They say that track racing is one of the most addictive types of bike racing. Over and over people say once you take a lap on the velodrome you’ll be hooked forever. Fixed gear culture has exploded over the past 10 years, and much of this popularity can be attributed to things like the allure of the bike messenger, the aesthetic of the fixed gear bike and the ability to customize it. Most riders aren’t familiar with the roots of the track bike and racing on the velodrome, and St. Louis is no different. Until now.
Stepping out of the lobby and into the parking lot at Kisumu International Airport, I got my first glimpse of Kenya. The sun dangled behind an umbrella tree, creating a silhouette almost synonymous with an African sunrise. I could already see workers tilling the fields as I looked out beyond the roadway. Small buses, pedestrians, and of course bicycle riders hurried by. There was no diluted big city entrance for me. No prefabricated or framed perspective. I had been dropped straight into the heart of Africa.
When the streets of Los Angeles were closed to car traffic for CicLAvia in April, bikes of all shapes and sizes came out of the woodwork to enjoy the protected roads. Some of the bikes were old and a little bit crusty, others were brand new, like their riders. One was taller—much taller—than all the others.
At 14.5 ft to the saddle, Richie Trimble’s “Stoopidtall” towered high above the moving mass that filled the streets. The unofficial King of CicLAvia and his tall bike were flanked by a protective circle of friends who helped him navigate his way through the crowded streets.
Returning racers and newcomers alike streamed into the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook in the early afternoon of March 30, eager to get a feel for the course at the Red Hook Crit.
One would think that in the grand scheme of things, nothing should take precedence over self preservation. And second to that should be the protection of all human lives. But anyone with an ounce of sense knows that’s far from the case. Countless motorists drop big bucks on cars that offer “driving excitement” that consequently turn transportation into a matter of entertainment. Even tree-hugging hybrid car owners have been known to break the speed limit and roll through stoplights in the name of expedience, forgoing fuel efficiency and safety.
Let’s not just point the finger at motorists. Pedestrians are perhaps the most vulnerable road users, yet I challenge you to find a city free of jaywalking. You might think that common sense would win every time, but the desire for instant gratification via Starbucks Frappuccino has lured many a law abiding citizen to step out from between parked cars.