Just 2 years ago, fixies and messengers were hip and now sadly described as a dying breed; well, I don’t trust media predications anymore than anyone else and messengers will always have a place in Portland and in bad-ass races like this one in NYC.
As noted in the comments below, after posting this entry, I was tipped to the Tour of Chicago death and read the news about it.
What was intended as a snappy post title now means more and our regrets and sympathies go out the Chicago cycling community. The video itself is legendary, anyone riding like that I think is “bad ass,” but I wish the timing had been different and feel very sad about what happened.
Super-advanced, aero (16.4% lower wind resistance that regular pants), horizontal cords are reported to look great on the bike and in the office! If you need bike pants and want to impress your bike geek friends with some tech that ain’t lycra or soft shell, check Lindland Cordaround.
I was down at the beach walk at Lincoln Park this lovely weekend when I ran into not one but 3 separate folks on trials bikes, perfecting their skills in the area.
The photo’s of KC who hails from Denver. He rode trials back in CO for quite a while, but hasn’t been so active since coming out to the Pacific North West. No better excuse than a sunny Saturday to take your seatless wonder down to the beach and practice side hopping on some old beach logs.
Apparently Seattle’s not a hot bed of trialing activity, but our neighbors to the north in Vancouver seem to have it going on. Mike Bentham ‘s great video featured a while ago is just one example.
More details about KC’s ride, riding and trials inside…
I know I’m not going to do any justice to KC’s bike, I’ll try my best given I’m more or less a commuter dude. KC was riding a Monty 221pr. Nice wide low pressure tire in the back running at what must have been somewhere in the 25 PSI range, smaller tire up front. I’m shocked these guys don’t get pinch flats all the time. Rim brake on the back (didn’t get a chance to see if it was hydraulic or not, could have been the HS-33 though), disc on front – looked a lot like an Avid. No seat, which seems pretty standard for trials bikes, although some come with the teeniest saddles you’ve ever seen. Aside from the no-seat, the weirdest looking thing was no chain, at least that’s how it looks. The gearing is set up insanely low, something like 18/12 which means you can barely even see the chain along side the stays. No clips on the pedals, just big flat BMX pedals. This is the first trials bike I’ve seen up close (and ridden, thanks KC!), and despite it’s odd looks it rides pretty much like a bike with a no-ratio gearing. No, I didn’t try any tricks.
KC was out in the Saturday sun, hopping on top of burned, randomly placed beach logs, sans helmet or other protective gear. I can’t imagine, given the acrobatics, and the seeming ease of a bad fall on to the rocky beach. He’s had a couple of rough looking spots on his knees, but then so do I. He was handling the bike very well, so I’ll assume his bumps and bruises are from household bashes like mine. Pretty impressive stuff for a noob like me – riding up and over the logs, along the logs, one-wheel on top of the logs, hopping log to log, side ways across 2 logs, and generally making it look easy.
Bike Trials have been around for a long time, and surprisingly came from doing something similar on Motorcycles – imagine hopping over obstacles on a motorcycle with no seat. Wanna try this stuff out on your bike? Trash-Zen has the details.
I haven’t seen any other trialists in Seattle, but I probably don’t get out enough. I was glad to see a bit of cycling diversity in the city, plus an impressive display of skills. You can catch more of the show (pardon my bad photos) in the Bikehugger Urban Bikes stream. Looking forward
In the Seattle Times today, there was a report about a guy who conned a string of NW bike shops into letting him take wicked expensive bikes out on test rides that he intended to be…let us say…extended. Basically, he posed as a medical professional who was ready to lay out some serious cash for a top dollar bike, and the shops blissfully let him ride out the door on multi-thousand dollar carbon bonbons with little more than his (fictitious) first name and his reassuring smile. But in the end, he got caught.
The guy left a Tulley’s thermo mug with the name “Jake” on it after riding off on a Cervelo from Speedy Reedy’s shop in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle early last year. Well, the cops used DNA testing to match to a prior conviction in Ohio for credit card fraud. That led them to a 35 yr old podiatrist in Longview WA named Jacob Bos. He has been charged with 12 counts of selling and possessing stolen property.
