Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bike Commute Photos

The commute takes me right by the north end of the airport so this is a regular occurrence.

Shadow portrait with Gunnar.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rollin' in the U.S.A....Shinola

It's nice to see Sky Yeager on board with Shinola to produce bicycles in the U.S.  I recently purchased a Gunnar Sport and though I could have functionally gotten the same thing out of several smaller companies outsourcing to Taiwan but based in the U.S. I decided to save a few extra months so I could support a business that builds bikes here in America.  This article gives the details about Shinola.  I was surprised to see that they are building lugged bikes because so few are doing that now.


Shinola's mission is to develop a portfolio of consumer goods manufactured either at its Detroit headquarters or in other U.S. factories, including watches, leather goods, cola, shoe polish and bikes.

Yaeger came on board earlier this year to develop the first three models of classic lugged steel, internal gear hub city bikes, called Bixby and Runwell.

"It's a fantastic opportunity to work differently," she said. "It's fun to come at it from a different perspective." By that, Yaeger means sourcing as much as possible from the U.S., quite the challenge in an industry dominated by Asian manufacturing.

The prototype frames were brazed in Portland, Oregon, by custom builders Ira Ryan and Tony Pereira, but the production models will come from Waterford Precision Cycles in Wisconsin using True Temper tubing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Paris Reminiscing

Years later I'm still thinking about this cafe in paris and the wine and cheesecake served there....

Monday, September 24, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Vive la Velorution

Reno never gets mentioned in these types of articles but we are just as much a part of the new wave of cities trying to embrace the growing movement of bicycling, and in particular, practical biking for transportation, that is going on in this country.   I love it when big magazines known for actual writing and intellectual depth talk about cycling as transport.  It just means cyclists are getting more traction as our needs are considered in the urban landscape.

Of particular interest is that John Pucher, a personal hero of mine, has a new book coming out centered on city cycling.  Here is an excerpt:
Cities are increasingly vying to be bike friendly. Among them, Chicago wants to become the most cycle-friendly large city in the country—and has said it will build over 30 miles of protected cycle lanes this year. At the moment it ranks fifth, according to Bicycling magazine. Ahead of it are Washington, DC, Boulder, Colorado, Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon. And cycling is growing fast in all these cities, as it is in New York and San Francisco. 
In a forthcoming book, “City Cycling”, John Pucher and Ralph Buehler argue that the bike boom needs to be expanded to a broader cross-section of people. Almost all the growth in cycling in America has come from men aged 25-64. Rates of cycling have actually fallen slightly among women and sharply among children, most probably because of nervousness about safety. But in fact cycling is getting safer all the time. According to a paper* by Messrs Pucher and Buehler with Mark Seinen, fatalities per 10m bike trips fell by 65% between 1977 and 2009, from 5.1 to 1.8. In their book, the authors claim that the health benefits of cycling far exceed the safety risks. 
The growth comes thanks to cycle-friendly policymaking and increases in government spending. In Portland, which brought in a comprehensive programme, cycling levels have increased sixfold since the early 1990s. In Chicago the motivation is to improve the quality of life, and thus encourage both businesses and families to move there. 
Chicago is also planning one of the largest bike-sharing programmes in the country, with 3,000 steeds. Bike-sharing increases the number of trips by bicycle in a city and improves the cycle culture. Growth in cycling is also spurred by weekend closures of streets to motor vehicles and mass cycling events. All these look likely to become more common in America. 
As 48% of trips in American cities are shorter than three miles, there is big potential for further growth. Yet while the future looks bright, America will struggle to catch up with northern Europe, where the proportion of local trips done by bike can be as high as 30%.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tom Ritchey...A Profile

This is a really well put together film about Tom Ritchey and his contributions and legacy...worth the 18 minutes for sure.

Tom Ritchey's 40-Year Ride (English subtitles) from Jay Bird Films on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Cardboard Bike Returns...

This via Salon...the prices makes the idea far more compelling than I originally thought. Article excerpt below the video.  Full article here.


