Urban Velo

  • July 14, 2014New Albion Homebrew

    New Albion Homebrew

    In 1579 Sir Francis Drake landed in northern California and dubbed it New Albion. In 1976, Jack McAuliffe founded the now defunct New..

  • July 10, 2014Worksman Cycles Gallery

    Worksman Cycles Gallery

    Housed in a former candle factory in Queens, New York is one of America’s oldest manufacturing traditions. Worksman Cycles is a..

  • July 9, 2014Wolfpack Civic Center Crit Racer Profile: <br /> Sean “Young Blood” McElroy

    Wolfpack Civic Center Crit Racer Profile:
    Sean “Young Blood” McElroy

    Sean McElroy had only known about the Civic Center Crit for a week, maybe two, before coming to claim the dog tags in the men’s road..

  • June 4, 2014Fuji Feather CX 1.1 Bike Review

    Fuji Feather CX 1.1 Bike Review

    Cyclocross bikes have long been a choice for the rider looking for a versatile machine—enjoyable on long road rides, capable on trails..

  • June 2, 2014Issue #42 – Available Online

    Issue #42 – Available Online

    Contents Include: Utilitarian Bicycles in China, City Report: Washington DC, Gallery: SF Courier Portraits, Redhook Crit Women’s Race,..

    Superb Bicycle Overland Prototype

    Superb-Overland-full

    This is my kind of bicycle. The widespread epiphany that big tires are comfortable and can take you to awesome places on a “road” bicycle has led to a number of choices in the realm of versatile frames built for real world riding rather than pure racing. Superb Bicycle just posted a few pictures of their latest efforts, the Overland. Build it with flat bars and racks for commuting and city riding, or drop bars for gravel and cyclocross endeavors. Clearance for up to 40 mm tires gives you more cushion for the pushin’, steel tubes keep it real. The prototype is 4130 steel, but Superb is threatening to make it out of Columbus Zona for that much better, and lighter, of a ride. Check out that flat crown and hooded dropouts (with replaceable hanger!). Good stuff. See more at www.superbbicycle.com

    Meet the Blackburn Rangers

    Meet the Blackburn Rangers, headed on the road for 2014 to use and abuse the latest equipment for months long real-life testing that the lab can’t emulate. Most of us live in cities, and most of us want to get out for an extended road trip now and again. Even if your trip is only a few hours, you might be happy that one of these people made sure that pump or pannier is good for the journey. Watch and catch some views from the Great Divide and Pacific Coast Highway routes. “Get out there.”

    Surly Straggler 650b

    straggler-650b-15_cs_sv_930x390

    Last year Surly released the Straggler upon the world, basically a disc brake equipped version of the venerable Crosscheck, but different. It’s a great bike, we’ve been riding a pair of them since their introduction with a review of the 700c version slated for Urban Velo #43.

    Surly has just announced the Straggler 650b, another different take on more of the same. This isn’t just a spec change, the frame and fork feature different geometry to fit the 650b wheels, a boon for people of shorter stature that have experience toe overlap problems on the 700c Straggler, and for everyone else that is finding the benefits of the ‘tweener wheel size. As the big brains at Surly say, “650b wheels strike a nice balance between the benefits of both 26” and 700c sizes. The smaller wheel allows smaller riders to fit well on smaller frames, produces a stronger wheel, makes fitting big ass tires easier and are more agile than their larger counterparts.”

    Halo Vapour Wheels

    halo vapour wheels

    Halo is a UK-based brand founded in 1995. Their initial focus was on bikes that were designed to take flight, but they’ve expanded their line to include cross country mountain bike and road bike wheels. And with stateside distribution they’re set to make their mark on the US market.

    DSC_1698When I set out to build my latest city bike, I knew that I didn’t want wimpy wheels, and I didn’t want anything proprietary—not even straight pull or bladed spokes. Even though I’m not known as a wheel crusher, I do like to go off road whenever possible, and my shortcuts often include some of the roughest alleys and parking lots in town. Plus, the bike in question, a Surly Straggler, is spaced for a 135 mm mountain bike rear hub. Enter the Halo Vapour wheelset.

