Urban Velo

    Epecuen – Danny MacAskill

    epecuenRed Bull threw up the new Danny MacAskill film, Epecuen, on their site yesterday. Set in a village in Argentina that has been submerged underwater for the past 25 years, MacAskill turns this wasteland into a playground. Equal parts beautiful and devastating, the setting is outshined only by MacAskill’s expected jaw-dropping feats of balance and ingenuity on the bike. Keep ‘em coming Danny.

    I Love Riding in the City – Matthew Pierce

    pierceNAME: Matthew Pearce
    LOCATION: Forbes NSW Australia
    OCCUPATION: College Science Coordinator

    Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
    I live smack bang in the centre of NSW, Australia in a town called Forbes. It is fantastic riding here as we have perfectly undulating rises and falls in the landscape. You can ride around Lake Forbes or take a leisurely ride throughout the town enjoying the safe wide roads.

    What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
    Melbourne is by far the best place to ride. It is becoming a popular place for cycle commuters. There are plenty of bike stores, cafés, restaurants, and secret back alleys.

    Why do you love riding in the city?
    I love to beat my mates to work. I enjoy the feeling of human power beating motors! I love having a beer after I ride home from work and knowing I didn’t pay for fuel and I had a workout!

    Rest in Peace, Fast Boy

    It’s with great sadness that we report that Ezra Caldwell has passed away. Known to many for his prodigious photography, to some as a skilled woodworker, to others as a creative bicycle framebuilder, and to many as a friend and an inspiration, Ezra battled cancer like few ever will, in full view of the public and with neither an apology nor a request for sympathy.

    We at Urban Velo are forever grateful for Ezra’s contributions, for his friendship and for the encouragement he gave us. To his wife, Hillary, as well as his friends and family we extend our most heartfelt condolences.

    Rest in peace, Fast Boy. Rest in peace.

    Aftermass On Tour

    Filmmaker, Joe Biel, is taking Aftermass on tour. Currently on the East Coast, you can find a list of showings here.

    What does it mean that Portland, one of the best North American cities for cycling, has virtually no Critical Mass? Was it no longer relevant, did its activity not appeal to a cycling “mainstream,” or was a police crackdown just so successful? What are the new goals of cyclists? What activities had been so politically successful for building Portland’s bicycle infrastructure and culture? What is the new activism? How are objectives reached? And perhaps most importantly, had Critical Mass compounded with other activism and advocacy to create North America’s premiere bicycling mecca?

    Lezyne Phone Wallet

    Lezyne Phone WalletThe Zezyne Phone Wallet is a nice accessory for the minimalist cyclist on the go. You can pack your phone, a couple credit cards, your ID, and some cash into the designated compartments, then stash the whole thing in your jersey pocket or in your bag.

    The touchscreen friendly window inside lets you operate your mobile device, and the pocket is large enough to make the iPhone seem puny. While it is nice (and perhaps even necessary) to be able to accommodate large devices and even ones inside protective cases, the end result is a rather large wallet (145 x 100 x 25 mm). It’s too big to comfortably hold in your front pocket, which is where I normally carry my phone.

    While the wallet is water resistant, it is nowhere near waterproof. If exposed to a serious downpour it could let a considerable amount of water into the phone compartment at the point where the zipper comes to a close. On the bright side, the overall construction is top notch, and the materials seem durable enough that the wallet might outlive the phone it’s designed to carry.

    The Lezyne Phone Wallet retails for $20 and comes in grey or black. Check out www.lezyne.com

    The Zephyr Track & Cornfed

    The dudes from Cornfed, Jacob Shope and Scott Harris, run The Zephyr through the streets of Indy.

    The Zephyr Track and Cornfed from The Heavy Pedal on Vimeo.

    Previous Urban Velo write-ups on The Zephyr can be found here and here.

