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,..

    Corey’s Stories – Step Aside When You Hear My Stomach Growl

    This morning I worked out at the gym very early before work. I often get groceries afterward as the stores have fewer customers and the shelves are usually better stocked. There are two supermarkets along the way home. The nicer organic one across the street from the gym had yet to open when I left. My metabolism after this routine endeavor requires calories and lots of them.

    Today, I craved something sweet and fatty like ice cream. I recently rode a double century and needed to replace some valuable nutrients expended. I recalled that Greg Lemond ate ice cream all the time during his career, earning world championship jerseys and Tours of France victories. I was getting a serious case of the hangries, angry because of hunger.

    I inched past the cookies, staring at each whatever ounce bag of sweet deliciousness, believing them to be the worst option in my state.

    I stood fixedly at the frozen food section, wondering when a half gallon of ice cream turned into 1.5 quart tubs. I became more angry. The ice cream flavor selection was limited to healthy stuff. (Healthy junk food? I know where the f%!# produce is! I already have an apple.) I wanted triple fudge brownie explosion with marshmallows, nuts and a million calories of sugar. Or something similar to it. Low fat, gelato and blandness all meekly stared blankly back from the other side of the frosty glass.

    I was still hungry, getting even angrier. I wandered around the aisles like a tiger in a cage. Resigning, I knew what I had to do. I understood, sadly, after a lengthy deliberation where I had to go. I walked past the produce again to get a yogurt in the dairy section I ignored earlier because I wanted ICE CREAM!

    I eventually chose a fancy blood orange with vanilla nonsense, putting it into the basket for later consumption at the lair. I got it because they, unlike other brands, sponsored some cycling event. I felt compelled to get that one rather than the one with the crunchy sugar bombs on top to be mixed upon opening.

    This was my dilemma as I went food shopping. While I am very content with what I finally selected, I am aware this will not be the last struggle. The season from summer racing to winter cross to off-season working out lasts 10 months of the year.

    Bicycle Lawyer Blog

    bike lawI’m reposting a writing by a Charlotte lawyer, who describes a bit of what it feels like to be on the vulnerable end of an impatient driver’s bumper, imploring us not to just argue for our right to be in the road, but to also check our impatience continuously. Most of the time, as she describes, our impatience manifests as mere frustration, but in our vehicles it can become deadly. Well said.

    What I want to talk about is the value of human life and how people can take it so lightly. I want to talk about the instant rage people feel when confronted with what could at most be considered an annoyance. Let’s talk about the complete intolerance of anything that stands in our way for even a fraction of a second. We don’t just see this on the road between bikes and cars; we see it in the grocery store on a busy Saturday, we see it waiting in line in the airport. People are angry and frustrated. No one is breathing. We’re all holding our breaths and trying to get to the next thing more quickly.

    In most areas of our lives, this anxious rushing has little consequence other than to make our lives rushed and anxious, and maybe annoy our families. On the road, however, it can kill someone.

    Via Cambio Corsa

    Bike Share Profit Loss

    divvyWell….this isn’t good, but should also be kept in context. Chicago bike-share program, Divvy, posted a first year loss of $148,000, but of a program this size isn’t really THAT much, still, people seem to hate bikes and want any excuse to write them off. All startups tend to have problems the first year, however, and projections for next year look more encouraging, if Divvy can work through some red-tape deal problems with their partner companies. Divvy is also looking into corporate sponsorship to help offset costs and remedy this loss quickly. Most bike-shares are initially partnered with corporate backing (Indy is buoyed by the Pacers), and this could be an easy solution for Divvy’s issues.

    Chicago’s bike-share woes certainly aren’t plagued by low use, as ridership broke records over the Memorial Day weekend, so I’m suspecting it will continue on strongly as long as the business deals can be worked out quickly. I have yet to hear of similar problems in other cities, which is encouraging for more programs to be launched elsewhere.

    Via The Chicagoist.

    Fuji Feather CX 1.1 Bike Review

    fuji_feather_cx-2
    Cyclocross bikes have long been a choice for the rider looking for a versatile machine—enjoyable on long road rides, capable on trails and light singletrack, able to handle a light tour and near perfect for the committed medium to long distance commuter. As cyclocross racing has grown the selection of bikes under the ‘cross umbrella is wider than ever, from thoroughbred race machines to traditional steel frames and performance commuters.

