Browse Month by October 2013
Alaska, Bicycle, Bicycle Racing, fat bike, Vintage

Bicycles on Snow. 1988 Iditabike.

1987 was the first year of the Iditabike. 20 men and 6 women, from 6 different states. 210 miles on the ski race course that followed the Iditarod trail out of Knik for a hundred miles, then returned. Here is a little video done by the Discovery Channel in 1988.  Pre-fatbike. Pretty awesome.


Advocacy, Alaska, Bicycle, Events, GO MEANS GO events, Portland, Seattle, Washington

New Calendar

Have a bike event coming up?  Seattle, or the rest of Washington?  Oregon? Alaska? Anywhere else?  We want to help get the word out.  Let us help you put your event on blast.  Email us with the info and we’ll get it up.

Right now I see a lot of CX going on in Oregon, and Washingon- what you got? Tweed ride?- Got it.

cal

Gear, Reviews

Review: 200+ Miles with the Chrome Bravo Night

bag-cross

From the start, I knewI was in danger of this being as much a review of riding with a backpack as it was the bag itself, but it’s unavoidable. I am a fan of the practicality and aesthetics of shoulder bags, and despite being interested in a dual-strap bag, I had yet to find one I cared for. Enter Chrome’s Bravo Night.

Billed as a commuter backpack, the bag consists of one large, welded/waterproof roll-top main compartment with a weather-proof large, flat outer compartment divided into two deep pockets, nearly the size of the bag (the outer has some organizer inserts, the inside without) and a smaller zipper pocket. Judging by the description, and the photo on the site of this guy happily stowing away his MacBook:

bravo_ls_3_2_5
(on second glance, maybe it’s not his)

…the intention is to use the unadorned of the two outside pockets for your laptop. In practice, I never use it for that. I find it a little tight even for my 13″ HP, and I’d just rather have it in the roll-top compartment that I trust to be waterproof (although even in downpours, I’ve still had no problems in the outer compartments).

The main compartment itself is bigger than it initially seems. Not only do I find myself being able to stuff more in than seems physically possible, if you do manage to fill it to the point where rolling is impossible, there is a built in nylon extension that folds out and Velcros shut to hold even more.

I was shocked at how much the bag could hold when you need it to. After one particularly overzealous grocery run, I found my bag maxed out to the limits of even the extension:

bag-full

When I arrived home, I figured I would document exactly how much stuff that was:

stuff in bag
(this is the proper ratio for a Red Bull and vodka)

As a means of comparison, I decided I’d take the contents and shove it into my Bagaboo – a full-sized custom messenger bag – and was surprised to see it nearly filled that as well.

mbag-full

While the Bagaboo carried the load more comfortably (the Chrome’s extension tends to impede looking up when wearing a helmet), it still got my goods home.

One other cool feature on this bag (and all the others in their “Night” series) is the 3M reflective panel on back. Visibility is an extremely important part of bicycle safety, but not all of us want to show up for a day-glo dinner date either. The 3M panel is undercover reflective. In indirect light, it just just looks like a black bag. When light hits, you get a face full of pure white reflection. Below is a demo using a crappy AA powered headlamp:

Pretty cool, right? And it’s small enough to bring into the bar or restaurant without taking out the other patrons around you.

Negatives? I found very few. I occasionally missed the accessibility of the shoulder bag, and I do wish it had a dedicated loop for a light. The compartments are so deep, I often found myself carry around more stuff than I intended to because I simply forgot what was buried at the bottom. Unpacking the full bag to find a wayward tire lever is annoying, but I appreciate the having the space instead of useless and unused organizers.

At $180, the Bravo Night is not a cheap bag (neither in cost nor quality), and one I think the average commuter might find themselves using on a daily basis for a long time. It’s comfort, collapsible size and downplayed looks make it bag I don’t mind carrying even when not on bike. In life past the 200 mile review mark, I do find myself going back to my shoulder bags sometimes, but overall it has won me over to commuting with two straps.

cats stuff(it looks like I’m not the only one)

Events

Cycling Tweed Rally this Saturday

better tweed

It’s not every day that you get an email from an actual haberdasher, but Ty over at Goorin wrote in to tell us their shop at 1st and Stewart will be hosting a Cycling Tweed Rally this Saturday at their shop on 1st and Stewart. After a couple emails of what I assume is genuine tweed-speak, I’m still not 100% on how they plan to include bikes, but Hub & Bespoke and Wrench Workshop are featured, as are adult libations. You might want to brush up on your British-ism’s as I expect making up your own is frowned upon. FB invite can be found here. Clip clop! Pollywog! Bally-who!

