Quick reminder: RideCivil is coming up this Friday, 5:30 PM at Westlake Center. Now’s your chance to participate in a ride focusing on positive interactions between pedestrians, motorists and cyclists in Seattle. Should be a great first Spring ride, I’m planning on bringing along some tunes. If you’ve got suggestions for the playlist please post a note in the comments section.
Sorta like when your shifting starts banging around, then stops, then maybe again, and definitely not when you pop into a bike shop for a wrench to check it … there’s some periodic funk going down on our site. On the backend, we’re working on adding 33% more hugganess, so no worries, it’ll all work itself out. Like this one time, I was traveling and my front wheel arrived tweaked and rubbing the brake. I was like, “oh well, ” and just rode it. Back home, I unpacked the wheel, and it was true again! I dubbed that wheel the “self-truing” wheel and have cherished it ever since.
The drivers didn’t care, much like the driver in this photo from Market street in San Francisco, and kept right on with their day. I don’t know the current status of sharrows, if they’re considered a success or not, but I’m still recommending to cyclist to get out into traffic, make sure they see you, and stay away from the car doors.
During the Stone Way uproar, I thought that street is the least of our problems. Western is a major bikeway as is Alaskan Way, and Mercer is the worst, most dangerous intersection in the city, possibly the the country. I ride right down the middle of the lane going north and sidewalk it going south.
Seattle isn’t unique in dealing with the right hook or car/bike solutions, in Brooklyn, they’re considering Door Zones and in Portland, they’ve started painting bike boxes.
I’ve been using the Bull Frog tail light($28) by Knog for a couple months already. Like all of the Knog lighting products, the LED/battery case is encapsulated and affixed to a bike by means of a flexible silicon body. Most readers have seen the diminutive Frog lights, now available in a variety of body colours. I like them, but the Frog’s single LED and CR2032 batteries don’t make for long-lasting brilliance. What I wanted was a commuter tail light.
I present the Bull Frog.
With 3 AAA batteries powering 5 LEDs, the light provides ample if not superlative illumination. However, the Bull Frog’s ease and versatility in attachment are what really sell this light. Strap this light to seat stays, seat posts or wherever…without tools and within seconds. Plus the narrow cross-section keeps the Bull Frog out of the way.
So here it is: my girlfriend’s Kappa. It started out as a retro-style BMX frame with modern geometry and tubing diameters, and then with Jeremy Sycip’s help I devolved the bike back into BMX’s genesis, the Schwinn Stingray. Everyone who sees knows it’s something cool, but they don’t know what it is exactly.
I stripped the best components off of my discarded BMX bike and put them on her bike. Now it has Shimano DXR hubs and brake lever, XTR M952 v-brake, and a Dura-Ace bottom bracket. The crank is actually the Tiagra triple road crank that I used on my travel bike when I toured Japan last summer. I put an old school Shimano BMX 44-tooth chainring on, the only real vintage part on the bike. Rather than being four decades old, the Apple Krate saddle is actually a Schwinn factory repro, but it really makes the bike visually pop. Now that the bike has braze-ons for the sissy bar, the seat is secured a bit better.
The last touch is the Dimension “star” grips and a chainring guard that I made by griding off the teeth from a 53 tooth Vuelta road ring.
I’m not entirely happy with the fork. Someday I might send it to Sycip to have brake bosses brazed on to it and then powdercoated to match the frame, but that’ll have to wait. I told my girlfriend she needs to ride it a lot first, then we can talk about more mods. So far, she’s been riding everyday to work with it.
We’ve posted previously on the Hotspur – a handbuilt, oversized, Titanium-tube frame with a carbon seatstay – and I raced it this weekend on a rolling course in Ravensdale Washington. The bike performed as expected with a solid ride that was very similar to the Modal, but weighing less, and riding like a straight-up racing bike. Bill Davidson and Mark’s design achieved a lighter, stiffer Ti bike with that distinctive “springy-road” feel that Ti aficionados love. The bike climbed, accelerated, and descended, like I’d expect and excelled at rolling.
Most remarkable about racing the Hotspur was it reminded me of my old 853 frame – a ride that set a benchmark for my future reviews. I could subtly feel the road and the frame reacting to it. By all accounts (including our own) the new Madones, Tarmacs, et al, are all excellent racing bikes, and the intent of the Hotspur was to demonstrate that Ti can compete with carbon.
Reacting to the popularity of carbon, Ti tube manufactures and builders are continuing to innovate, especially with mixed-frame materials. I understood the benefit of ti/carbon mix firsthand when 3 of us hit a large pothole during the race. The 2 racers ahead of me, slammed into the hole at about 28 mph (curses to the racers ahead of us that didn’t call the hole out), and I rolled over it, feeling the carbon seat stays take the hit. For a bespoke bike, tuned to a rider, with lots of thinking going into the design, the Hotspur proved that Ti is back or moreso that it never left. It also stands out as a unique bike in an industry fixated on carbon. The handbuilt industry is flourishing with bikes like this from Davidson and other skilled builders.
Summary is that the Hotspur project produced an OS Ti frame that rides like you’d expect a custom Ti frame to do, but stiffer and lighter than traditional 3.25 tubes. The Hotspur is a kermesse-style racing bike, built for crits, circuits, and the roleur-type of rider. Light, strong, fast, and built to last.
Note that we didn’t weight-weenie out on the Hotspur: lighter components and smaller tube diameters would reduce the weight further.
The Hotspur is built with Feathertech custom-profiled, oversized, titanium tubing; Reynolds UL fork and seatstay; Dedacciai titanium chainstay, Paragon titanium derailleur hanger, and fittings; the components include
I wasn’t having that much stem stub and requested an urgent removal. Later, an informal study at the race on Sunday found many varying degrees of stem stubs. How much stem stub do you tolerate? Mark noted that there were anti-anxiety medications for worrying about stem stubs.
Also, green bar tape, while the subject of ridicule from your racing bros, does work well on St. Pat’s day.