- May 8, 2013
An estimated 150,000 people came out the first CicLAvia of the year, on April 21, to enjoy the extended route, which spanned 15 miles from..
- May 6, 2013
The Swobo Novak is a no-nonsense commuter bike. Swobo set out to create a high-quality bike with virtually everything you need and hardly..
- April 16, 2013
There was a time when Timbuk2 was the only brand of messenger bags you would see on a daily basis. But times have changed and there are..
- April 9, 2013
Turns out every lane really is a bike lane. Some of us knew this already, but now L.A. Metro is spreading the word, with a new bold..
- April 1, 2013
Contents Include: I Love Riding in the City, Product Spotlight Abus, Track of Ages, Roland Burns, NAHBS 2013 Gallery, Alexander Montsenigos..
Marin is having a cycling photo contest and you could win a bike, fresh Oakley sunglasses or a new Chrome Niko camera bag. I’m sitting on the judging panel along with Forrest Arakawa of MTBR.com and Russ Hennings of Oakley, so make your submissions good ones. The Suffer and Stoke contest ends May 20th.
Bike Soles is a Portland upstart who are hoping to have their LIT Ultra‐Reflective tires crowd-funded. While reflective sidewall tires aren’t exactly a new idea, they’re such a good safety feature that it’s nothing but helpful to have another company offering them.
If and when they’re funded, Bike Soles will be working with an experienced European partner to deliver the product. Their first model is a 700×28 folding tire that will retail for about $35.
Check out www.bikesoles.com
There was a time when Timbuk2 was the only brand of messenger bags you would see on a daily basis. But times have changed and there are more bag manufacturers than you can count. Hence, the old dog has had to learn some new tricks, so to speak. In order to stay competitive in today’s market they’ve had to innovate with design, materials and customer service. With the Especial series Timbuk2 set out to showcase their best materials and workmanship, and the Especial Messenger bag may very well be the best bag they’ve ever created.
As you might imagine, Timbuk2 went with tried and true Cordura ripstop nylon construction. They also made significant use of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane laminate) inside and out. The result of the black on black fabrics is both subtle and striking at the same time. What’s more, the entire bag is highlighted with black reflective trim.
The Especial Messenger is available in two sizes, and I had a chance to try out both the small and the medium (pictured). The small bag measures just under 14 x 16 inches, and is a great size for a laptop bag, airline travel, etc. It will work as a commuter bag, but I definitely prefer a bit more cargo capacity. At 18.5 x 16.1, the medium bag suits my needs pretty much perfectly. I can fit a change of clothes, shoes, tools, spares, etc. It’s big enough to do handle light grocery shopping, and yes, it can hold a case of beer (cans).
I think I’m still discovering all of the pockets on the Especial Messenger. Suffice it to say there are a number of external pockets with waterproof zippers, a handful of internal organization pockets and a padded laptop compartment.
The Especial Messenger is loaded with features, so many that I’m bound to forget one or two. The most obvious are the magnetic buckles on the flap. They aren’t as big of an improvement as they are when used on a bike helmet, but they’re pretty cool. On the more elemental side, the flap has nice gussets and the main compartment is topped with a unique stiffener that helps make the closure extra water resistant. Like most good bags, the liner is fully floating, so you can ride in the rain with confidence.
The main strap is completely reversible (for left or right shoulder) as is the removable stabilizer strap. The main strap features an awesome pad that extends well beyond the upper connection for superior comfort. You can also adjust the angle of the strap thanks to some slick use of Velcro on the back of the bag. And Timbuk2 took pains to provide various clips and such to keep the excess straps from flapping around erratically.
The back panel of the bag features molded pads that both cushion the bag against your back and provide some air flow. And while I don’t often need them, the Especial Messenger has three handles.
My only real criticism is actually more of a suggestion: There should be a size large, and maybe an extra large. No professional bike messenger (that I know, at least) would use a small or medium sized bag. And if I could only own one bag, I would want one that’s just a hair bigger for true grocery shopping and such. But as I said earlier, for daily use, the medium size suits my needs just fine.