    Trickle down tech is at the core of most any consumer industry, and the Fuji Feather CX 1.1 takes advantage of what has become the new normal at the high end of spec and brings it to a $1220 complete bike ready for the 9-5 and your next mixed surface adventure. The butted aluminum frame features a post mount disc brake, a tapered headtube with a 1 1/2” lower bearing, and a press-fit BB86 bottom bracket. The carbon blade fork has a durable aluminum steerer and dropouts, and a post mount disc brake as well. Single fender eyelets adorn both the frame and fork, with seatstay mounts for a rear rack and a pair of bottle mounts for when the miles start to rack up. Geometry wise the CX 1.1 borrows heavily from Fuji’s race bikes with a few tweaks to fit larger volume tires that ends up with an 11 mm longer wheelbase overall.

    The component spec of the Feather CX 1.1 is nothing much to write home about—a 9-speed Shimano Sora drivetrain and industry standard Avid BB5r brakes with 160 mm rotors do the name brand duties, with no-name Vera wheels and house brand Oval Concepts parts otherwise finishing off the bike. The 50/34 chainrings and 11-32 cassette provide a well thought out, wide gear range and while 9-speed isn’t the newest in new it has proven a durable choice with some long time adherents. The wheels are an odd mix of bladed spokes and mountain bike width 19 mm rims — very likely to stay true over many a pothole, but sluggish feeling on a long ride. Disc brakes come with their own weight penalty, coupled with overbuilt wheels the Fuji Feather CX 1.1 weighs 23.9 lbs. Contrary to the spec sheet our 58 cm review bike came with 170 mm cranks, definitely short for the people riding this bike and something I would have asked a dealer to swap before purchase. The blacked out, gloss on matte finish on the frame and fork is hard to beat, it’s a shame the Oval components don’t match.

    City streets, light trails, dirt roads—the Feather CX 1.1 has the person that can’t keep their bike clean in mind. Add a full set of fenders and it makes a solid choice for an everyday vehicle that should last the long haul, stock it is more than up for hitting that dirt road loop a dozen miles outside of town. The geometry isn’t dumbed down in the name of relaxed commuting, giving the bike the handling character so many love about cyclocross bikes.

    The frameset is where you should be spending your money, and the Feather CX 1.1 gives you a platform to grow with over the years. The press fit BB86 bottom bracket makes the bike compatible with any number of high end cranksets out there, and while I had no problems throughout the test I’m not the only one still skeptical of the benefits of press fit bottom brackets. Post mount brakes are welcome, even if I had issues with the stock spacers deforming during setup. I do wish that the full-length rear brake housing had another cable stop along the top tube to curb what is an otherwise annoying rattle without a loop of electrical tape, even if it’s an easy DIY solution.

    Ride it now, keep your eyes peeled for deals on the easy weight saving upgrades and pick up a racier groupset a few years down the line when the original Sora drivetrain is worn out. While neither the lightest nor the snappiest accelerating bike out there, for the non-racer the Fuji Feather CX 1.1 proves a solid disc brake ‘cross commuter and weekend explorer. The Feather CX 1.1 is available in five sizes from 48 – 60 cm, with a lower spec’d $1000 CX 1.3 also available.

    Philadelphia Pump Track

    Pinkbike posted a story on the Philadelphia pump track, “Pumpadelphia”, (and I can’t help but sing, “Flipadelphia!”) which came about by the impetus of the Philadelphia Mountain Bike Association, which is pretty awesome considering most mountain bikers aren’t engaged with inner city youth, or even inner city riding. But the coalition between the PMBA, corporate sponsors, city departments, various individuals and, most importantly, the kids themselves, turned this piece of public land into a maze of adrenaline-inducing turns and jumps.

    Now, to convince them for the need of a pumptrack in my backyard.

    pumptrack

    “You’ll notice that I put the beginner track higher up in the park than anything else.” Jim says. “That’s because in my books, the children are what is going to keep our sport and culture alive going forward. When they ask “why are we higher than the big track?” I tell them that they are more valuable. They are the most important. We share our property with the kids and give them highest ground.” The kids are the centerpiece of this effort and the kids responded well. Saturdays were dig days and it was common to see 40+ kids at the site ready to get busy with brooms, shovels and anything else they could use to move and shape dirt. Power Corps PHL sent dozens of volunteers to the site as well. The program provides environmental stewardship initiatives as well as the City of Philadelphia’s youth workforce development and violence prevention priorities. Many of the Power Corps volunteers were locals and are itching to get on bike after lending a hand at the track.

