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Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Comfortable Bicycle Saddle | Sheldon Brown


Every bicyclist wants a comfortable saddle. What is not so obvious is what constitutes a comfortable saddle.

Every spring, bike shops sell scads of saddles to cyclists who come in because their old saddle has become uncomfortable since they stopped cycling in the fall. They went out for a ride or two, and found it much less comfortable than they remembered from the previous year. They've heard about the latest buzzword in saddle gimmicks, and they want one of those!

They buy the new saddle, put it on the bike, go for a few more rides, and find they're much more comfortable. They tell all their friends about their wonderful new saddle, and how they need one too...

But was it really the new, high-tech saddle...or was it just that the rider had become unaccustomed to cycling over the winter layoff? In many cases, working your way up over the course of a few short rides of gradually increasing length is all that is necessary, if you have a decent-quality saddle, properly adjusted. If you have previously been comfortable on your present saddle, don't be in a hurry to change.

You'll notice that I do call them "saddles," not "seats." There is a reason for this. A "seat" is something you sit on, and is designed to bear essentially your entire weight. Recumbent bicycles have "seats," but conventional upright bicycles have saddles. A saddle is intended to carry some, but not all of your weight. The rest of your weight is mainly carried by your legs, and some by your hands and arms.

A cyclist who is out of cycling shape from being off a bicycle for a few months or more, will start out strong, but the legs will tire rapidly. When the legs tire, the rider sits harder on the saddle, and that's when the trouble starts. Many saddle complaints are actually traceable to fatigue caused by starting out the season with a longer ride than you are ready for.

If it has been several months or more since you rode a bicycle regularly, you can expect to be sore if you ride any serious distance.

If you are coming off of a layoff of months or years, start with very short rides, maybe a mile or two, no more. Only gradually should you increase your ride distance. This may seem frustrating, but it does take a while to re-accustom your derrière to cycling. Anybody in decent shape can hop on a bike and ride 15-20 miles, but you'll be a wreck afterwards if you haven't accustomed your body to cycling first.

This is not to say that there are not real differences in saddles, nor that you should ride just anything. In fact, original-equipment saddles that come with bikes are often greatly inferior to better aftermarket saddles.



[ Much, much more at sheldonbrown.com ]

Pedal America Episodes | Season 1




Season 1 Episode Descriptions
#101 -- "Let's Keep It Weird" – Austin, Texas - Watch Episode Now
Austinites don't just party, they celebrate with bicycles to give added value to the city's motto "Let's Keep It Weird."  Ira David hails Austin as a bicycle-friendly city when he visits a bicycle zoo and pedals in a bicycle parade. Journey along the Lance Armstrong Bikeway and Trail at Lady Bird Lake.  A visit to Austin's Yellow Bike Project teaches the role bicycles can play in giving back to the community.
Austin Texas Bicycle Travel austin


#102 -- "In Search of the Raystown Ray" - Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania Watch Episode Now
Learn the story of The Allegrippis Trail System at Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania as Ira David introduces mountain biking to beginners while hoping to catch a glimpse of this town's version of the Loch Ness Monster.
raystownraystown


 #103 -- "Y'all Pedal and Eat Now!" -  Savannah, GeorgiaWatch Episode Now
Ira David tours southern Americana in historic Savannah, Georgia. Pedal around the city's architectural squares and visit The Wormsloe Historic Site, Bonaventure Cemetery, and Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room for authentic southern fare; plus, a look at the city's initiatives that helped to earn itself "bicycle-friendly" status from the League of American Bicyclists.
savannah


#104 -- "Bike the Vine" – Napa Valley, CaliforniaWatch Episode Now
Come for the wine, but stay for the cycling. From Calistoga to the city of Napa, Ira David pedals his way along wineries and art museums to showcase Napa Valley as a family-friendly bicycling destination.
napanapa


 #105 -- "From Liquor Bottle to Water Bottle" – Chicago, IllinoisWatch Episode Now
Ira David pedals along The Windy City's magnificent lakefront and downtown neighborhoods to show why Chicago is consistently ranked among the top five bicycling towns in North America. Stops include Museum Campus, Soldier Field, and the Lookingglass Theatre Company. Also, meet one Chicago resident, a former chain smoker and alcoholic, who traded in his liquor bottles for water bottles when he discovered the benefits of bicycling.
chicagochicago