 When Israeli designer Izhar Gafni heard that someone built a usable, watertight canoe out of cardboard, one thought began to obsess him: What about a cardboard bike? The result is the world’s first paper bicycle, an uber-efficient, beautifully designed, and eminently sustainable tool that could change transportation the world over. Gafni’s final product, a striking cycle painted in lacquered, waterproof white with a bright red seat, costs just $9 to $12 in materials ($5 for a kids version), weighs 20 pounds, and supports a total weight of up to 485 pounds. They key to the bike’s design is that paper’s strength increases exponentially as it’s folded — Gafni compares it to origami, noting, “if you fold it once, it’s almost three times the strength.” The impact that the bike’s design could have is hard to underestimate. The project, which Gafni is currently raising funding for, could put wheeled transportation in the hands of those who couldn’t otherwise afford it.

French Alps Riding and Reminiscing

It has been too many years than I care to count since my solo trip that gave me a few days to ride the French Alps.  I'll never forget struggling up Alpe d'Huez.  At the time I didn't realize climbs could get that tough.  Now I of course know that it isn't even that steep compared to many other climbs that the pros do or that I've now ridden.  Still, I'm quite sure it would still hurt.  I found a few photos cleaning out my desk so here are a couple to share.  I need to start thinking about another riding trip.

The obligatory, coming around a bend, running into a herd of sheep, in the French alps, photo.  They were not intimidated by me.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Japanese Bicycle Art

Some really striking Japanese art depicted practical bicycling scenes.  I like the stark contrasty stuff...more here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Magical Mystery Tour - A Trip through Buzz Bomb Bicycles

I was invited with a couple of friends to visit Buzz Bomb Bicycles a couple of weekends ago.  The evening was a great mix of good conversation, very nice bourbon, and some reminiscing about bicycles and our lost friend, Ed Gresham, who passed away a few months back.  I'd always wondered about the collection, the history, and the work put in to restoring these bike gems.

There is probably hours worth of perusing you could do through the blog and gallery of the Buzz Bomb website.  There's some nifty stuff in their shop as well.  I'm posting mostly my own snaps from two of the four "storage" sites for their prewar bicycles.  They specialize in those bikes but you'll also see glimpses of some great Fuji touring bicycles and a Della Santa or two.

In Buzz Bomb's own words:
Even the most fleeting of glances, and you can tell that designers of prewar bicycles weren’t in the least interested in efficiency or performance. Streamlined, ornate and totally over the top, these bikes had one mission: to create excitement and joy. And for us, they’re still doing the same thing many years later....
A pair of fourth-generation Nevadans, Coot and Fluff (Scott and Julie Callahan) have been collecting bicycles for over 20 years. They currently have over 120 original and restored bicycles, focusing on the period from 1933 thru 1941. 
It all started back in 1983. To pass the days when Coot wasn't in school or working at the local bike shop, he'd often go out for rides on his road bike. Fluff, a family friend, enjoyed cycling as well and would join him on these casual rides around the Carson Valley (itself a little ranch community just east of Lake Tahoe). 
Things went on pretty much like this, until the day Fluff very much accidentally came across a one-speed Schwinn girl's bicycle at the St. Gall Catholic Church yard sale. Knowing how Coot had always wanted an old bike, she immediately snapped it up, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The same...but different.

A beautiful, and classic, Raleigh!

Restored to better than showroom quality!

Love these head badges!

This Della Santa is one of the most gorgeous bikes I've ever seen... Beautiful, intricate, and quirky!

The Fuji touring bikes were inspiring some lust on my part!

Ed Gresham's "Flyer"...built by him and ridden by him at the time of his passing.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The New Bicycle Commute

Tons of murals and "graffiti" along the way.

My commute in the mornings has been perfect so far this year.  Four miles of nearly flat tarmac that gets me to work in 15-20 minutes.  No need for cycling specific clothes.  It also gives me some nice, and interesting scenery heading east towards the Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology.
Not really a bike lane but nice and clear in the mornings.
Definitely election season! 
What's this weird building....?