The medium sized Especial Messenger retails for $199, the small for $179. All Timbuk2 products carry a lifetime warranty. Check out www.timbuk2.com
This article in the Indy Star details elite athlete Ken Martin, a 2:09 marathon runner and the marathon champion in 1984 and 1985, who is now battling Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. As anyone who has seen chemotherapy treatments first hand, you know they take an incredible toll on the body, leaving the recipient drained, weak and lethargic, but Martin is betting on his athletic routine to combat those effects. Instead of just sitting in a chair and letting the poison drip into his body, he brings his stationary bike into the treatment center and pedals for 30 minutes at a time, counting on the adrenaline surges and internal system boosting to not only lift his spirits, but also speed recovery time.
Martin is primarily doing this for his own benefit, but he is also working with researchers who are analyzing his gathered data during treatment to measure the potential benefits of cycling and activity during treatment. To the end of promoting this method, he has created The WorkOut Cancer Research Fund to finance the effect of exercise on tumor and cancer treatments.
Read the full article here.
The TiGr lock is a unique design in a crowded marketplace, using a cut and twist resistant flat titanium bow as the “shackle” with a robust but simple lock core securing the ends together. Lightweight (and expensive) due to the titanium construction, the original TiGr was designed to be able to secure both wheels and stow along the top tube of the bike. Since the original design came out, there has been demand for both a longer version for long-wheelbase touring bikes and a shorter version for bikes with short toptubes or to stow in a backpack. The original 24″ length bow is available with either a .75″ or 1.25″ bow for $165 or $200 respectively. The longer .75″ wide x 30″ long TiGr runs $185 and weighs 1.4 lbs and the shorter and lighter .75″ x 18″, 1 lb version will set you back $145. See more at www.tigrlock.com
I was in an upward bound elevator yesterday. The doors to the car opened a few floors early. A woman was preparing to enter when a girl’s voice said: “Mommy, no”. The woman looked to me and the lit white up arrow on the door frame. I acknowledged with a nod that the elevator was indeed heading up.
Just then another smaller child, two possibly three years old, with a giggly face surrounded by curls came bounding toward the car as the doors began to close. I do not know if it was because of her short height or slow reaction time, but the sensors failed to stop the doors. I could foresee her getting crushed by the giant hulking metal doors.
Instantly I reacted, leaping forward to grab the doors and prevent a tragedy. The speed at which I lunged shocked the girl. The mother, having the same protective instinct, yanked the girl from the imminent danger of the doors a second later.
The moments earlier happy face turned into a mask of horrified fear. I tried to smile to let her know that everything was fine, but she began sobbing loudly. The doors to the elevator closed. The elevator resumed its slow upward climb. Two floors later I could still hear the muffled wailing of the frightened child as her mother consoled her.
Although the mother thanked me in the moment just after I saved her little girl, it stung just a bit knowing that somewhere that girl may be forever terrified of bicycle messengers or cyclists in general. Damn.
This looks to be a really promising movie documenting the diversity of bike culture progression around the country. The creator has been touring the country for the last year filming and interviewing cyclists of all stripes to get a perspective on what is advancing cycling in their specific area, but so far it seems to focus on smaller Midwestern towns (The Midwest is best!). I couldn’t find any release date estimates, but the Tumblr is continuously updated with photos of the riders who will appear in the video. Looking forward to a complete production.
I don’t like to look a gift horse in the mouth, but frankly it’s my job. When these new Crank Brothers pumps unexpectedly showed up, I was a little less than excited. In my experience, short pumps are fine for pumping up mountain bike tires, but they’re all but useless for 700 c commuter tires, let alone bona fide road bike tires.
So imagine my surprise when I managed to adequately inflate a pair of 700 x 28 tires without breaking a terrible sweat. I can’t say it was a quick affair, but both the Sterling S and Gem S managed to get the job done. Sure, it takes a lot of pumping to achieve 90 psi, but it’s a matter of patience, not upper body strength.
