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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bucking the Trend

In my previous post, No Such Thing as Junk Miles, I wrote about how a lot of road bikes today are overly influenced by racing -- making them too narrowly focused for the needs of many people who otherwisecould be well served by a good-quality road bike, but instead get steered into mountain bikes, "comfort" bikes, and cruisers because they don't want something that essentially boils down to a racing bike. There are exceptions, of course, and I thought I'd highlight a few bikes available today, to fit a range of budgets, that buck the current trends in bicycle design by being simple, comfortable, and versatile.

Surly Pacer (photo used with permission from Surly.)
Surly Bikes, a brand from Quality Bicycle Products (QBP -- which supplies many bike shops around the country), offers a couple of bikes that fit my description of versatile road bikes. They also are pretty affordable. Using chrome-moly frames, welded construction, and single-color powder coated finishes, they are not particularly fancy, but should prove to be durable and enjoyable. The Pacer is Surly's answer to the question "Why can't I just find a sporty, no-nonsense, comfortable road bike?" Something like this would be a good choice for someone who wants a nice road bike for spirited riding -- but who isn't trying to be the next big thing in Cat 5 racing. Then again, it's about as racy as a lot of high-end racing bikes from my youth. The folks at Surly say it's a bike for "all-day rides" and it will fit tires up to 32 mm, which is a nice thing. Tires make a huge difference in comfort. It has eyelets so one could add fenders (though I'm guessing it would only take 28 mm tires with fenders). Available as a complete bike, or as a frame set for a truly customized set-up. I've seen Pacer frame sets sell for around $500 - $550, and complete bikes about $1400.

Long Haul Trucker (photo used with permission from Surly)
Also from Surly is their Long Haul Trucker. This bike would be a great choice for long distance, loaded touring, commuting, and more. With slightly heavier-gauge tubing, it should handle heavy loads and anything else a person can throw at it as well. It can accept fenders and racks of all kinds and configurations. One particularly interesting thing about the LHT is that in many frame sizes, it can be ordered in either a 26" wheel or a 700c wheel version. (26" available from 42 to 62 cm frame, 700c available from 56 to 64 cm.). Considering that an awful lot of people out there ride mountain bikes that never leave the pavement, I really think that many people who might think they need a mountain bike would probably be suited just fine with a 26" wheeled LHT. Like the Pacer, it can be purchased as a complete bike, or as a frameset, which gives a person lots of options for tailoring the bike to their own specific needs. Equip it as modern or as "Retro-grouchy" as you like. Complete LHTs seem to average around $1300, while frame sets are likely to be found for $450 - $500.

A Velo-Orange Polyvalent, built to completion
with a lot of V-O branded components.
(photo used with permission from V-O)
Velo-Orange offers several models of nice road bike frames for buyers on a reasonable budget. Their Polyvalent and Campeur frame sets are both welded with butted chrome-moly tubing and painted in single-color paint jobs with tasteful, understated graphics. The Velo-Orange designs tend to have a classic French flavor, being influenced by great French road/touring bikes of a golden age. According to the V-O description, the Polyvalent Mk II (French for "general purpose") is designed for "cyclo-touring, brevets, and fast club rides." It is designed for 650b wheels (a size about half-way between 26" and 700c) which is a size that was often used on those golden-age French touring, or Randonneuring bikes. The Polyvalent is only available in four sizes, between 51 - 60 cm, which means very short or very tall riders may need to look to one of the other models. The Campeur frame is designed to be a very versatile bike, capable of loaded touring, or riding on pavement or path. It is designed for 700c wheels, and is available in sizes from 51 - 63 cm. Both bikes can be built up in a variety of configurations to suit many types of riding styles, and Velo-Orange can supply most of the parts needed to complete the bike (V-O has a full line of classic and traditional styled parts and accessories -- many with their own brand name). Some new, or newly re-designed models are in the works at V-O, like the Pass Hunter, and Camargue, and should be worth checking out once they're available. Current frame sets sell for about $500.

