Bike Hugger

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Updated: 3 hours 5 min ago

Huggacast Shorts: A Minute of Sea Otter

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 07:27


Our Sea Otter favs in a minute edit.

San Jose Bike Party and Blinking Man

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 03:33


Like Blinking Man and our Mobile Socials, the San Jose Bike Party is about food, music, fun and, of course, bicycles. Stanford Journalism reports from San Jose ride in the video above and Nite Walk is in Vegas.

Tonight, a mere half block from my memories, I am blinking along with around 300 others now, surrounded by all manner of bicycle art, streamers, blinkers, wrapped neon, flags and reflectors. Large disco light towers are dumped into an attached carriage and flash to the rhythms of the music. One bicycle is covered with a real ram’s skull and full skeleton, another looks like Strawberry Shortcake puked rainbows all over it. There are low rider bikes, high rider bikes, scooters, mopeds, tricycles, mountain bikes, racing bikes and more.

Jeremiah Finds Freedom with a Folding Bike

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 07:53

Jeremiah’s new bike

Another Southby moment, my friend Jeremiah Owyang and I saw each other while stopped at an intersection. We were riding in the cold-ass rain, David was doing a semi track stand and Jeremiah walking pasts says, “Hey Byron, what’s that you’re riding?”

A month or so later, he’s got a Tern and loves it. He just posted on Facebook.

Anyone into the Transformers? No, not the Michael Bay version, the bicycle version.

Thanks to my bud Byron Dl, bike evangelist, who I’ve known for over a decade, he connected me with Tern Bicycles to borrow on loan this 24 lbs (10 kilo) folding 9 speed bicycle that can be tucked under a desk, in a Caltrain luggage rack or in the back of the two door car or in an Uber. Other features include dual brakes, removable pedals, and Shimano gears.

It takes four steps to collapse it, which I’m sure I can do in seconds once I get used to it.

Discussing riding, and getting in shape, Jeremiah also said, “Something changed in me, maybe I had a baby, maybe I care more about things over me, maybe I want to get healthy. It’s about freedom really.”

It really is… whether that’s freedom from the desk, a car ride, or not feeling healthy.

The Foil Sails

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 05:26

The Foil slices wind like light through night

As I wrote in Issue 11 of our magazine, this bike made me late for dinner. TWICE.

On it, I take the long way home, caught up in those sought-after rouleur moments, when you catch a tailwind, and the Foil sails.

Read more about the Foil and see the gallery in our magazine and on G+.

Big Dog in a Sidecar

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 02:06

Then this rolls by

Often thought of a reality show in a bike shop, you know the drama that goes down in ‘em…the customers, mechanics, shop girls. Or, at the least, a webcam to capture shots like this live. Just a big dog in a sidecar rolling by

We’ve posted a bit about working in a shop here on the blog and our magazine. Enough stories for a book one day…

Calculating Bicycle Velocity

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 03:54


Found this bike brake light from a news article that popped in my newsreader and it’s quite interesting. LucidBrake inventor, John Craig, is improving his current tail light system that works on de-acceleration with a new TI inductive sensor and entered it in a TI design contest

The sampling rates available on the TI LDC1000 provide hundreds to thousands of readings for each spoke’s transition near the sensor, even for the fastest bicycles. The threshold output on the INT pin provides the perfect way to determine very accurate bicycle velocity - a simple microcontroller count between pulses does the trick. When velocity is decreasing at a significant rate, the brake light comes on.

Like LucidBrake, this inductive sensor could inspire other, new ideas from bike makers to calculate a bike’s velocity. From those measurements, a new simple power meter perhaps?

Waxed Canvas Hugga Tool Roll: Second and Last Batch

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 01:51

Mark wants a koozie version that’ll have to wait

Seamstresses sewed up the last of the waxed canvas we bought into tool tolls and we put another batch on Amazon for sale. The tool rolls are $40.00 while they last, handmade in Seattle, AND 100% more aero than the bag sagging off saddles now with velcro straps that tear up your shorts. Endorsing the Hugga roll, Mark V did have one complaint

no storage for lemons and salt shaker.

