Just some food for thought before the New Year...
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
I guess, I'm learning the balance and really can't complain, it's really awesome.
The Velocity blog will be updated daily during the week and be on the look out for some pretty sweet things we have in store for it. I'm hoping to get the other guys fired up about contributing more to No Drive and seeing where things might lead. For now, I'm doing what I can.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
All of which was mentioned by Ted in his post about the ride, but what has had me really thinking was watching him fix his flat. He was outfitted with all the proper gear: pump, tube, levers, etc. What stood out was when he pulled out his spare tube, it was in an old cycling sock. Which both David and myself kind of chuckled at, to which Mark responded with...
Like I said, Ted's insight is gospel but for the last few weeks I've wondered. Really? Did it matter? It's just a tube. But chaffing is no ones friend regardless of where it's happening. Of course the sock keeps the tube from potential punctures from tools, finds a use for those odd ball socks that, if you're like me, I can never let go of, and heck, it looks pretty sweet too...
I just so happened to have worn through one of my Surly wool socks recently, and didn't know what to do with it, so I decided few things...
[sure, it's on the outside of my seatbag, but that's where it gets rocked]
Monday, November 30, 2009
Fortunately, unlike other breaks that I've taken, this was a good thing that life got busy. As I posted before, I recently transitioned to a job over at Velocity USA and if you were wondering... it IS as amazing as you might think. Great company, great coworkers, great product. I did have to take a good month of riding off in recovering from my epic 4-square shoulder injury, and for the most part my shoulder has healed. All that [plus a few other things] and an attempt at a personal life ushered in the break.
I've got a few projects up my sleeve that I'm looking forward to showing everyone, along with some new bikes that have made their into the stable. For now, I just wanted let everyone know... I'm back, I'm re-energized, and as always I've got ideas...
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I've got analog clocks on my bike handlebars (two or three of them), I still have (and play with) my Legos, and things like calculator watches just make my day. So when I first read about the new flea, I think I drooled a little.
To make it clear, I'm not talking about this guy:
...or this guy, either:
Nope. It's the 2010 Flea from Blackburn Design. Yes, yes, yes, I know the flea was around last year, but come on...who do you know that actually used it? Sure, here and the one of us tried it out, but that charger was sort of annoying...and it only came in black.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Seriously, I really do miss riding. I miss every aspect of it. Especially this time of year with the weather. Sure, it's been rainy lately but I love riding when it's a bit cold. When the lungs open up, the tip of the noise gets a bit chilled and this time of year cars seem to treat me a little friendlier.
I'm crossing my fingers for next week to start the new commute into work. I'll be good to get some more miles in!
Monday, October 5, 2009
As any shop rat knows, and G-Ted posts on these types of occurrences now and again, we encounter some very strange setups, rig jobs, and make shift fixes when customers bring in there bikes. Myself, I've seen a customer come in with a home made recumbent that was pieced together with the parts of two different bikes and held in place with quick releases and pipe clamps; the 'bike shaped object' ie the department store bike with the forks put on backwards and a few others. But Friday, Brent the head mechanic at Alger was working on this gem. You can see part of the bike above. It's an old Cannondale road bike that has been transformed into a touring bike. A very unique touring bike.
If you look closely at picture to the left you will see that this rider has set up his touring bike with a pie plate, I mean, a chain ring that comes in at around 10 inches in diameter... yes, that's HUGE! Lance Armstrong eat our heart out, that's 61 tooth chain ring. The rider loved having this thing that he claims he had reached 55 mph on. This unconventional triple chain ring set up is partnered with a 50T middle and a 36T lower. Yeah, 25T gap and she doesn't shift all too smoothly; and runs a lower chain guide to avoid having the chain fall off the lower.
This gem does not end there of course. The picture to the right shows the stem the rider has switched to because he can't get into the 'aero' position anymore. You can see by the grease mark where the customer keeps the stem, a good 5 inches of rise. We pulled the stem up to see just how long it was, adding an additional 3 inches when maxed out to it's minimum insertion. Everyone in the shop agree that this is the longest stem we have ever seen.
