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.

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.

Aftermass On Tour


Filmmaker, Joe Biel, is taking Aftermass on tour. Currently on the East Coast, you can find a list of showings here.

What does it mean that Portland, one of the best North American cities for cycling, has virtually no Critical Mass? Was it no longer relevant, did its activity not appeal to a cycling “mainstream,” or was a police crackdown just so successful? What are the new goals of cyclists? What activities had been so politically successful for building Portland’s bicycle infrastructure and culture? What is the new activism? How are objectives reached? And perhaps most importantly, had Critical Mass compounded with other activism and advocacy to create North America’s premiere bicycling mecca?

The Zephyr Track & Cornfed

The dudes from Cornfed, Jacob Shope and Scott Harris, run The Zephyr through the streets of Indy.

The Zephyr Track and Cornfed from The Heavy Pedal on Vimeo.

Previous Urban Velo write-ups on The Zephyr can be found here and here.

Molly Rides Her Bike

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Molly is great. I say this because I know her, and this video captures her personality perfectly. A well produced little bit about the joys and obstacles to bicycle commuting.

Molly Rides Her Bike from Tim Taylor, Director on Vimeo.

Biking Through!

golf bikesI don’t trust a sport sedentary people can play. As an admitted golfer since the age of 9, golf is one of them. This issue is in no way helped by the general mode of getting from tee box to ball to green, by way of a golf cart. Sure, you could walk and carry your bags, but most golfers choose the luxury (and fun) of blasting around the course in a souped up bumper car for adults. Well, if you want a little bit of that mobility fun, coupled with a touch of exercise, you can have the best of both worlds in Scottsdale, Arizona where one course has outfitted it’s fleet with golf bikes. Each bike has a rack for bags that hold 14 clubs and wider tires to prevent course damage.

I love this idea, and wouldn’t be surprised if some users came to their senses and ditched the greens for the trails and took up mountain biking instead. I kid, I kid.

Via Golf Digest

Bikes and Balls

atlanticSorry…couldn’t resist. This article, from the Atlantic Online, is a response piece about femininity and cycling, where the author asked for submissions regarding cycling and masculinity, how they intersect and attitudes towards male cyclists. The responses are quite interesting and pretty amusing as well. A select few are pasted below. Read them all in the link above.

‘Are you aware that it’s common to try to insult men cycling in spandex by calling them gay?’ –
— DaveS, @darsal, on Twitter

‘One thing: When I ride a bike, I feel like I need to catch the person in front of me. Competition is in the background. Always. Not crazy competitive. But a sort of …. goal!’
— Clarence Eckerson, Streetfilms

As for Lycra… no comment.’
— Noel Hidalgo, Brooklyn, New York

‘For me, cycling=self-sufficiency, which is about as traditionally “masculine” a concept as there is in this country.’
— Sam Berkowitz, @SKBerko, on Twitter

529 Garage – Bike Registry

02_529_garage_stickersCyclist software generator, 529 Garage, have just released a web and mobile bike registration and recovery service. In addition to the system of registration developed with law enforcement, they also offer a number of other services to keep your bike secure…or easier to track and find should you find yourself on the wrong end of the bolt cutters. For $10 you can register one bike ($25 for 4) which gets you a tamper proof sticker and connected to the database of users who you can call on for help. The app contains an alert button to notify all users of the system for help in tracking down your bike and allows you to print “stolen bike” posters to hang around town, among other amenities.

Whether you see a personal need for the registration system, they are also asking for the bike community to sign their petition to Craigslist and eBay requiring sellers to provide a serial number for all bikes sold. No serial number, no sale, thereby preventing stolen bikes from being sold online, which is one of the main avenues for moving jacked rides.

Developed in conjunction with several law enforcement agencies, the 529 Garage allows you to easily and securely register your bike in just minutes, complete with images and all the necessary details law enforcement requires to expedite the recovery process. Beyond this detailed registration, the 529 Garage includes the ability to broadcast a “Missing Bike Bulletin” to all members in the area should a member’s bike get stolen. The Missing Bike Bulletin will include images and details to help the community and law enforcement quickly identify and recover the stolen bike. Additionally, a detailed report is generated that can be passed onto a victim’s insurance company to help expedite a claim report.

Strava-Sourced Data

stravaAnd you thought Strava was just arrogant bragging rights for those too scared to enter a real race. According to this article published on The Telegraph, Strava is now selling huge chunks of it’s route data to companies looking to make cycling safer. The data will likely be used to implement bicycle amenities along heavily trafficked routes. I remember attending planning meetings in early 2000 where large maps were tacked to the wall and cyclists were given highlighters to mark routes they rode and where they thought bicycle lanes were needed. This is the same concept, but much more extensive and infinitely more reality-based.

I’ll admit, I’ve been a defiant mocker of Strava, for no good reason except to rile up my friends, but I can fully get behind this. It should be noted that Strava plans to sell chunks of data that have been completely stripped of their personal information, in hopes to alleviate privacy concerns.

“Millions of GPS-tracked activities are uploaded to Strava every week from around the globe. In denser metro areas, nearly one-half of these are commutes. These activities create billions of data points that, when aggregated, enable deep analysis and understanding of real-world cycling and pedestrian route preferences,” claims the Strava website.

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