Group Hug: Paul Smith, Mr. Porter and Mercian

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The 2014 Tour de France begins Saturday in the United Kingdom, and to commemorate the special event, fashion designer Sir Paul Smith has developed a surprisingly understated steel bicycle made by U.K.-based Mercian Cycles, to be sold online by mens fashion outlet Mr. Porter.

The collection is called Paul Smith 531, named after the famous Reynolds lightweight bike tubing used by Tour de France champions up until the early 1980s; the number 531 refers to the ratio of manganese (5), molybdenum (3) and carbon (1) in the steel alloy.

Click through to see video of Sir Paul talking about his love for cycling and the making of the bike.

Watch it here.

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Chrome introduces forged rubber with factory tour

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Chrome Industries might be best known for its huge line of backpacks and messenger bags, but it’s really stepping up its game in footwear lately. Its latest line of shoes are built from forged rubber, which is a process whereby the rubber penetrates the canvas at 300 degrees for super durability and flexibility. They are made by hand from old machines the brand salvaged from Slovakia.

Learn how to get a pair for half price!

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Hide the Lycra: Dressing for success

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Like most cyclists from the 1980s, I’ve been a steady wearer of Lycra tops and bottoms for the road, and baggies and loose-fitting tops for the dirt. A costume for a specific gig, as it were. Now, the garment game is changing, and I welcome it for several reasons, several of which evolved on the same weekend in early April.

As fate slammed our Dirt Rag editor to the tarmac during a freak motorcycle accident in late March, so too went his ability to attend a few media launches prior to the Sea Otter Classic in early April. So, I got called up from the bullpen to attend the Specialized MTB apparel launch in nearby Santa Cruz. There I experienced two things that changed the course of my ride clothing choices: poison oak, and the heavily pocketed and smart Specialized Mountain Bib liner shorts with S.W.A.T. (storage, water, air, tools) technology.

The first was somewhat avoidable (it was uncharacteristically muddy on a hot day on a borrowed bike on a new trail for me, but I digress), but the second was fate, providing an ‘aha’ moment to help me rethink traditional clothing choices: what if the S.W.A.T. bibs could be used under non Lycra uppers and lowers, providing a bit more freedom of movement and making me look less like a mutant ‘spandex’ freak to non cyclists on the roads?
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Telling the Women’s Story

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Combine two key outdoor industry organizers, mix in the growing purchasing power of women and you get The Women’s Story, a cycling and outdoor media event, with a splash of fashion. I headed out to New Jersey to see what was new in the world of women’s outdoors gear.

Throughout the day attendees from multiple media backgrounds had the opportunity to experience and learn about different outdoor activities: yoga, hiking, biking, stand-up paddleboarding and fly fishing to name a few.

Read the full story

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Aero Tech Designs CEO balances business with cross-country ride

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We always love sharing stories of American-made cycling products, and one of our favorites is Aero Tech Designs. Based just down the road here in Pittsburgh, it manufacturers cycling apparel of its own designs and offers custom work as well.

On June 15, Cathy Rogers, the founder and CEO, will embark on a fast-paced cross-country tour from Redmond, Washington to Washington, D.C., covering 3,300 miles through 12 states in 48 days. The trip is a product testing and development excursion, a fundraiser for the American Lung Association, and a lifelong dream come true.

Rogers is always seeking the best apparel innovations to improve the ride, and a cross-country tour is a great opportunity to test clothing to its limits. She will be wearing current Aero Tech designs and items from other brands sold on the Aero Tech website, as well as prototypes of new ideas Rogers and her team have been working on. Chief among her concerns are sun protection, long-distance comfort, chafe durability, and high visibility on the road. The tour group will also be sporting custom kits designed and sewn by Aero Tech in its factory near Pittsburgh.

Read more about Rogers and Aero Tech Designs.

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Scott issues voluntary recall of Speedster bikes

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From Scott Sports:

In cooperation with national recall authorities, Scott is voluntarily recalling about 8,000 2014 Scott Speedster and Contessa road bikes worldwide. Scott is conducting this recall due to a finding that the steerer tube in the front fork can break, creating a possible fall hazard.

The recall affects certain model year 2014 Scott Speedster road bikes. These bikes have been sold in retail and online stores from about August 2013 to May 2014.

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Ride on Chicago raises more than $100k

The PeopleForBikes Ride on Chicago successfully reached its destination last week and exceeded its fundraising goal of $100,000 for better bicycling.

Previously known as the Ride on Washington to coincide with the National Bike Summit, the ride moved to the midwest this year. Founded by pro racer Tim Johnson in 2011, the Ride on Chicago aims to raise funds and awareness for better riding conditions in the U.S.

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League welcomes 18 new Bicycle Friendly Communities

bfa-box0With nearly 40 million Americans bicycling in 2012 and U.S. bike commuting increasing more than 61% from 2000 to 2012, there’s growing consensus that making biking better is a key component of a healthy, livable community.

With the announcement of 18 new Bicycle Friendly Communities, there are now 303 BFCs in 48 states. An additional 28 communities earned an Honorable Mention. The League of American Bicyclists’ BFC program is helping transform the way communities evaluate quality of life by assessing investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and municipal policies.

See the new communities here.

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Video: ‘Vittorio Brumotti Road Bike Freestyle’

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Former Bike Trial World Champion and 10-times Guinness World Record holder, Italian Vittorio Brumotti, has upped the ante with road bike trials videos. His new film, “Brumotti Road Bike Freestyle” is a tribute to Martyn Ashton and his 2012 film “Road Bike Party“.

While filming the sequel, Ashton’s life was transformed by an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. “Road Bike Party 2” was completed with help from riders Danny MacAskill and Chris Akrigg.

Vittorio Brumotti is an Italian mountain bike trials rider and celebrity. In 2006 he became the Bike Trial World Champion and over the following two years he travelled to the United States to win the “blessing” of mountain bike trials legend Hans Rey.

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Brumotti has been entered into the book of Guinness World Records 10 times, most specularly for back-hopping 71 times on an exposed spire-like rocky peak some 150m high. In 2012 he claimed the record for climbing the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, by bike in 2 hours and 20 minutes. He also holds the record for the highest jump into water on a bicycle at 17m, amongst many others.

Brumotti’s original road bike trials video, “100 percent Brumotti on Road Bike – Volume 1“, was released in 2013.

See Brumotti’s new film here. 

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Adventure Cycling video contest still accepting submissions

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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.”

Learn more about the contest and how to enter here.

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