    Aero Tech Designs Men’s Urban Pedal Pushers Commuter Dress Shirt

    Aero Tech Designs Men's Urban Pedal Pushers Commuter Dress ShirtThe Urban Pedal Pushers Commuter Dress Shirt from Aero Tech Designs is, among other things, quite a mouthful. So from here on, I’ll refer to it as the Commuter Dress Shirt. But first allow me to introduce Aero Tech Designs, or ATD if you will. Not a new company by any stretch of the imagination, they manufactured the Olympic uniforms for the 1982 American cycling team. And they’re exceedingly proud to be able to put “made in USA” on their products.

    The Commuter Dress Shirt is wrinkle free, and touted as being “ideal for travel” so I took them to task and brought my two samples to Japan for a two-week cross country trip. While “wrinkle free” might be a bit of a misnomer, they looked good enough for me to eat at one of the finest restaurants in Tokyo, yet they were technical enough for me to stay comfortable while walking eight hours in Kyoto with a raincoat on top. And I think the Commuter Dress Shirt actually contributed to my bowling abilities, or at least I can’t blame it for missing that 7-10 split in Nagoya.

    DSC_1294The cut is pretty relaxed, which I appreciate. Some of the casual/commuter clothing I’ve tried on as of late seems to be made for people with pipe cleaners for arms. I’m not Popeye, but I need room to move and the Commuter Dress Shirt provides it. Normally I prefer my cycling shirts to be as simple as possible—I seldom if ever use the rear pockets—but I did find myself grateful for the zippered chest pockets. I especially like zippered pockets when I travel, not so much for fear of pickpockets, but for the peace of mind that I won’t be losing anything valuable.

    The fabric is very lightweight, and slightly stretchable, which lends an additional level of comfort. It’s made of 88% spun nylon and 12% recycled polyester. Unlike traditional cotton shirts, when you roll up the sleeves on the Commuter Dress Shirt, you aren’t left feeling like you’ve got a bulky mass at the elbow. The lightweight fabric also bodes well for wearing the Commuter Dress Shirt on hot and sunny days when UV protection is important. ATD claims the fabric has a ultraviolet sun protection factor of 50 plus, which should please my friends in Arizona. And for my friends back in soggy Pennsylvania, the fabric has a water-resistant coating that makes those surprise thunderstorms a little less bothersome.

    About the only complaint I can level at ATD is that I lost a button. One. And really, they provided extras, so I guess I’ll keep my mouth shut. The Commuter Dress Shirt retails for $50. Check out www.aerotechdesigns.com

    Tallin Bicycle Week 2014

    Posted on by in Events with 0 Comments

    Tallinn Bicycle Week and Tour d’ÖÖ group rides are activities brought to life by a circle of bicycle aficionados in order to bring different bike lovers together,
    grow “the pack” of cyclists on the streets of Tallinn and other Estonian cities and to cele­brate the bicycle as one of the greatest thought and action inspiring mechanisms ever invented. This is the fourth year, still completely independently run and financed at a grassroots level.

    Snapguide Spring Bike Hack Contest

    560x300 Snapguide is a member generated DIY how-to site, and they are sponsoring a Bike Hack contest through June 4th. None of the entries so far are mindblowing in my opinion, though I never tire of seeing retro-direct drivetrains, perhaps you have something on your bike that can carry the contest. Write up your best home hack and enter to win a bunch of stuff from Portland Design Works and Walnut Studiolo at www.snapguide.com.

    Molly Rides Her Bike

    Posted on by in Video with 1 Comment

    Molly is great. I say this because I know her, and this video captures her personality perfectly. A well produced little bit about the joys and obstacles to bicycle commuting.

    Molly Rides Her Bike from Tim Taylor, Director on Vimeo.

    Biking Through!

    golf bikesI don’t trust a sport sedentary people can play. As an admitted golfer since the age of 9, golf is one of them. This issue is in no way helped by the general mode of getting from tee box to ball to green, by way of a golf cart. Sure, you could walk and carry your bags, but most golfers choose the luxury (and fun) of blasting around the course in a souped up bumper car for adults. Well, if you want a little bit of that mobility fun, coupled with a touch of exercise, you can have the best of both worlds in Scottsdale, Arizona where one course has outfitted it’s fleet with golf bikes. Each bike has a rack for bags that hold 14 clubs and wider tires to prevent course damage.

