Bike Hugger

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Updated: 4 hours 50 min ago

Late Night Top Ten

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 01:51

Where’d the time go? Huh? From Late Night’s Top Ten January 15, 2013, the other Lance Armstrong Revelations

  1. Artificially enhanced his cycling shorts

  2. Still never leaves the house without several vials of clean urine

  3. Owns Texas real estate known as “Rancho Decepto”

  4. Took steroids to work up the strength to admit taking steroids

  5. Once had an inappropriate relationship with an air hose

  6. Also has tattoo of Rex Ryan’s wife

  7. Has given up on making the baseball Hall of Fame

  8. United States Postal Service paid him in stamps

  9. Started erotic website, “Tour-De-Pants”

  10. Admitted to doping just to get on “Oprah”

For the Collector

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 08:50

A fascinating collection of bikes were auctioned by Dorotheum yesterday, like this Masi Prestige that went for EUR 1,625.

Or an UMBERTO DEI that sold for EUR 1,750

The auction was so monumental, Dorotheum made an edit for the occasion.

2 Years of Covers

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 08:41

Our first cover

And 24th

2 years of covers in 15 seconds – 7 if you’ve got even less time. Get it on iTunes and the Web


Connex by Wipperman throws in for 11speed

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 01:27

Wipperman finally joins the 11-speed game with their Connex 11sO (nickel-plated) and 11sX (nickel plated w/ stainless steel inner links) chains. There was a time during the early 10sp era when I pretty much used only Wipperman chains. You see, I had Dura Ace drivetrains, and since Shimano chains didn’t have a masterlink, I chose the drivetrain brand-neutral Wipperman chain so I could easily pull the chains off to fully degrease before re-lubing. I had also come across some independent testing that suggested that Wipperman 10sp scored best among 10sp chain wear resistance. That said, I have a tendency to sprint hard at stop lights, either charging for a yellow light or punching it off the line when the red goes green, and I’ve ripped apart an awful lot of Wipperman chains (I kill other brand 10sp chains too).

When I switched allegiance to SRAM drivetrains after Dura-Ace 7900, I just used SRAM chains, but I missed the easy disengagement of the Connex masterlinks (most other 10 or 11sp masterlinks are too tough to disengage with your fingers alone). I was surprised that Wipperman has taken so long to roll out an 11sp chain; I guess they finally decided to make their move before the market sailed away from them.

Still, I’m not whipping out the plastic for a Connex 11sp chain just yet. I’ve more or less drawn a line in the sand at 10sp. Going to eleven cogs on the back of a road bike is faux progress. If you still prefer Shimano, well I would say that the 11sp groups from Shimano offer much better shifting because the shifters have a much smoother and refined action than the rather disappointing 2nd-gen 10sp groups (7900, 6700, 5700-series)…..but the fact they have another cog on the back just means that the chains and cassettes will wear out just that much faster. For SRAM, the last generation of 10sp Red has the same basic form and function as the 11sp-gen; I’m so pleased as is I have no desire to spend to update my bikes to 11-sp, not to mention my wheels which don’t accept 11sp cassettes.

The one area of drivetrain development in which I grudgingly approve of 11sp is 1x11 mountainbike drivetrains (oh, I guess 1x11 gravel grinders too). If your cog range is 10-42 or 11-40, 10sp would leave awfully big ratio jumps somewhere in cassette, but ditching a front derailleur and lefthand shifter is worth the less durable chain and slightly more finicky cable adjustment of 11sp in my book. To put a finer point on it, I race CX with a 1x10 drivetrain because there is no CX course in my neck of the woods that requires something lower than a 38x28 ratio. I don’t feel that an eleventh cog offers anything to gain in a 11-28 or 12-27 cassette range, so I am satisfied with ten cogs in total on the back. If you needed to run 11-32 on your CX bike, I could see a marginal benefit for 11sp, but It won’t put you at the top of your local series if you weren’t already on the heals of the leader. And if you are looking for something to keep you from getting lapped by the leaders at every race, an eleventh cog should be pretty low on your self-improvement agenda.

One last issue about Wiperman chains is that I haven’t been able to use a Connex chain on my wide-narrow chainrings in my 1x10 CX drivetrains, because the wide teeth won’t let the Connix chain fully enage. I wonder if Wipperman has taken steps to make their 11sp chains more compatible with 1x chainrings.

Sannino

Sun, 05/17/2015 - 02:13

Mark V found a vintage bike on Craigslist and built it up. A gallery of the progress so far is included in issue 24.

Changes: We see it in gear, attitudes, priorities, technology and even jobs. We look down the road at what’s coming.