Overall, for how crazy of a set up this bicycle had, the rider was just great to talk to about it. He knew how absurd it was and embraced it. And really that is what I'll miss most about the retail end of the bicycle industry. I'll miss the customers that either have a genuine love for bicycles or bicycling OR there is a budding romance with this sport, this lifestyle. Sure, I could give you story after story of bad customer but I'd rather be able to to now look back on the good than to remember and dread the bad.
Friday, October 2, 2009
All I do know is that it'll be getting some new Velocity hoops on it, maybe some white walls and I might put either some mustache bars or bullhorns on it. Either way, it's going to be a fun little project for the next few months.
Speaking of Velocity. A big announcement for me is that my shop rat days are over. A few weeks back, I was offered a job with them and today marks my last day at Alger Cyclery. My time at Alger has been great, I can't state enough how much I've enjoyed working at the shop and with the guys there. I do believe that there is more knowledge and experience there than at most shops. Brent, the head mechanic, is one of, if not, the best I've known. I'm grateful for my time there, the opportunity and freedom Carl gave me to change the store right when I came over and part of me will miss shop life, but I will not miss retail. If you've been in my shoes, you understand completely.
This weekend looks to be a rainy one here in West Michigan, and I wish I could get out and ride but the shoulder still won't allow for it. So go ride, for me at least!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
So unfortunately, because of this... I have to cancel the C-Series ride down to Kalamazoo this Sunday. The route is still posted on the right sidebar on the sight so feel free to rock it yourself. I hope to be back on the bike soon and reschedule the ride.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The biggest and most important news from this past weekend came from back in Iowa. It is my great pleasure to introduce you to Noah David Bottke... who came in at 8 lbs 4 oz and a good 21 inches. Here he is at 23 hours...
The No Drive family grew by one. I'm extremely excited for Brian [formerly know as BB to some] and Summer as they officially start this next stage of life with a little guy I've been told is going to be the 2030 Paris Roubiax Champion! Baby Bottke, or BB, will be starting his interval training as soon as the proper helmet can be found.
More later, but I'll leave you with a video that was posted on my Facebook a few days ago.
Monday, September 21, 2009
As with all Alley Cats, it was a checkpoint based where we had differing tasks to do at some of the places. Some we simply had to find the hidden check point envelope. As you can see from the map below we had a good area to cover for the race. 13 checkpoints to be exact. All are shown except the Lookout Park checkpoint, as I was unable to find said checkpoint. My bad.
The race got underway around 7:30p and each rider had differing checkpoints they had to go to first, then we were free to hit up any or all of the points in any order that we felt necessary. There were 2 bonus options being Artprize entry photo and/or bringing back any type of snack food to the finish. I decided at the beginning that I wasn't going to attempt getting a picture or snack instead hopefully getting all of the checkpoints.
Unfortunately, my strategy didn't pay off. I did get a great start to my assigned checkpoint, the Meanwhile Bar, but the bouncer did not have the checkpoint slips with him and my 3 block lead on the other riders to that point was gone as I received mine just as they arrived. At that point, I decided I didn't need to push it quite as much. I then headed to the Midtown Green and at this checkpoint I was given the task of rapping... and as anyone in their right mind, I jumped right into this... yes, the Fresh Prince of Bell Air theme song... I did it all... because I could.
I then rode down to GRCC parking ramp and found the slip with the help of some skaters, then to the tire swing followed by drawing a picture of a sunset at Rosa Parks Circle. I felt good at this point, no real hang ups but then what seemed to be the most logical checkpoint to hit was the Ford Museum. Unfortunately, this is where my luck ran out. We found out later a security guard took the checkpoint marker down, but I still ended up riding around the entire building a few times. After giving up on this check point, I headed to fish ladder where we had to eat 3 saltine crackers and then get drawn on. Heading over the 6th street bridge [this checkpoint disappeared also], I cruised to the Division St. stairs and had to do 10 jumping jacks. I then rode in circles for a bit looking for the Lookout Park to no avail. Giving up on this check point I was 2 down and not all too happy but figured I was making good time seeing that I had passed a few other riders. I then headed to GVSU's clock tower, followed by Teamwork bags, which had kind of a tricky placement of their marker, then hitting up the final checkpoint at Founders Brewery. I finished with around 10-15 people ahead of me, I was pleased.
