Blinking Man: Up in Spoke

For their 5th annual ride on the the Strip, 350 cyclists joined Blinking Man and lit it up with spokes.

A Red Kite Prayer for Compact Cranks

RKP on a Ride

A personal Red Kite Prayer

On a 45 minute climb up into the Santa Monica Mountains, Patrick O’Brady half-wheeled me for approximately 44 and 1/2 minutes. During the time, I studied his kit, his pedal stroke, and asked him after every switchback how much longer we had to go. We’d turned off from the longer ride, both nursing war wounds, and feeling old. The guys on the long ride were 1/2 our age, had more to prove and still making a name for themselves in this business. For us it was stories from the past, what’s happening now, and what we’re going to do with ourselves, as our earning years dwindle like the energy in tired legs.

Shifting up and down on the new 22 from SRAM cross-chaining every possible combination, I said, “can’t find the right gear on this 52/36!” Patrick replied, “you got to get over that man, Tyler rode that drivetrain.”

“He was on dope!”

“Yes, but a fast doper….”

That I believe compact cranks are like clip-on ties, they work, but require less effort or skill Patrick would and will disagree with. He has a hundred stories to prove me wrong. That’s cause he’s a storyteller, one of the bike industry’s finest and has collected his best tales into a book. You can join the crowd on Kickstarter and fund it further.

Then ask him about his ride with me someday. He never saw me again until after the descent where I wished I had a 53 x 11 the whole time.

Note: the Red Kite Prayer happens at the end of the ride, or the race, when you see the Red Kite. It’s the final milestone before the finish and seen at the 1K to go mark.

Specialized Turbo Test Ride: Unlimited or Restricted and UPDATED

Pedal and the Turbo kicks in like the power in a 3 chord song

A year ago yesterday, when no one was looking, hungover Sea Otter attendees weren’t up yet or were waking and baking in a team camper somewhere, rode the Specialized Turbo. This version was for the European market, unlimited, non-restricted and with snap-your-head back acceleration. In one stomp on the pedals I knew why Spesh named their ebike the Turbo – could’ve spelled that with all caps and exclamation point.

I was on a short leash for the ride, before any PR peeps got wind of it or heard the electric motor whir, but impressed I was. It’s up to Spesh to explain to why the Turbo costs so much, what you’d do with it, battery life, or how it fits your lifestyle. I was just thrilled to ride an ebike that doesn’t look like the ones Lee Iacocca tried to sell in the early 2000s.

The Turbo is available now in the States, they launched it here yesterday and our boy Cyclelicious attended the event. If this bike appeals to you, call your LBS and put a deposit down now, cause it’ll sell out. Then figure out how to remove the speed limiter so you can ride it like I did.

More photos from my ride lightboxed on Flickr and G+.


“And it’s really fun to ride,” says Outside’s Micheal Roberts in another report from the launch. How Spesh got the Turbo into the States is an interpretation of the laws about speed limits. Because the drivetrain is a pedal assist instead of a throttle, the laws don’t apply.

They just took a closer look at the law, which states that e-bikes must have a motor of less than 750 watts and an unassisted speed of less than 20 mph. Because the Turbo is an electric pedal-assist bike, meaning you have to pedal to get any kick from the motor, the speed limit doesn’t apply. In fact, the only reason it tops out at 28 mph is to comply with European laws, which restrict e-bikes to 45 mph. Specialized installed a governor on the Turbo that automatically turns the motor off when it reaches this speed.


stiff like a road bike

The Turbo is governed to 45, which I’m sure every owner and test rider of the Turbo will try to reach.

Note: this post was edited with new information regarding States laws and clarification from Specialized PR

A Story Tall Bike

If we had more marketing budget, or knew a cyclist from the LA Bike Cult, would fly a Raise Your Seat banner behind their 12-foot tall, Stoopid Tall bike. The aerial adverting would promote a ride in the sky, a story tall! Don’t know that records are kept on the tallest bike, but Felix built an 18-footer in Cuba.


Quad Tall

In Austin, we rode with Tall Bikes during Mobile Socials, including this quad. The Tall Bikes flanked the rides like infantry sentries spotting cars and corking intersections. Also witnessed a joust in the Georgetown neighborhood and a chill moment with a Schwinn.


Joust Impact

What inspires a maker to build a bike taller than themselves? The same thing that causes a climber to reach the highest peak they can.

Cervelo S5: A Lust for Life

Cervelo S5

Sinewy, strong, fast

A Cervelo S5 arrived in time for road season, studying it, trying to best describe how it looks, all I got is Iggy Pop. So ugly it rocks. The shaping is like “Hypnotizing chickens worth a million in prizes and I’m just a modern guy. Got a Lust for Life.”

If you’re into this sort of thing, then this is the bike for you. To me it seems the engineering stopped at the head tube. Like all their budget went into slamming that tire up a seat-mast ass. The front end is unbalanced and twitchy with that high of a head tube, like steering a bus or flying an MD-80 in turbulence. Keep the gas on into a corner, so it doesn’t forget which direction you were pointed.

Thick and thin

Thick and thin

The S5 does get down the road and accelerates and that’s why racers like it. The bike moves, but with the all the subtly of a Sagan, podium-girl butt pinch. It’s also the team bike of choice and for good reason, lots of zooma-zoom-zoom-zoom in a boom-boom on a working-class racer’s budget.

66s attached

66s attached

In the time we had this bike at Hugga HQ, it didn’t stop raining long enough to shoot it until last night. At sunset, the S5 glows pretty and beckons you into a bike shop. We can’t recommend a 52/36 for racing, but a fondo, sure. Spin those sub-compact gears up the hills.

Cervelo wants this bike back now and we’ve got to make way for another. After the sunset shots, this morning the S5 is being packed up in a bike box. Would’ve liked to ride it more.

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