Monday, June 29, 2009

get your romance on

In other BCC-related awards, our gracious sponsor, Second Empire, was voted the "Best Romantic Restaurant" by the Independent Weekly. So go grab someone special, take them to Raleigh, and when you get there, ask the chef (and BCC member) Daniel what he eats to make him so fast.

Also of note, The Bicycle Chain (various locations), was voted best bicycle shop. It (they) edged-out the Clean Machine (also a Bicycle Chain chain). Maybe you say it's not fair that multiple shops beat out other solo stores, but that's just sour grapes. This is just good old fashioned teamwork. Nice work folks.

Friend of BCC, Dain and his place (cleverly called Dain's Place), won Best Burger in Durham County (beating out Cook Out) and Best Bar Staff in Durham County. Check out the link and you'll see that he didn't win best website, but I guess it tells you what you need to know.


all hail the new Brian!

Props to new BCC team member Brian H who got up on the podium in the singlespeed division at the TORC Tarwheel xc race in Chapel Hill last weekend. Now all he needs is a good nickname.

Gettin' High or How I learned to Chase Goats

Greetings Flatlanders. A few days ago I headed out on quite an adventurous day of road cycling with a couple of my co-workers from Wheat Ridge Cyclery. Adam de la Pena (former Durham Cycle Center Employee), Kit Recca (17 year old future Pro Tour racer) and I headed out for what would soon become one of the most memorable and momentous days I have ever had on a bike. We departed from the outskirts of Denver around 8am, with temps already soaring at 7,400 feet.

Halfway up Evans at Summit Lake (before the switchbacks)

Now a few stats:

1) Our starting point of the day was higher than the summit of Mount Ventoux by over 1,000 feet!!!
2) L'Alpe-d'Huez ranges between 6,100 and 10,900 feet.
3) Mount Mitchell tops out at 6,684 feet
4) Mount Sinai in Durham is about 100 feet tall.
5) Mount Evans tops out at 14,240 feet.

The three of us at the summit. 40 degrees in Take note of the kid with the $9,000 will hear much more of him in the future from Europe.

Below is our route (out and back) and elevation profile of the day.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Baby's First King

(Not, not that King, that would just be scary. This King.)

In my never-ending search to be as cool as the cool kids I made my first Chris King headset purchase last week. Never mind that this is years after CK headset became de rigeur among cycling's elite and wannabes alike, and that as of yet the headset isn't actually on my bike, not to mention the fact that I bought it used in a shady eBay transaction (is there any other kind?), now I can proudly lift my head amongst fixie-hipsters, retro-riders, and big-hit bombers alike. In short, I have arrived. (Or will when I press the damn thing in.)

I'm going to ignore the facts that current internet scuttlebutt says that King's O-ring design is inferior to the Cane Creek 110's, and the even the cool Kingers have moved to the sotto voce design, because -- dammit! -- I want in the cool kid club!

I'll let you know if the damn thing miraculously takes a pound off of my bike, I'm suddenly admitted to some uber-hip Albany bike speakeasy, ladies begin to swoon before the Ferrous, or I suddenly get a lot more street cred. (At this point I'd be OK if it makes the 13 year olds at the park quit making fun of me, but whateva.)

So, yeah, I'm cool now. Really, I promise. And my bars spin like grease on ice. But I'll never be as cool as this:

Then again, what is as cool as that? That's right, nothing. NOTHING I say!


Friday, June 26, 2009

tech report: the rightness of spring

As featured in my previous post, tech reports from the Shanghai bicycle scene show some stunning new trends. And, as pointed out in the comments, one particular new development was worthy of its own post: the bicycle saddle. Yes, while the bench seat offers great storage capacity and the potential for side-by-side seating options, it is also hard and splintery. So what kind of saddle offers the spring-loaded comfort and traditional styling of a Brooks,

as well as the channeled air flow and testicular retention capacity of an ISM "clipless" saddle,

and of course the grundular hair removal capabilities of a beauty spring (i.e. one of these):

The answer is, of course, this:
Show up to the World Naked Bike Ride (beware of this link) on one of these saddles and you will be the envy of the entire peloton. The springs will allow you to sit comfortably over even the roughest pavement. The tensioned scrotal clamping mechanism will keep you seated (an important climbing skill for gear-mashers to practice). The ample ventalation will keep you cool, even as the mercury rises. The patented hair removal capabilities will produce a neatly-shorn nether region. And, the retro styling will look great on a lugged steel frame.