Of the two pumps, of course the Sterling S is the nicer one. It’s a hair shorter (171 mm), a bit lighter (116 g) and at $35, more expensive. It also feels a bit more powerful and boasts a sleeker design with a CNC machined body. Its universal head works with both presta and Schrader valves with no need to adjust the pump head. The Sterling line also includes a long version, as well as a pressure gauge option, both of which sound like appealing upgrades to an already desirable pump.
The Gem S pump is an exercise in value. At $22 it’s a good looking, affordable pump that will get you home after a puncture without taking up a ton of space in your bag. The Gem S measures 176 mm and weighs 128 g. The head is reversible to accommodate presta or Schrader valves. For a few dollars more you can upgrade to the Gem L, which is 205 mm long.
Both pumps carry a five year warranty. For complete details, visit www.crankbrothers.com
Soul Beach Cruzers has introduced LED wheel light sets for people looking to add some neon to their group rides or some visibility to late commutes. Using a string of compact LEDs for the lights and a weather-resistant battery pack, each $30 set is enough for two wheels and fits up to a 700c rim diameter. Perhaps the light gauge wire is not ideal for abusive city riders, but I can see people putting these to use at any manner of special events. Available in blue, purple, green, white, pink or red at www.soulcruzers.com
Just a couple of weeks back the San Francico Randonneurs held the Flèche California, a 24 hour point to point ride of at least 360 km (223 mi) ending in the San Francisco. Teams get together on their own, and create their own route within the parameters of the event. One of our readers participated and made this short film about the ride — I particularly like Boys on the Hoods team rule #6, “Always ride on dirt trails when the opportunity is present.” Get off the beaten path.
Polo is tough on bikes, and as disc brakes have become more common on the court so have rotor guards. Shown is a custom piece dubbed the Bonerguard by Seattle based player and custom frame fabricator Garth L’Esperance. While this is a custom 180 mm version, “standard” Bonerguards are created to protect a 160 mm rotor. Unlike many other rotor guards, this one incoporates a tab to protect the caliper as well, with enough room to fit a gloved hand in there to turn the Avid BB7 adjustment knob. This version is made from .25″ thick 6061 aluminum and heat treated for durability (and the caliper tab slightly out of place for the 180 mm caliper mount), but future versions will likely be made from stainless steel, with the rotor guard, fork hoop and caliper tab all one piece and bent to shape without the need for welds. Available for $65 plus shipping, L’Esperance doesn’t have a website just yet but you can email Garth and he’ll hook you up.
88bikes has endowed nearly 3000 bicycles to kids throughout the world. This spring they conducted their first-ever dressmaking workshop in Cambodia.
Thirty-three girls rescued from human trafficking and now living in a shelter near Phnom Penh spent several days with Kim Ngo, an LA-based costume designer making stunning dresses for themselves.
All thirty-three girls also received bikes, of course.
Handsome Cycles announced a few months back that they were partnering up with One on One Bikes and opening a Handsome retail location directly next door, and as of a few weeks back it is up and running. I got a look at the raw space back in February at the annual Cutters Ball beer drinking and belly laughing event, but it has since been built out to what you see here. View and customize your Handsome, try on the casual cycling clothing you want but no one seems to retail. Now open in downtown Minneapolis.
