Bike for the Gulf with Malik Rahim

[via BikePortland]

Country Bike: A Prisoner in the City?

Does a country bike feel like a prisoner in the city? Does it secretly yearn for open roads and soaring vistas? Can it be truly happy, sequestered in the urban jungle?

Urban Assault Ride Austin

While we’re on the subject of this weekend’s events, don’t miss New Belgium’s Urban Assualt Ride if you’re in Austin, TX. From the UAR website:

The Urban Assault Ride is a truly unique cycling event…and quickly becoming one of the biggest in country! Here’s how it works: You and your teammate will set out on a city-wide quest for ‘checkpoints’ on your favorite two-wheeled steeds. At each checkpoint, you’ll drop your bikes and complete a funky/adventurous obstacle course, then remount your bikes and hit the streets for more.
The goal is to complete all the checkpoints in the shortest amount of time. You choose your own route and checkpoint order. This means that the most clever are often the victors. Of course, it may also help if you can pull a mean big-wheel powerslide and fly across an inflatable slip-n-slide ;)

Urban Assualt Ride website

Oaklavía This Sunday

It’s a busy weekend for bike riding here in NorCal. This Sunday, June 27th, Oakland, CA is getting in on the Ciclovía fun with “Oaklavía”, their first ever street closure event. From the Oaklavia website:

In the last three years, Sunday Streets events in San Francisco have proven to be incredibly successful — growing from two events in 2007 to nine events planned for 2010, due to the popularity among residents, business owners and local government.

Walk Oakland Bike Oakland is excited to give Sunday Streets some Oakland flair — Oaklavía will take the concept of street festival to the next level, allowing residents to experience the city’s best natural and architectural assets, outdoor activities, and arts in some of our most well-loved and unique streets and neighborhoods.

Visit the Oaklavía website for more information

First Tweed, Now Seersucker?

Our good friends over at Sacramento Tweed are hosting Sac’s first-ever “Seersucker Ride” this Sunday, June 27th. Details here.

First it was tweed, and now seersucker? What’s all the fuss about clothing? Here’s an explanation from my friend Rick at Sac Tweed:

To those of you who are new to Sacramento Tweed, we extend a hearty welcome. We are happy for your visit. To further sate the curiosities of your intrepid souls, we present some quick notes on our underlying philosophy — a short guide to the essence of tweed, if you will.

At the heart of it all, we exist to bring people together — tell stories, laugh, eat and drink, make new friends, revisit old ones — and bask in a convivial glow.

That said, we should also mention that we have a very strict policy of not excluding anyone on the basis of what they ride, or what they wear. It’s true that we have some fun with vintage clothes, and it’s also true that some riders bring really lovely vintage bicycles along to delight and amaze us. But what is most important to us is you.

On any of our rides, you can expect to find an array of riders of varying skills and abilities commandeering an equally varied fleet of two-wheeled contraptions. You are sure to see it all: pennyfarthings (the big-wheel bikes), vintage Raleighs and Schwinns, cruisers, low riders, mountain bikes, fixies, Dutch bikes — you name it. We encourage people to ride whatever they are most comfortable on, so they will feel comfortable during the course of the ride. Any steed that you ride safely is a welcome steed indeed.

The same is true for the clothing, really; riders gussy up to varying degrees. Our secret is that creativity and imagination (and thrift stores) rule the day. Your tweed need not be expensive to be smashing.

To be honest, though, the only *required* attire is a smile. So if that’s what you’ve got, feel free to don your modern cycling togs and join us, because we’re sure you’ll have fun!

Tweed is a metaphor, not a members-only club. Our goal here is to get you on your bicycle and show you a good time. The Sacramento Tweed rides are, above all, social rides, which is a point of pride to us.

Hear, hear! Well said, Rick.

If you’re in Sac, come out and join us this weekend. And remember, it’s not about the clothing.

Fun with Folders

We’ve been having a great time getting re-acquainted with folders, figuring out how best to maximize their special features, comparing the strengths and weaknesses between competing models, and figuring out how to fit them into our routine. As I mentioned in a recent post, we purchased a pair of Bromptons for those times when we need to take the bikes in the car or on a train or bus that doesn’t have accommodations for full-sized bikes. It was a bit of a no-brainer as far as the Bromptons were concerned; I previously owned a Brompton and had already “drank the Kool-Aid” so to speak. It’s been a load of fun though, comparing our little M3Ls to the tricked out belt drive Dahon Mu XL Sport that Thor loaned us, as well as evaluating these bikes in the context of our experiences earlier in the year with the now defunct Jango Flik.

As part of this ongoing exercise, I thought it would be fun to merge a pair of photos of the aforementioned Brompton and Dahon. As you can see, the riding positions are nearly identical, even though the Dahon uses larger 20″ wheels compared to the Brommie’s petite 16″ wheels. The Dahon is lighter, but the famous Brompton fold is amazingly compact (the saddle on the Brompton actually retracts further than shown in the photo).

What we’re learning through all of this is that, like with full-sized bikes, each folder is different and has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Some ride more like big bikes, others are lightweight for easy carrying, and yet others fold into a neat and tidy package. As always, the trick is to identify the bike that best fits your unique priorities and needs.

Mu Shadow

My son is taking a photography class at the local community college and this evening’s assignment was to concentrate primarily on light, with an emphasis on shadow. Ironically, the evening was somewhat overcast and there were hardly any shadows; we normally like those conditions, but it made the assignment doubly difficult. Fortunately, the sun peeked out from behind the clouds and we were able to get a few shots in before it went away for good. It was a fun time, riding the bikes around with our cameras on our backs, looking for interesting vignettes and just enjoying the evening. Riding doesn’t always have to be about saving the planet….

© 2011 EcoVelo™