True! And maybe we’ll make a mixer roll for the holidays with pockets for ice. A party-time solution we’ll look at later. For now, we want to stop ruining shorts, make changing a flat faster, and easier to keep track of your tools

Ruined Shorts, Demanded a Solution

Beltro’s ruined shorts

So where’d the roll come from? Well, this one time on a ride, Velcro straps flapped my inner thigh like a bird trying to escape for 50 miles. Those ruined shorts, like Beltro’s above, demanded a solution. Also, a bag small enough to not threaten your thighs, is fiddly with tools dropping all over the place when opened. With the roll, tools and spares are organized neatly in pockets and unrolled on a saddle when needed.

Tools, spares, organized, ready to go

Multiple Bikes

If you’ve got multiple bikes, the roll goes with you, not with the bike; a major convenience when you need to get out the door and on the road.

Rolled up

In a jersey pocket

Get them while you can. We spent months developing the roll and starting shipping them two weeks ago. See the posts and more iterations on G+.

Make a World of Difference with World Bicycle Relief

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 03:16

After sharing a ride story from Sea Otter earlier this week, where I met and rode with World Bicycle Relief staffers, here’s a video of their latest campaign being announced today.


Also see another WBR-ride story about Jacob Seigel-Boettner and the documentary, With My Own Two Wheels. It’s about how bicycles and WBR change people’s lives abroad and in the States.


WBR’s goal is to raise $500,000 and they’ve raised $188,161 to date. That’s 1404 bikes so far….

Osprey Shuttle: Rolling Monolith

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 06:40

Osprey Shuttle 32

This bag arrived, so huge, it’s like a monolith to gear and travel being discovered. I placed it outside for filtered-light photos this morning. After the pug furiously barked at it, apparently concerned an alien intruder was in the yard, I thought the toddlers next door could pretend it was a spaceship from planet Osprey too!

Like a Monolith

You can stuff your courage AND all your gear in this hauler before your next big trip to race and ride. The Shuttle 32” / 110L is available from Amazon and a retailer near you for $299.95

All the gear you own in one bag

Terpstra’s Winning Roubaix Details

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:46

Terpstra winning on a Roubaix

The difference between Terpstra’s bike and the Roubaix SL4 I’ve been riding in the rain, since the Fall, is Force 22 instead of the Red 22 spec. When raced or ridden hard, the fenders are removed and the fast, Zipp Firecrests replace the 30s. Force is SRAM’s value group, with all the features of Red, at a more affordable price. When asked recently about it, I said, if I close my eyes and don’t look at the graphics it shifts just like Red.

My fendered Roubaix on a dreary day

Between the two, there’s about a $3K price difference. Terpstra’s race-winning Roubaix is around $9K and my parking-lot crit, rolling-a-fondo version is $6K.

Terpstra’s details:

  • Frame: Specialized S-Works Roubaix – 58cm*
  • Groupset: SRAM RED 22
  • Shifters: SRAM RED 22 DoubleTap with Reach adjust
  • Crankset: Specialized (175mm crank arm length) with SRAM RED 22 chainrings – 53×46*
  • Front derailleur: SRAM RED 22 Yaw with chain spotter
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM RED 22 – Short cage
  • Cassette: SRAM PG1170 11-26
  • Brakes: SRAM RED Aerolink
  • Chain: SRAM RED 22
  • Wheels: Zipp 303 Firecrest Tubular
  • Stem: Zipp Service Course SL - 120mm
  • Bar: Zipp Service Course SL-88 - 40cm (c-c)
  • Seat post: Zipp Service Course SL 27.2mm 0mm Setback

*I run a 110 stem, 52/36 rings, Contis tubulars or Hutch clinchers, and a Joule instead of the Garmin.

My Roubaix was also seen in our Tool Roll launch, including a gear story in Issue 11.

