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Saturday, November 17, 2012


STOLEN BIKE ALERT: Green Surly LHT just got stolen from outside my mothers house in Clintonville after the YoY ride: 48 inches, wide mud fenders, bar end shifters, topeak rack on the back. Aliceanne 248 885 0388

2012 Dirty Dozen Just One Week Away!

2012 DD Start & Registration Info is on my website at:

With seasonal weather predicted, I expect the biggest starting field ever - well over 300 riders.  My primary concern is safety.  Even though I plan to have more marshals than ever wearing red vests at intersections, I can't guarantee that all 87 intersections will be marshaled, so please ride defensively - assuming there is no marshal.  This is especially important for stragglers who have been dropped off of the back of the main group/pack.  I need more riding and car marshals.  If you are able to volunteer, please e-mail me at: or call me at (412)421-3143

30th Annual Dirty Dozen t-shirts are on sale at:

Welcome new sponsor Red Bull energy drink:

And returning sponsors Eat'n Park:

and Big Bang Bicycles:
where Dirty Dozen registered riders can get a 20% discount on bicycles & equipment/parts,
and a 25% discount on clothing.  

Big Bang will have two support vehicles on the Dirty Dozen route.  

With the exception of hill #4 (High St./Seavey Rd. in Etna) because there is a food stop after it in Millvale Riverfront Park, and hill #9 Canton Avenue in Beechview because there is a food stop on top of it, we will wait 10 minutes from the time I get to the top of hills until we move on to the next hill.  

Unfortunately, the old hill #6 - Rialto St. (Pig Hill) will be eliminated from the Dirty Dozen this year - so there are only 12 hills.  PA Rt. 28 construction has done away with the flat section at the bottom where we used to start from.  There is no longer a safe way to get riders up the hill.  

Even though I am going 10 places deep in the men's race, there are only about 50 people who realistically have a chance of scoring any points all day.  Can the rest of the group please respect this, and allow them to move to the front of the group at the bottom of hills?  I do not have an official city permit, and we do not want the police or city to shut down the Dirty Dozen, so please be polite to drivers and police along the route.  

If you are worried about getting lost, please use this cue sheet:

of the old route.  We no longer ride through the Liberty Tunnels (illegal), so at mile 30.65 on the cue sheet, please follow these directions:

At TL, straight across Pioneer Ave
At TL Slight right to merge onto PA-51 S/Saw Mill Run Blvd toward Uniontown
Turn left at TL onto Bausman St
Climb up thru McKinley Park
Turn right to stay on Bausman St
Turn left at TL onto Brownsville Rd
At TL at Arlington Ave., Continue straight onto S 18th St
Straight thru TL at Pius/Mission Streets
Turn right to stay on S 18th St
Straight at TL at Jane St
Straight at TL at Sarah St
Turn left at TL onto E Carson St
Straight thru TL at 17th St
Straight thru TL at 14th St
Turn left at TL onto S 12th St
Continue onto Brosville St (11th hill starts)
to get over Mt. Oliver (a connecting hill with no points awarded) and down to the South Side back to the cue sheet at mile 33.2

If the Bud Harris Cycling Track (oval) parking lot fills up (please do not box any parked cars in, and do not use the handicap spots, and do not park to the left (as you drive in) in police spots.  Please go about 0.5 mile North (past the oval on your left) on Washington Blvd. (towards the Allegheny River) to the gravel lot on your left for overflow parking.  

If you plan on being on the hills to cheer on riders, please do not clog up the narrow streets by driving on them while the riders are climbing them.  Plan to be at about every 3rd hill.

Head marshal Chris Helbling (wearing a red vest) will be holding a marshals meeting at 9 am at the oval if you would like to volunteer.  

Even if you have pre-registered, please check in (find your name on my sheets and run a bright colored highlighter marker over it), and sign a release liability waiver if you need to.

The official DD after party will again be held at Over The Bar Bicycle Cafe at 2518 E. Carson St. on the South Side at 7pm.

Good Luck to all the riders!



Cycletouring + Camping in Baby Steps

Cycletouring + Camping in Baby Steps from Blanche on Vimeo.
Does your cycletouring and camping life stop as soon as a baby arrives?
Watch this video to find out .....

Reizen met de fiets en kamperen, leuk! Maar zodra er een baby is, kan je het wel vergeten.
Is dat echt zo? Kijk naar deze video en je weet het .....

www.Footage : Canon HF100
www.Editing : Final Cut Express 4
www.Music : Triggerfinger - I follow rivers

(This video is not about editing or photographing but effort nr. 2 to learn some script writing- and video interviewing skills. It's filmed last weekend. During a cycling and camping overnighter with our friends Friedel, Andrew and Luke Grant.)

Coolest commutes on two wheels [CNN]

Oakland-California based Xtraclycle is out to prove that bike commuting means more than just riding to work, but using pedal power for routine chores as well.