As we waited for everyone else to finish, good times where had and we then had one final event. Bike Bowling. The basic concept being that we had 10 mini-kegs set up and we then proceeding to ghost ride a few old bikes into them... Everyone got one chance, and the bikes took a beating to say the least. When my turn came to past, I conjured up some of my state champion bowling past [yeah, I don't want to brag but I could still beat you all, I was good, real good] seeing that most of the riders before me had only knocked down a few kegs. With a little adrenaline pumping, I ghost rode the bike to knock down 9 of the 10 and in the process endangering one of the organizers, Josh, seeing that I hadn't waited for him to clear out. I still feel horrible for that. More riders had there try and by the end, my 9 count was enough to rope me a $15 gift certificate to Vertigo Music. Not too bad at all.
Overall, I do one of these even if there was just food and drink at the end. Just good times to be had and I can't wait for the next one. Thanks to all the guys who helped put this on and all the sponsors Commute Bike Shop, Teamwork Bags, Vertigo Music, and Velocity.
Friday, September 18, 2009
The first was the announcement of new mountain bike trails being built up in the middle of the city! Granted I'm a bit more excited about these seeing that they are being built up very close to the Burns House [ie mi casa] and that I hate driving to ride my bike. Either way a group of people, who I'm assuming are part of the group that have brought BMX racing back to the city, are now turning the area surrounding the track into a full park, simply called GR Bike Park. It hopes to have a trail open by this fall! Exciting news!
Secondly, a fellow GR-ian, cyclist and blogger over at PedalGR.com, Josh Duggan, who has been one of the best advocates for cycling in the area has not only been breaking the news of new trails being built but also part of the newly formed Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition. He writes about the Coalition here and better explains the goals of the group, which we hope No Drive can do whatever we can to help achieve a growing standing for Grand Rapids as a Bicycle Friendly Community.
Good Stuff! For all you outside of the Western Michigan here's a video from you posted by the Ergon twitter feed earlier today, you know how we love Ergon! Maybe we could get an urban endurance race going on in GR next summer? An Urban C-Series event? We'll see...
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The bike was sandblasted and repainted as close to the original paint as possible and stickers were made to match the ones that were on there.
A brand new 105 Crank was put on along with a new bottom bracket and headset. The 40x15 gearing comes in a shade over the desirable 70 gear inches. The bike is a peach to say the least. I'm asking $350 OBO + shipping, email me at email@example.com with questions. I'll accept Paypal and cash.
Here's a run down on the spec on the bike:
1970's Fuji Track bike
Frame: Fuji Steel Track
Top tube length: 59cm
Crank: 105 Octalink 175mm
Front Chain Ring: Rocket 40T
Rear Cog: Surly 15T
Wheelset: Surly Track Hubs on Mavic Open Sport Rims
Also included, original drop bars seen in this picture.
$350 OBO + shipping
Paypal accepted. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Monday, September 14, 2009
The first note worthy item, comes from a person I consider a close friend. Alex Jones, or alxndr [that's right no vowels, that's how he rolls], just started a new blog called 'iowa_commuter'. Alex has been one of the creative minds for some of the NDJR headers you've seen and the current header on the C Series site. He's recently discovered the love for cycling and his daily thoughts are refreshing for me. He's planning on riding year round and I look forward to seeing how he works through all everything as he encounters Iowa winters.
Overall, it's just great to hear stories of people like Alex getting into cycling for practical reasons and seeing how much enjoyment comes from a simple machine. At the heart of No Drive is the desire to promote cycling and maybe, just maybe have others join in on the two wheel revolution!
Since Iowa is on the mind, this past weekend the State Gravel Championships went down. I haven't heard for much in way of race reports but I'm sure I'll stumble onto some shortly. As G-Ted mentioned on his blog a few days ago, the popularity of gravel rides and races is continually growing and needless to say that just excites me.
Finally, I was out of town this weekend visiting some friends on the east side of the state. I got to hang out in Ann Arbor for an all too brief time but in that short time, I might have fallen in love with the place. I didn't think it was possible but with encountering all the bikes and just cruising around it was just amazing how nice it was to be in such a bike friendly community. If I wasn't so attached to GR, I might just think about moving that direction. Unfortunately upon my arrival home from a great few days away, I was informed by my roommate that one of my bikes was stolen. I have much more to say and will save this for a later post this week. Until then if you see a rusty black Schwinn cruiser around GR with a Cinelli stem and a red Paul rear hub let me know, it was stolen around 44th and the Kalamazoo area.
