Urban Velo

Dumpster Diving Cross Country Bike Tour

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Most of us living in America are responsible for throwing out a lot of food, enough that there is a whole culture of dumpster diving out there. Rob Greenfield is riding across the country subsisting on nothing but food rescued from the dumpster to shed a small bit of light on the issue of food waste. From TakePart, To Spotlight Food Waste, This Activist Is Biking Across the U.S. and Only Eating out of Dumpsters:

Greenfield is riding his bicycle across America—which to most of us would seem adventurous enough. He started his coast-to-coast ride in San Diego on June 2 and plans to finish in New York City on Sept. 26. Halfway through his journey, Greenfield decided to see if he could eat solely out of Dumpsters located behind grocery stores and convenience stores.

This year Greenfield planned his trip route so that he could take advantage of major media markets. When he arrives in a city he holds what he calls “Food Waste Fiascoes.” He’ll grab a friend with a car, and they’ll hit up some Dumpsters.

The following day, Greenfield spreads out his finds on the grass at a local park. He uses social media to invite television stations, news outlets, and regular people to come check out his formerly trashed food and get educated about the food-waste problem.

Read the entire article at www.takepart.com

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.

The Museum of Science and Industry Bicycle Photo Prints

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The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago recently added images to its online collection available for free viewing, or for purchase for display. The early bicycle and motorcycle collection is pretty amazing, with a number of high quality images of just amazing and perhaps one of a kind bicycle examples from their collection. Hobbyhorse pre-bikes, ordinaries, long forgotten early safety designs, and turn of the 20th century bikes that aren’t far off from what we ride today. Prints start at less than $20, with large canvas wraps up to about $200.

Motorcycles of Interbike (The E-Bikes Are Here)

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Bicycles equipped with motors have been a part of the landscape since shortly after bicycles themselves first appeared. It’s a natural leap for many that a bicycle, while fun and wonderful, would just be so much better if you didn’t have to pedal it uphill, or at all. Back in the 1890s we coined a term for overbuilt bicycles with motors — motorcycles. In the time since bicycles and motorcycles have gone in different directions based on the power disparity between the two, with bicycles gaining dedicated on-street lanes, off-street facilities, and rules and regulations that take into account the human powered scale of a bicycle as compared to the speed of mechanically powered vehicles.

Some would have you believe that human powered bicycles are going to be left behind by electric bikes. A significant amount of floor space is certainly devoted to e-bikes at the major bicycle tradeshows, even if the vibe surrounding them is more homeshow booth salesman as compared to the primarily enthusiast-driven bike industry. I’ve heard e-bikes heralded as the solution to the United States transportation problems, the way to get more people on bikes and out of cars, and the future of all things bicycle. Given the choice between seeing cars or e-bikes going past my front door I’ll choose two wheels over four every time, but let’s call a spade a spade and quit pretending that a bicycle with a motor is anything but a class of motorcycle.

Just as bicycles are primarily sold to the general public on weight, e-bikes are sold on power, pick-up and speed over distance they can go. Go into any shop and no matter what the official line is on things, people are picking up bikes to determine which is the lightest and the best choice. With e-bikes it seems to be a common theme that just after stating how it is really a bicycle at heart the pitch quickly gets into speed and power and how long you can ride without having to pedal. Current e-bikes look like an evolutionary link between bicycle and electric city scooter to me, much as early gas powered motorcycles appear to be bicycles with lawnmower engines bolted on. An 80 lb bicycle doesn’t sound like much fun to ride, and neither does a motorcycle with relatively flimsy bicycle components and tires. And from the looks of the above “bikes” that have a crankset as an afterthought or simply not at all, some manufacturer’s too see e-bikes as a stepping stone to fully electric, lightweight motorcycles.

