I’m into riding…
Hello. I’m Steve and I write the posts and manage the activity you see on this site. I’m probably a lot like you and most other riders you know – a committed and enthusiastic cyclist with a job, a family, a few other passions and generally a pretty full life. If it works within the budget, I’m always open to replacing, upgrading or adding a piece of gear that will help improve my riding performance and experience. But, there’s always new stuff coming out, features I’m not sure I understand or need, product jargon to learn that’s often hard to distinguish from marketing BS, and riders opening my eyes and filling my ears with ideas of what they think is making a difference for them.
It’s really hard for any of us to find the hours to do the research that will get us to a confident choice about what and where to buy that next thing that will make our riding better – to track down, read through and analyze all the information from so many sources and then hunt down the best places to buy the product, in inventory, with a good price and good service. No shop, site, magazine, reviewer, online forum, riding buddy or other sources I know of is doing this in an independent, comprehensive, comparative, disciplined, or rider-friendly way.
Doing the work for you…
I’m doing the work to solve that problem. I set up this site and later the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for my friends and anyone in the cycling community who can’t easily spend a lot of time trying to pick what may end up being the wrong piece of gear or pay more than they need to and who would prefer to spend their time riding their bike confident that they just made a great decision on something that boosts their cycling experience. My goal is to put you (and me) in the know about what cycling gear to get next and where to get it. It’s become a passion for me and I’m making the time to do it.
I and my fellow evaluators spend countless hours researching products for each review, talking with product experts and experienced cyclists, pulling the nuggets out of myriad expert reviews and user comments, and trying different products to figure this all out. We do this for products across an entire category, condense down what we’ve found into something that is easy for most anyone to read and understand, and make recommendations that will be right for most cycling enthusiasts. This is the way you would do it for yourself if you had the time, discipline and experience to make smart, objective, and confident choices. We make the time to do it for you (and it’s a heck of a lot of fun too).
The experience we bring…
Off the bike, I’m an engineer by training and work professionally as a business advisor. I ask a lot of challenging questions, have the analytical training to research and assess a lot of different types of information, and to pull things together in an insight-rich and decision-oriented way. My clients ask me to help them come up with solutions to tough issues and recommend answers to complex questions that take a lot of research, analysis, and judgment. I’ve tried to combine this professional training with my enthusiasm for and knowledge of cycling to put you in the know.
On the bike, I’ve been riding 5 or 6 days a week, about 3-4,000 miles a year for many years, outside from March through November and mostly on the trainer during the winter. I ride several road centuries most years, have added gravel riding to the mix, train with buddies, with a cycling club and on my own, and do every combination of training from distance rides to intervals to sprints to hill repeats and Zwift rides.
I have goals, follow a training program and track my stats. (It keeps me going.) My road disc brake bike is a Parlee Altum that has an endurance fit with a race bike feel. On gravel, I ride a Giant Revolt Advanced. When I started this site, I rode (and still occasionally do ride) a carbon fiber endurance rim brake road bike – a Specialized Roubaix SL3 Pro with Dura Ace components that cost about $3K back in the day. I’m regularly demoing or buying, trying out and then selling different wheelsets, components, clothing and accessories for reviews but own more than I’d like my wife to know about so I won’t get any more specific here.
I ride, mostly in the New England region of the United States where I live, because I love it and it keeps me in shape, clears my head and offers some friendly competition. I’ve broken my collar bone, femur and been hit by a car while riding. Still kicking it.
My friends Nate, Miles, and Aiyana also test gear and kit for In The Know Cycling reviews and add perspective and talents that complement or go beyond and, in some cases, well beyond mine.
Nate is a tester that sets the pace. Literally. He leads the fast group rides in our 300+ person cycling club including the Tuesday morning “Bullet Train” that moves along at 25-26 mph. He also finishes on the top step of the podiums for his busy-working-guy-with-wife-and-young-kids age group on some of the toughest hill climbs in the northeast. Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb, for example. He’s also a top CX racer and likes getting dirty on gravel. He’s got more bikes than I can list without getting him in trouble but they include Specialized S-Works Venge road disc and S-Works Tarmac rim brake bikes, a Cannondale cross bike, a Giant Revolt Advanced gravel bike, a fat bike, a commuter bike and who knows what else.
