Bicycle Outfitters Opens in Winchester, VA

They were busy until late last night, but the Bicycle Outfitters team, family and friends pulled it off. They’re open! I was in the shop around 7:30 pm on Friday night, and there was a lot of work to do, but boy did they accomplish a lot before midnight.

The shop is stocked with every conceivable bicycle, bicycle part, bicycle accessory and food supplement for the rider on the go. There is clothing for mountain bikers and road bikers. They have shoes, helmets, pedals, tubes, tires, bottle cages, bike computers, and just about anything a bicycle enthusiast could want. It’s truly a bicycle candy story that delivers.

Mark Werner, Dave Ballinger and Doug Graham (the store manager) have worked tirelessly to get the new store up and running. I bet these guys never saw themselves on their knees installing a new lament floor, but you do what you have to do when you believe in your product, and they believe. Their dedication to your bicycling experience is total and complete.

Mechanics, Gary and Jacob have a fully supplied bike maintenance department ready to take on your toughest bike issues. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bent wheel, a component change or just a seasonal tune-up, they’ve got you covered. You couldn’t ask for two better bicycle maintenance pros. They tune my bikes, and I wouldn’t hand my toys over to anybody else. You can depend on them for top quality service every time.

Drop by the new Bicycle Outfitters location at 621 B W Jubal Early Drive, or give them a call at 540-431-5525. You’ll be impressed with the store, the service and most of all the commitment the owners and employees have to the bicycle community. Winchester, VA is happy to welcome Bicycle Outfitters to our area.

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Bicycle Outfitters is Coming to Winchester, VA

Bicycle Outfitters is Coming to Winchester, VA

OK, Winchester, I have some inside information for you. There is another bicycle store coming to Winchester. Yes, a third bicycle shop, and you ask, “Do we really need a third bike shop?” What kind of question is that? Of course we need a third bike shop. As a two wheel geek, I love the idea of more bikes, riding gear and competition in the biking community.

How did I come by this inside information? My electrical contracting company is doing the wiring for the new store. Bicycle Outfitters will be the latest addition to the local bike enthusiast’s carbon fiber candy stores.

Bicycle Outfitters was established in 1988 as a sales and service bike store. They currently have stores in Leesburg, VA and Brambleton, VA. They carry a great line of bikes for riders of all levels. Their bike lines include, Trek, Gary Fisher, Cannondale, Felt, Giant and Raleigh. They have bikes for all ages, all sizes and all pocketbooks.

Bicycle Outfitters offers a full service department in each store. They pride themselves on great customer service and qualified mechanics who are dedicated to keeping your ride in top condition. No matter what level of bike rider you are, you can find a great bike at Bicycle Outfitters.

They’re also experts at fitting each rider to the right bike. Bike fitting is a science of aligning the human body with the right geometry in a bike. For instance, the length of the top tube, saddle height, angle of the knee at 6:00 o’clock and at the horizonal position make a big difference in a rider’s comfort level. If you’re not properly fit to a bike, you can develop pain in your knees, lower back, neck, shoulders, hands and wrists. Bicycle Outfitters will get you set up and ready for hours of fun cycling.

Look for a grand opening in mid-April 2014. The store will be located at 621 W Jubal Early Dr., Winchester, VA.

Everyday, the project gets a little closer and we are as excited about working on the building as the owners are for opening day. Is there room for another bike shop in Winchester, VA? You bet there is, and I welcome Bicycle Outfitters to the Winchester, VA bike scene. I’ll see you there in April. Let’s roll!

Bicycle Outfitters is Coming to Winchester, VA

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Saving money on your electric bills, part 3

It’s always great to save money, and when you can save it monthly, it’s even better. This is the third installment of ways to cut your electric bills. In the first blog, I talked about using motion sensing switches and timers to turn lights on and off to keep from having lights on when no one is using the areas where the lights are on.

In the second blog, I dealt with one of the biggest electrical expenses in your home, the water heater. If you have an electric water heater, it consumes 15% of your electrical use. If you place an inexpensive timer on the water heater you can reduce that expense substantially. There is no reason to heat your water while you’re asleep, on vacation or at work.

Today, I want to talk about another way to cut electrical expenses. Lighting in a home is always a continuous electrical draw. The cost of having lights on, combined with the costs of buying replacement lamps, is one expense that is continually present in most homes.