    I Love Riding in the City – Piotr


    NAME: Piotr
    LOCATION: Warsaw, Poland
    OCCUPATION: IT Administrator

    Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
    I live in Warsaw . Officially 2 millions people lived here but i think this number is underestimate. Traffic is high especially when workers and pupils go to offices and schools. So in the morning and early evening main streets are jammed. Public transport is quite effective but “nothing compares to simple pleasure of a bike ride”. In bad circumstances to reach the place of my work by bus takes me about 2 hours, by bike – 30 minutes.

    What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
    In addition to the Warsaw I ridden in Berlin. Awareness and care of other who use road in Berlin impressed me. It was like “haven” for cyclists. But in the longer term could be boring.

    Why do you love riding in the city?
    Because of small amount and poor quality of bike paths I ride in traffic. Sometimes it’s very dangerous. I have to be focused, to have eyes in the back of the head and predict the behavior of other drivers. I have to be here and now – without thinking. I love it, especially after a hard day at work!

    EQNX: SF to SD

    Experience the California sun and scenery with Emi Brown and Luke Binder as they take the Leader EQNX through the Golden State’s golden roads.

    Indianapolis Mayor’s Bike Ride

    MayorBallardBikeRide_May2013_finalI may be a little too Indy-centric at times, but it’s hard not to when our city government hosts events like the Mayor’s Bike Ride. Cyclists in Indy have been pretty ecstatic about our mayor’s promotion of bike amenities and events for good reason, so when he started hosting the Mayor’s Bike Ride, people turned out in mass. The ride takes place a few times each year and no matter the weather, the turnout is quite large for an urban ride. It helps that the mayor joins in and the police guide the group, but the ride is a success by any measure.

    The next ride takes place Saturday, June 7th. The first 200 registered riders get a free t-shirt and food and prizes are available to everyone.

    Cutters Ball Shopbike Shootout Video

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    I couldn’t be happier that winter is over, even if some cool stuff happens when it gets ugly. The Cutters Ball and Shopbike Shootout video has surfaced. Slippery.

    Friday the 13th Alleycat in San Antonio

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    friday Friday the 13th is always a good excuse for a race — San Antonio doesn’t disappoint. bikebexar.tumblr.com

    Bike To Work Video

    It’s June and so National Bike Month is over, but we’re all still on the roads, of course. Indianapolis staff photographer, and avid cyclist, Bob Scheer is also on the road with his GoPro enabled ride, capturing a bit of what it’s like to ride the streets of Indianapolis on Bike To Work day (click here for video). The corresponding article gives a good overview of the new issues Indy faces as cyclists begin to populate the streets more and more with a predominantly car-centric city. We stand 10th in the national average for fatalities between bikes and cars. Fortunately, the increasing number of cyclists brings an immediacy to their safety and plans are consistently being implemented to protect cyclists and educate motorists.

    Issue #42 – Available Online

    Erok with the VAYA bagContents Include: Utilitarian Bicycles in China, City Report: Washington DC, Gallery: SF Courier Portraits, Redhook Crit Women’s Race, World Naked Bike Ride. Product Spotlight: Marin, SRAM, Detroit Cargo, Abbey Bike Tools, Product Reviews: Fuji, Knog, Hiplok, Vaya and more, Chiang Mai, Thailand, Worksman Cycles, Know Your Derailleur Limits, No Exit, and The Almanzo 100.

    Download it for free, purchase it from the Apple Store or order a printed copy online.

    City Report – Washington DC

    Washington DC
    By Michelle Cleveland

    Photos by Kevin Dillard – www.demoncats.com

    City: Washington, DC

    Nickname: DC, the Nation’s Capitol, Dead City

    Claim to Fame: You’ve got Obama’s House, a bunch of suits walking around Capitol Hill, Ben’s Chili Bowl, cherry blossoms, mumbo sauces, and of course chicken and waffles.

    History in 100 Words or Less: The US capital was originally located in Philadelphia. But in 1790, a new location between Maryland and Virginia along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers was chosen by George Washington and DC was officially established as the nation’s capital. The city was designed by a Frenchman to appear reminiscent of Paris. Most of the city burnt to the ground during the War of 1812. In 1963, MLK, Jr., gave his famous “I Have a Dream Speech” at the Lincoln Memorial as part of the March on Washington.

    Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 12.19.31 AMRandom Fact: When John Denver was playing a two-week gig in 1970 at a venue long gone called The Cellar Door in DC, two fellow musicians told him about song they were working on while driving through winding roads of Maryland. When Denver heard what was to become “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” he just had to have it, even though it was meant for Johnny Cash. Now, Denver’s iconic folk song is a symbol of mountains and West Virginia, even though it started here in DC.

