There’s a certain infamous former pro cyclist from Texas who is known for (among other things) writing a book entitled “It’s Not About the Bike.” But like so many other things this yellow-wearing racer has said over the years, it simply isn’t true. Sometimes it very much IS all about the bike. Plus the wheels, and the tires, and the apparel and the brakes and everything else that goes with cycling.
Cycling means a lot of different things to a lot of different people—exercise, adventure, freedom, transportation—but it can also be a great excuse to drool over the latest gadgets, gizmos, widgets and wonders.
In this issue we’re covering the gear that gets us there, focusing on brands, products and people behind the latest goodies on the bike shop shelves. We started with six drivetrains you didn’t know existed, unpack the details of how bottom brackets work and hear the behind-the-scenes stories of how bike models get their names.
Along the way we stopped in Colorado, where we visited the shop of Bedrock Bikepacking Bags, a tiny, homegrown brand that is threading its own path through the increasingly crowded cottage industry of rackless bags.
Then we visited Arkansas, where some longtime bike industry innovators are bringing high-end bicycle manufacturing back to the United States. Their aim is to offer competitive pricing, original product design and world-beating performance. Get the scoop on the new brand, HIA Velo.
In Portland, Oregon, the wooden bikes built by Renovo might seem Old-World, but they are as high-tech as anything coming out a modern factory. After all, company founder Ken Wheeler got his start in wood composite engineering while designing airplanes. Our photographer takes you there in our latest installment of the Made series.
We also expanded our product reviews in this issue with a full 17 pages of the latest and greatest, as tested in the real world by the editors of Bicycle Times. Be sure you take a look before you buy.
Even if you have no plans to do any shopping in 2017, you can still enjoy our stories of the human input that turns ideas into item. So don’t be a dope. Enjoy our Gear Issue. Grab a copy now from our online store, or better yet, order a subscription and you’ll never miss an issue.
Ask any non-cyclist why they don’t ride bikes and the likely answer you’ll get is that they don’t want to get killed. It’s an unfortunate reality that cycling on the street is less safe that riding in a motor vehicle, but for many of us the risks are outweighed by the health benefits, practicality and simple joy of riding a bike.
This issue of Bicycle Times is dedicated to safety of all kinds, and we can’t think of a more important subject for rookie and veteran cyclists alike.
It’s best to use your head when it comes to safety, so we visited the Bell Helmets development and testing lab where we learned how helmets are designed and tested.
The best way to stay safe in an accident is to avoid it in the first place. Our cover story takes a look at the growing trend of apparel that is designed to keep you visible on your bike. New reflective materials, LED lighting and intelligent color placement factor in to the latest designs.
Denver’s Five Points neighborhood hasn’t always been a very safe place, but that didn’t stop Gregory Crichlow from following his dream and opening a bike shop there. Now the neighborhood is changing quickly and his shop, Chocolate Spokes, is a bridge between two dramatically different communities.
Finally, keeping yourself safe is paramount, but what about your bike? We asked experts from Kryptonite and Abus about what kind of lock to buy, where to park your bike and other tricks for keeping your bike in your hands and not a thief’s.
- Tout Terrain Tanami Xplore
- All City Pony Express
- Bianchi All Road hydraulic disc 105
- Bell Stoker MIPS
- Schwalbe G-ONE Pro tires
- Industry Nine and WTB “Road Plus” wheelset
- Bontrager Lithos jacket and Evoke stormshell shorts
- Portland Pogies and BarMitts Extreme
- Henty Wingman Messneger
- Two Wheel Gear Classic Garment Pannier
- Swift Industries Sugarloaf basket bag
- Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier vest and PRO Aero WXB jacket
Nothing can guarantee absolute safety on your bike, but you should never have to ride in fear. If you take a few practical measures, stay alert and ride confidently, you’ll go a long way towards keeping the rubber side down. Be safe out there and enjoy your Bicycle Times!
— Adam Newman, Editor in ChiefTweet Print
The theme of this issue is “Investing in Cycling” and as we were putting it together I couldn’t help but think back to my first bike purchase and smile. Aside from the sweet Huffy Stone Mountain, I knew nothing about bikes, and when I walked into the bike shop near my house to inquire about a “real” bike I was pretty overwhelmed by what I found.
