Well that was a crazy lovable mess when we had an impromptu MTB meetup in the Barton Creek Greenbelt, including a river portage. That’s my new best advice for SXSW attendees, spend a few hours away from the convention riding mountain bikes!
More of the MTB Austin story to follow. Later today our annual Mobile Social.
Tires on roads, shifting, excuses, praise, music; the sounds we hear. Issue 22 is available now. It dropped on iTunes and the Web as we arrive in Austin, a city that vibrates with sound, and where we ride every year during SXSW.
It is said that the early two-wheeled hobby horses were designed to deal with a lack of real horses during the early 19th century, though those contraptions were not much more than a scooter that a rider stood on. A true bicycle, powered by a person through pedals, came about later in the Industrial Age, and then more as a sport and social pastime of the landed gentry and the new urban bourgeois rather than a transportation solution. But soon an era of adventure cycling seized bold Victorians who wanted to explore the wilds beyond the towns or perhaps the furthest reaches of the Empire. They left the roads that were made for them (and back then the roads WERE made for cyclists) to gallivant across the roughness of an older world. Leaping forward about a century, cycling in America experienced a boom in the 1970s, as a solution to petrol prices making the automobile use prohibitive, followed by a period in which sport bicycles were the focal point of design. Perhaps it’s expected that today’s cyclists are finding a wanderlust to explore those routes beyond their daily commute and outside the realms of conventional competition. Noticing this trend, manufacturers are responding with adventure categories and the marketing is way less limiting than calling them “gravel” for grinders (races on gravel roads) and dirt fondos (charity rides on dirt).
These are road bikes with the most room possible for wide tires and mounts for racks. Whether cyclists are riding to compete or camp, we’re welcoming more options and better built frames that’ll handle the terrain. Like the venerable Trek 520 in steel or the 720 outfitted with a companion dry bag system.
This category is an homage to the days when riding your bike across America captured imaginations and cargo containers of bikes were imported in response to the gas crisis. This was before Lemond, “Jock” Boyer, or Phinney taught us about racing in France and what it was like to ride fast.
Nostalgia for the 70s in this instance — excluding pleated polyester pants or sansablets — is about getting out and riding and that’s wherever the road takes you.
We’re so excited to have the opportunity to send riders out on cycling adventures with these new bikes,” said David Studner, Assistant Product Manager for the City Bikes category. “Each bike was designed with a particular flavor of adventure riding in mind, and it will be really interesting to meet these riders and hear about the adventures and memories they create on them.
Issue 04 of our magazine is all about adventure too, including a 100 miles in Idaho. To read it please subscribe: annual subscriptions are $16; individual issues are $4.
So much cycling imagery in Apple’s event today and we’re wondering if the Apple Watch with fitness apps could replace your bike computer? Wondered about that too with Google Glass (and no it didn’t). Most importantly in all that was mentioned was Glances. That’s what intrigued me the most from my experience with Glass, was the concept of glanceable computing at just what you need, instead of all the distractions. Sure many companies are working on SmartWatches/wearables and consumers don’t seem to care, but haven’t seen the finesse or completeness of what Apple announced today. Last month, Microsoft updated their Band with a bike tile.
We’ll see where this market goes and David Schloss, a long-time contributor, has his watch on order. Also in the event today was the topic of corporate wellness. In light of the UCI’s doping report, I said this on Twitter.
Corporate wellness by Apple today, and hoping the bike industry understands that they're selling fitness equipment and not racing anymore.
Considering new markets in health and fitness, there’s a huge opportunity for the sport of cycling to distance itself from that win on Sunday, sell on Monday mantra, but that’s all the companies in the market know. And for sure the show must go on with Paris-Nice happening now. Oh and today we learned that Lance is seeking a ban reduction….
After the opening party and booking orders, DKCB (Davidson & Kullaway Custom Bicycles) is about to start making bikes. This is just one of the machines in the shop they’ll use in their craft. Notice how it’s in the danger zone….Bill may just crank it up to 3300 to meet demand!
Shavings from another machine
A 333 frame on the wall, that was made by Kullaway
Getting tipped to the Seattle DOT video of Leaning Rails, I at first imagined a Cascade lobbyist forgot to clip out at the most congested Burke-Gillman intersection, fell over, then a little banged up rode straight to City Hall to demand a solution! Over coffee, recreational cannabis, and some 2Bar moonshine from a SODO distiller, a stay-clipped-in deal was hashed out.
The real story is far less politically intriguing, as I learned from a transportation specialist:
Leaning Rails are used in Europe to queue up crossings at busy intersections, and diminish the Lemans start, and peloton dash into pedestrians. They actually work very well. Cyclists don’t like to in clip or put a foot down if they don’t have to. Then the placement of the call button on the rail is the key. It’s a cheap project that might tame a very busy crossing.
Today the Specialized Power saddle was announced and it’s an iteration in their Body Geometry line but more importantly along with the saddle’s arrival to market, is a not-so-serious side of Spesh not often seen by the public or media. The saddle’s nickname of Happy Pink Taco – as opposed to an angry one – and related jokes started with lighter, humorous discussions, often after recovery beers.
The Power Team edition
Riding it in Seattle for the past few weeks, the Power (HPT) was immediately noticed by my buddies with even more jokes. Try saying, “vagina-mapped” with a straight face and then discuss how, “unisex shaping offers relief in aggressive positions.”
Well it totally does work and yep with a few snickers and smirks. Also note that as with most everything in the bike industry now, it’s exceptionally well-designed, compared to just a few years ago. That’s when you got a Rolls, or something similar, and broke it in for weeks on end, and whether it hurt or not.
Here’s the embargo-expired-this-morning quick video with the rest of the HPT story and review to follow in issue 22 of our magazine. Jokes aside, the Power is a serious performance development from Spesh with all-day comfort, AND an aggressive time-trial position.
Being on the rivet, as roadies say and meaning on the nose of the saddle, has never really been “comfortable” until now.
Ask your bike fitter or Specialized shop about getting the Power for your bike. Subscribe now to read the rest of the Power saddle story in our magazine when it ships.
Today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Ford announced an update to their Smart Mobility programs that includes ebikes for personal and business use. These are last mile solutions to address congestion and the eventuality of cities filling up with too many cars. The idea is that you get close to the city and then ride in and continue your journey multi modally by van, bus, or train. The cargo service addresses the same congestion problem with a van and a delivery bike. Both personal and business use are enabled by an app. The bikes are built by Dahon and both are interesting concepts. As I’ve said about this segment of the market, if the bike industry can’t figure out how to sell ebikes in the US, then car companies will and combine them with fleet management or share systems.
The MoDe:Me e-bike – built with the help of bicycle manufacturer Dahon – is intended for urban commuters to keep moving in congested city traffic. It folds and stows easily, allowing commuters to park on the city outskirts, take the e-bike onto public transport and travel to the centre, then ride the e-bike to their destination
The MoDe:Pro e-bike – built by a Ford team – is intended for urban commercial use such as by couriers, electricians, and goods and delivery services. It is designed to stow safely into commercial vehicles such as Transit Connect, which can act as carrier and support vehicle, and be combined with more than one e-bike
The prototype app for both bikes is called MoDe:Link and compatible with the iPhone 6, as shown in the video.
My bike media colleague, Carlton Reid has set out to Kickstart another book and this one is about the Bike Boom AND how to make it boomier. I’ll let him tell you about it in this video and later, when he visits Seattle, we’re gonna ride that chroma key bike lane together.