Trans-Am bike race starts Saturday

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Long distance racers are always pushing for a new challenge. Race Across America, Tour Divide, the Transcontinental—they inspire awe and certainly some intimidation. This year racers will be tackling a new challenge—the Trans-Am. Think of it like RAAM but without checkpoints or support of any kind.

There is an “official” route, but that is merely the shortest distance. It is inspired by the Trans-American trail pioneered by thousands of cyclists during the Bikecentennial of 1976. Racers are welcome to choose an alternate. The only rules regard self-sufficiency and safety.

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Festivities begin at 5 a.m. in Astoria, Oregon, and the finish line is Yorktown, Virginia, an estimated 4,233 miles.

You can follow along with riders using SPOT trackers at trackleaders.com and follow the action in the Trans-Am Facebook group.

Good luck to everyone participating! It will be an adventure to never forget.

 


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. 


My Manual Life

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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.

Read the full story


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.


Join us for a tour of ABUS Mobile Security in Germany

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Manufacturing is alive and well in Germany, made evident by a recent tour of three ABUS lock making facilities. Several stock-in-trade ABUS products are still being produced decades after their development, while others, like the popular folding Bordo locks, are prompting the 90-year-old company to add extra shifts to keep up with demand.

Join us for a tour of the factory.


Get involved – Make a world of difference

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.


‘The Manual Life’ artist profile – Rich Kelly

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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.

Keep reading…


Video: Argonaut’s new gravel road bike

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.


Join Cyclofemme in the celebration of women in cycling on May 11

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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.

Learn more about Cyclofemme 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?

 


Alaskan adventure film ‘Hunting For Monsters’ now available

Last summer, two Alaskan explorers embarked on a journey from Cook Island to Bristol Bay, Alaska, and turned the adventure into a film, “Hunting For Monsters”. Now the film is available to rent or buy from Vimeo On Demand.

Lake Iliamna, Alaska’s largest lake, is home to many native communities, the worlds largest sockeye salmon run, potential site of the controversial Pebble Mine and the elusive Lake Monster – Illie. On a hot mid-July, Bjørn and Brent were deposited to the far shore of Cook Inlet in a landing craft cargo ship and began their human powered journey through Iliamna country to Bristol Bay, hoping to catch a glimpse of the illusive creature and slice of Alaska where monsters can still roam free.

Watch the trailer 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


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.

 


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