Terpstra Photo by Gruber uploaded to Flickr

Paris-Roubiax 2014: Precious Stone

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 01:02

Photo: ©Tim de Waele of Terpstra in the last few meters

Up early for the World Bicycle Relief, Bill Keith Memorial ride on Sunday, watched about 17 seconds of Paris-Roubaix on a cell phone. We were en route to the ride meet spot from Seaside to Monterey.

Then, as the ride gathered we heard that Niki Terpstra won. What a big win for both SRAM and Spesh. Also a fitting memorial moment for Bill, who we were honoring on the ride. Before he died suddenly last year, he was SRAM’s road group product manager. As I learned, Bill was critical to the success our SRAM’s growth in road, tri, and cross. Emotions were running high before the ride started.

That’s because both companies are driven by the ride, performance, and racing. As SRAM’s press release said,

The “Hell of the North” became Niki Terpstra’s “Heaven!”

Terpstra won the monument, the precious stone. After the ride and at the expo, the mood in the Spesh tent at Sea Otter was jubilant with beer coupons being handed out to fans. A Roubaix bike winning its namesake put the wind back in the marketing sails of Spesh, to say the least, after the turbulence of a trademark lawsuit.

Free beer after that win

And I spent the weekend riding a Roubaix SL4, just like the one I ride in Seattle, back and forth on 17 Mile Drive, including a long, steady pull by Gord Fraser that stretched the elastic almost to a snap…

On the climb to @SeaOtterClassic, @GordFraser rolls back to asks how I'm doing, that was nice I thought and said the elastic has stretched.

— byron@bikehugger (@bikehugger) April 13, 2014

Finally, to the race and tactics, Matt Hill observed

Funny reading people’s comments about “The Favorites” marking each other and canceling each other out at Paris-Roubaix today. Hey, folks? Did you happen to notice who finished second? That’s the reason nobody would work in that break, and why nobody was going to kill themselves to drag a group of any size onto the velodrome.

Watching the recap, I agreed with sore legs from all the riding at Sea Otter.

See more photos from the memorial ride on WBR’s Facebook and a video remembering Bill Keith.

Sea Otter 14: Big Bouncy House of Bikes

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 00:57

XTR Shiny

My ride/Paris-Roubaix recap this morning bounced around a bit; well, cause that’s what Sea Otter is like, a big bouncy house of bikes. As I said to Patrick and Jim as we walked the expo, “It’s like a constant stream of bike consciousness too.”

Oh look a hot bike then a world champion, and a race, and beer. Then there’s Ned, who when asked about the scene, wryly observed, “Fat Bike Action!” And hey, some kids are flying through the air on BMX tricks, while women raced road.

Conquest CX1

So how do you capture that? By bouncing around, like a kid in a bike bouncy house, and taking photos, lots of them. Of the 406 shots I took, the 21 best and products that interested us the most were just added to a G+ gallery.

Ergon Seatpost for gravel…

Like the XTR, CX1, and the Ergon seatpost shown in this post.

XTR M9000 Debut, Part 1

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 05:22

Irvine CA: Shimano today introduced new XTR M9000, its most advanced XTR mountain bike components and wheels to date. With this totally new XTR line available in both Race and Trail “Rider Tuned” product families, Shimano leverages its 22 years of engineering leadership producing the industry’s highest performing mountain bike component group. Inspired by the versatility and capability of today’s riders and the terrain they tackle, M9000 offers refined and tested solutions engineered for the way they ride.

Amid all the confetti and “moody” (ie poorly lit) product shots, Shimano launches the new XTR M9000 flagship mtb line. How important is this? This collection of components will define Shimano’s direction in offroad components for the new 3-6 years. Such is the nature of product development, some aspects of the new XTR were decided 3 or more years ago, but doubtlessly a portion of it was a reaction to the most recent trends in the industry. Which is to say, SRAM’s innovative 1x11 concept that they crystalized into their own XX1 debut.

