From Japan: Are bikes un-American?

IMG_4104.jpgOMFG, my step-father was right! All those liberal, bike riding hippies are a secret plot to steal our tax dollars! Maybe Toyota was Detroit’s demise after all (and not rocketing petrol prices kicking down the house of cards that the full-size SUV built). Next thing you know, the Japanese will be landing wave after wave of these Communist bikes, like this one in Hatagaya.

Rack on Road

rack I got a recent comment about a road rain bike and rack capability. I’ve ridden a ton of different bikes, and I can say with some certainty that I will never put a rack on a road bike again. With a pure road bike, the handling is thrown off badly by a rear rack and it just looks off to me. If you want a rack - get a touring bike. Something with long chain stays, comfortable geometry, and mounts intended for that use. Something that will be less effected by having 30lbs dragging off your rear end. There are a TON of good companies out there making very nice bikes intended for that use. I’m sure plenty of folks disagree, but I’m holding my line here!

From Taiwan: A Work Bike

taiwan%20workbike.jpg Iris took me to a couple of the night markets in Taipei. These are spectacles that shouldn’t be missed. For one reason, there’s the food, which is both really good and really cheap. Another is the atmosphere of the Taiwanese passing the time, leisurely winding their way through narrow passageways, and the shop people in their semi-busy routine that must have been formed through countless nights just like this one.

In between eating treats of squid legs and yam fries and shopping for handbags, I spotted this work bike. It’s a longtail trike, single speed with what appears to be a frame mounted brake lever. I would see these trikes here and there but never in the new Taipei core around the 101 tower. As the city is almost pancake flat, nestled amongst mountains and dressed with good pavement, the trikes need only be sturdy and simple. Chances are that these trikes were manufactured long ago, and yet despite the onslaught of motorscooters and autos, they live on because of their economy and durability.

A Grandma and a Gios

I found this picture of a Gios mini velo and someone’s grandma. I’m pretty sure this is Taiwan and not Japan, so I guess that maybe these bikes are imported to Taiwan. Or maybe they never left Taiwan since I’m certain that these bikes aren’t made in Japan. Either way, Gios mini velos are much more common in Tokyo than Taipei.

Also, I’m a bit jealous if this grandma actually owns and rides that bike.

Brooklyn Bike Kill

Video from Bike Kill – sort of like Thunderdome on bikes, hosted by the Black Label Bicycle Club.

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