As Patrick said to me…
The thing about Flanders is that it’s all about short steep hills, enough of them that one finally breaks you. We’ve all ridden up hills over and over. Flanders is hill repeats until you can’t do them any more and you break.
Stijl Devolder in the Belgian National Champ’s kit rolling to the finish alone in 08 is one of those gladiator moments during Flanders we’re watching for, over those bergs.
In Kent, just south of Seattle, is the Graveyard Berg, it’s like the bergs (hills) in Flanders; at least that’s what we think, when we race over it during lunch rides and the weekends.
The grainy video is from our archives and here’s a screen capture from a street view of the area. Make it to the St. Patrick Cemetery entrance with the group and you did good.
Rolling the Strip with Terns and Nokias
Lots of tech news today from a new set top box from Amazon to Windows 8.1. We’ve been shooting mobile with Lumias since CES and during SXSW, like this view of the Strip, and Austin, and will update as soon as 8.1 drops.
New camera features includes easier access and a simplified interface to Nokia Camera. Nokia Lumia 1520 and Lumia Icon owners will get access to Dolby Surround Sound capturing thanks to their innovative array of 4 onboard microphones. The Nokia Creative Studio and Nokia Storyteller has a new rev too.
See more Lumia photos in these galleries and we’ll have much more to upload, as we get back on the road at Sea Otter.
April Fool’s Fun from Bike Hugger
In a controversial move, the UCI Technical Committee in Switzerland has proposed to limit tyre widths within UCI-sanctioned mtb races to 3.0” or less. Though this effectively bans “fatbikes” (bikes/frames with tyres in the 3.8-5.0” range) from the premier World Cup mtb series as well as a host of smaller races both in N America and abroad, officials explained that this is a strategic move in a long haul push to bring cycling to the Winter Olympics. Andre Kowalski, vice head of UCI’s technical development, asserted that the surest way to bring cycling to the Winter Olympics was to bring a competition format that was clearly defined as a winter sport. “By defining fatbikes as ‘snow bikes’, the sport gains credibility in the Winter Olympics”. In other words, by banning fatbikes from mtb’s traditionally summer season of racing, fatbikes become a legitimate winter sport.
The sheer number of sporting disciplines incorporated into the current, bloated schedule of the Summer Games precludes the addition of any more cycling events. In fact, track racing events (velodrome) have been reduced several times over the past decade and a half in order to make room for mountainbike racing and then BMX. The IOC has made it clear that the overall number of cycling events in the Summer Games will not be increased in the foreseeable future; hence the UCI move to promoting cycling in the Winter Games. Though cyclocross is a traditionally fall/winter sport with a hundred years of history, it lacks the strong association with snow or ice, which is pretty much the only requirement for sports in the Winter Games. Fatbike racing, in a move that parallels snowboarding’s move from fringe sport to center stage, is poised to leap ahead.
Fatbikes, which have been around in some form or another since the late-1980s, have exploded upon the consumer market recently, with new fatbike-specific products dominating media coverage at all the tradeshows this year. At the Taipei Bike Show, many observers remarked that if it weren’t for products aimed at the emerging “road disc” segment, there would literally be nothing else to talk about besides carbon fibre fatbikes and fatbike products. Doug Lareaux, founder and principle designer with PhatPhiber, was overwhelmed by the attention garnered by carbon fibre fatbike rims. “The three weeks of product development were completely vindicated by the media interest. It’s almost like any rim that was wider than 80mm and vaguely round could sell.”
Not all fatbike proponents welcome the UCI stance, however. Earl Simmons, club president of the Twin Cities Fatties, lamented the focus on competition. Simmons feels that while the attention fatbikes would receive as an Olympic sport would go a long ways to bringing these machines to places previously not known as bicycle-centric cultures, promoting fatbikes through racing will only limit their real appeal. “Racing is all about high performance and competition, two things that have nothing to do with the true spirit of fatbikes.” Having fun while going slow shouldn’t be limited to the time of the year that skinny bikes can’t be ridden.
With the Sochi Olympics having just finished, there is not enough time before the next Winter Olympics in Pyeongchan (South Korea) to complete the approval process, but the 2022 Games are very much on the table. With fatbikes expected to continue exponential growth for the next eight years, the excitement should reach fever pitch right on time for some chilly racing.
An art show wished I’d seen and missed here in Seattle. Heard about it too late, but it was Cycle-Series Continua
is a set of referential, reverential, and narrative sculptures, composed from bicycle parts and afflatus which echo ideas from a diverse selection of influences to express anguish, pay homage, focus (or diffuse) opinion, and to simply explore. Steve is a multidisciplinary engineer, designer, and builder with scores of interests, including enduring enthusiasm for bicycles.
Of those sculptures, the Aluminati interests me the most; especially from the visual arts
Aluminati began as an all-aluminum bike project and evolved into a conspiratorial 35mm film viewer for an old and perhaps arbitrary reel of “Ed Sullivan in Moscow”. A rare Peugeot Comete aluminum bicycle frame (sans decals) is fitted with a variety of bike parts per a primary quest for maximum aluminum, and a secondary quest for French parts (though parts from Japan, Italy, Spain are involved). Aluminum bike seats aren’t readily available, so the one here is OIXIO-hewn by axe/grinder/file from a sheet of 1/8” aluminum, and mounted on titanium rails. 24” aluminum 35mm-film reels (by General Devices & Eng. Co., Hollywood, California) are modified as quick-release bike wheels, the rear having a six-speed freewheel. Film threads through an OIXIO-hack-machined viewer head and over five film guides from front to rear wheels, and motion is powered via the Stronglite 93 cranks [Is that an inverted pentagram?]. A solar- recharged battery that is concealed by a reverent plate powers the viewer LED light.