Bikes, Beer & BMX

This weekend’s Bike Expo is nearly upon us and I’m excited to be bringing the “best of” to those of you who aren’t able to make it out for what is arguably Seattle’s mecca of cycling culture. While I am personally hoping for some dry weather, a light drizzle will certainly not keep me from hitching up the trailer and hauling the family out to kick off the cycling season.

Between the 150+ exhibitors and a packed presentation schedule, I plan to bring plenty of cash for the beer garden and a comfortable pair of shoes. You’ll find me in my Bike Hugger Shirt, camera in-hand.



Bike Expo this Weekend

Bike Expo is this weekend and Kelli will blog all about it, including beers and BMX (I don’t know if we’d ever cover BMC without a beer enticement). Kelli blogged for us last year and posted how NOT to ride the STP.



Another allergy season

“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?



The Great Frame Debate

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.

A reader recently sent us a story from composite world on Cannondale’s manufacturing process for their Six13 and a there’s that question again, “what frame is best” Is is the carbaluminum?

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?



Time to Race

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:

Dedicated bike park! 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 The “Hill” is more of a soft rise. I’m sure with a group, it’ll pass before you feel it.

Finish Line 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.



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