Not every problem requires an expensive solution. For years a plastic baggie has worked quite well to keep my phone protected from sweat and rain on long rides, but a grocery store zip-lock is far from perfect. Easily punctured and not the best shape for storing a phone and couple of bucks, it also doesn’t work to prevent a key or change from damaging delicate glass and plastic phones. The Banjo Brothers pocket cycling wallet is an affordable solution at a mere $6, providing a water resistant pouch for your phone on one side with two pockets on the reverse sized for an ID and a key or two and a few dollars all accessed through the same full length zipper. The clear window is touch screen compatible, and the bag itself is contructed of waterproof materials though it isn’t seam sealed for total immersion, nor is the zipper a fancy waterproof one. Perfect for putting into a jersey pocket or bag and not worrying about it in anything but a full on downpour, I’ve been using the wallet for a couple of months without much to note other than finding it incredibly handy. I run my phone without a case, and this provides just enough protection to drop my phone in my bag, use it with wet hands or fumble it into the dirt trailside. Add your own carabiner to the loop and clip it to your jersey or inside of you bag for even more security. The wallet fits a phone and case up to 5.75 x 2.75 inches, so it should work with everything but the largest smartphones or oldest dumbphones on the market. See more or order direct at www.banjobrothers.com
I checked a few times to make sure I wasn’t reading a joke news site when I poured over this article from Beta D News. It’s not new that LeBron James and Dewayne Wade are known for riding their bikes to and from Miami Heat practice (we touched on their involvement in cycling here), but their participation in the Miami CRITICAL MASS is certainly a development.
The monthly ride, originally organized by those on the outside of pop culture, has now attracted NBA professionals, but not as a publicity stunt. James and Wade showed up to the critical mass ride unannounced and simply rode along with everyone else. And they should…as they are both subject to the same perils all bike commuters face on the streets, whether beater-riders or multi-millionaires.
According to the article, Wade and James go on to talk about the benefits of cycling on their athletic performance, but the best quote is from Wade….
“I got lights on my bike. I’m serious. This isn’t a joke.”
So there you go. Stop hating on Critical Mass as some sort of rolling hippie party…we’ve obviously moved way beyond that. Get serious. Get some lights. Happy Friday.
The warm weather is finally here, time to bust out the short sleeves. For a limited time save $5 off of any short sleeved t-shirt in our catalog. Who doesn’t need another black t-shirt? Choose from our classic logo shirt, the Fear of a Bike Planet design, or our low skyline design. No coupon code necessary, discount will be applied automatically in your shopping cart. Final prices of shirts are between $5 and $9 plus shipping — order early and often, sale ends Sunday April 14.
This is a guest post from Rebecca Susman, Membership and Outreach Manager at BikePGH covering The National Women’s Bicycling Forum.
Last month my colleague Jane Kaminski and I attended the League of American Bicyclists’ 2nd Annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum with the theme “Women Mean Business.” The double entendre of the title was perfectly descriptive as 375 leaders and advocates came together to discuss how women are changing the face of bicycling both within the business of bikes and within communities.
To this day when asked to picture the typical bicyclist, people usually think of a man, possibly wearing either racing spandex or bike messenger attire. Women and men throughout the bicycling world have been working for years to make this just a stereotype, and not the statistical reality of who uses the streets on a bike. We have come a long way, and in 2011 women accounted for 46% of the adults who ride bicycles.
As a bicycle advocate I have attended other national conferences on bicycling including one other women’s forum, but this was the largest woman-focused event by far. It was incredible to be in a room with so many women of diverse backgrounds openly discussing their experiences and hearing the similarities of so many of the stories. I know, and currently work with, some amazing men within both the bicycle advocacy and industry worlds, but this was my first time experiencing an environment in which women of different professional backgrounds (not just the higher-ups) felt comfortable asking questions and speaking their minds. Once given a forum in which they did not feel pressure or fear judgment the floodgates opened, and every workshop I attended ran overtime until they kicked us out of the rooms. The discussions were so engaging and sense of camaraderie affirming that at the end people spoke of a need for more similar forums, and necessary adjustments in advocacy and industry based on the outcomes.
Below are some statistics, ideas, and highlights from the forum.
– Each generation has produced more women who are riding and spending money on bicycles. Currently, 44% of Generation X bike owners and 60% of the Millennials who own bikes are women. Over half of the bicycles bought by women were not purchased in local bike shops in large part because going to a shop felt intimidating. This indicates many future opportunities for local bike shops if they listen to what the women are saying and take the appropriate steps to make their environments feel welcoming.
– Women identified their top barriers to riding (in descending order) as: distance, safety, and time.
