Here are a couple safety related gift ideas for the cyclist you want to see back home again after that next winter ride:
Glo Gloves The traffic directing gloves police officers use. These make it impossible to miss hand signals. Better yet, they’re simple Lycra shells, so they fit over any glove you have. They can be a bit hard to find, but you can buy them at Blumenthal Uniforms and Equipment on line, or at their retail outlet here in Seattle (9 am to 1 pm on the 24th!). About $25
Princeton Tec EOS headight It’s been said before many times, many ways but this is a great headlight. Benefits: Bright, Cheap ($40), light weight (4 oz. - with batteries), AAA batteries, 60 hrs run time for flashing, adjustable angle. Best feature – zip tie-able it to your helmet visor. This avoids the strap-a-rock-to-your-head problem with helmet mounts. Available at Second Ascent and other outdoors stores in Seattle and elsewhere.
Knog Frog – This is about as simple a light as you can get, and a fantastic backup light for visibility. Nice and bright on fresh batteries. I see these at every bike store I visit, usually $10 for a single light.
This year Bike Hugger supported World Bicycle Relief with bikes purchased in lieu of holiday gifts for friends, family, and partners. The postcards announcing the bike gifts were sent out this week and said, “May the Holidays fill your spirit for many miles to come.”
Before Maui rides, I’ll eat light, ride to a banana bread stand, and fuel up. Riding back from Hana, I went a little too far, and was bonking – I ate 1/2 a loaf in about two bites and that satisfied the hunger.
Getting that hungry reminded me of various bonks and eating whatever was in sight – that includes a burger once and I don’t eat beef. What’s your worst bonk? How do you satisfy the hunger after a long ride?
The Aquaduct a tricycle for transporting water from a distant (3rd world?) water source and purifying it along the trip. It converts to a stationary mode to continue filtration. This solves a real problem in many parts of the world.
Check out this awesome nighttime video of Dekochari – Japanese art bikes (Deko = decorated, chari = slang for bicycle). The bikes are ‘dressed up’ to resemble Dekotora, highly stylized trucks popular in Japan in the mid 1970s. Loaded down with flashing lights, boxes, mirrors, cup holders, hi-fi systems, everything – these bikes (and their bigger truckier cousins) are particularly impressive at night. There are several active dekochari fleets in Japan to this day.
This is another great example of bike culture evolving from established trends in the existing culture, promulgated by youth. (Yes, that’s a double word score if you’re keeping track).
Unable to drive the giant chrome-plated flashing trucks they coveted, children instead built plywood boxes around their bikes and attached chrome plating and lights. Almost all current Dekochari’s have elaborate light displays and many include hi-fi audio systems and cup-holders.
The Dekotora were popularized by the Torrakku Yaro (trucker) movies of Norifumi Suzuki starting in 1975. A great set of galleries from Japan here (most links are below “2006’N – explore a little, it’s worth it.). Night time galleries from Pink Tentacle are here.
The Dekochari are often difficult to recognize (big gallery at that link) as bikes in photos due to the huge amount of decoration. I can only imagine that these beasties are mostly popular in the flatter regions of the island nation.
All this raises difficult moral, ethical and logistical questions: Could I? Would I? Should I? Seeing that I live at the top of a hill, already have more personal bicycles than members of my family, and a job that expects occasional time away from aforementioned bicycles I think the answer is No. I’d love to see some of these art bikes showing up at next year’s Solstice parade , but I don’t think I’ll be doing the making.
So I just finished up with assembling the Kappa frame for my girlfriend. If she likes it, I’m gonna have the braze-ons for the sissy bar added to the stays and then have the frame re-powdercoated. Also, tomorrow the Redline straight seatpost will come in to replace the current layback post. Eventually, I’ll get a different banana seat and new wheels too.
How does it ride? AWESOME!!!!
This frame is a 20” BMX race frame with a 21.5” top tube. That’s about 2” longer than Old School race frames and at least 3” longer than an original Schwinn Stingray. The head tube angle is much steeper than the older bikes, which offsets the increased wheelbase a little. The fork and frame are in another league of stiffness compared to a Stingray. The net effect is that the bike tracks pretty wheel but is still pretty agile.
I’m pretty excited about the bike. I told her if she doesn’t like it, I’ll ride it. Keep in mind that I’m a road and track bike kind of rider, so a bike like this represents pure unadulterated fun.
Messrs. Hiller and McGrath (two of Cascade’s Bike Advocacy staff) will be at Tangletown pub Thursday Dec 20 starting a 7. They’ll be talking advocacy with you and anybody else who can make it. Please RSVP to Patrick if you’re planning on attending. I don’t think this’ll be your last chance, so if you’ve got another engagement (like the .83 Race of Champions ride/race) maybe you can catch them next time. Or, head down hill to Greenlake to watch the races!