Turns out the guy was an active member of the NW racing scene. (The Times used the word “elite”, but I’m a Cat4 on the road too, and I don’t call myself “elite”.) Apparently, he was riding, racing, and even selling to fellow racers the bikes he had stolen. No one had any idea, not those who raced with him, not the owners of the clinic he worked. The guy must have been pretty smooth.
The cops have already recovered a few of the bikes from those unsuspecting racers who purchased them off of Bos. The Times article talks about the loss of trust in the racing community. But as much as he might have been able to convince others that he was authentic as a racer, I think the stronger factor in the shops letting him out the door without surrendering an ID and credit card had to do with Bos being able to convince others that he was wealthy and respectable. It could have easily been some other kind of merchandise theft, but it just happened to be bikes, maybe out of convenience. After all, you can’t make a getaway by pedaling on a stolen plasma tv.
I was riding in Maui, near Napili when this bike zoomed out, across the highway and ahead of me. I wouldn’t have caught it if she hadn’t stopped to get her mail. Later, she wrote us and said
“It was fun meeting you yesterday here on Maui.I just started riding my electric bike to my business, West Maui Wellness Center, and I have to be so careful. The issue here on the island is the lack of bike lanes. The lower road here on West Maui not only is sketchy, there aren’t sidewalks for the pedestrians and the bike lanes come and go. Everyone drives over the speed limit here, too.
The bike is a Tidal Force with a Wavecrest Lab’s electric motor hubs. Googling the bike resulted in news that it’s no longer imported into the USA, but from talking with Laura it sounded like it was new.
Add another mode to the Modal and that’s performance. When it was built, both Mark V and Bill Davidson commented that the Modal would perform, if needed, and perform well. In my previous trips, I was either riding it in singled-speed mode or geared and just touring. I rode to Hana with a Carradice seat pack last time we were in Maui and mostly just rolled it, but did observe
“The Modal in geared mode performed as expected — very well. It’s built for performance riding and adept at climbing, cornering, and all-day riding … I’ll adjust the sliders for more road clearance and swap cassettes to a 27 next time.”
This time, with racing starting next week, I came here to train harder and added some intensity. For the past 5 days, I’ve ridden Upcountry in the hills with lots of rollers and climbing; bombed down descents over very rough “Roubaix roads”; rolled roleur style, staying on top of the gear with a tailwind; added fast tempo, sprint intervals, a recovery spin; and a bonus trip over the lava fields.
The Modal not only took all of that, but if this bike has a personality, it’s of a young, rebel punk saying, “is that all you got.” The performance had a lot to do with the new Hed Ardennes. The Ardennes are like the Jet 50/60s. Built with the C2 (wide rim), same hub, and spokes, but without the carbon wing.
There are so many sensations going on with the new Ardennes, that I wanted to ride them a few more times to condense it down into a few sentences. It’s possible that the C2 feel is more pronounced without the carbon wing. Besides the a clincher that’s a tubular road vibrations, that I’d written about before, they feel like “crit” wheels that’ll track right through the worst pavement and I rode on some of the worst ever during an 8-mile descent down from Upcountry to Kihei. The wheels didn’t squat, squirm, or move as I dived into s-curves, with lots of body english and power to the pedals pushing out of the corner.
I’m not a wheel engineer but I think the combination of the wide rim, lower pressure, and overall stiffness makes for a very confidant ride and high performance.
Without the carbon wing of the Jet 50s and 60s, they don’t “roll” as much as a deep-rim, aero wheel, but also get up to speed faster and don’t move around in the wind. The rim is aero enough for training and certainly racing. Hed has outfitted Euro teams with these wheels and for good reason.
I’ll train on these, race them on “broken pavement and turtles” crits and travel with them. For comparison, they’re lighter than Krysiums (a travel standard for me cause they’re bombproof in S&S travel cases, and almost never got out of true), as strong, and come with the Hed pedigree.
The wide rims require that you adjust your brakes and open them up. Wheels from Hed, Reynolds, and others are shipping with “loose” bearings and not a lot of adjustment to make them tighter. By that I mean, side-to-side play. I run my brakes tight and had to open them way up to prevent brake rub. A bonus of the C2 rim is lower pressure; especially when when traveling and using gas station air. All of the riding I’ve done on the C2s was at 80 PSI.
The modal is a travel bike concept that folds and toggles between single, fixed, and geared modes.