Gear, Reviews

Review: The Abus U-Mini 40 U-Lock by Comparison

IMG_0510

For most of us, our locks are often overlooked. I give mine hardly any thought until the day I accidentally leave it home. That’s not to say I don’t have opinions about locks. Some are too garishly styled. Others have “sticky” keys. Still others have a shape or size I find too big or too small to work the way I’d like. But when it comes down to it, availability is generally what dictates what I ride with, despite using it every day.

When I sat down to review the new U-Mini 40 by Abus, I figured it was time to take a more critical (or at least more informed) look at the other locks I use as well. After a few weeks of riding with the Abus, I decided to compare it to the current versions of two other locks I’ve been using for years, Kyrponite’s Evolution Mini and OnGuard’s Bulldog Mini.

IMG_0500

Right off the bat, the Abus is a more intimidating lock. Both barrel and shackle look thicker, and it seems heavier in the hand as well. Because it is:

Abus OnGuard Kyrptonite
Width (A) 4 3/8″ 4 3/4″ 4 1/2″
Weight 2 lb, 4.3 oz 1 lb, 12.4 oz 1 lb, 14.9 oz
Shackle (B) 13.9 mm 12.8 mm 12.7 mm
Inside Length (C) 5 1/2″ 6 1/8″ 5 3/8″
Indside Width (D) 3 1/8″ 3 9/16″ 3 5/16″


lock-measure

The lock mechanism itself is smooth. After a week or so of riding with it, I realized the only time I was doing the “key-jiggle” I was so used to with my other locks was when I inadvertently used the wrong key. With the right key in hand, using the lock feels like a step up from the others.

The barrel locks to both posts of the shackle, which means it does not employ the “hook” end on on side like the Kyrptonite does:

IMG_0506

I’m okay with this. The hook end can give you leverage in a tight spot, but also forces you to put the barrel in one direction (which can be a pain when the keyhole is off center like it is on the Kryptonite).

Overall, the Abus seems to fill a niche between these u-locks and the beefier Pitbull (OnGuard) and New York (Kryptonite) series locks, and the price reflects that at $60. If you’re looking for a little extra peace of mind or just a more “premium” feeling lock, this could be the place to find it.

Clothing, Gear

Chrome merino Cobra

It’s hard to beat merino wool.    It keeps you warm when wet, doesn’t smell as bad as synthetics can, isn’t made from plastic, and it just feels good.  Chrome is offering their merino wool Cobra in three styles: a pullover ($140), a full-zip($150) and a hoodie ($160.)  It may seem high priced, but those that wear merino don’t care.  They are built with longer sleeves and torso for cycling, have thumb loops to keep them from riding up and has a stash pocket to store your weed keys.   They’ve also got socks and t-shirts made of merino.  Where does merino wool come from you might wonder? Merinos are small forest creatures that resemble gnomes.  Their diet allows their back hair to grow long and extremely soft.  The back hair is shaved by monks, the keepers of the merinos and woven into various garments.

Made in China, available at your LBS or HERE

art, Media

Bicycle Illustrations: Dawn Painter

campagnolo bottle 3 smaller

Loving these Campagnolo illustrations from Dawn Painter. “My task is simple, the subject vast. To illustrate bikes, bike parts and accessories for a bespoke bike maker. Using a combination of pencil, pen and watercolour drawing techniques.” – Dawn Painter

campagnoloreggisella

More bike illustrations from Dawn Painter HERE.

Bicycle Racing, Cycling Legends, History, Media, Photography, Vintage

Chequamegon Fat Tire Fest: Vintage Photos

Check out these great vintage photos from previous years (1983-1990) of the Chequamegon Fat Tire Fest. Complete with Greg LeMond circa 1990. More vintage photos HERE, although I came across them over at Bike Jerks.