Let’s put all the marketing conceptualization and soft focus glamour shots aside, and get down to how all this is going to affect the industry. Most importantly, Shimano retains faith in the front derailleur. That is to say, Shimano is not committing to 1x11, instead they offer 1x,2x, AND 3x 11sp drivetrains. This is not terribly surprising, since Shimano is truly the undisputed master of front shifting in the realms of both road and mtb components. By offering consumers and OEM the choice of top quality chainring configurations, Shimano is making sure that no money is left on the table due to lack of versatility in product options. In fact, by designing their new 11sp mtb cassette to fit all existing 8/9/10sp mtb hubs, M9000 removes the obstacle of replacing wheels for aftermarket consumers who are looking to upgrade their existing bikes, unlike SRAM’s XX1/X01 which require a special cassette body to fit their 10-42T cogset (in fact, it’s interesting to note that the M9000 11-40T cassette will fit existing hubs whereas the 11sp road cassettes require a wider cassette body). Yet while M9000 will undoubtedly be a paragon of engineering and manufacturing excellence, ultimately it will not have the same impact on frame design that XX1 has had. In the 2014 model year, a number of bikes have already appeared that are optimized for 1x11 drivetrains, or perhaps outright incompatible with 2x or 3x cranks.

Still, maybe this won’t matter since Shimano always makes the best front derailleurs. The new FD-M9000 is a “Side-Swing” design, meaning that the derailleur swings out and forward as it moves the chain to the outer rings, with no vertical vector to cage path at all. Apparently, the new FD-M9000 improves front shifting by “100%”….not 98.5% but a totally not arbitrary 100%. Interestingly, the front shifter cable/housing seems to feed in from the front of the derailleur on at least some of the front derailleur configurations, though I am as yet unsure of all the configurations. For those readers who are neither mechanics nor OEM product managers for bike brands, you should know that there is an utterly ridiculous number of SKUs for mtb front derailleurs due to all the chainring configurations and four different mounts. We’re talking dozens. It is quite possible that OEM will gravitate towards 1x11 just because how it simplifies the front derailleur intricacies.

The M9000 crank will come in narrow Q-factor (158mm) race configuration with a bonded, hollow non-drive crankarm as well as a stouter 168mm Q trail version. As the industry master of cold-forged alloy construction, Shimano once again eschews the use of carbon in the crankarms, but the chainrings incorporate aluminium, carbon, and titanium. The crankarms can accept any version of the highly proprietary M9000 chainrings, available in the following combinations: Single (30T, 32T, 34T, 36T), double (34-24T, 36-26T, 38-28T), triple (40-30-22T). You’ll notice that no chainring is bigger than 40T and there is only one triple chainring combination. Considering that the new M9000 cassette has an 11T cog rather than SRAM XX1’s 10T, the maximum drivetrain ratios are much smaller than they were 10 years ago. Reading between the lines, Shimano basically thinks that (for the high-end of the market at least) the future of 26”-wheels is dead for anything but DH and Freeride, that is to say long travel suspension designs that cannot accommodate 27.5/650B or 29er wheel sizes.

Tomorrow, I’ll discuss the XTR M9000 drivetrain a little more, as well as touch upon the other components.

Issue 11: April Fools

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 09:32

Issue 11: April Fools

The theme for Issue 11 is about the most foolish ride you’ve done, like way in over your head. When you thought you could compete or ride that long with the boys or girls and learned you couldn’t. It’s my quixotic quest to still race at an elite level, as a fat master, or a ride you show up for totally unprepared, thinking whatevs! Like maybe drinking Scotch the night before a race and then deciding to get in the break for 1.5 hours…for who knows why.

It’s the worst/greatest bonk. How you rode like a fool and learned that sometimes the biggest jokes are the ones we play on ourselves.

Also, as we learned from Zannestar, it’s National Poetry Month and we know of a few poet cyclists, like David Byrne, Nick Verstain, et al.

This issue is also our first to get published at the same time with a webview for all devices. Ever since we launched Bike Hugger Magazine for iPhone/iPad, we’ve been hearing from people who wanted to get it on their other devices. Now you can!

A rouleur respects the gravel, teaches a child the same.

On the web view, you can read Respect the Gravel, by Zanne Blair, our Issue 11 cover story. It’s a poem about what the gravel can teach you and it’s free to sample our magazine.