Luckily this shop sold new and refurbished bikes, and after the shock that a bicycle could cost three HUNDRED dollars wore off I rolled away on a classic road bike with down tube shifters and a whopping 12 speeds to choose from. At the time it seemed like a crazy amount of money to spend, but over the years it has been one of the best investments of my life. Cycling has taken me around the world and introduced me to countless friends. — Adam Newman, Editor-in-Chief
Adventurer Laura Bingham made a few friends along her journey as well, as she traveled across South America on a five-month bike tour without bringing any money. She had to scrape together a bit of cash to repair her bike after it was hit by a car(!) but otherwise she relied on just her wits and the kindness of strangers.
In Portland, Oregon, framebuilders Tony Pereira and Ira Ryan both had good businesses going with their custom bikes, but even when working full speed they were limited by how many bikes they could get into the hands of customers. Not content with long wait times they combined their talents to form Breadwinner Cycles, a brand that’s rethinking how the custom bike process can work.
But not every investment is about gear or goods. It’s even more important to invest in your community, and there’s li le doubt that the cycling community could be a lot more inclusive for minorities. Learn about why it’s important to promote diversity in cycle culture and get some tips on making your bike scene more inclusive in our story by Taz Loomans.
“Investing in cycling” is not just about spending money, it’s about trading something of value—your time, your efforts, your skills—and getting something back in return. Cycling has paid huge dividends in my life and I hope it does the same in yours. Enjoy your Bicycle Times!
Also in Issue #43
Peddling Through Beijing
As China rapidly embraces a car-centric, luxury lifestyle, small makeshift bicycle repair shops are struggling to survive. By Matt Moir.
Rediscovering Lost Sierra
Intrepid cyclists explore well outside the guidebooks in one of the most remote regions in California. By Kurt Gensheimer.
Practical Product Reviews
- Advocate Lorax
- Twin Six Rando
- Kona Wo fat bike
- Ortlieb bikepacking bags
- PNW Components gravel dropper seatpost
- Paul Components
- American Classic wheels
- Spurcycle bell
It’s been said that no experience is a true adventure until something goes wrong. In fact, that’s where the idea for this issue began: We wanted to share the most death-defying stories of cycling that we could find. But the more we thought about it, the more we realized it doesn’t take any special skills for things to go wrong (trust me, I know). So instead we turned it around to bring you stories about how to handle yourself when the proverbial poo hits the fan: how to keep your cool, how to get yourself out of a jam and how to avoid one in the first place.
Our longtime columnist Beth Puliti and her husband traveled through Nepal shortly after the devastating earthquake that killed thousands and left most roads impassable—except for bikes. In her extended column in this issue, read how Nepalese cyclists leapt to the challenge to shuttle medicine and supplies over massive mountain passes and help the recovery effort any way they could.
But communities shouldn’t wait until the worst has happened to start working. That’s the theme behind the Disaster Relief Trials, a cargo bike challenge that demonstrates to emergency management agencies how pedal power can be part of the resilience movement. I took part in one of the races and interviewed the founder of the growing series, Mike Cobb.
There are a lot of things than can go wrong on a ride, and while we could never publish an exhaustive list of all possible solutions, we reached out to some experts about what cyclists could do to take care of Number One. From getting lost to getting hurt, we hope these lessons will help keep you safe and ready for anything.
If the worst happens, it can lead to a good story. For our correspondent Chris Reichel, the cross-country bike tour of a lifetime almost came to a tragic end in a field in Kansas. Read how he rode out a tornado in his tent.
Reichel was alone on his ride, and having to face your fears without support can be difficult. But does it have to be that way? Amanda DelCore asked some solo bike-touring experts to weigh in.
Finally, I just want to encourage you all to push your envelope with cycling a little bit. Try to go a bit further, a bit faster or just conquer that hill you hate. Try a type of riding you never have before, or take someone new to cycling for a spin. It’s not until you’re out of your comfort zone that you learn just what you’re capable of and, who knows, you might just surprise yourself. Good luck, and enjoy your Bicycle Times.
- Soma Wolverine
- Yuba Spicy Curry
- Surly Wednesday
- Marin Four Corners
- Fat bike tires
- Packable jackets
- Solar and battery power
Where to ride your bike thru the drive-thru!