Friday, September 11, 2009
REPORT: Politician known for harsh motorist laws arrested in brutal hit-and-run death
by Chris Shunk
Former Ontario, Canada Attorney General Michael Bryant made a name for himself as a tough-nosed lawmaker that took a hard line against street racing. Among Bryant's hard stance anti-racer policies was a law that gave the police the right to crush any car that was modified for racing – even if the vehicle had no complaints against it. If a report from The New York Times is true, Mr. Bryant could ironically spend the rest of his life behind bars for a brutal hit-and-run accident involving a bicyclist.
The incident reportedly began as a minor event and quickly escalated. Bryant allegedly brushed the bicyclist while he was driving, who then held on to the driver's side door of his black Saab convertible. Witnesses told a local Canadian television station that Bryant was heard swearing and swerving in an apparent attempt to shake the biker from his door. Bystanders told police that Bryant was driving on the sidewalk near lamp posts at a high rate of speed, in an apparent attempt to knock the biker off.
The incident ended with the bicyclist, Darcy Allen Sheppard, striking a mailbox. Sheppard later died due to injuries sustained from the accident. According to the NYT, Bryant went to a nearby hotel after the incident where he was later arrested for what appears to be a most heinous hit-and-run incident. It looks like Bryant was right when he said that cars could be as dangerous as explosives...
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
This past Saturday we had the first C ride out to Grand Haven in back. Unfortunately, the battery in digital camera was dead on Saturday so I had to resort to using my phone for pictures. Needless to say, I'm not as willing to pull it out when riding so only two pictures from the ride [pictured on the right is from outside of Founders waiting for riders]
On the suggestion of Nicola, the route was changed because of traffic on Lake Michigan Drive for the Labor Day weekend travelers [for those not in the know Michiganders, for the most part, LOVE their cottages, boats and the lake shore] to taking essentially taking Leonard St all the way out.
We had a few people who RSVP'd to show up via Facebook, but do to alarm clock issues and other things, the ride ended up just being myself and Nicola Fester [who has some art in the latest/next Bicycle Times magazine!]. Nicola showed up as she always does, on a single speed and needless to say she rocked it. It was a humbling day, especially on the return.
We left at 9:10am just to see if anyone else would be joining in on the fun and made our way to Leonard via Monroe. Neither of us had a computer on our bike to know what we averaged for speeds but we kept a steady pace out to Grand Haven [State Park/Beach/Lake Michigan pictured to the left], getting there in around 2 hours. No real story to tell on the way there outside of my poor attempt at a bunny hop over a crack that then ejected my spare tube.
After briefly hanging out at the beach to refill water and snack a little, we were back on the bikes. Once getting back on the bike, the legs were a little sluggish but quickly bounced back and we made our way back. One the way out, the wind was minimal, if anything a slight headwind but nothing to go home about. We were happy to know we'd have a little tailwind. Mother Nature had the final laugh as the wind changed up enough to be a head wind.
Around mile 50ish, just outside of Eastmanville, I got out of the saddle to climb a hill and well, Nicola passed me just as I had an outburst of sorts, as my body let me know that I would be allowed to spin but not to put down any power for the remaining part of the ride. I'll be the first to admit that this was from the lack of any real base miles/training outside of my daily commute and cruising. I was concerned before the ride because any of my long rides this year, my legs have decided to cramp and I thought this might have been a precursor to what was to come. My body decided to remind me of this a number of different times after this especially on climbs. Fortunately once we hit Walker, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and pushed through.
Throughout all of that, Nicola was a champ and although she said she was being worked pretty good. She threw down and was a champ, humbling me for sure. We ended the ride at Founders and of course, stopped in and enjoyed some stellar food and drink. All in all, I was extremely happy about this ride I hope to see more people come out for future rides. I'm thinking the October 4th ride will be a Grand Rapids to Bell's Brewery in K'zoo.
Here's the ride:
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
As many of you know... over here at No Drive. we love Ergon Bike Products. Be that their grips or their bags, well, the boys over at Eurobike [Europe's version of Interbike, and for those of you who need to know what that is... it's where bike nuts go to go nuts on the next years product] had their yearly show and being that Ergon is a German based company, unveiled some of their line.
