Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bike theft - I've got a plan

Bike thieves suck. However, unless we can institute sharia law, they're probably not going away. I've been thinking about the issue of bike theft since someone I know just had her brand new hybrid bike (and child seat) stolen right out of her employer's building. Tell me, what kind of loser steals a woman's bike with a child seat? Somebody who didn't get enough love and attention from mom, that's who.

Craigslist is great. However, it also serves as a giant flea market which makes the movement of stolen bicycles easier. It also allows the recovery of stolen goods as the listings are searchable and viewable by anyone. Just take a look at this example of a stolen Guru Tri Bike that was recovered by browsing Craigslist.

Here's my plan: make Craigslist the ultimate stolen bike recovery tool, or at least take it out of the thieves toolbox by requiring posters to include a picture and/or the serial number of the bike. Here's the message I just sent to Craigslist through their feedback form:

Craigslist is a great tool for selling bicycles and bike parts, but can also be used by thieves to sell stolen equipment. Why not make this impossible (or at least harder to do)? Can you make it a requirement that each bicycle ad must contain a picture of the product (making it easier to identify stolen goods) or require that each bike ad post the serial number of the bike (discouraging thieves)? This last option would dovetail nicely with the Stolen Bicycle Registry website here:

Think about it, maybe send some feedback of your own. Write down the serial numbers of your stuff, register your bike, take photos and save them, engrave your initials on your bottom bracket. Thieves are stupid, exploit them for it. Link to this post, pass it on, be part of the solution!

Photo taken by me at the Truckee Tour de Fat

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tater on the Logs

This video, entitled "Tater ridin' Puglsey on the Logs" is cinematic genius, and goes nicely with our ongoing conversation regarding rollers. Enjoy:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Seen at Tour De Fat - Schwinn Varsity Restoration

I saw so many things at Tour De Fat Truckee, I have pictures galore and stories to tell. The first story is about a guy who rebuilt two Schwinn Varsity bikes. A yellow men's frame for himself and a green mixte frame for his lady. They were set up as perfect touring bikes with a Carradice style bag on the back, a triple up front and a comfortable position. Some of the really cool features included handlebar wrapping finished with cork and twine, the leather chainstay protector (also finished with twine) and the upgraded Shimano drivetrain. He was able to do this by getting a bottom bracket shim to fit a late model BB and a by using a rate changing pulley on the rear derailler to drop make an 8 speed shifter work. I'll have to learn more about those parts later. For now, just enjoy the pictures.

Picture showing bottom bracket shim adapter and leather wrapped chainstay.

Picture showing pulley cable rate changer.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Seen at the Velodrome

More half length rollers. I wrote about this way back on the very first entry to the Nippleworks blog - in an article titled Mini Rollers - Half as Heavy, Twice as Sketchy! At the time, the mini rollers were under the strong and shapely legs of a female racer, here they are used by a track competitor in one of the coolest kits I've sen in a while. Kind of makes you want to do the Haka. Notice the tight grip on the nearby bike rack. Eventually, he got down onto the bars, but he never stopped looking at those things, making sure they weren't going to squirt out from under him.
I also noticed that the drums were smaller diameter than the first ones I saw. Even lighter? Less smooth?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lateral Rigidity and Vertical Compliance... Maybe.

I recently stumbled upon this little throwback to the Woody Wagon era from SurfCycle. This company embraces the surfer dude lifestyle by creating a bike tribute. This, of course, is further proof that novelty is always being added to the most classic of designs (like your standard coaster brake beach cruiser).
The top tube of this bike is a formed aluminum surfboard. It isn't functional as far as I can tell, but I do have some recommendations (if the SurfCycle guys are reading):
  1. Do some force testing on the top tube to determine a maximum load. Surfer dudes are often accompanied by beach bunnies. Current bike designs have a round top tube... we all know this, but beach bunnies don't care. They just want a comfortable passenger seat for their beach bunny backside.
  2. If the top tube surfboard can't hold a passenger, make it hold your other significant other... bore some holes in the board and use it as an in-line 6-pack carrier. As previously posted, bikes and bottles go hand in hand.
  3. Regardless of the use of the surfboard top tube, the bike has novelty fins at the seat tube. These large chunks of metal are begging for an integrated bottle opener.

I'm sure the company doesn't want to indulge in too many frills since this is a niche product. However, a little more engineering could go a long way. It is rather clever how they made barefoot cutouts in the chainwheel. If I actually surfed enough to want a surfboard-themed bike, I would definitely add one of these:

Photos swooped from

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Leather toe clip sewing kit - Bicycle Blog

I thought these were cool and I was going to blog about them anyway, but then I found out I could win them if I created a link:

They might go really nicely with the fixed steel and leather motif of D's Cannoli project and let you wear your classy kicks on your bike without scuffing them up like this guy:

Taken from

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mudflaps for your mountain bike

No, not this kind of mudflap, or even this kind -
But along those lines...