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Two-wheeled travel has always been a lightning rod for innovation. Steel tubing, ball bearings and pneumatic tires can all trace their origins to bicycle applications. By the late 19th century a full one-third of all U.S. patent applications were for bicycle-related designs, according to the Franklin Institute. Some interesting ones we found include a sail-powered bike (Patent No. 6932368), a double bicycle for “looping the loop” in circus performances (No. 790063) and a wild one-wheel bicycle with the rider sitting inside the wheel (No. 325548).
Get a copy: You can order Bicycle Times Issue #40 here.
Of course the bicycle builds on inventions that came before it. The wheel is seen as perhaps the greatest invention of all time, and its creation is a far more complex tale than the bicycle’s. In this issue we excerpt a portion of Richard W. Bulliet’s book, “The Wheel,” that documents how there are actually three distinct types of wheels, each with its own origin story.
Since the “ordinary” design with two wheels of the same diameter was introduced in the 1870s, the bicycle has largely rolled along an evolutionary path. But now with the introduction of so many new technologies so quickly, will the bicycle be radically transformed from the simple, mechanical form we know it as today? And how will our experience interacting with it change? See some of the interesting examples that could represent the future—or failure—in this issue.
And what about the bikes themselves? How are they changing? We got our hands of one of the most distinct bicycles in years, the new Cannondale Slate, for our lead product review. Its unorthodox and distinctive suspension fork is derived from mountain bikes, and it might take you places on a road bike you could never go before.
The best thing about technology is that it is always expanding. Old technologies are rarely lost. Bicycles are still being ridden that are generations old, but still bring a smile to our faces and wind across our cheeks. Whether your interest in technology celebrates the new or the old, the bicycle has something for everyone.
In this issue
Inventing the wheel
The history of wheeled travel is diverse, opinionated and often circumspect. In this excerpt from “The Wheel,” by Richard W. Bulliet, we learn how something as ubiquitous as the wheel isn’t as simple as you might think.
Wear with care
Proper cycling apparel is an investment, and if you want it to stay functional and comfortable for the long haul, you need to take care of it. We discuss textiles and apparel care with the experts.
Bikes in paradise
On the tiny Marshall Islands there are no private vehicles, so bicycles are the only way to roll. And just as Darwin would have predicted, there they have evolved some distinguishing characteristics all their own. By Jordan Vinson.
Bike to the future
The cycling industry has always drawn entrepreneurs and innovators. Take a look at some of the ideas that could change the way you ride. By Adam Newman.
How LED Lights Work
Learn how these tiny diodes can emit such powerful light. By Karl Rosengarth.
Catching up with Charlie Kelly
- Cannondale Slate
- Felt V55
- Scott Sub EVO 20
- Faraday Porteur
- GT Traffic 1.0
- Bike lights
- Commuting gear
- Shoes and pedals
Here we go! Our first issue of 2016 is in the wild.
We took a bit of a breather over the winter to tune up our bikes and tune up the pages of Bicycle Times. You might notice some small changes here and there in the issue but, at our heart, we are still the all-inclusive cycling forum you’ve come to love.
You can find Bicycle Times on your favorite newsstand, order one for yourself in our online store, or best of all: subscribe now and you’ll never miss an issue while supporting independent publishing.
We firmly believe that bicycles have the power to transform lives, and nowhere is that transformation visible on a grand scale than in our cities. There are few better ways to see a city than on a bicycle. You feel its topography, you hear its hum, you taste its grit. After the urban flight of the 1970s and 80s, cities across America and beyond are being reborn in the 21st century thanks to an influx of young people and progressive transportation planning. Within this movement, the bicycle has taken center stage.
Look no further than Detroit, where an upstart business is capitalizing on a skilled manufacturing workforce to bring back large-scale industrial manufacturing. At the Detroit Bikes factory, tubes of steel and components enter one end and complete bicycles exit the other.
In New York City, bicycles are bringing disparate groups of women together to foster a sense of community and expand their transportation options. Learn how one group of women is inspiring others in the five boroughs and beyond.
Beyond the U.S. borders, where “revolution” has often had a very different meaning, bicycles are connecting people with their community and their environment like never before. In Bogotá, Colombia, the residents celebrate Earth Day by shutting down the streets to motor vehicles and letting bicycles and pedestrians have free reign.
