2014 National Bike Challenge starts today

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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.

Get the details here.


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.


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.


Details announced for SSCXWC in Louisville

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A sample of the scene from SSCXWC13 in Philadelphia. Yes, that man is dressed as a shower.

The 2014 Raleigh Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships will be held at Eva Bandman Park in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday, October 25, 2014.

This year’s event will continue the great tradition of prior Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships, with a full weekend of qualifiers, racing and celebration – all carefully choreographed for an outstanding participant experience and only 45 minutes of pain.

Get all the details here.


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.


A journey to the Conch Republic

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By now you’ve read all kinds of good advice in Bicycle Times on riding your bike through harsh winter conditions, but sometimes the best strategy to deal with it is to escape. I’m not ashamed to admit that during the second of… oh what, three? four?… polar vortices, or dips in the jet stream, or whatever ridiculous weather patterns we’ve had here in the Northeast, I escaped to sunny southern Florida, courtesy of the Adventure Cycling Association. It was the second of its three annual Florida Keys tours. And it was fabulous.

Read about the trip here.


Second World Cycle Race starts March 1

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There are a lot of races that bill themselves as the “toughest”, but none can hold a candle to the World Cycle Race, a wild ride around – you guessed it – the entire planet.

The 18,000-mile (or more) route is entirely up to the rider, and contestants can choose to ride east or west from the starting point in London. There are no stages or checkpoint. The route is entirely up to you. There will be a small ceremonial ride through London before racers toe the line for the official start at noon.

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While countless men and women have circled the Earth by bike and set numerous records along the way, the first mass-start World Cycle Race was held in 2012 with Englishman Mike Hall taking the win in 107 days, setting a record for unsupported circumnavigation. Only three of the nine starters completed the ride.

Brooks of England is hosting a pre-race celebration at its B1886 boutique in London tomorrow night, February 28, and a few racers, including Hall, will be on-hand to answer questions and inspire your own tour. There is a good chance several of the riders will be riding Brooks saddles, and the brand released a special edition World Cycle Traveler for the 2012 edition of the race.

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Want to get in on the action? The 2015 edition starts April 4, 2015. You can sign up now. Maybe I need to clear my calendar…

 

 


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.


Ridgetop Ramble

The Ridgetop Ramble is a gravel road ride that circles through the Shawnee State Forest in southern Ohio. You might think Ohio is flat, but with more than 7,000 feet of climbing your legs will likely argue that.

When the Swallow Bicycle Works crew showed up for the big event, though, they were greeted with a healthy eight to ten inches of snow. The call was made to postpone the ride, but they didn’t let the opportunity go to waste! Plus their photos look like so much fun I had to share and invite everyone out.

The snow changes everything. The terrain develops a micro-character as tracks develop on the snow and ice. As your eyes drift over a landscape that will change before the next ride, a frozen mud rut, left during warmer days, calls your attention back to the surface under the tires. Tracks from four-wheel-drive machines are tempting. They offer the legs a bit of rest, but the deep ice-edged tracks, are just like a game of “Operation”, touch an edge and you’re out!

If you can make it out next weekend, you’ll have your choice of 100k and 70k loops with more gravel than pavement and (hopefully) no snow. Everyone gets a map and a cue sheet and it’s a social ride, not a race, and entirely self-supported. 


Jay Petervary wins Arrowhead 135

Photos by David Gabrys/45NRTH

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The frozen feats of strength known as the Arrowhead 135 started Monday morning and 45NRTH sponsored rider Jay Petervary took the win in his first attempt, finishing the 135 miles in 20 hours and 11 minutes.

Though it was his first crack at the race, Petervary is no stranger to these types of races. He has won the Iditarod Trail Invitational (350 AND 1,100-mile versions), the Tour Divide and now the Arrowhead.

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Armed with nearly a full fleet of 45NRTH gear, he likely stayed pretty toasty warm, even as temperatures hit -30 degrees overnight.

Check out the amazing photo gallery from David Gabrys of 45NRTH of the action here.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Petervary set a record in the Arrowhead. The record is actually held by Todd McFadden at 14 hours 20 minutes.

 

 


‘Going AWOL’ – Part 4

What began as a spontaneous idea soon became a trip into the unknown. A grand journey of trusting your given abilities, both physically and mentally. The final Episode ties the knot around the adventure and most important: The story of Erik and Recep riding the shit out of their bikes to Istanbul.

See all the episodes of “Going AWOL” here. 


Registration for Southern Cross now open

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Southern Cross presented Maxxis Tires is not your average cross race. As the opener for the American Ultra Cross Championships, the SX is in the same vein as the the Three Peaks USA, Iron Cross, the Hilly Billy Roubaix, Barry Roubaix, Crusher in the Tushar and the Gravel Grovel. The course will open with a “traditional” cross course with twists, turns, run-ups and barriers. Then, participants will head out on a 50-mile loop of dirt and paved roads featuring mountain top vistas, challenging climbs and gorgeous views of tumbling creeks. Finally the course finishes with another ‘cross course with features that the UCI would not approve of like the vineyard “wall”! Optional “hand-ups” are available at this point in the form of cheap beer or a flask… you decide what it takes.

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Still not sure what this Southern Cross presented by Maxxis Tires is all about? Check out some of my coverage of a past edition of Southern Cross and see why cyclists from all genres of the sport are flocking to mountains of North Georgia in February. Roadies, mountain bikers, cross racers and triathletes are all loving this event and you will too.

You’ll start and finish at the Montaluce Winery, which is a gorgeous venue for a bike race, a glass of wine on the patio or a wedding. There will be many spectator-friendly locations on the CX course and the wine tasting room will be open all day to entertain your non-racing friends and family. As a racer, you can also expect one very challenging course, a generous post race meal, a great after race party, a t-shirt we’re sure you’ll want to wear, plus cash & prizes for podium finishers and prize drawings for everyone. Check the 55nine Performance website for details or register today.


Riding L’Eroica with Brooks

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The white gravel crunches pleasantly underneath your steel frame as you roll over the beautiful Tuscan countryside where hilltops are dotted with ancient villas, vineyards, and small villages, like tiny fortresses built from stone against the blazing Italian sun. Passing and being passed alike by the colours and shapes of times gone by, you hardly need squint to imagine days when giants like Coppi and Bartali travelled these same roads. You challenge yourself up another epic climb, and find relief in the friendly hospitality of event volunteers, waiting for you and the other participants with much-needed refreshments. You made it to L’Eroica.

So began the description of L’Eroica that accompanied the invitation to attend as a guest of Brooks England, one of the main sponsors of the ride. Since prepping a story about this event for issue #11 (“Biking for Heroes” by Enrico Caracciolo), I’d been intrigued by this rolling costume ball in the Chianti region of Italy, and now I had a chance to go. Heck, it’s my birthright, after all.

Read on to learn more about this beautiful ride…


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