A typical A-line incandescent lamp costs about $.75 today. Depending on where they are made, you will change them more often or not. A good quality lamp will cost more than $1.00. Low-end foreign made lamps (and most incandescents are made out of the country) may only cost $.25, but you may replace them more often because of poor quality controls in foreign manufacturing facilities. The other drawback of incandescent lamps is that they are full on all the time. Once they are turned on, the power consumption is constant.

Compact fluorescents are an alternative to incandescents in that they last longer (10 to 20 times) and they draw less electricity once they are ignited. One negative side to CFLs is the expense.  They will typically costs 5-10 times the costs of an incandescent lamp. Another negative is their ability to cause some people health related problems, such as, headaches. Fluorescent lamps flicker at a very high rate. The eye may not see it, but the brain picks it up, and it can cause weariness.

They are also less likely to be dimmable if you want to use them in areas where mood lighting is warranted. More expensive CFL capable dimmers may change that, but the expense may not make that a desirable choice. I appreciate the money saving features of fluorescent lamps, but I don’t like the hue of the light they produce.

The newest and more desirable lamp on the market is the LED. Light emitting diode lamps are the newest and best re-invention of the lamp since Edison created his first lamp in 1879. The LED has a significantly longer life than both incandescent and fluorescent lamps. They consume considerably less electricity and produce an equivalent wattage at a lower costs.

The biggest draw back on LEDs is expense. A typical 60 watt equivalent LED will costs approximately $13. That’s the rub. The plus is that it will last around 50000 hours. A typical A-line incandescent lamp is rated at 1000 hours. If you think of it in those terms, a good incandescent lamp will cost you about $50 in replacement costs over 50000 hours. So, the savings could be $37 per lamp in your replace it with an LED.

The LEDs also burn cooler cutting down on the heat they radiate into your home. The light is more natural and comfortable than a CFL, and it is consumes less electricity overall. Some companies have also designed new recessed rings for recessed light fixtures that have the LED light built in. The cost of the rings is around $25 depending on the manufacturer. The life of these rings equals that of the independent lamps that can be placed in any light fixture.

LED is the light of the future. They provide a truer light than a CFL, and they last longer and costs less in the long run. If you’re thinking of simple ways to reduce your electric bill, consider changing your light bulbs with LEDs and see the difference. They can be purchased at most big box hardware stores and most general retailers.



Saving on your electric bills, part 2.

It would be difficult to exist without electricity. We’ve come to depend on it to light our homes, cook our food and even to charge our electronic devices. It’s essential, but it can be expensive. In a previous blog, I talked about a couple ways to reduce your electricity consumption. Today, I want to take that another step forward.

The one item in most homes that constantly consumes a lot of electricity is the water heater. I’m sure you’ve probably heard that a water heater timer can save you money, but how much money? If you realize that your electric water heater is 15% of your total electric bill, you can soon calculate the savings by cutting back on the power consumption of that one device.

A typical electric timer from Intermatic or Tork will cost you about $50.00. If you install it yourself, you can start saving right away and you will likely recoup your expense in a couple months. There are two times in most homes that water consumption reaches its peak. That is in the morning and in the late afternoon to mid-evening.

In my house, I decided there was no reason to heat water at 2:00 am. So, I set my water heater to turn off at 8:00 pm and to come back on at 5:30 am. It goes off again at 10:00 am and comes back on at 3:00 pm.

If the water isn’t being used throughout the day, it will stay hot most of the day. If you find that you need more hot water, you can manually turn the heater back on, or you can change your timer settings.

My heater is off 14.5 hours a day. I only pay to heat my water for 9.5 hours a day. Newer water heaters have great insulation jackets built in, but if you have an older model, an insulation jacket may be picked up at most hardware stores. It also pays to insulate the pipes for at least the first 15 feet from the unit. If you can go further, it’s better even better.

You can also change your water heater to a tank-less water heater. There are positive and negative sides to a tank-less system. Make sure you do your research related to the costs of equipment, installation expenses and estimated savings per year. How long will it take you to recover your investment and then begin monthly saving? A water heater timer will return your investment in a few months or less. For most of us, this is the fastest and least expensive way to save on hot water.