 6 months now and his passion for cycling grows more by the day! If you see him out on the road, tag along; you're in for a great ride. 


What kind of bike do you have?

I ride an Emonda ALR 4 that I purchased from the Spinning Spoke in November of 2016.

What’s your favorite aspect of cycling? 

My favorite aspect of cycling would be the competition of cycling whether it is trying to beat your own PR's on Strava or racing against a group of friends you are riding with. Being a competitive person, it is easy for me to stay motivated to ride even on the cold or windy days.

How has cycling improved your fitness level?

The reason I got on the bike was for the physical benefits the sport brings. In a little over five months of riding as a beginner I have already rode over 1,300 miles and lost 30+ pounds on the bike and have had a blast doing it! Cycling has quickly become a lifestyle for me. I am always looking forward to the next time I can hop on the bike and ride!

What’s the most fun aspect of cycling to you?

Before I started cycling I would have thought this was crazy, but my favorite part of cycling is the suffering you endure as you ride. I enjoy pushing myself to and even past the limits I thought I had, whether I am crushing climbs or flying down the other side of it, I love to push myself and to improve my performance every day. One thing that I have heard a lot since I started riding that I have found to be 100% true is that “It never gets easier, you just get faster!”

Why ride Trek?

The reason you should choose Trek is the same reason why I did. Trek gives you a line of some of the highest quality bikes on the market at a cheaper price than many of their competitors. The reason I chose the Emonda is that Bicycling Magazine named it the 2016 Bike of the year last year. So, if you want a sweet bike that is high quality, comfortable, and customizable to your taste, choose Trek. 

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The Shoals Cycling Scene (David Cumbie)

David Cumbie is a valued customer, friend, and Shoals Cycling vet! There's lots to learn from him and we tried to pick his brain to provide a little more insight on the Shoals Cycling scene! If you're looking for a fun group ride, this is your guy. 


What kind of bike do you ride?

  I've currently got 3 bikes in the fleet, 2 road bikes and a TT bike.  My main ride is a 54 cm Orbea Onix full carbon road bike with Sram Force shifters, brakes and drivetrain.  The backup/trainer/bad weather bike is a 57 cm Orbea Lobular aluminum frame with carbon fork and rear triangle outfitted with Sram Rival.  The TT bike is 54 cm Orbea Ordu, full carbon, with mostly Dura Ace components....this is a sad bike cause it doesn't see the road much; I bought it to compete in duathlons and don't ride it much because I prefer riding with friends and the TT is more of a solo steed due to the handling characteristics.  


How long have you been cycling? What got you into it?

My first foray into cycling was back when 10 speed referred to the total gears available, not just the number of cogs on the cassette.  Steel was real and a light bike was anything under 25 lbs.  Shifters were still on the downtube and the 2 front chain rings were so close to the same gearing that I often didn't bother to shift them.  My bike was a Gitane Tour de France and I rode mostly solo for recreation and commuting some to college.  After getting married and going to work, priorities changed and I dropped the cycling until about 11 years ago.  At age 50, I found myself needing a little larger pant size than I preferred and figured a return to cycling would be good exercise.  Started riding again and got hooked up with the guys/gals of Shoals Cycling Club.  They gave me plenty of support and advice and as I've progressed some as a cyclist, I try to return this to other "newbies."  My focus on riding is to keep it fun and safe.  Riding with friends helps both.  I'm not into racing but am more of a recreational/endurance rider doing metric century and century rides. Even with having lost weight, I'm still a "big frame" guy and hills are a challenge.  I used to say "I never met a hill I didn't love to hate."  But with experience, I'm actually beginning to like the challenge of climbing, although you'll never see my name next to a Strava KOM on a climbing segment (or any other segments, lol).  

What’s your favorite aspect of riding in a group?  

The DRAFT!  I can "suck wheel" with the best; and if possible will sit there, preferably on third or fourth wheel and let others pull me all day long.  That 30-35% reduction in energy is sweet!  Also, I enjoy the comradery of riding with friends and the additional safety it can provide.  A group is more visible than solo, and it's always nice to have others available to lend a hand if you have a mechanical issue, or even worse, potentially an accident.  


What’s the most useful cycling accessory you use? 

That's tough...probably all my HiViz Bontrager clothing items.  Got arm warmers, leg warmers, jacket, shoe covers, sun sleeves, socks, gloves all in the HiViz.  When I'm on the road, I want to be seen!  


Where is your favorite place to ride in the shoals?

