Ride with Us at SXSW 13


Gathered last year at Club Deville

The 7th annual Mobile Social SXSW is scheduled for 4 PM at Mellow Johnnys, March 9th. After a weekend of MoSos last year with Google+ and Tern, we’re back to MJs for a mellower ride in 12. We’ll meet up, ride, and return for beer, bbq, and music at the shop with the Chevy TweetHouse.

Please RSVP for a headcount to Facebook or Schemer. Need a bike? SXCycles is back with free bikes and rentals are available in town from shops. Also check Craiglist for locals renting their bikes.

Badges and Wristbands

Riding with us and Social Cycling Austin is free with no credentials required. To get into MellowJohhnys and the Chevy TweetHouse, you’ll need a SXSW badge or wristband. We’ll have a limited number of wristbands for ride attendees: first come, first served.

Snow Biking with a Death Wish Factor of 2

It’s time to move onto road stories and the Spring, but before those posts I want to note that in a NYT article about snow sports in Alaska, a reporter snow biked. He and his crew had nearly the same experience we did in Sun Valley, as featured by Wired earlier this month.

Struggling to move forward on the trail, he jokes about how great his obit would read if he died out there and how they were luckily if they “could walk the bikes without falling, never mind climbing hills on them.” Then they saw a moose, a very dangerous animal.

As we rode, I realized we were plodding along at roughly a brisk jogging pace. Once you figured out what you were doing, where was the thrill, the adrenaline rush?

On the uphills on the trail in Far North Bicentennial Park we were lucky if we could walk the bikes without falling, never mind climbing hills on them.

Because in Alaska, even a bike in the park can be extreme.

snow biking dangers

Snow Bike Dangers charted

The reporter gave Snow Biking a Death Wish Factor of 2. We never feared for our lives, but like he did wanted more thrill and better performing bikes.

Also noted at NAHBS this weekend was the trend towards adventure biking with larger volume tires in general. As road riding and racing wanes in popularity post Lance, adventure biking is the next trend. Fat Bikes are a large part of that and with mainstream media coverage, they can improve and keep selling.

A Fat Peacock Groove and Sandman

The excitement, buzz about fat tires and wheels was happening at NAHBS with bikes like this from Peacock Groove.


A Fat Peacock

See more of this bike in their video, starting at 1:40. Also see what Sandman is doing in this video. That’s the Fat Bike I wanted on the single track in the snow: high performance, all terrain.

Photo: Gluckman.

Waitlisted at NAHBS

Ogre Ti

Boxy build from Xvelo

We’re not a NAHBS, but @sgluckman pranked me by adding my name to waitlists for the most over-the-top bikes he could find, like this!


Carbon rotors

Also asked how these carbon rotors would do in the grassy mud of Kentucky! Meanwhile, Chandler is there too and tipped us to Kashimax saddles, handmade in Japan.

For more bikes that Gluckman waitlisted me for, see my post on G+.

Fat Bike Friday: A Rebuttal

Finding a Fat Bike Flow

Finding a Fat Bike Flow

Fat Bike Fans are F’ing nuts…they got more good crazy than cargo bikers do, who in the years before fat was popular, were THE craziest. After the Wired Feature, where I pondered the point of them, Fat Bike fans came out of the woodwork, lighting up the switchboards and emailing me. And here’s my bike industry marketing tip for 2013: create a product suited to them, Kickstart the shit out of it, whatever. Strike while the fat iron is hot, cause they’ve got more fever for the flavor than a 29r zealot or that guy still arguing the best frame material in builder’s forums. I know their crazy cause I bore the brunt of it for a week.

Of all the conversations I had in back channels about the Fat Bike story, I’m sharing Guitar Ted’s chat with me here.

Well, you raise some points that found me nodding my head in agreement, but you also seem to have some feelings that I find contrary to the experience of riding in conditions that are otherwise unrideable with “ordinary mountain bikes.”

You seem annoyed by the slow, mind numbing pace of the riding, the high focus on handling, and some technicalities with components. I ask you- would you rather be riding rollers/trainers? For many, that is the only other option at times.

I also find that the high focus on handling actually pays dividends when I do get back on my “typical mtb” in the regular season. In this sense, I get a benefit, albeit not an immediate one. The bikes are heavier- this makes me stronger when I ride my other bikes. The bikes have technical challenges now- but as you point out, with refinement, you will see those overcome. Grip Shift is the bomb on a fat bike with thicker gloves.

The slower paced riding is actually peaceful, and not unlike what one might experience while hiking- only you are riding a bicycle. I am not holden to the belief that speed “has to be” a part of an enjoyable cycling experience, but many are. I get that, but I don’t think everyone is this way.

Furthermore, I have witnessed first hand how many first time off roaders are tickled to death to find such a stable beast, which a fat bike is, which slows down the need to react to inputs, and is giving them traction for days in corners and on climbs. In this sense, it opens the off road doors to folks who are otherwise terrified of many of the mountain bikes you specifically call out in your piece. The “ATV” of mtb vs the “Honda 250 motocrosser”, if you will.

That said- yes- they could be better, and I think companies like On One, who developed their fat bike with trail riding in mind, are on the right track. It also is interesting to note that J&B Importers, who have the house brand, “Origin 8” are coming out with a fat bike exactly as you have envisioned, (albeit heavy), by the way of the introduction of the Nuvinci 360 hubbed “Crawler”, available in April.

I feel a front suspended, 3”-3.8” tired, fat bike with trail geometry would be the best representation of a bike that would bring a different flavor to mountain biking. I feel there is potential there. (Check out the Belgian brand, Sandman, for where I think this is going) Anyway, I think there is much potential for a larger audience for these bikes, that isn’t the “typical” 5 inch travel mtb freak of today.

Agreed Ted and it was great fun to ride those. As I wrote, “the experience made me ponder the point of these bikes, and the questions those building them must answer if snow biking is to catch on.” It’s great to see the discussion and that much enthusiasm for a bike category. Also a bike in the shop that mechanics are into, sells with a healthy margin, and catches people’s eyes. The only bike I’ve ridden that people react to with such wonderment of “what is that!” are folders, like Tern or Brompton.

Now I want a fat bike with folding bikes attached to it that deploy like shuttles off a mothership!

Postholing it

When you dab in snow biking, your foot keeps going and going. At least the landing is soft – @thequeenofpain

For those riding them daily and commuting, the women in the first photo above, after we were done riding, rode her Fatback to a backcountry rescue. She’s an EMT that rides year ‘round. I also rode with Reba.

Single Track

Single Track in the Snow

Not sure yet what the follow up Fat Bike story is, but it’s being talked about now and maybe a return to Sun Valley for more single track in the Summer. I want to see those wolves again. Also for a F you and the fat bike you rode in on story, see the response from the Alaska Dispatch.

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