- June 17, 2013
The fourth annual Bench Minor tournament was held in Los Angeles this past weekend, where the stage was set for some phenomenal bike polo..
- June 6, 2013
Since 1924 ABUS has staked their reputation on making the best locks possible, pioneering and perfecting many of the designs now ubiquitous..
- June 1, 2013
Contents Include: I Love Riding in the City, Racing Red Hook Crit, Stoopidtall, Penrose Velodrome, A Bike Shop for the Whole World,..
- May 27, 2013
My previous headlight died in its prime, of complications from a fall. Coming back to my bike on a wintery night with thick gloves on, I..
- May 8, 2013
An estimated 150,000 people came out the first CicLAvia of the year, on April 21, to enjoy the extended route, which spanned 15 miles from..
The Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting that a local gun group is drumming up numbers in support of people open carrying their weapons at an upcoming Open Streets neighborhood events, originally create by the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition. These events typically shut down streets to traffic to allow all manner of other activities to happen in lieu of cars driving back and forth.
The gun owners “meet-up” events, in which the promoters suggest guns be carried openly and not just concealed, came as a surprise to some city officials and organizers of the Open Streets neighborhood gatherings.
The neighborhood events, known as Open Streets, started as single Minneapolis neighborhood event in 2011 on Lyndale Avenue S. and has grown to four in Minneapolis. St. Paul will host its first Open Streets event in September. During the events, the streets will be closed to motorized vehicles and opened up for families and children who want to ride bikes, skate, walk and play. The focus is on being healthy and promoting active play for children, said Susan Priem, a board representative for the Open Streets event.
John Stiles, spokesman for Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, said city officials received notice about the Open Carry event on Monday. The original Open Streets event proposed by the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition is a “great event and we can hope that everyone will have a safe and enjoyable time.”
Read the entire article at www.startribune.com
The League of American Bicyclists is giving cyclists a handy new resource with its interactive Bicycle Friendly America Database. A part of its full site revamp, the interactive database allows users to search by state on the clickable map to find bike-friendly communities, businesses and universities, or plug in a ZIP code to connect to bike shops, BFA businesses and local events. Clickable headings and filters also let you sort communities by size and businesses by industry.
Each year the League assesses all 50 states. The BFA rankings are assessed through a voluntary application process. Currently, Washington state ranks number one, while North Dakota finishes off the list at number 50. While many of the businesses listed are within the bike industry, quite a few are not; they are simply making a conscious choice to be bicycle-friendly, like the Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento.
Play with the map to find out where your community ranks on the list or to find bike amenities for your stateside summer destination, or get more involved in the BFA process by signing up to be a Local Reviewer for your community.
This weekend brings the third annual Anjou Velo Vintage bicycle ride and weekend of ativities to Saumur, France. Vintage bicycles will make the 87 km ride between Angers and Saumur to celebrate the 100th edition of the Tour de France, passing through Unesco World Heritage sights along the way. The weekend will host a vintage show, swap and party where there will be no shortage of tales from the old days.
Giro’s 40M Tech Overshort is exactly what you imagine—high performance cycling shorts that you wear over your spandex. They provide style, warmth and perhaps protection in a crash, but mostly they’re for modest folks who don’t like to look like they’re riding around in their underwear.
Many people will tell you that there’s nothing like riding in just plain spandex cycling shorts. (The retired Pittsburgh bike messenger Ray Balls was living proof.) Wearing anything over them means you’re increasing the friction between you and your saddle, and impeding cooling and ventilation. Thus, one of the biggest challenges in designing a high-performance overshort is reducing friction. The 40M Tech Overshort features a seemless nylon and spandex panel where it matters most.
Another major factor in performace is fit, so Giro offers these shorts in sizes XS-XXL in both regular and slim fit. I have a 31″ waist, so Giro sent me the “32 Slim”. I don’t think I’ve ever had a better fitting pair of shorts. Granted, aesthetically I prefer a baggier look, but I simply can’t deny that the cut of the 40M is spot on.
Although they’re made for road riding, I’ve taken them on mountain bike rides, as well. Off road riding puts shorts to the test because you change riding positions so frequently. These never felt uncomfortable, nor did they ever snag on the nose of my saddle.
The shorts are constructed if synthetic fabric that has a nice look and feel, as well as a little bit of stretch. Giro makes use of additional spandex stretch panels at the waist, with both buttoned waistband adjustments and good old fashioned belt loops.