According to the United Nations, 54 percent of the world’s population lives in cities, and that number is expected to climb to 66 percent by 2050. As density rises, the automobile will inevitably be left behind, and bicycles will become the vehicle of choice for fun and freedom.
I think it will be a great ride.
– Adam, Bicycle Times Editor-in-Chief
Also in this issue
Pedaling in Pain
Cycling should be joyful, not painful. Learn to identify what is causing your aches and pains while cycling and how to remedy them.
Small Press, Big Ideas
Microcosm Publishing isn’t your average publishing company. Learn how this independent press promotes cycling in ways you’d never expect.
- Shinola Detroit Arrow
- Tern Eclipse X22
- Peace Dreamer
- RSD Catalyst 700+
- Backpacks from Chrome and Osprey
- Helmets from Kali and Giro
- Lights from Portland Design Works and Orp
- Five pairs of bike-friendly trousers
- Four bike locks
From the most extreme mountain bikers to the most demure commuters, we’re all a family of cyclists. Sometimes we have different tastes, sometimes different styles and often different opinions, but we all share a love for the wind across our cheeks and the satisfaction of personal power.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be welcomed into the family of cycling with open arms, and here I’ve found not just a vocation but a personal passion. I’ve had countless riders stop to offer me a spare tube, some extra water, or just a tip for a more scenic route. Somehow we instinctively know to watch out for one another, celebrate with one another and, sadly, far too often grieve with one another. Families are never homogeneous and certainly never perfect, but they stick together through and through.
I’ve made countless friends through cycling and I’m looking forward to making many more. While our taste in two wheels sometimes differs, I consider you all part of the Bicycle Times family and I’m honored to be a part of it.
— Adam Newman, editor-in-chief
In this issue
On the cover
Gabe and Leilani enjoy a sunny ride in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Russ Roca.
The Kidical Mass movement inspires young families to embrace life beyond the minivan. By Adam Newman.
3 hearts, 2 wheels, 1 passion
World explorer Cass Gilbert reflects on how cycling with his young son has changed his life.
The Family Adventure Project
A family from the U.K. offers 10 tips for taking your family on an adventure to remember. By Stuart Wickes.
Bicycle Times Adventure Fest
Recapture the fun at the first Bicycle Times Adventure Fest or take a peek at what you missed.
How to encourage your kids to put down the remote and jump on a bike.
Catching up with
We chat with Paul Rozelle, who finished the 1,200 km Paris-Brest-Paris brevet without coasting.
Anna Schwinn dishes on how modern bike geometry and production caters unfairly to men.
An essay on how a change of scenery can reinvent your riding. By Bobble Wintle.
We put two testers on a pair of Bianchi bikes to see how they compare and contrast. By Eric McKeegan and Jon Pratt
Plus we review: Linus Rover 3, Trek Fuel EX Jr., SRAM Rival 1x, Thule Raceway Pro, commuter backpacks, pedals, lights, tires and more.
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To make sure you never miss an issue of Bicycle Times, be sure to order a subscription today!Tweet Print
On the cover
Justin Steiner and Emily Walley explore the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania aboard the new Salsa Powderkeg tandem mountain bike.
A challenging bike tour brings a couple closer together. By Adam Perry.
Life’s a Beach
How fat biking on the Oregon Coast is opening up new places to explore and new business opportunities. By Adam Newman.
Touring for Two
Justin and Emily take their first trip aboard a tandem on a backcountry bike tour along forest roads and singletrack. By Justin Steiner and Emily Walley.
One Portland bike commuter set her helmet camera to automatically snap an image every three seconds to capture life in the bike path. By Aixe Djelal.
Pack it in, Pack it out
Why cyclists, like all outdoors lovers, should learn and follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace. By Ben Lawton.
Plug in or tune it out. If you don’t want to ride an e-bike, that’s fine, but you don’t need to be a jerk about it. By Anna Schwinn.
Five bikes perfect for your next adventure, plus some great accessories reviewed:
- Salsa Powderkeg
- Trek 920
- Traitor Slot
- Raleigh Grand Prix
- Chumba Ursa
Six tips for better eating on your next bike tour, from Tara Alan, author of “Bike. Camp. Cook.”Tweet Print