    Designed for serious mountain biking, but not necessarily racing, the Vapour wheelset features 32-hole, deep section, 26 mm wide rims. Made from heat treated T10 aluminum, they’re double walled with eyelets for durability. For the duration of this test the rims held 700 x 35c steel beaded tires. I would think the wide profile wouldn’t work well with anything smaller than a 700 x 32c.

    DSC_1699The rims come laced to forged alloy hubs. Both front and rear feature international standard six-bolt disc rotor mounts. The rear hub uses six double-point pawls which equates to 12 points of engagement. I really can’t ask for more when it comes to responsiveness, and whir of the freehub sounds like that of a very expensive hub.

    Aesthetically, these may be a bit flashy for a city bike, but I like them. The red anodized nipples offer a splash of color without looking gaudy, and the rim graphics warrent a double take. That’s neither silver ink nor faux-brushed aluminum decals—the graphics are laser etched into the rims.

    DSC_1712The rims are tubless compatible though the rim strips and valves not included. The hubs do include an assortment of hardware and adapters for 15 & 20mm axles.

    As tested the wheels weighed 872 g front and 961 g rear. Retail price is $199 front and $295 rear. Check out www.halo-usa.com

    Felt eBikes Site Now Live

    felt-lebowskeFelt Electric, the eBike wing of their company, is now live. The Felt Electric line currently hosts 5 models consisting of a fat bike, full-suspension mountain bike, aggressive mountain/city racer, and a commuter model which includes a step-through frame version.

    In addition to the new site, they will be introducing their 2015 models next week. The electric line allows the rider to achieve nearly 300% power assist if they so choose, or two other levels for more manual operation.

    Rear Facing Camera Catches Driver (Deliberately?) Hit Cyclist

    This one is hard to watch. Earlier this week a rider in Bullard Texas cycling on a very wide shoulder to the right of the white line was seemingly deliberately hit by a passing pickup truck. The Ford F150 pickup driven by 52-year-old Samuel Vercher clearly veers towards the cyclist as it approaches. Maybe it isn’t malice and the driver just can’t keep his giant truck in his lane and should be disqualified from driving, but I wouldn’t give this guy that much credit from my look at the video. It only takes one asshole using their vehicle as a weapon to change your family forever.

    Read the local coverage of the incident at the Tyler Morning Telegraph that identifies the driver and has this quote from the Bullard Police Chief Gary Don Lewis, “We don’t know how close to the line the cyclist was traveling, but I must make it clear that the bike was not struck, it was the vehicle’s mirror that struck the cyclist. He (Vercher) was very upset that he hit the cyclist he says he never saw.”

    I’d be willing to bet that nothing comes of this after the police wrap up their investigation, as the driver is using the old “I didn’t see him” excuse, which in my experience gives drivers the freedom to run over anyone they want without fear of repercussions.

    Read our feature story HD Witness in Urban Velo #40 about the growing number of people using cameras to document malicious and inattentive drivers.

    Bicycle Family Tree


    Not only would the research for this “Bicycle Family Tree” be quite time consuming, but the designers at Wyatt 9 also illustrated the entire poster…each bicycle. That’s impressive. Kickstarters are purchasing a copy of the final print in various sizes, and greater contributions get a t-shirt, name inscription and a vote for the three absent bikes in the piece. Well done Wyatt 9.

    See more of their bicycle themed prints and shirts here.

    Fyxation Open Fixed Gear Criterium

    fyxation open

    Move over alleycat, track criteriums have taken over, and the next chance to race track bikes around hairpins is at the Fyxation Open in Chicago on July 26. Men’s and women’s races will take place in downtown Chicago as a part of the Intelligensia Cup Prairie State Cycling Series.

    “Back in the day, fixed gear road racing was a bike racing staple with classic events like the 50 mile Elgin to Chicago race,” said Intelligentsia Cup co-founder and former U.S. professional criterium champion Tom Schuler. “We are excited to host this high-energy form of bike racing, once again reminding us that everything old is new again.”

    The fixed gear races will be held on the same course as the Chicago Criterium and is open to all classes; equipment check will be required on the day of the race. Standard rules apply: track bikes with drop bars and no freewheel or brakes. Cash, prizes and race primes from Fyxation, All City Cycles, Chrome, Nutcase and Abus.

