When asked, the Shinola connection to bikes was explained to me this way
Bikes and watches both require amazing craftsmanship and they are both items that have not been made at scale in this country in sometime, so Shinola is going to change that.
Created for their booth at the Baselworld watch show in Switzerland where the watch brand will globally debut, this brass-plated, one-off Runwell will attract show goers. Also light up blogs like ours. Interested in the made-by-a-watch company bling? Today, Shinola launches their pre-sale campaign for watches and bikes at Shinola.com.
Handbuilt in Detroit
But you can’t buy the one-of with the vintage lamp, plated fenders, chain guard, and patina. Just the regular, high-end versions handbuilt in Detroit. The bike was conceived by Shinola’s Creative Director Daniel Caudill and executed by Sky Yaeger (formerly of Bianchi and Swobo), as well as a team of builders at Shinola.
Nice grip and bell
Last year, I included a Shinola in my Wired feature about Interbike. At the show in Vegas, they had a Runwell sitting outside of the Chrome booth. It was unremarkable in a convention of bikes, except for a nice bell and grip.
The watch/bike connection may not seem like just a savvy marketing tactic, when you understand the coveted disposable income buyer, the one that keeps bike builders in business, also wants a unique city bike in their stable. It’s as brilliant as the patina on this bike.
The 7th annual Mobile Social SXSW 13 was held on Saturday under stormy skies near where the bike lane ends in Austin. The weather tempered the turnout and that meant everyone got into the Chevy Tweethouse to party with us after the ride. I heard we went through 7 or 8 kegs and all the BBQ you could eat.
To avoid the weather and get back for the beer and food, we rode a quick route around the university, buzzed the capital, and back to Mellow Johnnys. Fast Folks were there, regulars, and old friends.
A Fast Folk
See these two every year
Our route this year stormed the Capital
Thanks for coming out and join us next year for the 8th one.
The rest of the ride photos are available in high rez on G+ and Flickr.
The Seattle bike community and industry has responded to Mark Bender’s severe spinal injury with a fund raiser and an outpouring of support. I’ve been on the road and late to announce this, but he wiped out while boarding on vacation in Hawaii and blew up C6/C7. After initial paralysis, he’s regained some sensation and we hope that continues.
At the Seattle Bike Expo this past weekend, there is a classic bicycle show in which the local vintage bicycle collectors bring out some choice items from their personal collections. To be perfectly honest, I’m much more of a modern technology fan. However, I am fascinated by inter-war track bikes, especially machines associated with six-day racing and stayer racing.
What is stayer racing? It is motor-paced racing on a velodrome. Before automobiles and motorcycles, bicycles were about as fast as any vehicle. In the later 1800s, there were paced races on the velodrome, but the pacers were multi-rider tandems providing drafting for single rider bikes. Sometimes the tandems had as many as six riders. But just like the industrial revolution, machines proved more cost effective than human labour…and faster. By the turn of the century, velodromes long evolved from glorified horsetracks to indoor arenas, and the velodromes banking had become steep to match the tighter radius of the turns. This made stayer racing among the most exciting and dangerous of all sports.
(image from letterlust’s flickr)
By the 1900s, bicycles for stayer racing had been refined to meet the unique requirements of the discipline. First and foremost is a small (typically 24”) front wheel and a reverse rake fork. This is for aerodynamics, but not in the way that time trial and pursuit bikes in the 1980s-1990s used small front wheels and cowhorn bars to lower the height of the bike. Rather, the stayer’s short front-center and small wheel allowed the rider to draft a little closer to the moto, but the handlebar sat high to facilitate maximal breathing and leverage. Saddles might overlap the bottom bracket so that the rider’s body leaned a little further forward, and the handlebars were positioned far forward as well. To eliminate flex and above all else possibility of failure, both the saddle and stem required support struts.
The motos used for stayer racing were specialized as well. These were not bicycles with a tiny engine mounted (what is called “derny”), but rather real motorcycles (750cc to 2500cc engine displacement) built to allow the motorcyclist to create a draft for the bike rider behind him. Moto drivers, or pacers, sit bolt upright or even stand during the race, with long, swept handlebars to make it possible to sit all the way back on the moto. This allowed the pacer to create a pocket of draft as big and as close to the rider as possible. Off the back of the moto, a small roller bar is positioned a regulation distance; as a safety feature the roller spins freely should the drafting rider bump into it. The races are typically middle to long distance (compared to other track events). The pacer more or less determines the race, with the rider trying with all his might to stick tight in the draft. A rider who loses the shelter behind his pacer will be swallowed by wind resistance and quickly fall of the pace. The pacer will need to slow way down for his rider to catch back on and then slowly accelerate without losing his rider again. Race speeds frequently average 60-70 kph for 100km, with bursts of over 100 kph (60mph) possible. One can easily imagine how dangerous this can become on small track with multiple teams of riders and pacers, and true to expectations there have been numerous deaths of both riders and pacers as well as 9 spectators in Germany 1909, when a moto careened off track into the bleachers.
What about stayer racing today? Paced events more typically use dernies today and outside of Europe, and the last UCI-sanctioned world championship for stayer racing was almost 20 years ago. But high-level stayer racing still occurs in Europe, much like six-day racing. In fact, stayer racing is frequently held as an event within the schedule of the modern six-day. The bikes still look much like the 1930s Belgian-made Boogmans stayer that I saw this weekend, but that chromed frame and wood rims are really sexy.
Below is a video from a Steherrennen during the Berlin 6-Day last year. Watch for the rider to lose the draft at 2:15. He’s shouting and gesticulating to get his pacer to slow down, but they’ve already lost several places.