Bikes Direct Offers Advice to Aspiring Touring Cyclists

Bikes Direct has watched with excitement as customers have bought bikes for the purpose of touring. In its simplest form, according to the Bikes Direct professionals, bike touring involves traveling long distances by bike, carrying any necessary gear such as clothing, camping gear, and cooking equipment. Bikes Direct is glad to see that cycling has become so integral to the lives of many people that they are eager to plan vacations not only incorporating a bike, but also completely centered on it. Many customers who have purchased their touring bikes from Bikes Direct post their experiences on forums and blogs, and Bikes Direct employees love to see pictures of happy customers on their touring bikes by the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, or inaugurating and concluding a cross-country tour by dipping their wheels in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Bikes Direct customers report that these tours, whether days, weeks, or months long, are among their most memorable vacations, and their first tours often become the first of many. Bikes Direct believes that there is no better way to travel than by bike, and to incorporate biking into one’s vacation plans is to guarantee that the trip will stay with the cyclist forever.

Although the thought of planning a ride potentially hundreds of miles in length and also organizing lodging can be a bit intimidating, Bikes Direct is happy to report that there is a wealth of incredibly detailed information available online to help those entertaining the idea of doing a tour. Bikes Direct believes that bike touring, in essence, can be quite simple. All that is required is a bike, camping gear (if the bike tourist chooses to camp), a couple changes of clothes and a route. Obviously, the bike is the most important piece of equipment one will require for a tour, and Bikes Direct offers many touring models, including the popular Windsor Tourist and Motobecane Gran Turismo. These bikes feature slightly wider tires than traditional road bikes, braze-ons to which to mount racks, and a relaxed geometry for a less aggressive, more comfortable ride. Naturally, accessories depend on the length of trip and the tourist’s lodging plans, and Bikes Direct is glad to recommend shops that will provide the future bike tourist with amazing deals. Bikes Direct has heard from customers who have camped their whole journey and who have required the maximum amount of gear, while others have stayed in hotels and required minimal gear. Some have combined both.

One of the aspects that Bikes Direct loves most about touring is that the length of the tour and the route can be altered to accommodate any riding level and style. A tour can take two days or two months, and Bikes Direct believes that every length has its benefits. Shorter, more local tours familiarize cyclists with their own surroundings, revealing environments, neighborhoods and wildlife that have been right under their nose all along but have perhaps gone unnoticed. Longer tours, on the other hand, expose cyclists to a region, an entire country, or even multiple countries and the distinctive cultures, people and landscapes that comprise those areas. Short or long, Bikes Direct believes every tour provides cyclists with an opportunity to become better acquainted with their world.

Bikes Direct urges anyone even remotely interested in a bike tour to further explore the information available. There are many existing routes, and Bikes Direct hopes to see pictures of its customers and hear their experiences on each and every one. There are a myriad of reasons to plan a bike tour. Some go looking for adventure, to gain a better familiarity with a region, or – as is the driving force for many Bikes Direct staffers – to eat their way across the country. Whether planning a tour through your state or going all out and planning to traverse the TransAmerica Trail, Bikes Direct believes that bike touring offers an amazing experience for anyone, from beginner cyclist to advanced. Tourists are encouraged to send comments on specs, tours, and other interesting topics to Bikes Direct. This type of input could be posted at any address on the Bikes Direct contact page at

About Bikes Direct

Bikes Direct continues to provide the same excellent cycling experience that riders around the world have come to expect from Motobecane. As a beginning, Bikes Direct can offer this brief history; Motobecane has been making bikes since 1923 and was named after the French word Moto for motorcycle and Becane for bike. Things went well for the company until 1981 when they were bankrupt and bought by Yamaha and became MBK. Now Motobecane USA is not related to the French company as they import bikes from Taiwan and China, these are the bikes you are interested in. Bikes Direct offers these Bikes Direct to the public at competitive price points and excellent quality.