    Distance Over Time


    A short film about cyclist, James Golding, who attempted to ride the 7 Day Distance Challenge in France after surviving his first bout of cancer, only to be diagnosed again in 2011.

    In the film, we learn about the things that drive James forward, how he overcomes the challenges in his life and what goes through his mind as he attempts to cycle over 220 miles per day. The message is clear; with the right mindset and determination a person is capable of incredible things.

    London Share The Road PSA


    I love this. It’s a Transport For London PSA that addresses road rage by all users (cyclists included), but seems to go beyond faulting poor transport habits and touches something deeper, maybe something more human. In the end it calls for a sense of calm, as if the problems we face on the road are unavoidable and maybe we need a new approach to their management. It’s a little pie-in-the-sky thinking, but a suitable reminder regardless.

    I Love Riding in the City – Kendall

    kendallNAME: Kendall
    LOCATION: Salt Lake City, Utah
    OCCUPATION: Technician

    Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
    I live in Riverton – a suburb of Salt Lake City, and ride/take the train to work in the heart of downtown every day. Salt Lake has a great cycling infrastructure, with wide streets and miles of dedicated bike lanes. During lunch, I’ll leave my bike chained up and take one of the city’s bike share bikes out for a ride.

    What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
    The only other city I have ridden in was London, which was equally harrowing and peaceful. The cars, lorries, and taxis fly past you, but it felt less chaotic than here in the states. It felt like they were aware of you.

    Why do you love riding in the city?
    Riding a bike is the best way to connect with a city, you are right in the middle of it all, and there is nothing separating you from the city. I’ve found more “hidden gems” and places of interest while riding around on my bike than by any other way.

    Kurt Boone “Bard of New York” Video Chat Tonight 7pm EST

    690551609d0985630fed628feea7bd10 Join messenger, author, poet and sometimes Urban Velo contributor Kurt Boone tonight at 7pm EST at Shindig.com for a video chat and poetry reading from his recent book “Bard of New York.”

    Le Tour de What?

    What Do You Think About The Tour? from Road Holland on Vimeo.

    Oh America..you so cute. Now enough with the jokes, let’s go Lance!

    Civic Center Crit 2

    video

    SPF put this video together just about as fast as the races happened. This is a good look at what happens when Wolfpack takes over city hall and the streets that surround it in Downtown Los Angeles. Great video of a great day of races.

    New Albion Homebrew

    New Albion Homebrew

    In 1579 Sir Francis Drake landed in northern California and dubbed it New Albion. In 1976, Jack McAuliffe founded the now defunct New Albion brewery in Sonoma, which was regarded as the first American microbrewery. And in 2012, New Albion Cycles formed with the idea of bringing classic bicycle designs to the market. The Homebrew is their flagship model.

    The Homebrew is best described as a classic roadbike with a hint of modern technology. It joins just a handful of bikes on the market with downtube shifters. The steel frameset is lugged and TIG welded, and of course readily accepts racks and fenders. The fork features a 1” quill stem and eyelets for a mini rack and fenders.

    The Homebrew offers a classic cycling experience that countless cyclists have enjoyed in recent years by restoring second hand bikes from the 80’s. But not only are those old bikes becoming harder to find, their downfalls are eventually exposed, namely poor braking, a lack of hill-friendly gearing, and limited tire clearance. The Homebrew takes care of all of those things with aplomb.

    New Albion HomebrewIf you’ve never ridden with single-pivot brakes you might not appreciate the mechanical advantage that dual-pivot side-pull caliper brakes offer. But it’s night and day, and so thankfully New Albion decided not to go that retro. The IRD B57’s have clearance for up to 32mm tires, which is good because the Homebrew can accept them. It ships with 700 x 28c Kenda Kwick tires.

    The tires might be more aptly named Komfortable, as they’re rather high volume and low pressure (85 psi max) makes for an incredibly comfortable ride. The tires are mounted to 32-spoke polished aluminum rims.

    IMG_3632The drivetrain is predominantly composed of Sun Race components. I have nothing but good things to say about this groupset, and the pairing of a 50-32 crankset with an 11-32 cassette was highly appreciated. Pittsburgh, like San Francisco, is a city known for its steep hills.

