Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Race Warmup

Most American road races have to find out of the way places where they can shut down traffic on a weekend morning. That means - rural roads, farm communities, office parks. Here's a rider warming up in the shadow of a wine vat in the Central California country side at that very very hot road race from last weekend.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bike to Work Day 2009

The local train station was a great place for cyclists to meat up.

The local cyclists coalition staffed a table handing out free bagels and taking down email addresses for propaganda. Too bad Kaiser Hospital promised but failed to deliver a station at their facility between the train station and my office. Not that I needed more freebies.

The coolest thing was that all the way from the train station to my office park, I rode with a huge group from a local biotech company. They were very organized and had hard core roadies and some beginner riders. They even had their own jerseys.

See you at Bike to Work Day 2010!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Magazine for Commuters

I recently picked up a copy of Bicycle Times, put out by the people behind Dirt Rag mountain biking magazine. One of their tag lines - "We are living in bicycle times". Very true, and given the way the winds are blowing, it's becoming more true every day. Although, rabid cycling commuters are a pretty niche market, I wish them well. I wonder if there's a way to reach out to the casual cycling commuter. The kind of rider that only goes out on nice days and brings their work clothes to the office in their car the day before?

There were some great little tips of the trade in this edition. One I've already implemented - wrapping your spare inner tube in cellophane to prevent disintegrated inner tube boxes and nicked tubes.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Microsoft Paint as a CAD software

Today's Giro d' Italia stage featured a hilly time trial along the Cinque Terre coast.  So hilly that all the racers rode standard road frames for the tricky climbs and descents, some with and some without clip on aero bars.  Time trialling on a non-aero bike with drop bars is sometimes referred to as Merckx Style because Eddie Merckx benefitted from neither of those things during his racing career and as cycling hagiography goes, was better than every racer born before or after him.  What caught my eye was some of the interesting clip on aero bars like this tuning fork model under Damiano Cunego and this wild carbon creation under David Millar.  Turns out that's the brand new 3T Zefiro.  The Zefiro is a cool product that places silicone pads on the top of a drop bar for armrests and integrates carbon aero tubes.  The tubes look like they do not extend very far, making them legal for mass start events where you may end up soloing in the wind.  This would also be a good solution for amateur triathletes who own one road bike and need something more versatile and ergonomic than a set of aero bars for their century rides.  I went to check it out on their web site and it's so new that the pictures they're posting are basically mock ups.  The models sold to the general public will have either gray or red accents.  The bar, so far, has probably only been made for Garmin/Slipstream pro cycling team, and therefore has sweet blue and orange argyle accents.  So, the rushed and enterprising marketing team at 3T has used the equivalent of Microsoft Paint to spruce things up:

Kind of reminds me of something BikesnobNYC would do.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Custom Cycling Prosthetic Leg

I went racing last weekend at a very hot but very scenic road race. When I pulled up to the line, I found myself next to a guy with an interesting right leg. Actually, it wasn't a leg, it was a custom cycling prosthesis. The Airborne patches on the stump sock gave away the cause of the amputation and when I asked the guy about it, he told me a little more. The VA, he said, was really cheap when it came to prosthetics and wouldn't spring for a high tech peg leg. So, knowing a couple of machinists, he designed it and worked with some guys to build it himself. He wanted a peg style leg because a prosthetic with an ankle/foot saps pedalling energy in the ankle joint and flexibility of the foot. The socket terminated in a machined cylinder which joined it to a carbon fiber tubular peg. At the end of the peg was a Speedplay Frog cleat. This was his cycling only prosthetic. He said that he had lost a screw during warm up so he was hoping the leg would last him through the race! I wish I had got a picture of it but didn't run into the guy after the race.

It gave a whole new dimension to guys who race on what they make!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

BTWD and Micro Moped

Bike to work day was a smashing success. Pictures and story to come. In the mean time, enjoy this sweet micro moped.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Get the wrinkles out

Advanced International Multitech Co. Ltd. of Taiwan has just announced via Bike Europe that they have a new manufacturing method which reduces wrinkles on the inside of carbon bike frame tubes. How big a deal could that be? A look at this cutaway Specialized frame displayed at this year's Tour of California gives a clue:
Check out the variations in wall thickness and wrinkles inside that tube. Every wrinkle is a stress riser, decreasing fatigue life. That thin spot at the apex of the top tube - down tube junction is right in an area of tensile stress too. Although this frame no doubt surpasses strength requirements and would have served its rider for a long time had it not been band-sawed, a lighter frame could be manufactured if the wall thickness was better controlled. That way, they wouldn't have to err on the thick side so that even the thin spots weren't too thin. Looks like at least one company would benefit from this new technology.