Waxed Canvas Hugga Toll Roll Shipped

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 07:24

Tool Rolls have shipped and with no package or paper-folding talent, each one is different!

After launching our new Waxed Canvas Tool Roll last Friday, the first batch shipped this week. There are just a few left and if the high demand continues, we’ll make some more, could even lead to an actual production product. Talking about the roll with Matt Davis, he noted

Every saddlebag I’ve ever seen or used has been fiddly as all hell with tools dropping all over the place. That is if you want nicely sized tools. Minitools, maybe that’s a single unit (MAYBE). But any sort of organization and you’ll demand a tool roll.

Exactly. While I demanded a tool roll after ruining a pair of my fav shorts on a century ride (the strap came loose and flapped my inner thigh like a bird trying to escape for like 50 miles and I didn’t know it), the pain point we’re solving is what Matt described. Tools dropping all over the place after dumping a saddle bag to get to what you want. With the roll, tools and spares are organized neatly in pockets and unrolled on a saddle when needed.

Unrolled on a fendered Roubaix SL4 with Force 22 to fix a flat

Grabbed the Co2 and tube

While on the road, the roll is in my jersey or jacket pocket. When I’m riding to a meeting in plain clothes, I toss it in my bag, grab it and go.

Tool Roll in the pocket of a rain jacket I’ve worn way too much this season

Tool Roll zipped up in the pocket

The Waxed Canvas Hugga Toll Roll is available in limited quantities, as a one-time exclusive, and cost $40.00. They’re handmade in Seattle. We made them first for us and liked them so much, we made a few more for you.

Get them while you can and see more iterations on G+.

Waxed Canvas Hugga Tool Roll

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 07:07

12” x 6” c ~ .05”

Our Waxed Canvas Hugga Tool Roll is available now in limited quantities. We had these made for ourselves and then decided to make a few more for you too, as a one-time exclusive. It took us months of prototyping, trial and error, until we liked this version the best.

They are designed and made in Seattle. The color is Reddish Orange like a Safety Cone and you can buy them now on Amazon for $40.00, while they last.

Durable material and closure

The biggest selling point is the roll goes with you, not with the bike; a convenience for cyclists with multiple bikes. Also, large saddle bags rub our shorts the wrong way, leaving holes. While the compact bags are too tight to get out, what you need with removing it from the rails of your saddle.

Sized to fit in a jersey pocket

You may have seen us post the various prototypes last Summer, about 6 of them, and this is the version I’ve been riding with since the winter. Three things drove the project: not being able to keep track of saddle bags across a small fleet of bikes, having to spill the contents of a bag out on the ground to get a co2 out of it, and ruining shorts rubbing against saddle bags.

More photos are on G+.

Iterating the Waxed Canvas Hugga Toll Roll

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 07:06

Sized just right

A tool roll doesn’t strap to your bike. It goes in your jersey pocket with you and carries just what you need. I’ve been riding with the shipping version of ours since the Fall. Three things drove the project: not being able to keep track of saddle bags across a small fleet of bikes, having to spill the contents of a saddle bag out onto the ground to get a co2/inflator out of it, and ruining shorts rubbing against large saddle bags. We iterated several versions for about 6 months. Before that we studied what was on the market, including the bags Thompson seatposts ship in; and rolls made for mechanics, motorcyclists, and cooks.

Opened and set on a saddle, the pockets were right, but this version was too thick

The first iteration was made from salvaged Filson’s duck cloth and had all the features, a retro feel, but was much too thick. Another iteration was made with Cordura and again too thick. A few had stylish rivets that pulled on the, just-right, thin - and-durable waxed canvas. After announcing the roll was ready to ship, Jeff Beltramini bought one and tweeted

@bikehugger Just picked this up Hugga! My ziploc is worn out & I've ruined 3 pairs of spendy bibs!

— Beltro (@JeffBeltramini) April 5, 2014

and that sums it up well: stop ruining spendy bib shorts, rubbing against saddle bags.

The Waxed Canvas Hugga Toll Roll is available in limited quantities, as a one-time exclusive, and cost $40.00. They’re handmade in Seattle. We made them first for us and liked them so much, we made a few more for you.