Personally, I would have liked a zippered wallet pocket on the butt, however Giro decided to keep the 40M Tech Overshort all business (noting that their accompanying jerseys all have plenty of rear pockets). These shorts have just two small pockets, a zippered cell phone pocket on the left thigh, and a key pocket on the right hip.
Like the rest of the New Road collection, the 40M Tech Overshort is sewn in California. Available in three colorways, they retail for $120. Check out www.giro.com
Two years in the making, street trials rider Danny MacAskill releases his brand new riding film. Whilst previous projects have focused on locations and journeys, MacAskill’s Imaginate sees Danny take a completely different approach to riding. Enter Danny’s mind and enjoy.
The French-language vintage bicycle blog velosvintage.over-blog.com has an interesting look at the evolution of many of the winning bikes from the past 100 years of the Tour de France. From the original fixed gear safety bicycle used by Maurice Garin in the 1903 Tour up through Tom Steel’s 2001 Colnago, it’s pretty easy too spend to much time gawking at these bicycles, and imagining the races and grit they’ve each witnessed.
Following up on our video post of the Tour of Rwanda video from last week, Belgian photojournalist, Colin Delfosse, has gathered images from the race for his own portfolio. Delfosse takes the wider perspective, snapping shots of the action, but focusing more on the culture surrounding the race. His images concentrate on the landscape, spectators and overall juxtaposition of earthy African culture against the flash of professional, competitive cycling.
The full series of images can be found here.
Giro’s New Road collection is an interesting take on cycling apparel. As the name implies, it was designed with road riding in mind. They’ve put a huge emphasis on fashion, creating a high-end alternative to gaudy lycra and spandex. In the past, many companies have produced casual clothing with cycling-specific features, and while they look good enough to wear après-bike, they tend to fall short in the performance arena. Giro, instead, took the approach of making high-performance cycling wear that makes no bones about what it is, but simply looks so nice that you wouldn’t feel self-conscious wearing it into the café.
Perhaps the best example of the New Road philosophy is the Ride Jersey. Made from a merino wool blend, it features an eight inch zipper and three rear pockets. The fabric looks and feels like high-quality cotton, but performs like the original technical fabric should. The stitching is pronounced, which gives the jersey a look that says, “This wasn’t made by faceless factory workers, this was made by human hands.”
The Ride Jersey is available in four colors and sizes XS-XXL. It retails for $150. Check out www.giro.com
Flying bikes have been in the news recently, with the latest more like a quadcopter with a bike attached than any sort of airplane. Perhaps a bit more true to the form comes the Paravelo by Yannick Read (featured in Urban Velo #37). Some two years in the making, the Paravelo is a docking trailer and bicycle with an ultralight, bio-fueled powered paraglider attached for the ultimate adventurer. It is even planned ot feature it’s own lightweight tent, for overnight flying-biking stopovers of course. Check out more details at the Paravelo Kickstarter.
This is a brand new type of ultra-light aircraft – the combination of a para wing and conventional bicycle we call paravelo.
The paravelo is aimed at those who have a thirst for adventure, but are without, perhaps, the storage space or bank balance to accommodate a helicopter.
As well suited to someone living in London as Mojave, we believe the paravelo can transform the way we travel for work, leisure and adventure.
The fourth annual Bench Minor tournament was held in Los Angeles this past weekend, where the stage was set for some phenomenal bike polo matches, showcasing some of the most talented athletes in the sport. Just 48 players from a list of nearly 300 were drafted by the six general managers tapped to cultivate and lead their teams in the battle for polo supremacy.
“It’s the most physically intense and highly skilled tournament that’s out there,” said organizer Alex Dash, who also played for the Los Punishers team. “The base of bike polo is pickup where you play in your city; the teams get mixed up and you play with random teams 90 percent of the time, but when you go to a tournament you pick your team and you play other set teams and you only play that grouping, so it’s sort of the opposite of pickup—then when you look at this tournament you’re kind of blending the two, and then that blend gets turned up, so what polo is based on is multiplied into a much higher thing compared to a regular tournament, where it’s sort of inverted.”
Each team had in on its roster a few players who played together regularly, but all were largely composed of players who had never played a game together before the weekend came—including the winning team, Global United, whose lineup, shaped by heavy hitter Eric Kremin, brought players from Japan and the UK into the fold.
