- December 1, 2013
- November 26, 2013
Johnny Coast builds his Coast Cycles out of an unassuming garage on a Brooklyn dead-end. His bikes are traditional in look and..
- November 19, 2013
It’s not everyday that you see a $12,000 custom bicycle, let alone a newly constructed one with ’90s era Shimano and Dia-Compe..
- November 5, 2013
Racks, baskets and on-the-bike bags are essential accessories for making cycling a part of everyday life, at least as far as I’m..
- October 21, 2013
More than 300 individuals representing 80 organizations gathered in New Orleans for the 10th anniversary of BikeBike, revisiting the city..
If you’re replacing a car, or at least enough trips to make your current car last years much longer, $4500 for a top end commuter bicycle doesn’t sound unreasonable. Or at least as unreasonable as a $4500 bicycle sounds to most readers. Shinola frames are made in the USA, and the Runwell Di2 represents their top of the line offering with a lugged steel frame, electronic shifting, hydraulic brakes and built-in dynamo lighting. No expense spared, it’s a showroom quality bicycle more or less off the shelf, though truly they are made to order with first delivery expected come March 2014. It was quite the looker at Interbike, and for the big spender can now be yours.
For Bay area riders the SF Bike Expo has become an important date on the calendar to check out vendors from across the country and deals from shops and other riders in the swap section. I had the good fortune of making the expo a few years back, but unfortunately can’t stop through this year. You shouldn’t miss it if you’re in the area on November 16th, free admission and free valet bike parking, see more at www.sfbikeexpo.com
The Lord of Griffith alleycat top honors were taken by State Bicycle Co rider Tyler Coplea, who had a few things to say about the event below. It’s nothing outside of the usual post-race glory, but it’s good to be reminded of the fun of competition.
“The Lord of Griffith race is an all out suffer fest up to the Griffith observatory in LA. Consisting of a steep climb straight up to the top, followed by an awesome fast decent, all on one gear 3 times around! I rocked my awesome State bicycle Undefeated with a way to big 48×14 gear ratio that made me choke on regret up that crazy steep climb.
After riding for 2hrs in LA, we pulled up to the race along with hundreds of other riders. Everything was set and ready to go, that is till the park rangers showed up and wanted it shut down. So we all immediately went to the start line and just like that the race was on!
I drilled it as hard a I could to get to the front and spent the next 3.5 laps grinding up climbs and burning out quads on the decent with our newest teammate Hern. The climb wasn’t the issue, it was try to skid stop as well as those guys on the downhill. Man they are talented bike riders! Going up the climb for the last time, I put it all out there and got a gap which I was luckily able to finally hold on the decent and all the way to the finish to get the win! My legs totally felt as if I had done 1000s of squats for the past few hours. I was stoked to turn around and see my teammates Michael and Hern come in for 3rd and 4th!”
“Mobilize me and I will…” Help the World Bicycle Relief continue to mobilize people to a better life. They’re at 800,000+ people and counting. www.worldbicyclerelief.org/mobilizeme
Racks, baskets and on-the-bike bags are essential accessories for making cycling a part of everyday life, at least as far as I’m concerned. Most people start off with whatever bag they already own slung over their shoulder, gradually making their way through messenger bags and backpacks up until that epiphanic moment of realizing that the bicycle makes an ideal beast of burden and and can carry cargo directly, rather than just on the body of the passenger-engine. Rear racks and panniers are the first choosing of most if for nothing other than availability and general ease of installation, but over the years I’ve learned to love front racks and baskets for most of my cargo hauling. Full touring brings out the traditional side mount panniers, but day to day it’s a backpack for the essentials and front rack for everything else.
Enter the Swift Industries Pelican Porteur bag, an 11″ square bag made specifically to fit the CETMA 5-rail cargo rack. The bag has the classic Cordura outer and vinyl tarp interior combo to keep nature’s elements on the outside, with a set of four clips and straps to attach the bag to the rack at the corners. The square bag has a rolltop design that stands tall for overloading, with a large flap and long straps to keep everything secure. Inside there are a few side pockets for organizing pens, tools and small items with a single zippered outside pocket on the front perfect for the removable shoulder strap and a few other small bits. Besides the rack itself the bag has removeable corrugated plastic inserts in the sides to give it shape — while the rolltop is pliable, the body of the Pelican bag is rigid. Reflective strips, a light loop and a top-mounted clear map pocket round out the bag. For what it’s worth the bag weighs 3 lb 14 oz empty.
Over the course of the summer months I used this bag for daily errands and an overnight camping trip, maxing out the capacity and giving it a run at what I’d imagine most people are using it for. The capacity is more than enough for most anything I’d imagine wanting to commute with on a daily basis; my camera, laptop, lunch, and a change of clothes all fit. The weatherproofing keeps it all dry in a downpour, enough that I wouldn’t worry about electronics in anything but a deluge you shouldn’t be riding in anyway. You can haul a fair amount of groceries home in this Swift bag, especially paired with a backpack, and the rigid sides help to protect delicate fresh cargo. The bag swallowed up my weekly CSA half-share without a problem. For an overnight trip I was able to fit my lightweight tent, sleeping bag, camp kitchen, change of clothing and food for two (check the last image in the below gallery). The finer points of keeping the extra long straps out of the way of the wheels even when unloaded shows that Swift Industries is paying attention.