I stumbled onto the photos via Ergon's Twitter page but you can check out Jeff Kerkove's flickr page to see some pictures of new gear. BEWARE. It might blow your mind.
A few things that I can't wait to get my hands on for 2010 are the BioKork Ergon grip [pictured above], Ergon Hoodie, Ergon t-shirt and of course I'll be looking into one of these bags for commuting. Heck, I'd take one of everything in the catalog if I could afford it.
Because we all love videos and being that it's ERGON DAY. I also stumbled onto this... A new movie, er documentary, in the spirit of 24 Solo, called Race Across the Sky. Should be fun to watch the battle between Dave Wiens and Lance. Although we all know the result of this years Leadville 100, I'm really looking forward to seeing it.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I am pleased to announce that the C Series website is now up and running. Sure it's nothing flashy but it works nevertheless. I'll post updates
There will be a ride taking place this Saturday to Grand Haven/Lakeshore and for more details please check out the C Series website. Please RSVP via email to me at email@example.com OR via Facebook.
Hope to see you there!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
The pictured arm was of illusive and hard to photograph, Founders Ales/Alger Racing Elite Rider and one of Velocity USA's stellar employees Jeff Jacobi...
In all seriousness, I have no idea if this was actually Jeff's arm or not but I did have a fun time acting like it was. Jeff is a great rider and friend, who I have been privileged to follow in the footsteps of at my shop. But enough of all of this horsing around and tomfoolery... get back to work and ride safe!
Monday, August 31, 2009
Check out the article below. Maybe if you imagine it is being read in a British accent it'll sound like a better argument. I feel I should also state that the following is not the opinion of No Drive. or of any of it's contributors and is only the opinion of the original author.
Ethical Consumer has a feature called Love this, ban that! which asks an assortment of the green and the good which saintly products they love and which evil ones they’d ban. Sadly, only Mayor Boris took the opportunity to challenge the premise that banning things is the best way to steer society down a more sustainable path and to allay the well-founded suspicion among many outside the green ghetto that environmentalists tend to be ban-happy authoritarians.
Inexplicably, Ethical Consumer didn’t contact me to take part in their survey but I’d like to nominate the bicycle as my favourite “ethical consumer product” and the cycle helmet for an immediate, total ban backed up with the full force and violence of the criminal justice system.
I hope that choosing the bicycle as my preferred product needs little explanation or justification but my proposed ban on cycle helmets might be a little more problematic. For a long time I’ve harboured the suspicion in my more paranoid moments that there’s some kind of collusion between the road/oil lobby and elements of the cycling fraternity to ensure that cycling in Britain remains a marginalised, unpleasant and largely despised activity.
For those of us looking to travel between around a mile and eight miles without an extreme amount of cargo, the bike should be the default choice. Done right, cycling is convenient, cheap, safe, accessible, fun and sustianable.
It’s not possible to uninvent the bicycle but if Shadowy Forces wanted to minimise the number of people cycling so as to benefit their Evil Agenda they’d probably want to chip away at all the things that make cycling potentially great so as to diminish the whole experience. If you can’t ban it, knacker it.
Here’s how to do it:
Cycling is cheap? Can’t have that. Now, let’s see. Let’s start at the obvious place by making bikes more expensive. Load them with features that cost more to build (complex braking systems, gears, suspension) and require expensive expert maintenance rather than DIY. Turn the bike from an everyday utilitarian thing, a utensil, and make it a product. Desirable. Fashionable. Consumerable. There’s a lot of choice, so shop around. Read reviews. Get recommendations. Worry, because it matters. Who’d want to be seen riding a cheap bike? An unfashionable bike? A tatty bike? Now accessorise. That expensive bike needs an expensive lock — or two. Got to protect your investment. Buy insurance. (Shop around, shop around.) Compare the tensile strengths and style options and get a helmet. A bone dome. A skid lid. Don’t be cheap — your skull could depend on it. Get a hi-viz jacket that’s more breathable than a string vest and only fifty times the price. Padded shorts for that tiny, bony saddle. Special shoes to couple perfectly with your special pedals. A messenger bag from this week’s premium brand.
