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E-bikes and cargo bikes and fat bikes oh my!

E-bikes and cargo bikes and fat bikes oh my!

Day one of Outdoor Dirt Demo. There was dirt and wind and beer and bikes and… The Elliptigo. Maybe next year they’ll come out with a recumbent, E-Elliptigo but until then- I’m out.

Fatbikes. I like them. They are fun. Apparently other people like them too, and the bike industry has been selling lots of them. I also like cargo bikes. They have come a long way in the last few years and I’m trying to get my nephews set up with one so they are of particular interest to me this year. Another style of bike that piques my interest is the folder. Not just for smug commuters anymore, the folder is a great option for those that travel, don’t have much space in their houses, or those that may link up a few different types of transportation on their commute.

After missing the show last year, I was unsure what to expect- curious what changes had been made in the program as far as vendors and more importantly, the sweet deals that they sometimes bring to the demo.

One thing that was easy to notice as soon as you step off the bus, is the growth of the e-bike. I think it’s undeniable at this point that the cycling industry will have to make room for this growing sector of bikes. Like it, or not. Town bikes, cargo bikes, even mountain bikes were cruising up the hills at 20mph, quiet as a mouse with the driver pedaling with little effort and an unavoidable smile on their face. I tested one on a cargo bike platform (which as of this writing I’m going to say that its the only e-bike I’d feel comfortaly riding, unless no one was looking.) An Xtracycle Edgerunner, it had the Bosch gear box system which is pretty great, being a true pedal assist, unlike some that seem little more than electric mopeds. Though I rode it unloaded, I can imagine that with a full load of beer, kids, or potting soil- even steep hills would be climbable, maybe even with ease.

Dirt Demo, for whatever reason, is not attended near as well as Interbike. Some shop people or media folks love it- and why wouldn’t you? It’s 2 days in the desert, riding bikes you could never afford, with lots of trails, a pump track and even a goddamn shuttle. The interest seems to be waning still, with fewer attendees, and some vendors pulling out- maybe saving themselves for the show? Myself, I haven’t taken advantage of the shuttle, and don’t go buck wild on the riding- I just like to go around and snap photos of dirty bikes.

But I digress, the focus is on the bikes. So here it goes…

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And so Interbike begins…

And so Interbike begins…

Fresh off the plane in Las Vegas for this year of Interbike, I’m sitting in my hotel typing this- enjoying a cold Budweiser in my underwear. I’m doing things a little different this year, blogging solely from an iphone 6 and a bluetooth keyboard. I’m not certain it will work well, but I spent all my money on bike parts this year, so thats what you get.

I spent a little better than a week in California- the Golden State, visiting family and friends with my better half. Bringing our bikes was clutch- I love riding in the bay, and the wife didn’t ride much when she lived in the area. She also got a new saddle- so riding her skinny tire bike has been a pleasure lately.

A few of the fun things I did include the tasting of so many great beers. And whiskeys. And coffee. So. Many.  Mikkeller Bar, Fieldwork Brewing, Beer Revolution, Trappist Provisions, Øl…. The list goes on. We rode the Iron Horse Trail in 104 degree heat. I drank coffee for a couple hours with the homey Stevil as we spoke of the changing social and economic landscape of Oakland. I bought a sweet 49ers Starter x Levi’s collaboration jacket that will becoome something else very soon. I met my new nephew, now 9 months old, that my sister named after me (the poor bastard.) I was busy.

I also stopped by Montano Velo, which is now in half the space that it was last time I visited. I met with Daniel, owner of Tumbleweed Bicycle Co. Not only is he a nice guy, passionate about cycling and riding bikes in exotic locales- he wrapped his head around a different way (than I’ve seen) to build a 4″ tire fat bike. He and some buddies recently returned from a trip to Mongolia- all riding working prototypes of this bike of his. It uses a Rohloff hub- which may make some people scream “Nerd!” right out of the gate- but it works. It works well. The idea is to keep a low q-factor, use a standard mtb bb, and parts that are (at the very least slightly more) accessible in obsure places than many fatbike parts.  