    I love this idea, and wouldn’t be surprised if some users came to their senses and ditched the greens for the trails and took up mountain biking instead. I kid, I kid.

    Via Golf Digest

    MyMiniFactory 3D Printable Bike Accesories

    Posted on by in Product News

    3D printing is all the rage amongst the serious home tinkering nerd, with a number of websites providing plans to download and print your own products. MyMiniFactory is one such site, and has a number of printable bicycle accessories to download, modify, hack and make your own. Nothing is groundbreaking, home 3D printing and design is still in its infancy with significant polymer and printing limitations, but the ability to make an affordable one-off holder just for your bottle or flashlight is a pretty awesome eventuality.

    Do you have your own 3D printed hack for a bicycle problem? Email us, we’d love to see it.

    Bikes and Balls

    atlanticSorry…couldn’t resist. This article, from the Atlantic Online, is a response piece about femininity and cycling, where the author asked for submissions regarding cycling and masculinity, how they intersect and attitudes towards male cyclists. The responses are quite interesting and pretty amusing as well. A select few are pasted below. Read them all in the link above.

    ‘Are you aware that it’s common to try to insult men cycling in spandex by calling them gay?’ –
    — DaveS, @darsal, on Twitter

    ‘One thing: When I ride a bike, I feel like I need to catch the person in front of me. Competition is in the background. Always. Not crazy competitive. But a sort of …. goal!’
    — Clarence Eckerson, Streetfilms

    As for Lycra… no comment.’
    — Noel Hidalgo, Brooklyn, New York

    ‘For me, cycling=self-sufficiency, which is about as traditionally “masculine” a concept as there is in this country.’
    — Sam Berkowitz, @SKBerko, on Twitter

    I Love Riding in the City – Justin Lalande

    JustinName: Justin Lalande
    Location: Sudbury Ontario Canada
    Occupation: Engineering Student

    Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
    I live in Sudbury (about 400 km north of Toronto). It’s very cold in the winter and pretty warm in the summer so my riding style and set-up has to change drastically by season.

    Motorists pay little attention to cyclists because everyone around here drives huge trucks, there is little to no cycling infrastructure so I have to adapt.

    What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
    My favorite city to ride in was Sherbrooke Québec. the city has bike paths running through and out of it, you can ride for hours on the same path. There are a lot of people biking there and a lot of shops and group rides.

    Why do you love riding in the city?
    It avoids having one more car on the road, keeps me in shape, and is really fun.

    Corey’s Stories — The Cheesesteak

    I was born in a hospital a short distance from the original Tastykake bakery in Philadelphia. The varieties of yummy cakes, pies and other baked dessert treats is inferior to none. The other great culinary treat for which my hometown is better known, regionally and abroad, is the cheesesteak.

    Fast forward beyond many gluttonous years, I currently reside in New York. New York is home to many great sports teams and the Mets. New York while geographically close to Philly, is unable, like many others, to accurately duplicate the greasy meat sandwich loved by so many.

    corey_cheesesteak-1I, being hungrily homesick for regional cuisine recently, decided to ride a double century in a quest to eat a genuine cheesesteak. If the word “Philadelphia” is on the menu in front of cheesesteak, it will probably fall short of my discerning standards.

    The ride to the land of cheesesteaks and Tastykakes is approximately 100 miles between NYC and Philly. I wanted to do the ride down, eat with a few friends and ride back in one day. A friend in New York asked if I would take the bus or train back after eating my sandwich. I gave him a stern look, “no,” because that would involve a whole lot of boring.

    I began my quest at the reasonable hour of 7 am. The ride entailed cruising along office parks, refineries and strip malls situated among newly blooming trees. The scent of spring was a delight after leaving the concrete jungle of NYC. The sight of man made sprawl, not so much. Being near race season, the ride also consisted of settling into churning the big ring.