Here’s the safety strategy: Make it less safe and make it feel less safe. The best way to make cycling less safe is for cyclists to ride faster. Encourage this wherever possible. Forget ambling, casual, pedestrian images of cycling. Emphasise sport, fitness, competition. Measure speed. Sell speedometers and odometers. Get people to monitor their performance. Track their MPH, their heartrates, their calories, their carbon footprints. Compare with others. Compete. Idolise road racers, couriers, extreme mountain bikers, BMXers. Alleycatters. Lance Armstrong. Jump the red light. Race other cyclists. Race cars. Race the clock. Race, race. It’s not fun unless you’re taking risks. Life is one big risk, right? Cycling just got a whole lot more dangerous for the sake of a marginal shortening of the average journey. Ohh, wipeout. Nice one.
Now the perception of safety. Talk about safety, safety, safety so everyone thinks danger, danger, danger. Don’t show images of cyclists without helmets, especially not children. Never children. Sending your children out on bikes without helmets is tantamount to child abuse. Don’t you care? Don’t you care about the children? Would you send them out to their deaths? Photos of cyclists without helmets are like images of people with cigarettes. Historical documents. Anachronisms. Forbidden outside the intellectual safety of the academy. Be safe, be seen. Hi viz. Yellow jacket, yellow jersey. £100 lights that can dazzle shipping 20 miles off the coast. Lumens. Got to get more lumens. You need a bell? You need a foghorn. Radar. Missiles, if you could get them. And you need training, because it’s a war out there. Drivers hate you. Pedestrians hate you. Other cyclists hate you. The law is indifferent, the police don’t care. Every other road user will kill you if they get a chance. Unless you get trained. Unless you can stay one step ahead of them. Unless you can get them first. So you go to boot camp. You get trained. You are approved. You are a Cyclist. You feel a little bit safer in that dangerous place. Until you see the ghost bike. Don’t be a statistic like the pallid, mangled wreck chained to the lamppost at the roundabout. Don’t be a victim. Go faster. Be a winner. Beat them.
Do you smell? People shouldn’t smell. If you cycle, if you cycle fast, you’ll smell. You’ll need a shower. Does your workplace have showers? No? Don’t cycle. Does the pub have showers? No? Don’t cycle. Does the shopping centre have showers? No? Please, don’t cycle.
If you don’t mind smelling, you can’t cycle to work because they don’t have lockers. You need a locker for your helmet. Your jacket. Your padded shorts. Your special shoes that couple so, so perfectly with your special pedals. Your quick-release (eezy-steal) saddle. Your lights and all their lumens. Your handlebar computer with its data, its intimate knowledge of your body, your performance, your lifestyle. Your hydration system. Your lock. You worry about your lock. It cost more than your first bike. And the bike itself? That needs a CCTV-monitored, thumbprint-secured, climate-controlled vault. A lamppost won’t do because your bike takes a month’s work to buy but only a minute or two to steal.
Are you fat? Don’t cycle. You don’t, do you? Fit people cycle. Fat people do not cycle. (Fat people do not swim. Fat people do not run. Soon, fat people will not walk.) Cycling is about fitness. Fat people, un-fit people, do not cycle. Fat people look ridiculous on bikes. Fat people look crap in lycra. Fat people look even more fat in lycra, if such a tragically hilarious thing could be possible. Fat people can only go slowly but cyclists must go fast. They must race. They must perform. They must compete. Fat people are not fast off the lights. Fat people do not look like Lance Fuckingarmfuckingstrong. Fat people must enshroud themselves in cars as a prophylactic against polite society’s sight of their ungainly self-propelled movement. Fat people must squeeze themselves onto buses and trains and tubes with all the other huffers and puffers, the children and the old people, the timid and the nearly dead. They say obese but you read fat. People like you are an epidemic. You are contagious and the things you must do to make the rest of us safe you are not allowed to do. Fat is getting thinner all the time. If you are fat, don’t cycle. You don’t, do you?
Cycle helmets are the most visible and potent symbol of all that’s wrong with Britain’s (anti-)cycling culture. Cycle helmets say we cannot cycle without the right precautions, the right equipment, the right infrastructure, the right training. Cycle helmets say there must be more to cycling than a person, two wheels and the surface of the Earth. Cycle helmets say that cycling is more dangerous than not cycling. Let’s ban them now before it’s too late. Let’s lock up all the people who buy them, who sell them, who use them. Let’s drag them off to jail in handcuffs, in tears.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I'll have a bit more for you all tonight but for now, get out and ride!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This was a quick picture I took before Tom and I's late night ride for cheap food...
