- February 28, 2014
When there is a party in the back alley of One on One Bicycle Studio, it is not to be missed. Over the years 115 N Washington St has become..
- February 19, 2014
Urban Velo’s new City Report will be an ongoing, reader-contributed segment that highlights cities around the world. We’ve..
- February 17, 2014
The following is a new reader-submitted feature we are piloting. We crafted the first one as a model for future contributions. Click here..
- February 3, 2014
Carl Schlemowitz founded Vicious Cycles in 1994, and has been building custom steel frames in picturesque upstate New York ever since. Like..
- January 27, 2014
Via Bicycle and proprietor Curtis Anthony are Philadelphia cycling fixtures. There’s no telling how many used bikes of all vintage have..
Brooklyn-based artist Jacob Hashimoto travels the world installing art exhibitions. And when he does he brings a variety of bicycles. See more at www.uprightcyclist.com
When there is a party in the back alley of One on One Bicycle Studio, it is not to be missed. Over the years 115 N Washington St has become the hub of Minneapolis bike culture and beyond. I first met Gene and his right hand man Hurl as a teenager, and it was an eye opening experience that I look back on as one part of making it all click together for me. An early 2007 visit to One on One is truly what set the wheels in motion to making Urban Velo happen — we owe much of our inspiration to interactions with Gene Oberpriller over the years.
Last weekend was the the first Shopbike Shootout held in the alley behind One on One and Handsome Cycles. Put on by the big brains at Chrome, it was a cold weather party and short track race on the icy pavement. Think barrel fires, sidehack BMX bikes and brakeless freewheel bikes. Rip it over the snow bank and around the short course, winner takes all. The party ran late, the riding was treacherous, and Gene pulled off a wallride as his 53rd birthday approached. Good times as always in the alleyway, with images all that remain.
With Monster Track, the Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race, and the first race of Red Hook Crit all packed into the month of March, there will be no rest for the hungry. It all starts in L.A., with the Marathon Crash Race on March 9th. Register at wolfpackhustle.com.
Following the pre-dawn peril that is the Crash Race, next stop on the street race circuit is Monster Track XV, followed by the Red Hook Crit series kickoff in Brooklyn. Sure hope your legs are ready!
We’re not talking about college dropouts, here; this is about that special place where your rear wheel gets to connect with your frame. While there really isn’t much left to reinvent on the bicycle, dropout systems that add ease and versatility are a welcome development, including these new designs:
- The new All-City Nature Boy Disc dropout, which features a sliding caliper design that with an integrated chain tensioner for perfect caliper to rotor alignment every time.
- And Surly wants to help you achieve your dream on One Bike to Rule Them All with its new Modular Dropout System.
Now while versatility is cool, some would argue that nothing beats the pure pleasure of riding track bikes–as the market would attest.
- Among the latest are the Keirin and Keirin Pro frames from Pure Fix. With stainless steel inserts in the drops (drops on drops on drops), and optional integrated headset and seatclamp, these frames pack a lot of potential for a small chunk of change–$199 and $299, respectively.
- Something sexy is underway from Stanridge Cycles: A collaboration with artist Ben EINE for the 2014 Red Hook Crit. Get a sneak peak here.
Whatever kind of bike(s) you ride, if you’re riding to work, you could be cashing in on the bicycle commuter reimbursement. Find out more about how you can put pre-tax cash in your pocket for commuting by bike.
“Riding in Mumbai is a mess.” Find out why Nikhil Miranda loves riding in the city.
The latest dropout from All-City is one of the more beautiful solutions I’ve seen for tackling the issue of single speed chain tension and maintaining disc caliper alignment. Rocker and sliding dropouts are nice, eccentric bottom brackets work, but I’ll always defend the time tested simplicity of a track fork end. I’d rather my frame not have moving parts, thank you very much. Up until the advent of disc brakes track ends were the gold standard for single speed use, but disc brakes can complicate wheel removal if the disc interferes with the caliper when sliding rearward, and aligning the caliper and rotor can get complicated, and easy to do improperly in a rush. The new All-City Nature Boy Disc sports the pictured sliding caliper design that has an integrated chain tensioner for perfect caliper to rotor alignment every time. The caliper slides along the same plane as the rear axle and maintains the proper placement over the disc with the help of the chain tensioning bolt. It’s an elegant system that keeps the inherent simplicity of a single speed in place without any fancy moving frame parts. The design is compatible with 160 mm rotors only, with availability of frames and complete bikes sometime this spring. Can’t wait to rip it! If you’re really looking to nerd out on the design of this dropout head on over to the All-City blog for a detailed post by lead engineer Anna Schwinn complete with napkin sketches and CAD renderings.
Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in Mumbai. Riding in Mumbai is a mess. Motorcycles and rickshaw coming in from all directions numerous potholes, some as big as an Island.
What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
Bangalore is the best city to ride in India. There are smooth roads which are bicycle friendly.
Why do you love riding in the city?
I am a Green Guy; I hate gas guzzlers.
Check out www.facebook.com/nikhilnwo
Sometimes a Sub-11 with a hanger doesn’t cut it, and I’m not talking about a sub for your Escalade. Surly has introduced their new Modular Dropout System, adding a different level of versatility to select frames, and a compatibility with the latest tech that works and old school tech that never stopped. From left to right, the track fork end dropout chip, the QR derailleur hanger chip, and the thru-axle derailleur chip. Why the change? Rear entry track fork ends are simple and work great for single speed setups, add a derailleur hanger and it can get challenging to remove and reinsert a wheel, especially on the road or trail. Add to it that the latest Shimano Shadow Plus rear derailleurs require a specific placement in relation to the axle to work properly, different than that of the traditional Surly trackends with a hanger, and it just makes sense to move to a modular system. It also allows for thru-axle setups that are on their way to being the new standard on mountain bikes. This system just works better all around and only adds $40 to the cost of a frame, how very Surly. Framesets will ship with all three chips, complete bikes will come with the one that fits the stock configuration. Currently this is on the new Instigator, Karate Monkey, Ice Cream Truck and Krampus Ops frames, but I’m certainly not the only one wanting this on a Pacer or Crosscheck and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see it trickle down the line in future years. See more about the latest from Surly at www.surlybikes.com
“Bike handling skill and a lack of self-preservation are paramount in this endeavor.” Rules of play at atomiccycles.com.
The bicycle commuting reimbursement was added to the tax code five years ago, in 2009, yet its application has been limited. The tax benefit allows for bike commuters to collect a $20 pre-tax payment from their employers, which can be used toward qualified expenses. According to the IRS, “reasonable expenses” include the purchase of a bike, repairs, improvements and storage; clothing is excluded, and “These are considered reasonable expenses as long as the bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment.”
A company must choose to offer this benefit to their employees just like any other transportation benefit. Employers benefit by getting a tax deduction for the reimbursement and save in employee pay by providing the same value with less money than through normal wages. As pre-tax dollars, the money can go further in paying for commuting costs than $20 out of a paycheck.
“Let’s say your employer gave you $60 extra a month on your salary–a big chunk of that for most people would go to pay taxes, but because it’s an added benefit it’s not included as part of your salary,” says Torre St. Saviour, marketing manager at Commuter Check, a commuter benefit service for businesses. “This way they’re actually able to get the money directly to you without having to change your tax bracket or how much you pay in taxes.”
Small businesses and companies with few cyclists on their payroll may be reluctant to do the work required–processing receipts and deductions to employee paychecks–but there a number of ways to simplify its implementation. The benefit may be administered by a benefit administrator (such as Commuter Check), a third party payroll agency, or in-house. Commuter Check issues vouchers to employees, which are redeemable at partner bike shops.
“We partner with hundreds of bike shops throughout the U.S. to accept these vouchers as payment for bike maintenance or bike parts,” says St. Saviour. By offering vouchers, employers can provide their employees with the benefit without having to collect receipts under IRS requirements. The voucher includes security features similar to a check and can only be redeemed for specific expenses, eliminating the need to submit receipts as proof.
“If you go to a shop and they don’t accept the voucher you can give us a call and we will work with the bike shop to make them a partner. Usually if a shop is not a partner yet is because there hasn’t been a need in that area.”
The benefit can be distributed to employees at any time. Although the benefit allows for up to $20 per month, it can also be taken on an annual basis, allowing for a simpler process involving less paperwork and time. Meredith Corporation offers cash reimbursement on an annual basis to employees who submit a claim in the form of receipts for qualified purchases made in months during which they commuted by bike at least 10 times.
“At Chatham interested faculty and staff fill out a form and turn in receipts,” says Michael Boyd. Boyd, who is an assistant professor of music at Chatham University, has taken advantage of the tax credit since 2010. “The original idea was to do reimbursements quarterly, though I seem to get a check within a week or two of turning in receipts. The check is comparable to any other reimbursement type of payment.”
For businesses that wish to provide the benefit monthly, the League of American Bicyclists provides a set of 12 tax reimbursement cards, to which receipts for qualified expenses can be attached and submitted.