Continue reading at http://bikeretrogrouch.blogspot.com/2013/09/bucking-trend.html

PACKING FOR A BICYCLE TOUR: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW



You want to travel the world by bike, but you’re unsure about WHAT to pack… and HOW exactly you should pack it all on your bicycle.
In this article I will demonstrate to you how I pack my current touring bicycle (a Co-Motion Pangea), my four Ortlieb panniers and my single Ortlieb handlebar bag. Inside the bags that hang off my bike are everything I need to survive for months at a time – as you will see in just a moment.
It should be noted, however, that this is just ONE WAY of packing your belongings for a long-distance bicycle touring adventure. WHAT items you choose to pack and HOW you choose to store your particular belongings is going to depend on:
  • Where you are going in the world
  • What the road conditions are like in that area (paved roads vs. dirt/mud/ice/snow)
  • How long you are going to be traveling (a couple days vs. several weeks or months)
  • Where you will be sleeping at night (camping vs. staying in hotels)
  • Personal preference
  • And a number of other factors (which I lay out in further detail inside The Bicycle Traveler’s Blueprint)
In the video above and in the notes below, you are seeing the way I have chosen to pack for my current 13+ month bicycle tour across Europe and Africa. What you pack for your own bicycle touring adventure and how you choose to pack your belongings on your bike may vary greatly. However, there are a few points worth noting in the video above, so no matter where you plan to travel with your bike in the world or how long you plan to be on the road, you are sure to gain an important piece of information from this article.

GEAR SELECTION (WHAT TO PACK & WHAT TO LEAVE AT HOME)

A detailed breakdown of everything I’m currently carrying with me on my bicycle can be accessed in this article: What to Pack for a Year-Long Bicycle Tour. If you are wondering what sleeping pad I use or which type of cameras I am traveling with, that article will tell you everything you need to know.
The important thing to note in this video is that I am carrying a lot of electronic items with me – way more electronics than the average bicycle traveler will (or probably should) carry with him.

No Riders Killed in First 5 Months of New York City Bike-Share Program | NY Times

To many, the ingredients for New York City’s bike-share program suggested a sort of sadistic alchemy.
Start with notoriously unforgiving traffic. Add thousands of bicycles along the city’s most congested corridors. And see how perhaps the world’s least understanding drivers would cope with the new additions.
And one more thing: Many of the cyclists would be helmetless novices — or worse, tourists — careening into and out of lanes with the whimsy of a youngster pedaling through a suburb.
As of Monday, though, after more than five months and five million trips, none of the program’s riders have been killed on the bikes. About two dozen injuries, most of them minor, have been reported.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Bike Curious - The Right and Wrong Ways to Lock Your Bike @MomentumMag

A man sauntered into our neighborhood bike shop and examined the display of locks. He hefted the most impressive one, a massive, heavy chain, looked at the price tag and frowned. "I don't know if I can afford it," he said to the shop owner.
"Can you afford to have your bike stolen?" the owner replied.
This is, in a nutshell, the basic logic of bike security. Bikes are light and easily transported, convenient qualities not only for bike owners, but also for bike thieves. So it's worth taking a few simple steps to keep your ride locked down when you aren't around.
Once you've decided to secure your bike, you'll need a lock. There are several good options out there, depending on your needs.

7 tips for staying safe on your bike | @cyclebybicycle

Banish the winter blues and get back on the road safely.
Get back on the road safely. Image by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious
Before jumping back onto your bike it’s worthwhile remembering that some road users just aren’t looking out for us cyclists. But don’t panic – we’ve got some handy top-tips to keep you safe and seen out on the road.

1. Be alert

It’s amazing what you will encounter as a cyclist on the road, you need to have your wits about you and be attentive to both the road and it’s other users. Keep your eyes peeled for fellow cyclists, motorists, parked cars and pedestrians with their unruly dogs, prams and children – at all times.

2. Have confidence

Always remember that us cyclists have as much right to be on the road as motorists, be confident in your abilities and bike positioning. Pay attention to vehicle blind spots; don’t hide to the side or behind vehicles. In particular, try not to cycle up the inside of big vehicles, HGV’s turning left are notorious for their involvement in cycling accidents.
Being assertive, letting other road users know your intentions is incredibly important. It helps keep traffic flowing so don’t forget to signal early and clearly.

The Cricket - A new silent alarm, make bicycle theft a thing of the past @Indiegogo

The stealthiest silent alarm for bikes. When someone as much as touches your bikes, you'll get an instant (as in one tenth of a second instant) notification in your smart phone.
If the worst happens and your bike are stolen, Cricket can hunt down your bikes using it's cloud based system to ensure a swift recovery.