Plus, just think of how much you'll save on chamois creme! You may, however, need to get a tetnus booster shot and also probably a large supply of bandages.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

a bike cultural revolution

Bike messenger culture in North America has morphed into a bunch of weird sub-genres ranging from urban fixed-gear hipsters, who take all of the impractical elements of bicycle messengering and eschew any of the practical ones, to cargo hauling cyclists, who take all of the practical elements of human-powered transport with nary a care in the world about any of the stylish elements.

However, this view lacks a global perspective. My brother sent me these pictures from Shanghai of Chinese bike messenger culture.

This is one of the few pictures of a cyclist I received, but I'll make the reasonable assumption that this guy is completely representative of all Shanghai bike culture. If you're following component color schemes, white is out. Dingy, rusty gray is in. Also, apparently, white socks are out and for that matter, shoes of any color. Hats and helmets are out, as are bibshors, but pant retention is still critical as evident by suspenders. And while a lot of people in "the west" discuss how comfortable a bike is to ride, we have totally overlooked how comfortable our bike is to lounge in. Horizontally compliant? You bet.

Comfort bikes are only one part of Shanghai bike culture. There is also anti-comfort:

Bench seat technology has been a staple for pickup trucks, crummy American sedans, church pews, and...well, benches, but it has never crossed over to bicycles--until now. There's a lot going on with this U-Haul of bicycles. But if riding on a wooden plank doesn't sound anti-comfortable enough for you, also note the head-clearance on the U-Haul style "Mom's Attic". (I wonder if this bike has U-Haul's "rub rails". See link for details. Also, today's blog: sponsored by U-Haul.) Tall riders beware; this is an ideal rig for hunchbacks who need to transport all of their hunchback stuff around town. It should also be noted that this bike has transcended the no-brakes movement all the way into the no-cranks zone.

But the modest storage capacity of the previous bike is no match for a bike I like to call the Iceberg:

To hell with the xtracycle, which only gives you a modest increase in your hauling capacity. Eric only sent me a picture of the front of this one, but I'm willing to bet that it is over 100 meters long and it has a BOB trailer behind it. The Iceberg is the Titanic of bikes. (Iceberg. Titanic. I'll bet it's safe, too.) Plus, it's got a basket for that little something extra. I'm not sure what's in all of those styrofoam boxes, but my guess is some sort of savory oysters that the shipping company couldn't be bothered to ship in a fast, air-conditioned van, but rather, decided to keep it real by sending them by bike courier. In any event, once these bikes hit the streets of America's major cities, you can be assured that the styrofoam coolers will be brimming full of ice cold PBR. I've already ordered one.

And finally, what's cooler than cool? Ice cold? No. On fire! Just because bikes don't need petrochemicals to fuel their travels doesn't mean that Shanghai's cyclists aren't extreme enough to take that danger with them.

I'm not a big fan of riding with panniers, but the propane bike is a concept I think I could really get behind. And by "get behind" I mean "never even consider riding behind, but marvel at from afar". This would be a nice ride to discourage wheelsuckers, fuel shortages, and certain people (ahem, Geoff) from smoking cigarettes during training rides, while encouraging bar-b-cues, wheelies, and spontaneous combustion.

Thanks to Eric for the pictures.

il mio video

Kranked - REVOLVE Teaser from KRANKED/ReJeK+ on Vimeo.

