I’ve been relatively silent lately. Let’s be completely honest, I’ve been missing-in-action without a reasonable excuse except to say that thinking about, talking about, or blogging about bikes makes me sad.
We just welcomed our second child and I’ve been out of the saddle for too long. Recovering from pregnancy, I’m not able to throw the newborn into the trailer for a quick ride. And managing two children means increased guilt when leaving my supportive non-roadie husband home to watch them both while go for a spin. Each day, more cyclists settle into summer. And each day my heart aches to get out there for longer than a trip to the grocery store.
My mood was lifted this afternoon though, as I realized that Le Tour and Cyclefest are nearly upon us. So while I may not get much actual riding in this summer, I’ll happily sit in front of the television and watch the big guns take to the mountains of France.
Inspired by the recent post on Montreal’s roll out of a high tech, public bike rental fleet, I’ve come across this example of successful program in Lyon.
Flickr contributor beppovox’s road these bikes and had the following to say:
“Rates are quite low, more or less around 1â‚¬ per hour.”
“The first 30 minutes are free - to encourage small commuting and the rotation of the bikes at the numerous stations.”
“Bikes are really heavy but the ride is pretty smooth, they have two drum brakes, 3 internal gear, lights and a small lock.”
Have you run across a similar program while traveling in the US or abroad? What experience have you had with public bike rental as an alternative means of transportation?
That’s a square-oval shaped, 42mm rim – a squoval – developed by Hed with Cervelo.
In the wind tunnel, air reportedly “whips right over the squoval” v. wedge shapes …
On test now with reports to follow.
Specs are 721g front and 870g rear. Details from Hed:
The idea of the squoval shape is twofold - to first let crosswinds come off the nose more cleanly. They are almost unaffected by crosswinds. Second, while the pointy nose is good at the front of the wheel (air hits the wide part of the wheel and then flows back to the skinniest section), at the other end of the wheel, a pointy rim just turns the airflow into a wedge. The wedge flow keeps going wider when it comes off the wheel for some distance before is starts to suck back in behind the tire.
With a more blunt leading edge like on the squoval,the air gets split wide early, and as it travels across the wheel surface it comes back closer and closer to the surface and then comes off the tire more cleanly.
Possibly perceptual – like getting your kid a new pair of shoes and they run way faster – but the C2 effect feels more pronounced with the 42s. The ride really felt supple and responsive, more like a tubular than the Ardennes or wide Jet 60s. That’s seems like a contrast to say a wheel is “stiff, fast, and quick” while not harsh or like a pogostick, but that’s what this wheel does.
For more on the C2 effect and that platform, see our review here, when we rode the first prototytpe. The C2 is a 23mm wide rim that changes the tire profile:
when the tire spreads on the wider rim the sidewalls flatten and that reduces their springiness ” that results in the tubular feel.
The 42s do not sound like Heds normally sound – Heds have a very distinctive, whoosh, whoosh sound. Maybe that’s what a "hedervelo" sounds like instead?
Also, I really appreciate how "tight" the bearings are. I understand the no-hub preload in the front or hub-preload-in-the-skewer in the rear, but my Ardennes (and other wheels like Reynolds) move 3 - 5 mm, under load. These barely budge.
Also, the Roleur effect of these wheels seems more pronounced. Get them up to speed, they roll, and yes with much less movement from sidewinds. It’s possible the less movement sideways means more forward momentum.
It’s easy to miss Mavic’s Speedcity wheelset among their road racing and mtn offerings; I think that Mavic missed a chance to jump on the commuter trend by not marketing this more. Mavic bills this as a way to road train on your mtb, but they should have said that this wheelset with their innovative spoking system and superb hub design is good to go in your disc-equipped 700C road/commuter bike. This would be a fine upgrade for many riders.
You must search Mavic’s mtn section for these wheels, wedged between their cross-country and freeride models. Because you can swap this 700C wheel into a disc-equipped offroad steed, Mavic says you can use road tires and train on the road. Even if you have rim brakes, Mavic sells an interesting adapter to mount the V-brakes at the appropriate height. But most serious mtn bikers are going to have a real road bike to train on. I mean, use the right tool for the task, right?
(I suppose you could use these wheels on your mtb as an intermediate way to make your mtb more cyclocross worthy… since you could then use 700x32 knobbies…. but I digress)
The rear hub is 135mm spaced, wider than the standard 130mm road standard. However, any bike made to take disc brakes is likely to have the wider spacing anyways. Bikes like the Salsa Casseroll. Speedcity are compatible with rim brakes, but the real value is linked to their disc mount (either ISO or Shimano’s “Center-lock” pattern). The relatively narrow rim makes it more appropriate to road 700C tires than big, fat “29-er” tires. Mavic’s proprietary “Fore” drilling, easily replaceable cartridge bearings, and straight-pull, steel spokes have given excellent service in wheels like the Ksyrium Elite. With a disc-brake, one should expect many seasons of use in rainy climates like Seattle.
Speedcity wheels carry over from Mavic’s 2008 catalog without any changes, including the price. At $450/pr retail, the Speedcity wheelset competes pretty well against custom built wheels on comparable quality hubs.
A turnkey bike solution for public transportation systems is presented on this website and by the city of Montreal. It’s not clear if the system is in operation, if this is just a brochure site, but regardless, check the details:
I’ve visited Montreal and it seemed like a good city to ride in. Do any of our readers from the Great North know more about this system?
Spot checks on local bike shops, distributors, and industry insiders confirms yes there is indeed a bike boom. There’s also a subsequent increase in bike theft. If you’re not as lucky as the owner of the Silver Eagle (whose bike was lost and found), what do you do to protect your bike?
For my road/urban bikes, I treat them like a suitcase handcuffed to my wrist. They don’t leave my side. For Bettie, it would take a very determined crackhead to walk off with her. I use a u-lock through the front wheel and a cable lock from the frame to a nearby solid object.
This weekend at the Des Moines Criterium in Seattle, we’ll have Bettie and some Bike Blenders. We’re mixing up smoothies, selling them, and donating the process to the Des Moines Area Food Bank. Des Moines is the first Mixer event and we’ll see how it goes. Later in the Fall, we’ve have another Mobile Social (our urban ride parties) with the Bike Blenders.