Urban Velo

  • March 24, 2014NAHBS 2014 Image Gallery

    NAHBS 2014 Image Gallery

    Behold all of our 2014 NAHBS bike images in one place for easy gallery viewing. This was our seventh year at the show, check..

  • February 28, 2014Getting Rad at Shopbike Shootout

    Getting Rad at Shopbike Shootout

    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, 2014City Reports Wanted

    City Reports Wanted

    Urban Velo’s new City Report will be an ongoing, reader-contributed segment that highlights cities around the world. We’ve..

  • February 17, 2014City Report – Pittsburgh

    City Report – Pittsburgh

    The following is a new reader-submitted feature we are piloting. We crafted the first one as a model for future contributions, so share..

  • February 3, 2014Vicious Cycles / Metal Guru Shop Tour

    Vicious Cycles / Metal Guru Shop Tour

    Carl Schlemowitz founded Vicious Cycles in 1994, and has been building custom steel frames in picturesque upstate New York ever since. Like..

    Sunrise Cycles NAHBS

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    Sunrise Cycles from Tokyo, Japan had perhaps the most eye catching bike at the 2014 NAHBS. Builder Yu Takai’s personal bike, this commuter is full of meticulous custom metalworking to create the unique truss-like structures throughout. It took Yu Takai two months of work to build this bike, I can only imagine how slow the progress was brazing together the top tube/seat tube junction. The detail work is impressive and over the top, from the obvious metal forms to the integrated lights and painted steerer tube. The Japanese bikes that make it to NAHBS never fail to impress. www.sunrise-cycles.com

    Breadwinner Cycles B-Road NAHBS Gravel Racer

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    Breadwinner Cycles officially turned one year old at 2014 NAHBS, and introduced the B-Road gravel racer to the world. Breadwinner partner Ira Ryan threw his years of gravel racing and riding into this bike, building it with all-day epics in mind. Three bottle bosses help with the all-day cred, as does the clearance for 38c tires (32c with fenders). The bike features oversized Columbus Sprint tubing with either disc or cantilever brakes, downtube shifter bosses for versatility, and a modified ENVE fork so the B-Road can have full fender coverage. www.breadwinnercycles.com

    Moses Pedestrian Alert System

    Moses from Jacob Cyriac on Vimeo.

    Functionality aside, “Moses” as a device that “parts the crowds” is pretty hilarious branding. Moses is a bicycle mounted pedestrian alert system which relies on Infrared technology to locate obstacles in front of the rider, then emits flashing lights and random noises to grab the pedestrians’ attention. In Sweden it is rude to use a bell (so sensitive, they are!), so the noises are a polite way to ask permission to pass. Moses is only an experiment at this time and no mass production has been suggested at this point.

    Zoic Downtown Jacket

    zoicThe Zoic Downtown Jacket is a simple, stylish softshell that’s also reasonably priced and very well thought-out.

    Like much of my favorite cycling apparel, it only comes in black. The Downtown Jacket has some subtle blue accents as well as a small amount of reflective trim for safety’s sake. The soft, stretchable fabric looks good and feels good. It’s 86% polyester and 14% spandex with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating.

    DSC_1176I’m always surprised at how well modern DWR softshells repel water, and this one is no exception. But keep in mind, you have to treat them right to maintain their performance. That means limit their trips to the washing machine (Zoic claims their treatment is good for 30 washes) and when you do wash it, it’s probably a good idea to use a DWR specific detergent such as those offered by Nikwax.

    The jacket features a rather casual cut, which combined with the subtle branding makes it a nice choice for those of us who aren’t racer-boy slim. It’s also good for uurban riders who don’t like to stand out in a crowd. It features four zippered pockets, two for your hands, one on the lower back and one on the arm for your MP3 player (with internal cable routing). And while it is a relaxed fit jacket, it still offers a traditional drop tail, as well as an adjustable waistband.

    The Downtown Jacket retails for $115 and comes in sizes M-XL. Check out www.zoic.com

    No More Bike Paths Ever!

    LW0727_bikerulesOk, this is an interesting case of which the ramifications are probably no need for concern. Still..