Some of us are aging wanna-be shredders but as this video, which dropped earlier this month, shows there are some among us who are out ripping all the gnarly Front Range shit, racing Super D, and spreading our radness.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

dinosaur senior

J.D. was wearing a Dinosaur Jr t-shirt on our recent, fateful trip. It reminded me to post this recent video:

This video speaks to me not just because it features bicycling or it features indie rock, but because it features old dudes posing as bmx shredders [editor's note: the term "shredders" is probably woefully out of date, but was the most appropriate and coolest word the author could think of, further illustrating the author's disconnect with the current bmx scene or youth culture]. This furthers my theory that all cyclists seceretly long to be a bmx-er. And as an aging bmx poser, I am glad to see I am not the only one.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ali to Astana? Trade Rumors Swirl...

Trouble on the Bull City Front? Ali was recently spied in an Astana kit on his new Trek time trial bike.

Le Tour is upon us and I suspect Ali will be attacking. Too bad his bud Hollywood will be watching from the sidelines or rather the Italian Riviera.

Ciao, il mio nome è Hollywood...

Non vi perdete di me?

CSI (Crash Scene Investigation) Wilkesboro

Fortunately, the injury to Ben's elbow was not too serious, meaning that the time we need to wait to make light of the situation is very short. In fact, it

So what caused the crash? This photo taken less than an hour before the incident may provide some clues. 

Exhibit A: Linus, Ben, JD, Ali (L to R, not pictured, me)

Based on this photographic evidence, it appears that Ben is already leaning precariously, suggesting that he may be too tall to remain upright and was destined to fall from the beginning. Everyone was decked out in the full team-issue BCC kit, so that's not the problem. We do, however, see that Ben is the only one not wearing a black helmet, so maybe wearing white at Dark Mountain or before labor day is a big fashion no-no and he was struck down because of this. 

But I have a white helmet and was okay (knock on wood). And black-helmeted Linus crashed on a bridge. 

Ben was the only guy not "rocking" a 29er, except for Ali, who had a size-corrected 29er which features a 26" wheel in the back but has a 26" wheel in the front. This could have led to Ben's problems. 

He also rides a carbon bike, and riding carbon bikes is such a roadie thing to do. We all know that true roadies can't mountain bike (just as true triathletes can't ride in groups larger than 1), so perhaps this factor led to his mountain bike crash. But Ben is actually an excellent mountain biker. Furthermore, the crash actually happened on a roadway, so we cannot blame this roadie-like tendency on his accident. Further tests must be run to determine if Ben is actually a triathlete.

Perplexingly, Ben also insists on still using V-brakes, instead of trendy disc brakes. Could the adequate, but less modern stopping power of these ancient relics have led to the crash? BCC-CSI is still performing the computer simulations to test this theory.

The final piece of evidence we have to work with is the alleged "confession" in the emergency room. Ben supposedly admitted to the fact that the crash was his fault. However, this confession may have been given in a post-traumatic state, possibly skewed by blood loss. Ben didn't take any pain killers, but I'm still not sure this confession would hold up in court. 

In the end, we may never know the true cause of this crash. We were unable to find the missing flesh (which was probably carried away by hungry vultures) so some of the CSI's most ridiculous analyses could not be performed. Since the true culprit may still be out there, please be careful on your rides.

Chris Horner speaks

Chris Horner prepares for the Tour de France

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Go Matt Go!

Local legend Matt Lee is currently leading the 2,745 mile long Tour Divide. You can get his latest position from their live leader board. Go Matt, Go!

escape from dark mountain

Ben discharged with a clean bill of health.

Now it's off to the plastic surgeon to figure out how to fill-in a grape-sized hole in his elbow. I kinda wish I'd taken a picture of that, but also, I'm glad I didn't. It was gross. 

Get well soon!

Dark Mountain Day Trip

The night before the trip saw many emails and a few conference calls where we tried to take measure of reports of potentially water damaged trails, the possibility of an afternoon shower, and temperatures that were forecast to approach triple digits.
But our resolve could not be shaken and yesterday five us made the trip to the Dark Mountain trail system outside Wilkesboro. In short, these trails live up their reputation. They're incredibly well made, with bench cuts and high berms to keep things fast and flow-y, and they sit along the Kerr Resevoir. The boys were moving, with the usual suspects JD and Ben at the sharp end, keeping us in line. Or they tried to. I, or should I say my body, was uncooperative. I seemingly couldn't get started in the heat, which sucked for everyone.

