Thursday, January 31, 2013

Race or Reenactment?

I wrote about the RetroRonde a year or so ago and I love the emphasis on wool and classic steel bicycles.  But I'm wondering whether it isn't just some sort of reenactment wankfest as opposed to an actual riding event.   I don't know if it was intentional but the above promo makes it seem like these riders are out for an extraordinarily slow photo op as opposed to a fun ride.  Still, if you love classic bicycles and culture, it looks like a fun time.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 Lance joke

"I've now achieved my life-long dream of winning as many Tours de France as Lance Armstrong." - An anonymous quote from a commenter on a recent article on Armstrong's doping admission.

NeeNer...NeeNer...NeeNer...Wooster High Graduate, Greg LeMond.  The only American winner of the Tour de France.

I don't know that I'd actually claim Armstrong didn't win since every noteworthy cyclist slotted in underneath him during his 7 tour wins has also been implicated in doping at some point in their careers. For that matter, I think each of the Lanterne Rouge riders (the last placed rider) from the recent tours have been implicated.  

Two-time "Lanterne Rouge" Jimmy Casper.  Suspended for doping.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bicycle Multi-Tasking

She is doing everything this guy (see below) is doing, but she's doing it in sandles, a skirt, one handed, talking on phone, riding a 50 pound bike, and with a basket of fruit on her bike.  Which is more impressive?

If I attempted this no doubt I'd end up in the ditch because I'm too much of a clutz.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Vintage Bicycles

Maybe it's just that I've been watching the new Downton Abbey but I couldn't help but fixate on the elegance and clean lines of these beautiful vintage bicycles.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Close to Adventure

I'm more and more intrigued by the idea of getting out for one of these quick overnight bike tours, or sub 24 hour trips.  Perhaps it's just the almost debilitating cold that is making me a bit stir crazy and longing for some warmer weather but the idea of a warm ride with an overnight camp out with friends seems like the perfect antidote.

Certainly there are plenty of places nearby that would be beautiful places to wake up in the morning just like these adventurers waking up in the Redwoods.  I love the juxtaposition of the urban bay area riding with the natural environment the video ends on.  Note the beautiful bicycle eye candy.

Back to Earth from El Zumpango on Vimeo.

Monday, January 21, 2013

7 Layer Burrito Bike Ride

No, this is not a reference to a post-ride Taco Bell carbo-load.  With the prolonged cold spell we've been having I've been getting just frustrated enough to pull on the extra layers so I can get out for rides that are longer than my 10 mile commute.  When it's 9 degrees out, even with the sun and now mostly clear roads, it gets a bit hard to get on the road.  

It occurred to me when I was walking out the door for one of my cold rides that over the years I've accrued plenty of cold riding gear.  Almost embarrassingly so since the costs of some of this tech gear must add up to a small fortune.  But then, I've been riding seriously for 20+ years so that makes sense.

How does one ride comfortably in such cold temps?  Layers, layers, layers!  I start with thick wool socks, ibex wool tights with wind panels, good bike shorts underneath, a wool base layer from Rivendell Bicycle Works,  a thick wool jersey, a wind breaker style bike jacket, and an ibex wool wind jacket over the top.  In addition a good wool neck gaiter and a Castelli winter riding cap.  Not to mention the Pearl Izumi Penguin gloves.

The real theme of most of these items is the amount of wool.  Better at regulating body temperature than  any synthetic tech gear I've ever come across and with the added benefit of not getting stinky as fast as most gear.

The mountains give a hint of just how cold it is out there.

Barcons are best for cold weather shifting.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lance - No Jokes Please

In the midst of all of the hype about the Lance/Oprah interview and his admission I haven't really known what to say.  Hadn't everybody figured out for years that he doped?  The fact that he admitted almost seems inconsequential.  Inconsequential except for the people that he destroyed or bullied along the way in this decade plus long soap opera.  That certainly chafes me.  But still, what more needs to be said?

Then I happened on Grant Petersen's comments on the Rivendell Bicycle website and thought, yes, that needed to be said.  I shouldn't be surprised because Petersen has a knack for looking at things in the bike world in a refreshing or different way.  To quote a portion of his comments:
Lance. I find myself more sympathetic than most, including Betsy Andreu, but it may be easier from this perch—than from her’s, especially—to be kinder toward Lance. Still, it seems to me that if you go into a pool and there’s a sign saying No Cannonballs, and everybody’s doing them and there’s a splash-making contest going on with full bleachers and cheerleaders and prize money for splashing—it might be hard not to splash. I know that’s not a perfect analogy. It doesn’t address the lawsuits and attacks and all, but at some level, Lance’s racing life and No Cannonballs (please ignore cheering and prizes) have something in common. 
It is also not a great thing to do, kick somebody when he’s down. It’s not admirable, at least. It is tempting, maybe, since Lance isn’t a world class sympathetic figure, but he IS one of US, and to see the same people who egged him on and cheered him/encouraged him now berate him is a little weird.
I found loads of "one testicle" jokes flying around the comment sections of websites and in some of the commentaries from so-called journalists in the last few days.  It seemed like people making those types of comments were making more of a statement about their own characters than Lance's with their comments.

The nice thing about the write up from Petersen was that immediately following it he posted a great video from a former employee of Rivendell who managed to capture what so many people find fun and positive about the act of riding a bike and the Rivendell (for lack of a better word) vibe.  Beautifully shot with some great interviews and bicycle eye candy, it's the perfect antidote to getting overwhelmed in the Lance echo chamber.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Reno Tahoe Bike Summit Follow Up

It was nice to see so many bicycling enthusiasts at last night's Reno Tahoe Bicycle Summit held up at UNR's student union.  over a hundred bike advocates, race organizers, bike businesses, and non-profit organizations were present and sharing information about what they do in the hopes of creating more synergy in the community and further enhancing cycling in our region.

