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.

Strongest Hearts Campaign

Matt Ruscigno, of Feel My Legs and Day In The Life, and his cohort, Sasha Perry, are in the middle of a fundraising campaign to help create more of their Day In The Life episodes/interviews of vegan athletes. They have showcased a number of cyclists in the series, who have offered great insight into high-level racing and nutrition.

The videos are professionally produced and cost a decent penny to make, hence the campaign. You can donate here and the incentives are pretty nice, including buttons, Purist water bottles, stickers, socks, nutritional consultation, an athlete of your choice in a video (YOU in a video!), etc. Only 14 days left to make this happen…help ‘em out!

Boris Vs Le Tour

borisIn the world of fundraising, this is how it’s done. No Kickstarter, GoFundMe or IndieGoGo campaign, but some real world shenanigans with considerable effort and sacrifice. These dudes from London checked out one of the Boris bike-share rides, which are notoriously cumbersome (50 pounds!), and rode (or at least tried) those suckers 190km through the first stage of the Tour de France. Along the way (and still to this day) people texted “HARD65 £3″ to 70070, which then sent the money to Macmillan Cancer Support. They are still taking donations and this feat will be repeated in some way next year as well.

Please consider donating to the campaign through this site.

Bicycle Lawyer Blog

bike lawI’m reposting a writing by a Charlotte lawyer, who describes a bit of what it feels like to be on the vulnerable end of an impatient driver’s bumper, imploring us not to just argue for our right to be in the road, but to also check our impatience continuously. Most of the time, as she describes, our impatience manifests as mere frustration, but in our vehicles it can become deadly. Well said.

What I want to talk about is the value of human life and how people can take it so lightly. I want to talk about the instant rage people feel when confronted with what could at most be considered an annoyance. Let’s talk about the complete intolerance of anything that stands in our way for even a fraction of a second. We don’t just see this on the road between bikes and cars; we see it in the grocery store on a busy Saturday, we see it waiting in line in the airport. People are angry and frustrated. No one is breathing. We’re all holding our breaths and trying to get to the next thing more quickly.

In most areas of our lives, this anxious rushing has little consequence other than to make our lives rushed and anxious, and maybe annoy our families. On the road, however, it can kill someone.

Via Cambio Corsa

Bike Share Profit Loss

divvyWell….this isn’t good, but should also be kept in context. Chicago bike-share program, Divvy, posted a first year loss of $148,000, but of a program this size isn’t really THAT much, still, people seem to hate bikes and want any excuse to write them off. All startups tend to have problems the first year, however, and projections for next year look more encouraging, if Divvy can work through some red-tape deal problems with their partner companies. Divvy is also looking into corporate sponsorship to help offset costs and remedy this loss quickly. Most bike-shares are initially partnered with corporate backing (Indy is buoyed by the Pacers), and this could be an easy solution for Divvy’s issues.

Chicago’s bike-share woes certainly aren’t plagued by low use, as ridership broke records over the Memorial Day weekend, so I’m suspecting it will continue on strongly as long as the business deals can be worked out quickly. I have yet to hear of similar problems in other cities, which is encouraging for more programs to be launched elsewhere.

Via The Chicagoist.

Philadelphia Pump Track

Pinkbike posted a story on the Philadelphia pump track, “Pumpadelphia”, (and I can’t help but sing, “Flipadelphia!”) which came about by the impetus of the Philadelphia Mountain Bike Association, which is pretty awesome considering most mountain bikers aren’t engaged with inner city youth, or even inner city riding. But the coalition between the PMBA, corporate sponsors, city departments, various individuals and, most importantly, the kids themselves, turned this piece of public land into a maze of adrenaline-inducing turns and jumps.

Now, to convince them for the need of a pumptrack in my backyard.

pumptrack

“You’ll notice that I put the beginner track higher up in the park than anything else.” Jim says. “That’s because in my books, the children are what is going to keep our sport and culture alive going forward. When they ask “why are we higher than the big track?” I tell them that they are more valuable. They are the most important. We share our property with the kids and give them highest ground.” The kids are the centerpiece of this effort and the kids responded well. Saturdays were dig days and it was common to see 40+ kids at the site ready to get busy with brooms, shovels and anything else they could use to move and shape dirt. Power Corps PHL sent dozens of volunteers to the site as well. The program provides environmental stewardship initiatives as well as the City of Philadelphia’s youth workforce development and violence prevention priorities. Many of the Power Corps volunteers were locals and are itching to get on bike after lending a hand at the track.

Indianapolis Mayor’s Bike Ride

MayorBallardBikeRide_May2013_finalI may be a little too Indy-centric at times, but it’s hard not to when our city government hosts events like the Mayor’s Bike Ride. Cyclists in Indy have been pretty ecstatic about our mayor’s promotion of bike amenities and events for good reason, so when he started hosting the Mayor’s Bike Ride, people turned out in mass. The ride takes place a few times each year and no matter the weather, the turnout is quite large for an urban ride. It helps that the mayor joins in and the police guide the group, but the ride is a success by any measure.

The next ride takes place Saturday, June 7th. The first 200 registered riders get a free t-shirt and food and prizes are available to everyone.

Bike To Work Video

It’s June and so National Bike Month is over, but we’re all still on the roads, of course. Indianapolis staff photographer, and avid cyclist, Bob Scheer is also on the road with his GoPro enabled ride, capturing a bit of what it’s like to ride the streets of Indianapolis on Bike To Work day (click here for video). The corresponding article gives a good overview of the new issues Indy faces as cyclists begin to populate the streets more and more with a predominantly car-centric city. We stand 10th in the national average for fatalities between bikes and cars. Fortunately, the increasing number of cyclists brings an immediacy to their safety and plans are consistently being implemented to protect cyclists and educate motorists.

Grinderman Coffee

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The coupling of bikes and coffee isn’t new, nor is delivering coffee by bike, but Grinderman has taken the two a progressive step further and is only working on a barter/trade exchange. Yeah, no cash, no capitalism. Just coffee for an agreed upon trade. If you’re in the Chicago area, contact Grinderman through his web form for orders.

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Skylock

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This is solid. To summarize, it’s a lock that works through Bluetooth, enabling keyless entry as soon as you walk up to it. That feature alone takes away much of the hassle of unlocking your bike when it’s boxed in by others or your key is bent slightly. And although any angle grinder can ruin your safety plan, Skylock has a function that alerts you (if you’re connected to a wi-fi network) if there is a jostling or tampering of your lock. That’s solid piece of mind right there.

Skylock is currently in funding status, which discounts your initial purchase at $160 if you get in at the ground floor, but will shoot into the $200s when released to market at Xmas of 2014.

Get all the details here.

Epecuen – Danny MacAskill

epecuenRed Bull threw up the new Danny MacAskill film, Epecuen, on their site yesterday. Set in a village in Argentina that has been submerged underwater for the past 25 years, MacAskill turns this wasteland into a playground. Equal parts beautiful and devastating, the setting is outshined only by MacAskill’s expected jaw-dropping feats of balance and ingenuity on the bike. Keep ‘em coming Danny.

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