The Art of Gear: Paul Smith and Mercian
by Jason Swihart on Jan 05, 2007 at 2:45 PM
Whether we admit it or not, gear is as much about design and fashion as it is function–we need the objects around us to look good for the same reason we need the food we eat to taste good. So I always think it’s refreshing when a gear manufacturer openly embraces the fashion side of their business–and what better way than to team with a fashion designer? That’s just what Mercian has done, joining with designer Paul Smith to roll out a line of track and touring bikes with Smith-design color schemes.
In turn, Smith uses a coat of paint to highlight those little details that distinguish artisanship.
Hat Tip: The Goat.
Yo 2007, how you doin’?
by Mark V on Jan 05, 2007 at 8:54 AM
Ahhhh the New Year. I would like to officially give the finger to AD 2006 and welcome Two-double-Aught-Seven into my arms.
My body is currently under viral assault from whatever illness has been leveling all my friends and co-workers. Maybe the 5 nights of Jolt Cola-fueled manic activity prior to New Year’s Eve lowered my immunity. Maybe the imperial gallon of nigori sake (champagne is for the plebes) I consumed on the Eve wasn’t healthy, and maybe I didn’t need to go riding in the freezing rain the next day but I couldn’t think of a better way to start off a smashing new year. I may be bed-ridden and coughing up bits of my internal organs, but even that won’t dampen my spirits.
I guess it’s tradition to start of the new year by expressing one’s wishes and resolutions:
I have many wishes for the next 12 months. Of the ones that are printable, my number one wish is a bike tour of Japan. I wanna ride from Kyoto to Tokyo, passing thru Nagano. To live on beer and ramen for a few weeks, ride in some cool places, and mangle the language.
I also wish that people would stop calling my bike shop and asking how much bike XYZ on eBay is worth. The answer is obvious: it’s worth whatever a fool like you would pay. Let the buyer beware of himself!
I wish that a swank track bike had the same chick magnetism as a motorcycle .but just in case, I have one of those too.
Another wish would be less media coverage and more clothing coverage for Britney Spears’ crotch. Strangely, I think I once wished for the exact opposite set of conditions maybe 5 years ago, which only goes to show that you should be careful what you wish for.
I resolve to never again crash 20yds after giving a car driver a two-finger salute (the UK-style bird, it feels more natural when I’m really annoyed). In actuality, the guy ran a yield and pushed me over a couple lanes, but then my chain jumped off the cog on my fixed-gear while I was sprinting thru a turn. I ended up going down faster than a Craigslist crackwhore. Yeah, it was a full-on yard sale across the asphalt. Talk about embarrassing. Lesson: use 1/8-inch cogs and chains on fixed-gears if you are going to push the limits.
I resolve to ride two centuries this year. I’m not much of a long distance rider, so this is actually a big deal for me. I’m thinking about doing Seattle-to-Portland, so as to get it all out of the way in a weekend. On a fixed-gear, just to prove how stupid I am.
I resolve to race at least seven nights out at the velodrome. I’d do more, but several of my goals are competing for time.
I resolve to stop buying bike crap unnecessarily. Eee-yaaah, sometimes I think that me working at a bike shop is like a junkie running a pharmacy. There’s a lot of cool things on the market, but I need to be realistic about my needs. I’m putting a moratorium on bike purchases just as soon as I upgrade my 3rd road bike to 10-speed and buy a new track bike yeah, that should about do it.
I resolve to stop recommending chain lubricant to bike shop customers on the basis of smell. It just confuses people and gives the impression that I just don’t care about their crucial drivetrain issues. Really, it’s not that I assume that people are overly optimistic about the consistency and competency of their own bike maintenance, it’s just that I really like the smell of Tri-Flow. Mmmmm, smells like banana syrup. Yummy!
I resolve to not exceed more than 5 bicycles in my stable. I once declared that 5 bicycles was the upper limit to sanity, and by that standard of mental health I just have to get rid of a couple of frames and a track bike to achieve well-being. I’ll be selling the excess schwag on eBay. How much is it worth? A BUTTLOAD of money, my good man, let me assure you…
Photo of the day
by Frank Steele on Jan 03, 2007 at 11:22 PM
a ghost is born (ten), by eight double / steven wade.
From a photoset on the ceremony placing the bike and remembering the rider.
Also, if you’re in Illinois, you should read about Matt’s Law, and consider calling or writing your representatives about it. If enacted, it would stiffen penalties for distracted drivers, after Matthew Wilhelm was killed in September 2006 by a driver downloading a ringtone to her cellphone. Jennifer Stark, the driver who killed Wilhelm, was fined $1,000 and served just 6 months of probation.
Planning (or dreaming of sun)
by andrew_f_martin on Jan 03, 2007 at 3:48 PM
What do I think about on rides home like last night? A ride with constant, soaking rain for an hour straight on a road edge filled with debris. Apart from the non-stop thought of “can they see me” I usually find myself day-dreaming about the good rides I have to look forward to.
I’m lucky enough to have a nice long vacation planned to Brisbane, Australia. I’m still working out the logistics of the bike and whether or not I need to buy a travel version, but I’m eagerly counting the days until sun. It makes the wet rides that much more passable.
Start the new year off right
by andrew_f_martin on Dec 28, 2006 at 12:21 PM
For those of us not in Maui (and in the real world) how about a little challenge? I start most years off trying to see how long I can go riding every day. Last year I made it until mid-February before a work trip derailed my streak. It doesn’t have to be much - some days I just hop on the trainer for 30 minutes to watch a TV show. Most days my commute does the trick, but getting in the longer rides on the weekends can sometimes be hard to get inspired for when it’s like this outside. Any takers?
Maui Bike Shops
by Byron on Dec 28, 2006 at 7:59 AM
A local told us that there are 4 bike shops in Maui and about 50 dudes. We didn’t meet any local dudes on our rides, but did visit West Maui Cycles and Go Cycling Maui. Good enough for me to carry half a loaf, jammed in a jersey pocket, up a six mile climb!
West Maui Cycles wrapped Pam’s bars up with much-needed tape, talked shop with us, and recommend the world’s best banana bread – it totally was the best banana bread.
When cycling in Maui, you’ll inevitably get asked if your rode Haleakala because of all the downhill touristy tours. I posted about our volcano ride last year on Textura Design (my personal and business blog) - we rode up and down Haleakela. About 1/2 way up the climb, going about 9 mph, and faced with a barrage of cruisers zipping past us downhill at 40 mph, we started jockingly heckling them – “try climbing it!” Regardless, the tourists were on bikes and that’s a good thing.
Go Cycling Maui is a full-service, high-end bike shop and offers the best supported rides. On both trips to Maui, Donnie has recommended rides to us (insisting we ride past the Garden of Eden on the road to Hana) and has the cred to ride with the most elite cyclists.
After meeting with Donnie, we’re considering a Bike Hugger tour of Maui that he’d host and our readers would ride.
Mercedes V. Bike Hugga
by Byron on Dec 26, 2006 at 10:23 AM
As much as I enjoy riding in Maui, it’s like the LA of tropical islands – everyone does everything by car and it’s as car-based as it gets. On the last day of our trip, on top of Pineapple Hill at the Kapalua Resort (another leg-breakin’ climb), a Mercedes on a pedestal showed up and I was like, damn, worship this!
The Mercedes showed up (looking very much like a Lexus) for the Mercedes-Benz Championship PGA tour event. I’m sure that’s a real nice car and people love driving it, as well as watching golf, but by that time I’d had enough of cars and construction trucks working the new resorts.
While the island is full of cars, Maui does have wide-shoulder lanes, bike route signs, a plan, and the Maui Bike Alliance. I’ll note that we had zero problems with cars and in the country, it’s like any quiet country ride, but everywhere else you’re riding along highways that are full.
The Road to Hana by Bike
by Byron on Dec 26, 2006 at 9:24 AM
In contrast to the hard work of Mr. Steepy, the road to Hana on a bike is a relaxing pleasure. That’s not to say it couldn’t be a tough day, but we rode it at a tourist pace, enjoying the curves and scenery and the more rhythmic climbs. Hana is the least developed area of Maui and a nice change from the crowded resorts.
Once every hour or so, we also appreciated our bikes even more, when a line of cars would roll by stuck behind a tourist bus with obviously frustrated drivers. We also enjoyed flying through the S-turns while they waited behind us.
by Byron on Dec 24, 2006 at 11:07 AM
Just uploaded Maui photos to the Bike Hugger Photostream. The photos include Local Knowledge, Cruiser Girl, and Bike Volcano.
Simple, Brilliant Bike Storage
by Jason Swihart on Dec 22, 2006 at 8:58 PM
We Huggaz love simple, elegant product design, preferably of the indestructible variety. We love it so much, one of us even designed the world’s simplest, elegantest, indestructiblest bag clip. So when I saw Cycloc in the Dec/Jan 2007 issue of Dwell, my reaction was immediate and visceral: must have!
Made of indestructible plastic in candy colors, Cycloc is like storage judo: it uses the bike’s own weight to hold it suspended securely on the wall. Available in the US for $90 directly from Charles and Marie, I know one bike that’s going to get lucky one of these long, dark winter nights.
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