As a student of the world and a practitioner of The Manual Life it’s about making time to do things that you love and the things that need to be done, and allowing that process to take as long as it needs to, whether you’re changing a tire, making a drawing, or fixing a toilet.
As a kid, I painstakingly recreated surf, skate and punk rock band logos in pen, marker and paint. Capturing every nuance, I transcribed them onto backpacks, skate decks, t-shirts, book covers and hand-made patches.
The thought then was “I could just make that” and so I did, spending hours getting things to look right (at least in my mind). The time it took was secondary to the want of making it correct (and cool, if I’m honest).
Somewhere along the line, probably in college, I started trading accuracy for efficiency and began trying to get things done in the shortest amount of time possible. While my teachers loved me for getting things in early, it started a trend of taking the easy “A” at the cost of growth and self-discovery.
Now, I argue with myself that, because I now have kids and a job, and a dog that needs to be walked and a hundred other things that can be seen as time bandits, that I have to do things fast just to get them done, but that’s B.S.Tweet
The deadline is drawing near for Adventure Cycling Association‘s 2014 Bicycle Travel Video Contest, which celebrates the beauty and spirit of bicycle travel through videos shot around the world by amateur videographers traveling by bike. Submissions must be made through the contest’s Vimeo group by June 30, 2014.
“As of today, we’ve received about 20 submissions,” said contest coordinator Michael McCoy, “from nearly as many countries. We have entries from cycling videographers living in Slovakia, France, the Czech Republic, Canada, the Philippines, Nepal, Belgium, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Turkey, and the United States. This worldwide geographical spread is quite amazing, really.”Tweet
Tim Johnson’s Ride on Chicago (formerly Tim Johnson’s Ride on Washington) is preparing for the annual five-day bike tour benefiting PeopleForBikes. Champion cyclocross racer Tim Johnson and 24 other riders, including world-champion athletes, journalists and business executives, will pedal through the Midwest, from Kansas City to Chicago, on May 29 to June 2.
Founded in 2011, the ride has raised nearly $200,000 for the national bike nonprofit PeopleForBikes, helping to build more safe and appealing places for people to bike. The ride has also increased awareness for bike advocacy amongst the racing and enthusiast communities.Tweet
Image courtesy of VeloDirt.com
It hasn’t even begun but the inaugural Oregon Outback bikepacking “race” is quite possibly the most talked-about bikepacking event of the year. Covering 360 miles of dirt, gravel and (probably) mud, the route travels north from Klamath Falls near the California border to the Deschutes State Park along the Columbia River.Tweet
Since today is National Bike to Work Day, it only seems fitting that we share this e-book from commercial bike rack maker Upbeat. Biking to work is on the rise across the country, and beyond adding more bike racks, there are several things you can do to help your employer make riding to work more comfortable and convenient. Doing so doesn’t just help you, it helps others who may be interested in trying to ride to work and countless others who will benefit from less congested streets, less pollution and better overall health.Tweet
In Bike Month in May, communities across the United States are focusing on the benefits of bicycles- economic, health, environmental. Whether someone is bicycling to avoid urban gridlock in the U.S. or trying to reach a distant school in rural Africa, bikes provide a simple solution to some of our world’s most complex problems. In this short video World Bicycle Relief showcases the hard work of individual across the country who are showing how they, one person at a time, can make a real difference. Nine-year-old Griffin Donovan, Team WBR Indiana members and Ironman World Champion Jordan Rapp are making a world of difference through the Power of Bicycles. Learn how you can get involved here.Tweet
Cuba underwent a bicycle revolution in the 1990s during its five year ‘Special Period’. Oil was scarce as a result of tough economic constraints, and throughout those years of austerity, bicycles where introduced as an alternative mode of transport. Thousands of Cubans used bicycles on a regular basis, as pedaling became the norm on the island.
Years later, the transportation crisis subsided and motorized vehicles returned, and the country’s bicycle culture took a hit. Now, new bikes are difficult to come by and parts are not readily available, yet many Cubans still use bicycles daily and, despite the limited resources, a handful of mechanics provide a service to those who rely on their bikes in their everyday lives.
Plenty of cyclists roam the streets of Havana and the rest of Cuba. Ángel, a typical bike riding Habanero, provides a brief insight into Cuban bicycle culture and the importance of bike mechanics in the capital as we come across both riders and repairmen.Tweet
By Rich Kelly
Some of my earliest work dates back to 1986. Abstract swirls dance across the crisp white sheet of copy paper. With the literal mental capacity of a toddler, I’m sure there was little connection between the right side of my brain and my chubby little toddler fingers. My tools were manufactured by Crayola, 64 colorful sticks made of wax.
Over the next 28 years my artistic focus shifted from trucks and monsters to detail-crammed imaginary laboratories (a la Where’s Waldo) to making paintings that looked like the photographs I was referencing. I took pride in being “the kid who could draw” in school, and with my parent’s blessing and encouragement, I went to Syracuse University to study Illustration. Finally it was revealed to me how I could apply these abilities to a career: a client would contract the use of my hands and my brain to make images, which I would then exchange for currency, a perfect plan.Tweet
“Deep down inside, most folks just want the freedom of choice,” says Mayor A. C. Wharton, Jr., of Memphis, one of the most pro-bike mayors in the country. Adding to the choices is the rise of protected bike lanes in Memphis and beyond, which make riding in the city safer and more comfortable.