Organized by the Tour de Nez crew a lot of info was presented on where we've come over the last decade or so as a "Bicycle Friendly Community."  It was particularly heartening to see several organizations given shout outs for the work they've done.  Chiefly, a round of applause was much deserved for the RTC's quick but substantive presentation on the 95 miles of bike lanes added to the community, their website tools for tracking mileage, and the planning going on to create more infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians in the future.  Added bike lanes isn't the be all end all of making a city better for cyclists, but I've often felt like this type of planning work can get short shrift within some quarters of the bike community.

It was also nice to see the Nevada Bicycle Coalition ramping up its efforts with new board members being added and representation in the southern part of the state.  I'm looking forward to seeing what further legislation for cyclists might be spearheaded by the NVBC.  If you haven't joined them or their mailing list do so now so you can be in on Action Alerts when cyclists need to assert their numbers and positions.

I was excited by other interesting projects occurring in the region as well including the bike share program in the works, trail advocacy, and education programs.  A special shout out to the Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology (my work place) for their work with kids, the in-house bike shop, and the Moonbuggy program.  I'm not integrally involved in running the shop but I continue to be impressed with the work done here to engage the students mechanical principles and fabrication via the use of bicycles.

Casey from AACT talking about the moonbuggy project and bike shop at the school

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Reno Tahoe Bike Summit

Don't forget the Reno Bike Summit happening tonight!  Info below.  I'll be there hoping for a chance to connect with a few people I haven't already met in the Reno bicycle community.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Electric Bicycle or Motorcycle?

Electric assist bicycles are certainly a growing market with potential to explode in upcoming years.  You can see evidence with the number of bicycle companies getting behind the idea.  I'd just as soon see people pedaling their bicycles because one of the benefits to our society is getting a bit of exercise and promoting a more healthy lifestyle.  On the other hand, is putting an electric motor on a bike just a quieter version of a motorcycle with all of the extra safety considerations they demand a good idea?  In watching the speed of this electric bike design it certainly is a question worth asking.

One thing is certainly clear from the design...the saddle to pedal position is not very efficient looking.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Summer, Girls, Bikes!

I know I've decried the use of bicycles as "accessories" in fashion on occasion rather than them being presented as very practical tools for transportation.  But I saw this fashion spread from Free People's catalog while looking out my window where there was a fresh layer of snow on the ground and the temperature was struggling to break the teens.  These summer fashions hit the spot and made me pine for day of riding in shorts instead of dressing in my Return of the Mummy outfit to pedal to work.

I'm thinking there is a good reason the woman on the right is walking her bike.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Snow Ride...Take it Easy!

Forgive the Foghat reference above.  I'm quite sure that they were not talking about biking in the snow.  I'd been itching to ride my recently mounted Ritchey knobbies on some snow and yesterday's ministorm gave me a good excuse to get out and burn some calories.  The trick to riding in the snow was avoiding the mashed down, icified (yes, I'm making up words now) auto tire tracks and staying in the fresh powder.  That and steering clear of the drivers who clearly don't know how to drive in snow.  I saw the aftermath of an accident along the Riverside Bike Boulevard where somebody forgot that you need more distance to stop.

The ride proved fun, if a bit cold, but my gear kept me reasonably insulated for an hour and a half ride. The key was remembering not to expect to go my usual pace and be content with a slow crawl.  The light and scenery were beautiful with the snow dusting.  Overall, it reminded me of my years riding in the midwest where you just have to get used to the idea that you're going to be riding in nasty temps and sketchy surfaces for a couple of months out of the year.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bicycle Storage Simplicity

This is about as simple a bike hanging storage as you can get.  Essentially, they invented a wooden dowel.  Still, sometimes a simple solution is best.  It would be nice if it had a little bit of rubber padding around it because eventually it will mar the paint a bit.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Rivendell AllRounder - Jack of All Trades...Master of Most

I originally bought my Allrounder out of regret for not buying the legendary Bridgestone XO-1 and because of my deep respect for the vision of Grant Petersen as he was in the first few years of his new bicycle company, Rivendell Bicycle Works.  He seemed like one of the few voices of sanity in the bike industry in the mid-90s when design seemed to be about making things as complicated as possible.  Technological advancements can be super cool but sometimes it's just seems like bike wankery and you wonder if it doesn't get in the way of the actual enjoyment of riding.

Over the years my Allrounder has lived up to its name and here is a battery of photos from the various types of riding I've done on the bike and different configurations (tires, bars, etc.) along the way.  I've had tires as skinny as 1.25 inch slicks all the way up to 2.3 inches knobbies.  Bars have been rando, moustache, and noodle bars.  Fully loaded touring, quick(ish) road rides, commutes, offroad adventure riding, and trips to the coffee's done it all.

Skinny tires on the trail

My first build

Bike Tour Across Nevada

Pre NV Trip

Some serious speed...fully loaded down a mountain near Ely, Nevada

Monster Cross

Oregon Cascades Tour with Front and Back Load

The Commute

More Stability with the Front Load Before the Oregon Tour

The Commute in the Winter Snow

Monday, January 07, 2013

Bicycle Parking the Japanese Way

Is this a solution for a problem that really isn't much of a problem?  A bit of overengineering?   Whatever it is, it's pretty cool technology.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

How a Bicycle is Made

This series of "How It's Made" videos are quite fascinating and a good primer for understanding the machining and manufacturing going on get a bike to the showroom floor and on the road.  Thanks to Boston Biker.