A bit of cycling history...

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cycling history?  It could be a great rider like Eddy Merkyx or classic races like Paris-Roubaix and the Giro d’ Italia.  When it’s narrowed down to cycling equipment, the bike that best conjures up images of history is the Italian company of Bianchi, which boasts an amazing 130-year history, not to mention one of the most recognized paint colors in all of sport; the unmistakable “Bianchi Blue” or “Celeste.” 

The history of one of the world’s top bicycles started back in 1885 when then 21-year-old Edoardo Bianchi opened his small bicycle shop focusing on repairs in Milan’s via Nirone.  After just 3 years in the business, he created his first bicycle and as soon as 1896 began using his bicycles in races as a testing ground, which was a totally new concept at the time.  Within 3 years of entering the racing scene, Bianchi Bicycles had their first international victory in the Grand Prix of Paris, the prelude to the Tour de France.

He is also credited with originating a manufacturing concept called “Reparto Corse” which literally translates to: “racing department.” This revolutionary process intends to “create for the purpose of winning.”  By utilizing the race environment to rigorously test his products, Bianchi was able to dramatically improve the bikes that reached the average rider. In Italy today, you see the revolutionary and highly effective “Reparto Corse” process applied in companies like Ferrari, Ducati and Alfa Romero.  Using this philosophy to guide the development of his bicycles, Bianchi became “the” brand of bicycle racing in the early 20th century.

Bianchi was frequently ahead of his time.  For example, he was the first bicycle manufacturer to create a bicycle with pneumatic tires (air.)  He is also credited with creating the first women’s bike in 1895 as a special commission for Queen Margherita, at Villa Reale in Monza. Bianchi travels to court to present the bicycle and provide riding lessons to the Queen.  He invented the first mountain bike in 1915, which was developed for the “bersaglieri,” the elite Italian light infantry division during World War I. With these achievements, Edoardo Bianchi became known as the grandfather of the modern bicycle, just as Henry Ford is considered the grandfather of the automobile.

In between the World Wars, Bianchi continued to develop his line of bicycles and win many races, like the Giro d'Italia and Giro di Lombardia.   In 1940, the great Italian Champion Fausto Coppi began to ride for Team Bianchi. During World War II, the factory was destroyed by bombs, but was eventually rebuilt in 1946.  Around this time their famous bluish-green color “celeste” or “Bianchi Blue” was created.  There are some of the theories (or myths) as to where this highly recognized color came from:

  • Edoardo created the color in honor of Italy’s Queen Margherita’s beautiful eyes. 
  • It was Eduardo’s homage to Milan and its beautiful sky, or “celeste”.
  • Bianchi had so much surplus green paint from Mussolini’s WWII reign that they mixed it with blue to create a unique color.
  • Edoardo created it to be a unique standout in the peloton and through a few different variations, the color naturally developed to what it is today.
  • Still another story was that celeste was a complete paint mixing mistake done on the team bikes only days before the Giro d’Italia. Fausto Coppi and his teammates thought the bikes were purposely painted that way for good luck.
  • Wherever the color originated (it looks more green than blue), it remains one of the most recognized and sought after colors in sport.  

Today, Bianchi bicycles continue their use of the “Reparto Course” concept and outfit the best professional riders in the world.  

Bianchi USA, based in Northern California (Hayward), realizes that continuing their successful history requires a lot of hard work and dedication.  Keeping up with the aggressiveness of other manufacturers like Trek and Specialized is a difficult task.

“As a world-wide company, the main message that Bianchi wants to get across to its consumers is that it doesn’t matter if you are a pro racer or a club rider. Our new bikes, the pro level, technically advanced 928 SL or the more recreational Coast to Coast model meet all levels of need. The bottom line is that Bianchi has a bike that’s right for you,” said Mark Ashley, Bianchi USA’s National Sales Manager.

With more history than any other bike company in the world comes the experience needed to design a superb product. “Our experience has given Bianchi a great foundation for moving forward and is why Bianchi continues to design products that are at the technological cutting edge while simultaneously meeting consumer demands,” said Ashley.

Sometimes having a great history causes a company to fall back on their past achievements: Bianchi, however, feels compelled by their history to continue creating the best products available and ones that would make Eduardo proud.

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Why did I crash?

The worst kind of crash is the one leaving us with the very question; how did this happen?

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Nothing invokes more fear and trepidation about getting back on the bike than not understanding why we crashed in the first place.  If we don’t know the reason for the crash, how are we to ensure it doesn’t happen again?

