- August 12, 2014
Shortly after Surly introduced the Cross Check some fifteen years ago, someone chimed in that they wished for a disc brake option. After..
- August 5, 2014
The ABUS Granit Futura Mini U-Lock has been my go-to lock for almost three years now, locking up my bike on streets across the country and..
- August 1, 2014
Contents include: I Love Riding in the City, NAHBPC 2014, Amtrak Roll-On Service, Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center Crit, Product Spotlight:..
- July 14, 2014
In 1579 Sir Francis Drake landed in northern California and dubbed it New Albion. In 1976, Jack McAuliffe founded the now defunct New..
- July 10, 2014
Housed in a former candle factory in Queens, New York is one of America’s oldest manufacturing traditions. Worksman Cycles is a..
Gevenalle (the artist formerly known as Retroshift) introduced the Blatantly Upgraded Rear Derailleur a couple of seasons back, taking a Microshift rear derailleur, swapping some pulleys and increasing the chain spring tension and giving riders a reasonably priced derailleur alternative better tuned for the grit of cyclocross. Now comes the Blatantly Upgraded and Rebranded Derailleur for the front shifting duties, this again uses a Microshift derailleur, this time their top-end road unit with a swapped out cage. Gevenalle removed the flimsy carbon cage and replaced it with a stiffer steel unit better tuned to the smaller double chainring sets on cyclocross, gravel riding and pro-commuter type bikes. The rear derailleur is available starting at $69, with the front derailleur $50 in either braze-on or clamp-on mounts, with economical crash replacement policies on each. See more BURD at www.gevenalle.com.
Local to Urban Velo framebuilder Michael Brown of Maestro Frameworks is making a name for himself building adaptive bikes, namely for Mike Trimble, a man born without arms in the wake of the Chernobyl accident who is now able to ride for pleasure and transportation. Pittsburgh Magazine ran an article about their project, and their plans to ride the 350+ miles to Washington DC together.
Early retirement from Columbia Gas in 2009 gave him an opportunity to focus solely on bikes. He apprenticed under Mike Flanigan, a legendary Boston-area bike builder, before opening Maestro Frameworks in 2011, commuting by bike from his Squirrel Hill home.
People with disabilities started seeking him out. “I didn’t go out of my way to look for this market, but people keep finding me to do custom things that nobody else would touch,” Brown says.
A Pittsburgh woman with one short arm, on which her hand protrudes from her elbow, asked Brown if he could get her on two wheels for the first time in her life. He designed a bike that allowed her to shift gears with her longer arm while resting the shorter one on a modified handlebar. He also built a bike for a young man with dwarfism who had been riding ill-fitting children’s bikes and was ecstatic to ride a high-performance bike that fit him.
Then came Trimble’s request — at that time Brown’s biggest engineering challenge to date. To design the steering system, Brown says he sat on the bike and imagined that he had no arms. His first prototype extended the bar to underneath the armpit, but that made Trimble lean to the right. The second version, which Trimble controlled with his stump, allowed him to steer.
Read the whole article at www.pittsburghmagazine.com
Check out behind the scenes footage of the development of Kryptonite’s Messenger Collection.
Let’s be real here…this is NOT going to happen, but sometimes design firms have too many workers and need to keep them occupied, so they pitch ideas that tend to be a little far-fetched. Maybe I’m being overly cynical here, but let’s entertain the idea of this project regardless. The Danish design firm BIG pitched a concept for overhauling the current zoo in Givskund, Denmark. In this redesign, they have spectators viewing the animals in a more direct manner, but with less perceived intrusion. One way they do this is by having people riding in, what look like, bubble bikes, with a mirrored surface so the people can’t be seen by the animals.
My first thought when I saw this design was, “Have you ever seen an animal look at itself in the mirror?” That never turns out good. I can imagine a primate or other predator animal feeling threatened by the reflection and attacking the bubble bikes, knocking them over and pounding the crap out of them. But hey, that will be an animal encounter a young child will never forget.
Then there are the mechanical issues. What happens with flat tires, broken chains, operators ignoring the red lights of the jungle and speeding through a herd’s attempt at an enclosed stampede?
The Soma Wolverine is a 700c adventure frameset — call it a gravel grinder, call it a monster-cross bike, call it whatever you’d like but it’s yet another entry into the non-racer offroad capable road bike. The $600 frameset has full chromoly tubing, with a matching lugged Tange chromoly fork. The frame is disc specific, has clearance for 45 mm tires, an English threaded bottom bracket, and has rear rack and fender mounts all around. The sliding dropouts make it derailleur or internally hub geared, or single speed compatible, and are split for Gates Carbon belt drive compatibility. The sliders are compatible with aftermarket Paragon sliders if you’re looking to run a Rohloff hub. Pretty great looking frameset, I can see many miles upon such a build. See more or order direct at store.somafab.com
BikeTrails is a ride diary by STOPNOWHERE, but instead of just being a traditional log, it’s also a way to engage with a larger BikeTrails community online, challenging each other in a Strava-like way, but with a more analog approach.
