Friday looks like it’s going to be as nice as Thanksgiving here in Seattle, brisk but clear, a great day for an evening ride!
The media climate is shaping up as well: check out this recent SeattlePI letter to the editor criticizing Critical Mass. I’m not 100% down with Mr. Dudley, but I definitely am down with having a down-town ride that’s a bit more integrated and a bit less confrontational than CM. Hopefully that’s just what we need here in Sea-town. Mr. Dudley, we’d love to have you and anybody else who’s wanted to come to CM rides but been put off by it’s reputation.
We’ll meet around 5:30 at Westlake Center in downtown. We’ll plan on leaving shortly after 6:00, and wrapping up the ride around 7:30. See you there.
Earlier in the week, the conditions were just right – a side tailwind across the bike, “lifting” the wheels – and I rode the Modal fast. As “a roleur” type of rider, I get a rush from the momentum of a bike, from getting on top of the gear, and holding it there. Riding a tailwind for me, is like a surfer dropping into a big wave and with 60 mm of wing surface, the Jet 60s catch that wind and roll almost effortlessly.
As we first blogged, the C2s are Hed’s wide rim wheel. The wider rim changes the profile of the tire, spreading it out. OK, in principle, I get that, but really had to just ride these wheels to understand and feel what’s going on. On the rims, a 23 Michelin tire looks like a 25 and at lower pressure, around 90 PSI, the tires ride like tubulars. I didn’t notice it right away, but after a few bumps, cornering, and riding, there’s definitely something going on.
The C2s are also, “fun.” I don’t know that I’ve ever described a wheelset as fun, but because they ride so differently, there’s more road sensation, you want to just throw them into a corner and that translates to fun!
Check with your Independent Bike Dealer that carries Hed Wheels, or ask me out on the road. Whatever you do, definitely try the wide rims out.
Does changing the tire profile, affect durability?
Don’t know yet – long term tests will answer that. Hed sent us the C2s for the Modal and I plan on traveling everywhere with them.
How low PSI?
I ran them at 90 and that worked for me. I’ve heard that others are running them as low as 60.
What size Tire?
I like lots of rubber and run Michelin 23s. I think a better choice is 20s.
Last week Mark toggled the Modal to geared mode and I videotaped the process. The Modal is a travel bike that folds and toggles between single, fixed, and geared modes. In geared mode, I’ll ride it around Seattle and trips where I’m touring, training, and riding longer.
Switching between single and geared took about 16 minutes (without the cassette change, we’re clocking it at around 15 minutes).
Note: the time is compressed in the video.
To ease mode changes, the Modal, has two sets of bars: one with shifters and the other just brake hoods. As Mark demonstrates in the video, he removed the chain, swapped chain rings, replaced the single (or fixed) dropout with the derailleur, changed the bar, and connected the cable split stops.
After a few adjustments, the bike was ready to ride.
In geared mode, the Modal rolls with Hed Jet 60 C2 – Hed’s wide-rim wheelset. Wider is better and the initial rides prove that. A 23 tire rides like a 25 – or a 20 like a 23 – with lower pressure. Read our full review of the new Jet 60s for more.
In single mode, we converted Krysiums to single speed with a spacer kit. The video shows Mark swapping cassettes for demonstration. Way faster to just swap wheels.
The first hundred miles or so with a Wipperman chain and master link are frustrating. The link has to settle in and until it does so, it’ll skip, click, and cause the drivetrain to auto-shift. Periodically stopping to wiggle the master link helps.
To accomodate the Paragon dropouts, the chainstay is wider than normal. Not by much, but enough to cause concern about heels hitting it. My heels do not hit, but are close.
S&S couplings are stiff, don’t creak, or present any alignment issues. They work exceptionally well.
Take a look at these maps of where Cars and Bicycles collide from the Portland Oregonian and the Seattle PI (warning: 500k+ download). Interesting data in both cases, but check out the big brains on the Oregonian! Explorable Google maps, an ODOT analysis of fault (50% motorists, 42% cyclists, 8% shared), and reasonable advice to motorists and cyclists about how to NOT appear on the next version of the map.
Best though is the video of Jeff Mapes talking about Amsterdam, Portland and road travel safety.
