Gran Fondo organizers chip in to repair roads

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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.

Read the interview here.


Google’s self-driving car recognizes cyclists

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.


Highlights from the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route

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?

 


Join Argonaut Cycles at Aether Apparel in NYC

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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?!

Get the details here.


Oregon Manifest returns with most ambitious project yet

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The Oregon Manifest is one of the most creative bicycle competitions in the world, and this year the organizers have upped the ante with a new set of challenges and a new format.

In years past, custom bike builders produced one-off projects that had to complete a series of tasks, including a fairly daunting ride. This summer, five teams in five cities will design an urban utility bike for people who do not consider themselves “cyclists” with the winning design chosen for production by Fuji Bikes in 2015.

Read the full story


League announces new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Businesses

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Today, the League of American Bicyclists announced 80 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Businesses (BFB) in 29 states and Washington, D.C. These new awardees join a trendsetting group of almost 700 local businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies in 46 states and D.C. that are transforming the American workplace. Bicycle Friendly Businesses encourage a more bicycle-friendly atmosphere for employees and customers alike. BFBs attract and retain energized, alert and productive employees, while decreasing healthcare costs.

See the list here.


Only a few days to go to support Bike Pittsburgh’s Drive With Care campaign

Our hometown, Pittsburgh, has been making big strides in the past few years in promoting cycling and making the streets safer. At the forefront of that movement is Bike Pittsburgh, an award-winning advocacy group.

In August 2013, Bike Pittsburgh installed four billboards and 15 bus shelters with its Drive With Care campaign. Featuring real cyclists and real people, it reminded drivers that people on bikes aren’t a nascence in the road, they are nurses, students, daughters, sons and star NFL players. Yes, one billboard features Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is a football town after all.

Now Bike Pittsburgh is raising funds to expand the program to other neighborhoods, create a web campaign where riders can share their stories, and spread the word to drivers that all road users are people, not impediments.

The Indiegogo campaign is raising $50,000 to fund the following:

  • $10,000 – 15 bus shelters for two month
  • $14,000 – 45 bus cards (aka “Queens”) on the sides of buses divided between four routes, for two months
  • $16,000 – Strategically placed billboards around Pittsburgh for two months
  • $10,000 – Web development and app creation for people to take their own pictures and make Drive With Care profiles

More than just making streets safer, your donation will earn you a little something too.

Various donation levels will earn you prizes, including T-shirts, cycling caps, water bottles, a spot on one of the billboards or my favorite: Rick Sebak will record the message on your voicemail or answering machine. Pittsburghers are going to especially excited about this one.

The campaign runs through April 20, so don’t delay—donate now.

 


Raleigh celebrates 125 years

The Raleigh Cycle Company was founded by Frank Bowden in 1888, seven years before Ignaz Schwinn hung his shingle in Chicago. Bowden was a lawyer working in Hong Kong who had to return to England because of his ill health. In 1870, a doctor in Harrogate suggested he take up cycling to build up his strength, so Bowden bought a tricycle and set off to France to tour around. His health improved and he decided to try and encourage others to recognize the benefits of this new form of transport.

Bowden also saw the business potential and while visiting Nottingham he invested in a small company on Raleigh Street which was run by three men, Woodhead, Angois and Ellis, and was turning out about three bicycles a week. Bowden offered his business skills (and money) and The Raleigh Cycle Company was founded. An old lace factory on Russell Street was purchased as a new workshop, and when they outgrew that, a new factory was built on Faraday Road, increasing production to about 10,000 bicycles a year by 1900.

Read the full story


Take the pledge for #30daysofbiking

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While May is National Bike Month, there’s no reason not to get started early with April’s 30 Days of Biking. The idea is simple: Pledge to ride your bike every day in April and share your experience with the hashtag #30daysofbiking. There are also events scheduled all over the country to keep you motivated and having fun. Then visit 30daysofbiking.com to see what others are up to. Plus, for every 30 folks to take the pledge, 30DaysofBiking will donate a bike to Free Bikes 4 Kidz, a group of compassionate cyclists who refurbish used bikes and donate them to folks in need.

 


NAHBS 2014: The times they are a changin’

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By Marie Autrey 

When I stepped through the exhibit hall doorway, I knew the world had changed.

I have a recurring dream in which I’m driving the interstate or walking to the mailbox, when a meteorite rips the sky in half like a broken zipper. I feel the shock wave and watch the smoke rising from the crater where a city used to stand, and say to myself that things won’t ever be the same.

Sometimes it happens in real life. When, after a hard crash, I tried to stand and discovered that one leg didn’t reach the ground. When Mom’s doctor said that he’d done all he could. There’s no blast or ash cloud like the dream, but I know just as certainly that the past has passed and things will be different from now on.

The 2014 show was my fifth North American Handmade Bicycle Show. That’s Indy, Richmond, Austin, Sacramento, and Charlotte. (No Denver; see above, about crashing and legs.) I always get an early start, hitting the show as soon as the doors open, buttonholing the exhibitors while they set up, chatting before potential customers clog the aisles. There’s always a sense of excitement in the air. It’s like at a concert when the band is taking the stage. What’s coming may be pure rock and roll energy, or it might be a mish-mash of muffed lyrics and tangled chords. What fills the air is risk—Wallenda placing his foot onto the high wire.

If you know cycling, you know the story of NAHBS: how track bike specialist Don Walker assembled a couple of dozen of his lug-brazin’ buddies to show off their work in Houston in 2005. Apparently the idea struck a chord with cycling’s psyche, because as it roved from town to town in succeeding years, the exhibitor list doubled and doubled again, and the lines of visitors circled the block.

