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Bike Hugger Bettie Delivers

4

by Byron on May 04, 2007 at 8:21 AM

Running the kids around, errands, dates, and mostly delivering the goods is what we’ve been doing with Bettie. I’ve got suggestions for Stokemonkey, observations, and a movie after the jump.

Bettie

Long Term Bettie

Reporting on a long-term relationship with our sport utility bike, it’s mostly good, with a few improvements we can eventually roll into a Bettie 2.0:

  • Stand Over Height – Fully loaded, with kids, a spouse, or Clip-n-Seals, the stand-over height of Bettie is always a concern and difficult. You’re balancing a hundred pounds or so, then stepping up, and over to get onto Bettie. The top tube of a cargo Bettie would need to be as low as possible or made like a factory worker’s cruiser bike with a basket in front or back.
  • Whippiness – Bettie is a whip machine. Some cyclist may like that sensation, I most certainly do not. While I understand why Bettie whips under load and deal with it, standing up is scary, and a Bettie 2.0, Surly, or custom frame should address that problem.
  • ShroudMonkey – even after being extra careful, I had a nice pair of track pants instantly sucked up into the Stokemonkey gear and ripped right off my leg. A shroud should cover the Stokemonkey drive gear to protect your pants and leg.
  • MonkeyThumb – Riding Bettie with the power on eventually strains your thumb. Don’t mean to sound like a wuss, but it does. It’s the pressure on the trigger. It doesn’t help the MonkeyThumb that I bling the bell everywhere I go. I’m just so happy to ride Bettie, that I declare it with a bling, bling, bling when I pass anyone (embarrassing my children the whole time)
  • MonkeyMusic – It’s the harmonic music the Stokemonkey makes that alarms dogs. Todd described it as, “there are eight distinct tones in that hum . . I can hear five of them … My wife can hear seven.” One of those eight tones dogs hear as “bark!” MonkeyMusic could sell as cosmic, carbon-reducing ringtones.
  • MonkeyMeter – Even if it wasn’t accurate at all, I’d really like a MonkeyMeter that’d tell me where I was at on power supply.
  • StopMonkey – After several tries, working with XtraCycle, and a trip to a downhill bike shop (I was totally out of place in that joint!) for an alignment, we still couldn’t get the rear disc to work right on Bettie because of the tolerances between the mounts. We had to settle for the Magura Gustav in the front and the crappy Shimano disc in the back. That means, I’m slowly stopping from the rear, then suddenly stopping on the front. Note that your needs may differ, but with the loads we carry on Bettie and the hills, we needed full on stopping ability. I don’t know what Shimano’s deal is with their disc brakes, but stopping power ain’t it.

Slow Ride

Over time with Bettie, I learned to just slow down. There’s an exhilaration with the power from the Stokemonkey and cyclists are genetically programmed for speed. So, I was always pushing it faster, running right of out battery, and blowing up my legs. It’s best to just let the Stokemonkey torque get you up the hill, at a leisure speed, instead of attempting to go 35 mph with traffic (blinging the bell at motorists …).

Slowing down on Bettie also lets you talk more to the people that want to know what the deal is with that red (Stokemonkey’s motor is bright red) thing on your big bike. Take Bettie out for coffee, park it, and watch they crowds gather, debate, talk and try to figure it out. A viral marketing plan for a longtail bike is to just ride it around and talk to people about it.

Bettie Delivers

Check the Bettie Delivers movie. The clip shows me delivering 100 pound of Clip-n-Seals on the Bettie to Alki Mail and Dispatch for shipment to the Netherlands.

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The Flying Scotsman

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by Byron on May 03, 2007 at 6:48 PM

It’s not often a bike-themed movie comes along and who knows if we’ll ever see one about Lance. That leaves us American Flyers, Breaking Away, and Quicksilver. In advance of the screenings, there are good reviews of The Flying Scotsman and Seattle is one of the few cities to get it in theaters.

Of course I remember the story in 1993 when Graham Obree broke the world record, had it stripped, won again, and the ongoing battles with his mind. In 1994, I started to get “serious” about cycling and he was one of the most talked about athletes in the sport.

Ain’t it cool news interviews Jonny Lee Miller who plays Obree and according to the reviews, Obree has several cameos in the movie.

58145_aa.jpg

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An interrupted commute

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by Byron on May 02, 2007 at 10:04 AM

A sinkhole will ruin a commute every-time! Bike Month Day Two in Seattle was interrupted by a massive sink hole under the south end of University Bridge.

I talked to a couple of cyclists from Redfin that just missed the sinkhole. Anyone see that happen?

Update

The Seattle PI updates the Sinkhole story with photos and the blogs are posting.