Oh...I won't be stopping here on the way to, or from, work.

Near the airport...

The marker on the right seems a bit ominous...

Self-portrait with Planes
My new home away from home

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Separated Bike Path in Reno?

Last weekend it occurred to me that there really is a time and a place for a nice separated bike thruway while riding in the construction zone on Mayberry approaching west 4th street.  In recent years this area has been given a "road diet" with bike lanes that has made the street much more enjoyable to ride.  But the recent construction has crunched the cars to one side with two narrow lanes and left a big swatch of tarmac (at least on the weekend) open for cyclists to use.  It's wide and protected and for a few blocks it felt like the perfect permanent solution.   It's almost too bad the construction will be over and we'll be back to the on street bike lanes.  It made for a perfectly pleasant Sunday ride.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Graeme Obree Will Attempt Land Speed Record...Just Not in the U.S.

Bikeradar is reporting that Graeme Obree will not be making an attempt at the human-powered land speed record in Battle Mountain, Nevada, next week.  He will, however, make an attempt when a suitable location is found in Great Britain.  A disappointment for me since I live so close and was hoping to make the drive up to watch next weekend.

The most exciting thing is the reveal of the clear skin (it wasn't clear what kind of fairing he was going to have) which will allow people to see how the "engine" works in his different approach to the hpv design.

From the interview:
...when picking a venue you are always going to make comparisons with Battle Mountain. What made that such a good location for the human-powered speed record attempt was firstly the surface. It’s fast. The next thing is it is 5000 ft above sea level, plus it has something like a 6 degree slope in your favour. In an engineering journal I read, they said that Battle Mountain is worth 156 watts extra in energy, and that is just the slope, then the surface is actually purposefully built for the record attempt, so that has be worth another fraction in terms of surface resistance. 
We have to accept that we aren’t going to get as good as Battle Mountain. But, we can still get close. What we need is a flat surface, with no blemishes or joins in it, ideally the smoothest tarmac surface we can find in the UK. It needs to be 2 miles long so we can get it up to speed, and of course, it needs to be in a straight line. So, it isn’t an impossible task. It’s not Battle Mountain, instead it will be a purely British attempt. I like that.
Here's a link to a video on Obree.

Friday, September 07, 2012

A Preview of Coming Attractions

A Little Dab Will Do Ya...Mothers Mag and Aluminum Polish

I acquired this wonderful "saddlebag" during a tour of Buzz Bomb Bicycles this past weekend (more on the tour coming soon with some great shots of the collection).  The next day I scrounged around for my container of Mothers Mag and Aluminum Polish and lo and behold...bling!  It will soon be proudly hanging on my new bike (again, more on that later).  Here are the before and after shots:

Thursday, September 06, 2012

To All The Bikes I've Loved Before...Albert Eisentraut

I don't have many good photos of my short-lived fling with an Albert Eisentraut built Rainbow 'traut.  It was a pretty, and very nice riding bike with simple lugs and a classy, understated, paint job.  I loved that like most lugged steel frames from that era you could actually fit a biggish tire in it.  I put some Rolly Pollys from Rivendell Bicycle Works in them to give the ride a bit more cush.  I also went simple and practical with the parts spec with some nice downtube shifters.  I only got rid of the bike because the design of the smallish frame had an excess of toe-clip overlap.  A problem on smaller bikes for smallish people like myself.  Typically a little overlap doesn't bother me but in this case it was pretty severe.  This was pre me getting too obsessive about geometry on bikes so can't really say if it was head angle, trail, cockpit length, that was contributing to the problem.  Regardless, it was a nice bike but it had to go which was sad because I had always wanted one after not getting one built up through my old friendly bike shop, Deluxe, in Lincoln.  This one I ended up picking up off the 'bay and sold to an iBob member some time later.  Hopefully it is still making someone happy.