    
  
 The bikes were loaded heavily for the trip and ridden over 1000 miles, few if any paved. All worked well. Though the final frames will have minor aesthetic changes, along with cleaner welds- you can expect a pretty neat bike that will accommodate a number of wheel sizes (it also uses an adjustable bb,) front suspension, a Rohloff and feel good on the trail. I hope to hear more about Daniel and Tumbleweed Bicycle Co soon. I mean-the website is a .cc like Rapha is, so it must be good, right?

But now I’m in Vegas and the real work starts. Desert heat, an overwhelming number of brands and people trying to get their goods to the masses. The beer drinking. The shitty food and 1 mile long blocks. Underbike. Even a goddamn cargo bike syposium. I’m going to need a vacation after the next 5 days.

But yeah- if you like to make party and you happen to be in Downtown Las Vegas on Thursday, the bad decision makers will be attending Stevil’s annual shit show that is Underbike. 

  
  There will be music and hopefully the bar doesn’t run out of beer (which has happened just about yearly.)

So that’s about all that’s fit to print. I’ll try and do a daily thing with some stuff that appeals to me but then again, I’m nothing- if not unreliable.

Simplicity has a price.

Simplicity has a price.

helmut

Many of us have a simple bike that we use to get around town. A townie, commuter, grocery getter, bar bike, cruiser- it can go by many names, but the goal is usually a bike that fits in a niche that our others don’t. Well the folks at Speedvagen (Vanilla Bicycles) have made what they dub the “Urban Racer” and it is supposed to fill a void that no others can.


For the starting price of $4895 you can get your own in a couple months too.

Yeah. You read that right. Four thousand eight hundred and ninety five US dollars.

I’m sure it’s a fun bike. Like any bike is fun. Just for a frame of reference, you can also get this 1976 Corvette Stingray in Portland (where the Urban Racer is handmade) for less. $395 less. That $395 could then be put into some sweet airbrushing on the hood, some cocaine or maybe even a leather jacket from the mall.

corvette

Don’t get me wrong. I love skidding as much as the next guy, but I can do that on just about any bike. As far as utility goes, this bike doesn’t do it. As far as an “urban racer” goes, this a near $5k alley cat bike seems about as useful as tits on a bull.

But people will buy it. And that’s great, I guess.

Other perks of the urban racer include:

  • Handmade in Portland
  • Pictures took by a famous red head (not Shawn White)
  • Chain guard
  • Coaster brake
  • 650b wheels

I want to get behind this bike- really I do. I just can’t. I can’t afford to. I’ve built coaster brake bikes from my parts bin and used shit I found used for about a hundred bucks. And they were fun as hell. Sometimes a bike like this helps me put it into perspective.

Do I need a $5000 bike with 2 speeds and “shredability?” No.

Does this bike suck? I highly doubt it. Vanilla and Speedvagen aren’t new to building bikes- they make beautiful works of art. And this may be just that. Art. A price tag for a collector.

Though it may be fun to ride- this go around I’m going to vote: Corvette. And you can drive it home- because your Speedvagen will take a couple months to be completed.

 

 

Reach for the Dream.

Reach for the Dream.

Not all custom bikes are pretty. We hope that there is a function that won out over form, but unfortunately that isn’t always the case. In the fine examples below, we have some people’s dream bikes. Where function met form perfectly. Like in a dream…

Though I was a bit confused when I first received information about this project, from what I gather there are a number of creative minds at work to offer beautiful bicycles and sundries for purchase. These will elevate your status to at or above knee level on Kanye West. In fact, you can let Kanye and Manual for Speed guide you through your dreams in their little bike building guide HERE.

And those really are some beautiful bikes by Argonaut and Speedvagen.