070502_sinkhole.jpg

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Northwest Hills

9

by Byron on May 02, 2007 at 7:21 AM

Hills, especially for those of us that don’t climb, are often debated, considered, and argued about during rides or when prepping for the big race. “What’s the grade? Does it stair-step? Is there a wall? Mostly flat, or rollers?” While we debate if it’s a climber’s race or power hills and what wheels to ride, a reader sent in meInnovations Rides, a definitive guide to the hills of the northwest, including Cougar Mountain.

The guide has most of them, but doesn’t include the Col de Roy in West Seattle. The climbed was named for Rob the Roy Chalmers who had to get off and walk up it after bragging for weeks about his climbing prowess (he may have puked as well, that’s also debated). The climb follows Marine View Drive (Marine View Dr, SW 125th, Shorewood Dr SW), descends down to the coastline and right back up about a thousand feet at 20%. That’ll break your legs or Rob’s legs at least. Pam told me to f-off one time up it and we never climbed it together again (riding with your spouse is a whole other topic for another post).

Another is the Col de Kent (West on 216th, 37th Pl S) that’s now disrupted by a housing development and roundabout. The Col is a 22% monster that climbs up the ridge to Military Road. Near Orillia Road, also in Kent and featured on the REI Legendary Lunch Ride is the Graveyard Berg (West on South 204th, past the graveyard, joining Orillia) – while just a blip, in relative terms, it’s relentlessly attacked and gives no quarter to the unsuspecting riding who may have tragically chose the wrong gear.

What famous climbs are in your neighborhood or city? Back in the day, when I rode more in the Tri-Cities it was Clodfelter Road and Finley Hills.

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Bring the good wheels

0

by Byron on May 01, 2007 at 12:53 PM

During an REI Legendary Lunch Ride last week, I quipped, “Hey! no one told me it was bring the good wheels day!” One of the lunch ride hammerheads was all riding his Zipp’s and damn, I should’ve brought my Heds. That reminded me it was time to post a review of my new hoops.

To some, cycling is all about the wheels and earlier this year, Mark posted his Aero Wheel Wisdom and that’s the Stinger 50 he’s gluing up. I’ve also been riding the Jet 60, another great wheelset.

The Jet 60s roll really well and I use them for roleur type of courses, which are flatter circuits, also known as a kermese. The wheels reminded of Hed Alps, but lighter, and are a good all-around wheel.

For the hillier races, crits, and tighter circuits, I’ve been riding the Stinger 50s and totally dig them. They’re the fastest wheelset I’ve ridden. Of course, that’s a perception, but perception is everything. The speed I’m feeling is a direct result of the stiffness, which translates to out of the corner acceleration. They’re also exceptionally well made with Hed’s Sonic hub.

Little known facts

Hed manufactures the carbon rims for Bontrager and they rely on his patented rim shape. The Aeolus 6.5 Clincher is very similar to the Jet 60 and both are thought to produce a flywheel effect. Specifically, you get them up to speed and they carry that momentum.

Hed also designs their wheels to always get you home. So, if you’re bringing them to a lunch ride or for a commute during Bike Month and a spoke breaks or something bad happens, you’re still going to finish your ride. That can’t be said for a lot of good, race day wheels.

jet60.jpg

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Bike Month Day One: The Challenges

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by Byron on May 01, 2007 at 6:57 AM

Bike Month is here – yippee! – and all over the country bike challenges are being thrown down. Like the Seattle org that’s donating cash for every 5 round trips a commuter rides, the Kennewick REI stores with schwag and prizes, and the overall Group Health Commute Challenge with lots of activities and lots of sponsors.

To further celebrate Bike Month, Street Films resurrects a bikeTV classic, where Hal Ruza (famous bike mechanic) humorously grades the bike locking ability of New Yorkers.

Check these cities for examples of more activities and the 50 ways to leave your car.

Also take note that the American Lung Association released it’s yearly report on air quality today.

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Pedal Power on KOMO TV

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by Byron on Apr 30, 2007 at 6:22 PM

KOMO TV, Seattle’s ABC affiliate, reported tonight on the 8K (and growing) bike commuters on Seattle streets and how that’s expected to grow with high gas prices or downed overpasses like in San Francisco. It was a good report, especially on the eve of Bike Month.

Are you riding to work more now because of gas prices? What’s your BIke Month plan? And how are our San Francisco readers?

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Rush Hour in Beijing

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by Byron on Apr 30, 2007 at 7:25 AM

In another clip from our Blogging Beijing by Bike videos, we ride during rush hour. In a city with 13 million people, 3 million cars and millions of bikes, riding is a chaotic experience. We just rode, found a way through it, and joined the flow in Beijing.

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