    City’s Terrain: Mostly a flat city, DC does seem full of one-way streets, diagonal nightmares, and lots of traffic downtown. The small neighborhoods of DC stemming out from downtown are very bikeable, especially on side streets. The city has seen a good amount of bike infrastructure in the past few years, with a beautiful long cycletrack down Pennsylvania Ave., and two additional separated cycletracks downtown. The area east of the River, the Anacostia neighborhoods, have close to zero bike infrastructure and are extremely hilly.

    Weather Forecast: We get beautiful springtime and fall weather, perfect for bike riding with Cherry blossoms and fall leaves in Rock Creek Park. But DC feels like a southern city in the summertime with high humidity and grueling heat. The winters are fairly mild and we typically only get a few good snowfalls a year (except for this winter which was record breaking cold).

    Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 12.21.02 AMTop Shop(s): DC has so many bike shops and they each offer mechanics and shop owners with different personalities so it’s hard to choose. My personal favorite shop is the Bike Rack because of their laid back and friendly vibe. I’ve always had good service at Revolution Cycles in Georgetown. And the guys and gals that work at CycleLife, Capitol Hill Bikes, CityBikes, and Bicycle Space are all stellar folks.

    Best Watering Hole(s): GBD near Dupont is my favorite bar with it’s very good “stiff punch.” American Ice Company serves its beer in mason jars and has Swachos (BBQ pork nachos). Lucky Bar is where the messengers hang out after work, so there’s always someone to talk to and they’ve got cheap beer. The Pug has got hands down the best atmosphere at a bar. And Smoke and Barrel is the best for your craft beer nerds.

    Authentic Local Food: Ben’s Chili Bowl with their chili cheese fries and just about any brunch spot with their chicken and waffles. Also mumbo sauce. Not sure what it is, but you can put it on pretty much anything from fries to wings to maybe even waffles.

    Must See: The Old Post Office tower. It’s thought to be a tourist attraction so it took me a few years to go up and see the view, but it’s a towering view of the city you’ll never see anywhere else. And a sunset from Meridian Hill Park in the summertime is just beautiful.

    Must Ride: Definitely ride down the Pennsylvania Ave. cycletrack at night heading east, with a view of the Capitol dome right in front of you. The Anacostia Riverwalk trail across the river is tree-lined. Rock Creek Park is where roadies ride on the weekends and you feel like you’re not even in a city anymore.

    Best Time to Visit: Just not the summertime, or any major holiday. Too many tourists. Come for a DC bike event to see what the city is really like, such as one of our annual alleycats (Dead City for Halloween is my favorite), DC’s Eastside Thaw polo tourney in March or a monthly DC Bike Party ride.

    Need For Speed: DC’s probably always had bike messengers, and a lot of the ones we still have today have been at it for years. There’s at least half a dozen alley cats per year, hosted by local couriers or bike kids, with the number growing. One of the favorites is the Presidential Inaugural alley cat—no other city can do that. DC also hosts one epic cyclocross race each year, DCCX, on a golf course at the Old Soldiers Home, which also houses President Lincoln’s Cottage.

    Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 12.19.36 AMTwo Wheeled Celebrities: Older couriers like Scrooge and Bruce—everyone knows them. They’re legends. Lia who started and runs DC Bike Party somehow got 500 or so folks out on their bikes each month. And very recently, the Chocolate City Cycling crew.

    Top Tourist Attraction(s): It’s DC, so of course anything that has to do with the president, Congress, and the Smithsonian. Walk along the National Mall, take your photo in front of the White House, and stand at the feet of Lincoln at his memorial.

    Advocacy: The Washington Area Bicyclist Association, DC’s only bike advocacy non-profit, has been around since 1972. Over the years they have won major victories like getting the Capital Crescent Trail (an 11-mile rail trail from Georgetown to Silver Spring, MD), Beach Drive (a beautiful winding forested road in middle of the city) closed to motorists on weekends, and bike access on public transit. WABA launched an innovative workshop program, Women & Bicycles, to get more ladies on bikes. They host bike rides and social events throughout the year, monitor local trails through the Trail Rangers program, and do friendly outreach in the bike lanes with the Bike Ambassador program.

    Locals Only: For those with cross bikes, Kingman Island in the Potomac is a secret and awesome spot to get some gravel and cross action in. And if you want to practice sprinting or work on your pace line skills, meet up with a group at Haines Point to do almost car-free laps. If you’re really legit, apparently there’s a superfast pace line at noon everyday called the Power Hour.