The day, however, would not be without its suprises. The "Bloody Creek" campground on the two and half mile road section linking Dark Mtn with Warrior Creek was, in retrospect, an ominous portent of Ben's one-off accident. It came as our group separated at a road transition requiring us to hunt for the continuation of trail. Ben and JD had preceded us up the road and as we called to direct them back to the hidden trail blaze, something startled Ben and in a flash we saw him go over the bars. At 6'5" Ben has a long way to fall, much longer than the rest of us. Ben's elbow caught most of it, luckily sparing any damage to his head, helmet, or bike. But that elbow didn't look so good. Our initial fears of a broken bone were off the mark, but the tallest member of our bunch lost a good bit of flesh and for a few minutes, blood, as the result of a deep, deep gouge. We lept into action, with the Professor getting a lift back to his car from another rider, and OG and JD tending to Ben with a first aid kit. By the time the Professor arrived, Ben was better. The bleeding had stopped and a broken bone seemed unlikely but a trip to the local hospital for stitches was required.

The Professor deserves special recognition for accompanying Ben to the emergency room. We've long admired his physical strength and good nature on the bike, but it's nothing compared with his generous spirit, patience, and good will off it. Ben, we're thinking of you and look forward to seeing you on the trails soon. Rest and be well.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bicyclist Harassment ord. in Missouri

I wish we could have something like this here. One ride not to long ago, Geoff caught a beer can that was thrown from a car right in the handle bars. It was empty thank goodness.

COLUMBIA, MO (BRAIN)—A city of 84,000 people in Missouri has passed a bicyclist harassment ordinance making the throwing of objects, verbal assault and other offenses illegal, and a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $1,000 fine or one year of jail time.

The Columbia ordinance, which is modeled after similar ordinances in South Carolina and Colorado, makes it a misdemeanor to do the following: throw an object at or in the direction of a cyclist, threatening a cyclist to frighten or disturb the cyclist, sounding a horn with the intention to frighten or disturb a cyclist, knowingly placing a cyclist in the path of physical injury, or knowingly engaging in conduct that creates a risk of death or serious physical injury for a cyclist.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Test Bike

yum yum......more coming soon.

Free Missy

if you're rollin' fast downhills in upstate new york, watch out. former world champion missy giove was arrested for rolling with 200 lbs of drugs. this actually appears to be a sad end to one of mountain biking's most colorful characters. while some professionals get me excited about riding my bike(s), i usually forget that most of them don't make much money and even if they do, they don't make that money for long. i guess one of the morals to the story is, stay in school, kids. another may be, enjoy cycling for fun and be glad you don't need to earn your living from it. finally, say no to drugs.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

exclusive test ride footage

I found the following clip of Pirate demo riding the Giant Remedy (note plush, but heavy smoothness):

And on the full suspension Gary Fisher 29er:

Meanwhile, at the ACE speedway...

More Bounce to the Ounce

[formerly: 'Bouncin' on a Big Bike']

My rides have been few and far between this year, but last Saturday I got to head up the the SMBA trails in Saratoga Springs for their annual 'Mix-Up the Dirt' (aka 'MUD') festival, where beers, burgers, and bikes were in abundance.  It was really a great event, with well over a hundred people there, two or three different shops, representatives from the Luna Chix team, a couple of guys from the White Face downhill park, Sigma Systems accessories, plus the Trek/Gary Fisher demo truck.  I'm not sure how much schwag the different groups handed out, but there was a ton, including tires, pumps, lights, and even a complete bike.  Not bad at all.

The SMBA trails are tight, rocky, technical masterworks of trailbuilding, and the lingering moisture from the rain the night before had everything covered with a thin slime.  I don't know where beginners -- and even intermediates -- go to ride around the area, but they don't go here: SMBA serves up the beatdowns for anyone not on their game.

Before I hit the trail I wandered over to the Trek tent and pick me up a big helping of bounce: a full-XTR Trek Remedy with 6 inches of travel front and rear.  Even with this generous helping of rubble-eating goodness the bike with still under 30 pounds, and while that didn't make it Hollywood-approved, it still weighed a reasonable amount.