The title for this video is somewhat misleading. This isn’t so much a flying bike as it is a quadcopter that uses a bike for the cockpit, which is a bummer because it got my hopes up. Instead, we’ll just have to rely on this version that although doesn’t ever get airborne, still has serious flying potential. We’ll catch up with the Jetsons soon enough.
Moscow, Russia have piloted their own bike share program after intense lobbying by local bicycle advocates. 300 red bikes (Hear that, Dan Maes?) at 30 docking stations around central Moscow are provided by Homeport Bikesharing Solutions of Prague in the Czech Republic, which also operates the bike share program.
The Shred, Bike and Brew Bicycle Weekend of Freedom is taking place July 5-7 in Charleston, SC. Friday night poker run and goldsprints, Saturday alleycats and pick-up polo, and a Sunday regional polo tournament. See more at the Facebook event page.
Here is a side of competitive cycling you hardly ever see, but is becoming more familiar as team directors tap the African nations for athletes often driven towards distance running due to their prowess of endurance. The video is beautifully shot, a simple narrative of images backed by the Afrobeat stylings of Fela Kuti (which was all I needed to get sucked in). Going beyond just the race, you also get a look at culture in the area and the differences between European and African races (check out the spectator swatting at 2:50).
From the Twin Cities Daily Planet:
“I received a bike last year and it was beautiful,” Mariana (who preferred we just use her first name) recalled. “I didn’t know how to ride before. But I was able to take my son to school. It also helped me lose seven pounds, and save time. Instead of walking somewhere in 45 minutes, I could ride my bike there in 15 minutes.”
Mariana was one of 17 women from the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization’s Mujeres en Accion y Poder who signed up to participate in the 2013 Community Partners Bike Library (CPBL) program, a free loaner bike program of Cycles for Change in St. Paul.
There is certainly no shortage of bottle openers in bike culture, whether built into the bike or off on their own. For some reason cyclists are drawn to beverages that entail prying off the lid, never to be replaced again, necessitating a drinking of the entire beverage. I don’t know, it’s weird. Anyways, if you haven’t had your fill of bottle openers or want something a little more unique, Evan Hawkins creates these bottle openers out of your fork ends, carving off the bottom section, doing a little trimming at the dropout for maximum pryage, then finishing it off with some palm saving cordage. Each opener runs $35.00 and comes in a variety of colors.
See all the various styles on his Etsy page.
First off, no instructional video from Japan is complete without some large breasted cartoon characters…amirite?! Regardless, this is some next level public bicycle parking. Bike sharing may be making waves around the country right now, but one of the critiques has been the occupied public space at street level. Well, enter underground bicycle parking, where with a standard membership (no idea on pricing) you can securely lock your bike into one of these mechanical contraptions far away from bolt cutters and other street level dangers. It’s not a sharing program, of course, but down the line I could see the 200 bike capacity stations being used for such a program.
Still, I can’t help envision a robot takeover, or simple mechanical malfunction and having your bike trapped underground and out of reach indefinitely. The peace of mind knowing your bike is secure, even without a lock, may be worth it however.
Via Boing Boing
The New York Bicycle Film Festival is set to roll at the end of this month, June 26 – 30. The trailer above is for Wheelin’, just one of many short films that will be viewed throughout the weekend. Check here for a number of other trailer offerings and get all the latest updates on the BFF blog.
It’s from the polo war room that I write to you, and with the season in full swing, I’m more than happy to be here amongst my many leather bound mallets and polo related beverages. This is probably my second favorite time of the polo season, actually, as anything is still possible in relation to Nationals and Worlds, there are so many tourneys to go to, and people are still working out exactly what they’re going to blame the NAH for the most.
My money is on the 17 year Cicadas, btw. Totes the NAH’s fault.
So, let’s see what’s going on by way of the tourneys:
First, we have the Solo Polo Santa Fe II out of Santa Fe. A pickup tourney were you go, free of charge, and just play. Despite my natural desire to hate them for spelling “immediately” as “IMMEADITLY” on the flyer, it does seem like a pretty rock solid good time if you’re able to make it there. Breakfast and lunch provided, fun to be had by all, and lots of room for polo rookies.