    I arrived midday, perfect for lunch. There are several really good places to get a cheesesteak in Philly. You’ll have to go yourself to find them. But as it was Philly, the standard is higher at every local eatery than one can find anywhere else. I got my sandwich with bacon because everything really is better with bacon. I took my sandwich, fries and drink to the park near Independence mall, home of the Liberty Bell and the US Constitution. It was a beautiful sunny day. I sat in the shade of a large tree.

    While eating I noticed I was covered in salt after several hours of riding. I felt slightly nervous about the return trip as bonking in New Jersey wasn’t a part of my plan. Riding slowly was not an option either because I did not bring lights and needed to be home before sundown.

    I finished my meal and began the second of the day’s centuries as the bells bonged 2 o’clock near Independence Hall. It was odd rolling back through neighborhoods and landmarks I longed to see so soon after arriving.

    There were a few times during the trip where motorists drifted close to me. The worst was outside of Philly where a man driving a clunker narrowly missed hitting me. A few hundred yards up the road he sloppily tried to make a right turn. His speed and steering weren’t aligned for the task. He drove into someone’s fence. He corrected himself after I passed. He drove away along the side road. I was too surprised by the chain of events to think of getting his license plate number. I hope the next time I see motor vehicle chaos I can think faster, but then I don’t want to have a “next time” close call.

    As I continued to ride the wind became an issue. The gentle spring breeze on the way down became a cross headwind during the return. The giant glob of greasy meat in my stomach didn’t make the task easier. Pushing up inclines, the sensation of vomiting told me to back off the pace a bit. The sun began to drop from its earlier zenith.

    I made it home safely by 8 pm. When I finally stopped, I burped. The queasy feeling had passed because I metabolized all of the calories from lunch. The only thing left to do was shower. Sleep followed immediately afterward. I had to wake up for work as a bike messenger the next day.

    Ilumenox Slash USB

    Ilumenox Slash USBPretty much every urban cyclist needs bike lights, but almost every urban cyclist’s needs are a little different. Some need extreme brightness, others need long battery life. And different bikes require different mounting options. This keeps the light manufacturers busy, and arguably, happy. Take for example, our friends at Ilumenox. The Taiwanese light manufacturer already has an array of lights, not to mention it’s offerings under the brand names S-Sun and Skully.

    Ilumenox Slash USBThe Slash USB is a decidedly modern looking light, with five SMD LED bulbs, numerous beveled edges and a narrow profile that makes it look like it belongs on a fast bike. And that’s no accident, as the Slash USB is designed to fit aero seatposts, carbon fork blades and any number of shapes. But it’s equally at home on a round seatpost, mountain bike handlebars or even strapped to a bike rack. With three different sized elastomers and an optional rubber mounting pad provided, the mounting system is extremely versatile.

    DSC_1282The Slash USB is reasonably bright with good runtimes (up to 12 hours for the white light, 9.5 max for the red light). As a headlight, it’s more for being seen than for seeing, though it will get you home if the streetlights go out. As a taillight it’s excellent, providing more than 180° of visibility. Unfortunately, the headlight is also visible from more than 180°, which means it might cast light back towards the rider depending on how it’s mounted.

    DSC_1278Of course the Slash USB is rechargeable. I’m a fan of this particular design, which incorporates the male USB input jack into the light unit, eliminating the need for a cable.

    DSC_1289Both the red and white lights are available in five different body colors and retail for $35.29. Check out www.ilumenox.com

    529 Garage – Bike Registry

    02_529_garage_stickersCyclist software generator, 529 Garage, have just released a web and mobile bike registration and recovery service. In addition to the system of registration developed with law enforcement, they also offer a number of other services to keep your bike secure…or easier to track and find should you find yourself on the wrong end of the bolt cutters. For $10 you can register one bike ($25 for 4) which gets you a tamper proof sticker and connected to the database of users who you can call on for help. The app contains an alert button to notify all users of the system for help in tracking down your bike and allows you to print “stolen bike” posters to hang around town, among other amenities.

    Whether you see a personal need for the registration system, they are also asking for the bike community to sign their petition to Craigslist and eBay requiring sellers to provide a serial number for all bikes sold. No serial number, no sale, thereby preventing stolen bikes from being sold online, which is one of the main avenues for moving jacked rides.