Your first line of defense - a small, lightweight silent alarm for your bikes. When combined with our free iPhone app, it allows you to sit back, enjoy and know your beloved bikes are safe where you left them.
The Cricket uses low-power Bluetooth communications with a range of up to 150 feet and works for years without replacing the battery or switching  the device on/off.
The Cricket will work with your iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPad 3rd and 4th gen, iPad mini, and iPod Touch 5th gen
Each year hundreds of thousands of bikes are stolen across the United States, and each theft leaves the victim stressed and upset on top of their financial loss, we're here to help.
How does it work ?
You simply attach the cricket to your bikes, underneath the seat for instance and download the free app.
That's it, from now on, all you have to do is activate the cricket on your mobile phone.

Specs

Diameter: 30mm (1.2 Inch)
Thickness: 9mm (0.35 Inch)
Weight: Less than 20 grams (less than one Ounce)
Battery Life: At least a year, usually years.
Battery Type: CR2032 Button cell battery
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Low Energy)
Device Compatibility: iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPad 3rd and 4th gen, iPad mini, and iPod Touch 5th gen.
Sensor: 3-Axis MEMS Accelerometer.
FAQ

How far can The Cricket work ?
The Cricket has a range of up to 150ft. The application contains a bar showing you the Cricket signal reception, and will also notify you once you get too far.
How big is the Cricket ?
It’s 30mm wide and 9mm thick (1.2 by 0.35 Inch). But if more people join in, size might be smaller.
What kind of battery does the Cricket use?
The Cricket uses an easily replaceable CR2032 coin cell battery. Thanks to the new Bluetooth Low Energy technology and a smart power saving algorithm, this battery lasts at least for a year !
What application does The Cricket work with?
The Cricket works with a proprietary app for IOS.
What phones are compatible with The Cricket?
The Cricket works with iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPad 3rd and 4th gen, iPad mini, and iPod Touch 5th gen.
What about Android?
We looovvve Androids. Unfortunately, Android’s current support for Bluetooth 4.0 is limited, once there is a bugless solution for using Bluetooth 4.0 on Android, we will build an Android app. Trust us, it will be high on our task list. In the meanwhile, please join our mailing list at www.b45h.com – so you’ll know once we start supporting Androids.
How do I attach the Cricket to my bikes ?
Via the supplied zip tie or Velcro strip.
Where should I install it on my bikes?
The Cricket will work best underneath your seat. It is advisable not to attach the Cricket to metal objects such as your bike frame. You can play with different locations and check for signal strength in the app.
Is it waterproof?
Yes, but don’t go swimming with it.
How long will the Cricket last?
At least a year, usually a lot more, depending on how much you use it.
When will I get my Cricket ?
We will ship the Cricket before spring.
Is the Cricket the ultimate solution against bike theft?
The Cricket is as close as you can get to the ultimate solution without having to sleep with your bike under your pillow.
The Cricket works best at close, over the shoulder distances. People will touch your bike by mistake from time to time, so it is best to use the Cricket when taking a look at your bikes is as easy as looking over your shoulder.
However, if your bikes are gone missing while you are not next to them, the Cricket will become a beacon, notifying you instantly once anyone with the Cricket app is at close range to your stolen bikes.
What happens if someone steals my Cricket ?
We recommend installing the Cricket in a less visible location, such as underneath your bike's seat. We also supply the Cricket with a plastic zip lock, which should make it harder to just grab your Cricket. And don’t forget, the second someone as much as touches your bikes or just starts playing with the Cricket, your app will notify you instantly.
For added protection, we also offer the Cricket embedded within a U-Lock.

Who made your video ?
Hoohah Creative Collective from Israel. You can contact them at orensteinelad@gmail.com, we love these guys.
Which bike brand are you using in your video and images ?

We are mostly using Pitango Bikes http://www.pitangobikes.com go check them out !

How much is shipping ?
Shipping is free, worldwide !

What's been done already ?

We've already designed the cricket, and have used the prototypes ourselves, saving some bikes from theft in the process :-)
We've received a few price quotes from manufacturers, and are ready to make the next move - ordering a large batch of Crickets.
We've also build our iPhone version of the software.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

spread your love

'spread your love' by hamed kohan   'seoul cycle design' competition shortlisted entry
original content
'spread your love' by hamed kohan 'seoul cycle design' competition shortlisted entry
'spread your love' by hamed kohan 


'spread your love' by hamed kohan from iran is one of the shortlisted design entries
from more than 3000 participants in our recent designboom competition,
'seoul cycle design 2010', organized in collaboration with seoul design foundation.

the tire design features heart-shaped knobs that create playful tracks on the streets.
a series of corresponding bike racks are distributed throughout the city.

designer's own words:
'simple as love, strong as love.'


