The calmest road in America

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by Byron on Nov 12, 2007 at 7:54 AM

During Interbike earlier this year, we spent a morning riding the strip, the bike expressway, and hearing from a local and a RTC employee about cycling in Vegas.

The road featured in the video is one of the calmest in America. It’s engineered to slow cars down and accommodate cyclists. I think they pipe in the sounds of songbirds, but couldn’t confirm it. If you do ride the strip, take up a whole lane like we did to let the cabbies know you’re there.

As I wrote earlier, “It’s surprising, yes, but Vegas is a bike-friendly town.”

Notes

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Amazing Race 12…on Bakfiets!

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by andrew_f_martin on Nov 11, 2007 at 10:48 PM

Amazing Race

I was watching the Amazing Race tonight and saw 2 segments in Holland being hugger-focused! They had to find city bikes, and ride them 5 miles. Then they had to put one person in the front of a Bakfiets and roll to the finish. Now everybody in the states is going to want one. Amzing Race

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Damn I want that

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by andrew_f_martin on Nov 11, 2007 at 8:58 PM

Alfine Hub Byron will tell you that I NEED to have matched wheels. It’s a bit of an obsession, but I can’t help it. Anyway - I’ve been shopping for a good internal geared hub to run on my SS Cross bike. I’ve got black hubs - so I need black Internal gear setup. The only one I know of is the much sought-after, but non-US available Shimano Alfine group. I’ve found the disc compliant model (I don’t need disc) in some obscure German site - Alfine Hub in Black. With the weak dollar and that fact that my German sucks if something were to go wrong with the order - is it worth it? Anybody else got a lead?

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Spatial Relationships and the Perfect Pack

3

by Byron on Nov 10, 2007 at 7:26 AM

Spatial relationships and analysis are important when packing a travel bike (at least to me they are). Where Pam spent about a 1/2 hour packing her bike, I spent about 2.5 hours making sure everything lined up, the space was used to its potential, and the package would arrive safe and intact.

Both bikes did arrived safely and with no damage. However my packed items shifted all over the place and Pam’s was in pristine condition. I’m now deconstructing what possibly went wrong with my pack and she’ll just pack like whatever next time. I explained to Pam that it was a guy thing to do the perfect pack and I had to get it right.

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Notes on the packing

  • No worries with titanium and no paint
  • TSA did not open either case
  • That’s coffee in the upper right corner and Senor Muggy in the bottom right
  • There’s only one way to pack the Modal because of the extra wide chainstays that accommodate the dropouts
  • Scratches are part of it. I think of them now as a patina.

I think my pack went wrong because I put too much stuff in there. I was trying to get it right to 50 pounds with my clothes, shoes, and schwag we got from the event we attended.

The netting serves no purpose other than to thwart the TSA from poking around in the case. The thinking is that they’ll just glance at it, if at all, and move on to the next piece of luggage. It seems to have worked.

Suggestions

The 12” edge-pull case is well made, tough, and durable. For short trips across an airport, it’s ok, but the weight at that angle on your skinny-cyclists arms can get very tedious for a longer haul across terminals. I’d like to have a 4-caster option with a pull tether so I could pull it around an airport on the casters instead of dragging it behind me or pushing it. The Dahon Airporter case has the same problem with 2 rollerblade wheels.

One caution: the caster fits right into the gap between the elevator car and the floor at Seatac. I pulled the case towards me sideways out of the elevator, the caster was trapped in that space, and nearly ripped right out of the case.

I caught it in time and it now has a nice travel bend to it. I decided a slightly bent caster was like a nice scratch. It all adds to the travel patina noted above.

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Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show

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by Byron on Nov 09, 2007 at 2:18 PM

Some of the worlds finest bicycles are built in Oregon and they’re on display this weekend at the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show. Check their blog for the details. The Modal, our latest project, was handmade right here in Seattle. Builders attending the show include

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The Coolest Tool You Own?

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by Mark V on Nov 09, 2007 at 7:23 AM

Prot%20Tool%2004.jpg Having worked on bikes for years, I am used to handling tools. I always find those 50-something-function folding multi-tools to be disappointing, having a lot features that are just not practical to use. Give me something simple, but beautifully made. I have a 3-piece set of headset/BB/pedal wrenches made by Shimano that surpass even Campagnolo. However, the set is just about obsolete when dealing with today’s bikes. But I just got the coolest tool out there.

