Urban Velo

About Scott Spitz

Commuting, touring, kid hauling, couriering, mechanic work, sales, advocacy, fixed, free—Scott has had his hands in it all over the years.

Spinning Stories

Spinning StoriesHere’s a twist on bicycle-related events. Spinning Stories is a “place-based” storytelling event taking place in Minneapolis on September 27th. The audience is moved throughout the city at what is called “Muppet pace” (whatever that is…I’m assuming not quickly) to each location, where a story is told that took place at the same spot.

The relatively new Spinning Stories series has been occurring bi-monthly since May of 2014. Rides are between 10-15 miles at a muppet-pace with full mechanical support provided by sponsors, Re-Cycle and Recovery Bike Shop.

Storytellers this time around include a comedian, slam poet, and union representative. Specifics about the event can be found on their Facebook and Event pages.

PMTNR and Sunday Slow Roll

PMTNRIn issue 43 we presented the growing trend of “Fun Rides”, where the intent of gathering cyclists together is primarily about having a good time as a rolling party more than anything that is political or confrontational. We gathered perspectives about individual rides from Slow Roll Detroit, Radder Day Rides, Midnight Ridazz, Flock of Cycles, and more. The list could go on. As evidence, we heard from Pamela Murray, who organizes Sunday Slow Roll and the Plaza Midwood Tuesday Night Ride (PMTNR) in Charlotte, NC.

Part of our editorial on Fun Rides discussed the nature of Critical Mass, which some saw as problematic and leading to it’s digression in some cities. Murray feels the leaderless dynamic of Critical Mass led to a lack of promotion, and has taken a different approach to her rides, bringing in businesses to take part and do some of the promotion themselves.

“Some things that makes our ride great is that we support local businesses through the ride. Prior to the ride, I sign them up as Bike Benefits businesses so they get to thank people for biking to their business with a special offer (like 10% off). We show riders how to get there by bike and each business gets an introduction to 100 riders each week.”

Ultimately, however rides are promoted or carried out, the intention of these new forms still remains the same, as Murray explained,

“I modeled these rides after the Bike Parties where the main goal is fun.”

Find more about the PMTNR and Sunday Slow Roll here.

Reflective Tweed by Rickshaw Bagworks


From Cordura Nylon to wool to waxed canvas, the options for bag and accessory materials continue to grow, but Rickshaw Bagworks is stepping up the game by adding not just tweed to the mix, but reflective tweed. As the Kickstarter video shows, the reflective material is woven into the tweed fabric to create reflectivity and “explosive” reflection when hit with lights straight on. Whether you want the tweed aesthetic for your bag and accessories or a little more safety than can be found from a jacket you bought at Goodwill for the next tweed ride, Rickshaw is making that happen. First come the bags and surely someone will then incorporate this technology into jackets and pants, no? The Kickstarter is already fully funded, so any further contributions are just pre-orders for bags and accessories.

New England Builder’s Ball

buildersball_poster2014The New England Builder’s Ball is back for it’s fourth year, come this October 3rd in Providence, Rhode Island. A stated gallery opening, more than a hectic frame builder show, the Builder’s Ball will host the likes of Ant Bike Mike, Richard Sachs, and even the elusive Circle A Cycles, among others.

The New England Builder’s Ball is again a fundraiser for the East Coast Greenway Alliance. Doors are open from 7pm to 11pm, and admission is just $5. More information, including the latest exhibitor list, can be found at New England Builder’s Ball, and the NEBB Facebook page.

Cyclist Found Guilty for Riding in Street

BIKECOMMUTER1The Midwest, my home state included, is stereotyped as backwoods rednecks for a reason…this is one of them. A cyclist in Kentucky was found guilty, after being cited for a few traffic offenses a year ago. She was cited for riding in the middle of the lane instead of moving as far to the right of the lane as possible, which we all know invites cars to dangerously squeeze by us. It was even suggested she should have been riding in the shoulder that is riddled with pot holes, debris and RUMBLE STRIPS.

According to Kentucky state law, vehicles moving slowly have to stay as far to the right as possible on the highway. Prosecutor Eric Wright says the key word there is “highway.” That includes the shoulder – the reason Schill broke the law by riding in traffic on U.S. Route 27, he said.

“If the shoulder is usable, and it’s practicable for it to be used and it can be safely used, and you’re moving more slowly than other traffic on the highway at the time, you are to get as far to the right as practicable,” Wright said.

Technically, this means slower moving motor vehicles are also allowed to drive in the shoulder lane, no? Admittedly, I probably wouldn’t choose this route as part of my daily commute, but I don’t know what other options this cyclist has available. Regardless, the law is the law. She plans to appeal.

Story Development: The cyclist was arrested for riding on the road again.

pupRunner


Well, holy crap, sometimes Kickstarter actually comes through with a truly unique and useful bike accessory. This pupRunner initially looks like a standard bike trailer, except it allows a dog to actually run behind the bike or just hang out in the back. This design eliminates those precarious, pretty much dangerous, handlebar attached leash leads and prevents dogs from darting in front of other rail/trail users. It’s hard to find anything critique-worthy about this product. Backers can get small perks at the ground floor and pre-ordered trailers start at around $450, which is a pretty standard price for a high-end bike trailer.

Cinelli Rider Collection


Cinelli recently introduced their Rider Collection caps, each one designed in part by one of their riders. The video above is with repeated winner of the Red Hook Crit, Neil Bezdek, explaining his introduction into bikes, work with the New York Bikeshare, and collaboration with Cinelli.

Caps can be purchased here.

YNOT Limited Edition Straps

YNOT strapBag and accessory maker, YNOT, have begun releasing very limited edition straps on a monthly basis. The image shown is the first release for the month of September. From the YNOT blog,

So here’s the deal, from here on out once a month, we’ll be dropping a brand new set of Limited Edition Straps! They will be an extremely small run, never done before and never to be repeated. Every run will be numbered and signed by the YNOT crew member who made them (because we actually make everything in house). This first run is only 15 sets, so once they’re gone… they’re gone.

15 sets will probably roll out in a day, so be on top of this if you want in. The limited straps run for $54.99 and can be purchased here.

Lazer Cappuccino Helmet Lock


Lazer is releasing a number of products recently, with a humorous set of promotional videos. The Cappuccino lock is really just a very simple deterrent mechanism for preventing your helmet or bike from getting stolen…at least while keeping it in eye shot when free locked. The video, however…is worth watching.

Coke Recycle Bicycles

Coke Bicycles.mp4 from Wildlands Conservation Trust on Vimeo.

Let’s not mince words here….this is a coke commercial more than anything else, and there are glaring hypocrisies to be found throughout, but hell, let’s just look at the value of the bikes in this context for the time being. I’ll leave the critiques up to you in the comments.

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