According to Bikes Direct, Motobécane was a major manufacturer in the French bicycle industry. The frames on Motobécane’s mid-to-upper bikes were typically double-butted lugged steel made from Vitus or Reynolds 531 molybdenum/manganese steel tubing with Nervex lugs. Motobécane finished their frames in beautiful and high-quality paint, a practice not often followed in the French industry. Considered the second most prestigious French bicycle (after Peugeot, whose more durable design they emulated, but ahead of Gitane), Bikes Direct remembers Motobécane’s mid-range bikes as a good value; the company kept prices reasonable by matching high-quality frames with lower-priced, but higher-quality components from Japan, at a time when competitors were putting higher-priced, lower quality French components on mid-range bikes. Bikes Direct says that Motobécane bicycles included the Nomade, Mirage, Super Mirage, Super Touring, Grand Touring, Sprint, Jubilee, Grand Record, Le Champion, and Team Champion.

Bikes Direct now offers Motobecane models that use carbon on two of their ranges of bikes, the Race Carbon/AL and the Full Carbon ranges. From the Race Carbon they produce the Century Comp, Elite, Pro and Team and from the Full Carbon they have the Immortal Pro, Force and Spirit.

Race Carbon/AL from Bikes Direct

Bikes Direct says the Race Carbon /AL frames are a mixture of Alloy main frame tubes and carbon rear seat stays. The frames use different Alloy for the tubes on each of the frames and different equipment to assemble the bikes.
The Century Comp has Columbus Airplane tubes and Shimano 105 Triple group set.

The Century Elite has Shimano Ultegra Triple kit and the frame is made from 7005 double butted and carbon stays. Shimano Ultegra 30 speed and Kinesium SL and Carbon are used for the Century Pro.

Bikes Direct offers the top class Shimano Dura-Ace, and carbon FSA Cranks are used for the Century Team with Kineses 7005 AL main tubes and carbon stays. All have carbon forks.

The Full Carbon

Shimano Utegra mixed with 105 and FSA is fitted to the Immortal Pro high modulus carbon fiber monocoque frameset along with carbon forks American Classic wheels.

Bikes Direct knows the Immortal Force is very similar to the Pro except it is all Shimano Ultegra; all the other equipment and the frame is the same.

The Immortal Spirit Dura-Ace, FSA, American Classic wheels and Ritchey are all fitted to a monocoque carbon frame keeping the weight down to 16 pounds.

Bikes Direct makes sure that all the equipment is top class and you can’t fault any choice there. Looking at the Geometries of the frames there is beauty and they handle well.

In addition to the standard diamond frame bicycles, Motobécane produced mixte frame versions; the mixte frame Grand Touring had twin lateral stays in place of a top tube, extending from the head tube to the seat tube, while the Super Touring and Grand Jubilé had a single top tube sloping down towards the seat tube, but diverging into twin lateral stays just before the seat tube. Later mixte Grand Touring models also used this design. Motobécane also produced a tandem bicycle.

Bikes Direct says vintage French bicycles, including Motobécane, are often sought today for their value as a fixed gear conversion.

For more information about Motobecane contact Bikes Direct at

Dr. William Knudson of Cedar Rapids, Iowa | Hammertoe and Ingrown Toenails

Dr. William Knudson, a long-time podiatrist from Cedar Rapids, Iowa has dedicated his professional life to the health and comfort of people’s feet. Practicing for many years in the greater Cedar Rapids/Waterloo area, Dr. William Knudson recently transitioned his practice to the East Coast. Prior to the move, Dr. William Knudson helped many patients from Cedar Rapids to live healthy, pain-free lives, and in this post Dr. William Knudson provides more expert advice for individuals dealing with painful foot ailments at home.

Dr. William Knudson of Cedar Rapids says that ingrown toenails are an often-overlooked condition – that is, until they start to hurt and interfere with walking. Dr. William Knudson has frequently treated his Cedar Rapids patients for ingrown toenails that developed after a nail was improperly trimmed and then began to grow and pierced the adjacent skin. Dr. William Knudson has advised his Cedar Rapids patients that an easy way to avoid ingrown toenails is to use clippers specifically made for toenails. Trim straight across the toenails, says Cedar Rapids’ Dr. William Knudson, leaving the corner of the toenail visible.

As Dr. William Knudson instructs his Cedar Rapids patients, if the corners of the toenails are trimmed too close, they can become ingrown as they start to grow back. Cedar Rapids’ Dr. William Knudson also reminds patients that large toes are more likely to develop ingrown toenails. Hammertoe is another toe ailment, says Dr. William Knudson of Cedar Rapids, that can require surgery if left unchecked. Dr. William Knudson explains that hammertoe affects the tendons that facilitate toe movement.

