Seattle Bicycle Touring Club

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by Byron on Mar 10, 2007 at 10:03 AM

SBTC wrote to say hello and cool. They’re an informal group of recreational cyclists promoting rides and fun for its members. There’s a lot going on in their clubhouse, including maps and a gallery.

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Bikes, Beer & BMX

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by Kelli on Mar 09, 2007 at 11:56 PM

This weekend’s Bike Expo is nearly upon us and I’m excited to be bringing the “best of” to those of you who aren’t able to make it out for what is arguably Seattle’s mecca of cycling culture. While I am personally hoping for some dry weather, a light drizzle will certainly not keep me from hitching up the trailer and hauling the family out to kick off the cycling season.

Between the 150+ exhibitors and a packed presentation schedule, I plan to bring plenty of cash for the beer garden and a comfortable pair of shoes. You’ll find me in my Bike Hugger Shirt, camera in-hand.

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Bike Expo this Weekend

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by Byron on Mar 09, 2007 at 3:13 PM

Bike Expo is this weekend and Kelli will blog all about it, including beers and BMX (I don’t know if we’d ever cover BMC without a beer enticement). Kelli blogged for us last year and posted how NOT to ride the STP.

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Another allergy season

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by Byron on Mar 09, 2007 at 12:37 PM

“Hello allergy season,” I said yesterday in the afternoon … “I see you’re here to totally kick my ass again!” With the unusual weather pattern this year, I predicted lots of pollen and a difficult season. After years of allergies, I just get in the best shape I can, ride tempo and easy through the worst of it, and relax.

I’ve been as drugged up as Rush Limbaugh, tried herbs, and even acupuncture, and it all comes down to the fact that I’ll feel much better once the trees stop doing their thing.

Even worse is the summer smog and I watch the air quality here.

Anyone else feeling it like me and how do you cope?

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The Great Frame Debate

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by Byron on Mar 08, 2007 at 11:52 AM

As a cyclist, I get asked 3 questions all the time

Why do you shave your legs?
Smooth legs feel good in jeans!
Do you ride Seattle to Portland?
No, I spend my weekends racing my bike.
What frame material is the best?
They all have the strengths, let’s have coffee and discuss.

A reader recently sent us a story from composite world on Cannondale’s manufacturing process for their Six13 and a there’s that question again, “what frame is best” Is is the carbaluminum?

Well no. All frames have their unique qualities and depending on what you’re after (touring, racing, blowing all your disposable income), pick a material and either buy one or have it built. During the coffee discussion, I break it down like this: steel is the best, but heavy and requires paint; aluminum works well for mountain bikes cause they got suspension; I ride titanium for my rain and touring bike; carbon is the best all-around racing bike.

What I don’t agree with is slapping a carbon rear triangle on an aluminum frame so it doesn’t beat the crap out of you (or vice versa with a rear aluminum triangle and carbon front). Just buy a nice carbon frame and skip the aluminum unless you’re racing the Iron Man. Granted, marketing 101, is differentiation and “tuning” a carbon/ti bike with specific tubes is some good marketing, you could also spend that money on a great riding Rivendell, Time, Trek, or Litespeed.

What frame material do you recommend or would argue is best?

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Time to Race

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by andrew_f_martin on Mar 06, 2007 at 9:52 PM

This Saturday I’m planning on heading out to the Murarrie Cycling Facility for the weekly Balmoral Circuit Race. I’ve raced in London (Hillingdon Circuit) and it’s much the same sort of course: flattish, wide pavement, closed to traffic (yay!), and WINDY. I did a shake-down ride today to sort out the way to the course. I figure about an hour to ride there to be safe considering the hills en-route have enough pitch to make me happy to have the 25.

The roads I’ve found to be quite wide, many with designated bike lanes. Some are even a full lane in width! There are of course some sketchier sections, but for the most part it feels pretty safe here. The drivers have been very courteous so far and seem actually aware that I’m about (shocking, I know). I’m going to have to head out and take some pics of the road furniture they use here - some interesting ways to make a road bike-friendly, and car-not-so-friendly.