    This Salon article details the case of Marvin Brandt Revocable Trust vs. United States, in which the courts ruled in favor of the family who opposed a bike path being laid through part of their land. Here’s the amusing hypocrisy. They are descendants of the owner of a sawmill that built railroad ties, and they stated,

    “They want to bring a train through here, that’s fine. We never expected and we never agreed to a bicycle trail.”

    To the family, it isn’t that the government is using their abandoned land through right-of-way privileges, but that it’s a bicycle path and not a TRAIN. Umm…OK.

    The larger ramifications of this case are more concerning, in the decision undermines the legality of already established bike paths obtained through right of way privileges. But yeah, good luck fighting the established benefits of Rails-To-Trails programs and tearing up all that asphalt.

    Read the full article on Salon.com

    Cateye Rapid X

    Cateye Rapid XIf memory serves correct, my very first blinky light was a Cateye. The classic design used two AAA batteries and required a coin to pry the two halves apart from the yellow rubber gasket. That thing cost less than $10 and lasted for years until I either lost it or gave it away.

    To say the blinky light market has evolved would be a gross understatement, but Cateye seems to have kept up with the times. The Rapid X features a state of the art COB LED module and a 200mAh USB-rechargable lithium ion battery. It weighs just 23g, which should make it an appealing option for road racers and weight weenies alike.

    Cateye Rapid XOne of the best features of the Rapid X is the side visibility. It’s nearly as bright from 90° as it is from the back. Interestingly, the light isn’t overpoweringly bright. It seems that Cateye put more value on runtime than lumens, as the light is claimed to run for up to 30 hours in flashing mode. Regardless of which of the six modes you are in, when the battery gets low, the unit automatically switches to flashing mode, ensuring you an hour of burn time. Back home on the range, you’ll need just two hours to completely charge the battery.

    Cateye Rapid XConstruction seems solid, and the tool-free elastomer-based mounting system is as simple as can be. While I used to be loathe to trust a rubber band to hold my light on, I’ve grown more confident as light manufacturers have obviously stepped up their game. One of the two provided mounting straps will allow you to mount it to 12–32mm tubes.

    cateyeAt first I was going to complain that the rubber back panel comes off fairly easily, which could cause you to lose parts of the unit when charging or transporting it, but then I realized that won’t be a problem if you leave the mounting strap attached.

    The Rapid X retails for about $40. Check out www.cateye.com

    Surly Pants Installation and Modification

    pants9From Surly:

    As I began looking at sizes I quickly realized that I was pretty hosed in the inseam department because I, like many other Midwestern Americans, am built like a door. The Surly pants seemed to taunt me, saying; ‘Oh, your waist is 36, but your inseam is 32?! Look elsewhere fatty.” Undeterred, I was absolutely gonna cover my shame with our sweet, sweet pants. What follows will be important information for those door shaped people also wanting to cover their respective shame with our nifty trousers.

    Read more.

    Fix It Sticks Replaceable Edition Kickstarter

    Fix It Sticks Replaceable EditionWell, that didn’t take long… The latest Fix It Sticks Kickstarter project surpassed its funding goal with 29 days to go. It’s not really surprising, though. The original product (which we reviewed in July 2013) was pretty good, and they decided to improve it, and offer more options. Kickstarter supporters get a solid deal on the new and improved version, and everyone’s happy.

    Fix It Sticks Replaceable EditionThe new and improved version that landed in our mailbox is the Replaceable Edition (there’s also a new T-Way Wrench). It looks a lot like the original version, but it’s made of steel and features magnetic bits. The expected MSRP is $36. Stay tuned for a review down the line.

    Check out www.fixitsticks.com

    Friday Follow – Amanda Nauman

    MG_1895-710x941Amanda Nauman is a Felt bicycles employee and a consistent podium achieving racer, so naturally her feed is filled with racing photos, podium shots and felt bikes. She takes consistently beautiful shots while out riding and has some pretty epic photos taken of herself while racing. Of course, there’s always a random dog photo or two thrown in as well.

