Glass Explorers Stop Exploring


by Byron on Jan 16, 2015 at 9:31 AM

at the Wired Offices

At the Wired offices

As Google Glass closes its Explorer program everything I have to say about wearing a computer on your head, I did for WIRED in 2013. Like the other explorers I know, I stopped wearing it after several uncomfortable moments and my family refused to engage with me when I had it on. I did capture interesting POV videos and photos with it, and shared most of those on G+, like this Strip ride. The creative workflow for a blogger was remarkable and Google did an excellent job with the Explorers themselves, it failed because…it was a computer on your head.

Socially, a little silver box recording video is OK and I’d recommended in my article and to Google that they redirect the design to action cams and do something absolutely remarkable, like voice-activated, hands-free POV, and maybe that’s what they’re doing. In their email to Explorers, they promised us the next version at some time in the future.

During an adrenaline-rush moment on a Park City trail, I was pedaling downhill on a thin strip of single track with hip-high grass pulling at the handlebars. Don’t look right, lean left, pedal. And breathe. Getting through that section unhurt and alive, I paused and said, “Ok, Glass. Take a picture.”

I’m sure the reactions to Glass were very frustrating to the Explorer dev team. It was Google tech built for people, instead of machines, and intended to stop us from looking down constantly at our phones.

The technology was supposed to liberate us, but I ultimately felt trapped by it because the distraction was too great, even when I was in a city like London where Glass hadn’t launched yet.


A view of London through Glass

They likely made a marketing error also by launching it first with alpha geeks, not realizing that consumers don’t aspire to or want to look like Robert Scoble. The team later got Glass on the runway and into the hands and on the heads of celebrities. The Explorer program certainly did achieve the goals of getting different perspectives, stabilizing, and socializing the tech.


Glass with Cap

The world just wasn’t ready and isn’t likely to accept the computer on your head form factor. What I hope isn’t lost and we’ll see again in another more discrete form is the OS – what I called glanceable computing. So much of what’s on our phones now is distracting instead of enhancing our days, and I have little interest in the current crop of wearables.

We’ll see what Apple does with their watch and if it’s more than a satellite of your phone. More media I made with Glass:

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Palladian Hotel: Bike Friendly, Rock-n-Roll


by Byron on Jan 14, 2015 at 2:48 PM

We had a lot of fun with hoteliers last night at the soft launch of the Palladian Hotel in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. Quite a story there, with more to come, when they open next month. As I said on Twitter, the Palladian is the first new Seattle Kimpton property in 20 years. It’s also bike-friendly, as all Kimpton properties are, and brings a much needed, rock-n-roll theme to Seattle.

I Vined the tour and edited those with pictures into this Huggacast short – the audio is from Heels to the Hardwood who entertained the guests with music from the debut album. If the icons in the lobby don’t draw you in, the private Hive room (we suspect it’s haunted) with Madame Curie and Nikola Telsa looking on surely will, and each guest room has a portrait pillow.

I unsuccessfully tried to steal the David Bowie one…

Kimptons feature a fleet of Public bikes in each lobby AND the staff are more than happy to valet your own bike after a ride. That’s just one of the reasons we stay there when we travel. Now, we’ve got a new hotel to recommend in Seattle.


Public bikes are Kimpton’s Sedona property

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Harry Pop Kramer Bicycle Tricks Newsreel


by Byron on Jan 13, 2015 at 9:01 AM

Popular again on social networks, via many different sources, is a bicycle tricks newsreel of Harry Pop Kramer and from Appalachian History, we learn…

He was a vaudeville trick-cyclist who performed along the Appalachian mountains. He designed and fabricated his own trick bicycles and unicycles. He could ride his bicycle while standing on his head or jump rope while riding on a buggy wheel. Pop also built a bicycle on which the front wheel could be detached from the rear while in motion. But most importantly, he could hold the attention of an audience. My cousin Cheri boasts, “Pop dazzled people with his dare devil antics.”