    Check out www.waba.org

    24 Bottles Porta Bottiglia

    Stainless steel bottles are where it’s at for clean tasting water as they don’t leach plastic chemicals into the water, or hold flavors from what you poured in there over the weekend. 24 Bottles is an Italian company making stainless bottles, and the Porta Bottiglia holder. Carry a bottle on a bike without bosses, add a holder for the extra long ride. I’ve not used one, but I’d worry about the Porta Bottiglia eventually swaying and interfering with the drivetrain when mounted to anything but the toptube. Given the woven construction there shouldn’t be any rattle and even with the swaying concerns, love the easy way it attaches to most any tube.

    Jacob’s Ride Hits A Grand Slam For Hearing

    jacob-in-camden-yards-alleyYYY Jacob Landis rode 10,666 miles and had hit almost every stadium in the country by the time he reached Polk County, Florida last September. With 180 miles left to reach the last one, Marlins Park in Miami, he was struck by a semi truck that kept on driving. The accident took him off the road, bringing his tour to a grinding halt. But it didn’t end his mission. This weekend, he’ll finish Jacob’s Ride, his cross-country tour to help others overcome hearing loss in the same way he has.

    “Without the [cochlear] implant I couldn’t talk to you,” he tells me. Landis was 10 when he heard his brother’s voice for the first time, or anyone’s for that matter. He had just received one of the first cochlear implants. A decade later, Landis would have another life-changing experience when he visited his brother in Los Angeles.

    “Noah didn’t have a car then and he gave me his road bike,” says Landis, who rode bikes as a child but, like many people, left them behind with the playthings of childhood. “He took me on one of those group rides – Taco Tuesday – I just had so much fun riding a road bike for the first time that when I got back to Annapolis even though it was so cold I went out and got my own single speed. Then I got a $500 Jamis and I started putting a lot more miles on.”

    jacob-with-hearing-impaired-kids-at-Northern-VoicesAfter fifteen years with his cochlear, Landis is making the same come true for others, and he’s doing it with his bike. Last year, he raised more than $160,000 to help others who cannot afford the implant. Supporting established nonprofit organizations such as the Gift of Hearing Foundation and the Hearing Loss Association of America, the donations have helped fund implants, which can cost from $50,000 to $100,000, for five people. The first went to a 24 year-old male, same age as Landis (at the time of the procedure).

    By working with Major League Baseball teams, Jacob’s Ride has been able to raise awareness and support for cochlear implants at each stadium. 500,000 Americans suffer from severe hearing loss, but only 7 percent have benefited from cochlear implants. Unlike a conventional hearing aid, which amplifies sound, a cochlear implant sends electrical impulses to the the auditory nerve, bypassing damaged parts of the inner hear. Contribute to Jacob’s Ride and learn more about cochlear implants at www.JacobsRide.com.

    CMWC 2014 Mexico City Images from Juan Jose Mesa Sanchez

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    cmwc2014mexico

    CMWC 2014 is happening right now in Mexico City, with some great images surfacing as the events unfold. Pretty into this Flickr set from Juan Jose Mesa Sanchez, with more to appear as the weekend continues.

    Grinderman Coffee

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    The coupling of bikes and coffee isn’t new, nor is delivering coffee by bike, but Grinderman has taken the two a progressive step further and is only working on a barter/trade exchange. Yeah, no cash, no capitalism. Just coffee for an agreed upon trade. If you’re in the Chicago area, contact Grinderman through his web form for orders.

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    PDW Summer 2014

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    Rollapaluza Records Night – 142 mph On Rollers

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    Rollapaluza paired up with Guy Martin, the British paced land speed record holder, to see just how fast you could spin up the Rollapaluza roller racing setup using Martin’s record setting bike. Think 380 gear inches — huge. Top speed for Craig Maclean, fastest man of the night: 142 mph. See more at the Rollapaluza blog.

    Read more about the history and rebirth of roller racing in Urban Velo #5 from November 2007.

    Skylock

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    This is solid. To summarize, it’s a lock that works through Bluetooth, enabling keyless entry as soon as you walk up to it. That feature alone takes away much of the hassle of unlocking your bike when it’s boxed in by others or your key is bent slightly. And although any angle grinder can ruin your safety plan, Skylock has a function that alerts you (if you’re connected to a wi-fi network) if there is a jostling or tampering of your lock. That’s solid piece of mind right there.

    Skylock is currently in funding status, which discounts your initial purchase at $160 if you get in at the ground floor, but will shoot into the $200s when released to market at Xmas of 2014.

    Get all the details here.

    City Reports