BikeTrails can be purchased for approximately $26 here.
Ben Towill and friends rode from Colorado to Oregon, documenting the trip along the way. I’m digging the 70s surf movie feel of their videos, this final piece being the last leg of the trip, concentrating more on the details of riding rather than the journey itself. Towill explains the reason behind this ride along parts of the TransAmerican Bike Trail,
I am riding for a New York charity called Just Food, an organization working to make NYC a healthier place to live and eat, and will be working with them on their Youth Community Chefs program.These inspiring young people are participating in urban farming and gardening initiatives and then sharing their knowledge of and passion for good food with their neighbors.
I do my grocery shopping by bicycle probably seven months out of the year and it’s a total bummer that I have to lock it to literally the only thing available – the one section of closed cart gate still remaining.
Last week the New York Times published an article about a group of artists memorializing pedestrian and cyclist traffic deaths with sidewalk stencils. Worth the read, Memorializing Traffic Deaths With an Artist’s Touch.
“Instead of just saying Seth died here, this is where something terrible happened, those wings are saying Seth is flying by, Seth lives here,” said his mother, Debbie Kahn, who watched the image being created. “It’s also a warning: Be aware, be careful, life is precious.”
Read the complete article at www.nytimes.com
Johnathan Ball keeps you dizzy with an edit from the last year of FGFS for Bombtrack.
From The Gothamist:
Last night, the NYPD announced it was starting a “Operation Safe Cycle, a two week bicycle safety enforcement initiative,” today, August 13, through Tuesday, August 26. So… does this mean more police cruisers in the bike lane? Especially at dinner time, outside Papa John’s?
Raleigh found that a lot of people are hitting the road less traveled on their skinny tire bikes and sold through the disc brake equipped Tamland last year. The industry calls them gravel bikes, a whole lot of non-racers call them the road bikes they’ve always wished for, and Raleigh is introducing the Willard line for these sorts of riders in 2015. The pictured Willard 2 has a retail price of $1750, and features a disc specific 6061 aluminum frame and carbon blade/tapered alloy steerer fork with a Shimano 105 11-speed build and TRP Spyre disc brakes. The bikes ships with 40 mm tires and has fender tabs for foul weather riding and commuting and has real-world 50/34 x 11-28t gearing. The published weight is just under 23 lbs. Also look for the $1300 Sora equipped model. Availability at shops should be in time for those prime October gravel rides.
These guys so get it. Bikes are fun, spread the word. Check out this video with Tyrone Stevenson Jr, founder of the Oakland Scraper Bikes crew inspiring kids to spend their time wrenching and riding.
How aerodynamic is a beard? Specialized engineers use their wind tunnel to find the answer we’ve all been waiting for.
Nothing more than beautifully shot eye candy ride porn…and that’s ok with me. The dudes from Hardbrakers cruising around the streets of Hamburg.
This Saturday on August 16th is the 9th Annual Seattle Bike-In at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill, presented by the Northwest Film Forum and the Gigantic Bicycle Festival. Starting at 8pm take in eight bike-shorts and the feature length Premium Rush, free of charge.
Bianchi has updated their popular Volpe line of do-it-all cyclocross bikes with the 2015 Volpe Disc. The disc specific steel frame and fork has rack and fender mounts for versatility and ships with 35 mm tires, a 10-speed 50/34 double Tiagra drivetrain, and Hayes mechanical disc brakes. If disc brakes aren’t your thing the Volpe Classic has a triple drivetrain and cantilever brakes on a similar platform. See more of the 2015 sneak peak, including the new full carbon disc equipped Zolder cyclocross bike, from a Bianchi insider at www.stickboybike.com
YNOT have been making solid bags for years now, and their new line is only an advancement on previous designs. They are launching the line on August 21st, through a Kickstarter campaign, and your pre-order contribution starts at $100 for Early Backers. As the video shows, the bags have a clever rack attachment system that is incredibly adjustable so that almost every style of rack is accommodated. They allow for easy attachment, removal and carrying, without needing to buy a brand specific rack system. Let’s hope the delivery on pre-orders is by the October 2014 date they have established.
If you’re in the Toronto area, they will be showcasing the line at a launch party on August 21st.
Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in Denton, TX, a smallish college town about 40 minutes north of Dallas. Denton is amazing to ride a bike in. There is a huge bike scene complete with social rides, booze n’ cruises, photovelos, and alley cat races. I lead a no-drop ride around town every Tuesday night that ends at our beautiful town square and I seriously owe so many of my good friends to riding bikes here. The amount of people who ride here is incredible and the motorists seem to give plenty of respect to us cyclists. All in all, Denton is small enough to ride everywhere with a big enough spirit to keep you plum silly with new events and friends to ride with.
What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
I like taking the train to Dallas and chopping it up in the middle of Main St traffic. They aren’t quite as friendly to cyclists down there and I get a little giggle out of blowing past a bloated, big-haired Dallas socialite jabbering away on their cell phone while I sneak in front of him and just barely squeeze through the light and onward.
Why do you love riding in the city?
The flow of traffic, the burn in my legs, and the thrill of feeling like I’ve just gone a little too fast.
Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?
la vida es mejor en bici
Shortly after Surly introduced the Cross Check some fifteen years ago, someone chimed in that they wished for a disc brake option. After introducing a bunch of other bikes and “inventing” a category or two along the way, Surly took a sideways glance at their cyclocross bike and gave us the Straggler. It’s like the Cross Check with all of the same rack and fender braze-ons as the current generation, but different. Larger tire clearance, disc brake mounts and a new horizontal dropout design for either single speed or geared drivetrains. And it’s even heavier at 7 pounds for the frameset, give or take an ounce. This isn’t really a bike for someone counting the ounces of anything but their beverage of choice.
The Straggler excels at no single thing, but is capable of many. It’s a disc brake ‘cross bike erring towards adventure and utility rather than speed and lightweight. The Straggler has clearance for up to 44 mm wide tire with full fenders, and builds up with as standard components as you can get for a versatile bike that can evolve as your interests change. I decided on a mix of ‘cross and mountain components—a 46/36 crankset, 12-36 cassette, riser bars, top-mount shifters and hydraulic disc brakes—for an all day, all terrain city explorer capable of wherever an aimless ride may steer. It’s 26.5 lbs as pictured, but I didn’t put any thought into lightweight spec, and there are some easy places to trim.
Describing the ride isn’t full of superlatives—it’s well-worn cyclocross geometry tuned for larger tires, “monstercross” as some may have it. The chainstays remain short (430 mm on my 59 cm sample) even with the clearance for large tires, with the ride height kept in check by the 72 mm bottom bracket drop, yielding a very stable ride with smaller diameter road tires, and a bottom bracket height in the normal range with the largest tires that will fit. I’ve not had any issues with my wheel sliding forward in the dropouts even without using the included screw adjusters. It has never felt particularly fast, but it’s a stable ride—the Straggler goes where you point it and keeps at it. What it lacks in speed in makes up for in fun. Rip it through the woods today, bolt on racks and head out for a few day tour tomorrow, ride it to work again next week. About my only wish for the bike would be a third bottle mount under the downtube for when the going gets extra thirsty, and maybe a pump peg.
Over time I’m sure this build will change, and that’s part of the long term plan. Changing tires and dropping the derailleurs doesn’t take much time in the stand, and makes for an entirely different ride experience. There are a lot of parts combinations to build a super commuter or dirt road tourer or something in between on the Straggler platform. Just don’t mistake it for a cyclocross race bike or fast-guy road bike and you won’t be disappointed.
The Straggler frameset is available for $600 in a remarkable ten sizes, 42-64 cm, in either Glitter Dreams purple or Closet Black. Newly announced is the Straggler 650b, a similar flavor in the betweener wheel diameter in eight sizes including the smallest Surly yet, 38-58 cm.
Sarah Pearman rides her Surly Straggler for transportation, endurance road rides like the 375 mile Crush the Commonwealth, and occasionally on the local singletrack. She had some things to report.
Disc brakes on a road bike are a game changer, especially for me as a small-handed human who has had serious difficulties getting my past bikes to stop with road levers and cantilevers. Given the “standard” frame specs—English bottom bracket, 27.2 mm post, 135 mm rear spacing—I was able to build mine from parts I already had.
Most of my struggles with bikes are related to fit since I’m just barely tall enough to ride a 700c bike and hate toe overlap. The 46 cm Straggler manages not to have toe overlap up to a 32 mm slick tire, which is better than some tiny bikes, but anything larger and I find my frustration level rise.
That’s not to say it isn’t fun with big tires—I can fit skinny 29” mountain tires on it, but it’s even better now that I’ve realized I can fit my 650b mountain bike wheels. It fits a 2.1” up front without significant toe overlap, and 2.0” in the back, for serious monstercross activities. Surly read my mind and just announced the 650b Straggler, which seems like it might fit me even better out of the box.