In hammertoe, these tendons begin shortening, explains Dr. William Knudson to his Cedar Rapids patients, and they begin to pull the toe back. As the toe joint grows and stiffens, continues Dr. William Knudson of Cedar Rapids, it rubs more and more against the inside of shoes. Over time hammertoe has developed into a very uncomfortable condition for many of Dr. William Knudson’s Cedar Rapids patients, affecting their balance and creating a pressing need for foot surgery.

Foot Care tip from Cedar Rapids’ podiatrist Dr. William Knudson: If an ingrown toenail gets severe, Dr. William Knudson says to visit a doctor to have part of the nail removed.

About William Knudson Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids podiatrist William Knudson grew up near Des Moines, Iowa. Before moving to Cedar Rapids, William Knudson spent his boyhood enjoying the pastimes of small town mid-America, and when it was time to pursue a vocation, Dr. William Knudson of Cedar Rapids chose Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa.

On his way to settling down in Cedar Rapids, Dr. William Knudson pursued medical studies and later graduated from the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. While pursuing a degree there, Dr. William Knudson of Cedar Rapids was awarded the Durlacher Honor Society scholarship, given in recognition of his scholarship and perceived potential for the advancement of podiatric medicine. Cedar Rapids’ Dr. William Knudson also received the Philip Brachman Honor Scholarship (1994-1995) and Knudson graduated Cum Laude with both a Bachelor of Science and a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine on May 12, 1995.

Before the move to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Dr. William Knudson was offered a position at Hillcrest Health Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Then in 1996, Cedar Rapids’ Dr. William Knudson was appointed Chief Resident, and he was part of a 24-month program in podiatric medicine and surgery. This opportunity offered Dr. William Knudson extensive training in forefoot, rear foot, ankle, and lower leg reconstruction. Cedar Rapids’ Dr. William Knudson achieved certification in foot and ankle arthroscopy, advanced wound care of the lower extremity and Internal fixation in foot and ankle surgery.

Over the next thirteen years Dr. William Knudson provided care in three well respected practices in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area. In 1997 and 1998, Dr. William practiced at the Northwest Foot and Ankle Associates near Cedar Rapids in Sioux City, Iowa. Dr. William Knudson’s next stop relocated him closer to Cedar Rapids in Waterloo, Iowa where he built a practice at Cedar Valley Podiatry from 1998 through 2006. In 2006, Dr. William Knudson moved to a practice in Cedar Rapids at Iowa Foot and Ankle Clinic.

While practicing at Cedar Rapids’ Iowa Foot and Ankle Clinic, Dr. William Knudson was appointed as Department Chair, Podiatry, at the Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Dr. William Knudson also served on the Faculty of the Cedar Rapids Medical Education Foundation. Dr. William Knudson also served as a Panel physician at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Wound Healing Center located at Mercy Medical Center.

Dr. William Knudson’s professional accreditations include certification as a Diplomat of the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. Cedar Rapids’ Dr. William Knudson is also appointed as a Fellow of the American Collage of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

Dr. Knudson currently practices at Podiatric Care of Northern Virginia in Leesburg.  He remains committed to serving his patients by providing the greatest care available for all of their podiatric needs. With expanded office hours, Dr. Knudson and his dedicated staff are available to cater to even the busiest schedule.

For more information about Dr. William Knudson, please visit the Podiatric Care of Northern Virginia website at

A Diving Gear Primer from John Michael Hughes

John Michael Hughes is an avid SCUBA diver with 26 years of diving experience. John Michael Hughes has applied his passion for SCUBA diving to a new business venture, Leisure Excursions, LLC. The clients of John Michael Hughes are treated to first class private diving tours that are worked into a breathtaking vacation package.

Certified as both a PADI Divemaster and Open Water Scuba Instructor, John Michael Hughes brings a wealth of experience, care and knowledge to private diving tours. Most people who are interested in diving, notes John Michael Hughes, have many questions about the methods and equipment that SCUBA diving requires. It’s true that SCUBA diving is a complex water sport, agrees John Michael Hughes, but it remains an accessible and rewarding endeavor.

People that have seen fully outfitted SCUBA divers, observes John Michael Hughes, often comment that they look like space aliens or creatures out of the deep sea. For the benefit of aspiring divers, John Michael Hughes has written about the basics of SCUBA gear. John Michael Hughes explains that deep diving is based on the same principal gear as snorkeling, and that this equipment includes a diving mask, swim fins and snorkel – although much more follows. John Michael Hughes clarifies that a SCUBA diving mask is larger, providing visibility underwater and forming a sealed air space around the diver’s face.

