“Hello allergy season,” I said yesterday in the afternoon … “I see you’re here to totally kick my ass again!” With the unusual weather pattern this year, I predicted lots of pollen and a difficult season. After years of allergies, I just get in the best shape I can, ride tempo and easy through the worst of it, and relax.
I’ve been as drugged up as Rush Limbaugh, tried herbs, and even acupuncture, and it all comes down to the fact that I’ll feel much better once the trees stop doing their thing.
Even worse is the summer smog and I watch the air quality here.
Anyone else feeling it like me and how do you cope?
As a cyclist, I get asked 3 questions all the time
- Why do you shave your legs?
- Smooth legs feel good in jeans!
- Do you ride Seattle to Portland?
- No, I spend my weekends racing my bike.
- What frame material is the best?
- They all have the strengths, let’s have coffee and discuss.
Well no. All frames have their unique qualities and depending on what you’re after (touring, racing, blowing all your disposable income), pick a material and either buy one or have it built. During the coffee discussion, I break it down like this: steel is the best, but heavy and requires paint; aluminum works well for mountain bikes cause they got suspension; I ride titanium for my rain and touring bike; carbon is the best all-around racing bike.
What I don’t agree with is slapping a carbon rear triangle on an aluminum frame so it doesn’t beat the crap out of you (or vice versa with a rear aluminum triangle and carbon front). Just buy a nice carbon frame and skip the aluminum unless you’re racing the Iron Man. Granted, marketing 101, is differentiation and “tuning” a carbon/ti bike with specific tubes is some good marketing, you could also spend that money on a great riding Rivendell, Time, Trek, or Litespeed.
What frame material do you recommend or would argue is best?
This Saturday I’m planning on heading out to the Murarrie Cycling Facility for the weekly Balmoral Circuit Race. I’ve raced in London (Hillingdon Circuit) and it’s much the same sort of course: flattish, wide pavement, closed to traffic (yay!), and WINDY. I did a shake-down ride today to sort out the way to the course. I figure about an hour to ride there to be safe considering the hills en-route have enough pitch to make me happy to have the 25.
The roads I’ve found to be quite wide, many with designated bike lanes. Some are even a full lane in width! There are of course some sketchier sections, but for the most part it feels pretty safe here. The drivers have been very courteous so far and seem actually aware that I’m about (shocking, I know). I’m going to have to head out and take some pics of the road furniture they use here - some interesting ways to make a road bike-friendly, and car-not-so-friendly.
Plans may change for Saturday, but in the mean time - some snaps from my scouting trip:
They have a dedicated bike park (a couple I’ve read). There’s been at least one article in the paper each day I’ve been here that road cycling is on the rise. Very cool.
The “Hill” is more of a soft rise. I’m sure with a group, it’ll pass before you feel it.
They have an actual finish line on the course. I think the last race I did with a finish line banner was Quad Cities circa 2001.
So, as promised, Swobo has launched a line of bicycles to join their clothing. The three models are available for order now, with delivery promised in April.
The Folsom is a one-speed with coaster brakes, and PT-boat styling. Primer gray with gussets between the front of the top and down tubes, with bolt-on hubs, BMX style pedals and 4” riser handlebars, for $499.
The Otis is a matte black, rigid-fork MTB-style frame mated with a SRAM 3-speed coaster brake hub in back and a disc brake up front. Grip twist shifting. Black-on-black tires, black rims, black seat, black frame: To borrow from the masters, “It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is … none. None more black.” Yours for $699.
And the Sanchez, which is out of the box ready to hang with the bike messengers. It’s got the flat-bar fixie no-brake road bike ethos down, and brings a cool galvanized finish (this one’s “Swobo butted CroMo,” while the others are 7005 aluminum). It’s a flip-flop rear hub, so you can thread on a single-speed freewheel. The black and white photos don’t really show the white (yes, white) rims and handlebar, so I’m reserving judgment there. This one’s $599.
And there’s a bottle opener built into every Swobo saddle.
These aren’t bikes as art, or as hipster product placement – they’re utilitarian and organic.
What do you think?