That's right, we rode to get food and good food... and cheap food. I digress... I've got a few other things to get before new pictures of here will be shown but in the meantime I've been rocking Red brake less the last few days and it's been fun. Not a new experiment by any means but really allows me to remember how badly I wish I could skid.
Another addition to Red will be a new brake lever. Over the weekend I did some modification to what started as an all white brake to better fit Red's decor.
That's it for now. More later and to those of you who were wondering, Leadout Racing had a pretty dang good showing at the Tour de Gaslight Crit this past weekend. Way to go guys! It made for a great day to sit and watch a few races.
Friday, August 21, 2009
So if you're looking for a new bike, come and visit me this weekend or heck, come see all the work I did moving things around. Otherwise, ride safe and if you're in the GR area on Sunday maybe I'll see you here. Geoff's throwing down the hammer as always, maybe a his first Pro/Cat 1/2 race win? Hopefully but we'll see.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
A few days ago, I had the day off. I really didn't do anything. I mean, I did nothing. But somehow in the middle of that, I realized I needed a new belt and as I looked through my spare and old bike parts I discovered I had a few old tires that were pretty sweet but unusable for any actual riding. Ta-da! Queue the music! Why not make a belt out of one of them.
This of course, lead me to think how this might lead to a NDJR carry-over. We're already making and developing t-shirts but why not reuse some thing that has used up it's life as some thing else. Why not reduce the amount of 'stuff' that we're bringing into the world. Why not breathe life into some thing that just gets thrown out.
So became the first prototype of the No Drive. Just Ride. belt.
This is an old Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Tire partnered with some parts of an old belt. And what do you know. It works. It's comfortable. It looks sweet. It's time for you to get your hands on one.
Each belt is unique with their own personality, tread and buckle. If you are interested in getting your hands on one of these please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a waist measurement [in inches] and what kind of tread pattern you'd be interested in getting your hands on. The first generation NDJR belts will start at $20 and that includes shipping to the continental U.S.. Payments via Paypal will be accepted.
Once again, email me and we can get the conversation started on your one of a kind belt!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Just a few response to the motorists the 'iReporter' interviewed...
One of the more common responses I have experienced when those not riding see or experience larger rides go through urban centers and disrupt the regular flow of traffic. This is one of the main reason for the Critical Mass rides is to raise awareness for cycling and get more people involved. There is strength in numbers and this is a great way to get people's attention.
'I love this, I'm get myself a bike'
Once again. Just great to see and hear when people simply see enough 'everyday' people riding around that they want to join in. Cycling has unfortunately gained the stigma of the helmet wearing and spandex sporting athletes which isn't always putting a great step forward for the sport. Riding just to ride is why we all started in the first place, the freedom we experienced the moment the wind hit our face, I would argue, is the hook that keeps most of us going.
'Nightmare. They should obey the same rules we do and there's a cop that let them do it too... And we're late!'
This passenger is exactly right. Cyclist should and must obey the same rules as automobiles. But often cyclists aren't given or afforded the same rights to the road by the same people who demand they obey the rules. Thus why a critical mass is important in getting people to recognize the importance of cycling but more importantly cycling safely. Which, by the way, the Vancouver ride is with the police escort. By having the law enforcement, i.e. city government involved, it makes sure the event remains safe to all who are involved.
'I think they picked the wrong time of day to throw this protest, I don't why the city allows them to have it... Pick a time of day when, like a Sunday or some thing to throw this protest, not a Friday before a long weekend.'
Now all I want to do is ask this driver is what good is a protest that no one sees or disrupts the normal flow of the day? How else do you raise awareness or get people talking about and issue unless you bring it to ones attention? Maybe that's just me.
Overall, I'm on the fence as to whether or not I approve of Critical Mass rides. Sure, it's fun to go on and I basically partake in one each Wednesday Night here in GR but as we've encountered with these rides, often there are people who don't want to obey traffic laws and do more harm than good for bicycling advocacy with their actions. But then again, people are riding and is that really a bad thing?