The commentary is as entertaining as the tricks. Pop was the Danny MacAskill of his day and reminds us that the bike has entertained audiences since it’s invention, a century ago. Also see another vaudeville performer, the Golden Ballerina on a Bicycle, who also dazzled audiences…she’d take her bike apart as she rode it.

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Mudageddon in Austin: CX Natz Canceled


by Byron on Jan 11, 2015 at 5:44 PM


Muddy course and in those trees, roots getting exposed, Photo: DBC

In case you missed it, it was Mudageddon in Austin after heavy rains and the last day of CX Natz was canceled to prevent more park damage to heritage trees.

As James Huang said on his Facebook.

If I understand correctly, it’s effectively considered an honor to have a ‘cross course permanently burned into your land in Belgium.

In the US, following this fiasco, an environmental impact statement is gonna be required.

I’m hearing lots of reaction and blame. While a developing story, what I understand at this time is that running thousands of racers on back to back days was/is the issue. 2-3 courses are required for events like this, in precious city parks, and unusual, biblical rain. Providence spent $50k on AstroTurf to protect the trees before the cancellation. The rain also shut down a weekend of events, besides racing.

I’m not there, but contributors Matt Hill, Shawn O’Keefe, and Dennis Crane are reporting for us. On Friday, issue 20 dropped and included a report and gallery from the single speed races.

The general cluelessness of USA Cycling in Austin reminds me of this one time when the TT course at road Natz was on the shoulder of an Interstate. Just like CrossVegas and also shared in issue 20, “Was Steve Johnson there?”

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Huggacast Shorts: Issue 20 Drops


by Byron on Jan 10, 2015 at 1:56 PM

While the first take was interrupted by a pug, got the second one, and in this short we share the Issue 20 cover story.

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Issue 20: The Evolution of Competition Comic


by Byron on Jan 09, 2015 at 12:43 PM


The Evolution of Competition is a free comic and appears in the latest issue of Bike Hugger magazine that drops today on iTunes and the Web.

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Vice Sports: BMX


by Byron on Jan 07, 2015 at 12:43 PM

Vice Sports launched last year and today features Nigel Sylvester, one of BMX’s most recognizable figures and with a life and career that are anything but typical of the sport.

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SRAM Force 22 and Zipp 30s


by Byron on Jan 06, 2015 at 6:18 PM

Force 22 with Quarq

Force 22 updated with Quarq

Patrick Brady did that thing where he wrote the story I was gonna write, so I didn’t have to, but should have, but just look at his…it’s true, my rain bike has been built up with Force 22 since the summer of 14. I just updated it with a Quarq for a story late this spring too. There’s a reason Patrick contributes to our magazine, we’re on the same wave length about most bike things; music too, and travel bikes, but we don’t discuss politics.

It used to be that any time you purchased one of a component manufacturer’s second-tier groups, you gave up significant amounts of performance. Sure, you got to keep a few sawbucks, but in the bargain you got something that was heavier, didn’t shift as well, didn’t stop as well and didn’t last as long. Remind me not to buy a car from that guy. Shimano could be particularly egregious with this, and went so far to use a wider spacing between cassette cogs just to make sure the shifting wasn’t as good as that found on Dura-Ace.

Quarq 22

The Force 22 group costs $1176, down from $1400 or so when it was first released. The same value applies to the Zipp 30 wheels…ridden the shit out of them in the rain and they’re doing just fine and at under $1K for a wheelset.

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Hope The Road Rose With You Too


by Byron on Jan 05, 2015 at 1:56 PM

In the past month, rode the snow, along the coast, in a lonely valley, and up in the Maui mountains. This week we’re back to work and next up is Issue 20 of our magazine. I hope the road rose up to meet you too in 14 and in 15 you get out there for even more miles.

We’re writing about the start of the riding in 15 now, with new gear and a new bike, and a power meter too.


New power meter


Singletrack in the snow

Just me and the chickens

Just me and the chickens on this ride

Up in the mountains

Even as a rouleur and much better suited to the windy flats, this climb was worth it.

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