Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Flower (Bike) Power

Maybe I'm just getting more and more antsy for spring......but some of these flower bikes are looking pretty awesome!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Deviant Bicycle Art and Increased Traffic

Over the last few months the traffic on my blog has really spiked.  I haven't figured out exactly what is driving the increased traffic.  Perhaps there is just a critical mass you attain after being around for almost seven years.  Not that I'm complaining ... it's nice to have the "pageviews."  Maybe it has something to do with the increased profile of alternate transportation in our culture.

Of course, it's also worth noting that when I looked back at what are my most popular posts by far the most traffic has been generated by this tribute to Bettie Page from a few years back.  I suppose it's not a surprise that anything remotely porn related gets the most hits (even though there was nothing particularly scandalous about my post on Ms. Page).  I'd still recommend the biopic that I mentioned.

Where is this going?  Nowhere really.  Except I was reminded of this when a bit of "bike art" landed in my mailbox.  Silly to be sure but I thought I'd post this from "Deviant Art."  Trust me, there's a lot more provocative bicycle related sex ...  um ... stuff out there.   I'll leave it to my slightly bigger audience do their own searching for such things.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bicycle Dreaming

You could hardly get on a bicycle related website in the last few years without finding ads for the documentary, Bicycle Dreams.  I finally got a chance to see the film recently and I would agree that it is a well-shot and put together film.  I don't know that the hope was to inspire people to try to do the Race Across America after viewing the film.  I know it didn't get that reaction out of me.  If I was going to ride across the country I'd prefer to take a few months to really enjoy the scenery.  RAAM just seems like a way to torture oneself.  Still, it's a compelling film and worth viewing for those interested in bicycling and pushing the limits of human endurance.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Head Badge

A quick self-portrait from a few years back.  I've always loved how the shot captured the beautiful cloisonne head badge on my Rivendell.  After stirring up lots of bike lust at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show a couple of weeks ago, it is heartening to come back home with my AllRounder to ride.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fatty Boombalatty!

Many years ago I remember hearing a standup comedian use the phrase, "fatty boombalatty" in a bit.  I don't remember if it was funny at all but apparently the phrase was catchy enough that it has taken up valuable real estate in my brain all these years because it immediately popped into my brain when unpacking these new Jack Brown "Green" tires from Rivendell Bicycles.   I love chubbiness of these tires and the checkerboard pattern certainly is distinctive.

I'd been wanting to try them for awhile and the time was ripe to get a new set of rubber on my Gunnar Crosshairs.  I'd been considering the Gunnar for a "sport touring" configuration in anticipation of a couple of light touring rides I'm thinking about for the summer.  Note I recently also upgraded to a nice Campy Cross crank and a new seatpost as well.

Walter isn't as impressed...

Good stoppers!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Liberty Mutual Journey Commercial - Lovely Bicycle But I Have A Nit To Pick

Like many people I'm spending too much time this weekend in front of the TV watching basketball (to be fair, I'm also grading Hunger Games exams from my 7th grade students).  I'm used to seeing the same commercials over and over but this one from Liberty Mutual caught my eye because of the bicycle.  It's actually quite the lovely bike and I generally think that any bicycling exposure in our culture is a good thing.  But I'm wondering about the choice of having the woman ride illegally the wrong way down the street as she circles the block?   It seems there are two reasons that this choice was made.  Either the commercial was designed for a British audience and they didn't bother to film an alternate for the U.S.  Or, they really wanted to make sure the drive side with that nice chain guard was visible for the audience.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

100 Years Old and Still Riding...Maybe I'm Not So Old?

I've been wanting to comment on this story for weeks but only now gotten around to it.   Frenchman Robert Marchand set a record riding around a track to celebrate his turning 100.  Obviously I can only dream of being able to ride at that age but I hope one day it becomes a reality.  My students are usually pretty shocked to find out how old I am and usually guess I'm a good decade younger.  I try to attribute this to my healthy cycling lifestyle but I'm not sure if they buy into that.  I'm not sure if I do...the scotch probably helps preserve me as well.

I don't think Graeme Obree has anything to worry about from Monsieur Marchand but it's still a wonderful story.  The best thing about Marchand's story is that he was required to go through a dope test after doing the ride.  Much more here on his story.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Have A Dream...

...and it's not a crazy dream. This video proves it.  The Dutch made a clear decision in the 1970s and it's one that the United States should take note of.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Street Art

I was just watching a documentary on street art and then this gets passed along to me from Design Sponge.  More on Tommaso Guerra's work here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse Bicycle!