Its extended bikes are more like trucks -- able to carry up to 300 pounds -- making the bicycle a natural choice for all manner of errands.

"We've seen a huge spike in sales the last few months," said Nate Byerley, the company's chief operating officer, crediting the recovering economy.

This model starts at $1,099. 

Leatherman Mako bike tool

The Mako bike tool is named after one of the fastest shark species in the world, not unlike you when you're up and running. For those unfortunate breakdowns though, the extremely lightweight and compact Mako features nine essential tools for a road or trailside fix to get you back up and running in no time. Complete with a bottle opener for the occasional "road soda," five metric box wrenches and two spoke wrenches; this is the first bike tool that you won't even notice in your pocket!

  • 1/4" Hex Bit Driver
  • 8mm Box Wrench
  • 9mm Box Wrench
  • 10mm Box Wrench
  • 15mm Box Wrench
  • 16mm Box Wrench
  • 14-guage Spoke Wrench
  • 15-guage Spoke Wrench
  • Bottle Opener
  • Titanium
  • Lanyard Hole
  • Rubber Bit Holder
  • TSA Compliant
  • 25-year Warranty
  • Included Bits: #1 Phillips & Torx # 25, Hex 6mm & 5mm
  • 3.5 in | 9.5 cm (Length)
  • 1.4 oz | 42 g (Weight)

Harrison West Awarded Funds for the Olentangy Trail Connector [Harrison West Society]

harrison west olentangy trailThe Harrison West Olentangy Recreation Trail connector has been recommended for funding by the city of Columbus under the Development Department’s 2012 Urban Infrastructure Recovery Fund (UIRF) Program. Back in May of 2012, attendees of the Harrison West Society meeting reviewed a list of possible improvements to our neighborhood and ranked them in order of importance. Extending the Olentangy trail connector behind Superior Beverage was one of the top priorities.
The society currently has at its disposal a number of funding sources for neighborhood projects. The Gowdy Field stipend, for example, is earmarked for green space acquisition and improvement and would be a good funding source for a community garden. We also have TIF funds, which have fewer use restrictions and could be used to fund street, lighting and overhead-line improvements. The society decided to apply for UIRF funds to complete the Olentangy trail connector project because of the program’s overall expense, it’s potential to benefit residents both inside and outside of Harrision West and its uniqueness. The society will partner some of its own dollars with the funds awarded through the UIRF grant to complete the connector.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Whole Foods adds bike fix-it stations [Tuscon Velo]

On a recent trip to Whole Foods on Speedway, I spotted this bicycle repair station outside it’s doors.
It’s been a while since I’ve stopped in to that location.
Apparently the station went up a few months ago and was put in by the store management because they recognized many of their customers were bicyclists.
It’s interesting to see some businesses recognizing the value of cyclists and trying to make it a better experience for bike riders.

Custom Fast Boy Cycles for SALE (@ezracaldwell) #letsride

From Ezra's site - This bike is currently for SALE! 

Columbus spirit tubes with paramount lugs.
Campy athena 11 spd.
Paul Comp canti brakes.
Chris King.
Custom Fast Boy racks and fenders.
I should explain.
In 2010, I built Hill a touring bike. She got it in a pretty raw state with her coffee on the morning of her birthday.
She chose some colors and it went off to paint and came back looking quite beautiful, I thought.   (It's quite possible that the color choices were unwittingly effected by the bedding!  and even her hair?)
The idea was that as soon as I had the time I'd build myself one too, and we'd go and do some touring.  In particular, we liked the idea of starting in the Seattle area with a visit to the infamous Timmy Corkery, and then heading north through Bellingham (Cory B!), to vancouver (Perfect Tommy), and on to Vancouver Island to see what the west coast Nova Scotia looked like.
This project got a little derailed when, in the late summer of 2010, I recurred and had to be rushed to the hospital for an evisceration!  The surgery was followed by six months of chemotherapy, which I found much harder to endure than my first six month stint of the stuff.  I was completely unable to work.  I sent back a few down payments, and spent a lot of time on my back.
At some point in March, though, my white blood cells got low enough that they weren't able to give me the normal dose of chemo without risking.. well.. death, I guess.  So, I got a few days less poison that round, and the difference it made was amazing.  I took advantage of it and rushed out to the shop and managed to mostly build myself a frame in about three days.
The following day I was back on the poison, and the debilitating pain that it caused sunk back in until the end of treatment in May.  I didn't get around to finishing the frame and building racks until the end of the summer, but it DID eventually become a bike. Sort of my dream bike, in fact.  It has the last set of paramount lugs that I had.  No more to be had for love or money.  It has a shiny silver Campy Athena 11 speed group.  Paul Comp brakes.  Chris King, White industries, Nitto, etc etc.
The problem is that I designed the bike for the body that I had, and not the body that I've ended up with.  The two herniated disks in my lower back (still no clue about how they happened during a period spent mostly prone) and the sciatic pain that they cause pretty much rule out long days spent in the saddle, even in the reasonably upright position that the nitto technomic stem allows.
So I haven't really ridden the thing.  It's got a total of about 150 miles on it.
It's sad for me.  And also sad for Hill.  It represents the sum total of work that I managed to get done during my last bout of cancer treatment.  It was meant to be the mating pair to Hill's bike, which would allow us to adventure around together.  Pretty romantic, I thought.  But Hill and I agree that it's even more sad for that bike with so much love (and money) tied up in it, to simply hang on the wall and not be ridden.  It's a great bike for SOMEONE.  Not me.  And maybe I can use the money to build myself something that I WILL ride.
I'm about 5'8" and normally proportioned.  If you don't have back problems, and like bike touring, this might be a great bike for you. I can make it available for test rides for anyone who wants to come for a visit.
So that you have a sense.  If you were to order a bike like this bike from me, it would have a price tag in the $5500 range.  I would be quite happy to get $4k for it.
If you are interested, shoot me an email. [Site]