#106 -- "Women of Red Rock" – Sedona, ArizonaWatch Episode Now
It took 230 million years for Sedona, Arizona to surface from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, but its receding waters left behind a spectacular field of red rock vortexes that many claim to heal and cleanse the body. Ira David pedals his road and mountain bike through the Bellrock Pathway and Mystic Trail to learn why women who visit Sedona choose never to leave and the role the vortexes and cycling have played in their newly found lifestyles. Learn about gear and apparel unique to women who bike.
sedonasedona


#107 -- "Living in Harmony" – Tampa & St. Petersburg, FloridaWatch Episode Now
Ira David addresses the more serious issue of why this now "bicycle-friendlier" city was plagued with bicycle fatalities in 2009 and how the city responded to a create a dramatic increase in tolerance and understanding between cyclists and motor vehicle operators.
tampatampa


Friday, February 21, 2014

Bikes are better with fenders

Function over form. That should be the ONLY consideration while choosing a bike on which you commute. Unfortunately, it is not. Because you care how much it weighs, or what it looks like, you will never build one of these...

   (The first fixie I ever built for someone)
Simple and elegant, this is all you need to get from where you are, to where you are going.
Sure, you may HAVE one of these...


...but How the hell can you ride it in all conditions whilst keeping the trousers clean? Tell me... How?!!

Installing the ULTIMATE Bike Rack - Second Chance Subaru - Revision3



Patrick Norton installs specialized bike racks on Rick's older Subaru.
Rick transports large adaptive bicycles for children and adults with physical disabilities -- but there has to be a better way to make it all fit! Patrick Norton equips Rick's Subaru with everything it needs to help him stay organized.
Rick's Organization: The Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP) is the leading provider of accessible sports and recreation opportunities for children and adults with physical disabilities in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more at http://www.borp.org/
About the Show: Second Chance Subaru follows Patrick Norton as he searches out the owners of high-mileage Subarus and gives their vehicles a custom modification as they enter the next stage of their life. These owners are using their Subarus to give back to the local community and environment -- now it's our turn to give back to them!
[ See more at revision3.com ]

Workshop: How to clean and lube your bike | Bike Radar


Do you commute? Do you ride gravel or MTB? I bet your bike is a mess from all of this winter weather. Give your ride a much needed cleaning and lube. Grab your "Washing-up liquid," and our pals from across the pond at Bike Radar will help you get things tidied.

1. Bucket; 2. Very hot water; 3. Washing-up liquid; 4. Brushes and sponges; 5. Old toothbrush; 6. Narrow flat-blade screwdriver; 7. Old spoke; 8. Degreaser; 9. Polish/detailer; 10. Grease; 11. Chain lube; 12. Rags

With the chain in the biggest gear, apply the mixture vigorously using a stiff bristle scrubbing brush. You’ll see a bright, shining chain emerge.

The best way to apply grease evenly to a cable is to first apply the grease to a clean (lint-free) rag. Holding the rag in one hand with the greased section between thumb and forefinger, gently pinch the section of inner cable in the rag and draw it through.
[Get all of the tips at bikeradar.com ]


Surly’s New Fatty! – Ice Cream Truck

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Some time back in December on a brutally cold  night, I had the good fortune to take one of the Ice Cream Truck (ICT) prototypes for a short spin. It was during that trip to the Twin Cities that Tyler from Surly hatched a plan for former World Bantamweight Pugsley World Champion and Bike Black Ribbon Society Imperial Gnommander, Colin Ford and I to go for a ride, drink some beer and collect some pixels to share of their new bike. That plan came to fruition just yesterday.
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There was some talk of Tyler and Engineer Designer, Andy Skoglund, coming to Milwaukee to do a photo shoot, but in the end, we met up at QBP  in the Twin Cities, just before Q’s big dealer show that they call Frostbike, where the ICT will be officially introduced. We met up at Q-HQ and rode, right from there, down to the River Bottoms. We were joined by one of Surly’s original gangsters David Gray…..just the cat that designed the Pugsley. Colin and Tyler rode brand new production model, Ice Cream Trucks, and Andy, Dave and I rode protos.
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The ICT is Surly’s first symmetrical fat bike and the hub spacing is 190/197mm centered. (MDS dropouts allow either 197 12mm thru-axle or 190mm QR). The ICT has no problem swallowing Bud and Lou mounted on Clownshoes. This new Surly features a custom steel tube-set and uses a 100mm press fit bottom bracket to allow for wider stays and less bb flex. The ICT has a Krampus inspired front geometry that sets it apart from the Moonlander or Pugsley. It’s a stiffer fat-bike, with a much more playful geometry.
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The Ice Cream Truck will come as a complete bike or a frame and fork. Sizes run from XS-XXL (14” thru 22” long ((there’s an XL (22” and an XXL 22” long)). MSRP for the new Ice Cream Truck –  ICT = $2700 - ICT Ops = $2450 – Frameset = $850 (includes  fork)
We’ll have a more details on the the Ice Cream Truck down the road, so stay tuned.

