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Back 4.25.2017

Bikes of Zipp – Dave Schweikert rides across the USA for WBR

All photos by Joe Vondersaar

Zipp engineer Dave Schweikert stands out as a guy who logs mega miles. Make that many mega miles.

He’s averaged about 10,000 miles (16,093km) a year each of the past four years, including his peak of 13,000 miles in 2014. Now, Schweikert is preparing for his most ambitious trek with a greater purpose in mind.

SUPPORT DAVE'S CROSS COUNTRY RIDE FOR WORLD BICYCLE RELIEF

TRACK DAVE ON QUARQNET

Next month he’ll start from Avila Beach in California on what he estimates to be a 28-day (May 19-June 15), 3,500 ride to Wrightsville Beach, N.C. The journey would fulfill his longtime dream of riding his bike across the continental United States. While pedaling from sea to shining sea, Schweikert will be raising money for World Bicycle Relief. He hopes to provide funds enough to place 1,000 of WBR’s Buffalo Bikes in the hands of some of the world’s poorest people.

“I have thought about something like this for years. For me, it was always about considering what a huge sacrifice it was, time away from family, using all my vacation,” said Schweikert, Zipp’s total quality manager. “There has to be a purpose behind it.”

World Bicycle Relief, a non-profit group founded by SRAM, was a natural fit because of its mission to mobilize people through the Power of Bicycles. “It’s the link between bicycles, humanitarian causes and helping people,” he said.

Schweikert has a fundraising page where people can donate. People can follow his journey on Strava and, using his Quarq Qollector, on QuarqNet.com, where fellow cyclists can follow him in real time. He hopes cyclists will join him along the way with a suggested donation of $1 a mile.

He plans to average about 125 miles a day. To prepare, he’s riding every chance he gets. Last fall, Schweikert rode at least 100 miles a day for 11 straight days. His daily bike commute to work is 26 miles one way.
But that’s not enough.

“I would just extend my commute. Sometimes I would be on the bike at 4 o’clock in the morning, be at work by 7 or 7:30, and then leave here at 5 and ride 3 hours home,” Schweikert said. “It was really mental. I have to just get up and get on the bike and do that kind of mileage day after day after day to prove to myself that you can fight through the fatigue and just keep doing it day after day.

“The longer you go, the more mental it is.”

His planned cross-country route is not a straight shot, but rather a giant arc that extends from Southern California up through Chicago then down to North Carolina. Schweikert knows there’ll be plenty of obstacles, many unpredictable. He could face searing heat around the Four Corners (where Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet) or soon after, sub-freezing temperatures in the Rockies. The route has about 114,000 feet in elevation change with multiple days of 7,000 feet or more of climbing. With an elevation of more than 10,800 feet, the highest point is Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado.

Schweikert plans to stop at most of SRAM’s major North American offices along the way in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Colorado Springs, Chicago headquarters, and Indianapolis, where he’ll briefly sleep in his own bed before pushing on. Elsewhere, he’s using the WarmShowers.org touring cyclists community for lodging along with occasional hotels. In addition to the support he’s received from his employer, SRAM, Clif Bar is providing nutrition support for the journey.

“Many people ride across the U.S., but doing it in under a month without a support vehicle is definitely a challenge. But that’s not to say that I don’t have support. For one, the encouragement of family, friends, and donors has been amazing. Everyday, I’m surrounded by people who are focused on designing and building the world’s best cycling components,” he said. “The dedication of my SRAM & Zipp colleagues to meet that expectation is very much a part of what is inspiring me to complete this ride. Plus, I have the advantage of using the latest SRAM components.”

What He’s Riding

Schweikert needs to be efficient and comfortable for 12 hours or more a day. Durability, fit, and efficiency are all must-haves. Of his setup, Schweikert said:
“It can carry a rack. It’s still ‘racey’… I can still get in a pretty good aero position but yet it’s good all around.”

Wheels

Zipp 303 Firecrest Tubeless Disc brake “Having disc brakes with the variety of terrain and weather I’m going to see, it was just a no brainer. … I have 32 mm tubeless tires on it.”

Cockpit

Zipp Service Course 80 bars, 42 center-to-center width Zipp Service Course CX bar tape with Zipp Handlebar Gel Pad Vuka Clip with Vuka Alumina Evo extensions with 110mm rise and eTap Clic shifters “I was one of the test riders on the new Vuka Clip. … I was doing some long training rides last fall. It made hand pain go away for me. That typical numbness and everything, so there’s the advantage of being aero and minimizing effort but just long hours in the saddle.”

Drivetrain

SRAM RED eTap 50-34 compact crank, 172.5mm, and WiFLi 11-32 rear cassette “eTap is absolutely the way to go. So easy to shift.”

Frame: Specialized Secteur aluminum, 54mm

Wheels: Zipp 303 Firecrest Tubeless

Brakes: Avid BB7 mechanical disc, 160mm rotors

Power meter: Quarq DZero

Data system: Quarq Qollector, seatpost mounted

Bottle cages: 3- Zipp Alumina (only possible with eTap- conventional wired/cabled systems interfere with downtube cage)

Tires: Hutchinson Sector 700x32 tubeless

Pedals: Speedplay Frog

Saddle: Specialized Toupe Comp Gel

Lights: Cygolite Trion 1300 lumen and Expilion 750 lumen headlights; variety of CatEye and NiteRider rear strobe lights

 

Previous Bikes of Zipp features

Chris Chou's Track Bike

Todd Winget’s old school Paramount