Alternatives to Uber: A Folding Bike

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by Byron on Nov 20, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Tern train

How we get around town

Reacting to the Uber Scandal On Twitter, Chris said it

and so did @typeonerror and hey, there are plenty of alternatives to Uber, like riding a bike. I asked Josh Hon from Tern about this and he replied…

Biking: a ride with zero wait time, no spying, and lots of nice people

Uber’s the latest disruptive service taking the world by storm. And to be honest, it’s a pretty darn smart and imaginative way to use technology. But for a lot of trips, there’s an even better way to get around town, and that’s on a bicycle. Yeah that’s right, old school technology. But if you think about it, biking has some real advantages. Like for instance you get to leave whenever you want – there’s never any waiting for the next bus or train or finding your car in the parking lot. When you’re ready to go, you just go. Start up and maintenance costs? Well a decent bike starts at 2-3 months of gas money. A lot of times, when traffic is bad, it’s faster to get around by bike.

Even better is a folding bicycle because it fits so well with trains and buses and ferries and cars - every other form of transport. Raining hard in the evening? fold your bike and catch a ride home with a friend. Need to get across town – fold your bike and hop on the subway for part of it. Best of all, you never need to leave your bike chained outside because it folds and stashes in a closet or under a desk.

But you know what I love best about biking? It’s that my short trips add up to a work out so that when I get home at the end of the day, I can lounge around and be lazy, guilt-free. Guilt-free laziness? Now that’s something precious.

Last month I went back to my 25th reunion at Stanford. Since Stanford’s a pretty big campus and events were scattered all over, I decided to bring my bike with me. I packed my folding Tern into my Samsonite, hopped on a plane in Taipei, and arrived in SF a short 14 hours later. Every day, I’d drive to campus, park in alumni parking (very far from everything), pull my bike out of the trunk and within 10 seconds have instant transportation. My first stop was visiting my freshman dorm (that I shared with Peter Thiel) and just as I was pulling up, ran into one of my closest friends who was visiting with his family. That’s another one of the great things about cycling - the interactions with people that you just can’t get if you’re in an enclosed metal box.

Zipping around campus by bike, I managed to do everything I wanted to during Reunion weekend - even managing the double-booked time slots because I could get from one side of campus to the other in just a few minutes.

On my way back to Taipei, heading to the airport I took my first Uber ride. It was a surprisingly good experience. But if you’ve got a choice, try a bike. You just might like the experience even more.

Agreed!

Also with the burn-ban-bad air in Seattle, we’re thinking more about zero-emissions, multimodal transport and the fun you can have too…like with an electric car and a folding bike. I’ll tell you more about that in feature story I’m working on. For now, see the vignette I shared in the Medium Bicycles Collection about driving to a rails-to-trails ride with a BMW i3.

ballah

An i3 on the way out of town to a ride in the mountains

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Winter Bicycle Jackets and Gloves

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by Byron on Nov 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM


One of the reasons we’d don’t publish gear shootouts on our blog is kit made within the past few years is all so good – really. Find the jacket that fits, a style you like, appealing brand, budget, and your epic ride and/or commute to work is covered. We’ve gone from on-fire hot Gore to their much more all-condition ActiveShell. A once clammy eVent jacket that fit like a garbage bag is now tailored like the Elite Pro from ShowerPass and being used by a Tour team (free cover story in Issue 18).

I made the Vine above last night having some fun, asking our follows if it was cuff over or under? Also to bring up a function of the jacket gear makers can iterate and offer as a unique feature. The interaction of the cuff and glove seems little studied or designed. Depending on the jacket, glove, and cuff I’m either over or under; wind chill, wicking, and temperature changes also affect cuff over or under decisions. I may even change it mid-ride too.

I asked Steve Gluckman from Novara (their also great Veritas jacket is reviewed here) about this topic and he said

Waiting for Assos to develop glove-base-layer-outer-shell system and charge $1,500.00. Cause when you’re out in the elements things like a gap or wrinkle can bug the shit outta yah.

For sure and what you’re seeing in the video, is the new Gore Windstopper, soft shell gloves have a Primaloft liner in them with a pull and a pull on the glove. A bit clunky to get on, but worked very well in the 25-32 degrees temps I’ve ridden in so far because of the warm fleece and the wicking liner. However, that wicking resulted in damp wrists and when we turned into the wind, chilled wrists. So mid ride I’m switching to cuff under, because that wicked moisture from my apparently sweaty palms is pooling on my wrists.

Gore Windstopper

As Steve said, you know exactly and instantly where there are gaps in the microclimate your body and gear are making; especially, when moisture pools and the wind hits it…

So, let’s see a company like Gore, ShowersPass, and others work on the glove/jacket cuff integration. It’s an area in outdoor gear left undeveloped and under designed.

Commenting on a poll we took, Dave Bartel said

Well, I layer a lot, but the outer shell for me almost 100% of the time I need gloves is my largely windproof (some venting) thin Castelli shell. Great elastic in the cuffs, so jacket almost always over gloves for me, unless I’m using full-on mitts. Gotta be about -15C for me to break those out.

Castelli hasn’t developed a system either for their excellent Gaba. Until then, it’s glove over OR under. On our ride together last weekend, Steve is wearing a Novara Headwind with cuff over and riding their new Novara Strada 50D.

sdf

Steve with his Headwind Jacket and Novara bike

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BMX World Champs

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by Byron on Nov 18, 2014 at 1:01 PM


While we’re focused on CX, there’s other bike racing going on, like the BMX World Champs and this edit from the UCI. The speed is remarkable.

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Ice Bike Racing

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by Byron on Nov 17, 2014 at 4:09 PM


In the 1930s, what are a couple of cyclists supposed to do but attach a skate to the fork of their safety bicycle? These days we’re riding fat bikes in the ice and snow, like we did earlier this year in Park City. Also read about the new rides we did in the new year and snow in Issue 8 our magazine.

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Urban Cyclocross Racing - Red Bull Velodux

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by Byron on Nov 16, 2014 at 8:26 AM


Red Bull Velodux took CX racing to the next level, putting top notch racers against a technical off-road course, with an “all-things-go” attitude towards doing whatever it takes to inch past your opponent.

AND! A Lemans start. As we posted last month, it didn’t have the Red Bull sponsorship, but they were racing urban CX in 1943.

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Another Weekend of Cross

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by Byron on Nov 14, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Mark V single speed

Before racers pin their numbers on and line up, here’s a gallery of photos from Woodland, our fav race of the year in the Pacific Northwest. DBC Photography and Woodinville bike shop shared these with us, including Mark V and me racing single speeds. See the rest of the photos on G+ and Flickr.

This set up worked well. A 40T 130mm bcd ring swapped out for the 44T. 10sp rear wheels with SS spacer kits, and modified Salsa “Tuggnut” axle tug.

SSCX

Why is Woodland so good? I asked Matt from Crosssports…

It’s pretty simple. Location, atmosphere, course design, and occasionality are the essential elements for a special cross race, and WP scores pretty close to a 10 on all.

Indeed.

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Huggacast Shorts: Issue 18 Puddles Are Gathering

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by Byron on Nov 12, 2014 at 10:28 AM


An edit for Issue 18 of Bike Hugger Magazine. Puddles are Gathering Available dropped this week on iTunes and the Web. Annual subscriptions are $16; individual issues are $4. Your money directly supports the authors, photographers, and editors who contribute to Bike Hugger. Like Patrick Brady, Zanne Blair, and Matt Haughey.

Audio samples: DJ Schmolli - Just The Way You Set Fire To The Rain (2012)

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Veterans Day Bicycles

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by Byron on Nov 11, 2014 at 10:33 AM

crossing a stream

Expecting a war bicycle on Veterans Day? Of course and this photo is from the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps.

Read their story on the Army History Journal and remember, CX was invented during War time too

In the late 1890s, the bicycle craze was sweeping [Europe and North America, not just within the civilian population, but also within military circles. Many countries in Europe had established the bicycle as a means to move formations of troops onto the battlefield economically and swiftly. American military observers at maneuvers across Europe reported back to their superiors in Washington on the success of the military bicycle.

25th Infantry Bicycle Corps story was also a PBS special and now on YouTube

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Issue 18 Puddles Are Gathering

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by Byron on Nov 10, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Katusha in Showers Pass

Katusha in Showers Pass jackets

An issue about how heavy rain weighs on our minds drops on iTunes and the web today with these articles from me, Patrick Brady, Zanne Blair, Kyle Ranson, and Matt Haughey.

The story by Kyle I first heard at Interbike during a Showers Pass media meeting and asked them to share it in our magazine. It’s the free cover story and about a small Portland company supplying a Tour de France team.

One otherwise average February day in Portland, Oregon, Showers Pass got a call from Team Katusha’s promoters. The spring classics were just around the corner, and the racers were in desperate need of some decent rain jackets.

cover

The “rain” cover for was designed by Pfaltzgraphics. Subscriptions to our ad-free magazine are $16; individual issues are $4 and subscribers directly support our authors, photographers, and editors.

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