As a result of a crash, one of two scenarios typically happen:

1.     We stop riding in situations that are similar to which were present when we crashed.  For example, if we crashed while descending, we stop choosing routes that have significant descents.   If we crashed on a group ride, we may avoid riding with friends and teammates.

2.     We muster up the strength to get back on the bike and convince ourselves that it won’t happen again and simply hope for the best.

Either of these two choices has negative ramifications.  If we choose to alter the type of riding we do to avoid the possibility of crashing; we allow fear and uncertainty to rob us of our passion.  Secondly, if we jump right back onto the bike without a full understanding what caused the crash, we are asking for trouble and may end up with a short lived cycling hobby as the potential for injury is high.

So what is the solution to safe and confident riding?

Check the ego at the door
Understand that just because we’ve ridden bikes from a very early age, that doesn’t mean that we were taught the key fundamentals of safe riding.  We often hear, “I’ve been riding all sorts of bikes my whole life.   I know what I’m doing.”   While that is most often the case, how many were taught these key safety components

  • Utilizing proper vision
  • Understanding energy/weight dynamics
  • Understanding and establishing the true apex on different types of turns
  • Using reference points to your advantage
  • How counter steering plays a role in cornering a bike
  • How to protect yourself during a group ride
  • Most of us were not taught any of these essential skills that are the essential ingredients to safe riding.

Invest in yourself and make the commitment
You’ve spent thousands of dollars on an amazing bicycle and have the best gear to match. You have committed to the sport of cycling and hope to continue for a lifetime.  Recognize that you may further enjoy cycling with the additional competence, confidence, and safety that learning bike skills provides.

Understand that learning skills is just that, it’s a learning process and it takes time.   Everyone starts at a different skill level and progresses at different rates.   It’s just like using your phone to find and drive somewhere.  Know where you are starting, where you are going and how to get there.


In summary, these two elements are necessary to become a safer, and a more competent bike rider. You must be open to the idea that there is more to this thing that simply doing what you have always done. Albert Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results”.

We love teaching bike handling skills at Athleticamps. We have built a proven method that has a long history of helping riders become safer, confident, and subsequently more effective on the bike.

To learn more about us and our S.A.F.E approach to helping riders become better at handling the bicycle in all conditions, click here.

Ride safe, ride strong

The Athleticamps coaching team

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The benefits of consistent performance assessment

Working with thousands of athletes of all levels of experience has revealed one trait they have in common: those that show the most improvement are the ones that regularly use performance testing to track their progress.  Most cyclists are familiar with using a power meter to track their output when riding, however, both testing and tracking are necessary elements to help athletes improve, reach goals and enjoy their sport more.

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Colby came to us 6 months ago with lacking focus in his training.  He was consistent in his riding, but showed little improvement.  After an in-depth discussion and review of his current program there were four main objectives we implemented immediately:

  • Bike fitting - he told us he had significant discomfort on the bike. A rider that can't focus on training because they are uncomfortable will be limited in their fitness improvement.
  • Specific event goals  - Colby has no desire to race, but wishes to improve his fitness, travel to some cool events and step outside his comfort zone to achieve them (he did by the way!)
  • Weight goals - Determine and track attainable weight goals
  • A comprehensive testing program - We test for two main reasons:  1) to objectively determine heart rate and power training zones, 2) track progress and determine what is and what is not working in your program.

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After working with Colby for 6 months, here is what we were able to determine based on two test sessions:

  • Weight dropped 3 kilos and body fat percentage decreased from 17% to 13%.
  • His wattage at lactate threshold increased from 187w to 214w which is an increase of 12.7%
  • His watts per kilo at 4 mMols of lactate (near lactate threshold) increased from 2.8 to 3.3 w/kilo which is an increase of 15%.
  • The goal is to "shift the lactate curve to the right" so at any level of lactate production, his watts are higher.  In Colby's case, you can see this quite clearly.
  • He also performed Max VO2 tests and increased his max wattage 8% and his VO2 Max went from 52.4 to 57.4 mL/kg/min which is an increase of 9%.

During this time period Colby trained an average of 6-10 hours per week and accomplished his event goals.  We just met again and planned out 2018's goals!  We love working with athletes like Colby whose love of the sport and desire to improve is infectious.

