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.

 


Next in bicycle infrastructure: protected intersections

I was in Amsterdam all last week getting to know Dutch bicycle culture and logistics (more on that soon), and one of the key tenants of what makes cycling so simple there is the cycle paths. More than just bike lanes, the cycle paths are almost always separated from traffic by parked cars, curbs, or other street features.

The practice is catching on in the US, with New York leading the way with protected lanes on some major thoroughfares. But even those lanes leave cyclists vulnerable where they need safety most: in the intersection.

Urban planner and designer Nick Falbo has put together this piece about how intersection design can make cycling safer and more accessible. His video and other collected works are part of a proposal for the George Mason University 2014 Cameron Rian Hays Outside the Box competition, a challenge to find new solutions to transportation policy challenges.

 


First look: FietsKlik rack and cargo tote

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The gang from FietsKlik knows how to solve a problem I can relate to. Despite the ubiquity of cycling as transportation in their native Amsterdam, the dilemma of how to carry a crate of beer on a bicycle is a real one.

Some design sketches and some local manufacturing later, and a startup was born. The FietsKlik is an integrated system that combines a locking rear cargo rack with a number of integrated accessories, most notably the Crate.

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Read more about FietsKlik here.


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.


London to spend $500M on cycling and pedestrian infrastructure

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Click the map for a larger view

London has become synonymous with cycling and pedestrian danger, as the city has claimed more than 150 serious injuries or deaths in the past three years. Now the city, led by Mayor Boris Johnson, himself an advocate for cycling and pedestrian safety, is pledging $500 million to radically transform 33 intersections and roundabouts across the city.

Roundabouts at Archway, Aldgate, Swiss Cottage and Wandsworth, among others, will be ripped out and replaced with two-way roads, segregated cycle tracks and new traffic-free public space. The Elephant & Castle roundabout, London’s highest cycle casualty location, will be removed. At other intimidating roundabouts, such as Hammersmith and Vauxhall, safe and direct segregated cycle tracks will be installed, pending more radical transformations of these areas in the medium term.

“These road junctions are relics of the Sixties which blight and menace whole neighborhoods. Like so much from that era, they’re also atrociously-designed and wasteful of space,” Johnson said in a statement. “Because of that, we can turn these junctions into more civilized places for cyclists and pedestrians, while at the same time maintaining their traffic function.”

The move is part of the Safe Streets London campaign, a detailed plan to reduce the number of persons injured on London’s roads by 40 percent by 2020.

 

 


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.


Adventure Cycling releases maps for new 518-mile off-road route

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The Adventure Cycling Association has release a new two-map set that guides cyclists through the breathtaking landscape of central Idaho. Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route (IHSMBR) offers a spectacular 518-mile off-pavement route, offering four substantial singletrack options, and featuring access to more than 50 hot springs in the Gem State.

The route is the first from Adventure Cycling that includes backcountry singletrack options, said Cartographer Casey Greene. “It’s also something that our members have been asking for, and with the innovative new bikepacking gear and techniques that have surfaced over the past 10 years, it seemed like the perfect time to develop this kind of route,” Greene said.

Learn more and see map.


Video: Map Lines – 230 miles across Colorado

One of the shared, universal experiences in cycling is beating your own limits. Last season, Mavic‘s communications manager for the USA, Zack Vestal, remembered a particular long ride at age 18, one that pushed beyond his limits at the time. Thinking of that ride 20 years later, he focused on breaking a new barrier, by riding double the distance. Enjoy the views of Colorado as he traces a 236-mile loop, digging deep to achieve the dream before dark. And you, what limitations do you dream of exceeding in 2014?


Premiering soon: ‘Cheetah – The Nelson Vails Story’

Nelson Vails was a bike messenger from Harlem when his incredible speed earned him a spot on the 1984 US Olympic cycling team. He went from delivering packages to packing up his own silver medal in the 1,000m Match Spring.

“Cheetah – The Nelson Vails Story” is an hour-long documentary that chronicles his rise to stardom, the trouble he faced as a celebrity athlete, and his life today as the first and only African-American to ever medal in cycling at the Olympics.

The film premieres March 6 at the La Paloma Theater in San Diego at 6 p.m. with a Q&A session with Vails before the showing. Tickets are available now.

 

 


‘Bike. Camp. Cook.’ serves up delicious recipies for the road

One my favorite things to do when long distance riding or bikepacking is consuming mass amounts of food. Tara Alan, author of “Bike. Camp. Cook” and I have this in common. While Tara and her husband spent two years traveling on bike from Scotland to Southeast Asia, she was determined to cook from scratch and she put all her tips, tricks and recipes into this book.

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My husband and I try our best to travel as light as possible. This means often sacrificing my husbands healthy, home cooked meals to eat from freeze dried packs, gel packets or gas station junk food. I was excited to get my hands on this book in hopes to school myself on a little from-scratch, camp cooking.

Keep reading.


Riding with the Breeze

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It’s hard to imagine a more unassuming guy than Joe Breeze. Unlike his contemporaries Gary Fisher or Tom Ritchey, who are easy to spot in a crowd, Breeze could be the guy standing in line in front of you at the grocery store, or your friendly neighbor who always greets you with a wave and a smile. Of course, if you live in Fairfax, California, there’s a good chance he is both of these things.

Read more and see photos from our day with Joe Breeze.


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.

 

 


Cold weather cycling tips – Physical ailments

There is a panoply of excuses we can choose from when wimping out of cold weather riding. Some of them have more validity than others—but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be overcome. I’d like to address a couple of physical limitations that can be good reasons to bow out of a cold ride, but that don’t necessarily need to stop you, especially in their milder forms.

Asthma and Raynauds are two such ailments that affect many cyclists, but become even more of an issue in the cold.

Read on to see how to protect yourself.


Love adventure? Apply to become a Blackburn Ranger

To paraphrase a famous Army cadence:

“I wanna be an Blackburn ranger / I wanna live the life of adventure”

Sponsorships for the non-racers out there can be rare. Blackburn is stepping up into that gap and offering support to the adventures out there with the Ranger brand ambassador program.

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The main criteria for Ranger-hood is a commitment to ride either the Pacific Coast bicycle route or the Great Divide mountain bike route. Of course, Rangers will be responsible to share their adventures via the various social media platforms. In return Blackburn will outfit Rangers with Blackburn gear (including prototypes!) and a small travel stipend to help defray the cost of your adventurous undertaking.

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Also in the perks category: Ranger Camp at the Whiskey Off-Road in Prescott, Arizona, paid for by Blackburn. I don’t know about you, but I’d be down with missing out on some spring showers to hang out in Arizona April 25-27. The application process involves submitting a short essay, a few photographs and uploading a short video to YouTube. Best get busy!

Learn how to enter here.


Cold weather cycling tips: Know thy enemy – snot!

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We’ve already covered a lot about proper cold weather riding gear (like jackets and footwear) for the high latitude areas where the dropping mercury effects our kit choices. But what about when your face starts leaking on those frigid morning commutes?

No worries friends, I got your back. What I’ve begun to understand is that there is a constant battle to arrive at your destination without strange excrement frozen to your face.

How do we manage? Find out here.


‘The Push’ – a short film from Salsa Cycles

The Arrowhead Ultra 135, the coldest bike race in the Lower 48, begins one week from today in International Falls, Minnesota. Traversing the 135-mile Arrowhead Trail, it promises promises near-Arctic conditions and nearly always delivers. To finish, let alone win, is a triumph of man and machine over nature. Salsa Cycles‘ Mike “Kid” Riemer has put together this wonderful tribute to an event that is close to his heart.


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