Project Grocery Getter

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by Jason Swihart on Jul 28, 2007 at 5:48 PM

During last year’s visit to Copenhagen, I got a taste for city cycling. The bike lanes there are filled with sophisticated Danes, happily riding to and fro in regular street clothes on simple, comfy, utilitarian bikes. We rented bikes to join in ourselves, and the experience was transforming. Why do so many Americans ride complicated, uncomfortable bikes, and insist on wearing spandex just for the ride to work? 150,000 Copenhagenners do it every day, and 149,999 could jump off for an impromptu photo shoot.

With this in mind, I decided that I would get my own urban bike for tooling around town, getting groceries, going to bars, etc. My criteria were, and are, in order of priority:

  1. It must be capable.
  2. It must be comfortable
  3. It must be stylish.
  4. It must be enjoyable.
  5. It must have carrying capapcity.
  6. I must be able to hop on it and ride away with no special preparation.
  7. It must be simple to use and maintain.

Thus, I went on a mission to find or build a bike to fulfill those criteria. I test rode a lot of bikes, and I have to say, the Electra Townie came really close.

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Critical Mass Seattle 7/27

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by Byron on Jul 28, 2007 at 8:46 AM

We rode with Critical Mass last night, representin’ the hugga, kitted up and on our race bikes. Critical Mass meandered through downtown, towards Fremont via HWY 99, Stone Way, and then onto Golden Gardens. It was a fun, festive event, and massive.

from the Bike Hugger Photostream.

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Just Say…..

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by Jason Swihart on Jul 27, 2007 at 5:09 PM

Is doping the ruination of professional cycling? Some people seem to think so, and are taking it to the streets like so many latter-day Nancy Reagans.

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At least it’s not “Just Say No” or “Get Doped on Life.”

The parallels between doping prohibitions and other kinds of prohibitions are unmistakable. Doping bans certainly are just as effective as alcohol and drug prohibitions have been, and the primary beneficiaries are those who violate the bans. Doping is big business, and making it scarce through bans makes it more lucrative.

Athletes have a powerful, rational desire to improve their performance using all methods available, and one can’t help but wonder if lifting bans on “illicit” performance enhancement wouldn’t be a better way to deal with the problem. What, after all, is the problem with doping? That it can cause harm to the dopers? That it makes for an uneven playing field? That the resulting performances aren’t real?

Wouldn’t each of these problems be addressed, each in its own way, if athletes could dope openly?

Flame away.

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Downtown Traffic Nightmare

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by Kelli on Jul 27, 2007 at 3:33 PM

As if there weren’t enough cars on the roads, the upcoming lane closures on I-5 for the better part of August will push hundreds of cars onto alternate surface streets and push already crowded roads over the curb. With the effects of the construction expected to cause extensive regional and downtown traffic nightmares, what’s a cyclist to do?

Preceded by this weekend’s traffic madness; including the SeaFair Torchlight Run & Parade, two home games at The Safe and the Capitol Hill Block Party, this town’s in for a world of standstill.

There’s a part of me that isn’t looking forward to weaving my bike through all the craziness during my daily routine. And yet, as I witnessed a cyclist fly by a twenty-car backup today from the driver’s seat of my overpriced SUV, I realized that I’d still rather be on my bike.

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Rolling the Rollers at Toona

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by Byron on Jul 27, 2007 at 11:03 AM

The racing continues for Team Bike Hugger at Toona. They’re 8th overall in the Team GC with Julie Beveridge in the top 20 and Nicole Wansgard made an appearance on Cyclingnews with this photo.

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Photo credit: Kurt Jambretz/www.actionimages.cc

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Novara Buzz Fly By

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by Byron on Jul 27, 2007 at 8:02 AM

In our latest Huggacast episode, we check out Novara’s new Buzz Fly By. The Fly By is a folding bike designed by Dahon that features a Nexus hub, unique graphics, seatpost pump system, and lots of attention to detail. Of all the bikes Novara showed us, the Fly By is my fav.

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Download now for iTunes, your iPod, iPhone, and subscribe to the Huggacast Feed for more episodes.

Huggacasts are now available in the iTunes podcast directory.

Also available on Google Video.

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Trails Win!

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by andrew_f_martin on Jul 26, 2007 at 8:01 PM

Cool to see the front page of the Seattle paper to have 2 lead cycling-related stories.

The Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board has overturned a law in Lake Forest Park restricting the development of the Burke Gilman Trail through their city. As the front page lead article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer states, they have been trying for years to limit trail (of thousands) in favor of the locals who live on the trail (much less than thousands).

This is my normal route home, and in the past year I’ve stopped using this route in favor of city roads. The trail condition is just too uneven, unmaintained, and unsafe. Hopefully this ruling will help to put the trail back on track.

UPDATE: The SoundOff section in cycling-related stories usually doesn’t go in our favor, but today has been a refreshing change. The vast majority of the comments are very pro-cyclist. Is it the fact that this is a trail so the “keep cyclists off the road” crowd is staying out of it, or the fact that attitudes are finally shifting? Let’s hope it’s the later.

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Le Tour de life

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by Byron on Jul 26, 2007 at 11:51 AM

While Le Tour continues, in chaos, this photo reminds me of “Le Tour de life,” where we just love bikes, that’s our dope.

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Yes, no helmet, but the photo speaks for itself and also what you’re telling us in comments.

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Fixie Photo

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by Mark V on Jul 26, 2007 at 12:13 AM

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New Toys! Mavic R-SYS wheel

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by Mark V on Jul 25, 2007 at 10:50 PM

mavic%20wheel%2007.jpgKarlee the Mavic rep called the other day and asked if I wanted to see the new R-SYS wheelset, the new top-of-the-line all-around wheels from Mavic. These puppies are slotted to come in above last year’s $1200 Ksyrium ES wheelset (ya know, the black wheels with a single red spoke). Yeah, bring’em.

When she shows up, she whips out the wheels and asks me if I want to try ‘em out. She even tarted’em up with my favourite Michelins. Of course, I’ll take them for a gentle twirl. I’ll be right back…

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I slip the wheels onto my filthy Davidson pave-basher and did a quick circuit of the steep and tortured portions of Blanchard and Lenora and a little brick-pounding slamdance through the Pike Place Market.

A silly riding test? Au contraire!

Blanchard and Lenora are at least 10% grade maybe as much as 15%, and I launched full-sprint up. The big deal about the R-SYS is that they are supposed to be laterally stiff. My impression? They are stiffer than my Bontrager Race Lites, but they don’t beat my high-flanged, 36-spoke track wheels for laterally stiff. These R-SYS are stiff compared to other wheelsets in their light weight class; they wouldn’t win if weight wasn’t a factor.

A quick turn and run down those same streets revealed a unexpectedly smooth ride coming down. I am well familiar with how Lenora feels going down over the broken pavement…because it’s my route to work and being 20 minutes late to work everyday (35min today, bitch!) encourages me to let it rip on the way in.

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Then I dove into the Pike Place Market. I thought I might jump up and down off the sidewalks there, but the market is so busy that there’s no clear space on the sidewalk to land. Instead, I used tourists like slalom poles and knifed my way through the crowds and cars. I found the wheels to be vertically compliant and precise in turning.

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The R-SYS use 4mm tubular, hollow carbon spokes in front and rear non-drive-side positions, with Zircal alloy spokes from the Ksyrium on the drive-side. The tubular carbon spokes provide resistance to compressive loads on the spoke. You can read elsewhere about what’s so grand about that; I’m not really interested in breaking down the physics of all that. However, I will say that the compression spoke is certainly not a new idea…in fact compression spokes have existed for millennia. This just happens to be a highly engineered re-invention of…well, of the wheel.

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Interesting details I noticed: since the 4mm round spokes won’t accept a normal magnet, there is a built-in magnetic for your cyclo-computer. It’s a ring of high-power magnetic material that slides on the spoke on the left side of the front wheel and is held in place by two plastic clips. I don’t see how you can remove the magnet without removing the spoke…so if you have a computer that counts off the rear wheel, I guess you’re screwed. The “nipples” seem to tighten in the same way that the Ksyrium SL and ES do, but R-SYS ones are anodized acid yellow as are the hub-side anchors for the carbon spokes. The rims and hub shells are polished silver. Unlike the ES, there is no carbon used in the hub shells.

I ordered 3 sets of these $1400 wheels, one for the demo program. In about 2-3 weeks you can come down and test these wheels for yourself. But I warn ya, I ain’t so trusting as Karlee. You wanna take these wheels for a spin, as collateral I want your driver’s license, a credit card, and if she’s of age, your daughter. I’ll be gentle if you are.

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