Plans may change for Saturday, but in the mean time - some snaps from my scouting trip:

Dedicated bike park! They have a dedicated bike park (a couple I’ve read). There’s been at least one article in the paper each day I’ve been here that road cycling is on the rise. Very cool.

The Hill The “Hill” is more of a soft rise. I’m sure with a group, it’ll pass before you feel it.

Finish Line They have an actual finish line on the course. I think the last race I did with a finish line banner was Quad Cities circa 2001.

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Swobo launches first bikes

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by Frank Steele on Mar 06, 2007 at 8:23 PM

Swobo | Collection

So, as promised, Swobo has launched a line of bicycles to join their clothing. The three models are available for order now, with delivery promised in April.

The Folsom is a one-speed with coaster brakes, and PT-boat styling. Primer gray with gussets between the front of the top and down tubes, with bolt-on hubs, BMX style pedals and 4” riser handlebars, for $499.

The Otis is a matte black, rigid-fork MTB-style frame mated with a SRAM 3-speed coaster brake hub in back and a disc brake up front. Grip twist shifting. Black-on-black tires, black rims, black seat, black frame: To borrow from the masters, “It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is … none. None more black.” Yours for $699.

And the Sanchez, which is out of the box ready to hang with the bike messengers. It’s got the flat-bar fixie no-brake road bike ethos down, and brings a cool galvanized finish (this one’s “Swobo butted CroMo,” while the others are 7005 aluminum). It’s a flip-flop rear hub, so you can thread on a single-speed freewheel. The black and white photos don’t really show the white (yes, white) rims and handlebar, so I’m reserving judgment there. This one’s $599.

And there’s a bottle opener built into every Swobo saddle.

These aren’t bikes as art, or as hipster product placement – they’re utilitarian and organic.

What do you think?

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Arrived Down Under

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by andrew_f_martin on Mar 06, 2007 at 3:50 AM

Rolling out in SydneyI’ve made it to the land of Oz. It’s pretty nice down here (85+), and I’m hoping to really get out for some exploring now that I’ve settled into my home base in Brisbane. Sydney was NOT a bike town. I rode for an hour up and down the same street - mostly because I was afraid of getting lost, but also because it was the only street I found that had any sort of a shoulder to it. I couldn’t imagine trying to get around Sydney on bike alone. Commuting to work there would be a challenge for sure.

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Masters and the Cramps

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by Byron on Mar 05, 2007 at 8:42 AM

Reading the definition of McMansion Masters on Nega-Coach was even funnier after completing my first masters race of the season. The first race with the old guys is always who’s gonna cramp first. Or a big-effort suddenly reeled back with a desperate realization that, “whoa, not quite ready, better back right off … .”

My cramp was a twanging hamstring and I imagined it looking like a guitar string, buzzing after a hard, Peter-Townsend type power-cord strum. It was one pedal stroke away from snapping and I spun like a spin class, at the highest cadence I could to stay with the group. I finished the race favoring my right leg and was relieved it was over.

For cramps, I never try to ride through it, spin, soft pedal, and down all the sugar in my bottles. My worst cramp ever took me out of a finishing hill on a circuit race and I remember it vividly to this day. Pain, yelping “cramp!” and I was suddenly on the shoulder of the road limping.

What was your worst cramp and what do you do? An old-school racer, Dan Norton would recommend salt water in your bottles, but I don’t think homeopathic remedies or drinking salt is going to solve it.

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Sitting in traffic, breathing dirty air . . .

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by Byron on Mar 05, 2007 at 7:48 AM

Following the study last year linking asthma and inner-city children to diesel pollutants, a new study by the Clean Air Task Force and reported by Reuters finds that diesel soot shortens lives and that “fine particle pollutants released from the exhaust of diesel-powered vehicles pose a major health risk to commuters.”

Yet another reason to bike to work.

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