Monday, August 17, 2009
It was quite the coincidence that I spoke to a customer on Saturday about the importance of a properly fitting shoe and he responded with 'Spending money on a solid seat and shoes is always worth it' and at that moment all of this dawned on me. Then Saturday night stumbled onto G-Ted's review of some grips where he made the statement above and everything clicked. In my mind, the 3 essential things to be dialed in on any bike are first ones saddle, then the grips and shoes [in whichever order you want]. Outside the saddle, the other two are often overlooked as essential items to have dialed in.
Now, there are plenty of differing thoughts on what makes one saddle better than the next. From Bontrager's Inform to Specialized Body Geometry to the 'try it and ride it' approach, each hold some truth although I would lean more towards Bontrager's approach more than anything. Stressing that specific size, adjustment and padding is more important that removing saddle structure or cut out. Saddle width is the key measurement I have found for saddle comfort. Figuring that out, as you can see on either on the Bontrager or Specialized website, while considering the typical riding position adds up to the right saddle. But there is one solution to all saddle problems... getting out and riding it. And most saddle companies now offer a 30 to 90 day like it or return it policy, take advantage of that! But you owe it to yourself to ride a saddle more than once and to try different positions on the saddle. I have found that if you have to adjust a saddle more than one or two 'clicks' from level you might have the wrong seat and that sliding the saddle along the rails does more for comfort than anything else.
Grips. Now, I'm extremely bias. I believe Ergon Bike Ergonomics put out the best product on the market. Period. This is an area that until companies like Ergon came around a few years ago, very little thoughts on how to relieve pain to a riders hand were considered outside of using bigger grips or a riser bar. I discovered Ergon via Jeff Kerkove back when Ergon decided to sponsor Trans Iowa and provide all 50 of the riders with free grips. This created quite the buzz around the shop and from that moment on, I believe all of us at Europa have been sporting them. Why? Because they simply work. There is a reason why companies are copying their design. These grips relieve the stress from the nerve that goes through your palm that creates the numbness and pain when pinched during riding. From the casual rider to the endurance racer, one can not go wrong with these grips.
Shoes would be the last on my list of must have or must do between these 3 Essentials. Why? The novice cyclist simply wants to jump on the bike and ride where as the more avid rider or racer understands the improved efficiency and control one gains with a cycling specific shoes. Of course, when you bring up shoes, it is more than that and brings into the discussion of pedals but for the sake of this argument we'll simply concede that each have different preferences on what pedals a rider should use. A solid shoe for me, has a stiff sole, a 3 strap system with one ratcheting buckle. Each company out there offers products that have these options and depending on your foot type, how they fit comes into play. But when trying on shoes the two things I stress to customers is to look for and feel a good snug heel and plenty of space in the toe box. From there, to each their own on what works for them.
But in then end, with these 3 essentials it comes down to exactly what G-Ted said 'If a part becomes a transparent part of your daily riding routine, then I would say it is doing its job'. So if you notice it, it's probably not a good thing and you might want to consider changing it. Before you just start buying more and more shoes and saddles, take time to think of what exactly bothers you, what part of your hand, foot or hind side hurts and talk it over with someone at your local shop. They should be able to give you a few options for finding ways to making these parts 'transparent'.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Now, this has been on my mind for some time now... at one point I thought about putting together a potential race, other times I simply training rides, then sometimes simply no drop longer distant ride. The C Series is a bit of all 3, it maybe only one of 3 some months but in the end, it's all about the love of Cycling.
C stands for Cycling
C stands for 100
C stands for Century
My hope is that this becomes a monthly ride where we ride 100 miles at one shot, some months it will be a clean 100, others a dirty 100. Meaning when it's a clean it's on pavement, dirty its on dirt/gravel. These rides will typically take place on Sundays and mainly in Michigan but I am also hoping to have a ride in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois down the road. Some will be part of larger already established rides [such as the ride in September] others we'll be on our own.
August 30th :: A no-drop CLEAN Century
September 27th :: Apple Cider Century [must pre-register here]
October 24th/DIRTY [Tentative Date]
November 22nd in Iowa/DIRTY [Tentative Date and Location]
December 19th [Tentative Date]
Start times and tentative route will be announced/posted 1 week prior to ride both here and on the C Series website [still in development]. Please feel free to email me if you are interested in receiving emails about the upcoming rides at email@example.com