– In recognizing the different lifestyles of woman/ people with children, it is important to address the different equipment needs, types of trips taken, and ways to get people biking. One successful way is through organized community and family bike rides that are short and centrally located.
– Georgina Terry of Terry Bicycles and Natalie Ramsland of Sweet Pea Bicycles opened the day with a discussion moderated by Karen Brooks of Bicycle Times. They began by geeking out on steel vs. carbon and then taking the discussion a step further towards removing barriers to bicycling regardless of what people ride. Their fundamental goal was about getting people together on bikes.
– Jenna Burton, founder of Red, Bike and Green, spoke about creating a culture of bicycling where people of all backgrounds can use it as a way to enjoy and feel ownership of their neighborhoods.
– Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth put us all to shame as she spoke of the competing in bike races on the hand-crank bike that she started using after losing both of her legs in Iraq. She advocated for the merits of bicycling as a method of rehabilitation and way for war veterans to reclaim some of the physical fitness and autonomy they enjoyed prior to their injuries.
– Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner closed the day with an inspiring Keynote address about the importance of creating “livable cities” and making cycling a mainstream form of transportation. This focus addressed community design and safety through an interconnected system of bicycle infrastructure coupled with legislation for support. It also provided protected bike lanes with an aim of creating safer streets and an eye for business. The statistics showed that the areas with the lanes and bike parking saw both a rise in retail sales (50% in some corridors) and a decrease in storefront vacancies.
In short, the National Women’s Bicycling Forum was a great day with interesting, knowledgeable people from across the country and a tremendous amount of information provided at once. It will take me some time to digest it all, but was definitely worth spending a beautiful, sunny Washington DC day inside.
Martone Cycling Co is a fashion and design driven brand headed up by namesake designer Lorenzo Martone. Two designs are available city fashionistas, the pictured mens version in 52 or 56 cm or a tradional dropped top tube women’s bike each in black, white, red, gold or silver. Each bike has a built in handlebar basket, largish 700 x 32c tires and a SRAM Automatix auto-shifting hub. The bikes look enough good for city riding, though I’ll say that $899 price is steep for a hi-ten steel frame with low end caliper brakes, and wish it had fender eyelets for everyday use. Monocromatic colorways apparently don’t come cheap.
We here in Indianapolis aren’t known for much outside of Indy car racing and hosting large sporting events, but we continue to gain accolades for the changes made to our city in regards to alternative transportation, which shouldn’t be that surprising since 10 years ago we would probably rank close to the bottom of most non-auto friendly lists. We could really only go up. The important thing is that someone took the initiative to take us there, so having a bicycle-friendly mayor and dedicated transportation activists in our ranks, things started to change.
As evidenced by this DC Streets article, Indy has just been recognized as the example to follow in creating a Complete Streets Plan, authored in part by our local urban bicycle advocacy group. The Complete Streets plan is a set of guidelines that seeks to gain authoritative approval for the alteration of old streets to alternative transportation-friendly pathways. This means accommodating bicycles, pedestrians, buses, etc. Basically, anything that isn’t a car gets accounted for.
Exactly HOW to develop these policies can be the tricky part, in that some authors don’t go far enough in their ambitions, or create effective plans, but don’t demand the approval of the authorities who would implement them. In the article by DC Streets, it is laid out just how Indianapolis formulated their plan to hit specific goals established by Smart Growth America, such as understanding current design, taking into account context sensitivity (meeting the needs of the immediate community), and demanding implementation.
If you are an alternative transportation advocate or activist yourself, it would be beneficial to get your hands on the various Complete Streets programs listed in this top 10 in order to formulate an effective one for your city. As a long-time bike commuter myself, I can attest to the positive changes our city has undergone due to these sort of efforts.
Mission Workshop and Bike Magazine are hosting an “Ask A Founder” webcast tomorrow, Friday April 12th at 8pm PST. Tune in and find out some behind the scenes info from Scott Nicol about the Ibis early days to present. Someone ask him about the Scorcher, always wanted one of those.