Urban Velo

  • September 5, 2014Eurobike 2014 Image Dump

    Eurobike 2014 Image Dump

    The show wrapped up a week ago, but we still have product images to share from Eurobike 2014. Fashionably late to the party, but still..

  • August 12, 2014Surly Straggler Review

    Surly Straggler Review

    Shortly after Surly introduced the Cross Check some fifteen years ago, someone chimed in that they wished for a disc brake option. After..

  • August 5, 2014ABUS Granit Futura Mini U-Lock

    ABUS Granit Futura Mini U-Lock

    The ABUS Granit Futura Mini U-Lock has been my go-to lock for almost three years now, locking up my bike on streets across the country and..

  • August 1, 2014Issue #43 – Available Online

    Issue #43 – Available Online

    Contents include: I Love Riding in the City, NAHBPC 2014, Amtrak Roll-On Service, Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center Crit, Product Spotlight:..

  • 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..

    ABUS Granit Futura Mini U-Lock

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    The ABUS Granit Futura Mini U-Lock has been my go-to lock for almost three years now, locking up my bike on streets across the country and throughout Western Europe. Whether making my daily Post Office run or locking up in high theft cities like New York, San Francisco and London, in every instance my bike has been there when I’ve returned, which is perhaps the ultimate positive review.

    One only needs a lock better than the next person to avoid theft in most cases, and the sense to only lock to sturdy immovable objects, and with this mini u-lock from ABUS I’m fairly certain that in the vast majority of cases I have the next guy down outgunned. The reputation of German engineering is well-earned, and the family-owned ABUS lock company upholds the lofty national standards. The 11 mm shackle and case are made of a custom formulated hardened steel alloy with a double locking cylinder that requires a thief to cut the shackle twice in order to free the lock without a key. The top-end lock cylinder is pick and corrosion resistant—I’d know, as an unplanned back pocket lock ejection left one of my ABUS Granit Futura locks laying out in the rain and mud for a weekend before being retrieved, and working as well as ever. Each lock ships with a pair of keys and a key code card for additional keys, or for ordering an identically keyed lock. It’s hard to explain how convenient having a pair of u-locks using the same key has proven in high-risk theft areas.

    At 690 g the ABUS Granit Future mini is the lightest high security mini-shackle lock I’ve used, beating similar competition by 300 g or more. Be forewarned however that at just 2.75” wide the shackle opening can be impossible to fit around certain parking meters or large diameter signposts other locks slide over. That said, over the years I’ve yet to find myself completely frustrated by the size—quite the contrary, it easily slides into pants’ rear pockets and my backpack and I’d prefer the lighter weight to larger shackle any time. Being made in Germany by well-compensated, dedicated employees with top-end materials and testing comes at a retail price of $85. There are less expensive locks, there are higher security locks, but this one fits my needs just right.

    Ride The Black Line Series

    Encino Velodrome – Ride The Black Line Summer Series 2014 from Rafael Hernandez on Vimeo.

    Cross Season is coming, but velodrome racing is still in full swing. Catch some of the action going down at the Encino Velodrome during the Ride The Black Line summer series every other Wednesday night through September 3rd.

    Things I’ve Learned About Bikes

    things-about-bikesThis article from NSMB.com is weighted towards the mountain bike side of the bike industry, but some of these points are universally true:

    Rule #1 – If the primary upgrade over last year’s bike is a new graphics package, think about looking elsewhere. If you buy that bike, when next years graphics package comes out your bike is going to feel old. Single colour paint schemes age better than the flashy shit.

    Read more.

    Cannibal’s Bottle from Heavy Pedal

    cannibals-bottle-promoWell, this is gnarly. Heavy Pedal’s Campbell’s soup/Merckx/Warhol/etc. bottle design, now available on their site for $11.99. I wouldn’t suggest putting soup into this…stick with water, or human blood.

    City Report: Antwerp

    City: Antwerp, Belgium

    Nickname: Koekenstad

    Claim to Fame: Antwerp is the second largest city in Belgium behind Brussels. Eighty percent of the world’s diamonds come through Antwerp, where they are bought and sold between dealers from around the world. According to some, the fashion industry in Antwerp ranks with those of Milan and Paris.

