Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So much to see, so little time.

Isnt that always the case? I know i promised an update and recap yesterday, but i ended up on a fixed gear bike on my new ride (more on that to follow)

Lets breakdown interbike 2008 by the numbers:
3 days
2 nights
4.5 hours sleep
1 topless bar
2 pro races
7 Tour De France wins combined in the Cross Vegas Pro race field
4 Luxury suites at the Wynn (boom)
$300 won at roulette (double boom)
3 12 passenger limos
300,000 square footage of bike porn and provocative imagery
50,000 spoke nipples
1 non metallic nipple
2 sushi restaurants
What a trip.

Fixed gears everywhere. Fixies and belt driven bikes were alot like nipples in that regard, everybody had two.
This was, however for me the highlight of the trip, a series of bikes, some fixed and some freewheel, with two speed internal cranks. They shift via a push button at the crank arm attachment and can change your gearing as much as a multipier of the chainring of 2.5, or drop the chainring by .65 . Incredible range and compact. Seeing the crossection and working model was a gearheads delight. planetary gears, ring gears, awesome. This setup combined with a belt drive and internally geared rear hub (as the belt cannot be derailed) is looking like the future of commuters, if not most production bikes especially mountain applications.
Other trip highlights.
This bitchin PBR bike I scored from an independent working the show along with an additional pair of cranks (pictured). The bike is a tick small but seems to be light enough to throw around. Double flat on first ride out of the stable. Note to self: "the possibility exists that anyone with the type of fascination it takes to create a PBR bike, is more than likely a better drunk than mechanic."
Those giant rubber bands the guys at this booth were flicking at each other after they assembled this bike were undoubtedly my rim strips. Bottoms up boys.
And it wasn't just my cranks, white was IN this year at the show.
White tires,White solid stem/handlebar setup.
We spent so much time as a group looking at the goddam Pinnarello booth my eyes started to play tricks on me. Does it look like these forks are made of rubber?
Its like that old trick in grade school where you grab the middle of a pencil and shake it up and down. "Look a rubber pencil,"
"No its not, its a Pinarello fork."
Stiff schmiff...this biotch rides like its a rubber pencil.

I leave you with the Deep V Vegas edition wheel set. Until next year my fellow two wheel enthusiasts, until next year.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

...all that follows

I will be doing a full recap of interbike upon my return (Monday) however one event i thought required a mention prior to departure was this:


Urban Legend Fashion & Art Show, presented by Momentum Magazine
Venetian Ballroom G
Thursday, September 25th, 5:00 p.m.
Bikes, Art and Fashion in motion. A self propelled cycling art and fashion show that brings the cutting edge of urban bicycle culture to life. Cycling for transportation is one of the hottest sectors in the bike industry today. A change is happening on the streets and people are integrating bikes into their everyday lives. Urban Legend is about expanding our perceptions of what it looks like to ride a bike. Immerse yourself in the trends of the urban cycling category and join us for a unique preview of the latest products designed for practical cycling style and function. Witness the evolution of urban transport, enjoy a cold beer, some dj-spun tunes and take in art inspired by a passion for bicycles. This fashion show will highlight a range of stylish, smart, sexy and professional looks that fit into everyday life and work great on a bike.

“The urban cycling market is different than the ‘Ricky Racer’ crowd - the typical lycra scene is not exactly what appeals to the urban rider. The Urban Legend fashion show highlights the more accurate wants and needs of the urban cyclist and helps spotlight ideas to help retailers provide those items to the urban riders who are walking into their stores.” - Tim Jackson, Brand Manager, Masi Bicycles


I have no idea what any of that means, but i think it might be half naked chicks on bikes! The rub is that is the same night as the crit at Mandalay bay and that is a MUST ATTEND as well. Choices, choices. I have so much to see I am afraid some sacrifices must be made. One of those sacrifices however will not be missing the Rock Racing party i hope. That i would not only miss the crit, but my flight for.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Interbike and all that follows...


Interbike this week. So stoked! A full compliment of Street Kings are making the trek to the city of sin for a few days R&R and all the cycling stuff you can handle. This weekend marked the first crit for STreetKing Freshman Isaac. He scored a podium his first run at it with a strong 3rd place finish. I didnt race but pitted for him and cheered him on when i saw the pain overtake him about half way through the race. Watching bike racing always has the same affect on me as it did this weekend. I go home and, "dream the impossible dream" of winning a crit in grand fashion. In my dream i am always about 5th or 6th wheel as the bell lap is called. Turn one, no change, Turn two, no change, turn three, i make my move. Now third wheel into the final turn, turn four. Now out of the saddle and in the drops. No more gears to click through. Its two bikes at the finish. I bike throw for good measure and get the win by the thickness of a tire. It hasnt happened yet, but who is to say it wont? I have been getting serious about training as of late and am hoping to fire at some events along with the other Street Kings at the line for 2009. I wanted to be able to tell you that in my dream i am on a Sweet Vintage Merckx but i can never muster that much creativity while i am asleep.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The legion grows...


AZfixed hit 500 thousand page views officially on Tuesday. Quite a feat when you realize the site has only been up for 4 months. 100kplus per month is more than I ever imagined. I hosted a "guess the date" contest and gave away a case of beer. NJSMike was within 6 hours of the epoch. In stark contrast, the guys at Bike Haus asked me to hobble a forum together for their shops page and i was able to get the thing up and running in a matter of hours. AZFixed took me three weeks and repeated mental meltdowns. Needless to say i am on the sloping down side of the learning curve at this point. Last night was gang night and the whole crew turned out in force. good times even with me feeling under the weather. If i could pull this kind of numbers in a local event we could sweep the medals by virtue of attrition alone. The Streetkings ranks swelled yet again last night in a run-up bar hop ride. The voting was heated and much discussed. Two historic bids, three new names. including a revote.
I give you:
Ishmael
and
Frank the Tank
and
Last Chance AKA Clifford


For the record the following names have been struck from the name pool in the form of veto's:
POO (Party of one)
Gundersen

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Religion is a fixed sense.

It just me or is this saddle pointed in the absolute right direction to inflict the most pain on the rider of this bike? Who puts their saddle at that kind of angle? A masochist i suppose. Perhaps the saddle is the rider punishing himself like a zealot with penance in some testicular flagellation manner. I only offer this as a possibility as the bike is also covered with paper mache bible pages. I have often said this revolution of bike riders from out-of-the-box bikes to custom fixed gears was going to result in a number of casulties, this early 80's Araya being one of them. May the Lord have mercy on your soul.
Speaking of prayers, this Motobecane i have named: "the Praying Mantis" for its impossibly placed set of double aero-bars, must have somehow become self aware and is hoping to find refuge in a higher power. Perhaps this soul change occured after spotting itself in a mirror for the first time and realizing the horror that others see. The poor thing isnt even allowed inside the church and has to settle for begging for forgiveness on the steps. I forgive you child for you know not what you do. The Surly makes a more modest attempt at public prayer. (probably catholic)Praise Allah! These bars are so far up they look less like praying arms and more like a pirate surrendering.

I include this next bike in the religious section only because the first words out of my mouth when viewing the bike for the first time was: "Oh my God!" Look at the size of that head tube! that thing is almost as tall as a 700c wheel! The bars are then dropped and slammed into the headtube forcing the rider to go ass over elbows in a perfect prayer position.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Good to be back.




The Wisconsin trip was quite an undertaking. FedEx bikes, cars, planes, rain, mud, and a bike race. Four StreetKings at the starting line, 3 of them fared great, I personally rode the worst 40 miles on a mountain bike of my career but still enjoyed myself. If you have never traveled to the upper MidWest portion of America, there is alot to see. You do have to keep your eyes out however as there isnt a single item alive or inanimate that they wont cover in camoflauge fabric including buildings, vehicles, and every clothing item imaginable. I think most everyone there has a love for firearms and that i can appreciate. The hospitable people of that region do share two of my own interests; beer, and red meat. To prove that point, i took this photo outside a bar after the race. Back home we have some projects to attend to. The Streetkings have a fixed gear crit to attend in October, golden sprints, and the Dagger death race. Lets get it on!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Velo in the heartland





Minnesota National Sports Velodrome. The real deal holyfield. Look at that sick bank. The event that was scheduled while we were in town was rained out but it was sunny the day we poked around. I wish we could have worked in a few rounds but i have to admit that 50 degree bank looked intimidating. The mountain biking is going to have to suffice for this trip. Street Kings ride on Thursday. A large possibility exists that we will be tapping a new member.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hell yeah! A robot that parks your bike for you. Why cant we get high tech shit like that in the states? The japanese have all the cool shit; Track racing, giant radioactive lizards, school girl porn on TV. And all we get is Ryan Seacrest and bull shit like Bike tree and the morons in the picture cant even figure out how to make the thing work. Its a goddam tree you hang bikes in! No wonder the Japanese school kids are kicking are ass in electronics. The site will not be updated until next monday as i will be out of state competing in a national mountain bike event.