    Downtube shifters aren’t for everyone. They’re not as convenient as STI or even bar-end shifters. But they get the job done. They also make for a clean looking handlebar with less cables to interfere with a front rack, should you choose to go that route.

    IMG_3665I did, in fact, ride the Homebrew with both front and rear racks for the majority of the test. I occasionally strapped packages to the rear rack, but I rode with a handlebar bag nearly every single time. The additional weight on the bars was quite obvious at times, especially on rough roads and when locking the bike up. But for the most part it wasn’t a hindrance. And because I was usually able to fit everything I needed for the day in said bag, I was able to commute on the hottest days of the year without a backpack or messenger bag. For someone like me, who almost never rides without one, the experience is refreshing.

    And that might be the essence of the Homebrew, it’s a refreshing change of pace. It’s not a technological wonder, it’s a classic. The kind of bike your parents rode, the kind that made millions of people fall in love with cycling. It’s also worth noting that the bike is simply beautiful, as countless people pointed out during my time on the Homebrew.

    IMG_3648Detractors may point out that the frame and fork are made from high tensile steel and not chromoly, but the difference is predominantly a matter of weight, not performance or safety. The decision of course is a matter of cost, which might seem unlikely since at $999 the Homebrew doesn’t fit into the category of affordable, but I contend that it’s worth considering. You’re not going to see a million of these on the streets of your city, and some people like to have a bike that no one else has. But I digress.

    At the moment I have 16 working bicycles at my disposal. Even though another one might be more appropriate for a given ride, I keep opting for the Homebrew. That pretty much sums it all up. Check out www.newalbioncycles.com

    Stravasshole


    It’s funny because it’s true. What?..any opportunity to take a good natured jab at Strava is ok with me.

    Glowbelt

    CyclistThe Glowbelt is one of those crossover products that makes a lot of sense, in a lot of applications. The pocket sized device hides a spring loaded 50″ length of LEDs that is adjustable in length to wear around your waist, over your shoulder, around a backpack, or as small as an armband. The Glowbelt runs for nearly 60 hours on two CR2032 batteries, that while not rechargeable are pretty shelf stable if you were to stash the Glowbelt for emergency use. Given the power source and small LEDs, the Glowbelt is best as a secondary bit of safety lighting. Available in a few colors, see more and look for their upcoming Kickstarter at glowbelt.co.uk

    Wolfpack Hustle Criterium (Video)

    Wolfpack Hustle Criterium July 12th. from Wolfpack Hustle on Vimeo.

     

    Amateur and pro racers will compete on the sunny streets of downtown L.A. in the second Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center Crit on July 12. www.wolfpackhustle.com.

    Ride Like a Girl

    Oh man…this blog post by Nikki Lee is so good on many levels. Well-written, clever and right to the point…on both issues.

    If one of those cars does hit you, you’re probably going to get blamed. The police will assume that you were riding unsafely, and what you could have done to better protect yourself. The driver most likely won’t be punished at all. If anything, it’ll be a slap on the wrist.

    Now, a follow up post explaining ways to make both situations better would be rad.

    Worksman Cycles Gallery

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    Housed in a former candle factory in Queens, New York is one of America’s oldest manufacturing traditions. Worksman Cycles is a 116-year-old, family-owned bicycle maker producing machines first designed in the 1930s and whose best-selling model, says Worksman spokesman Bruce Weinreb, is not a carbon-fiber road bike but a steel tricycle designed for carrying 500-pound loads across factory floors.

    From the rugged-looking building to the decades-old machines used for bending and crimping the steel tubes for the bikes, every part of the company’s business model seems to be philosophically in line with the bicycles they produce: low maintenance, no frills, and designed to last forever. For more than a century, Worksman has survived by focusing on the niche market of manufacturers needing industrial bikes to carry people and equipment on their factory floors, and Worksman show few signs of changing.

    The company itself began in 1898 in a lower Manhattan store run by Morris Worksman. Worksman started out selling Columbia bikes, says Weinreb, but began selling his own design that was purpose-built for workers carrying heavy loads around the city. Worksman’s 1915 patent shows designs for a tricycle with a removable back box.


    Read the rest of our feature article on Worksman Cycles in Urban Velo #42 written by Adam Kroopnick and check out an extended gallery of images from the inside of the factory by Takuya Sakamoto.

    City Reports