True Confession: Bike Rage



The Athens-Belpre Rail Trail Needs Your Support

This stone culvert bridges Skunk Run, a tributary of the Hocking River, in Troy Township. It allowed the B&O Railroad to pass over this valley on a built-up causeway
Very exciting bicycling news from Southeast Ohio!

The Athens-Belpre Rail Trail is a future multi-use muscle powered trail to be constructed along the former B&O railroad grade in Athens and Washington counties. This trail will be an important piece of the regional rail trail system, eventually connecting the Moonville Rail Trail and Hockhocking-Adena bikeway to the west with the North Bend Rail Trail to the east.

Map of proposed Athens-Belpre Rail Trail
The Athens-Belpre Rail Trail Steering Committee is a community organization working to acquire right-of-way along the B&O corridor and promote trail development in cooperation with Athens and Washington County officials.

I contacted James at ABRT to see if he could share a little information with us, and to find out how to become a member or donate. Here is his response:

Columbus Rides Bikes,
Great to hear that you are interested in promoting the ABRT on your blog. We have a bare bones website at http://athensbelprerailtrail.org/ that gives a cool interactive map of the planned route. We will be starting up workdays again in the spring, hopefully as soon as March. I will post info about these on the FB page, and we can use volunteers to help us continue to clear sections of the trail. Hopefully we will be able to open up some sections this year, maybe hold a couple events to get people out to see the trail and how much potential it has.
One of our biggest struggles for the moment is fundraising, there are a number of bridge crossings, culverts, and other improvements needed to make the trail continuous, so of course donations are welcome, and we can always use help searching for sources of grant funding. I recently found out about People for Bikes community grants, so we submitted a proposal to them and should find out soon about that.
Meetings of the Athens-Belpre Rail-Trail steering committee are the second Wednesday of the month, at 7 pm, in the meeting room at the Soil & Water Conservation Service office in The Plains, OH on 69 S Plains Rd (OH-682). The next meeting will be March 12, 2014. Anyone who really wants to get involved in the nitty gritty is welcome to attend those meetings, I will try to post reminders about that also on the FB page.
We do not have membership per se in the Athens-Belpre Rail-Trail Committee, but welcome interested participants.  The financial agent for the Rail-Trail, and the organization behind it all, is the Athens Conservancy, which would welcome memberships and donations!
Cheers,
James

Please show your support and "like" the Athens-Belpre Rail Trail page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/athensbelprerailtrail

To become a member or donate to the Athens Conservancy, go to 

Back to Earth Two


Back to Earth Two from El Zumpango on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Best Bike of 2013: The Surly Pugsley

If I learned anything over the course of 2013, it’s that I can survive on a steady diet of eating crow. Like a great many stubborn cyclists, I held the belief that the fat bike was nothing more than a passing fad, a cheeky novelty, a diversion from real riding. I even held a certain amount of derision for these silly looking bikes with their bloated hoops and grinning owners always quick to say, “dude, you have to try this.” I certainly didn’t think the fat bike had any relevance in the world of adventure cycling. After committing to my own fat bike and reading endless accounts of them doing amazing things around the globe, I came to realize––I was so very wrong about the fat bike. After mulling over dozens of candidates for our Bike of the Year award, I kept coming back to bike that started the whole fat bike craze, the Surly Pugsley.
For those who have never ridden a fat bike, and I mean really ridden one, it’s all too easy to just assume they’re slow and only appropriate for sand and snow. This is wholly untrue. While they do eat up those conditions, they’re curiously swift in all other riding scenarios. I’ve even knocked down huge tracks on pavement and gravel, the buzz of the tires an audible confirmation that if I keep churning the cranks, it’ll trundle onward undaunted.

