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.Tweet
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.Tweet
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.
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.
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…
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?Tweet
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.Tweet
Photos by David Gabrys/45NRTH
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.
Armed with nearly a full fleet of 45NRTH gear, he likely stayed pretty toasty warm, even as temperatures hit -30 degrees overnight.
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.
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.Tweet
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.
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.Tweet
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.Tweet
Episode 2 of the documentary film about two riders’ trek along the Transcontinental race from London to Istanbul. After realizing riding at race pace wasn’t much fun, the pair decide to take their time and enjoy themselves.Tweet
Episode 2 of the documentary film about two riders’ trek along the Transcontinental race shows how you need to stay flexible in your plans, and the adventure is often the reward. See Episdoe 1 here and the introduction to this amazing, 2,000-mile unsupported race from London to Istanbul here.Tweet
Photos by Dave Schlabowske
Sleigh bells were ringing as hundreds of riders decked out in holiday cheer swarmed the streets of Milwaukee last week for the annual Santa Cycle Rampage.
Traditionally not much more than a pub crawl, some of the restaurants along the route took it upon themselves to donate a portion of the profits to the Wisconsin Bicycle Fed. Lowlands Group Restaurants event even brewed up a special Santa Rampage Belgian Bier. Lakefront Brewery offered up free beer. And Great Lakes Distillery donated $1 for every drink sold.
If you missed out on the action you can read about it and see more photos at wisconsinbikefed.org.
I just stumbled across this amazing documentary originally shot for the Discovery Channel about the second-ever Iditabike race across Alaska—210 miles of frozen toes and ruddy cheeks. Produced by Mark Forman, it won the Interbike Film Festival in 1994.
The technology (and fashion!) sure has changed over the last 25 years. I can’t wait to see what bikes we’ll be riding 25 years from now.Tweet
You don’t even have to pay the troll toll.Tweet
More than 1,000 cyclists clogged the streets in front of the city’s transportation offices last week to highlight the dangerous conditions on the city’s streets. Six cyclists have died in the past two-weeks and tensions are riding high. Organizers are demanding that 10 percent of the city’s transportation budget be spent on cycling infrastructure.
By the way, we’re getting pumped for SSCXWC! Will we see you there?Tweet
Here’s the first part of the documentary about the Transcontinental Race, from London to Istanbul. Get caught up with the backstory here.Tweet
For three decades, Pittsburgh’s strongest (and craziest) riders have been racing up the steepest streets in a city where a “hill” doesn’t count unless it’s more than a 20% grade, and the steepest climbs a world-record 38%.
Can’t make it this year, or just don’t think you’re crazy enough? You can watch a live stream over at cyclingfusion.com.Tweet
The Cycle Messenger World Championships are being hosted by Mexico City in 2014, May 28 – June 5.
The best bike messengers from around the world compete on a closed course sanctioned by the International Federation of Bike Messengers Associations (IFBMA).Tweet
BikeCraft is a one-of-a-kind holiday gift fair that draws together Portland’s best artists, designers, and producers to showcase their creations made specifically with the bicycle-lover in mind. Browse and shop hand-made, locally produced gifts, bicycle accessories, jewelry, art, fashion, paper goods, and more. The event is hosted this year by Velo Cult in Portland. Admission is free but bring funds for shopping, coffee, beer and snacks.
Saturday, November 30
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
After-party: 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 1
11. a.m to 6 p.m.Tweet