The Hugger gets Made

MAKE: Blog: DIY Sport-utility bike

Phillip Torrone links to the Bettie write-up over at the O’Reilly MAKE: magazine’s blog. It’s great to see so much interest in practical cycling, and I know Byron’s really happy with how the Betty turned out. In fact, his enthusiasm has talked me into giving the Xtracycle a try.

I’m not going to build mine up as a component showcase, though. I’m going to do it a little more like most of the Xtracycles I’ve seen in the wild: on the cheap.

Bettie’s components are pretty nice, so the whole project ran something above $3k. That’s pretty reasonable when you look at it as a car replacement, and around half of it goes into the Stokemonkey.

I think I can get by without the Stokemonkey for my purposes: around town riding, maybe carrying my kindergarten student to school. I’m also saving the frame price: I’m going to put it on a stock Klein Pulse Pro gathering dust in the basement, and leave the stock wheels alone. I’ll probably have to swap the mud tires out, but I’m going to build only that far and see what I think.

Code name: Gary.



Texas Jack Howell

Texas JackMike Robinson sent an email memorial about Texas Jack Howell who passed on this day in 1997. The email brought back memories of my days riding in the Tri Cities, the missing man ride we did for Jack, and all those guys that talked about the history of our sport, tradition, and paceline tactics.

I remember Jack’s Eddy Merckx MX Leader frame that he got from Markee and how we’d pace each other (also attack each other), at the back, up the hills, and eventually join the group.



Photo of the day



This just in: wigs make cyclists safer

BBC NEWS | Wearing helmets ‘more dangerous’

That’s one valid takeaway from a very simplistic study one rider in England undertook. Dr. Ian Walker of Bath University used an ultrasonic sensor to track how closely 2,500 overtaking drivers passed him while riding his bike.

He found that, when he wore a helmet, drivers cut things more closely, more than 3 inches closer on average. When, on the other hand, he wore a wig, drivers gave him an extra 6 inches or so.

Walker says the study provides some ammunition for the argument that helmets might actually detract from safety in some situations:

“By leaving the cyclist less room, drivers reduce the safety margin that cyclists need to deal with obstacles in the road, such as drain covers and potholes, as well as the margin for error in their own judgements. “We know helmets are useful in low-speed falls, and so definitely good for children, but whether they offer any real protection to somebody struck by a car is very controversial. “Either way, this study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely in the first place,” he added.

It’s not clear if the study is extensive enough to draw such sweeping conclusions, or if it would apply here in the United States. But we’re already decided: We’re starting a campaign to push for mandatory wig laws for cyclists.

(Via Del.icio.us Tag: cycling.)



Bike Hugger meets the Ditty Bops

Hugger Lover That’s me, Abby, Amanda, and Mark posing together at Seward Park after riding together with a group of cyclists from the Space Needle. We joined the Ditty Bops for part of their ride to Portland on Sunday and saw their packed Saturday night show at Chop Suey.

The Ditty Bops have been touring the country by bike, playing shows, and promoting cycling. Their record company arranged an interview with us the night of the show, but they were tired after driving back from NYC, and invited us to the ride the next day, which was even better. I showed up for the ride on Bettie, gave Greg their piano player and his wife Boo hugga tees, and it was a sunny, beautiful day.

We rode, chatted, and just hung out like any group of cyclists would do. I did ask both of them one, sort-of interview-like question, which was, “would you ride across the country again?” Amanda and Abby both said “yes, but not like that.” They enjoyed touring, but I think the rigors of the tour itself was wearing them out. John, teammate of mine, is riding with the ladies all the way to Portland where they’ll play the Aladdin Theatre in Portland, Oregon tomorrow night.

Later, when asked what the Ditty Bops were like I said, “creative, artistic, cyclists, and just nice girls.”



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