Urban Velo

Swobo Scofflaw

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The $1249 Swobo Scofflaw is meant to take you off the beaten path where some mustachioed man can question your presence. The Reynolds 531 steel frame features a tapered carbon fork, Avid BB7s disc brakes, sliding dropouts and fender mounts for the commute. Clearance for up to 42 mm tires lets you put some meaty treads on, and while the complete bike ships as a single speed it comes equipped with a cassette hub, narrow-wide chainring and derailleur hanger — ready for a 1x setup. This looks like a great bike to get lost on all day, or for a quick city lap with friends come nightfall. Great platform to ride as is, or build up and upgrade as you go. With full length housing mounts, it wouldn’t be that hard to have an alternate geared setup that only takes half an hour of wrenching to swap. Pre-order today for $50 and get one when they become available in January 2015.

Feel My Legs 2014

FMLThe 9th annual Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill climb event in Los Angeles has officially been scheduled for November 9th. Matt Ruscigno of True Love Health has been organizing this popular event since it’s inception, sending riders up the steepest of hills in the LA area, some for points and some just for the experience. Check this blog post for past write-ups and specifics for the event.

More details will be supplied on the Facebook event page.

G-Shock Short Doc on Beijing Fixed Gear

The official documentary of 2014 G-SHOCK Beijing FIXED GEAR REVOLUTION from Kirk on Vimeo.

A pretty rad doc on the 2014 Beijing Fixed Gear culture, sponsored by G-Shock watches.

Chrome WARM

chrome_warm-1 Chrome has gone into clothing hard over the past few years, making some really great product along the way. The latest Chrome WARM line looks like more good stuff – workwear looks with polyfill insulation, ripstop nylon construction and a reversible high visibility design for night time safety. Just in time for the changing seasons.

4 Year Bike Commuting Growth Rates

growth 2009-2013Bicycle advocacy organization, People for Bikes, just released U.S. Census findings related to bicycle commuting, showing which cities increased ridership in the past four years. On top are Washington, New York City, and Tucson, citing almost a doubling of bike commutes, attributed in part to more extensive painted lanes and protected bike lanes.

Powered by one of the country’s most successful bike sharing systems, a growing painted lane network, a handful of protected lanes and a burgeoning bicycle culture, Washington DC vaulted to 4.5 percent of commutes by bicycle in 2013, up from 2.2 percent in 2009. Among major U.S. cities, that estimate would place DC second only to Portland, Oregon as a bike commuting hub.

Showing a small decline in ridership is Minneapolis. What happened there friends…a string of tough winters we assume?

Stanridge Speed – Katie Arnold – Women’s Red Hook Crit

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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.

Supergear Retrodirect Planetary Gear Crankset

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supergear_crank-2 Just when you thought you’ve seen it all someone puts a Supergear crankset by Ziegler-Lam Cycling on the table. At first glance it looks like any number of other small maker cranks from the ’90s mountain bike and CNC’d everthing boom, needless stress risers, chunky corners and all. Grab hold of the bottom bracket and spin it forward and it acts as per usual, pedal backwards and the rings continue rotating forwards at about half speed, doubling the number of available gears. Retrodirect systems pop up through bicycle history now and again, an old design from before effective derailleurs that allows two gears (one gear pedaling forward, a lower gear pedaling backwards). Tinkerers put together modern retrodirect bikes just to prove the concept, and it still works (1, 2). The Supergear is a three ring setup with a planetary gear system that achieves the same effect, and was marketed as the only crankset to integrate a retrodirect system. This is likely from the days of seven speed cassettes, building up as a 42 speed bicycle. Throw some 11 speed rings on there and make a 66 speed bicycle, pair it with an internally geared hub and really go nuts. Interesting, but no surprise that the design isn’t around today. If only I could go back in time and see people mountain biking with a Supergear in the wild, or find someone running one on their bike today. Someone out there has one of these and swears by it.

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.

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