Top 5 Rules for Riding on the Sidewalk | Commute By Bike

The subject of riding bikes on the sidewalks continues to be a hotly debated topic. Despite your stance on the subject, the fact remains that it’s going to happen, so I want to share the top five rules that must be followed when choosing the sidewalk over the road.
Fear is, by far, the biggest motivator for choosing the sidewalk over roads.
Some commuters refuse to ride in the road no matter where they are. While I’ve addressed this subject, many people aren’t comfortable exercising their right to the road and want the perceived safety of riding on the sidewalk.
There are also other riders (me included) that ride the road 99% of the time, but will hop on the sidewalk in certain instances like a long climb on a two lane road or going around blind turns where the danger of getting hit by a car goes way up.
But before you choose to ride on the sidewalk, there are a couple things to consider…
  • It’s illegal - The law in most areas of the country require bicycles to follow the same rules of the road as other motor vehicles. In essence, riding your bike down the sidewalk is the same as if you hopped the curb and started rolling it in your car.
  • It’s dangerous – Riding the sidewalk has it’s own set of dangers that many people never think about. Getting right hooked, cars pulling out of driveways, hitting pedestrians, etc are all things that have to be carefully watched for.
[ Read the 5 Rules on commutebybike.com ]

Back to Earth


Back to Earth from El Zumpango on Vimeo.

Rails to Trails officials visit Parkersburg | News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG - Representatives of the national Rails to Trails Conservancy are looking at Parkersburg and Wood County as a possible destination for a future event aimed at expanding bicycle trails in the region.
Eric Oberg, manager of trail development for Rails to Trails' Midwest Regional Office, and Tom Sexton, director of the Northeast Regional Office, met Wednesday morning with Kim Coram, a Parkersburg City Council member and coordinator for the Wood County Alternative Transportation Council, and others interested in developing bicycle routes in the area at the Blennerhassett Hotel.
Oberg and Sexton were scouting possible future routes for the conservancy's annual Greenway Sojourn, a multi-day event that draws 300 bicyclists to ride trails and encourages their expansion.

Article Photos

Photo by Evan Bevins
From left, Kim Coram, Parkersburg City Council member and coordinator for the Wood County Alternative Transportation Council, and Tom Sexton, director of the Northeast Regional Office for the Rails to Trails Conservancy, listen as Eric Oberg, manager of trail development for the conservancy’s Midwest Regional Office, discusses efforts to strengthen networks of trails in the region Wednesday morning at the Blennerhassett Hotel.
This year's event is set to go from the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia through Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Md., but Sexton said he could see Parkersburg being a part of future events.
"This is a good ending place; it's a good starting place," he said.
The Sojourn lasts from four to eight days and includes entertainment options and activities beyond biking, as well as overnight camping. The route isn't restricted to unbroken trails - and that's intentional.
"This event is a trail-building tour," Sexton said.
The goal is to show community leaders the potential impact biking trails can have by bringing people from more than 20 states into an area, rather than presenting statistics from economic impact studies. If there are places where better trail connectors are needed, that is often highlighted during the ride.

[ Read more on newsandsentinel.com ]

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Metro Parks staff puts priority on plowing bike paths

While those of us who drive to and from work have been stuck in slushy stop-and-go traffic for much of this winter, Keith Mayton has cruised with little other company on his morning and afternoon commutes.

The federal-court clerk rides on studded bicycle tires each morning, no matter the weather, from Worthington to Downtown on the Olentangy Trail.

Not that the trail has been sloppy. “You can pretty much ride through it,” he said.

That’s because Metro Parks quickly clears 38 miles of paved paths after every snow accumulation, said Larry Peck, the system’s deputy director.

Continue reading at the Columbus Dispatch.

Bicycle Art | Poppy Gall Blog


Bicycle Fork Flower

Cycle Revolution by Frances Castle

La Vuelta a España Poster


[ See more on poppygall.com ]

Does The World Need More Bicycle Limericks? Yes, I Think You're Wright!


Original Wright brothers-built bicycle, one of only five in the world

Two brothers devised what at sight
Seemed a bicycle crossed with a kite.
        They predicted–rash pair!
        It would fly through the air!
And what do you know? They were Wright!

[ See more about the famous Dayton Ohioans at airandspace.si.edu ]

SURLY Pugsley: post work ride to the coast...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Video: David Byrne Live On Two Wheels | NY Times


The former Talking Heads frontman discusses his passion for bicycles and what he thinks New York City should do to become more bike friendly.

[See the video on nytimes.com ]

This Crazy Electric Bicycle Looks Like Something A Superhero Would Ride



This concept bike--meant to “act as a critique of many widely accepted conventions within the cyclist culture"--looks nothing like any bike you’ve ever seen before.


