Bikes and Kegs are Ready for the Mobile Social

Tern BBQ

Bikes staged and ready to ride on the Strip

Our 3rd Mobile Social in Vegas this year and the 9th annual Interbike edition is happening tomorrow. We’re riding the Strip on Terns to downtown to the Park for beer specials with New Belgium and then to Atomic liquors to watch the Crit. Joining us are Knog, Pure Fix Cycles, Revolights, Green Guru, and you! Also Rapha is back after we rode together in Austin, during SXSW.

NBB

New Belgium on Tap

Here’s a map and the ride starts at the South Convention Center Parking Lot, near the Daylight pool club entrance.

RSVP on Facebook and get yourself a free beer.

Tonight we’re at CrossVegas.

Apple Watch Fulfills Prophecy, Ushers In New Era of Fitness UI

Just after I rode my bike into a parked car while trying to figure out the UI on a Garmin 810, I began to speculate publicly about what then were early rumors of an Apple watch and how they would do to fitness what the iPod had done to music. Today they have done just that.

Watch

At the dawn of the iPod era there were a number of competing, ugly, cumbersome and limited devices. Each of them could hold a bit of music, most of them had their own music management software. None of them were good.

The iPod took the conventional designs of the day and threw them out, changing everything with a new interface and a device large enough to store complete music collections. They then added to that with a player that was simple to use and seamlessly integrated with the device.

The new Apple Watch (or technically the Watch) will revolutionize much of the portable computing world, but it will have a tremendous impact on the fitness world, even for those that don’t but it. That’s because the User Interface (UI) and the User Experience (UE) are so groundrbeakingly advanced that they instantly make every other tool on the market look dreadful.

When the first GPS-based cycle computers came out, the hard-wired LCD computers of the day suddenly looked antique. Big numbers, sensor-free recording and (on some units) turn-by-turn directions brought a whole new level of functionality to cycling. As their capabilities grew through ANT+ sensors and Bluetooth technology, they began to offer functionality that the previous round of technology couldn’t even contemplate.

But since then the UI and UE of these devices have pretty much stalled. Garmin has added features to their devices, but hasn’t really refreshed the look or feel of their hardware. There’s little to differentiate the Garmin Edge 1000 from the Garmin Edge 100 from which it came, and I’d even argue that the UI of Garmin’s devices is worse now than it was when the Edge 100 came to market so many years ago.

I don’t think that a sports watch is necessarily the best solution for the cyclist, but I’ll wager that Apple Watch-specific bike mounts are coming to Kickstarter any day now. But what’s really important is that Apple has entered the wearable space, has focused on fitness, and has opened development up to programmers. I’m looking forward, for example, to Strava segments that use the haptic feedback technology of the watch to announce the start and end of a segment, or coaching apps that tap out a cadence through the watch to tell a cyclist when to start an interval and give heart rate feedback.

By tying the watch into the phone, Apple extends a good technology and makes it better and that’s something that hasn’t really happened in fitness. Companies have made stabs at this, but their devices usually need to come back and talk to an app to be useful, while the Apple Watch will use wireless communication with the phone to provide even more information than if it were used alone. And unlike the Garmin Edge, it won’t just be good for the bike, everyone from runners to cross fit junkies will be able to use the device to participate in custom-created fitness programs.

The first generation of the iWatch might not change fitness overnight, but it’s an incredible looking first-generation tool. More importantly it’s a shot across the bow of every fitness device manufacturer in the world—make products that are as easy to use as Apple’s new watch, or see your customer base fade.

A decade from now we’ll probably laugh at the simplicity of the Apple Watch compared to the wearable devices Apple and others are making, but today Apple’s announcement has provided a much needed boost to the fitness sector and will hopefully usher new people into cycling and into other sports. Today marks the end-of-days for ugly and complicated fitness devices and the start of a new era of beautiful technology.

Issue 16: Back to School

Elliott Bay Bicycles is Closing

D-Plus

D-Plus at EBB

Here’s the thing, Elliott Bay Bicycles, an historic gem of bike culture, is closing and we’re flattened by the news, like losing all momentum. It was a shop with a resident builder — and the source of inspiration for much of our writing, including our travels with S&S bikes stuffed in suitcases. We’ll miss it but will have more stories to tell after Bob Freeman retires and Bill Davidson finds a new location. This issue started out with a Back to School theme. We have articles from Zanne, Shawn, and David about that, but also paused our regular programming to share what we remember the most about the shop, once we learned it was closing.

As Patrick wrote for this issue, it’s sad to lose another great American bike shop. This one was located in downtown Seattle between the Space Needle and Pike Place Market where they throw fish and buskers play street music. It’s where they made bikes with soul for 31 years, like the D-Plus, a bike built to fight. In the background of the photo is the machine shop. The bike represents the work of a master builder, bike stylist, machinist, welder, and creatives

As Patrick wrote for this issue, it’s sad to lose another great American bike shop. This one was located in downtown Seattle between the Space Needle and Pike Place Market where they throw fish and buskers play street music. It’s where they made bikes with soul for 31 years, like the D-Plus, a bike built to fight. In the background of the photo is the machine shop. The bike represents the work of a master builder, bike stylist, machinist, welder, and creatives.

Also a time to remember how things change.

This is my editor’s letter from Issue 16 that drops today on iTunes and the Web. Bike Hugger Magazine is ad-free and costs $16.00 for a subscription or $4.00 an issue.

Cover

Issue 16 Cover

Patrick Brady’s article about shops like Elliott Bay Bicycles is the cover story and you can read it for free with a sign in.

MFG Cross at Sammamish with CX-1 and Hydro

MFG CX

MFG’s Season Opener

That was intense, sweaty, painful, humbling, AND I got concierge-level heckling from the promoter Terry and course schlepper Robert Trombley. Thanks guys! They said I was racing 14 minutes laps, sounds about right….

Next up, CrossVegas and then Starcrossed, if my legs don’t petrify by then. My equipment worked great where the body lacked.

I’m running CX-1 with the new HydroR on a Crux this season. After last year, when the Crux got hung up in the garage during the recall, giving it another go. Not that I needed much braking power at Sammamish, considering my rate of speed, but the Hydro is def more refined. It has better modulation too and less hand effort in a more comfortable, lighter and refined system.

SRAM released PR today about their impressive Cyclocross roster with a quote from Powers on CX-1

This year will be the first time I will ride a production groupset that is purpose built for cyclocross. SRAM continues to innovate in new ways, even subtle ways, and develop product that is exactly what I need. Even better, it’s super quiet.

As much as I was flailing around out there, banging the gears about, it didn’t let me down with solid shifting and it shifts way better than the DIY, privateer version of a one-by (Red with XO type 2) we and many others had been running on our bikes. Rode through the first of three sand pits on the course (4 out of I think 5 times) with the gearing and Hutchinson Black Mambas on a Vision wheelset.

CX-1

A Crux with CX-1, Hydro, Vision and Hutchinson tires

Congrats to Richter for the win, and the guys racing fast. Also hat tip to Richard McClung for a course that was at times, very hard, and flowed. It was a hard flow.

And hey, who moved September up on the calendar…it was like Monday last week when Matt Hill asked if I was racing MFG Cross. “Wut? I said, oh, the season is starting? Really!”

There’s this thing about life, sometimes it gets in the way of training, and racing, and practicing your skills. But you gotta start.

Preview of the (printed) Roads Were Not Built For Cars book


Carlton uploaded a preview from the galleys of the printed Roads Were Not Built For Cars book. At the end of the edit he shares the dustcover with a photo I took of him in Taiwan, on a tall bike.

On a tall bik

Tall bike for Carlton

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