According to press reports over the weekend, Washington DC is launching the first bike share program in the US. It works like Zipcar with an annual fee, stations, and 120 bikes. The SmartBikeDC bikes are three-speed, upright “comfort” bikes. They feature mudguards to prevent the rider from getting wet, chain guards to keep clothes from getting caught, front and rear lights that turn on in the dark and easily adjustable seats.
A quick teaser that we’ve got Bettie 2.0 being built right now as well as the Yuba Mundo – full tests and posts are coming soon. With two longtail, sport-utility, cargo bikes on test, maybe we’ll race them or something …
While focused on climbing, I enjoyed this video from Gregory Mountain Products, and longed for a ride in the quite of nothing around me. The video features Joe Kinder, an NYC Punk that went rural in Hurricane, Utah.
We’re in Portland Oregon for our next Hugga Event and it’s on May 21st to coincide with Webvisions. Just like we did at SXSW, we’re going to ride and then meetup at a pub for a reception with a raffle, giveaways, and schwag o’ plenty. Register for the Mobile Social on Upcoming. Participation is limited to 50.
Check below for the ride details and back here for updates.
WebVisions is a two-day web conference that explores the future of Web design, technology, user experience and business strategy.
So what’s a Mobile Social Event?
It’s Like a Tupperware party for bike enthusiasts, only without the beehive hairdo or weird cult-like party games.
No really, what is it?
It’s an intersection of bikes, technology, and culture – we ride, talk bikes, party, and give away product.
Happy Earth Day all, a great time to think about reducing your impact on the planet. Transportation is one of the key areas we can effect in our own lives and if you’re in Seattle’s north end this weekend stop by the Green My Ride transportation fair. The fair’s at the Phinney Neighborhood Center between 9:30 and 3:00 on this Saturday the 26th of April. The announcement says rain or shine, no word on snow but if that happens (again) I’m sure the event will go on.
Helpful tips on biking and a bike gear swap are on the docket, as are a host of other events (some live music, activities for kids, etc). They’ll even have some tips for folks who have to drive cars. I’ll be swinging by on the big yellow cargo bike to show folks how to haul cargo and kids. Hope to see you there.
Built up the Trek Project One Madone over the weekend with SRAM Force. Earlier this year, the DA parts from the Madone had been dispersed to the Hotspur and Modal and I’ve been wanting to test SRAM. The summary report is “very good” with these observations
Solid – there’s no “light action” of any sort on SRAM. It shifts similar to Campy way back in the 90s. You not only feel a shift, but hear it, and know it occurred without a cable shift indicator to tell you so. I also appreciate another group that opens up the cockpit by running the cables along the bar.
Loud – carbon derailleur cages, with carbon wheels, on a carbon bike is loud. The drivetrain ironically sounds like a fishing reel.
Responsive – I’ve never shifted from the big ring to the little and back faster. Wham it’s there and same thing with the rear.
I figured out the DoubleTap shifting in about 17 seconds. I did periodically grab the brake lever while shifting and I also a few times wanted to shift a button with my thumb like Campy. Cable actuation and all the engineering didn’t matter much to me, but I did wonder what was happening between my index finger and brain to figure out that a short tap meant a rapid upshift and a longer double-click meant a downshift. I didn’t really have to think about it is the point. It just works.
The fit, finish, and quality of the FORCE group was on par with Campy and Shimano, with a few exceptions
Barrel adjustersÂ – here’s this very nice group, with plasticky adjusters, and the same problem with the cable ferrules.
Carbon Crank – I’ve never met a carbon crank I’ve liked, except for the Shimano, and that’s because of the aesthetics. It seems like carbon-weave fashion wins out over form and function, but the quality is high and I’m sure other roadies totally dig it.
Black chain link – what’s the point of indicating a chain link with black if that’s not meant for removal?
Finally, the ergonomics of the group is outstanding. SRAM has the best in-the-hand feeling hoods, reach, shifting, and braking.
While SRAM is on par with its competitors, I don’t see that compelling of a reason to leap to it, and replace your current group. But if it comes on a new bike, or you’re spec’ing a new bike, or considering upgrading, it’s def worth it. The opinion comes from the fact that I’m riding, testing, and trying out lots of different bikes and groups and I’ve become way less religious about my choices. Fact is that any higher-end group is going to shift and perform exceptionally well.
Where SRAM does win is with its marketing. It’s appealing to racers and enthusiasts with blogs, road diaries, and an all-out effort to represent a “working man’s group.” Offering a 11 x 26 cassette is proof enough that they’re listening to cyclists that race bikes. SRAM is also driving the competition and while Shimano may never admit it, expect their innovations in the 09 group to directly compete with SRAM.
One surprise is a certain amount of playah hatin’ on SRAM in the bike shops. I don’t think it’s the group itself, but more the fact that for a shop mechanic here’s another group they have to support, have unlimited knowledge of, speak intelligently about, and work on. Much easier for them when it was just two groups.
With props to what SRAM has achieved, there are problems that I think that are overlooked in the enthusiasm for the brand. The shifting at times is sloppy and other times overloaded. I’ve had the dropped chain problem, seen others have it, and working on a term for it: the loaded shift drop or chainstay reach-around. What happens is when you shift to the small chain ring and at the same time even slightly peddle, the chain will not complete the drop and bind up in the chainstay. I think the chain is dropping with such force that that spring energy has to go somewhere, and it goes right into the chain, whipping it up, and around.
SRAM also requires lazer-like derailleur alignment. If your hanger and frame is slightly askew, you’re going to have issues.