A typical electric bicycle tries to hide the motor inside. Some have clunky, bulky frames, and some, like the new Faraday Porteur, manage to disguise all of the gadgetry so the bike looks as much like a classic ride as possible. And then there are ideas like this one: The INgSOC concept bike looks nothing like any bike you’ve ever seen before.
The bike, originally designed a few years ago by Edward Kim, Benny Cemoli, and Stephan Mora, was never intended to be made. Kim compares it to a concept car that's not ready for the real world. Instead, it was meant to get people thinking. “It attempts to give a glimpse into the future of bicycle design and technology by choosing to let go of many aspects of practicality for the sake of expressing an idea,” he says.
More at FastCompany

Bike Theft Gangs Using 'Sucker Poles' to Steal Bikes Across the City | DNAinfo Chicago


A bike locked to a "sucker pole" in Lincoln Park is easy pickings, especially since the front tire is not locked.

On a sunny Wednesday morning as moms, kids and workers walked along Halsted Street, a bike thief worked in plain sight.

It was as easy as lifting a tow zone sign right out of its base, slipping the U-lock off the metal pole and riding off with the lock still attached to the frame of the bike.

Couldn't have been more than 10 seconds.

"He had the pole in his hand when I saw him, and he had it up in the air," said Kathy McInerney, a 24-year-old Lincoln Park resident. "He threw it back down into the [base], and he just hopped right on [the bike and went] down Lill."

McInerney called the cops and gave them a description of the hooded thief, but he was long gone.

The bike was attached to a "sucker pole," according to Howard Kaplan, founder of the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry.

Thieves will remove the bolts that secure street sign poles to their bases, allowing them to easily lift the poles out of the base later. Unsuspecting riders don't notice the missing bolts, and lock their bikes to the poles, falsely thinking they'll be secure.

[ Read more on dnainfo.com ]

Morning commute in snowstorm. Reykjavik, Iceland

Monday, February 17, 2014

Family speaks out on lawmaker's response on bike lane issue | Newsday




A 17-year-old and his mother who was struck by a van while bicycling speak out on Feb. 14, 2014, after Suffolk Legis. Thomas Barraga responded to the teen's letter, saying he doesn't believe anyone should ride a bicycle or motorcycle in the county.

[ Watch the video at newsday.com ]

Bicycle Rollers | Wikipedia


A flexible roller system allowing longitudinal movement

Balancing the bicycle without riding off the rollers is an extra challenge for the rider and requires much more balance and attention than bicycle trainers. Some cyclists find that this increased attention to balance enhances their workout, while other cyclists simply prefer the more stable trainers. Rollers are also used by bicycle racers to finely tune their balance, a skill needed for drafting and the close quarters of a peloton during races.

Novice cyclists often start by placing the bicycle rollers in a hallway or door frame where there is a nearby wall for support in the case of a fall. Removing any sharp and dangerous objects from the area is a must and a helmet is often worn, even though the user might be indoors. Beginners quickly discover that it is easier to maintain one's balance by focusing on a point a few yards ahead rather than looking directly down at the front wheel. In addition, it is easier to stay on the rollers in a higher gear when the wheels are spinning faster. Also, the user has no forward momentum while on bicycle rollers, which drastically reduces the possibility of injury in the event of a loss of balance or a fall.

[Read more on wikipedia.org ]

What's the best material to make a bike from?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Secure Your Commuter Bike And Components, Or Any Bike



"Ever locked up your bike with a U-lock and returned to find your wheels, seat, and handlebars stolen?

The Pinhead patented locking fastener system secures your individual bike components from theft. Unlike a conventional U-lock, which only secures your bike frame, the Pinhead component locking system locks your front wheel, rear wheel, seat, and forks to your bicycle frame.

Each Pinhead locking component replaces the standard parts that your bike is assembled with. Install the locking components, then forget they’re there. Once installed, the Pinhead locking System remains on your bicycle when you ride, protecting your components from theft. If you do need to remove a component for bike maintenance, a unique locking key lets you easily and quickly remove any component.

Send bike thieves away empty-handed."

[ See more on pinheadcomponents.com ]

How To Set Up Cleat Positioning | Cycling Tips




"When doing a bike fit the place to start is at the feet.  This is the first point of contact on the bike and proper cleat setup is one of the most important elements of proper fit.

Many PhD’s have been written about cleat positioning and there are various theories out there.  Unless you’re bio mechanically sensitive or have some individual needs these basic steps should get you going with a good and neutral cleat position that will minimize injuries and be comfortable."

[ Read all about how to do it on cyclingtips.com ]


Hunting for Monsters (trailer)


Hunting for Monsters (trailer) from Bjørn on Vimeo.