tire treads in different colours 

BIRKEBEINER GRAVEL RACE NORWAY | @salsacycles

Looking back through the blog posts I have made I can track a definite progression of my movement away from mass participation events toward more low key, intimate events. I guess this is mainly as these smaller events tend to be the most challenging. The tougher you make something, the fewer the number of people who are gonna show to suffer.
So, finding myself on a start line with less than 200 riders around me didn't feel out of place. But the fact that about 5000 had already started the event ahead of me that morning was mind blowing. Plus, another 6000 or so would be starting over the course of the morning…even more mind blowing!
Racing bikes affords me not only the opportunity to suffer with friends new and old, but also to fulfill my passion for travel. Nothing gets you more ingrained in a new place than being absorbed into a bicycle event. If you love the outdoors then at some point you will of been alerted to the huge potential Norway offers, a nation of outdoor sport lovers over all seasons. Norway has a lot to offer.
When I was contacted by Singletrack Magazine about a “gravel” race in Norway I was instantly keen to know more. When I found out there was the opportunity to travel with a photographer to cover the event I agreed to do it. Then, when I found out it was the largest mountain bike race in the world with an entry field of 17,000 I was stunned.
17,000 riders! The Birkebeiner bike race is truly massive!
The event is a 94km race from Rena to Lillehammer using the network of gravel roads. The trip started on the Thursday before the race with meeting my travelling companion, photographer Henry Iddon, and two hours of wrangling with check-in at the airport due to some confusion over the ticket booking (I had at the last minute replaced another traveler). Having not met Henry previously, we quickly eased into conversation with a mutual love for cycling, travel and general misadventure.

Nutcase Urban Caution Matte @nutcasehelmets

Our line of Gen2 helmets comes with a Spin Dial at the back to give you a snug and comfortable fit, 360 degree reflectivity and the revolutionary magnetic buckle, allowing you one-handed operation and NO PINCHING!
  • Durable ABS shell
  • Protective EPS inner foam lining
  • Front, top & back venting
  • Adjustable Spin Dial allows for a snug & comfortable fit
  • Deluxe soft chin pad for extra comfort
  • 4 sets of foam pads to give you the perfect fit
  • 360 degree reflectivity
  • Magnetic buckle means no pinching!
BE SURE TO MEASURE YOUR HEAD BEFORE YOU ORDER!
All Nutcase bike helmets comply with the US CPSC Safety Standards for bicycle helmets for persons age 5 and older.

2013/14 Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour (Canada/USA) @youtube

Attention advertisers! COGO has a winter deal @cogobikeshare

CoGo Bike Share is cycling along strong! This initiative started by Mayor Coleman provides our Columbus residents and visitors with a fun, healthy, and unique transportation option. Whether our customers are commuting to and from work, running an errand, or taking in the sights and sounds of Columbus, the response has been overwhelming. Our short two months have been a huge success, with all of our customers logging in over 60,000 miles.

I wanted to make you aware of an opportunity that may be of interest. CoGo Bike Share is running a winter advertising special for three months for our ad space in our 30 bike stations. This 55" X 35" space is valued at $800/month and is located on the street facing side of our stations. Before we pitch the space nationally, we wanted to provide Columbus businesses and organizations the space at a discounted rate. We value the support that each of you has given to the program and this is our way of saying thank you!   

Pricing can be negotiable. The ads would require a three month commitment: December through February or January through March. The content would be your discretion. Each interested party will have their first pick of a station location and will be on a first come, first serve basis. We encourage you to contact us soon because we anticipate spaces to be filled within the next week.  

If you're interested, please contact me to discuss pricing. We are confident many of you will recognize the value in this unique partnership and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

Heather Bowden
General Manager CoGo Bicycle Share
Columbus, OH

How to set tyre pressure for cyclocross | BikeRadar

Correct pressure should provide maximum contact area and shock absorption without bottoming out on the rim: correct pressure should provide maximum contact area and shock absorption without bottoming out on the rim

Perfect tyre pressure for cyclocross is a personal thing, with variables in riding style, experience, setup and conditions all affecting the ideal arrangement. Correct pressure should be low enough to provide maximum tyre contact area and shock absorption without bottoming out on the rim. So what PSI is that, exactly? You will have to experiment to discover what works best for you. Here's how.

The first step to unraveling this mystery is to establish benchmarks. Either get a good gauge (more on that later) or at least commit to using the same pump all the time, as different pumps can have wildly varying readouts.

