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Month: March 2012

Hold on.

Hold on.

This should look fun.  But it doesn’t.  Not one bit.  I think I’d have a heart attack.  Just watching it on the computer, my heart was racing.

Beryl Burton by Andy Arthur

Beryl Burton by Andy Arthur

Beryl Burton won titles across 4 different decades, from 1958 to 1986. Perhaps most memorably, she set a 12 hour time trial record that broke the men’s record and stood for 2 years – offering the fastest man in that event a liquorice allsort as she passed him on her way to glory.

On the international circuit, she won the women’s world road race championship in 1960 and 1967 and was runner-up in 1961. She specialised in individual pursuit on the track and was world champion five times, silver-medallist three times, and bronze a further three.

Domestically, she won a total of 72 RTTC Championships between 10 and 100 miles and was women’s Best British All Rounder for a quite amazing 25 consecutive years from 1959 to 1983.

Largely self-trained and self-funded, with her husband as mentor and mechanic, when asked why she pusher herself to such achievement, she apparently answered simply “because I love cycling”.

Here’s to Beryl for showing the lads how it’s done.

Check out Andy’s Flickr for more great design

Seattle Bike Expo and Pedal Party. That’s a wrap!

Seattle Bike Expo and Pedal Party. That’s a wrap!

Phew.  What a weekend.

First off let me say that Pedal Party was awesome.  A couple hundred folks showed and we got rad.  So pumped to see everybody- and I’m sure next year will even take it to a higher level.

The Seattle Bike Expo, which I’m told is the largest consumer based trade show for bicycles in the US took place last weekend and I paid my $2 to Bike Works to park the bike, and my $10 to Cascade Bicycle Club to walk around for a while as a light rain fell outside.  I go to a number of things bicycle because I’m a velophile- not really much else for a reason except I like bikes- and I guess that’s enough.  I like to support as many bike events as I can because I want bike culture to grow in Seattle.

Of course it should be said that over the years I’ve become much more jaded and harder to impress when it comes to bike expos and fairs.  I’ve been spoiled by attending shows like NAHBS or Interbike, where new product is introduced- and everything is stepped up a notch when it comes to presentation. Even shows like the San Francisco Bike Expo seem to attract a more diverse group- 2011 having outdoor dirt jump demos and a massive Bike Swap that was quite possibly more impressive (to me) than the show itself.  Some of this has to do with the location of course- San Francisco bike culture being decidedly more hip than Seattle, some has to do with the vision of the organizers.  There are a number of ways of doing things as can be seen by the various expos that take place. Cascade Bike Club has what is very likely the largest grossing bike expo in the US and so I’m sure there isn’t much motivation to change the program.

I was once again blown away by the number of cars that attend the event.  Shuttle buses are used to bring drivers from one part of the parking lot to the front door. With a 2500 car lot that sure seemed to me like it was full there are a lot of people there.  $5 a car for the day, and $10 to get in ($8 for members,) there is some serious coin being made.

Seattle Bike Expo has in years past felt like more of a clearing house for shops to unload overstock and last years merchandise.  It can be a total madhouse- racks and boxes being torn through by people standing or crouched shoulder to shoulder, half a dozen hands digging deep for treasures made of spandex and 3M. I personally don’t do well in these situations. Moving down the line you’ll be told about this ride or that- why you should visit Oakridge, Oregon for mountain biking or Switzerland for road riding. There is a benefit ride for everyone, a hostel, or a training camp. Adventure companies, tour guides, energy drinks, snack bars, recovery drinks, massage implements… Nothing you NEED to ride, but lots of things that according to the seller will make your ride better- make YOU better. There are so many companies and by extension- booths, with bad branding at these expos- companies that don’t have large marketing budgets and it shows.  There are gadgets and gizmos that look like you’d see them on late night television in between reruns of Three’s Company and Night Court.  Few booths attract my eye or pique my curiosity and I generally try sneak by the majority of them. Then there are the booths that have no direct relation with bikes- I’m referring to the chiropractors, foot doctors and discount sun glass booths.  It may make sense to the business exhibiting- as they do have something of a captive audience at an expo like this.  I guess if my back was hurting while walking around the Bike Expo I may grab a card from the chiropractor.  It just seems to detract from the overall feel of a BIKE Expo.  But that’s just me….  The show is obviously a success and it’s what Seattle has- so that’s that.

This year I did see a handful of newer companies- local companies in fact- that are doing good things and it definitely lent a more homegrown feel to the Expo

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Red Hook Criterium- Milano

Red Hook Criterium- Milano

This is one for the armchair cyclists.  A point-of-view race cam from last Octobers Red Hook Criterium in Milan.  The bike is being ridden by Neil Bezdek as he pilots Antonio Columbo’s Cinelli to the win.