Electric-assist bikes may be the way to get an aging population onto more human-scale vehicles and a way to facilitate moving cargo in urban areas with fewer cars, but I’m certainly not the only one who doesn’t want to see e-bikes in the bike lane or using dedicated off-street bike facilities. The speed disparity of an e-bike zooming silently uphill in the bike lane is simply unsafe to bicycle riders, and while most e-bikes don’t go significantly faster than a skilled and fit bicycle rider can achieve, there is a certain built-in safeguard of fitness and confidence before a bicycle rider can hit 30 mph that is not there when a motor is involved. Imagine novice riders upon e-bikes on sidewalks and rolling downtown redlights at speed and you can begin to see the user conflicts. And don’t even get me started on the craze for e-mountain bikes and the trail conflicts and public access issues that it will surely usher in the first time a politically connected equestrian notices a mountain bike with a motor passing them by.

Legislation needs to be drafted to draw the line between an electric-assist bicycle and a throttle twisting electric motorcycle before cycling access takes a step backwards. We’re on the precipice of big things in human powered transportation and no matter what role electric-assist bikes may play in the future, in my opinion it’s important to not allow electric motorcycles to jeopardize the political gains bicycles have made in the past decade.

Behold a selection of e-bikes below, some with throttles and some with electric assist speed/power regulators, some for the urban landscape and some for skirting dirt bike regulations. Have a different opinion on e-bikes? Leave it in the comments or submit a guest editorial to brad@urbanvelo.org.

Cinelli Hobo GEO – Off The Grid

The Cinelli Hobo GEO is the latest in the Hobo line of adventure bikes, taking it further offroad with mountain bike touring sensibilities. Check out the latest video from Lucas Brunelle of navigating the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia, and some images of the GEO we caught at Interbike.

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.

Interbike’s Best in Show

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Photos by Mikey Wally

We came, trekked the show floor for hours each day, talked specs until our throats went hoarse, and invaded Las Vegas with bikes for a solid week.

In many ways, Vegas is a strange place to hold a bike show, but when you consider how indulgent we cyclists can be, it kind of makes sense. Viva Las Interbike!

It’s great to see companies have fun with their booths at Interbike, especially the ones that bring something interactive, because navigating through the labyrinth that is the Mandalay Bay convention hall can be daunting, and checking out all the latest in bikes and gear is the ultimate tease when you can’t hop on and go for a quick spin.

Here’s what made our Best In Show shortlist from Interbike this year:

  • DZR – Most Creative Display – DZR went wild with Rita the bearded dragon, a few goldfish and a furry little tarantula.

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  • Abus – Most Fun Booth – with a box full of poker chips behind a lock without a key, Abus had people scurrying back and forth to partner booths near and far to pick up the key that might unlock the jackpot. 

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  • Ryders Eyeware – Most Disturbing Display – Is that a dead horse? Uh…rider down!
  • Mission Workshop and Acre Supply for Best Recreation of an Outdoor Setting – The smell and feel of actual grass below your feet really made us wonder what the heck we were all doing inside a convention hall.

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  • Chrome Industries for Best Spot to Chill – As if churning out shoes and custom bags on-site wasn’t enough, the DJ’s, karaoke, beer and plenty of picnic table seating made the Urban Yard the ideal spot to be – a respite amid the clusterfuck of angles that made up the show floor.

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  • Gary Fisher for Best Dressed  Plaid is rad.

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Maniacc Dblocks Beastmode Wheelie King

“I play chicken with a Mac Truck.” This guy has the wheelie gene for sure, and potentially a death wish.

Taiwan: The Bicycle Kingdom

The Financialist recently published this article on what the expected growth of the bicycle industry over the next five years means for the Taiwanese economy, Taiwan: The Bicycle Kingdom.

The global bike market is expected to grow from $51 billion in 2014 to $65 billion in 2019 – a 5.2 percent annual increase – according to a report by NPD Group.

China, the world’s largest producer of bicycles, stands to benefit from the increased demand. But it won’t be the only one. Although the country produces 67 percent of the world’s bicycles, most of them are low-end units that sell for less than $100 apiece. The real winner is actually Taiwan.

Instead of engaging in a race to the bottom, Taiwan’s largest bicycle makers instead ceded the low end of the market to China and began shifting their focus to mid- and high-end bikes. As a result, the average selling price of Taiwan’s bikes has increased nearly five-fold over the past decade, and the island’s total bike exports nearly tripled, to $1.2 billion in 2009 from $480 million in 2002.

Read the full article at www.thefinancialist.com

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.

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