Now, start at a fixed point, say 50psi if you’re new to ’cross and using clincher tyres. Next, make some notes as you ride and race. Then, adjust the pressure according to the points below — and keep track of the exact pressure and the results.

Pinch flat during a training session? Add some pressure. Feel like you’re getting rattled around like a pinball? Let a little out. But above all, keep track of what you’re doing and how it works. It might sound complicated, but it doesn’t take long to accumulate some experience and build a good data set. It's important to remember that what works well for one rider might not be best for another.

Continue reading at BikeRadar

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

UNLOCKED: THE VIDEO @bicyclingmag

Bike-Nest: An Easy Way to Lift & Store Bikes at the Ceiling | Kickstarter




Easy to store and acces all kinds of bikes anywhere
Easy to store and acces all kinds of bikes anywhere
EASY STORAGE: Raise your bike with a tug on the safety release and then a slight push down on the bike, engages Bike-Nest's unique mechanism, so it lifts your bike for you to its stored position without electricity or pulleys.
EASY ACCESS: Slight downward pressure will lower your bike to the floor so its ready to use.
NO POWER, NO PULLEYS: Bike-Nest uses no power or pulleys. Its unique spring mechanism lifts the bike effortlessly for you, with only your fingertips to guide it.
EASY TO INSTALL: Only two screws are used to mount Bike-Nest to any ceiling joist or beam in just about any location;, your garage, house, apartment, or loft.
ALL KINDS OF BIKES: Bike-Nest works with all kinds of bikes; road bikes, cruisers, mountain bikes and high-performance bikes.
COMPACT DESIGN: Its compact design makes it easy to install Bike-Nest almost anywhere you want to store your bike. It maximizes storage space by raising your bike out of the way.
EASY TO ATTACH: It uses only one attachment point to hold your bike securely without marring, making it quick and easy to load and unload. The patent pending hook, tightly cinches itself so it won't slip no matter what the angle or size of the bar.

It's easy to store your bike anywhere!
It's easy to store your bike anywhere!

Ladies walk through frame style bikes work with Bike-nest too.
Ladies walk through frame style bikes work with Bike-nest too.

HOW IT WORKS:

Bike-Nest's  unique  spring mechanism lifts your bike for you. To store your bike attach the self-cinching hook near the balance point of the bike. It will securely hold virtually any bike no matter the shape, size or slant of the bar. A slight tug on the release cord followed by a slight downward push on your bike engages the lift mechanism, which raises your bike, while you guide it to the stored location with your fingertips.
To retrieve your bike for use, gently pull down on your bike. It will stay in any position you stop, as it descends. When it reaches the floor disconnect the self-cinching hook and you're on your way. You can store the lifting hook, out of the way, with the release cord. Attach it and raise it up by pulling on the cord.

Bike-Nest:


Easy two bolt installation:


North St. Grocery Pannier

Upcycled shopper pannier made with salvaged materials - perfect for that trip down to the farmer's market.
  • simple flap-top pannier
  • d-ring tabs for adding a shoulder strap
  • made from salvaged banner vinyl & truck tarps
Size - 5" x 11" x 15" - 825 cu. in - 13.5 liters - 1 lbs 12 oz
Each bag is uniquely cropped from our limited stock of banners & truck tarps.  Trim colors are selected to complement the graphics.
All of our products are handmade from scratch by us in Portland OR, USA.  All of our fabrics and most of our hardware and trim is manufactured in the USA
Stock items ship in 1-3 business days

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Belll

The Belll is 100% Dutch Design. Moreover, it will be produced in Holland entirely.
Together with a couple of 1.000 early investors around the globe, The Belll is crowd funded by Kickstarter in 2013. This was only possible because of your trust in our company, in combination with our enthusiastic team, who work each day with tremendous dedication and with lots of fun to deliver a great Belll.

QUALITY

The Belll can easily resist weather influences like rain and UV. So, no more rusty pieces of metal on your bike. And the design is also clever, it can be installed easily; plug & play. No screws, just click it to your handle bar and go! [The Belll]

Sparse Fixed Bike Lights

Description

These lights were designed from the ground up to improve your ride. Sparse lights are constructed from cast metal, not plastic. Once installed, they are part of your bike. They won't jostle, rattle, or interfere with your cables. The metal chassis is joined by a double-lens, sealed with a silicone gasket to keep everything dry inside and working for a very long time. They're solid, sealed, tamper-resistant, and stupidly bright.