    Developed in conjunction with several law enforcement agencies, the 529 Garage allows you to easily and securely register your bike in just minutes, complete with images and all the necessary details law enforcement requires to expedite the recovery process. Beyond this detailed registration, the 529 Garage includes the ability to broadcast a “Missing Bike Bulletin” to all members in the area should a member’s bike get stolen. The Missing Bike Bulletin will include images and details to help the community and law enforcement quickly identify and recover the stolen bike. Additionally, a detailed report is generated that can be passed onto a victim’s insurance company to help expedite a claim report.

    Wraith Fabrication The Hustle Road Frameset


    Wraith Fabrication is a new brand of production frames by Adam Eldridge of Stanridge Speed out of Columbus, OH. For a relative bargain price of $1100 one can pre-order the pictured USA made Hustle road bike or the Paycheck cyclocross frame, each built with full Columbus tubesets and S-bend stays. Both bikes include the newly released Columbus FEL 1.5″ tapered forks and a durable powdercoat finish. Stock sizing keeps costs in control, and let’s face it, we don’t all need custom geometry for a bike to fit like a glove. The pricing puts this bike in line with many overseas bikes, and well below what most small builders are going to charge, making it a real looker. With some smart component picks you could build up a killer bike with the coveted made in the USA steel soul in the $2500 range. See more at www.wraithfabrication.com

    Strava-Sourced Data

    stravaAnd you thought Strava was just arrogant bragging rights for those too scared to enter a real race. According to this article published on The Telegraph, Strava is now selling huge chunks of it’s route data to companies looking to make cycling safer. The data will likely be used to implement bicycle amenities along heavily trafficked routes. I remember attending planning meetings in early 2000 where large maps were tacked to the wall and cyclists were given highlighters to mark routes they rode and where they thought bicycle lanes were needed. This is the same concept, but much more extensive and infinitely more reality-based.

    I’ll admit, I’ve been a defiant mocker of Strava, for no good reason except to rile up my friends, but I can fully get behind this. It should be noted that Strava plans to sell chunks of data that have been completely stripped of their personal information, in hopes to alleviate privacy concerns.

    “Millions of GPS-tracked activities are uploaded to Strava every week from around the globe. In denser metro areas, nearly one-half of these are commutes. These activities create billions of data points that, when aggregated, enable deep analysis and understanding of real-world cycling and pedestrian route preferences,” claims the Strava website.

    WOHO Flying Fender

    WOHO Flying FenderWhen I was a kid, the very essence of cool was simplicity. My friends and I wanted our bikes stripped down—no reflectors, no kickstands, no safety pads. Fenders? Forget about it!

    A certain part of me still hangs on to that childhood ideal. While I’m certainly older and wiser, and admit that fenders serve a very useful purpose, I generally prefer not to have them on my bike. Enter the removable fender. There have been several on the market for many years, but in recent years a few companies have introduced easily removable, foldable models. Of those, WOHO’s Flying Fender is among the best. It’s also the only model (to my knowledge) that claims to be made from non-toxic, biodegradable material, presumably a treated polyethylene.

    DSC_1266Like most fenders of this sort, it’s shipped flat, cut, scored and perforated. You pop it out of the excess plastic, fold it according to the directions and use the hook and loop fastener strap to mount the fender. The Flying Fender is not only made for the rear wheel, it can be mounted to the downtube (hence the inclusion of a second strap).

    Speaking of the straps, one side is coated with a non-slip material, This seems to be the key in keeping the Flying Fender from flying off to the side while you ride. I’m not saying it can’t be moved, but it stays in place remarkably well. When the fender is not in use, it can be simply rolled up and stowed away, or curled around any convenient tube on your bike.

    WOHO Flying FenderThe Flying Fender comes in two sizes, M for road (70 x 10.5 cm, 45 g) and L for mountain (70 x 14.5 cm, 50 g). Both models come with two straps, and either size retails for $6. And they come in at least 10 different colors. Check out www.wohobike.com

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