Gridlock v. Hot Chicks

I said to Pam, “this sucks,” as we inched along in traffic. I hadn’t driven a car in over a week and was quickly reminded of the gridlock in downtown Seattle when I turned onto a street full of buses, the occasional car, and nothing was moving. I wished we were riding Bettie right then.

On the topic of gridlock, NYTimes editorialist Carolyn Curiel, recently wrote, “The city has too many cars, and not enough streets and roadways to put them on. There needs to be fewer cars and more cyclists, pedestrians, and mass-transit riders.” Such cities do exit, ones that are not dominated by cars and car culture.

Not only is Denmark a haven for cyclists, but the chicks are hot!

Seattle to Portland, Ditty Bops Style

STP Giovanni, a Bike Hugger reader and Ditty Bops Fan sent us this ride report. See Bike Hugger meets the Ditty Bops, our Ditty Bops tag, and video.

Abby and Amanda are my new heroes. They ride a steady, easy pace without drafting and go slower when they are tired, sick and sore (like Sunday and Monday) but they just keep going and they never complain, never give up. They always keep their good attitude and are some of the most positive, beautiful spirited people I’ve ever ridden with.

We three were rolling at eight the next morning, riding through the country with the roads mostly to ourselves. The weather was clear and warm and we stopped in Winlock for photos of the World’s Largest Egg. Not that large really but a very nice woman from the town came down and took pictures for us. Amanda couldn’t resist the Woman’s World Log rolling Champions sign so I took a picture of her with her guns. Peaceful, quiet riding with a sense of adventure and an eye kitschy Americana.

We all had Mexican for lunch in Kelso and based on our glowing description of the morning’s ride Boo who drives the van, shoots the video, handles the merchandise and eats really, really hot Thai food decided that she would ride with us after lunch. She only started riding since they were on the tour but she is strong and rides pretty well. Unfortunately from Kelso the route follows Highway 30 all the way to Portland. So while there is good shoulder/bike lane to ride on it’s very loud from all the traffic and the views are pretty much strip malls and light industrial. Boo rode with us about half way to Portland or 25+/- miles before rejoining the van crew who were sleeping under a tree in the parking lot of a shopping mall.

The last twenty-five miles were really, really tough for Abby and Amanda but they rode rock solid all the way to the hotel. They had ridden across the country doing their shows and promotional events for 4,500 hundred miles and then had taken four days off before flying to Seattle to do a show then jump on their bikes for back to back hundred mile days. All that while posing for pictures, shooting video for their documentary, keeping up the blog and doing the cartoons. Now they had a cold, their butts were sore, their knees were aching and who knows what else but never lost their sense of joy and were always on the lookout for something interesting or fun. I’ll ride anywhere, through anything with them.

Crossing it up

dfL Urban Outlaw Cyclo-cross-dress series

Who could resist San Francisco’s dfL Urban Outlaw Cyclo-cross- dress series? It’s a great way to get ready for cyclocross season, and a chance to show off your best tights under a fabulous little miniskirt.

If you show up in a dress, you save the $5 race fee, and there’s a Hunter frame going to the overall best dressed in the whole series.

You’ve already missed the first date: it was last night, but there’s still a 6 p.m. race September 20th at Crocker Amazon Park, another September 27th – same place and time, and the final race September 30th at 10 a.m. at Golden Gate Park, with a potluck to follow.

Update: Flickr user McBomb has posted photos from last night’s race. Here’s my favorite:

dfL Cyclo-cross-dress race

Also, the Specialized Angel has really let herself go.

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.

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