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.
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?
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.
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.
Writing for the Seattle PI, Washington State Senator Dan Swecker defends car culture as being necessary. Dan apparently missed the basic tenet that when you build bigger roads, people fill them up, and it never ends. Dan’s mindset is the same as those that want to save the Viaduct or thought it was a good idea to run I-5 right through the middle of downtown Seattle. To the absolute contrary, if you add more bike lanes, and less car lanes, people will ride bikes and drive less.
I believe that fact even more after watching Contested Streets, a documentary that studies how NYC relinquished quality of life for the automobile and contrasts NYC to London, Paris, and Copenhagen. Those cities have focused on the bicycle as a primary transporter and changed their streets and traffic flow to allow for more bikes. I also saw thousands of cyclists in Spain riding beautiful boulevards to work, for errands, and just getting around.
What I’d ask Dan and anyone lobbying for more traffic lanes is what quality of live does that benefit? How much does anyone enjoy sitting in 4 lanes or 6 lanes of traffic? I’d also hope they could watch Contested Streets. It’s an excellent work. I grabbed a DVD from the Interbike press room and finally ripped it to my iPod Video and watched it on a flight a couple weeks ago.