One of the most liberating things about Bettie is the big tires; Big Apples from Schwalbe to be exact. They’re like that cruiser bike you had as a kid, where you just roll over everything: through a field, over a curb, on gravel, potholes … whatever. They also have a magic carpet ride about them and Schwalbe calls big-apple equipped bikes, Balloon Bikes. Not sure how that marketing program is working, but we’re seeing bikes with big tires on The Ride, Batavus Diva, and even Dahons.
Big tires are cool, bigger is better, but what I’m don’t know about is the 650B wheels (which measure 27.5” in diameter, half-way between 26” and 29” wheels) discussed this week in Bicycle Newswire.
Question is whether or not the world needs another wheel size?
While some would argue that Ti frames never left, they don’t get the respect they used to with all the industry focus on carbon these days. But in the latest issue of Road Bike Action they feature top Ti frames, including a new Litespeed that’s sub 800 grams. I’ve owned 3 ti frames and another, our Modal project, is being built now.
I race on carbon, just like any roadie, but when it’s time for a tour, all-day ride, endless hours in the rain, or just commuting, Ti is it for me.
It was well timed that I’d ride with David Hiller and Patrick McGrath (from Cascade) down the bus and bike-only thoroughfare on the same day the city announced it was permanent. We weaved in and out of the buses, cursed the few cars that had strayed onto the street, and urged the cops to ticket them.
A few turns later, in a sad amount of traffic, we went our separate ways, and back later for Critical Mass. Before our ride, we met at Zeitgeist Coffee talked advocacy, bikes, and more. Their bikes are pictured below.
During last year’s visit to Copenhagen, I got a taste for city cycling. The bike lanes there are filled with sophisticated Danes, happily riding to and fro in regular street clothes on simple, comfy, utilitarian bikes. We rented bikes to join in ourselves, and the experience was transforming. Why do so many Americans ride complicated, uncomfortable bikes, and insist on wearing spandex just for the ride to work? 150,000 Copenhagenners do it every day, and 149,999 could jump off for an impromptu photo shoot.
With this in mind, I decided that I would get my own urban bike for tooling around town, getting groceries, going to bars, etc. My criteria were, and are, in order of priority:
It must be capable.
It must be comfortable
It must be stylish.
It must be enjoyable.
It must have carrying capapcity.
I must be able to hop on it and ride away with no special preparation.
It must be simple to use and maintain.
Thus, I went on a mission to find or build a bike to fulfill those criteria. I test rode a lot of bikes, and I have to say, the Electra Townie came really close.
We rode with Critical Mass last night, representin’ the hugga, kitted up and on our race bikes. Critical Mass meandered through downtown, towards Fremont via HWY 99, Stone Way, and then onto Golden Gardens. It was a fun, festive event, and massive.
Is doping the ruination of professional cycling? Some people seem to think so, and are taking it to the streets like so many latter-day Nancy Reagans.
At least it’s not “Just Say No” or “Get Doped on Life.”
The parallels between doping prohibitions and other kinds of prohibitions are unmistakable. Doping bans certainly are just as effective as alcohol and drug prohibitions have been, and the primary beneficiaries are those who violate the bans. Doping is big business, and making it scarce through bans makes it more lucrative.
Athletes have a powerful, rational desire to improve their performance using all methods available, and one can’t help but wonder if lifting bans on “illicit” performance enhancement wouldn’t be a better way to deal with the problem. What, after all, is the problem with doping? That it can cause harm to the dopers? That it makes for an uneven playing field? That the resulting performances aren’t real?
Wouldn’t each of these problems be addressed, each in its own way, if athletes could dope openly?
As if there weren’t enough cars on the roads, the upcoming lane closures on I-5 for the better part of August will push hundreds of cars onto alternate surface streets and push already crowded roads over the curb. With the effects of the construction expected to cause extensive regional and downtown traffic nightmares, what’s a cyclist to do?
Preceded by this weekend’s traffic madness; including the SeaFair Torchlight Run & Parade, two home games at The Safe and the Capitol Hill Block Party, this town’s in for a world of standstill.
There’s a part of me that isn’t looking forward to weaving my bike through all the craziness during my daily routine. And yet, as I witnessed a cyclist fly by a twenty-car backup today from the driver’s seat of my overpriced SUV, I realized that I’d still rather be on my bike.