Miles is a Masters and Pro/1/2 racer. He does 35-40 races a year including crits, road races, stage races, CX and gravel grinders. He wins a bunch of them and is in the first group of finishers most of the time. This past year, he finished 7th in his age group crit at USA Nationals, 2nd in the Longsjo, won the Killington stage race, 10th overall in the Vermont Overland, and won a bunch of region crits and CX races. A fast dude. If you can ever catch him, or more likely get passed by him, you’ll see that he rides a Giant Propel Advanced SL Disc and a Cervelo R3. He’s got
several many, many more for each discipline but before he showed me all of them one day in his special clean-room bike lair that used to be a basement, I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Aiyana has raced around the world, has a career in finance, is raising a family, and still does 2-3hr rides 5-6 times a week because “my legs and lungs allow me to explore.” Superwoman. Damn good cyclist too. Tons of energy and enthusiasm and a whole lot of fun to ride with.
And the socks and jerseys she wears are special.
Aiyana seems to have a bike for every season and activity. She rides a Storck on the road, a retired BMC Time Machine on the trainer, and a classic Triumph townie for getting around town. Off-road, you’ll see her on a Velocity XC racing bike, a metal Specialized Stump Jumper for mountain biking, and a Motobecane fat bike for winter riding in the New England snow.
I’m the stereotypical middle-aged cycling enthusiast always looking to spend money on new gear to help get beyond the limits of my God-given 18-20mph, 3.25 w/kg endurance riding talent.
As the range of cycling gear we review grows, more cyclists I know and whose judgment I value are joining me to provide additional perspective on any number of categories of gear reviewed on the site. While we bring different experiences and backgrounds to our road cycling enthusiasm, we are all similarly committed and analytical, bike nerds you might say, and use the same criteria I lay out in evaluating gear.
A rider’s perspective, not an industry bias or paid mouthpiece…
I and my fellow testers represent the rider’s perspective – yours and mine. We don’t bring any industry biases. I have never tried to make it as a professional bike racer, never been sponsored by or worked for a bike company, never worked in a bike shop or been a cycling journalist. Same with my fellow testers. These are not bad things. I love a lot of what these people do. It’s just not where I and I’ll guess most of you come from.
I buy, demo and return or donate the gear we test. When I receive kit that I don’t buy or can’t return or donate like apparel, I will make a donation for its value to a cycling non-profit organization. Occasionally, I’ll ask a bike shop for a product I want to test and will either return it, donate it or make a donation for its value to a cycling non-profit organization.
I don’t go on any company- or personally-expensed product review trips or go to industry meetings. You will not see any advertising for cycling products, cycling shops or anything else on this site. None of our content or the work that goes into creating it is sponsored, paid for, or guest or ghost-written by those at or associated with cycling companies, stores, PR firms or individuals. I also don’t engage in influencer marketing.
We represent only the interests of fellow cyclists.
Join me, help yourself…
I hope you’ll join me in using this site by sharing your perspective with me and other readers in the comments sections under the reviews and posts, let me know what category of cycling gear you want to see reviewed, spread the word about what we are doing here, and buy your gear through the links provided on the site. Doing that will help support the costs of buying gear to test, cranking out reviews, and running the site. Your support will increase what I can do for you, and allow us to get better at enjoying our passion for cycling together.
Thanks for reading and supporting the site,
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If you have a question or comment about gear or kit, please ask it in the comment section at the bottom of a review. I’ll see it and respond to it much quicker there and all our fellow roadies can learn from it.
If you are looking for a bike, wheelset, or other recommendation for your specific situation, please read this review for bikes or this review for wheels to help you make a decision that’s best for your unique budget, goals, and rider profile.
While I get that you are about to make an important decision and want as much input as possible before you do, I just don’t have enough time for the site, my riding, family, and job to also make individual recommendations. I wrote the posts I linked you to and all the others on the site to help you and your fellow enthusiasts as best I can. Thanks for understanding.
Please note that I don’t accept guest posts, engage in influencer marketing or publish articles, announcements or any content paid for or submitted by companies, stores, PR firms, guest authors, individuals, non-profits or any other organization or person (except maybe my mother).
If it is about something else, you can contact me at [email protected]