SPACER LIGHT

The Spacer Light sits beneath your stem in the stack of spacers. The light fits both 1" and 1 1/8" steer tubes. This integration makes it extremely difficult to steal and keeps the light pointed in your path of travel, visibly seated above the shoulder line of cars, and generally out of harm's way.
 

The source of illumination in the Spacer Light is a 3 Watt white LED with 3 modes, On, Off, and Blink. The 'On' state is bright enough to light your path ahead. The motion of the 'Blink' State makes you very visible to anyone on or near the roadway.

TAIL LIGHT

The Tail Light slips on and clamps down on your seat post. It fits the most common seat post sizes - anything from 27.2mm - 31.8mm. There is no way to remove the light without removing the seat post.
 
The source of illumination in the Tail Light is a series of board-mounted red LED's  - 4 face rear and 4 to the sides. In total, they add up to 1 Watt of output (about 30-50 Lumens). The Tail Light has 3 modes, On, Off, and blink. 

PRODUCT DETAILS

Both lights are fueled by a rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery like the one in your phone. We're designing for a 4hr charge - enough to get you to and from work for a week, before you park the bike in the vicinity of an outlet and refill the battery. We're shipping the lights with a 6' micro-USB cable and wall-adapter to supply the power. When you choose your product, you can choose the wall adapter that fits your country. For North America, Japan, and a few countries in Asia, choose UL. For the EU and Russia, choose EU. For the UK, choose UK, And, for Oceania, choose SA. This is not a detailed list. If you are unsure of your nation's standard, send us an email.For countries with several standards you get to choose. Also, our product works with any USB power source. So, you can plug the lights into any wall plug such as with one from a smartphone. Note that if you preordered before we listed all the charger types, we are shipping your order with the charger we understand to be most common in your country. 

 
 

We have now started to ship our kickstarter backers' product, and will soon start to cover all pre-orders. Ordering now will allow you to be part of our first factory order which will be shipped now through October.  

Note to all Customers: Due to demand outstripping production rates, our product is in short supply. We have flipped the website to take payment only for product in stock and ready to ship. If the product you want is out of stock, you can inquire to ryan@sparse.cc, for the latest news on stock and we'll get back to you within 24 hours. 

The Biking Board Game @campgames

The Biking Game is a multi-generational game that allows every member of the family to play together. Themed around the legacy of biking with one of the more iconic biking companies on the planet, Schwinn, the Biking Game promotes an active lifestyle while educating and inspiring a future generation of bikers.
The Biking Game was created to inspire families and bike enthusiasts to get outside and enjoy one of America’s greatest recreational activities together. The game is designed to grow with the player, starting at level one questions, which are primarily identification of basic bike parts and riding etiquette. As the players increase in their knowledge about biking culture they grow into the higher level questions. A fun & educational game where parents & children can race to see who can get their bike through multiple terrain and back home first. All while sharing favorite biking memories and creating new ones!

Missing Man - The Mysterious Disappearance of Mike Rust @bicyclingmag

By the time he was 56 years old, Rust had settled into an off-the-grid life. 

From outside Mike Rust's ramshackle compound tucked into the base of Copper Butte, you can just make out Great Sand Dunes National Park, 60 miles east across Colorado's expansive San Luis Valley. The dunes form when southwest winds whip up sand on the valley floor that was left behind when ancient lakes receded. Here a saddle in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains stalls the gusts, allowing the sands to accumulate. By the time I visit Rust's place, northeast of the town of Saguache, the grit has worked its way in. 

Jerry Mosier ties a bandanna behind his neck, pulls it up over his mouth, and ducks inside. It's 2010, and the place has been abandoned for a year now. Pack rats and field mice moved in quickly. In this climate, mouse droppings often carry Hantavirus—a disease that kills a few people in the state every year. 

I tuck my nose into my shirt and follow Mosier inside the truck camper Rust built his house around; it was his bedroom. Here, the little kitchen where he'd grill cheese sandwiches, four to a square pan so as not to waste a breath of propane. In a corner, a museum of hand-built model airplanes. On a table, the brass roses Rust cut to sell for grocery money. The place is all grime and squalor and the odd angles of a home screwed together as needs and materials aligned. Rust refused to nail anything, opting to scab on new additions (the entire place is built from reclaimed materials) by hand-turning screws instead. Still, tucked into the hill and windowed to the south and east, the passive solar was so efficient that on the coldest days in January the shower released gushing hot water. He cooled his fridge on $5 worth of propane a year. His brother Marty told him that if everyone in America had his purchasing habits, the economy would collapse.


[Keep reading at Bicycling]