Ride safe and ride strong,

The Athleticamps coaching team

Not a Bike Fit, a Comprehensive Bike-Fitting Solution

"If I had to summarize it in a single word, I would probably use 'AMAZING.' Truly, I couldn't be happier. The bike feels like a new ride. Totally different on the road. Per your post-fit instructions, I did a few shorter rides to adapt my body to the new position, then went on a longer ride over the weekend. During these rides, I felt like I could really push myself and grow in strength. I 'thought' I was comfortable on the bike but until I did your Retül fit, I didn't really know what comfort was." Steve B. (Sacramento, CA.)

Athleticamps fitting process utilizing retul

Athleticamps fitting process utilizing retul

It doesn't matter if you are a beginner or a pro tour rider, being setup correctly on your bike is a must.  That sounds pretty straightforward and simple. And in most places, bike fitting is a cookie-cutter process of applying tools to figure out body-to-bike geometries. But that’s not what we do here—because cookie-cutter solutions only work on cookies. Humans are far too complex to fit into a one-size-fits-all system. Instead, we’ve spent years developing a holistic process that incorporates the complexities of each rider to create uniquely individual fit and position solutions.

Here’s what each of our professional fits includes:

Interview you
We start by getting to know you, your cycling history, how often you ride, your goals, and any issues related to achieving an optimal fit.

Conduct a pre-fit biomechanical assessment
Developed by a physical therapist, our assessment allows us to evaluate your cycling-related flexibility and core strength and how they relate to the fitting process. The assessment helps us understand any physical issues you’re having and allows us to create a personal home program plan for off-the-bike work that will improve your comfort and performance.

Provide a foot analysis
Your feet are the foundation of your pedal stroke. When your feet are incorrectly aligned, painful, or not functioning as they should, your cycling suffers (and so do you). We use FootBalance technology, because it’s the best we’ve found, to diagnose issues and quickly custom craft a product that addresses comfort, power, and efficiency issues for a stronger, more relaxed foot. If you wish to, you can purchase the fully customized inserts and use them in any shoe. 

Take measurements
Before and after your fit, we use Retül's Zin digital measuring tool to take detailed measurements of your bike with millimeter accuracy.  The measurements let you see the changes made on the bike during the fit process and give a detailed record of your final setup.

Use state-of-the art Retül technology
All fits use 3D motion analysis to guide the fitting process. Old-school plumb bobs and goniometers can’t compare to new-school motion-capture technology. Measuring your fit while you are pedaling your bike gives a far more accurate result than older methods that try to determine your fit while you are in a fixed position (static fit.)

Explain all changes
We believe it’s important for you to understand what we’re doing and why. We explain every adjustment we’re making and how they will improve your comfort, performance, and economy.

Review recommended off-bike exercises
The majority of athletes that visit us need to work on issues off the bike that create problems when they’re riding. After every fit, we go over specific strength and flexibility exercises with you so that you leave the fit knowing exactly what you have to do to achieve more balanced structural fitness. 

Deliver your report
You receive a detailed report via email with 24 hours of your visit. The report contains our notes, before-and-after measurements of the bike, before-and-after data captures of you in motion, and before-and-after pictures.  We also keep your data and reports on our system for easy reference should you buy a new bike, add a new component, or simply have a question.

In addition to our proven fitting process, there are a few other reasons to choose us for your bike fit:

Independence
Another benefit of working with us is that we’re independent professionals who are not connected to a company that’s trying to sell products. Our lack of company affiliation allows us to maintain an objective, product-neutral approach, so that we can freely recommend what’s truly best for you. We have a variety of replacement parts and brands available and choose the best components that compliment your fit and budget.

Saddle library demo program
We understand that your saddle is probably the biggest contributor to bike comfort. When needed, we take during your fit to understand your body and riding style and help you find a saddle that gives you long-lasting comfort and performance. Our saddle library demo program allows you to try out saddles to determine which is best for you.

Priority service
We have an outstanding long-term relationship with nearby Folsom Bike shop, which gives our clients priority on any changes we can’t do at our training center. For example, if you need new cabling installed, Folsom Bike will give you priority in getting the work done.

Time sensitivity
We know your time is valuable. We maintain and appointment-based system and stay on time to deliver your services in the estimated time so that you can plan your visit accordingly. 

Welcoming atmosphere
Our training studio offers a relaxed, professional feel where you can be assured you are receiving the attention you deserve.

Long-term care
As a full-service training center, we view your improved performance as our product. That’s why we take a complete approach that includes coaching, skills training, performance testing, and structural health. It’s also why we’re here whenever you have questions or need advice on progressing to the next level. 

Check out all our bike fitting services and call or email to setup an consultation or appointment today