Well, that’s how it used to be. Attendance peaked in Sacramento in 2012, when a bright sunny weekend in a city two hours from San Francisco swelled the convention center to bursting. The momentum broke the next year in Denver, when a snowstorm sent visitors running for home. Emerging shows in Seattle, Philly, and San Francisco siphoned off exhibitors. This year’s NAHBS felt more like a trade show, with manufacturers and vendors—companies with the budget to buy a double booth and commission frames to show off their gear—outnumbering custom frame shops.

Keep reading and see the bikes.


Movers and Makers Vol. 2 – the preview

Here’s a teaser for Volume 2 of our series of Movers and Makers, created in partnership with Swobo.

Stevil is a professional blogger, something that makes him inherently opinionated and a fairly public figure. However, getting to know his softer, more thoughtful side has truly been a great experience and something we definitely felt was worth capturing and sharing with our friends. Watch for the full episode online soon and our exclusive interview in Issue #28, coming soon.


U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame accepting nominations through April 1

usbhofSince 1987, there has been an annual induction of Americans who have achieved success in racing or who have enhanced the sport of cycling through their lifelong efforts to the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame. Nominee consideration looks at achievements that have made significant and extraordinary contributions to the sport of competitive bicycle racing.

Inductees can be selected as competitors who have had success at the national and international level, or contributors who have advanced the sport through technology, coaching or promotion. Inductees can have a background in road racing, track, BMX, cyclocross or mountain biking.

There are four categories for 2014:

  • Veteran: Road and track – 1980 and prior.
  • Modern: Road and track – 1981 to 2009.
  • Off Road (including BMX, Cyclocross and Mountain Biking)
  • Contributor (any discipline)

Anyone can nominate a candidate, but must provide supporting documentation of the nominee’s accomplishments in order for the nominee to be considered for placement on the ballot. Please be as complete as possible and document major accomplishments. A list of what are considered a nominees top 10 accomplishments is a good start. Entries for the 2014 induction are due April 1. Chosen inductees will be notified and invited to attend the induction ceremony in November, in Davis, California, which will be open to the public. 

You can download a nomination form here.


New e-book answers ladies’ sensitive questions about cycling

saddle-soreAuthor and journalist Molly Hurford rides a lot—and knows countless women who ride a lot—and inevitably all that riding can lead to a little… discomfort. It’s a subject that she found nearly all of the women she knows, from beginners to pros, were reluctant to discuss at the their local bike shop or with their male peers.

So she sought out to answer those questions for female cyclists, by talking to experts in the industry, doctors, product designers and riders. The result is “Saddle, Sore”, an e-book guide for women and their bike. No matter how much you ride, it shouldn’t be uncomfortable, and Hurford’s book can help you avoid some uncomfortable conversations.

Hurford will also be following up with online articles with new topics as they arise, as well as answering readers questions and some video interviews.

You can purchase and download a copy of “Saddle, Sore” in PDF or EPUB format (compatible with most tablets) now.

 


Spotlight: Happy Hour Lightweight Watch

I don’t know about you but I feel naked if I leave the house without a watch. Since I usually ride without any sort of cycle-computer it certainly helps to keep track of how long I’ve been riding or how long I have before I have to be home for dinner! Of course, not much can beat a cold beer after a hard ride so Happy Hour Timepieces hopes you keep your eye on 5 o’clock. Its new line of watches spells out the magic hour with a stylized “5” on the face.

The one pictured here is the Lightweight, and it’s available in three colorways with a Japanese quartz movement. Each includes Happy Hour’s patented buckle that has a built-in bottle opener so nothing can keep you from your favorite beverage. The all-black model pictured here sells for $149 and you can order one from the Happy Hour website.


Dwight Eschliman’s beautiful bicycle portraits

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Dwight Eschliman is a photographer in San Francisco who felt inspired by the bicycles he saw on the street every day. He invited quite a few into his portrait studio for a collection he calls Bicycle San Francisco. He also built a wonderful interactive gallery to display his work with some details and a backstory about each bike and its owner.

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Here he explains the project in his own words:

Ever since I got that Bianchi catalog from the local bike shop in 1981 or 1982, I’ve been hooked on the bicycle. I never did get the blue-green Bianchi (decked out in Campagnolo) that I craved, but I did work all summer for a red Trek 400 (decked out in something less). That first Trek eventually collided with a car and I moved on to a series of other bicycles from there.

My studio in San Francisco’s SOMA district is situated along a major bicycle commuting corridor. This affords me the opportunity to observe—and document—our evolution into a more bike-friendly city, with many distinct cycling subcultures. One thing that has always fascinated me about the bicycles I see is the way each bicycle reveals its owner’s personality. The hundreds of bikes I see streaming past my studio every day include everything from hipster fixies to pragmatic folding bicycles to durable bike messenger customs. By extension, the way that bicycle culture reflects the larger cultural context is just plain cool.

This is a project that’s just beginning, and it’s as much an anthropological study as a photographic series. Bicycle San Francisco is a visual study of the bicycle, but also a broader look at a compelling place and time in San Francisco right now.


Tips for conquering your Icy Bike Commuting Challenge

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By Andy Carlson

Few winters have challenged the meddle of a year-round bicycle commuter quite like this one. While the Polar Vortex has likely forced many riders to reconsider, some hearty souls embrace the discomfort and tackle the Icy Bike Winter Commuting Challenge.

Created by Colorado cyclist Scot Stucky as a way to stay motivated and keep riding throughout the winter, in its second year participation has exploded with more than 400 members from all over the world taking the challenge to ride to work 52 times between October 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. Riders tally their rides online, so far rolling up more than 43,000 miles this winter.

Riding in the cold and dark, through snow and ice, isn’t easy and staying committed to bike commuting in these conditions can prove challenging, so how do the Icy Bikers maintain their motivation during the winter? 

Read some of my tips.


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