This is a lot of bike.  I haven't ridden with gears in quite some time, and I've never owned a full-suspension bike, so this thing took some getting used to, and I'm not sure that I ever got it.  Don't get me wrong, this is a great bike for someone, I'm just not sure that I'm that person.  I felt more like I was guiding a couch through the woods than mountain biking, and there was nothing about the thing that you could call 'flickable,' but it would be great fun on a wide-open, fast trail with lots of drops and rubble. On the tight, slow trails of SMBA it didn't exactly shine, for while it liked to eat up the rocks, it wasn't nearly as nimble as I would have liked.  SMBA has a lot of little-ring plodding through rock fields and quick changes of direction, and the Remedy would much rather have been eating up the high speed descents in Fruita than guiding me deeper into the forests of the Northeast.

That said, gears are nice.  Suspension is nice.  After returning the Remedy I got to spend some time on a Gary Fisher HiFi Pro 29er, a XC full-suspension rig.  Me likey.  Me likey a lot.  I don't know when my finances will allow me to have that kind of ride in my stable, but it was sure nice to be able to down shift when climbs got steep, or sit down through moderate rock gardens rather than stand and pump through.  

Feeding the desire for a new ride was the bike weighing contest hosted by EMS.  The idea was to guess the weight of your bike, and
 while I was pretty close on the ol' Ferrous, I was disappointed to find out that she tips the scale at well over 27 pounds: 27 pounds and 9 ounces, to be exact.  That was only an ounce less than a friend's new Stumpy, and even more than this kid's rad Astana-approved trike.  (Kidz these days, what with their trikes and their casts, I tells ya...)
The Stumpy seems like an ideal platform for the area, by the way, as it manages to balance significant travel (5 inches front and rear) with light weight and trail bike geometry.  (Well, it least the freewheelin' Gary didn't have any trouble flogging it around the trail.)

All-n-all not a bad day, truth be told.  I determined that a) bikes are fun, b) I like to mountain bike, c) I am out of shape, d) my bike is heavy, e) hot dogs taste good, even when burnt, f) trees hurt when you hit them, no matter how much suspension you have, g) rocks are hard, h) I need to stop making lists.  As I cruised back to Albany the skies opened up and the rest of the weekend was spent dodging rain, but this allowed me to lick my wounds and cruise the internet for the light parts that I now 'need.'

Finally, a take-away shot from the trails to give you an idea of what they're like.  Bob was happy to be rolling around on a long-travel Ellsworth.  The pic, isn't great, as I caught him just after he landed the drop, but hopefully it'll give you some flava.

Monday, June 15, 2009

How much do you love your bike?

Not as much as Hollywood, who incorporated his two-wheeled lova into his wedding:

Yep, you're seeing that right: that's our Denver operative riding up to his wedding on his fab cruiser bike in early April.  It was a blustery Colorado day, but Brian pulled it of nevertheless, and both he (and his bike) are now happily married.

Remember Brian, it's okay to love your bike, just don't luuuurrrvvvve your bike.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ride for Clive Images

Praise for The Professor

From a classified advertising the sale of square-tapered RaceFace cranks sent to one of the local listserves this morning, recognition of Professorial Style in an imagined dialogue:

"But Tom (re: in a hypothetical complaint to the seller), square taper is from the bronze age." No, it's not. Press-fit is the best way. Unless you're real big, square taper is fine. Old-skool RF cranks are almost cool enough to put you in the style league of Chris O."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More weekend notes

As Ben mentioned, there was great turnout for the Ride For Clive last weekend. It was great to see so many cyclist out on the American Tobacco Trail, ranging from little kids to dudes on racing bikes to dudes on rusted old cruisers to a dude on a bike from Duke's bike borrowing program. The latter aforementioned dude was Ali, pictured below holding court behind his comically oversized Amsterdam bike.
Also pictured are Jay, Rachel, K-Law, Ben, and the Notorious L.O-.G. (aka Loggie Smalls). The photo has not been doctored; Ali's bike's handlebars are as high as his chest, Ben is twice as tall as the Suntrust building, and Linus is wearing cutoff jeanshorts. After the ride, Linus confirmed that cutoff jeanshorts do not get the Bull City Cycling seal of approval for a non-cycling specific product recommended for cycling. I actually didn't take any pictures during the ride because I was helping to direct traffic and didn't want to actually cause anyone to run off the trail.

