What is it about the bicycle that’s so timeless? For more than a century the basic layout of this simple machine has remained intact. Sure, the details have evolved over time, and someday folks will be riding nuclear-powered jet cycles that are piloted through artificial intelligence, but hopefully that’s a long way off . I know what keeps me coming back to cycling is the simple pleasure of traveling under my own power, feeling the wind across my cheeks and exploring what’s beyond the next hill. In this issue we strive to capture the classic delight of travel on two wheels.
We start with a simple product: a water bottle cage. There are dozens (hundreds?) of designs out there, and not much separates them all, except for one: For decades Ron Andrews of King Cage has been hand-making steel and titanium bottle cages in Colorado. There’s no wiz-bang features or high-tech gimmickry—they just work. We visit him in his workshop and learn how he does it.
In Colombia, they’ve been making bicycles for decades as well. Rigid trade restrictions with the outside world le Colombian cyclists to fend for themselves, which they did by creating a bike industry all their own. But now those restrictions have loosened, and the wave of globalization is flooding the market with cheap competitors. Read how the Colombian bike industry is adapting to the changes.
Evolving just as quickly is the modern mountain bike, a concept that has rocketed from balloon tire klunkers to carbon fiber superbikes in a single generation. While the new bikes are certainly fun, there’s something about the bikes from the early 1980s that captures the wild, wooly and wonderful essence of the sport’s early days. At the Keyesville Classic stage race there’s no suspension, no disc brakes and no bad attitudes as riders reconnect with their roots.
As you’ll see in these pages, a bicycle doesn’t need to be cutting edge to be a hell of a lot of fun. Whether you’re taking a trip down memory lane or cycling into the past for the first time, this issue of Bicycle Times has you covered.
– Adam Newman, Editor-in-Chief
P.S. That jet cycle does sound kind of cool though…
Also in this issue
Bike and Mic: Two Portland transportation wonks chat about bikes and a whole lot more in their weekly podcast. By Adam Newman.
Confessions of a Vintage Bike Tinkerer: From forgotten relics to revived transportation—the joy of finding, restoring and re-homing vintage bikes serves as a welcome respite from academia. By Katherine Fuller.
It’s Not You, It’s Me: How to choose a saddle that’s right for you. Hint: It can’t be done by looks alone. By Aixe Djelal.