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    Instagram : Amanda_Panda_
    Blog: PandasPOV

    Upness Updates

    screen-shot-2013-07-12-at-7-26-11-amCycling, Running and Hiking apparel brand, Upness, is still spinning the wheels, putting out new products monthly and collaborating with other small brands to produce high-quality, stylish, and USA made goods. Birthed as a brand to inspire others to get out and get moving (vertically), Upness also exists to raise MS awareness (both creators have a connection to the struggle). Upness quickly made a name for itself in the cycling and vertically inspired communities, and both creators have recently begun blogging about their riding experiences and other related ramblings.

    Follow their Instagram for the latest news and inspiring shots of other Upness advocates.

    And hey, don’t sleep, ’cause most of the pieces they create are limited editions…like these amazing kits they put out this winter.
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    Brewsvegas Poster Ride

    Brewsvegas Poster Ride from Brewsvegas on Vimeo.

    Next time you throw an event and need to do some promotion, watch this and get inspired to do it on your bike instead of a car. It may not be as quick (if you are traveling as far as these guys), but it will be infinitely more enjoyable.

    #CrashtheCrash Marathon Crash Video feat. Aerial Footage

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    I Love Riding in the City – Pamela Murray

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    NAME: Pamela Murray
    LOCATION: Charlotte, NC
    OCCUPATION: Founder of the Charlotte Spokes People

    Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
    I live in Charlotte, NC. I live in Plaza Midwood which is an older neighborhood about 3 miles from Uptown (the center of the city). I can ride everywhere and do everything by bike. I like to get other people riding bikes to places so I started the Plaza Midwood Tuesday Night Ride then I started signing businsesses up to the Bicycle Benefits program. Each week, we visit and support local businesses who support bicycle riding by offering anyone who rides to their business a special offer. It’s a great cycle of support. I figure if I can get people to ride at night to great bike friendly places and make it fun, they may bike more often on their own. I ride year round and host the ride year round. The weather is great and the terrain is flat to rolling hills.

    What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
    My favorite city to ride in is my own since I can ride my own bike. When I’ve ridden in other cities, it was always a rental which is never as good. And I’m more familiar with my own city.

    Why do you love riding in the city?
    I can go everywhere and do anything on my bike – especially since I got my Burley Travoy trailer. I can do a week’s worth of grocery shopping, bring home my Christmas tree… Even before the trailer, I could strap most things on my rack – a sled, sleeping bag, banners… I ride my bike as my default transportation. I drive as an alternative or when I’m going somewhere with my entire family. I love the freedom and empowerment and the level of enagagement I feel with the community, outdoors, myself when I’m riding my bike.

    Check out facebook.com/PMTNR

    Indianapolis Radder Day Rides

    Radder Day Rides ColorOrganizer, Nathaniel Tact, has begun throwing monthly, casual bike rides around downtown Indianapolis called Radder Day Rides. Simply for the love of riding and communing with other cyclists, these rides are not billed as Critical Masses, Alleycats or any other such association. They do, however, give you the chance to take home raffle prizes from local businesses…just for showing up! Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, but I really like the idea of a no-stress bike ride that still gives everyone something to take home.

    This also seems like a decent alternative to avoiding the sort of prize debacle Brad linked to in this article.

    The first ride held in February suffered from low turnout, but that was due primarily to the demotivating winter weather and the March 29th ride promises to be better attended. If you’re in the Indy area or just passing through, join in on the fun. Check out the Radder Day Rides Facebook page for all the updates and prize offerings.
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    Drive With Care Indiegogo Campaign

    “Drive With Care.” That’s the message to drivers coming from this Bike Pittsburgh campaign. 2012 was a particularly harsh year for riders in Pittsburgh and this campaign was born out of a desire to make humanize bike riders in the face of multiple hit and run incidents and open hostility. “The people behind the windshield and under the helmet are our nurses, carpenters, children, and sports heroes, but the overwhelming perspective seems to be that bike riders are in-the-way nuisances who have no right to the road.” A successful but relatively short billboard and bus stop run was well received in town and around the web, and this Indiegogo campaign is an effort to increase the reach of the campaign much further than before. More bus shelters, more bus cards and more billboards can help to reach thousands of members of the public that are usually out of the reach of bike safety messaging. See more at the BikePGH Drive With Care Indiegogo.