Ride of Silence, 5/20/09

Next Wednesday is the Ride of Silence. Show up at the ride in your town or start your own. Bring lights and maybe a black arm band. Obey lights and signs, ride next to someone and generally bring positive attention to cycling.

Photo from

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Moon

Sheila Moon just launched a new web site.  Much easier to navigate than the old one and some new products since the last time I visited.  I own a pair of the knee warmers and they're pretty good.  Also, my floral pink helmet liner is the envy of my peers and the perfect antidote to the aggressive spare no expense road racing ethic you sometimes  encounter.  Most of the modelling looks like it is done by Bay Area lady cyclocrossers Barbara Howe and Melodie Metzger.  Check out the site and maybe pick up some of the bargains on sale!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bike Fitting Tools

I was talking to a friend the other day who was building up a bike. He asked me how to choose the right stem length. After finding out that he may have to swap out his first choice to get the right fit, he wondered out loud if eBay was chock full of barely used bike stems being sold by new bike owners. Maybe. is trying to change that. They've got adjustable stems and cranks that they machine and anodize. The price is steep, but not so steep that a team, club or shop couldn't buy them and use them to fit riders bikes. The cranks work in a unique and non-obvious way. The left crank adjusts at the crank hub and the right crank adjusts at the spider. You'd think they would have made telescoping shafts, but the adjustment mechanism then probably couldn't withstand the load of someone who needed 185mm crank arms!

pictures form

Wedgie Concept

This Oryx concept TT bike is splashed all around the web. So far, it's just a collection of CAD renderings. It's got some neat concpetual if not possible features. Hub brakes front and back and maybe an internally geared rear hub. The giant void in the middle of the bottom bracket would only serve to cause wind resistance but what really caught my eye was the out of place ass hatchet spine coming up out of the middle of the saddle. Well, I guess those sort of cool looking details will get ironed out if the designer ever decides to convert it from a design school project into a product.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ceramic cable housing

Recently brought to our attention, Vértebræ ceramic cable housing:

Vertebrae ceramic housing, the ultimate performance upgrade for cable-operated brakes and gears.

The maker claims it's "Longitudinally compressionless yet laterally ultra-flexible and also totally corrosion free!"  That, I don't debate.  But the price is something to consider: €220 for a complete set.  That's about $US 300.  That buys a lot of replacement traditional cable housing.

Maybe most interesting of all is that the business is run out of the Canary Islands.

Photo from

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bar tops

Who has seen these? Kore isn't doing the 'Palmster' justice because there must be a huge market for bar top road bike grips. Urban riders and cyclocrossers might pick these up. Although they'd go great with bar top brake levers, they're not very pro-style so not everyone who races cyclocross is going to want them. They are, however, a lot better than some of the stuff we're seeing on road going fixed gears these days.

picture from

Carbon and Corrosion

Back in November, I wrote about how carbon frames can't possibly suffer from water and corrosion.  A recent letter to Lennard Zinn of Velonews claims otherwise.  The letter's author claims that carbon against aluminum will eventually cause failure by corrosion but does not say how.  He makes parallels between wind surfing gear and cycling gear.  Well, any aluminum part is going to fail in a marine environement eventually.  There are many aluminum seat posts in carbon frames and no one seems to be snapping off seat posts left and right.  An interesteing article though.

Picture from

Monday, May 4, 2009

Gary Fisher - 29er maker, 29er racer

It's been said before that you have to respect a man who races a bike with his own name on the down tube:
For those of you who read Czechoslovakian, here's an article about Gary racing in the Šela Marathon.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wacky Fork @ Cat's Hill

This is the first time I've ever seen a split carbon fork like this. Aerodynamics, light weight, vibration absorption? Reminds me of the new Ridley split fork. The Ridley fork is all about aerodynamics, I'm assuming this is about compliance and that the void in the fork may actually create extra drag.
Also of note, Chad Gerlach of TV fame was in the lead of the men's pro race for a while (guy leading in the picture above).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pro MTB Disc Brake Rotors

In the Specialized tent at Sea Otter, I saw current world champion mountain biker Cristoph Sauser's carbon dual suspension bike:

Then, I noticed severe fretting on the disc brake rotors.How does that happen on a piece of stainless steel? Answer - it doesn't. This rotor must have some sort of coating, or perhaps it's not made of SS. Any ideas?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Franken BMX

Just a fun, strange little bike from Sea Otter 2009. A young guy was riding this and said he welded it up himself. Looks like it started off as a BMX bike and got some sheet metal appendages and an insane seat mast. Not exactly the most ergonomic little bike, but the kid sure did learn metalworking.