This is a topic that comes up a lot in online cycling forums and always seems to garner a rather polarized response - and I don’t get why. With the advent of new compact, high-wattage lighting systems cycling commuters have become either the haves or the have-nots. I’m a have-not by choice. I have a Light and Motion Vega light that only puts out 85 lumens. I can see fine with it on low power on the trail(1), reserve the high setting for rainy nights(2), and the flashing mode only when on city streets(3). The whole point of the light is for safety, and I outline my usage to maximize for each of these conditions below.
Trail use - this is where I hate the “me-first” Haves. They use their 700 lumen High Intensity Discharge (HID) light in conditions that do not warrant it. As the commuter density reduces, this is less of any issue, especially if the Haves use common courtesy and occlude their light with a hand over the bulb. My preferred usage here is to shield the left side of the light (right in UK/Aus) so that it doesn’t shine in the eyes of the oncoming rider. You still get to see with the rest of the light generated by your light, without blinding your commuting brethren. The worst offenders are the guys with helmet mounted lights that say hi to you as they pass and stare you in the face. Good luck people might as well ask me to ride while staring directly at the sun. Cover your light. Use a dim setting. Be considerate of others PLEASE.
Rain is tough. Seeing through fogged glasses, rainy conditions, and wet pavement can be a challenge. On those nights I skip the trail and go for a less-traveled road. You need the higher setting to pick your way through all the optical noise, but running a high setting can be brutal to the others who then have to add your bright beam to the mix of challenges.
City riding is the only use for a strobe flasher. It is intended to get the attention of drivers and is not to see by. You don’t need to get the attention of other cyclists on the trail, so turn off your damn flasher when on a trail. The only thing more blinding than a HID light is a flashing HID.
So please Haves - a little courtesy. It takes no effort to shield your light. There are plenty of Have-nots out there riding with 10 lumen lights with every right you have to the road/trail.
Oh - and for gods sake. Do NOT put a red blinker on your front. Red is for the rear, white for the front.
Here’s a pre-race write up of the West Hill Shop Cyclocross Race in Putney Vermont. It’s a great taste of Cyclocross on the other coast. It sounds like the fall in VT has been a bit more autumnal than what we’ve been having here in Seattle this year, wood stoves and cider are par for the course. What I like most about the HUP write-up is the focus on the locals. It seems like great spectators is a universal feature of cx races no matter how unique the locals are.
The race was actually last weekend, but here are the results, some photos, and video of this years race just went up a few days ago.
You’re cordially invited to our next Ride Civil ride (formerly Critical Man-nerds) this coming Friday the 23rd. Meet at Westlake Center, 5:30 pm.
All Ride Civil rides will focus on getting cyclists out on the streets, driving awareness of cyclists and cycling rights, having fun, and encouraging civil behavior between cyclists, motorists and pedistrians. This is your chance to come out and show Seattle traffic cyclists are here to stay and that we can share the roads with them without conflicts.
It’ll also be a great chance to get out and be social with other cyclists, maybe burn off a bit of that thanksgiving weight or haul back your Black Friday loot. So please bring your selves, your bike (cargo or otherwise), and your sense of humor and fun down to Westlake Center at 5:30 PM. We’ll go bike bus style – 2 abreast, social speed, no one left behind.
There’s another cargo bike focused ride earlier in the day for those who can’t make the later time.
p.s. We’re not stopping for any shopping, so get yours out of the way early, eh? See you there!
We worked with men.style.com, the online home of Details & GQ, on the City Bike section of their Upgrader. The Upgrader is the “latest and greatest in cars, clothes, watches, whiskies, and all the other important issues confronting today’s man,” including bikes.
… a bike that was 7 years ahead of its time and led to the urban bikes we ride today. Refined over those seven years, the Milano, is “a cafe racer.” Still a top seller and finally getting the respect it deserves. It’s good for mostly everything you’d want an urban bike to do. Being the pure heart and soul of urban cycling, the bike offers no frills, excess, or fashion, and Nexus.
Also good to see the Novara Transfer getting due props. That’s a bike you can start commuting on today and not stop. Check how it’s spec’d and you’ll realize it was built for and by commuters.
For those of you not sure what to expect from a cyclocross race, here’s an older introductory article on what you’ll be in for. One of the benefits of cyclocross races for spectators is that the courses are usually quite compact, so you can see almost all of the action without having to shuttle around the course.