It’s called the Pro Tool Super and it’s marketed in the United States by Euro-Asia Imports. But the back story is that it was originally marketed in Japan years ago by legendary keirin builder San Rensho. Nowadays, it’s made by their successor Makino.

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What’s so great about it? It’s a track bike specific tool that tightens 15mm axle-fixing nuts, removes/install track hub lockrings AND cogs, as well as adjust MKS-style axle tugs. The coolest part is the cog removal without a chain whip. The lockring end has a slot that allows you to hook it over the teeth of the cog, though you are limited to cogs about 14-16 tooth. The Pro Tool Super is solid chunk of chromed steel satisfaction. It is the track racers dream, eliminating all other tools from the racer’s kit other than a couple odd Allen wrenches. But at nearly $150, it also be a source of concern. While I’m circling the banking, I hope that no one forgets to put my Pro Tool Super back in my kit if they borrow it.

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So what’s the coolest tool you own?

And just for kicks, what the crappiest?

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Cyclocross and cycling culture video from Barton Park

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by Dave R. on Nov 08, 2007 at 10:13 PM

Dan Kaufman from CrankMyChain, a unique tricycle powered video blogger from Portland captured this video of some of the hot cyclocross action out at Barton Park this last weekend.

Not exactly comprehensive coverage, but Dan’s site is great for its video driven take on cycling culture. For example check out his next post on the badass challenge results – winner gets a purse (literally) for riding out to the races, racing, and riding back home. Give Dan’s site a good once over, there’s some great stuff there.

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Batavus Intermezzo

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by Byron on Nov 07, 2007 at 10:03 AM

We asked Tom a daily commuter and reader to ride the Intermezzo and blog about it for us. Below is his review.

How to get more people using bikes for transportation? Convenience. And what could be more convenient than a Dutch designed city style bike? I reached a stopping point in my work and decided to take the Intermezzo out for a spin. Let’s see: I’ll need to put on some shorts and a cycling jersey and change into my cycling shoes. Wait, this isn’t that kind of bike. It’s a come-as-you-are kind of bike. OK. So out to the garage, grab a Velcro band to keep my pants cuff out of the chain. Hey, look at that: full chain guard. So all I need to grab is a U-lock and my keys. What’s that? Built in lock? And the key is captive until you lock it? So all I need is my helmet (yes, it’s the law here).

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Down the big hill to the beach. Yikes! I hope the roller brakes hold. At the bottom of the hill I need to cross a busy boulevard and I’m in the wrong gear. Ah, no problem for the NuVinci. At the park I stop to show the Intermezzo to a few friends. Check that out one says; it’s even got a Batavus branded tire pump. Good thing too as the valve stems are like nothing I ever seen before. They are not presta and they’re not schrader. Maybe it’s some new European standard that has yet to make it big here. How about this: you can adjust the handle bar and headset angle without tools. There is simple cam release on the headset. Think “tilt-steering”. I’m not sure it was such a good idea to try this out while I was riding.

I took a ride along the sea wall as the sun was setting. The hub dynamo powered headlight came on automatically as the daylight faded. Interestingly it shut off as soon as I came to a stop. Isn’t there supposed to be some sort of capacitor that keeps it lit when I stop at an intersection?

Heading home meant going back up the big hill. Twist the shifter to drop down to the lowest range. Wow, more than a full turn to go from highest to lowest range. That’s nice when I want to fine tune it to find just the right ratio. When I need to down shift for a hill climb it’s kind of annoying. As for that low range: it worked just fine for the climb up the short ramp from the sea wall to the street. For climbing the big hill it just wasn’t low enough.

Summary: This bike is convenient; just jump on and go. This bike would be great as a rental in a relatively flat seaside town. Here in hilly Seattle I need lower gearing and more substantial brakes.

The Intermezzo is available from your local Independent Bike Dealer and the MSRP is $1699.00

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34 Seconds of Bike Lane

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by Byron on Nov 07, 2007 at 9:51 AM

Texas style bike lanes are featured in the fifteenth episode of the Huggacast. I think this is a token bike lane painted to get federal funding. It’s about 34 seconds long.

What’s the most ridiculous bike lane you’ve ridden?

Bike Hugger was in San Antonio test riding the Modal, a travel bike concept that folds and toggles between single, fixed, and geared modes. Besides this ridiculously short lane, San Antonio did have a good system of paths and roads on the Mission to Mission ride.

Update

Google Videos ongoing sketchiness results in sometimes the 34 second bike lane is available and sometimes not. You can download and view it from directly from our servers.

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