    History in 100 Words (or less): Local lore holds that Antigoon was an unfriendly giant who lived near the Schelde river. His job was to collect a fee from people who wanted to cross. You can’t pay the fee? Antigoon would cut off your hand and throw it in the river. Brabo was a brave young soul who found this act unacceptable. He gave Antigoon some of his own medicine before killing him. Brabo lopped off the hand of the mean giant and threw it into the river. From it grew the current city of Antwerp. The name, “Antwerpen” is actually a Dutch phrase that translates to “hand throwing.”

    Read more.

    Kryptonite Messenger Collection

    How much does your bike mean to you? Check out a sneak peek of a new line of Kryptonite locks designed by bike messengers.

    The Louisiana Liberty Bill of 1890

    LLBVia Shadow Steeds in the Crescent City

    Signed by Governor Francis T Nicholls on June 13, 1890, House Bill No. 81, also known as the Louisiana Liberty Bill, granted all bicycles and tricycles and other foot or hand operated vehicles full rights to public roads.

    The bill was finally passed after years of effort by members of the Louisiana Cycling Club, especially Harry H. Hodgson, who was the Chief Consul of the Louisiana Division of the League of American Wheelmen, and State Representative E.A. Shields, who was a member and president of the LCC.

    Read more.

    Issue #43 – Available Online

    cover43Contents include: I Love Riding in the City, NAHBPC 2014, Amtrak Roll-On Service, Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center Crit, Product Spotlight: Superb, Specialized, Gevenalle, and Brooks, City Report: Antwerp, MPLS Velodrome, Gallery: Kevin Sparrow, Product Reviews: Surly, New Albion, Ilumenox, and ABUS, Fun Rides, On the Move, Narrow-Wide Rings Explained and Knog Night Ride.

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

    Can’t Fool The Youth 3: Johnathan Davis

    Posted on by in Video with 2 Comments

    Fixed freestyle — not dead, still fun to watch.

    BibBits Magnetic Race Number Holders

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    It’s been a while since I’ve donned a number on my jersey, but the standard issue safety pins were always an annoyance. Between the risk of sticking yourself during the last minute adjustments, snagging expensive technical jersey materials, or forgetting about the pins and leaving rust stains coming out of the washing machine. I wouldn’t say that $15 for four sets of BibBits magnets is a smoking deal, but but it’s not going to break the bank and might be one of those niceties that makes the race day jitters easier to deal with, if you’re into that sort of thing. Imported my Canitoe Road.

    Airbus Bicycle Saddle Seats

    airbusVia Gizmodo:

    This newest patent is all about cutting down on “bulk,” the word here referring to seat backs, cushions, tray tables, half the seats themselves…

    Read more.

    Banjo Brothers Convertible Waterproof Pannier Backpack Review

    banjo_backpack_pannier-1 Being a teacher carries with it many rewards, an unencumbered commute not being among them. Panniers help with this at least while on the bike, removing the overstuffed backpack and providing relief for the sweaty back and achey shoulders that can accompany. But how about when I dismount and unhook the panniers? Off the bike, most perform as well as a lopsided briefcase.

    The transformer mechanism of the Banjo Brothers Convertible Waterproof Pannier Backpack is one of those so-simple-it’s-stupid concepts. A large flap provides top closure and conceals the backpack straps in pannier mode, with a simple hook and elastic strap rack attachment. Unhook the bag from the rack, flip over the flap to expose the backpack straps and hide the pannier mounts, adjust the straps and you have a backpack. The pocket on the flap remains outermost in both modes, with zipper access on both sides, which is convenient for never fumbling for wallet and phone. Though it may not be my first choice for hiking around all day, the padded straps and chest strap make it a serviceable backpack. To transform back to pannier, the straps fold back neatly and quickly, securing the ends and requiring little fuss. Flip the flap and you’re good to go. Banjo Brothers’ execution is simple, fast, and functional.

    banjo_backpack_pannier-3The bag has 1100 cubic inches of space—plenty of room for laptop, change of clothes, work shoes, and lunch and the roll-top closure with burly, removable welded-seam waterproof liner keeps everything dry. Two side outer pockets, one zippered, one open, are decently sized and though the zipper was mangled on our sample, Banjo Brothers has a reputation for great warranty and replacement service. This bag would have been replaced right away, but I was too busy using it to care. Light loops and reflective piping help with low-light visibility

    When overstuffed with an open top the roll-top waterproofing is null and void, and unfortunately, the straps to clip the flap over the top in backpack mode when it’s this full sometimes aren’t long enough to reach. At 3 lbs it’s not the lightest, although removing that waterproof liner on dry days can save almost half a pound. At $80 it’s a total commuter bargain.

