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.

Fork End Bottle Opener

forkThere 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.

Underground Bike Storage

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

Bicycle Film Festival – Wheelin’ Trailer

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.

Red Hook 2013 Crash

Having the Red Hook Crit in the Navy Yard was a great idea from Alex on Vimeo.

I haven’t gotten the full word back from Red Hook this year, but preliminary reports noted a lot of pretty gnarly crashes, as evidenced by this video. A local (Indy local) racer who was vying for the podium was forced to start from the near back of the pack and pick his way up into the teens due to a really bad wreck during his qualifying round. I’ll reserve speculation on course design or any other external factor contributing to the crashes as the speed and density of these crits may lend to the inherent risk of dangerous wrecks. This one in particular looks like it could have been much worse than it already was. Let’s hope no one was seriously hurt.

Citibike Success Over the World

The Citibike bike sharing program is up and running in NYC despite some predicting nothing short of the apocalypse, yet just 10 days in and the bikes have been taken for a ride over 100,000 times, and to my knowledge without a single death! Yeah, Yeah, we all knew once the ribbons were cut and the wheels got rolling that everyone would fall in line, but just in case fears still needed to be quelled a bit, Animal NYC conducted an interview with a bike sharing rep in London to get a feel of how everything has gone since they launched their own program under similar NIMBY-like frustrations and controversy. As is to be expected, everything is rolling smoothly. Good thing for other cities around the country who are looking to implement their own programs who now have another successful example to silence the naysayers.

Via Animal NYC.

Bicycling as a Priority

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Mayor Greg Ballard: Making Bicycling a Priority in Indianapolis from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Where I’m from we don’t always have a lot to toot our horns about, so when we do we toot them loudly, hence this video. This here is our mildly overweight, very much Republican mayor giving a rundown to Streetfilms on the advancements our city has made towards building bicycling infrastructure and accommodating alternative transportation. I’ve been involved in bicycle advocacy in some form since we had ONE mile of a bike lane and I can solidly say all the advancements we’ve made have been under this man’s watch. The groundwork was laid and many hours of work were put into getting us where we are today, but our mayor was the one who not only stepped out of the way to allow it to happen, but also pitched in to lend a helping hand and keep the momentum going. So yeah, is Indy going to be the new Portland? Give us some time and we’ll see. And hey, if it can happen in our city, it can happen in yours too.

Express Biker

expressbikerWhen I lived in Portland back in ’01 I thought I had entered some sort of cycling utopia and found myself daydreaming about opening a chain of kiosks called Tubes and Tires, thinking there were so many cyclists on the roads that it would actually be a viable business. I wanted to believe the demand was so great that Tubes and Tires would be the equivalent of gas stations for cars. Of course, we aren’t there YET, but this fellow dreamer in NYC has started towards that goal with his Express Biker vending machines.

Express Biker vending machines work just like traditional vending machines, but instead of dropping out sugary, fatty food and drink, they deliver tubes, cO2 cartridges, patch kits, lights and more. There are only two of these machines in the NYC area, but they hope to continue to expand, even customizing each machine towards the cycling needs of the area.

Follow Express Biker on Facebook.

The Long Bike Back

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A documentary film, The Long Bike Back, is scheduled for release this coming summer after just finishing up a fundraising drive. The Long Bike Back follows cyclist Pearson Constantino after he recovers from a severe hit and run accident, traversing the country on his bike and speaking to various groups about road sharing and bicycle advocacy.

Updates about the film can be found here on their blog.

Bike Valet at Hipster Concert

valetHipster darlings, The National, will be playing at the Barclay’s Center in New York on June 5th and Transportation Alternatives will be providing secured valet parking for bicycles at the concert. Most bicycle advocacy groups have a bike valet program of some sort, but this one is notable in that it is being hosted by such a massive venue and for a sector of the population who find riding bikes quite enjoyable. I don’t think this would go over as well at a Kenny Chesney concert or something, so it’s nice to see TA servicing events of such a grand scale and focused audience.

One of the stated goals of hosting a bike valet service at such a large venue is to show the growing need for bicycle amenities and accommodations, so it makes perfect sense they would appeal to The National crowd. My town has set up Pedal and Park stations at minor league baseball games, the state fair, and other such events, but this might be a good example for them to reach out to other audiences and set up shop at local concerts.

It would be a true victory if the venues themselves recognized the need for bicycle accommodation and started hosting their own bike valet services. We may get there one day, but this effort is a good start.

Via Animal

Casey Neistat and The Stolen Bike Solution

Neistat is at it again, ruffling the feathers of NYC authorities in the name of cycling advancement. I want to tell you this is great, but watch till the end to see the disheartening conclusion. Still…it’s amusing. Happy Friday!

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