Red Hook Criterium . October 15th 2011 . The Race from LAB8 on Vimeo.

By Neil Bezdek:

“Is it OK if I race with a video camera on my handlebars?”

I shouted that question over a boisterous crowd moments before the start of last Saturday’s Red Hook Criterium in Milan. Beneath me was a borrowed fixed-gear bicycle, and I didn’t want to upset the owner by tacking a bulky camera onto his gorgeous minimalist frame.

“It doesn’t matter,” said Antonio Colombo, owner of Columbus tubing and Cinelli bikes and of my machine for the evening.

“Just win!”

The Red Hook Criterium is the most stressful event of the year for me. This is no routine park race. The hype’s been building.

With its offbeat format—a nighttime crit raced on fixed-gear bikes with no brakes—the Red Hook draws athletes from all walks of sport and throws each a curve ball.

Roadies like me have to adjust for constant pedaling and limited gearing. Track riders learn to negotiate changes of speed and tight corners in a dense pack. Fixed-gear messenger types contend with athletes who treat their bodies as if they were science experiments. Even the most seasoned racers have to deal with something new.

For weeks, online forums have been lit up with speculation and trash talking about the course and how pre-race favorites—who don’t usually race against one another—would stack up. Milan’s locals had been meeting on the course to train, test and re-test different gear ratios in an effort to find the fastest. There was the ever-growing list of prizes. The media coverage made the race feel like an all-or-nothing contest.

And in some ways it is.

The Red Hook happens just twice a year, in Brooklyn in the spring and in Milan in the fall. Unlike a lot of other races, there’s no event the following weekend to offer redemption. The outcome bolsters or haunts each racer for half a year. And after taking second place in the last two races, let’s just say the monkey on my back had worn a deep, painful groove.

As our 80-rider field rolled off the start line, it hit me that the next hour would be the most important of my three-week trip to Europe.

All during my stay, I’ve been aware that I’m essentially a representative of my country and its cycling community. So I’ve striven to be a polite guest. In theprevious week’s granfondo, for example, my aim was to show the competition that America can produce a skilled, etiquette-abiding cyclist.

But on the Red Hook Crit course, that mindset got thrown out the window.

After agonizing over this race for months, I had one concern: winning. No fun. No mercy. A diplomatic Dr. Jekyll replaced by a bloodthirsty Mr. Hyde.

In the end, the pressure lifted and my normal demeanor returned moments after I crossed the finish line, in first and just inches ahead of last year’s winner.

The relief was immense. And not just because I’d won. With the race over, I could relax and enjoy Europe.

Note: The Red Hook Criterium has been an astonishing success, and not just because it generates a great deal of hype and suspense. The event brings together cyclists, fans, and photographers who would never cross paths otherwise. While the occasion for the event is the race itself, it’s almost a distraction for the participants. To travel halfway across the world, stay in Europe for three weeks, and focus entirely on the outcome of a 45-minute bike race, well, that’d be an enormous waste. Strangely enough, now that the race is behind us, we can enjoy the best parts of it.

Race stats and ranking:

TIME: 43.01
Average speed: 45.20 / 26.84 mph average
Fastest lap Neil Bezdek 2:14 48 kph / 30 mph average
1st Lap Prime Neil Bezdek
2nd Lap Prime Neil Bezdek
1. Neil Bezdek 43.01
2. Jon Ander Ortuondo ST
3. Alexander Barouh +01
4. Francesco Martucci +01
5. Danilo Borroni +01
6. Chas Christiansen +02
7. Tommaso Nolli +02
8. Nathan Trimble +03
9. Paolo Calabresi +05
10. Kacey Manderfield +05
11. John Taki Theodroacopulos +05
12. John Kniesly +05
13. Gabe Lloyd +06
14. Alessandro Stabilini +06
15. Marcello Scarpa +06
16. Giorgio Vianini +06
17. Riccardo Perego +07
18. Enrico Pezzetti +30
19. Giovanni Luigi Bocchi + 1:38
20. Ferdinando Pertusio + 1:38

Editing by Lab8
Cameras and footage provided by Chris Thormann
Onboard Neil Bezdek’s bike
Race stats provided by David Trimble

And if you don’t have a full 45 minutes to watch a film- here is a much shorter edit you may enjoy:

Untitled from Trimble Racing on Vimeo.