But back to the ride. I don't really know what to say except for thanks to everyone who helped out. Thanks to all of Clive's coworkers at the McKinney-Silver marketing firm, who did so much to turn this from simply a big group ride into a fitting memorial and celebration for a fallen friend and cyclist. And thanks to the bicycling community of Durham, who were so kind out on the trail and appeared to be having a great time. Please keep fighting the good fight, riding your bike safely and confidently while enjoying all it has to offer. 

Monday, June 8, 2009

Quite a weekend!

Before I forget, I wanted to give a big Congratulations to McKinney and Silver for putting together such an amazing event on Saturday. Jay and Ali put in countless hours of planning and running around on the Bull City side of things. The result was 100+ people in attendance.

If you did not make it, it was really special. All day on Saturday, I felt like we had accomplished what we had set out to do when we started this team over a year ago. We truly had an impact on the community. I am very thankful to be a part of this team and I am proud of my teammates. Great Job guys!

Riding the high from Saturday's event, Chris, The Professor, Oishi; Daniel, Chef Caesar, Schurr; JD, the leg breaker and I rolled out for a MTB ride. The temps reached the 80's I would guess, probably hotter in the forest.

It was a great ride with everyone taking strong pulls. My legs are torched today but it was well worth the effort.

Next weekend is Carolina North, we are planning on pre-riding it on Saturday to get a feel for the flow of the trails. Hope to see you out there.

Friday, June 5, 2009

riding out the storms

east coast is getting pelted with rain.

only the east coast. but this too shall pass in time for awesome weather for the Ride for Clive. see you tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

JD the Hammerhead

It's funny....seems like just when you think you are starting to feel good and gaining some confidence in your riding someone comes along and lets you know what being fit is all about. Or maybe it's just me.

I headed out with Daniel and JD yesterday for an evening ride and from the gun JD was straight killing it. Daniel and I were joking about JD's single speed being fast as hell...The bad news for me is that is wasn't a joke.

I found myself hanging on for dear life for most of the 2+ hours of riding. To make matters worse, as we slowed the pace a little bit on a flatter section some guy passed us like we were standing still!

So what did I learn from yesterdays lesson:

1. I have a long way to go until I am in shape again.
2. The nice guys are the ones to watch out for, they will rip your legs off
3. Be humble, there are a bunch of fast guys around here
4. Getting turned inside out on a ride is better than sitting at home on the couch any day of the week.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading.


Off topic, but the Times' A.O. Scott reminds us how great Rushmore is. Amen.

Monday, June 1, 2009


back on the road with Jay, Linus, and Ali (L to R).

Did a nice 85 miler down to Saxapahaw, driven by Jay's super strong pace setting, Linus' super fast county line sprints, and Ali's super quick wit. I set a new personal record for nature breaks (it's starting to get warm and I'm still getting my hydration figured out). We also stopped at a convenience store and chatted with a local dude who was looking forward into converting an old road bike into a brakeless fixed gear to ride on the rural roads to Carrboro. While I found this idea strange, both due to the ubiquitous trendiness of fixies and the ubiquitous impractical application of fixies, I can only tip my helmet to folks who want to ride bikes.

Also of note, the awesomeness of the Snow Hill area of the piedmont. Snow was nowhere to be seen, but we rode a long stretch of BASS Mountain Road. Some people pronounce "bass" like the fish or like Gossip Girl character Chuck Bass. 

However, given the fact that the funky-fresh M.C. Broom's church is on this road, I'm quite certain that the mountain is made up of subwoofers, kicking out that sweet, low-frequency bass. Unfortunately, I didn't hear any of this bass, which is too bad because it would have made a nice beat with the clicking sound that my bottom bracket was producing. Match that with some of Pirate's dope rhymes and we'd be ready to take the show on the road.