Is the theme of the issue and for Mark, its’ toggling between high-end, custom road bikes to a vintage focus, and finding gear for it, like a odd Sugino Mighty Tour Double crankset with 51/37T chainrings.

Since June 2013

Sat, 05/16/2015 - 02:45

Working on the issue

24 issues since our mag launched and next month we’ll celebrate the first two years of ad-free, independent publishing. Made possible with your subscriptions and contributions from Mark V, Patrick Brady, Zanne Blair, Matt Haughey, Shawn O’Keefe, Matt Hill, Nathan Wright et al. With covers by Chris Mahan and Michael Pfaltzgraff.

24 is about Change

We see it in gear, attitudes, priorities, technology and even jobs. We look down the road at what’s coming.


Issue 24 Change

Fri, 05/15/2015 - 03:05

Changes: We see it in gear, attitudes, priorities, technology and even jobs. We look down the road at what’s coming. Dropping today, issue 24 is available on iTunes and the Web for an annual subscription of $16 or $4 for an individual issue. Ad-free, our magazine is supported by subscriptions.

Articles include

  • The New Facebook World Order by Byron
  • A Sage Ride by Nathan Wright
  • A Weekender by Byron
  • Dear Belle, Plateau Beau by Zanne Blair
  • Sannino by Mark V
  • Hirose, Handmade Derailleur by Byron
  • What Steve Said by Byron
  • Change of Plans by Byron
  • PinkGate by Patrick Brady.

And the cover by Micheal Pfaltzgraff indicates how sometimes change is simple.

The 24th issue also marks 2 years of publishing our magazine and we’ll celebrate that next month.

Rolling Coal Banned

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 08:07

Having been coal rolled before and pretty much every cyclist riding in rural areas I know has been too, this is great news from TruckYeah. New Jersey just explicitly banned rolling coal. If this hasn’t happened to you on a ride, that’s when diesel owners modify engines/exhaust systems to spew soot and smoke onto cyclists, motorcycles, Prius owners, women, cops or anyone that doesn’t drive a big-ass truck like they do.

Around here we call it getting dusted.

Maybe they do it to other trucks too, like a diesel-powered, smokestack love in? Don’t know, but it’s already banned by the EPA. Not one for more laws on the books, but yes this practice should be explicitly banned everywhere. This being ‘merica of course, truck owners defend the rights and free speech of a few of them to roll coal.

Here’s what it looks like

PRO Tip: if a big truck rolls up next to you, stop pedaling, and cause a premature or coal roll misfire…. Groups I’ve been with have done that too. Nothing pissed a coal roller off more than seeing that soot just float away.

XYZ Cargo Trike in Berlin

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 03:49

A friend of mine texted me this pic from Berlin. It’s an XYZ Cargo Trike. XYZ is a company based in Copenhagen that emphasizes local and fair production “in a socially just and environmentally sustainable way”. The design’s seemingly rough execution belies its industrial design sophistication. The structure is bolted together in a space-frame construction from square-section aluminium tubing, requiring neither expensive raw materials nor environmentally messing processing/finishing. The trikes are available with several accessory kit option such as a canopy or cargo bed or electric-assist, and the company encourages DIY projects. You can buy these cargo trikes and also a long john style cargo bike in Copenhagen and Hamburg, but I guess maybe the company’s emphasis on local sourcing/manufacturing probably precludes them from shipping to the states…even though the modular construction should probably make it otherwise very practical….like buying a Ikea shelving system. XYZ also makes one and two-seater recumbents, the designs for which are available open source as a download from their site. The designs for cargo trike and bike designs are not available as a download, though the company has no problem with individuals copying the design for non-commercial uses.

By my eye, the owner of this XYZ Cargo Trike doesn’t have electric-assist but has added an FSA Metropolis 2sp crank to go with the Shimano internally-geared hub. I have to assume that the rear wheel is shod with one of those ridiculously stout Schwalbe Marathon something-something tyres (toooooo many Marathon variations to remember) that can basically roll over landmines without puncturing….because I can see that removing that rear wheel to change a flat would be a total bitch.

Giro Spectator Crash

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 01:17

Unconfirmed what type bike it was or the proper label for the person who decided to join the Giro yesterday, but here’s video and it starts around :10 from the planters. Read it was a dickhead, hipster fixie, cruiser, maybe it was a vacationer? But like a crash-causing, cat 5 vapor, he/she is gone.

As Mark V noted on Facebook

Last time a fixed gear bike was in the Giro was a decade ago when Aussie Stuart O’Grady tried to win the 1.15km prologue with basically a kilometer time trial track bike with brakes (he didn’t win, but he didn’t cause a pileup either).