Plage Blanche | Cycling Morocco

Plage Blanche | cycling Morocco from Blanche on Vimeo.
In the winter of 2010 we cycled Morocco fo the 12th time. This time we pedalled to plage Blanche, the white beach. This video is about dreams and how dreams turn out in reality.

www.Footage: Canon HF100
www.Editing: Final Cut Express 4
www.Music: Don't blow it | Cliff Martinez + Song For Jesse | Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
+ La salida de Lima | Gustavo Santaolalla

Iva Jean: Bike Fashion for Women, Spring 2013 [Kickstarter]

Inspiring women to bike with style and confidence, we design functional and fashionable clothing that works on and off your bike.

  • Launched: Nov 7, 2012
  • Funding ends: Dec 7, 2012
At Iva Jean, we know the joy of riding a bike. We know the satisfaction of a sunrise commute and the happiness in an afternoon ride to meet friends. We believe every woman deserves to experience the thrill. 
That’s why Iva Jean focuses on providing the products and resources that inspire women to BIKE EVERYWEAR.


I started Iva Jean in early 2010 to encourage women to get on a bike and ride with the style, personality and confidence they bring to every other aspect of their lives.

Over the years, biking has become a huge part of my life. The more comfortable I became, the more I realized that I didn’t need to become a sports enthusiast or wear head-to-toe spandex to ride. Today, I bike in everyday clothes and at a pace I feel comfortable with – I take in the joy of seeing the city from a different perspective and giving a nod to ladies looking chic on their bikes.

I believe that while we shouldn’t have to buy a lot of gear to ride, the items that we do buy should be functional and fashionable, working on and off our bikes.

Working closely with designers, seamstresses and manufacturers in Seattle, I launched the Rain Cape in Fall 2011. Around that time, Iva Jean was selected as the Fashion Grand Prize Winner in DailyCandy’s Start Small, Go Big contest. Since then, Iva Jean has received both local and national press, with features in Momentum and Seattle Met Magazines, A Cup of Jo, Lovely Bicycle!; and showing at Model Citizens NYC, San Francisco Bike Expo’s Pedal Savvy and Seattle Magazine’s The Forecast. 


Over the last year, my team and I have been working to expand our line. The design of the Rain Cape has been improved and we have developed several new pieces including the Reveal Skirt, Daily Blouse, and Two-way Reflective Vest. These pieces are the foundation for any woman looking to build a street-to-bike wardrobe.

The Reveal Skirt provides women with a tailored, straight skirt that unzips in the back to expose additional fabric for easy pedaling. This durable, four-way stretch skirt is cut with a higher waist for coverage while riding and uses a side invisible zipper and darting for a tailored fit. Schoeller-Dryskin Fabric. Sizes 0-14. Black.

