Gallery: Dan’s Bike E Tandem

Here is our Bike E tandem recumbent with a B.O.B Yak trailer for your bike gallery. We use the bike for our vacations and have just completed a tour along the north shore of Lake Erie. Last year we crossed Prince Edward Island with it. We bought the bike used 8 years ago and we don’t know the actual age of it. It is heavy when it is loaded for touring but is very comfortable. —Dan

Brompton World Championship

Photo © John Spooner

The Brompton World Championship (BWC) is a tongue-in-cheek event open to all Brompton owners. The competition can be fierce, but just as important is dressing in the proper attire:

Rules for the event are not overly onerous, but poor dress sense will not be tolerated: a suit jacket, collared shirt and tie are de rigueur for participants; sports attire is not permitted, and Lycra shorts/leggings are specifically named, shamed and excluded. Competitors will be expected to demonstrate their folding skills in a Le Mans style start

Something about ladies and gents in tweed suits racing a criterium on their folding bikes just makes me smile.

This year’s event, held on September 28th, was won by Alastair Kay of Great Britain. He snatched victory from three-time Tour of Spain winner Roberto Heras who was recruited by Spain in a bid to maintain their dominance of the event. I’m hoping the participation of a rider of his caliber doesn’t change the nature of the BWC from one of fun and camaraderie to something more serious.

As in years past, prizes were awarded to the fastest competitors in various categories as well as the all-important Best Dressed category.

Bullish on Bikes?

A recent article on Wired’s Autopia blog cites high gas prices, the obesity epidemic, a failing economy, and environmental concerns as the drivers behind recent record sales in the bike industry. Industry insiders can hardly contain themselves over the amount of cash flowing into the industry right now. Here’s Tim Blumenthal of Bikes Belong at the Interbike trade show:

“You can feel the collective buzz,” a smiling Tim Blumenthal, executive director of the bicycle advocacy group Bikes Belong, says from the middle of the bustling show floor.  “It’s a really, really heady time for us. This show feels very optimistic and that bucks the general economic trends. There doesn’t seem to be many businesses that are thriving, but the bike business is doing very well.”

Some manufacturers are even openly hoping for higher gas prices, with the idea they’ll further drive up bike sales:

“The gas prices are the best thing that ever happened to cycling,” says Kevin Menard, whose year-old bike business, Traitor Cycles, is thriving. “I hope they go up even more.”

This is a case of “be careful what you ask for.” Sure, high gas prices will continue to spur along bike sales for a time, but if the economy tanks badly enough, even high gas prices won’t ensure long-term bike sales.

The article states that “Electric bike manufacturers are particularly bullish…”, but despite what producers are saying, that’s a promise that has yet to be fulfilled here in the U.S. It will be interesting to see if electric-assist eventually catches on as it has in Europe.

I’m thrilled that the bicycle industry is doing so well, but I hope that we’re not looking at a flash in the pan that disappears as soon as the economy settles and people get accustomed to $4 per gallon gas. If it is, we’re going to see an awful lot of bikes hanging in the rafters come next year.

Read the full article at Wired →

North Road Bars

Quite a few people have asked me about the handlebars on my Surly Long Haul Trucker (LHT). Following are the answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions:

  1. They’re not stock.
  2. They’re made by Nitto and they’re named “North Road”.
  3. They can be ordered through any dealer that orders parts from Quality Bicycle Parts.
  4. There are two versions, one aluminum alloy, the other CroMo steel. The alloy version usually has a red “heat-treated” sticker at the center knurling, the steel does not.
  5. The steel version accepts Shimano bar-end shifters, the alloy does not.
  6. They fit the stock LHT stem, but depending upon how upright you want to sit, you may need to change the stem.
  7. You’ll need to replace the stock road levers with mountain bike-style levers.
  8. They accept mountain bike grips. If you want to use cork grips with bar-end shifters, be ready for some surgery (e-mail me for instructions).
  9. They’re supremely comfortable and turn the LHT into a capable city bike.
  10. I luv ‘em!

Waaay back in ’05, my pal Perry over at The Velvet Foghorn wrote a wonderful piece about the Rivendell Albatross bar, also made by Nitto. The Albatross is a close cousin to the North Road, but it has a little less rise and slightly softer bends. If you like the North Road, you’ll probably like the Albatross as well. Check out Perry’s article here.

A Little Outing

After following my physical therapy routine for a week I felt good enough to go for a short ride today. We always like to work in an errand when we get on the bikes, so we dropped off a few movie rentals before taking a detour through a local wetland preserve to enjoy the scenery and look for wildlife. Right away, we saw what we think was a female turkey and her chicks in the brush along a creek (even these little outings have memorable moments if we slow down and look for them). At a grand total of around 4-5 miles, the ride was anything but epic, but after being off the bike for weeks, it felt grand to be rolling again.

Gallery: Beth’s 1999 Rivendell LongLow Custom

1999 Rivendell LongLow custom, frame/fork handbuilt by Joe Starck. This frameset replaced a Centurion Super LeMans that had been totalled in a 1997 accident. The settlement paid for the new frame and the parts to build it up. Frame arrived in 1999 and has been ridden thousands of miles since. It is my “go-to” upright commuter. With chipped/touched-up paint, slightly dented top tube and downtube, it’s clear that this was never intended to be a showroom bike. I bought it when I knew less about bikes and chose to eschew the standard cantis in favor of long-reach calipers, because I thought they’d be easier to adjust on the fly. They work great but if I were to order this frame today I would’ve probably stuck with the cantis. It was also designed from the start to be an upright-bar bike, but Rivendell wisely advised me to go with a custom short top-tube so that my short torso wouldn’t keep me from trying drops on it. I rode it for about two years with drops and while the bike fine, I never liked the feel as much. When I got another bike that took the drops better, back this went to uprights.

Notable parts:

  • Wheels: Phil hubs (mismatched generations! Front hub must be sent to Phil for new bearings each time), CR-18 rims, Schwalbe Marathon tires
  • Components: a mix of SunTour rear derailleur, [Rivendell] Simplex front derailleur and Shimano “beehive” thumb shifters
  • Suntour XC-Pro brake levers, Shimano RX-100 road calipers (long reach, the only thing available in 1999 that would work with this frame)
  • Nitto Tech stem, NorthRoad handlebars, assorted vintagey odds-n-ends
  • Brooks B-17 saddle (almost as old as the frameset)
  • Shimano cranks, old SR platform pedals w/ALE toeclips (I switch to flat pedals in the summer. I like toeclips and toeclip covers during the rainy season)

Pictures include a manual cyclometer, a bell I found at a bike non-profit, and a saddlebag made by Acorn Bags out cloth repurposed from a canvas golf bag cover. This has been a perfect daily bike for me and when it turns ten next year I MAY just throw it a little party. —Beth

[This is such a lovely bike! Visit Beth’s blog here. —ed.]

Civia ’09 Interbike Snap Shots

A few snapshots of the ’09 Civia line-up:

A Pair of Lorings

Hyland i-Motion 3

Hyland Rohloff

Hyland Rohloff “Dropouts”

Thanks to Rick Steele of Gold Country Cyclery for the photos. Gold Country is now a Civia Dealer and they’ll be stocking the ’09 models once they’re available.

Visit the Civia website

© 2011 EcoVelo™