We’re reminded of that one time at the Redmond Derby, a kid just wanted to race and everyone thought he jumped into it.

Hirose, Handmade Derailleur

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 01:39

As I parse more marketing language from one of the big 3 bicycle component manufacturers into a Bike Hugger blog post, my mind drifts to a handmade derailleur by C.S. Hirose.

The imaginary vignette continues to a pilgrimage ride, where a bike is handmade too, and it’s ridden along the coast, after asking Mr. Hirose about his favorite route(s).

In a jersey pocket, I carry a Hozan tool, to disassemble the bike, and pack it up for the eventual trip back home.

The feeling of changing gears, changing attitudes, priorities, riding styles, and the technology is the theme for issue 24, dropping next month. Also, the romance of pedaling away from all the troubling news of the world and into another one like C.S Hirose’s bike shop. The current issue, number 23, is about momentum.

Available on iTunes and the Web, magazine annual subscriptions are $16; individual issues are $4.

Gear: Bontrager Flare R

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 09:26

Rode with a Bontrager Flare R, a daytime visibility taillight, on a sunny day in Seattle yesterday and yep, it’s that bright. When Trek announced the Flare, I posted on it

With gray skies, changing weather, and traffic I’m usually blinking most days, and early evenings, until the sun sticks around for more than a few hours during the Summer.

And wow we’ve got a 65 lumens option, I’m running that too. Here’s a Vine from the ride, showing on bright it is.


Gear: Look Keo 2 Max Blade

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 01:01

Look Keo 2 Max

After persistent knee pain, I finally figured out with the help of BG Fit that I needed a wide as possible stance on the bike and got there with the Look Keo 2 Max, switching from Time that I ridden for two decades. Look sent me their Blade to try, which is even wider, lighter, and offers better engagement with a carbon blade. Instead of engaging a cleat with a wound wire, it’s a leaf spring (blade). Step into the pedal, and the clip-in (and out) sensation is immediate and deliberate. Thanks to a chromoly spindle (and still at 120g a pedal), the version I have is at a more approachable price point.

Oh and my knee pain went away – like why wasn’t I running wider pedals 5 years ago? Learn more about the blade on Look’s site and buy from your local shop or on Amazon for about $199.99.

If you need to go even wider, the spindle’s 14 mm thread length enables the Q-Factor to be adjusted by another 2 mm using a special spacer available as a spare part. This increases it from 53 to 55 mm.

Gadgets: Buckshot Pro

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 16:09

Speaker, charger, flashlight that attaches to your bike.

When this Buckshot Pro showed up for a demo, I thought, “now that looks like a bike party….” It’s a portable rugged speaker that has a passive bass port for bigger sound, a 2600mAh powerbank for charging devices, AND a flashlight. So you can ride with the speaker end towards you, charge your phone, and shine some light on the trail (or keg).

Play some music, charge your phone, light the path.

This is the second product we’ve had in from Outdoor Tech and like them both. The Turtle Shell Boombox I spotted a few years ago at Interbike, ended up in the garage, on the workbench and has remarkable sound, considering the form factor. If you don’t want the two extra features from the Buckshot Pro for $79.95 – flashlight/usb charger – the regular Buckshot ships from Amazon with Prime for $49.95.

Attached to your bars.

A Surrey on the Swing Bridge

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 06:07

Here we all are stuck and the surrey is in the front

Not everyday you see a pedal surrey stuck on the swing bridge in West Seattle. They’d pedaled miles from Alki and were stuck with us when the bridge had a mechanical. Not knowing when a crew would fix it, as the discussion went on Twitter, we rode around to another draw bridge, and eventually saw the surrey family (the Hidlebrands) on the trail.

They told us, “Yeah the kids were getting hungry and the rental period was running out…so we heave ho’d it OVER the gates.”

Free from the stuck swing bridge, here they are on the bike trail eating ice cream

Amazing and a reminder, when it seems like a tough climb or long road ahead, the Hildebrands pedaled a surrey further than any family before them AND lifted it over draw bridge gates.

When asked, the youngest said, “It was a lot of work, but totally worth the ice cream.” And must’ve been fun descending down the other side of the bridge….

Make Sparks with Your Bike

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 06:07

What I like about this Wimshurst machine for a bike is how it’d clear the bike path of dogs on leashes, moms with carriages 3 wide, and rollerbladers. Also, impress your friends at the next picnic, zapping bugs!

Wimshurst machine added to a bicycle for making sparks! A Wimshurst machine is an electrostatic machine, which by turning some disks, produces high voltage and sparks. By designing and 3D printing a bike chain sprocket, I caused pedaling the bike to also turn the sprocket and then the disks.


Or hey…as the works starts on Issue 24 of our magazine (yep, 2 years of publishing), this post flowed real easy.

The Unicyclist

Sun, 05/03/2015 - 01:41

If you’ve been following along on Twitter, last month saw an aerobarred, 36-inch unicycle with panniers in the neighborhood. Didn’t get a photo, but tweeted the sighting and the one-wheeled oddity became like bigfoot. Then the character rode by Hugga HQ and I scrambled to get shots with my phone, pointing it out the window, up and then down the street…grainy and in low-rez, followers were replying back, “we need to see the bones,” like Big Foot.

'Member that tweet a while back about the aerobarred, unicycle with panniers? Photos! pic.twitter.com/Xbn02c4k36

— byron@bikehugger (@bikehugger) April 30, 2015

Then on Friday, finally a closer shot.

The reveal! Finally a better photo

As I learned, these unicycles are built for adventure and I guess he’s training, cause the terrain here is hilly and that wheel is fixed. Where he’s going to ride that, I don’t know…but packed up I’m guessing it’s across Africa or something.

Trek QR Recall: An Audible Click

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 09:02

Lever in disc rotor causes crash

Since Trek announced their massive quick-release recall, it’s been discussed in back channels and online. As the news broke, Trek told me in email that they pushed hard for the recall

We pushed CPSC on the recall. It was our discovery that we took to them to see if they were aware. They were not and we started working on the voluntary recall at that time. Our stance is that safety is a huge priority for Trek. We investigate every accident reported to us and in our investigation into an accident last year we made this discovery. Went to CPSC and are now taking this action. It’s a big number and it’s not easy to undertake but it’s the right thing to do and the decision to work with the CPSC was easy to make when we realized what the potential of the issue was.

Today, our magazine contributor Patrick Brady wrote on RKP about quick releases and cited a conversation I had with an industry insider about a clickable quick release

Someone needs to invent a skewer that will emit an audible click once the lever is tightened sufficiently. Until it’s properly tightened, no click. It’s a simple message: When you hear the click you’ll know you’re safe.

Sound silly? It isn’t. It’s smart and here’s why…the main problem is a cyclist belief system that the special riding club knows how to make a critical part of a bicycle work and others don’t. The end result is injuries, some serious. When wheels fell out of my bikes last year, it was laughed off, blown off, and seriously said to me, “that’s how it is.” I believe that’s because “racing” drives the marketing so much in the bike industry. So perhaps someone that isn’t hard, suffers, and races sure as shit doesn’t know how to put a skewer on, right?

Idiot skewer user!

Wrong. This is a design problem and it’s designer’s job to protect users and consumers from themselves. Whatever design solves this problem, has to do more than retain the wheel in the fork with either tabs or hooks, as is required by law now.

A clickable quick release sure sounds good to me and honestly, I know very smart people in tech who like to ride a bike once in a while and don’t know how a QR works, like at all. That’s just not something they should have to think too much about; despite the historical context of Tulio’s genius that cold day in the Dolomites.

Matt’s Apple Watch

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 04:47

Magazine contributor Mathowie AND his Apple Watch arrived at Hugga HQ today for a lunch ride. We’re discussing like when Google Glass was all shiny and new. See Matt’s initial reactions from a post in the Medium Bicycles Collection.

Here he is wearing it in the shop…

And what happened at the movies

Wearing this watch in a movie theater is not a great idea. Any time you shift in your seat, your watch awakens. When you get a notification — if you look at it — you’ll learn some are small fonts on black backgrounds and not that bad while others have notifications with big white icons and light gray backgrounds that light up a room.

My rocky first 24hrs with the Apple Wᴀᴛᴄʜ

How will the watch perform with Strava? We’re gonna find out….until then, read Matt’s fatbike story about Riding the Pacific Northwest Coast in January in Issue 21.

DZR Mechanics: Urban Cycling Shoes

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 05:11

DZR’s new Mechanics just arrived at Hugga HQ and I’m planning a date night, just to wear them. With the right socks, they’ll match the Shinola!. The Mechanics are really nice, noticeably well-crafted, and remind me how just a few years ago, urban cyclists were asking for kicks likes these. The Mechanic is an unassuming California deck shoe with authentic classic status. It features natural rubber and a full-length nylon mid-sole/shank designed with strategically mapped stiffness for a combination of power transfer while pedaling and flexibility for walking. Available now for 99.00 from DZR shoes.

I unboxed them this morning on Vine