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..

    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

    Growler Cage

    Growler CageIn a word, “Wow!”

    It’s a bottle cage for a growler.


    Savannah GA Spring Alleycat

    Posted on by in Events with 0 Comments

    EvTpULD Springtime is alleycat season, with this one coming up on March 16th in Savannah GA. $5, rain or shine.

    Friday Follow – Jered Gruber

    Starting, well…now…we are going to be highlighting Instagram users we think are worth following each Friday.


    First on the docket is professional photographer, Jered Gruber, who somehow manages to get himself positioned on top of various mountains, offering stunning views of switchbacks and epic road riding perspectives. Gruber is a big name in the pro-cycling photography world, but his IG photos of solitary riders tackling a series of switchbacks or mountain roads, simply for the experience of doing so, are most striking to me.


    Instagram – Jeredgruber

    Natooke Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

    natookeCongratulations to Ines Brunn and her Beijing-based bike shop Natooke on their fifth anniversary. They’ll also celebrate in Chengdu, where she opened her second shop in October 2012.

    Click here to read more about Ines Brunn, or visit www.natooke.com

    Fietsklik Bike Accessories


    Fietsklik began simply enough when a group of school friends dropped a case of beer from the back of a bike. The Amsterdam based Fietsklik team is familiar with bikes as daily transport, and felt they could design a better modular system for getting beer and other daily needs home safely.

    A few weeks back Julius and Jonathan stopped through town and I had the chance to see the Fietsklik items up close, albeit in the midst of a serious cold snap. At its most basic Fietsklik is a plastic base that fits on most standardized rear racks that then allows various side bags to snap into the sides, and a large cargo box to fit on top. Each accessory securely snaps into place and can be locked down with a barrel style key to prevent the whole bag or box from going missing. Even without the keyed lock, the bags and box are securely fastened in place, requiring depressing a hidden release and preventing them from falling off on their own. The box is sized perfectly for a case of 24 bottles, and features a handle and wheels for use in the grocery store. If you don’t have anything at all to carry, the box collapses flat. A child carrier is in the works, but the next round of safety testing is expensive.

    It’s a pretty slick system, and not priced outrageously like some other system solutions can be. I especially can see the removable, wheeled cargo box being very useful for some shoppers. My main concern for the entire system is the same as with most anything based on plastic construction — long term durability. It would be a shame to break off one of the engagement points trying to click it all in place while you aren’t paying attention. I have no experience, simply conjecture. The risk you take in the name of items that securely click and lock together as a system it seems.

    Fietsklik just launched their Kickstarter to help get the child carrier off the ground, and to otherwise get their system into the hands of the US market. $99 gets you the Klik rack adapter and a single bag or cargo box, with various other tiers for other bag and box combinations. The child carrier starts at the $215 level, and is the ultimate goal of this round of funding.

    Fietsklik is designed and manufactured in Holland and worth a look if a modular cargo and bag solution meets your needs, and especially if a child seat is in your future. Overall I truly liked what I saw. See more details and check out a video at the Fietsklik Kickstarter.

    Shamrock Cycles Pre-NAHBS Show

    IMG_4437Shamrock Cycles just hosted another preview of the seven bikes they’ll be bringing to Charlotte for this year’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show on the 15th. Drool worthy as ever, the selection features some cross beasts, sleek road machines, and a belt-driven beauty, among others. Fabricator, Tim O’Donnell, snuck in one last custom build that showcases the Alfine 11 electronic internal hub and other pretty rad details you can see for yourself in Charlotte. Look for these bikes at booths 807, 809 and 811.

    LA Marathon Crash Race Officially Cancelled

    The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race to be held in the early morning hours this Sunday just prior to the official marathon has been cancelled over threats of legal action from the city.

    Organizer Don Ward canceled this year’s Marathon Crash Race, scheduled for Sunday morning, after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the city of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Street Services. The letter threatened fines and up to a year in county jail if the event was held without proper permits. Ward said he requested an expedited permit and was denied.

    The Marathon Crash Race isn’t strictly legal. But in past years, Wolfpack Hustle has worked to build support inside City Hall and with the Los Angeles Police Department. For the past three years, squad cars have cruised alongside cyclists, lights flashing, to separate bicycle and car traffic. Ward had also arranged for event insurance to cover up to $10,000 of medical expenses for uninsured cyclists. They have never been required to obtain a permit, Ward said.

    The Marathon Crash Race is widely considered the largest unsanctioned bike race in the country, and draws cyclists from as far away as China and the United Arab Emirates. Last year, an estimated 2,000 people participated.