Truly a bike for the impending Zombie Apocalypse!  But as I told a friend who posted this on FB, I'd rather not imagine what "chain suck" might look like on this bike.  The little saddlebag is a nice touch.
100% terrifying, 100% brilliant. Perfect for plowing through hordes of the undead or cruising the wastelands of post-apocalyptia.   More here.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Bicycling Attitude

A little Friday levity...


 Perhaps it would be more effective if they were wearing these?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Reflections on the North American Handmade Bicycle Show 2012

You can't judge s book by its cover...but I love the graphics on the Desalvo.
The array of work exhibited at the 2012 NAHBS was extraordinary ranging from the latest tricked out carbon wonder bikes, to concept bicycles, elegant traditional road bikes, and the increasingly ubiquitous touring rigs with fully integrated fenders, racks, and any other detail you can imagine to make your bike ready for a loaded tour. Whether you'd actually want to tour on a $8,000 bicycle is another question entirely. I had always wanted to attend and this was my chance with the Sacramento location (next year's event will be in Denver) being just a quick hop over the hill.

I've already highlighted a few of the details that I was particularly smitten with (such as the biplane fork crowns) but here are a few other items of note.

The SUV of bikes.

Great to try to ride it.

The verdict is still out on belt drives but there were a lot of them.

Belt Drives
Bamboo bikes continue to increase...I'm partial to the "Boo" because that was the name of my dog when I was a kid.
Lust: a trip to visit the Desalvo shop in Ashland, OR may be in order.
My personal favorite of the show was probably the Road/Dirt bike from Desalvo. I know part of the reason is that this is where my head is as far as what kind of bike I’m kind of lusting for at the moment. Essentially it was a very nicely put together tig welded road bike with room for some big cushy tires that would smooth out a ride on a dirt road. And in the world of NAHBS it felt like a very reasonable deal for such a high quality build.

I was a little surprised to not see a Rivendell booth at the show but since most of their bikes are produced in overseas shops. (Although there was a Riv bike in one of the booths)

I'm pretty sure that Grant Peterson would chafe at this but it strikes me that in spite of Rivendell not having a presence at the show, the ideas that drive (or drove) Peterson to start Riv after Bridgestone shuttered their U.S. operations were omnipresent. If you don't know what I mean we really need to take a time machine back to the mid 90s as almost every major bicycle company was either focused on the suspension mountain bike trend, and later the new craze for almost completely impractical for anything other than fast riding/racing road bike market.

The plethora of bikes at NAHBS that sported clearances for wider tires, higher bars, leather, canvas bags, was really the rule, not the exception. The types of bikes with the ability to use bicycles for practical purposes such as going to the 7/11 and riding no-handed home with a slurpy, touring, going on a road/dirt combination ride, or even a faster road ride were everywhere. Granted, these bikes at the show are not exactly in the price range of most people. Frankly, I'm not sure they are even in my price range anymore. But the Riv philosophy directly or indirectly led to a whole host of more practical inexpensive bikes being available via Surly, Soma, and too many other little companies and house brands to mention.

I don't want to overstate anything but it does seem that the discussion was changed about what roles bicycles might play in real peoples lives and now you have even major bike companies who 15+ years ago offered MAYBE one touring bike, and a host of crappy hybrids, as their practical entries into the past time, They are now offering many more practical and better designed bikes that are more flexible as far as what they can handle.

Of course, it’s worth noting that this really is just so much snobbery on my part. I know someone who used a $350 Specialized Hard Rock to tour all over the Canada and the U.S. in the ‘90s.

I'm not sure there is a better signature color out there.

Look at that head tube!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Flying Biplane Forks From NAHBS 2012

Ever since I had a 1993 Bridgestone MB-2 I've had a thing for biplane fork crowns.  It seems a lot of the builders at the North American Handmade Bicycle show are as smitten with the look as I am.  Here are a series of them from the show (and I don't think this is by any means complete).

NAHBS 2012 Preview

I'm heading over to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show today but here is a nice preview courtesy of Urban Velo.  Check out their "image dump" from day one of the show.  No doubt their photos will be far better than mine.  I'm hoping to see some interesting designs in the "sport touring" category present.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Bicycling in the 1940s Was Very Scary!!!

I've seen these kinds of "safety" warnings from the 1940s, 50s and 60s before but these seem particularly morbid.  It's no wonder people had become crazily paranoid about how safe it was to ride bicycles on the street after seeing these.   It actually looks more like propaganda from the auto industry but I don't have any confirmation of who funded these PSAs.  Needless the roads needn't be a death trap for cyclists unless you're doing something really stupid.  Kind of like drivers who try stupid stuff after watching too much NASCAR.