Get them while you can and see more iterations on G+.

Chris King debuts XD-cassette compatible hubs and bodies

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 03:58

Chris King has long been the most coveted ‘Merican hub builder, particularly for mountain bikes. Their RingDrive cassette body is fairly unique in design as well as being in no small small measure sonically irritating. Frankly, I hated King hubs on road bikes, where long coasting descents on King hubs are like being serenaded by squalling infant cyborgs genetically crossed with deep sea fishing reels. But on mtb, the RingDrive’s instant hook up is deeply satisfying while offroad riding’s rhythm is too busy to give the hubs a chance to be audibly annoying. Too bad King was slow to get on the band wagon for SRAM’s breakout 1x11 drivetrain. Their innovative 10-42T 11sp cassette requires a special, “XD” cassette body, and the RingDrive design apparently wasn’t easily adapted to XD configuration.

Well, King fixed that. Their popular “ISO” disc hubs will be available with the option of an XD-compatible RingDrive drive shell (ie cassette body). And if you’ve already invested in some premium King hubs, you’ll be extra excited to find out that King will be offering the XD drive shell as an aftermarket kit to retro fit your existing ISO rear hub. The kit includes all the necessary bearings to fit. It’s a little confusing, but make sure you order the full “conversion kit” if you are retrofitting, since apparently there are 2-3 different XD drive shell SKU’s that are available for servicing the hubs. You will need the King RingDrive tool to do the conversion, so probably count on having an experienced LBS do the work unless you already own the rather expensive King tool.

If you’re used to the bike industry’s press releases, then you’d probably assume that any product availability date is going to be “soft”, but as the bike shop’s hard goods buyer for over ten years, I have faith in whatever date Chris King gives. So I was quite surprised that King said May 1 for availability. You can pre-order ISO XD hubs or XD RingDrive conversion kits right now through your local bike shop. In fact, I just ordered a conversion kit for my own hub. If you are buying a new hub, the XD-compatible hubs are available in all the ISO’s current axle options: 135-QR, 10x135 thru, 12x135 thru, 12x142 thru, 12x150 thru, 12x157 thru. A complete ISO XD rear hub (12x142 thru-axle) weighs 331gr, and hubs are offered in all nine anodized colours.

You gotta give King credit for looking to give existing hub owners the option of upgrading their hubs. It’s indicative of their company philosophy in making hubs and headsets that represent an enduring investment in quality. On one hand, that approach does make King a bit slow to respond to industry trends, but you know when they do roll out new product that it will be great.

Rode to the Glass Explorer Run

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 04:42

Wearable on a Foldable

Rode over to Greenlake and spent Saturday morning with Google Glass. Tried on new hardware from the Titanium Collection, chatted with Explorers who ran with Glass and Strava, and took some photos. Also visited their event in SoDo Park, where Glass was being demo’d.

Tonight there’s a Happy Hour and then later this week Developer Office Hours.

Explorers running with Strava Run

Follow Google Glass to learn if they’re coming to a city near you and see their early prototypes in this album from the event on G+. For my take on Google’s wearable, read the Wired feature I wrote last year.

Protos

Amazballed in a Book!

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 06:36

On the shelf

A new book on the shelf at Hugga HQ is Transformations: Stories of Success from Authors, Innovators, and Small Businesses Thriving on Amazon and I’m in it! Best part about that is I didn’t have to write it, like the blogging one I did. It’s the Clip-n-Seal story summarized after several interviews with me and included with other business that have grown and succeeded with Fulfillment by Amazon. This past Holiday season, Amazon featured Clip-n-Seals on their homepage for about 5 weeks. That experience my friend Kevin Tamura called being Amazballed, like getting Fireballed by Gruber, or Slashdotted. The phenomena ebbs with this book and what’s important is if you’ve got a product, you can sell it too with FBA, like State Bicycles and other merchants.

Inside the book

The parent company of Bike Hugger, Textura Design, designed Clip-n-Seals in Seattle and manufactures them in Yakima, