Urban PressCamp wrap-up

PressCamp Wrap-Up
(part 1 about bike sharing, part 2 about cool bikes)
Time for some socializing, by bike of course:
I saw other cool things at PressCamp, but it turns out that some of them will soon be on their way to the Bicycle Times office for product testing, so I don’t want to give away too much here. (That’s one big reason we go to these things: to scope out stuff to bring to our pages.)
I got a chance to chat with the Currie Tech people, purveyors of a wide variety of electric-assist bikes under the name iZip. We’d done a fair amount of research on these at Interbike (last year and the year before), and will soon see the results take fruit in the form of bike tests. In fact, an iZip Via Rapido will soon be on its way to me. I look forward to a faster commute, for sure – which translates into more minutes of precious sleep.
I also wandered over to the Breezer and NuVinci booths, right next to one another – fitting, since Breezer recently introduced a new model, the Uptown Infinity, that features NuVinci’s N360 internal gear hub. We marveled at this at Interbike, and now Maurice has one in his hot hands for test. He even manned up and volunteered to help prove that step-through frames are not just for chicks.
The evening after the first full day, we went on a scavenger hunt of sorts, taking photos of landmarks for points. Washington, D.C. seems to be made up almost entirely of landmarks, and traveling between them via bike made for the best kind of touristy tour possible. Especially in the evening. It was hard to take a bad photo – witness the photo at the top of this post. I ended up on a team with esteemed journalist (and recent DR/BT blogger) Sal Ruibal, a D.C. local, who knew all the most valuable spots. We hit ‘em all, and we’re convinced that we were robbed in the final tally, since we didn’t win! Regardless, it was a lot of fun.
The hunt was set up by some representatives of D.C.’s excellent advocacy group, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. Seriously, I was blown away by the amount of bike lanes, and their excellent placement. I also used a very helpful WABA map to get around on my own, until it became a wet, mushy pancake (and then fell out of my bag).
Here our team makes good use of one of D.C.’s many awesome bike lanes:
For this scavenger hunt/tour, I borrowed a Raleigh Port Townsend, generously supplied by Raleigh’s Brian Fornes. Here he is preparing for the ride with his special helmet:
We spotted the Port Townsend at Interbike 2010, and I liked its looks then. It’s kind of a pared-down touring, slightly cyclocross-ified ride, but with the stately elegance of long-distance steel bikes of old. Riding it reminded me of descriptions of randonneur bikes. We’ll have to wait to see what our own Online Editor Adam Newman has to say about it after he gets his test steed in.
Here is the bike at the Zero Mile Marker:
Toward the end of the tour, I swapped bikes with Cannondale’s Women’s Bicycle Product Manager Lyriel Jordan. She was riding their Quick Carbon – a 180-degree contrast. Where the Port Townsend felt quite comfortable and took a few pedal strokes to get up to speed, the Quick was, well, quick, instantaneously so, and stiff as all get-out, as you might expect.
Another can’t-miss shot:
For the tour we were also graciously provided with updated Lazer Urbanize helmets, complete with blinky lights front and rear. (We had tested an earlier version in BT#3.) Cateye handed out some of their excellent Loop blinky lights for more visibility.
Here we are, assembling in our matching helmets, and installing matching lights.
After the Urban PressCamp, it was time to turn toward the serious business of the trip: convincing our elected officials that cycling is worthy of public dollars. More on that in the next installation.

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