    WOHO Ninja Ninja Deluxe Gloves

    Woho Ninja NinjaI don’t know of too many cycling gloves that are truly designed with the urban cyclist in mind, so WOHO’s Ninja Ninja gloves may be the first of their kind. They’re simple, functional and good looking.

    Personally, I like simple gloves, especially for city riding. I don’t like tons of logos, nor do I need rubberized “armor” on the fingers. I just want something that keeps my sweaty hands from slipping off of the grips. And unless it’s below freezing, I prefer lightweight, breathable gloves. These fit the bill.

    DSC_1054The Ninja Ninja gloves feature smooth, breathable Lycra shell with a synthetic suede palm material. The palms feature a non-slip silicone coating and SBR foam padding which feels thin until you grab the handlebar, then it feels quite substantial. Overall they’re a very comfortable pair of gloves. I also like that these don’t use a Velcro wrist closure—unless it’s a compression strap for wrist support, it just seems unnecessary.

    DSC_1053One of the major features of the long-fingered Ninja Ninja gloves is the use of touch-screen friendly fabric on the index finger tip and thumb. In fact, this may be my favorite feature. It’s a simple convenience that’s probably going to be ubiquitous in a few years. Another interesting feature that’s only on the fingerless version are small pull tabs on the middle two fingers. This seems a little less necessary to me, personally, but might make some people quite happy.

    DSC_1055I do feel that the Ninja Ninja gloves run a tiny bit small. So you’ll want to double check with WOHO’s size chart, and perhaps order one size up if you feel that you’ve got rather large hands.

    The Ninja Ninja Deluxe gloves come in a variety of solid colors, all accented with color-matched elastic bands with a subtle silicon logo. The long fingered gloves retail for $31 ($28 for short fingered) and come in sizes S-XXL. Check out www.wohobike.com

    Do you love “I Love Riding in the City”?

    Do you love I Love Riding in the City?The number and quality of ILRITC submissions has dropped significantly. Some people don’t take the time to write very much. Most people don’t send a high-resolution photo. We’ve already scaled back the number of ILRITC pages in the print edition, and unless we start to receive more quality submissions, the section will be totally relegated to web content or dropped entirely.

    If you do love the section and want to see it continue, please click here.

    Marathon Crash Report

    An hour before go time.

    One hour before go time.

    Every Marathon Crash event comes with its own surprises, and this year had its own unexpected circumstance. From the very first one being an impromptu event, announced upon discovery that the longstanding bike tour was no more, to the false start of 2012 and the sudden cancellation of the race this year and last-minute reinstatement of the ride portion of the event.

    Who knew that several hundred cyclists would show up to a guerilla street race at 3 am? Five years ago, that was the lesson to be learned. Five years later, and the Crash Race Ride continues to be educational. Perhaps the biggest lesson this year is that the passion to ride is a powerful force. That’s what the City of Los Angeles learned this weekend, when more than a thousand cyclists showed up to ride on Sunday morning.

    Even though the race was cancelled, local and visiting cyclists who had marked their calendars for this night long ago, weren’t willing to call off their plans just because they didn’t have the city’s support. After all the ground that race organizer Don Ward aka Roadblock had gained over the years, the City Attorney saw the the Crash Race as too big to continue existing without the requisite red tape throwing an event in Los Angeles required.

    Here’s how things went down the night of: There were no dog tags, but everyone won (unless you were gunning at a chance at earning a pair of dog tags for risking life and limb in the most chaotic street race – hundreds of riders of novice, amateur and pro status competing for space and speed on semi-closed streets, and couldn’t let go of your dream without bitterness). Competition junkies were able to get their fix on Saturday night, at Hernan Montenegro’s Plan B Alleycat, which provided all of the shenanigans a good race should.

    The Crash Ride was easily half the size of the previous year’s, although the number still broke 1,000 cyclists easily. The cops protected every intersection along the route, so riders never stopped once–although the course was somewhat abridged and skipped the section through the downtown area. The Santa Anas blew hot, so this early morning ride was surreal in its warmth–a warmth that describes more than just the weather, as the feeling was familial, with nothing at stake but our Sunday agendas (naps were in order across town).