    Read the original article at www.latimes.com

    Permits and police are expensive, officially at least the race is cancelled. Good or bad, I’d be willing to bet that there will be a number of people out there still vying for the title even more renegade style than in the past.

    Read about the Wolfpack Hustler Marathon Crash Race in Urban Velo #31.

    Polar Bottle ThermaLuxe

    Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 10.38.14 PMThe Polar Bottle ThermaLuxe is a vacuum insulated stainless steel bottle. Made from food-grade 18/8 stainless steel, it’s intended for both hot and cold beverages. Polar Bottle claims it will keep a hot beverage warm for 5 hours, and a cold one cool for 24. In my experience they’re not far off the mark, and it definitely keeps hot tea steaming hot for hours if you keep the lid closed.

    Speaking of the lid, it still utilizes the same Half Twist cap that I wrote about in 2012. After further use, I still stand by my past criticisms, but I’ve simply become accustomed to it and now I don’t mind so much.

    The ThermaLuxe retails for $40, but at the moment Polar Bottle has it on sale for $20. Check out www.polarbottle.com

    Adidas X Bombtrack Street Crew Bicycle


    If you haven’t noticed, urban bike culture has gone mainstream. This year 32 flagship Adidas stores throughout Europe and Asia will feature the pictured Bombtrack bike done up to match the new Adidas Street Crew line. First it was the Wu-Tang bike and helmet, now we’re just a decal away from Run-D.M.C.

    Viral Video Creator, Casey Neistat, on Rich Roll Podcast

    Ultra Athlete, Rich Roll, interviewed filmmaker, Casey Neistat, for his latest podcast of inspiring individuals. Most cyclists are plenty familiar with Neistat due to his clever and humorous bike-centric videos, which have documented the NYC Bikeshare program, the problems related to bike lane blockages, and more. The podcast focuses more on Neistat’s philosophies related to taking risks and artistic creation than it does bike content, but it’s certainly worth the listen.

    I Love Riding in the City – Fourfivesix


    NAME: Jared “fourfivesix” Schwartz
    LOCATION: Boston 
    OCCUPATION: Bike Messenger

    Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
    Boston, and riding there, well, its like riding a bike in Boston.  Its like nothing else.  Being able to navigate that city like I can is like being part of a secret society.  And its a rush like no other.  Its dangerous, and I love it.  I leave my house every morning, not knowing if I’m gonna make it home alive.  But when I get home, I feel like a fucking warrior.  And thats exactly what I am, a Boston Bike Messenger, a warrior.

    What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
    Philadelphia, without a doubt.  I can’t say enough about how great that city is.  And its not just the riding either, the food, the drinks, and most of all, the people.  Riding around there feels like home everytime.  The second you roll into that city on a bike, you’re bound to make countless friends, far cooler than the ones you have wherever you came from.

    Why do you love riding in the city?
    Because its who I am, and its the only way to move.  I fly through traffic like a phoenix out of the ashes.  I zip past people locked in their cars and I feel nothing but pride in myself, in the way I ride, and the way I live.  Its one thing to ride a bike, but to navigate, to conquer an urban debacle like Boston makes me feel like I can do anything.  I rely on nothing but myself and my steel steed.  The apocalypse will have nothing on me.

    Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?
    I ride so damn fast
    No one knows how I do it
    This city is mine

    All-City Frostbike Snow Ball

    Posted on by in Social, Video with 0 Comments

    Wolfpack Hustle Unified Title

    Wolfpack Hustle: The Unified Title Series 2014 from Wolfpack Hustle on Vimeo.

    The kids at Wolfpack Hustle just released this Unified Title promo video, kicking off the 2014 series with the upcoming Marathon Crash race going down on the 9th of March. If it’s too late for you to jump into the crash race, get in on all the future action and still compete for the Unified Title.

    Get all the necessary info at Wolfpack Hustle.

    Zoic Highland Fleece Jersey

    ZOIC Highland Fleece JerseyZoic’s Highland Fleece Jersey is a rather interesting take on the winter cycling top. The 100% polyester long sleeved shirt is way thinner than what I typically consider a fleece top, and it has a texture that’s somewhat similar to old-school thermal underwear. But it’s way softer, with a definite “technical fabric” feel.

    It’s surprisingly warm when combined with a windproof shell, and it breathes and wicks moisture just as well as you would hope. For added ventilation you have a 6″ zipper, and if this is going to be your outermost layer, you can take advantage of the rear zippered pocket as well as the left sleeve pocket.