While the bag is easily removed and reattached to the rack, I found myself leaving the bag at home for some in-town trips as I didn’t want to fuss with it at every lockup. Not an issue with longer commutes, but for running into a few different places in short order (post office, bank, lunch, pharmacy…) I found removing and reattaching it a burden. Cough it up to me being impatient when it comes to my bike being ready to ride. It didn’t help that the carrying strap is on the top, rear corner of the bag, making it awkward to hold as it pitches forward and jostles your cargo (make sure those straps are secure). You could use the removable shoulder strap of course, but that would make the on/off process that much more involved with four clips to the rack, and a clip on either side of the shoulder strap every time you want to remove/reattach the bag. Like any front bag it can interfere with bar mounted lights, and while the bag has a front blinkie light loop, the days of riding around with nothing but an amber blinkie up front are over me. And particular to my use of a front rack I tend to be carrying small boxes here and there frequently, something anything but an empty rack and a few bungees can hurt more than help. The Swift Pelican Porteur is more for backpack replacement or all day rides than box carrying capacity, not an issue for the majority of rides.
Riding with a loaded front rack takes some getting used to, and is perhaps the main criticism of the Pelican Porteur bag. With such capacity it’s easy to overload the front end which can lead to unstable handing, especially to those not used to riding with weight over the front wheel. The unsteadiness goes away with practice — with time I’ve come to strongly prefer the feel of a front rack over that of a similar load on the top of a rear rack. If I was putting in the serious touring miles or going out for multiple days I’d certainly move the load lower to traditional panniers with a lower center of gravity and better handling, but for a quick trip or around town the accessibility of the racktop bag wins out every time.
The Swift Industries Pelican Porteur bag is a lifestyle item, as at home on the commute or the overnight tour. Everything you need for the day fits and stays dry, and the construction is up for daily abuse. The $200 asking price is on par with high quality backpacks and other bags, especially given the Seattle construction out of a small shop of dedicated makers. Choose your own colors and check out the other bags from Swift Industries at www.builtbyswift.com
Anyone that’s been to a Critical Mass or other rolling party rides has surely come across some kind of DIY sound system or another based on a car battery and stereo amplifier. Some are more finished than others and they’re not the hardest thing in the world to wire together, but creating a bike stereo from scratch remains out of reach of many if not for assembly skill, time or space to do it. BikeBeatz is an off the shelf bike rack mount stereo using a 240 W amp, a pair of 6 x 9″ car speakers and a lead-acid rechargeable battery to bring the sound to the party via anything with a headphone output. THe wooden box houses a recharger as well — just plug the whole system into a wall outlet to recharge. Expect 6 – 12 hours of output per charge. Available in a couple of different finishes for $300 each.
Track or Treat 7 went down in Minneapolis this weekend, with Bike Jerks sharing a few images and results.
We just shared a video from the Red Hook Crit last week, but I can’t help but post this one too. While yes it is an ad for 8bar at its core, the footage and “feel” of the event captured in this five minute video is great.
Tubeless tires have gained widespread use in mountain biking, and a few trusted friends with some miles on road tubeless clincher tires swear by them. Lower tire pressure, a better ride, and fewer flats are promised and from what I hear road tubeless delivers at the cost of a slightly more complicated installation procedure. Tubeless tires are generally reserved for the high end and there aren’t many options for wide rims and higher volume tires for not-road-racing scenarios besides DIY setups. Making inroads into the cyclocross race world, WTB has recently added the ChrisCross rim ($75) and Cross Wolf tires ($55) to their TCS (Tubeless Compatible System) lineup. The 32c tires are certainly more cyclocross than commuter, but it is trending in the right direction for all round riders hoping that the benefits of tubeless trickle to the rest of us.
Sometimes it’s all about style. The Garage 271 Lightning Clunker is for people that grew up on BMX bikes or wished they did. A 26″ BMX cruiser at heart, the full chromoly frame and fork are built for the local trails or indoor bike park with a single rear brake and chrome finish in proper ’80s style. Maybe the double lightning toptube is for you. Asking price is a cool 999€, or $1375.
The eighth annual Supermarket Street Sweep is scheduled for December 7th, with riders heading all over San Francisco to collect food for the local food banks. Help add to the over 118,000 meals collected over the past seven events. Cargo race, speed race and plenty of folks just along for the ride… see more at supermarketstreetsweep.blogspot.com
Ibex Clothing has created the Circles series of videos to explore and show off groups that make up the greater cycling community. Check out the first episode with Firefly Bicycles out of Boston MA.