4 Reasons to Love Rain Riding [Women on Wheels]

There are definitely fewer people on the bike lanes now that the rains have arrived in Portland. When I see another woman passing me on her bike, we generally give each other the secret smile, as in: “It isn’t so bad out here after all, is it?”
Though sometimes, it does feel that bad.
Like the other day when I left a workshop in Mt. Tabor, it was raining one of those pissy rains, those dribbly drippy rains where it doesn’t seem bad when you are looking at it from inside. And so I decided not to don my rain pants. On top of that, I was carrying a large white paper bag filled with leftover plates, napkins, and cutlery from the workshop. It’s almost always a bad idea to have a swinging bag dangling from your handlebars. So I had two bad ideas going – no rain pants, swinging paper bag – as I pulled away from the church curb.
My helmet, a new Bern all-weather helmet with a nice rim to keep the rain out of my eyes, doesn’t keep the rain off my head, due to its big vent holes at the top. By five blocks away from the workshop church, parts of the top of my head were as wet as my legs. Then, thwap, the bottom of the white paper bag collapsed, and an uneven shower of white paper napkins and small paper plates bounced out along the sidewalk.
After picking up all the paper plates and soggy paper napkins I was not only wet, I was cold, so back on the bike I started riding faster, hunkering down inside my jacket. Ahead of me, above the west hills, I could see the sky was partially blue, but I didn’t seem to be advancing any closer to the blue.
By the time I crested the hill on Harrison my fingers were seriously chilled. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a girl-woman with dirty blond hair smiling as she stood in the rain, her feet bare in the grass, cold rain falling on her head, too. She looked beatific and hippy-like, missing only a flower crown. She was saying something to me, and I was thinking ‘freak magnet,’ and so I just hunkered down further into my jacket. Ten feet past her I shook my head, as if to get my internal computer to realize what she was saying.
I slowed the bike and turned around. Behind me, a great sparkling rainbow had risen right above the rain clouds. Suddenly restore to ‘not too bad out here,’ I smiled the secret smile at hippy girl.
In the spirit of happy rain riding, I give you four great reasons to love it.

Clement Cycling X’PLOR MSO

The X’Plor MSO is a 700 x 40mm adventure tire designed for mixed conditions. The combination of smooth-rolling center knobs and aggressive shoulder lugs provide great traction and durability for dirt roads, trails, cyclocross, urban assault and even pavement. The MSO will fit on your cyclocross bike, commuter, and touring bike.
The MSO tire is named for the airport code of Missoula, Montana, home of the Adventure Cycling Association and the inspiration for countless cycling journeys.
Clement’s X’Plor adventure tire series is designed to bridge the gap between pavement and blazing your own trail. Each tire within this series is designed for multiple conditions from off-road touring to gravel racing to just getting outta’ Dodge.
Product Features:
Size: 700 x 40 mm
Tread: Smooth-rolling center knobs and aggressive shoulder lugs. Soft rubber compound for extra grip and shock absorption.
Casing: 60tpi or 120tpi versions available.
Details: Clincher, folding bead, color black
Read Clement tire reviews here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

2nd Annual Fat Bike Winter Summit and Festival

Full steam ahead.  We’re sending out this media release today and starting to do a little online promo.
You’ll notice two changes (both in the release and on the website) since my last blog post (which I’ve now edited):
Here’s the full text of the press release (links added) in case you prefer it over the PDF:


Ukraine from Blanche on Vimeo.
It's the second biggest country of Europe. Still a lot of Europeans don't really know it.
This summer we discovered it by bicycle! Here is what we found in Ukraine.

www.Footage: Canon HF100
www.Editing: Final Cut Express 4
www.Music: Glad by myself | Zapaska + Loboda | Burdon
+ Good bye | Nameless + Lost in space & Ginger girl | Fearless Sunrise

Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians can take the high road to safety [Pittsburgh Post Gazette]

Bicycle riders on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.

By Annie Siebert  / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Cyclists captured Pittsburgh's attention this summer after two bicyclists were killed and one was gravely injured in hit-and-runs and another was brutally attacked. Another cyclist was injured on Tuesday after being sideswiped by a driver who fled the scene. In comments on news websites, letters to the editor, tweets and Facebook posts, Pittsburghers offered their opinions on cyclists, drivers and the rules of the road.
Some of those comments make it sound as though the world contains only two kinds of people: bicyclists and drivers.
Some criticized cyclists for zipping through stop signs or red lights and otherwise failing to follow the law. Cyclists and their advocates lamented distracted drivers and speeding cars making the roads unsafe for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike.
Scott Bricker, executive director of Bike Pittsburgh, said some drivers view cyclists as just another obstacle -- "the equivalent of a moving pothole."
"We're not being seen as human beings just trying to get where we're going," he said.

Pa. bike laws passed in April

• Clearance -- Drivers must pass bikes to the left and give a minimum of four feet of clearance "at a careful and prudent speed." If they cannot do so safely, they must wait to pass.
• "Right hooks" prohibited -- Drivers cannot make sudden right turns into the path of cyclists.
• Ride on the right -- Bicyclists must ride in the right lane "or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway," unless surface conditions are unsafe.
• Crossing the line -- Drivers may cross the center line when passing a cyclist if there is no oncoming traffic.

And more often than not, cyclists are also drivers.
Last year, Bike Pittsburgh sent a survey to its 1,700 members. Of the 600 who responded, 90 percent said they own and drive vehicles, meaning that they have driver's licenses, pay fees to register their vehicles and chip in for the gas tax, all of which help fund road and bridge improvements.
"The whole idea that it's us versus them is completely unfounded," Mr. Bricker said. "Most people who ride bikes also drive cars. We're multi-modal people."

Read more: