My son is a bike hugger…at 18 months. The kid gets all excited and looks for approval whenever he spots a bike. “Daddy nGike!”. I’ve been getting killed at work of late, but on those nights where I have gotten home early enough to catch him awake, he runs up to me yelling “nGike!” while pointing at the logo on my BikeHugger kit. It’s pretty darn cute. This last week he got into the laundry and found his favorite pair of daddy’s socks and put them on himself, and proudly wore them around his room. Thanks to my wife for capturing that moment.
I was surfin’ around and I found this image from Blonde Fabrications. A 36-inch-wheeled mtb. Appropriately named the Amazon Blonde 36er, the builder apparently races it too. I’m sure it handles like a tank, but I love it when people are willing to push a concept (in this case, 29er wheels vs the standard 26 mtb wheels) to the extreme.
When you look at this picture, keep in mind that the my whole bike could pass thru the rim if it were not for the spokes.
Uploaded by photo_history, back in the day of the Safety Bike, that was some hotness. Also see this photo and the lyrics, “She had the sightless eyes, Telling me no lies
Knockin’ me out with those American thighs,” came to mind.
Readers pointed out recent bikes & coffee posts from the blogopshere – bulleted below – and that reminded me to post on my new fav coffee shop. It’s Hotwire in West Seattle. The owner has got the blend down with a rich earthiness, a slight sweetness, and no bitterness. She also hand pours, unlike Starbucks. Robot pouring is about the worse thing you can do with espresso and I think led to the downfall of Starbucks. Anyway, back on topic, here are a collection of posts on coffee and a photo titled love grinds.
That’s an espresso cup that came out of the dishwasher just like that, with grinds settled in the bottom of the cup, in the shape of a heart.
Bicycle Pump with an Espresso Machine – I don’t know if Cory Doctorow understands how much pressure 16 bars is, but I’d wear safety glasses, gloves, and one of those welders jackets the first time I tried that device.
Good article in the PI on Business and Cycling. The jist? Professionals and execs are moving off the links and on to bikes for doing business. The upshot for suits is that you get a workout in, your competitive urges out, and cut a deal while on your ride. Of course you’ll need a sweet ride, a trainer, and some kit (that’d be a suit in a SuperSuit for those playing along). Some of these folks shell out $8k for a bike so I’m not too worried on that front.
In the great idea category, one local law firm is even handing out Ridley’s for folks who promise to commute for 3 months. This really takes it up a notch in my estimation – the bike becomes about doing a civil good (getting another car out of our daily jams), not just about improving the bottom line of the business. Good for them! And as always, check out the Sound Off section for a surprise. Almost no feedback, almost all positive. It’s still early though.
Tecnologia del Tubo Torinese (vaguely translated as “Turin (Italy) technical tubing”) , otherwise known as 3T, was the number two stem and bar maker back in the day, behind Cinelli. Strangely both were owned by the Colombo Group along with Columbus tubing. But the rising value of the Euro, changes in global manufacturing, serious challenges from Deda Elementi and others, and lack of innovative products saw 3T fall off the radar for a few years.
Now they’re back with all new designs. Presumedly, all 3T production has been moved to Asia, because the prices are actually pretty attractive. I’m trying out the new ARX-Team stem, which I like a lot, and the Doric-Team seatpost, which I don’t.
The new ARX stem is a threadless 31.8mm forged stem with a clean and svelte design. The 100mm -17degree version sample weighs a very respectable 117gr, nearly 50gr less than an FSA OS-115 in the same dimensions. Plus the oversize cross-section (34-36mm) of the extension yields a remarkably stiff piece. The low weight is due to the internal machining. My only reservation is that the internal transition from the thin wall of the extension to the steerer clamp section is a little abrupt. I would have liked it to be a bit smoother to guard against stress risers leading to fatigue, but the interior contours aren’t as crucial compared to the exterior. The bar clamp area is particularly well-shaped and smooth for matching the stem to carbon handlebars. Overall, I really like this stem.
The ARX stem is available in two versions. The more expensive Team version has titanium bolts and red accents and is available in -6 and -17 degree angles. Cost is about $90. The Pro version has white accents, steel bolts, and is only available in -6 degree. Cost is about $60. The 3T stems are available in lengths from 70 to 130mm to fit a wide range of riders and bikes.
The Doric-Team seatpost was a disappointment. The carbon tube with bonded alloy two-bolt head looks competent if rather unsophisticated, but the post does weigh 169gr for a 31.6mm by 280mm length. The clamp pieces are cleverly formed to reduce weight and stress on saddle rails. However, the seat post cradle lacks adequate adjustment for angle. With my 74.5degree seat angle and Fizik Arione saddle, I couldn’t level the saddle without leaving half the spindly threads of the front upper cross piece unengaged on the bolt. Not good. Unless you have a slack seat tube angle, I wouldn’t recommend this post. Cost is about $140. There is a more expensive LTD version that has titanium bolts and causes your wallet to bleed.
Recently, 3T has announced a new seat post design. It looks like it could be really strong but ridiculously tedious to install or make angle adjustments.
3T also offers an all new line of dropbars. Since the older varients of 3T bars were and are my favourites, I’m intrigued by the new designs. I always liked the angle of the anatomic grip as it was not as steep as ITM or Deda, and the 3T version had a more subtle compound curve than Ritchey and the other 3T imitators. I’ll try to get an example of the Ergosum Pro aluminium bar to test out.
The 2008 Commuter Challenges are on! With Spring approaching and the Sun out, so start the ad-hoc challenges on Seattle streets and presumably everywhere else. Yesterday, riding downtown, a commuter clocked me from Western to Dexter. I took a shortcut through Denny park and lost track of him. We met again near Mercer, stopped at a light, and he took a right, then a left onto 9th. I didn’t realize that was now a 2-way street and he gained about 8 seconds on me! I promptly chased him down and assumed the lead down Fairview. We chatted about how many condos are being built and where all the cars are going to go.
The Bike Hugger bloggers are easy to spot, if you’re planning a challenge … .
Our 32nd Huggacast features Austin bike culture. We rode with the locals in Austin, attended SXSW 08, threw a massive BBQ, ate some really good tacos, and saw a bike posse. Also noted is that I was stuck in Memphis, but was feeling Minnesota. Read our Urban Ride and BBQ page for more details about the event.