Man, it's hard to beat the Natchez Trace.  Good roads, great scenery,  varied terrain, moderate traffic that typically is respectful of cyclists, and few if any dogs to give chase.  Western Lauderdale county is a favorite also, partly because it's close to home, but also because the roads are well maintained, the traffic on most roads is relatively light and we ride in the area frequently enough to be a familiar presence.  With the network of roads, there are lots of route options here, for the beginner as well as intermediate/seasoned rider. 

chase frost and project one

In the world of cycling there are really no short cuts. To get faster, to have more endurance, to get more fit, you just have to spend time on the saddle. No one knows spending time on the saddle like our good friend Chase Frost. Read on as he tells us about his love for riding and how his recent Project One purchase has exponentially increased the amount of fun and success he has had on the road. 


Tell us how you got into cycling and how you’ve progressed as a cyclist. 

I started down the fitness road as a fairly overweight guy, approaching the big 3-0 and decided I didn’t want to be fat and old. So I started running with a local buddy, who dabbled in Tri. After a few months of running my buddy recommended I borrow a bike and go for a ride with him, the rest is history. I dabbled briefly in Triathlon, I hated to swim, I “kind of” loved the run, but man, when I was on the bike I was like a kid—pure love.


What’s the best thing about going with Trek's Project One? 

My first bike “snot rocket” was a Trek Alpha 2.1 56cm. I learned a whole lot with this bike it had too much of everything, reach, stack, head tube, stem. It was just a big and clunky bike. I dabbled with stems and spacers and just couldn’t get it quite right. In 2016 I bought “Betty” an Emonda SL6 and really begin to focus on my position and being as efficient as I could on the bike. By the time I was ready to by the Madone, my fit was pretty much dialed in and I knew exactly what I needed and wanted. The best thing about P1 is it makes this process simple, and affordable. You can customize every detail imaginable, from bars to cranks, shucks they even let you choose which bar tape you prefer. Pretty awesome. I highly recommend it.

You’re a married man now. Congrats! Do you and your wife pedal together?

Yes Sir! Thanks! We do actually and have from the beginning of our relationship. One of the very first times we “hung out”, I invited her to a Tuesday night shop ride. She rocked up on a box store bike with flat pedals and tennis shoes, her longest ride in the previous year was like 10-15 miles, and we headed out on the “blue loop”. She was a trooper, finished the ride like a champ, but man did I hear about it later in the relationship. She now rides a Trek Emonda S6 “Pearl” and I must say, she is pretty strong cyclist.


What does your riding week look like at a glance? 

I am a pretty routine person and the grind/structure and vanity of not missing any workouts, regardless of the conditions really makes me tick. I spend between 12-15 hours/week or 225-250 miles/week.

Through the week, I am on the bike no later than 5:30am and I am home by 7:00am or 7:30am.

Tuesday & Thursday: structured workout.

Wednesday & Friday :noodle for around 1.5-2hrs.

Saturday: We smash hard for 4-5 hours. It is painfully awesome, often times the last hour is spent in a pretty dark place, digging, clawing, turning yourself inside-out to find the end.

Sunday: SUNDAY MORNING WORLDS—ALDI—6am. This is the best ride of the week, everyone is trying to smash everyone. Everyone in the shoals should be at this one, it’s a blast!


Where’s the best place to ride in the Shoals?

Man, this is a very tough question to answer. In short: anywhere there are friends to ride with. We have a jamming awesome cycling community. There are TONS of options to ride every day, almost any time anyone wants. We have a pretty diverse terrain mix and we are fortunate to be able to ride flats or ups or rolling terrain anytime we want. I am a pretty big dude, I don’t go up very well but I really love to ride rolling terrain, the Mt. Mills-Wagnon Mt loop though Barton is a blast (after those wee little elevation spikes at the very beginning of both of them). I also love heading up Co Rd 7 or Butler Creek Road toward our neighbor state that is that horrible orange color. I will leave you with a Bordenism: there are no bad days on the bike.

Chris Borden gives the inside scoop

We caught up with our avid cyclist friend and Borden Dental race team champion Chris Borden and asked him about his cycling life and asked him to give us beginners some tips for when we're out there on the road! Is his secret to success in the socks or just some good ole' fashioned hard work? 


What was your first bike?
In April 2010, I settled on a brand spankin' new aluminum Trek 2.1 as part of my "be  less fat" program. It came with a shameful lack of blackness and a lifetime supply of spacers under the stem. Fortunately, my legs knew no better and began getting way faster along the way to weighing way less.

What do you ride now?
I have several horses in the stable these days, but I spend most of my miles aboard a Trek Madone that I ordered through Project One when the 9 model line was first introduced in 2016.