Next, I want to highlight the Northside Regional Qualifier which is taking place June 15th and 16th . It’s the Northside Regional folks, I shouldn’t really have to explain this one too terribly much. How-ev-er I will tell you what makes it great: one court for dedicated pickup the whole tourney, and the courts are lit until 1AM – so don’t you worry your pretty little heads if someone is a few minutes late to get into their game. Lots of beer to be had at the registration party (at a pub) and a brewery crawl for people who understand that Michigan has some of the finest beers about.
And ON THAT VERY SAME WEEKEND OH MY GOD is the SouthEastern Regional Qualifier which has been dubbed by organizers as “Ya’ll about to drink so much moonshine you’ll think you’re Hellen Keller.” If that doesn’t set up your expectations, I don’t quite know what will. This tourney will only see five teams qualify for Nationals, so competition is expected (by me) to be fierce and bloody. At least I’m hoping so. If you are planning to attend this one—as in already have registered and are all set—make sure you get your housing sorted. Looks like it’s going to be tight quarters unless you’re prepared.
As a side note: if you look at the thread for this tourney on League of Bike Polo (ALL HAIL!) you’ll see that, once again, someone thinks that Horse is the person running Lancasterpolo.com and not me. I guess nobody can believe that a short hobbit-y fellow could talk so much about polo. Let’s leave the tourneys before I start crying.
Next, let’s talk about some of the hoopla in the forums.
One topic that caught my fancy was a conversation about joint pain. Outside of VFW bingo nights, conversations about joint pain often come up on the LoBP forums and are often met with the same series of comments: “man up,” “here’s a wrap you can try,” and “yeah, me too.” The best advice I’ve come across as far as what people say has worked is twofold: take a break and exercise the joint. I understand why that can sound like bullish advice, but it makes sense: you’re using a specialized set of muscles to play the sport, and those muscles, probably, don’t see much workout during your regular day. Making them stronger can help in making them more resistant to the strains our sport puts on them. Give your wrists a break for a while and after they feel better, figure out a way to work them out for strength.
(Insert joke here. Laugh to yourself. Moving on…)
Honestly, though, I think it’s important to not act like a buffoon if you’re experiencing nagging pain in polo. Nothing could be worse than doing real harm to yourself because you chose to ignore the pain. Taking a few weeks off is much better than taking a few years, right?
Now, let’s talk about bike polo equipment:
First, Milwaukee has released this new head you should be excited to catch. See what I did there? Okay, seriously though, the Small Mouth Monohead from MKE has been out for quite a while, but I’ve never caught up to talk about it: at five inches and about 83 grams, the never-recycled UHMW head is as clean as it is dependable. Pre-drilled so you have a harder time messing up your mounting, the head has a 2.5 inch outside diameter and a single capped end. Currently at $21.99, it’s well within the price range of high quality heads and really is just a no-nonsense, I-want-to-buy-a-good-mallet-head purchase.
Next I was excited to see that Portland Bike Polo’s “Electric Salmon” head is back and up for sale. (I’ll spare you all the fish jokes I had lined up for this one given that I used a bunch for the MKE above.) Anyway, the Electric Salmon is UHMWPE milled to have an open side and a capped side. Weighing in at about 78 grams, the head is softer than what you’ll find with a UHMW head but lighter for it. What I appreciate most about the head (outside of how good it feels, as I had one for a little while before giving it to our resident mallet expert Kyle), is how honest the product page is: “If your spirit animal is Thor riding the Incredible Hulk, you will break this mallet. If you smash the mallet into the ball instead of into the ground, the mallet will last for months.” Coming in at 25 dollars a head, it’s high in cost compared to some other non UHMW heads – but take heart: multiple orders get discounts in initial price, depending on how many more than 2 you buy.
Finally, Fixcraft is planning to release its new mounting system on the 7th of June (during their Fixcraft Friday event). There has been a lot of hub-bub about this new mounting system and I can echo the excitement. I wrote an initial review here, if you want to read particulars, but I think I can safely say that the world of polo is pretty excited to see what Fixcraft has come up with this time. Price is unknown at this point, so we’ll have to see how it falls in line with other mallet assembly options. They’ve also redesigned their mallet heads, and shafts, thought it doesn’t seem like you need to use either, necessarily, to use the cleat mounting system. I don’t have a link to point you to, so I’ll point you to the Merch Table and let you gander around there for a while.
And that’s your polo update! Before I leave you, I want to invite you to comment and make suggestions as to what you want to see here. More strategy? More about tourneys? Something else? Feel free to drop a line and let me know what you’re wishing for. I’m like the godmother of polo, minus the wings.