    The ones who trained still could still claim all the strength and skill and personal improvement they had gained, and those who feared the dangers the clusterfuck could breathe a sigh of relief. Some of us stayed up all night, and got a hand up from Daylight Savings, which washed away 2 am in the blink of an eye, and thankfully so, as we were dangerously close to running out of whiskey and balance. Others set alarms for the oddest hours, rolling up to the start still foggy-eyed. To train harder and eat healthier in preparation, or commit to making a marathon out of the night itself, with antecedent adventures and another round to kick off at the edge of the sea, as the sun rises and alcohol wears off.


    “Thanks everyone for coming out!” announced Roadblock, sporting a grin big enough to swallow all the anguish of the days preceding. At the end of the line, where the land met the Pacific, he spoke through a megaphone, a high-rise human among a sea of cyclists who just came out to ride, “Who wants to go to the beach?”

    And without a doubt, the sunrise was the sweetest reward, as if the ride itself wasn’t a boon enough. I can’t even tell you how many cyclists posted “Best life ever” in their statuses throughout the day on Sunday (a lot).

    As for the future of the Crash Race, and the rest of the 2014 Wolfpack Hustle series, here’s what the tall dude had to say:

    How was Herbalife able to help out exactly, and what was the status of the agreement with the city (permitted to ride but not race)?
    Don Ward: The Wolfpack Hustle Unified Title Series is 3 points races (road crit and drag race) and an invitational track event. With the loss of the Marathon Crash the series only had two points events. Herbalife stepped in and offered enough support to add an additional crit race to replace the loss of Marathon Crash points. We are working out the complete details this week and will announce soon but it looks like they will be title sponsoring our athlete zone. Pretty hyped on that.

    What is the likelihood that the MCR will achieve a more official status in the way the bike tour once operated, with full street closure, full city support, and fully permitted?
    DW: I think the likelihood is actually fairly high that we can get it done. With the reality that people will crash race no matter what, I think the city will work to keep this event legitimate. My hope is that we can do a chip timed race event followed by the fun ride.

    How was your ride?
    DW:It was the first time I’ve gotten to actually ride the course in 5 years. I was having a blast riding turtle on my tandem together with my sweetheart and taking in the excitement of riding some if the most famous streets in the world.

    My Cycling Story Video Series – Jonathan Juillerat

    My Cycling Story: Jonathan Juillerat of Bluegrass Bicycle Company from My Cycling Story on Vimeo.

    A new video series titled, “My Cycling Story”, highlights various personalities in the cycling community. The first video interviews Jonathan Juillerat of Bluegrass Bicycle Company. Jonathan has been a pioneer in the Indianapolis bike community for years as a cycling advocate, mechanic, co-owner of Sub 9 Productions, and now owner of a home-based bike fitting and sales business.

    These videos are of professional quality and I look forward to future profiles, though no coming schedule has been offered at this time.

    NiteRider Lightning Bug 100 USB

    NiteRider Lightning Bug 100 USBThe Lightning Bug 100 USB is NiteRider’s idea of a high-quality light for the practical commuter. Meaning that it’s affordable yet powerful. It features trickle down technology from their Lumina and Mako lines, yet retains the simplicity of the original Lightning Bug.

    As the name implies, it features a 100 lumen maximum output. There’s also a 50 lumen mode, as well as a flashing mode intended for daylight safety. The 800mA battery charges in 2.5 hours via USB, and provides an equal amount of runtime on high (6 hours on low, 26 flashing).

    NiteRider Lightning Bug 100 USBThe simple, tool-free silicone mounting system is convenient and easy to use, even with gloves on. You don’t need to stretch the band terribly tight to make the light stay put, which bodes well for it not snapping after extended use. The whole unit feels like its built to last, which is generally the case with all NiteRider products.

    DSC_1051The beam pattern is pretty soft and wide, which I personally appreciate. Of course in this day and age of 1000 lumen commuting lights, the humble Lightning Bug isn’t nearly the brightest light on the road. But many of us remember when 100 lumens was considered super bright, and it’s still enough to get you around town safely at night.

    The Lightning Bug 100 USB retails for $39. Check out www.niterider.com

    City Reports