Eine Kleine Fietsmusik

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by Frank Steele on Dec 06, 2006 at 2:45 PM

Create Digital Music | Ensembles, Symphonies, and Bikelophones

Over at Create Digital Music, a post last week featuring the Nutcracker Suite played entirely on bike parts (by “johnny random”) led to a whole host of bike/music mashups.

There’s Stephen Schweitzer’s Bikelophone, a Motobecane Grand Jubilee that’s given its life to music. Literally. There’s a variety of strings, spokes, and bells alongside an Electrosonic interface that simulates a Theremin, and the whole thing is wired into a mixing board.

The podcasters at The Bike Show just did an edition called “Experimental music and the bicycle”, and they’re trying to organize a performance, in conjunction with London’s Grand Depart of the Tour de France this summer, of Godfried-Willem Raes’s Second Symphony for ‘Singing Bicycles’.

And don’t miss the CD that looks like a patch kit.

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Playing with Wrenches

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by Mark V on Dec 03, 2006 at 4:54 PM

You there! With the 15 pound road bike! Put the wrench down SLOWLY and step away from delicately assembled $8K eggshell on wheels.

I don’t know what you did to this bike since the last time you brought it into my shop, but I know full well that you’ve been playing home mechanic. I know this is going to be a little hard for you, because I’m sure that a neurosurgeon like you is used to being respected for the considerable skills, knowledge, and experience that have made you a proud member of the upper socio-economic strata of this great consumer-based culture. But I have to tell you that your complete mechanical ineptitude in merely tightening a single bolt on your stem makes me want to beat you to death with a pedal spanner.

It’s a 100 gram magnesium stem with four tiny titanium bolts you’re supposed to gently tighten each bolt a little at a time, not apply the death twist one after another until you strip out the threads and round out the hex holes. What were you thinking? Were you using a metric or standard hex key? And people pay you to stick your fingers in their brain? Truly terrifying.

I’m going to dust your rear derailleur for prints, and if I find out that you’ve even touched it you’re a deadman. Sweet Jesus, those phillip’s head limiter screws are like some kind of lightning rod for you. You just can’t resist monkeying with them ike your mind says,Eureka! Phillip’s head bolts I have just the tool for that in the kitchen drawer! Fixing this will be just like installing that Ikea paper towel dispenser! One ride later and you’re here to ask me to fish your derailleur out of that Ksyrium wheel.

It’s your business if you want to buy the lightest crap on the market, but you’re paying for light, not necessarily high-quality. It will only work if you treat it with a light touch and inspect it often for breakage.

I’ve been a bike mechanic and I’ve known a lot of bike mechanics you sir, are no bike mechanic. Stop playing around with wrenches before you hurt yourself.

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Free City Supershop sells bikes

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by Byron on Nov 30, 2006 at 11:27 AM

Again with bikes in the NYTimes! – this is like all the blogging stories in 2005, suddenly in 06, bikes are a popular topic. That’s definitely good for bike huggers and the story about Free City Supershop, a totally impractical retail experience has a great photo of a cruiser with a basket. There’s also some insight into being faithful to your ideas, how the Gap wants to rip you off, and to “make things with the simplest elements with the highest of possibilities.”

I can’t think of a better mantra for an urban bike.

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Finding gifts for cyclists

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by Byron on Nov 30, 2006 at 9:18 AM

A reader just sent us Imagini Gift Finder that sorts gifts by your visual DNA (sort of like eHarmony with a 40 point personality profile or something). It’s fun to see all the choices and mine came back with a Life Cycle for a midwife in a developing country; the Cycloc, a simple solution for bike storage (big props for the Clip-n-Seal style minimalism) and a bicycle taxi.

Considering gift-giving, King County is publicizing it’s Waste Free Holiday program with “experience” merchants. For the past two years, our holidays and gifts have been trips and we’ll ride all over Maui again this year. In 07, we’re planning Bike Hugger tours and those will be experiences! Of course, we’ve got our store and the goods we sell.

Yesterday, and this amazed us, a friend told us she saw a Bike Hugger shirt at an airport. Cool. We hope more show up and check out more of the coolest cycling t-shirts and the Mudbunnies’ calendar.

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Sewn in San Francisco: Timbuk2

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by Byron on Nov 29, 2006 at 8:24 AM

Just in time for the holidays, Timbuk2 has announced Limited Edition Messenger bags – 43 styles, 18 speciality materials, classic Timbuk 2 Designs, and all sewn in San Francisco. While I’ve got a new lust for re.load baggage, I’ve been very happy with my Pro Series Messenger Backpack (shown below). Not only does it a carry all my stuff when traveling, it can be seen from the International Space Station! I think it also confuses the TSA, as it’s so bright, I get through security lines a bit easier.

Timbuk2

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Defying the Weather, Riding in the Snow, and Worse

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by Byron on Nov 28, 2006 at 7:54 AM

A few years ago, I’d ride in any weather, a lot like that scene in Forrest Gump, in the storm, where I’d challenge the winds and rain to throw more at me. The defiance comes from learning how to ride in the Tri-Cities, where the wind blows in all directions all the time and my intense dislike for trainers. The defiance was tempered a few years ago, when I suddenly slipped in the snow and slid down a hill into a parked car and another time when the visibility was so bad, I rode right off the bike path into the Puget Sound.

So, as predictable as seeing a cyclist riding in shorts with bare knees, no matter how cold it is, I bet someone is out riding today, in Seattle, in the snow.

I’ve ridden in it all, not so much anymore, but though I’d ask what are your limits? What will you ride and not ride?

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Riding inside on a Tacx Cosmos

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by Byron on Nov 26, 2006 at 8:04 AM

Admittedly, my indoor trainer discipline is low, terrible, and I’d normally rather ride in a hailstorm that sit on a butt-numbing trainer. But with the non-stop rain finally getting to me, it’s time to commit to riding inside. I decided a new trainer may help my motivation and ordered a Tacx Cosmos. The Cosmos is a programmable trainer with a unique motorbrake that simulates climbs, downhill coasting, and amazingly a “road feel.” It also produces enough power to break your legs - I learned this by blowing during an especially hard effort (ramp test) to baseline my fitness for the new season.

I’ll post a long term report after another few weeks on the Cosmos. Initially, I’m really impressed and also learned that it’s a complicated trainer requiring lots of time to setup, learn, and program. The software is a world unto itself and without concerted patience is very frustrating. Once you figure out that you’re connected directly to the LCD panel and not in a Windows application, it starts to make more a bit more sense. To help program the Cosmos and the Tacx family of virtual trainers, there’s a growing community of users figuring it out, offering conversion tools, and sharing workouts – here are the results from my ramp test zipped and in .hrm and .wko formats. (note Cyclingpeaks is reving their workout software to read the Tacx format)

Considering that today in Seattle, after more than a month of rain, it snows and then starts raining again, I’ll spend lots of hours on the Cosmos.

Cosmos

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Portland’s Bike Business

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by Byron on Nov 26, 2006 at 7:17 AM

Our friends at Bike Portland posted this weekend about the bustling bike industry in Portland. The topic is on the front page of the Oregonian and the Portland Development Commission is working to attract more bike-based business. This quote from Matt O’Rourke, Vice President Chris King Precision Components, says it all

Portland is a whole new day for us. Chris and I are so incredibly optimistic about the town, our new building, the new people that we have interviewed and hired, everything.

Seattle (and any City) should take note.

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