A few limitations to the benefit have hindered its use, but when applied it provides pre-tax dollars that can go directly towards bike parts and maintenance. A significant drawback to the bike commuter benefit is the fact that it cannot be offered in addition to any of the other transportation benefits. In 2014 the transit and vanpool credits max out at $130 per month (reduced from $245 in 2013), while the parking credit tops out at $250 a month. Unlike the parking, carpooling and transit benefits, the bicycle commuter benefit cannot be excluded from wages.
“When they pay as a subsidy or the employees take deductions out of their paycheck, the employer is actually reporting to the government a lower salary to you, so they actually pay a smaller amount in payroll taxes,” says St. Saviour.
Independent contractors are not eligible for the credit, and it applies to the use of non-motorized bikes only. More information on the bicycle commuter and other transportation benefits is available from the IRS.
Geared toward the road disc market. The Aileron features a 28mm tall elliptical profile and weighs 480 grams. Available in black or polished finishes with 24, 28, and 32 hole drillings, they retail for $126.99. Made in Jacksonville, FL. Check out www.velocityusa.com
WTB has just unveiled their latest, the Nano 40c tire designed with long distance gravel riders in mind. The tire has a large volume and is relatively lightweight given its girth, with the folding bead version coming in at just 470 g, and the wire bead version at 550 g. The tread pattern is based on the popular Nano mountain bike tire but with slightly shorter knobs, and an almost continuous centerline tread for speed and low rolling resistance. Clearly this one isn’t going to fit into your race-bred road frame, but this is more for those looking for adventure and the road less travelled. Looks to be a great tire for the mixed surface commute, and something that fits how many of us actually ride our bikes on a daily basis. I have a decade old pair of somewhat similar 700x44c WTB Mutanoraptors mounted up on my Surly Straggler, and while great on the dirt the tall knobs are sluggish feeling on roads and more hardpacked surfaces. The Nano 40c seems a much better fit for the kind of riding I do on that bike, a welcome addition to the line. Folding bead versions will be available at $50 each, with the wire bead version retailing at $32.
Chrome is getting into the commuter adventurer pannier game with the Knurled Welded Waterproof Rolltop bags. We first spied these at Interbike, and they are now available for purchase. Waterproof and lightweight are the key features of commuter and touring bags, and these ones are submersible u p to the opening to protect whatever it is that you need to carry on a daily basis. Loops on the outside allow you to carry bonus gear and accessories, and an included quick release rail system allows the bags to securely snap on and off of the bike. Guaranteed for life. See the lineup and Knurled Welded backpacks, panniers and front rack top bags at www.chromeindustries.com
Urban Velo’s new City Report will be an ongoing, reader-contributed segment that highlights cities around the world. We’ve prepared one on our own hometown of Pittsburgh, as an example of what we hope you’ll share with other readers.
Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in Stockholm and the riding both on the bike paths & in the forest is great. The city council is investing millions of kronor over the next five years to update / improve cycling aorund Stockholm.
Off-road the selection of rides is wide and varied, there’s definitely something for everyone.
What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
I’ve tried London, Christchurch in New Zealand & Stockholm plus a day in Barcelona but I’d have to say Stockholm, in the summer – it’s wonderful riding around, finding somewhere to swim and enjoying the late evening sunlight.
Why do you love riding in the city?
Freedom of movement I would say is my main reason. I decide tempo, the route and it just happens to be something that puts a smile on my face. What better way to start the day than with a pedal.
It turns out that the Alamo in fact has a basement, and alleycats too. Next one up is March 2nd at Crockett Park in San Antonio TX, with more info available at bikebexar.tumblr.com
Winter Bicycles out of Springfield, OR makes some truly beautiful bicycles. I’ve had the privilege of meeting craftsman Eric Estlund at a few shows over the years, and shooting a few bikes of his in the process. He recently sent in these images of his latest rando build, featuring internal brake and light routing, custom Winter racks and stem, and a slew of top-end parts from craftspeople like Curtis Odom and Paul Price. Dubbed the “Painless Electric” for long hours and big smiles, you can see more at www.winterbicycles.com Images courtesy Winter Bicycles, via Anthony Bareno.
Stanridge Cycles is excited to announce their collaboration with Ben EINE for the 2014 Red Hook Crit. EINE is a world renowned graffiti artist who has collaborated with Banksy and has work hanging in the White House. Ben will be hand painting two Stanridge High Street frames that will be raced during this years Red Hook series. The Sabbath soundtrack doesn’t hurt.
Budnitz Bicycles makes titanium and steel city bikes that eschew flashy logos and NASCAR graphic treatments for a more refined and clean look. I love the curved lines of their bikes, and will admit I’m a total sucker for images like that shown of bikes broken down to their individual parts all laid out to see, even if it appears to be a collage of multiple images.