Riding is the Best Kind of Meeting
by Patria Lanfranchi
This past weekend, I had the chance to ride for Team Shimano at the Best Buddies Challenge from Boston to Hyannis, a 100-mile ride that raises a lot of money for Best Buddies. You've likely heard of them, but you might not know the impact that they have in the lives of people. They are dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Having two days with Shimano meant talking a lot about what's happening with technology and the future of Shimano and all sorts of related products. I was amongst a group who are very technically minded and they geek out on the cool stuff. The hot topic is Shimano electronic Di2 shifting. Soon mountain bikes will be equipped with Di2 and, with a small addition of a sensor, your bike computer will be able to tell you what gear you're in--no more looking down to see which cogs your chain is sitting on. I saw a lot of Di2 bikes ridden amongst team members (I'm one of those riding Di2 on my Seven Evergreen and I have been extremely impressed with how well it works*).
We had a good time talking about what's coming out as well as how Shimano and other bike shop owners and fitters solve interesting challenges. The new technology and options are making riding better in very noticeable ways. There is a lot of solid engineering and testing behind the new products we're seeing.
Among what's new is: 11-speed drivetrains, disc hydraulic road brakes, electronic shifting, impressive lighting options battery- and generator-driven, new action camera options, and fancy technology in GPS, touch-screen bike computers. These are the first to pop to mind, there are so many others.
Is it a blessing or curse that we in New England have so many roads that go in many different directions, constantly changing names, that it's nearly impossible to do a long ride without a multiple page cue sheet or a GPS bike computer? I'll leave the answer to that for another day, but it's yet one more excuse to buy a new toy: the Garmin Edge 1000 which I used for the first time on this ride. Coming from spending a lot of time with the Edge 800 and 810 models, moving to the 1000 is a breeze. I'll post my full impressions of this unit as soon as I've had a chance to give it a test in a less structured environment (read: when I get to go off-road with it). Between this unit, the Garmin Touring Plus, and the simple, economical Garmin Edge 200, it seems there is a bike computer out there that will strike a good balance for every kind of rider who values some kind of mapping functionality. (We have all of these and a few other models on our shelves.)
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