So there you go. In short time, you’ll be feeling like this.

manualforspeed_reachforthedream_pressrelease_youreachampion

And you can be whisked away to buy some super limited quantity collaborations on MFS HERE

 

Seattle Bike Show 2015

Seattle Bike Show 2015

The Seattle Bike Expo is no longer. Thankfully, Cascadia Events picked up the ball and created the Seattle Bike Show for 2015. The event will take place Feb. 28th & March 1st at Century Link. This year’s events feature speakers such as the one and only “Bobke” Bob Roll, local celeb and mountain bike coach Kat Sweet, and of course, trials rider and yogi from the north, Ryan Leech.

This year’s shindig will feature a pump track for adults, and what appears to be a zipline. Your $10 ticket also gains you access to the Washington Travel, Trips and Adventures expo, featuring cool outdoor gear and local outdoor trip planning and advice.

Hope to see you there!

Sat. February 28th 10:00Am–5:00PM

Sun. March 1st 10:00AM–4:00PM

Adults $10

Kids 17 and Under FREE

Road Bike Party 3.

Road Bike Party 3.

I love the hashtag #dontbesucharoadie. This little video, the third, rolls that hashtag up into a nice little package and shoves it where the sun don’t shine. Proof too, that the bike is only part of the equation.

Bicycle auction for Davis Phinney Foundation

Bicycle auction for Davis Phinney Foundation

This is for those with deep pockets and big hearts.

Not familiar with Parkinson’s disease? Parkinson’s is a chronic and progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement, chiefly affecting middle-aged and elderly people. It worsens with time and currently we know neither the cause, nor the cure. It is associated with degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain and a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

The Davis Phinney Foundation was founded in 2004 by Olympic medalist and cycling great, Davis Phinney, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2000 at the age of 40. Today, Davis is both a role model in the cycling community and an inspiration to the estimated 1.5 million Americans and estimated 10 million worldwide who are currently living with the disease.

Seven Cycles, Mavic and Rapha have come together for one hell of an auction to raise money for the Davis Phinney Foundation, and you have the chance to not only help the cause, but to ride away with a beautiful bike as well as some bonus accessories. As of this time, the auction will end in 9 days  (on 12/21 at 4pm.) The Ebay auction link can be found HERE.

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Argonaut & Above Category

Argonaut & Above Category

You’ve seen the fine works of Argonaut on here before- custom carbon bikes born and bred in the North West. Well they just picked up a new shop- Above Category in Sausalito, CA- where the pimps and the players doctors and the .dot-com’ers dwell.

Have you ever been to those bike shops that feel like a china shop? The ones that at any moment, the proverbial bull might just run through- causing havoc? Sometimes I feel like that bull- I don’t want to pick anything up, as I may break it- and there aren’t any price tags on anything, so I know I can’t afford it. There are a few shops out there that I’d feel unworthy to bring any of my bikes into. I don’t know if A/C is like that, but I don’t think they’re clientele is bmx kids or fatbike riders.

The fact is, those shop owners and their customers like bikes too. And they often do more than hang them on their walls. They ride them. It’s just that the experience that they seek is a little different from my own and that’s why I hate them. I mean, who am I to say that all bike shops that I support must have tattooed employees that play bike polo, and that offer you a beer when you come in?

But I digress.

Argonaut makes what seems to be a beautifully made custom carbon fiber bike. This marriage (more of a polyamorous relationship really, as A/C isn’t their only shop, they’re allowed to see other people) seems like a good match because, people with a ton of money like plastic bikes too! Sure, rich folks like titanium bikes- but mainly rich nerds, engineers, etc. Carbon fiber is universally accepted as the “best” material for those with six digit incomes (and I’m not including numbers to the right of the decimel,) because- science and stuff.

So here it is- Argonaut and A/C worked with Brian Vernor to make a video to celebrate their special day. It looks great, of course. So here’s to many years together and to getting more rich folks on bikes. Maybe next time I’m in the Bay Area I’ll stop by the shop, and try not to break anything.

Argonaut / Above Category from Argonaut Cycles on Vimeo.

Danny Macaskill- The Ridge

Danny Macaskill- The Ridge

This dude. Man- one of the most insane locations and beautiful edits I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have a heart attack or shit my pants. This is a great little edit. Grab a beer and enjoy.