And this thing, which is basically a skull shaped grapefruit-sized block of aluminum:

And then this, which will appeal to your peyote smoking microbus driving Southwestern mountain biking friends:

All this bicycle finery was spotted at Ales and Trails, for sale by a NorCal outfit by the name of Dirty Dog MTB.

Sticker image from

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lots of interesting stuff from the Velodrome

Like this picture of fellow Bay Area Blogger - Beth Bikes!:

An unattached skin suit. Brilliant!

Stay tuned to this space.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cobranding - with mixed results

If there's one thing people with money like, it's matching stuff. Like, matching luggage:

Or pets:

And modes of transportation:

Of these, who among us wouldn't desire a Ferarri themed Colnago? Less appealing - the Toys-R-Us Hummer mountain bike and the Saab 8 speed, gigantic steel framed, BMX handle-barred bike who's downtube is also a cable lock.

Photos from (in order of their theft):

iPhone 2.0 Software Problem - and Solution!

So, it's not excactly bike related (unless, of course, you're on the phone while riding like many Dutch folks)...

iPhone 2.0 software has created quite a buzz this morning because the Apple servers can't keep up with the activations. This is a huge problem!


If you're stuck with a network access error:

-Go to your iTunes Store

-Click on a song to get to the song page

-Immediately click on the iPhone under Devices

It will start your sync (apparently Apple is giving priority to $0.99 song purchases over iPhones).

Thanks to those at the coldfusionjedi blog for the discussions!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Oooh, I bet that feels good

Northern California is on the tail end of a 100 degree plus heatwave (through which I mountain biked one day, commuter biked another day and actually drove one day it was so hot, what a lame excuse). So, as I was reading a Garmin-Chipotle rider's Tour De France blog on Velonews, I paid attention to what he calls ice socks. So, I did a little searching to figure out what that was and discovered that the soigneurs actually fill plain old bike socks with ice and the riders throw them in their jerseys on their backs. And here I thought I was going to discover some high tech medical device style cooling garment.

Photo from

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

$12k bike with $200 engineering

According to Velonews, Scott bikes will sell the 'Genius' Limited mountain bike in the US in 2009 for $11,500. Further reading indicates that there was a patent dispute with Specialized over suspension design. So this is how they got around the patent?

It looks like the rear wheel is going to throw junk right into the shock and shock pivot. Is this some lawyer's idea of a good work-around? Or does Scott like to play in the mud?

Picture from

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Mystery Bianchi Decals

In the course of the Cannoli Project (the restoration of a 1970's Bianchi folding bike), I was on a mad search for Bianchi frame decals. I explored many avenues with most ending up at eBay. There seem to be many do-it-yourself entrepreneurs who "recreate" decals for many popular brands. There are also the purist collectors that have the real deal, but usually charge a limb (which, depending on the limb, may pose a problem when the goal is to ride the bike that you just built).

As I saw it I had two options:

1) Splurge and get the real deal
  • PROS: Authentic, accurate, detailed, thin to apply before a final clearcoat
  • CONS: Not forgiving (due to fragility from being a thin film), requires significant scrilla

2) Get a vinyl decal recreation
  • PROS: Forgiving, cheap as a date night at In-N-Out Burger, many size options
  • CONS: Less detailed graphics, potentially as lame as a date night at In-N-Out Burger (although Animal-Style never disappoints), Requires multi-layered painting using the decals as a negative stencil

I decided to go with a combination of the two - vinyl recreation templates for the down tube and a thin-film decal for the head tube badge. It turned out quite nicely, but did require a fairly involved stepwise painting process.

In my decal search, I also sent a request to a general information e-mail address on Bianchi's "Contattaci" web page. I gave the description of the bike, era of manufacture, and even a photo of its original state. I heard nothing back, so I assumed that I was on my own. Well, about 6 weeks later, I received an envelope from Italy... Inside was a stapled plastic bag filled with some Bianchi stickers that I've never seen before:

These were stickers (not decals) and the head tube badge was quite thick (2-3mm). They also came with some crazy wavy graphics that look pretty awkward. I'm not sure what I'll use these for since the project is finished. I guess I could get a cheap Huffy from Craigslist, slap on some stickers, and pawn it off on an unsuspecting newbie. However, I have a soul (and steadfast velo-ethics to boot). I could search for another Bianchi in need of a new life, but a set of free stickers is a terrible justification to purchase another bike (...maybe). So, if any of you out there are interested and have a worthy cause (no Huffy re-badging), e-mail me at: dylan (at)

Finally, I would like to say that even though it took awhile, Bianchi responded to my inquiry and gave me some free loot. I appreciate any company that will do that for a customer 7000 miles away.