    Written by Katie Horowitz, VP of Education, PPWP.

    I Love Riding in the City – Serge Kulyk

    sergeNAME: Serge Kulyk
    LOCATION: Washington DC
    OCCUPATION: Systems Analyst

    Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
    Washington DC. At times it can be quite a challenge. With or without bike lanes, motorists in DC are not super attentive, not super informed or worst yet could have gotten their driver’s license in Maryland.

    What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
    I have actually found that cities in Michigan, in particular Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Traverse city are some of the neatest places to ride. For the most part it has to do with density, in a city like Grand Rapids there is a good network of long trails, plenty of room on the roadways and with a favoritism towards highways and high speed roadways this leaves suburb streets and smaller/slower city street open and well maintained for bicycles. Ann Arbor in general is just a great city for cycling and Traverse City is just a vacation spot city, with a very laid back attitude and plenty of empty/twisty country roads just outside of town.

    Why do you love riding in the city?
    It is the ultimate in stress relief. It heightens all the senses you use in cycling. It is incredibly demanding but encourages and rewards the practice of observing good fundamentals.

    Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?
    Riding in the city is embracing what the bicycle was invented for. It is the future for the population growing, urban environment. It is appropriate that the tool humans created to enhance their mobility and celebrate their freedom will propel mankind to a green, healthy and bright future.

    Check out www.thebikehouse.coop

    LA Bicycle Commuters Form ‘Bike Trains’ For Safety

    Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 9.32.57 PMFrom NPR:

    A grassroots project in Los Angeles – a city, of course, dominated by cars – is helping those who commute by bicycle but don’t like being out there alone in traffic – called LA Bike Trains. It’s built on the idea of strength in numbers.

    Read more.

    10th Annual Aeolian Ride

    10 years ago, 52 people showed up on bikes and Jessica Findley put inflatable costumes on them and they rode from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Check out www.aeolian-ride.info

    Cop Does Their Job!


    Wow…this happened. A typical angry, tailgating driver gets pulled over BEFORE they hit a cyclist…and gets ticketed! The cop is even heard to say, “Just letting you know I care.” Well, man, can we get this guy to travel the country advising other cops on how to take preventative measures and protect the most vulnerable of travelers?

    The Bike Design Project – Voting Now Open

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    Voting begins today for The Bike Design Project, a design competition which partners five design firms with American bike builders to create the “Ultimate Urban Utility Bike.” The competition includes teams from Chicago, New York, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle. The winning design will be announced on August 4th and the winning design will be manufactured by Fuji Bikes in 2015.

    Check out oregonmanifest.com/vote

    Montague Folding Bike Giveaway

    montague_folding_bike_giveaway_competition

    Montague is giving away a Crosstown—a 7-speed, 700c folding road bike. You just have to answer two questions: If you receive a Montague Crosstown, what would you use it for? How would you utilize the bike’s folding feature? Click here to enter.

    Modify Watches Cycling Designs

    15009da8290aca5bb811a9977dfeeb0c Modify Watches is a couple year old company making relatively affordable customizable watches that allow you to choose the face design and band color, even allowing you to create your own completely custom face artwork if you’re so inclined. A number of bike brands large and small have gone ahead and created their own designs as shown, but you’re only going to the cycling collection watches in person at shops like One on One in Minnepolis, West End Bikes in Portland and Fast Folks Cyclery in Austin to name a few.

    L&L Society Tahoe Ride


    I was asked to fundraise for and ride at this year’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Tahoe ride, but had to decline for various reasons. Riding for and with the L & L Society was a great experience and I plan to do it again, but this video of the Tahoe ride convinces me that I’m going to focus on this event next time. I hear this is the best, and most challenging, ride to participate in and now I believe it. Also, the ride experience is one thing, but the satisfaction of, and people you meet through, fundraising is genuinely the most rewarding part of it all.

    City Reports