John Michael Hughes further explains that the pocket of air held by a mask helps the diver to equalize the pressure in his or her ears while descending. To find a mask with the right fit, says John Michael Hughes, place the mask over the face and touch the rubber skirt of the mask to the skin. Inhale gently to seal the mask onto the face, adds John Michael Hughes.  Human faces have many different shapes and sizes, points out John Michael Hughes, and it may take many tries to find a mask that seals comfortably, leaving no gaps.

For more information, contact John Michael Hughes at:

Leisure Excursions, LLC
PO Box 34290
Pensacola, Florida 32507

About the Author

Dedicating a professional career to a single purpose is recognized as admirable in today’s economic environment. For John Michael Hughes it was a focus and interest that began as he exited college. Graduating from the University of South Alabama with a Bachelor of Science degree, John Michael Hughes set his vocational target on the insurance industry early on.

From 1992 until 1995, John Michael Hughes served as an Insurance Adjuster for Pilot Catastrophe Services, Inc. In this position he handled commercial and residential property insurance claims for wind, flood, ice, and earthquake losses. As an early training ground his responsibilities and claim ranges allowed him to develop a strategic understanding of the complexities of insurance claims.

Leveraging this experience in claims, John Michael Hughes has invested the last fourteen years of his professional life in executive management with an all lines public insurance adjusting firm. From 1996 until 2000 John Michael Hughes served as the owner and Chief Executive Officer of JMH and Associates. John Michael Hughes gained further Acts Of God claims experience as well as first hand exposure to the complexities of business ownership. The years of experience tied to natural disasters allowed John Michael Hughes to quantify and qualify claims filed quickly. This skill set was sought after and led to yet another opportunity for John Michael Hughes.

Since 2007, John Michael Hughes has devoted his time and energy to Leeco Consulting Company, LLC, again acting as Chief Executive Officer for the company. With claims services focused mainly in Florida, John Michael Hughes has continued to handle both commercial and residential property claims. His services have also been utilized throughout the Caribbean for both wind and flood losses. John Michael Hughes has further refined his focus and now has a concentration in hurricane claims. With this expansion and professional focus has come larger cases and expanded claims responsibilities. John Michael Hughes currently provides claims settlements that exceed five million dollars.

A natural byproduct of extensive claims settlement work also created opportunities within the area of historical property restoration. With activities generally focused in Alabama, John Michael Hughes acted as a Director for AD, LLC from 1998-2009. John Michael Hughes provided property management and development for this firm. Additionally, from 1996 until 2005 John Michael Hughes managed and consulted on a 26-acre island land development in Florida through Perdido Gardens, LLC. As a partner, John Michael Hughes benefited when the partnership was sold to a public NYSE property development company.

John Michael Hughes continues to blend his knowledge of claims settlements management and restoration complexities in a deep, diversified professional direction that allows him to step outside of most traditional professional vocational paths. It has also allowed him the opportunity to pursue other passions.

John Michael Hughes is currently working toward a Masters in Theology and aspires to complete this training in the fall 2012. John Michael Hughes has reached a point in his life where he will be able to apply decades of experience to a profession and blend this time commitment with a deeper calling that speaks to a different opportunity for his future.

John Michael Hughes has several professional affiliations, including the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. He continues to participate in industry functions throughout the southeastern United States and is a highly respected veteran within his profession. John Michael Hughes has committed the last eighteen years pursuing a career that combines business, management and involving himself in the lives of people during their most critical times of need.

The need for seasoned claims adjusters has never been greater. The combination of record flooding in areas that traditionally have seen major damage and the increasing seismic activity throughout North America now requires that John Michael Hughes be more mobile. Natural disasters never isolate their occurrences and the demand for claims evaluations can pull many resources together within a very short period of time.

John Michael Hughes also continues his passion for the oceans.  From 1989 until 1992 John Michael Hughes was a PADI open water SCUBA instructor. At that time, he organized, taught and led groups on diving excursions and vacations. He continues to have a passion for scuba diving as well as enjoying golf, fishing, kayaking, water-skiing, snow skiing, racquetball, photography, reading and hanging out with his son.

John Michael Hughes currently resides in Florida and can be reached at