Urban Velo

Rest in Peace, Fast Boy

It’s with great sadness that we report that Ezra Caldwell has passed away. Known to many for his prodigious photography, to some as a skilled woodworker, to others as a creative bicycle framebuilder, and to many as a friend and an inspiration, Ezra battled cancer like few ever will, in full view of the public and with neither an apology nor a request for sympathy.

We at Urban Velo are forever grateful for Ezra’s contributions, for his friendship and for the encouragement he gave us. To his wife, Hillary, as well as his friends and family we extend our most heartfelt condolences.

Rest in peace, Fast Boy. Rest in peace.

Snapguide Spring Bike Hack Contest

560x300 Snapguide is a member generated DIY how-to site, and they are sponsoring a Bike Hack contest through June 4th. None of the entries so far are mindblowing in my opinion, though I never tire of seeing retro-direct drivetrains, perhaps you have something on your bike that can carry the contest. Write up your best home hack and enter to win a bunch of stuff from Portland Design Works and Walnut Studiolo at www.snapguide.com.

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

Corey’s Stories — The Cheesesteak

I was born in a hospital a short distance from the original Tastykake bakery in Philadelphia. The varieties of yummy cakes, pies and other baked dessert treats is inferior to none. The other great culinary treat for which my hometown is better known, regionally and abroad, is the cheesesteak.

Fast forward beyond many gluttonous years, I currently reside in New York. New York is home to many great sports teams and the Mets. New York while geographically close to Philly, is unable, like many others, to accurately duplicate the greasy meat sandwich loved by so many.

corey_cheesesteak-1I, being hungrily homesick for regional cuisine recently, decided to ride a double century in a quest to eat a genuine cheesesteak. If the word “Philadelphia” is on the menu in front of cheesesteak, it will probably fall short of my discerning standards.

The ride to the land of cheesesteaks and Tastykakes is approximately 100 miles between NYC and Philly. I wanted to do the ride down, eat with a few friends and ride back in one day. A friend in New York asked if I would take the bus or train back after eating my sandwich. I gave him a stern look, “no,” because that would involve a whole lot of boring.

I began my quest at the reasonable hour of 7 am. The ride entailed cruising along office parks, refineries and strip malls situated among newly blooming trees. The scent of spring was a delight after leaving the concrete jungle of NYC. The sight of man made sprawl, not so much. Being near race season, the ride also consisted of settling into churning the big ring.

I arrived midday, perfect for lunch. There are several really good places to get a cheesesteak in Philly. You’ll have to go yourself to find them. But as it was Philly, the standard is higher at every local eatery than one can find anywhere else. I got my sandwich with bacon because everything really is better with bacon. I took my sandwich, fries and drink to the park near Independence mall, home of the Liberty Bell and the US Constitution. It was a beautiful sunny day. I sat in the shade of a large tree.

While eating I noticed I was covered in salt after several hours of riding. I felt slightly nervous about the return trip as bonking in New Jersey wasn’t a part of my plan. Riding slowly was not an option either because I did not bring lights and needed to be home before sundown.

I finished my meal and began the second of the day’s centuries as the bells bonged 2 o’clock near Independence Hall. It was odd rolling back through neighborhoods and landmarks I longed to see so soon after arriving.

There were a few times during the trip where motorists drifted close to me. The worst was outside of Philly where a man driving a clunker narrowly missed hitting me. A few hundred yards up the road he sloppily tried to make a right turn. His speed and steering weren’t aligned for the task. He drove into someone’s fence. He corrected himself after I passed. He drove away along the side road. I was too surprised by the chain of events to think of getting his license plate number. I hope the next time I see motor vehicle chaos I can think faster, but then I don’t want to have a “next time” close call.

As I continued to ride the wind became an issue. The gentle spring breeze on the way down became a cross headwind during the return. The giant glob of greasy meat in my stomach didn’t make the task easier. Pushing up inclines, the sensation of vomiting told me to back off the pace a bit. The sun began to drop from its earlier zenith.

I made it home safely by 8 pm. When I finally stopped, I burped. The queasy feeling had passed because I metabolized all of the calories from lunch. The only thing left to do was shower. Sleep followed immediately afterward. I had to wake up for work as a bike messenger the next day.

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.

Cinelli Mystic Rats Contest Winner

BuzzCongratulations to Buzz Morley of Charlotte, NC. He’ll soon be riding a brand new Cinelli Mystic Rats. An extra large one, at that!

When reached for comment, Buzz said:

I’m a bike share balancer. I get to see a lot nice fixed/SS everyday as I bike-trailer 150 lbs of bikes around Uptown Charlotte. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t covet one of my own for that next alleycat. Winning a Cinelli Mystic Rats is awesome. Upping my chance to finish top 3 in the upcoming Zombie Race? Priceless.

Stay tuned for upcoming contests and prizes.

Feel My Legs, I’m A Racer – Postponed

ruscignoMatt Ruscigno, organizer of the popular Feel My Legs, I’m A Racer hill ride in Los Angeles, has postponed the event this year. Fear not, the ride will still go down later, but just not at it’s usual time of the year…maybe late summer or early fall now. As he details in this blog post, it will be the 10th anniversary of the ride of which Peleton magazine just published a quick write up.

Ruscigno has other cycling related projects in the works as well, which you can read more about on his True Love Health site.

The “Forever Lock”

I love this security lock workaround, where instead of addressing only the strength of the lock, the manufacturer found a way to hide the keyway completely, preventing all manners of picking and tampering. Granted, the lock can still be cut with bolt cutters, but this hidden keyway can at least be incorporated as another deterrent measure. Unfortunately, this seems to be an Asian product that is not yet on the market in mass, but the “about” text of the video tells you how to potentially get your hands on one.

Neil Kelty Memorial Ride Recap

Neil Kelty's ghost bike.

Neil Kelty’s ghost bike.

Neil Kelty was certainly not the first cyclist to be struck and killed in Indianapolis, but his death has resonated within the cycling community and beyond for a number of reasons. First and foremost, he was doing everything “right” while on his commute to work. He was in the bike lane, riding through a normal intersection, wearing a helmet, and had no reason to believe he was in danger…but was still hit and killed. The details of his tragic end hit the Indy cyclists deep, because we all often follow the same manner of travel, looking out for our safety by following the rules, but sometimes that still doesn’t work. Further, Kelty was an enthusiastic commuter, like most of us, chronicling his entrance into the world of cycling through his blog, sharing the same excitements and concerns of riding around the city on two wheels. And finally, he was young, just 23 years old, and engaged to his fiancé who had her hopes for their future suddenly taken away by one simple bad (casual?) decision by a school bus driver. There isn’t much more to say about this situation or any other, except that it is yet another reminder that we need to keep pressing for more cycling amenities, educational campaigns, and continue to look after our own safety, even when everything seems “right”.

The gallery of photos are from the memorial ride held in Kelty’s honor last weekend. His family and fiancé greeted the crowd, and the mayor, a strong cycling advocate, gave a supportive speech before we all rode Kelty’s commuting route. The ride was blocked by the IMPD (though that didn’t keep people from openly cursing our presence) and everything went as smooth as hoped. Let’s hope we don’t have to hold anymore of these rides in the future, and although we know more memorial rides will come, let’s at least hope they lead to greater improvements for the safety of those doing their part to make the world and their lives better through cycling.

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