The line it is drawn.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin
Its true the times they are changing. If the bikes for sale on Ebay are any representation of trends, vintage is out and NEW is the new vintage. It seems every major brand has new track bikes out hoping to capitalize on the popularity of urban fixed gear riding. FELT, TREK, SPECIALIZED etc. Whilst perusing the ether I came across this odd offering for a track frame.

58cm Track Fixed Gear Single Bike Alloy Frame and Fork


2008 Brand New Alloy Track Bike Frame and Chromoly Fork
a puzzling excerpt from the online auction:

This listing is for a Red 58cm bicycle frame and fork Catch a great deal on this track / fixed gear road bike frame and fork. This bike frameset could be set up to ride on the road as a single speed, or at the velodrome as a fixed gear. Perfect for getting around on campus or as a messenger bike. It comes with Frame, Fork, Headset, Seat Clamp and bottom bracket. What is the brand of this bike frame and fork? Well, that is up to you. These bikes framesets were made by a major bike manufacturer, not just a brand, and the people who actually build the bikes for the brand names you know. We could have bought some brand name out of the past or made up something new, we decided to leave it a clean canvas for you to personalize. Our experience in cycling stretches back over 20 years including a chain of retail stores, an online store and now. While our exclusive focus is no longer cycling, it is still our first. You will be pleased with the value, look and feel of this bike.
I have to wonder why they are hesitant to state exactly who the "major bike manufacturer ...who actually builds the bikes for brands (I) know" is. They are also hesitant, for an unstated reason to state who is actually selling the bike. If i was selling bikes and my "Cycling experience stretched back over 20 years" I wouldnt ask; WE SELL XS (excess get it?) to sell my bikes for a buy it now price of $179.00. (no takers on that price by the way).
What the hell happened? Did track bikes hit the wall and are now headed to Walmart? This frame is shit. the only thing this could be used for would be a game of hard court polo, and i mean A single game of hard court bike polo, or as a blunt object to carry with you and strike at angry motorists with while you are riding a real track bike. Keep it real. This aint real.

Welcome to the future, the future is NOW!

Of all the mixed metaphors used in cycling the most common one is the weapon often referred to as the double edged sword. Riding a bike can not only give one a sense of freedom and liberation but also unleashes creative "juices". Those juices then pool in any non porous surface, become stagnant and begin to attract flies like a woodland pond. For some reason pioneers and inventors are drawn to cycling and inevitably these types of people want to build a better mousetrap. In some cases, literally re-inventing the wheel. Here are a few of the more memorable of those forays into the cutting edge of cycling.The Body sail. A fabulous new idea! This ad exclaims. What they dont say is what exactly that new idea is. Harnessing the wind to propel oneself is hardly a new idea, if you dont believe me ask the Nina the Pinta and the Santa Maria. I have to assume the author/inventor of the "body sail" doesnt mean strapping a square block of fabric on your back is somehow classified as "a fabulous idea" . The retired garment industry worker in this photo is moments away from needing that swath of material to wrap his road rashed bulbous middle half in after that sail catches a yard full of air and drops that bike into the dirt like it was a hinged cellar door. Dont look for this at your local bike shop any time soon.'

And then there is this little pant leg tearing contraption: The Alenax drive system. If you think the picture is unclear and looks complicated, you arent looking at the picture right. It is instead, very unclear and very, very complicated. I did alot of research on the Alenax drive system, and was shocked to see how many different variations on this same theme were trotted out to the public only to be summarily dismissed like the last three Michal Jackson albums. This didnt stop people from throwing more money and time into trying to change the laws of physics to somehow improve on the efficiency of a circular motion for a pumping one. This quote from the late Sheldon Brown sums it up well;
"Summing it up, I think the inventor (and investors) did not realize that converting reciprocating motion into circular motion is best done by a rotary crank rather than a reciprocating lever, and above all, they weren't bicyclists.

I happened upon this treat Googleing the term "Swingers on bikes" (for site research of course)
It appear by the location of the crank connection to the seat that the "swing" in this bike is actually more of an accordian motion in an upwards arc. As you pedal the bike appears to stretch upwards and then fall with the crank rotation as if the rider were going over a series of small round hills. I am still curious as the meaning behind the tagline "Sport in Vollendung" i know dung mean crap in most any language, perhaps vollen is a German take on Vello or bicycle. So this would be translated into english to mean; "Sport in bicycle shit" Talk about truth in advertising.