    Available in four colors and sizes S-XL, the Highland Fleece Jersey retails for $65. Check out www.zoic.com

    Lezyne Steel Digital Drive Floor Pump

    Lezyne  Steel Digital Drive FLoor PumpA good floor pump is an essential equipment for any cyclist. Lezyne offers an array of pumps and they chose to send in their Steel Digital Drive for review. It’s a solid pump in the middle of their Digital range, of course named for the use of a digital pressure gauge.

    The 26″ tall pump features a steel barrel and piston, a wooden handle, an aluminum base and a nylon-reinforced braided hose. It’s a classic looking design with a few modern touches.

    Lezyne Steel Digital Drive Floor PumpAs you would expect from a full-size floor pump, it takes care of business in a flash, easily achieving 100 psi. Lezyne claims it’s rated to 160 (11 bar). They also claim that the digital gauge is accurate to within 3%. My ordinary analog gauge seems to confirm that it’s in the ballpark, noting that every time you check air pressure you invariably lose some.

    Lezyne Steel Digital Drive Floor PumpThe digital gauge is relatively simple with no backlighting, just a simple pressure reading in either PSI or bar. It uses a standard CR2O32 battery that’s easily accessed from the face of the unit. The lack of backlighting makes it a bit difficult to read in my shadowy basement, but said feature would probably drain the battery pretty quickly. As it is, Lezyne claims the battery should last at least one year. I always wish more floor pump designs would bring the gauge closer to the handle, but alas I’m sure if it were easy then more companies would do it.

    Lezyne Steel Digital Drive Floor PumpThe Steel Digital Drive is available with one of two pump head configurations—dual valve or ABS Flip-Thread Chuck. We received the latter of the two, which is probably the more interesting of the two designs. The chuck is reversible for Presta or Schraeder, and it threads on to the valve. At first I found this a bit inconvenient, but I came to appreciate it. If that’s just not your cup of tea, they do include a L-shaped slip chuck adapter which also makes the pump usable on disc wheels.

    Lezyne Steel Digital Drive Floor PumpThe chuck also features an air bleed system. When used in Presta mode, the small button releases pressure from the hose, making it easier to remove the chuck. For Schraeder valves, the button releases pressure from the tire.

    The Steel Digital Drive retails for $90. Check out www.lezyne.com

    Welcome Back Scott Spitz

    IMG_3693 We’re happy to welcome Scott Spitz back into the fold after having to step back for a few months due to life and health. It’s great to have him back on the daily blogroll.

    Scott: For those who noticed my absence from contributing blog content, this was due to the stresses of managing the cancer diagnosis I was given approximately one year ago. Although my cancer diagnosis remains, I have now reached a point of emotional and physical stability, allowing me to get back to doing the things I greatly enjoy, such as blogging here! Amidst my fluctuating struggles, I did manage to keep the wheels spinning, whether that was in the basement on my trainer or taking periodic commutes around town. I’m desperately looking forward to the end of this winter, as I’m sure you are too, so I can get back to much longer rides and put some more wear and tear on my gear. in the meantime, I look forward to, again, seeking out all the goods related to urban riding and sharing them with you. Forever tailwinds.

    Torch Helmets Shipped

    17e5927a4fa9c181a0257dc852c960de_largeKickstarter funded, Torch Apparel, have shipped out the first batch of LED lit T1 helmets after a long period of product testing, production delays and other unexpected tangles of red tape. As they explain in this recent blog post, the initial shipment is smaller than hoped for and a further delay from the factory will have the next shipment going out in late March…but at least they are on the way!

    The T1 helmets are set apart from most other models by their rear and front facing LED lighting capabilities, which can be activated independently by the user. They also house 8 vents, a dual-adjust fit system and can be recharged via USB.

    I have contributed to only a couple Kickstarters and although I didn’t purchase a T1 helmet, I did throw in for the corresponding LED lit FLUX backpack, which I have word from Torch will be available sometime this Spring.

    Smut Pedalers Run

    Smut Pedalers RunOn March 29th, Sin City Portage will present their first alleycat, the Smut Pedalers Run. From organizer, Matt Reyes:

    Its a uniquely Vegas style alley cat where cyclist collect Porn Smut that clutters the strip from designated pick up points. First to cross the finish line with all pieces of Smut, wins!

    Check out www.sincityportage.com

    Summer Long

    “SUMMERLONG” (STEEL ERA IMAGE MOVIE) from goooove on Vimeo.

    Appropriate for Hinamatsuri… This is a very nice video that features Above Bike Store in Kawasaki. Check out photos from our recent visit.

    City Reports