 I'd always kept a few different beater road bikes because there was no single perfect unicorn bike out there. With the release of the new Madone 9, Trek created an aerodynamic racing bike, at the minimum UCI weight limit, with double century comfort from the Isospeed decoupler built into the seat tube. That means it's plush enough to be a daily driver, it goes up as well as anything out there; and if the bike has a frame, it may as well be the slickest one on wheels, right? The Madone was a super simple decision; what's not to love?

What is your favorite cycling accessory?
A responsible man would say a packable gillet, coupled with the handling skills to don and stow on the go, is the single most useful bit of kit a southeastern cyclist has available. Our weather patterns are so variable, the light cycling vest really is an underutilized problem solver.

 But, my favorite?
That's absolutely got to be the socks. Life is way too short to wear dumb socks. And, a savvy eye might even spot a subtle correlation to sock game strength and podium position. It may not be science, but the competition sure isn't intimidated by a pair of black ankle socks.

Why go Project One?
 Project One is another big advantage Trek has over a lot of other manufactures. I have a funky bike fit and an "off the rack" bike means I'm paying for more new doodads to dump into the closet spares bin. Through Project One, I can essentially tailor the bike to fit the man. And as any finely tuned cyclist knows, the single most important thing about making the faster magic happen on race day is making the fit magic happen in the work shop.
As a bonus, Project One let me choose a "this bike cannot be too black" color pallet. Because of course, black is the fastest color. It's undeniable. *wink*

What tips would you give to a beginner road cyclist?

Your legs are stupid; they will do exactly what they are told. The bike is noble and true; it gives back what you put into it. The fastest way to way faster is out there between the white line and the yellow one. After all, riding the bike well is mostly about, well, riding the bike.

10 Stocking Stuffers Under $30 for Cyclists

You may be wondering what to get the cyclist in your life for Christmas. The bad news is you are running out of time! Christmas is just a week away, but don't worry - The Spinning Spoke Cycle Hub has you covered. We have put together a list of items that every cyclist wants to receive in his or her stocking.

1. Trigger Point Mini Foam Roller ($24.99)- Runners and cyclists alike will love this mini foam roller. It is small enough to carry to their next race, yet it packs all the punch of a full size foam roller. A foam roller is the gift that keeps on giving.

2. Swiftwick Socks (Starting at $12.99)- Don't let old socks slow you down!  These high quality compression socks wick away sweat for runners or cyclists and leave your feet feeling good for hours. Knowing that socks make great stocking stuffers, you can Buy 3 Pairs and Get 1 Pair FREE now until Christmas Eve. 

3. Honey Stinger Honey Waffle ($1.99 each)- These waffles are so tasty that one just isn't enough. Fortunately, they come in multiple flavors including Honey, Lemon, Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla, and Gingersnap. One of each sounds like a good idea.

4. Bontrager RXL Thermal Gloves ($24.99)- Several of our customers have shared with us that these are the best gloves they own. These gloves are flexible, warm, and reflective. What else could you want out of a pair of gloves?

5. Bontrager Arm Warmers ($29.99)- Just under $30, Bontrager's Arm Warmers are perfect for the cyclist that wants to ride all Winter. Arm warmers are perfect for layering, because they are easy to remove on the go if the temperature rises or you decide to bump up the intensity.

6. Vintage TREK Baseball Cap ($29.99)- Does the cyclist in your life love Trek as much as we do? If so, this will make a nice surprise. 

7. Spinning Spoke T-Shirt ($15)- Thanks to Heavy Color we just received new t-shirts. I hate to brag, but they are super comfortable and stylish.

8. Vintage TREK Beanie ($29.99)- Everyone needs a beanie when it is cold, and this one looks really cool!

9. CamelBak Big Chill Podium Waterbottle ($15.99)- This waterbottle holds 25 ounces and it is easy to use while riding.  Every cyclist will wish they had one of these in July.

10. GU Salted Caramel Energy Gel ($1.50 each)- GU's Salted Caramel Energy Gel is a fan favorite and makes a great stocking stuffer. You may want to take this opportunity to let the Salted Caramel lover in your life try GU's Salted Watermelon - a new fan favorite.

Still not sure what you should buy? Click Here to Buy a Gift Card. Now through December 24th you can Buy a $100 Gift Card and Get a $20 Gift Card FREE or Buy a $50 Gift Card and Get a $10 Gift Card FREE!


Last weekend, Billy Reid celebrated another year of fashion, food, music and friendship at their annual Shindig celebration. Hundreds of guests descended on The Shoals for the fun. We were honored to be included in the party. On Saturday afternoon we did a bike tour of Downtown Florence. The tour included a quick trip to UNA's Lion Habitat, a stop at the newly renovated Court Street Market, an educational tour of the Handy Home, and walk through of the Rosenbaum House. See if you can spot us in the video.