This is my favorite. "its not a bike, Its not a skateboard, its a Surf bike" was the headline on this gem. Accompanied only by the only existing picture of the sole person in 1975 that was stupid enough to be talked into replacing his seat with a skateboard and then could be talked into standing on it long enough for a clear 35mm picture. "Soon to revolutionize self propelled recreational vehicles" No firm data on when "soon" is. I love that the Surf Bike shop required an address change just after the flyers were printed and the entrepenaurs opted to just stamp over the existing ads with "New address" What you cant read in small print on the middle right hand margin is: "Daves mom said we had to move the stuff out of the guest garage so she could have a stupid yoga studio, so we are using Mikes den over on 5th."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I recently reported that some persons at Velonews (I wont name names, but it rhymes with Brainerd) are of the mind that fixed gear bikes are going to be the ruin of all cycling and possibly the modern world if we let the trend continue. That inference doesnt seem to stopping sites like Fixedgeargallery.com where the judging on their fixed gear 2008 project just completed and the winners are quite, well, quite interesting to say the least. Lets start at the bottom of the podium Mrs America style, bottom to top: In third place this rig: Before:After:
Pretty slick if you ask me. An old diamond back bike converted to fixed gear with custom laced spokes.

In 2nd Place and the bike that will assume the crown should Mrs Fixed gear be unable to complete her reign, This rig:Nice little fixed gear commuter. Clean lines, nice save from a yardsale bike.
The winner of this years fixed gear bike is at a whole nother level however. Check out this tall bike fixie:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Rolling

I like you await news of the Friday lawsuits progression through the courts. meanwhile, please enjoy some REAL cyclists riding REAL bikes.

There is an old sage saying in cycling that goes something like this: "Ride long enough on the street and its not a matter of IF, but rather WHEN you get hit by a car." I have been hit, thankfully not as horrific an ending as some of the stories of late. I can tell you it feels alot like this. Cycling alone takes alot out of you. Not to mention being run down by two tons of steel, plastic, glass and usually tasteless clothing. The flash and shine of the peloton only looks good from your living room half the world away, Otherwise you end up looking alot like these chaps.


Monday, September 1, 2008

"I can only ask for your support, i cannot demand it."





On behalf of both the cycling community at large, and as an ambassador of the Street Kings cycling gang, I have filed just this morning in Federal court a bill to outlaw the very existence of all bike Fridays. By existence I have included verbiage that would address the construction, current ownership, and future sales of these abominations. If you are unfamiliar with bike Friday, you exist in the type of vacuum I am attempting to create for future generations. Some of you might be crying hypocrite due to my continued and most recent rants against people speaking out against any form of cycling. If you will indulge me a bit, I believe common sense will prevail and you too will agree the horrors of the Bike Friday are nothing if not immoral. A bike Friday is, I almost hesitate to call it, a bicycle. But it is a bicycle by technical definition that folds up to be transported or carried, much like way one might fold, store and transport a garbage bag had you reason to do so. The bike can then be neatly and quickly reassembled to be ridden and uncannily resembles a bike albeit a child’s bike with a top tube that looks like you are riding a two by four covered in paint and decals. Slick definitions and descriptions like that are the reason these creatures have been able to integrate themselves among us with little or no response from the unwitting general public. They sound harmless enough, however I have uncovered what I can only refer to as a conspiracy among these origami cyclists that links these bikes to an attempted hostile take over of the hipster scene. I was content like most of you to stand by and let seniors dabble in cycling worldwide with these ridiculous excuses for transportation. My thoughts were that any person that eats dinner at 3:30 PM and saves tinfoil in a ball under the kitchen sink isn’t a threat to the real bicycling community. The bike Friday people weren’t content just letting seniors waddle these monstrosities anymore. (If you are the least bit sensitive or prone to vomiting at the suggestion of the obscene, I suggest you do not read the next paragraph) Detailed here is a report of a person that not only purchased a bike Friday, essentially damning his own cycling soul, but then converted the bike to a fixed gear and rode it around Europe. It is him and his kind I hope to punish and banish from this type of travesty from continuing to succeed with my lawsuit.

I think we can all agree it was wrong of Dr. Frankenstein to have toyed with the creation of life itself when he created his monster. Once the monster was alive, it became apparent the creature would only be the source of pity and scorn and never be an accepted part of society. That story ends in tragedy as the monster kills a little girl and then is surrounded by the obligatory angry townsfolk scene complete with pitchforks and torches outside Frankenstein’s castle.


This lawsuit is my pitchfork. The summons to appear that is being ironically delivered to the owner of this bike, neatly folded and stored in its own special carrying case, is my torch. It is my answer to eradicating this monster and anymore like it to come. To the creator of this “bike” I offer this simple statement before meeting in pitched battle: “I cannot and will not sit idly by while you manipulate top tubes and hinges into twisted and maniacal creatures of your liking through the dark arts. With my last words I curse you, with my last breath I will spit at thee.” Ill see you in court.