3/17 in Seattle: Ides of March

3/17 in Seattle: Ides of March

Red Lantern Races presents: Ides of March

When: March 17th, meet at 12:30 race starts at 1pm

Where: Race starts at Schooner Exact

MAP LINK

Info:

This race is the last race of our Frost Club series. Previous races were Randy Cross in January and The Heartbraker in February.  One of Red Lantern Races founders is training for a Half Iron Man through Team in Training (the fundraising arm of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) and all proceeds from this race series are going toward the fundraising goal of our member.

Race Cost:

$5 to race

$20 for tshirts

Additional donations welcome.

Guest Post- “Dooring”: Another Danger Facing Bicyclists

Guest Post- “Dooring”: Another Danger Facing Bicyclists

Getting doored is awful.  Like many of the dangers brought about by cars and bikes sharing the road- cyclists are protected by the law.  That of course won’t prevent you from ending up the hospital with one mishap.  Our first line of defense is always our awareness while riding.  So keep your eyes and ears open- and keep the rubber side down.

A big thanks to Leslie for taking the time to write the article.

 

The onus is on the driver-not the cyclist

I work for an attorney and we have many clients that have been involved in horrendous bike accidents. When they call the office to book a consultation with our law team, I often envision a tragic, bloody scene where a car rushed through a yellow light, the driver distracted because they were texting on their cell phone, and striking an innocent cyclist peddling through the crosswalk. However, would you believe that most of the time I was way off base. In fact, and not to condone distracted drivers by any means, but many of the cycling accident victims that contacted our law office were “doored” many of them just small children whose parents were booking an appointment on their behalf.

If you’re not familiar with “dooring,” I’m referring to a particular type of cycling accident that occurs when a passing cyclist is struck by the sudden opening of a car door. And believe it or not striking a passing cyclist with an open car door can be just as harmful to as getting hit by a moving vehicle. Dooring actually takes place more often than you would think with these type of incidents accounting for more than 15% of bicycle injuries.

Dooring typically occurs when a parked car opens their car door into the path of a cycling lane without looking first and strikes a moving cyclist. If a cyclist doesn’t have a chance to react or move out of the way, injuries suffered can be worse than if they are struck by a moving car, and if the cyclist is close to the door when it makes contact, you can imagine the metal, glass, and blood. Not to cause panic, but one of the first dooring victims that I met, involved a bike courier who was traveling at a fast speed in his bike lane when the car he was passing swung the drivers side door open hard and unexpectedly. The driver, a very petite woman was not visible over the back of the seat, and since she had her hands full with a coffee and files while she was trying to get out of her car, she used her foot to kick open her door. Well, you can imagine the damage the poor bike courier- he was thrown hard from his bike and sustained multiple fractures as well as a terrible head injury.

Although most city cyclists and bike couriers are on the lookout for distracted car door openers, those who don’t cycle every day or ride in urban areas might not be aware of or be on the look out for swinging car doors. Cyclists should be aware of something called the “door zone” by more veteran cyclists. The door zone refers to the three feet of road surrounding a parked car- or the swing-radius of all 4 car doors if a driver should open one without looking first. If you live in a city with bike lanes with parking on the inner edge, the door zone will effectively cut a bike lane in half when a door is swung open suddenly.

And drivers might not realize that the onus is on them. In fact, looking before opening a car door is the law in many states and municipalities who are trying to protect innocent cyclists, many of them children, from being doored in urban cities!

Chicago, for one, has done its part to try to eradicate dooring threats to cyclists by including the following related laws in the Chicago Municipal Code* when it comes to opening and closing vehicle doors:

  • Individuals must only open a vehicle door towards moving traffic when it is reasonably safe to do so.
  • Opening a vehicle door must never interfere with the movement of other traffic.
  • Individuals can only open vehicle doors for as long as it takes to load or unload passengers.

I’m glad to see that my own state of Louisiana is taking cues from Chicago, amending a previous law that states that no person shall open the door of any vehicle into the side of moving traffic unless it’s safe to do so. Cycling and dooring law amendments are proposed as such: Individuals are prohibited from opening a vehicle door into the side of moving traffic before taking due safety measures to ensure it won’t interfere with moving traffic, or endanger any person or motor vehicle.

About The Author

This guest post is contributed by Leslie Krick, who regularly writes for a Louisiana accident attorney. She welcomes your comments at her email ID: leslieekrick@gmail.com.

*The Seattle code referring to dooring can be found here:

Section 11.58.050 OPENING AND CLOSING VEHICLE DOORS.  No person shall enter, leave, or open the door of a motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle adjacent to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.