Promoting that choice is the Green Lane Project, created to help cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. It focuses on on protected bike lanes, which are on-street lanes separated from traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars, or posts. Protected bike lanes are part of a connected system for biking around town, which is an essential ingredient of a great place to live and work. They are a simple tool to transform city streets into places where more people feel comfortable riding a bike, making it easier to get around, save money, and live an active life.Tweet
Pump up those tires and lube the chain, National Bike to Work Week starts Monday.
Just one of several events happening during National Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclists encourages everyone who can to bike to work May 12-16, or at least on Bike to Work Day, May 16.
More than half of the U.S. population lives within five miles of their workplace, making bicycling a feasible and fun way to get to work. With increased interest in healthy, sustainable and economic transportation options, it’s not surprising that, from 2000 to 2011, the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. grew by more than 47 percent.
And if you’re in NYC, you’re invited to join the Bike Home From Work Party on Friday!
Argonaut Cycles, the one-man custom carbon fiber frame shop of Ben Farver, introduced its latest project, the disc brake Space Bike at the Rouge Roubaix. The race is 106-miles of “true grit” traversing some of the worst roads in Louisiana and Mississippi. Argonaut bikes are built by hand, one at a time, with custom geometry and layup for the ultimate in ride perfection. It was even awarded Best Layup and Best in Show at the 2014 North American Handmade Bicycle Show. This short film by Brian Vernor captures it in action.Tweet
By Henri J Boulanger
The act of creating, disassembling, or modifying something is what tells the child inside of me that there isn’t a monster under the bed. When everything in life is handed to me pre-made, guaranteed, and safe as can be, I begin to feel something akin to claustrophobia; it’s like watching somebody play Monopoly for me. I feel robbed of the opportunity to expand, simplify, or simply tinker. This poking, prodding, construction, deconstruction, and overall exploration of the resources at hand and the structures of my mind is how I breathe, how I exercise, and how I live. It’s the Manual Life.Tweet
Riding with the kids at our 2013 CycloFemme ride.
No matter what type of bike you ride, or how often or far you ride, CycloFemme is a day for all women cyclists. It is also a day for anyone who supports women on bikes to join the rides as well. The goal is to create a unified voice for women’s cycling by building a tribe of riders who recognize the need to empower one another and build a supportive community.Tweet
The Marin Museum of Bicycling recently announced it would begin construction on the Mt. Tamalpais Legacy Wall in Fairfax, California, that will be fitted with brick titles funded by museum donors. The public can purchase bricks and help fund the museum, the future home of the Igler Collection and the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.Tweet
Ride For Reading is a national non-profit dedicated to promoting literacy in low-income areas. This year from May 5-11 it will celebrate the third annual Ride For Reading week and recruiting bicycle volunteers to help sort and distribute books.Tweet
The 2013 National Bike Challenge united Americans to pedal 19 million miles and sights are set even higher for 2014. The goal of the the friendly, online competition remains the same: to get more Americans bicycling, whether it’s for fun, for work or for health. But the 2014 Challenge is looking for 50,000 riders to pedal 30 million miles.Tweet
Carlos Perez and Greg Fisher are the hands behind Levi’s King Ridge Gran Fondo, held on the roads of Sonoma County, California. Each fall since 2009, more than 7,500 cyclists transcend on Santa Rosa, California, and its roads take the toll. That hasn’t stopped their events company, Bike Monkey, and a merry band of volunteers from taking care of the roads that take care of the riders, many of whom travel from all four corners of the earth. The event’s organizers got permission from the county to hire their own contractors and repair the roads using funds raised from event entry fees, donations and corporate sponsorships. In all, $40,000 has been spent on patching 48 miles of road.
I spoke with Fisher about what prompted them to take action, and what they’ve done to mitigate road damage, because no one wants to see roads go neglected.Tweet
Google has taken its self-driving car to the streets of Mountain View, California, to help it learn to navigate complex urban environments. As this video demonstrates, one of the special considerations it makes is yielding to cyclists. The computer can recognize simple hand gestures and react accordingly. Could this kind of technology ultimately make the streets safer for all users? Sure seems that way.Tweet
From 1995 to 1997, Adventure Cycling Association mapped the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, the longest off-pavement mountain-bike route in the world spanning 2,774 miles from Canada to Mexico along the spine of the Rocky Mountains. Now, Adventure Cycling and Co-Motion Cycles, in association with Revelate Designs, present highlights from the route and gear suggestions for cyclists wishing to tackle the entire Great Divide, or a short section.
Has the Great Divide Route inspired any of your own adventures, either past or planned?
If you’re in New York this Friday you’re going to want to head over to Aether Apparel to check out the new Argonaut Disc Racer and meet its creator, Ben Farver. The Racer Disc won Best in Show at the most recent edition of NAHBS in Charlotte, and videographer Brian Vernor will be debuting his film from the Rouge Roubaix. Plus complimentary drinks, so why not?!Tweet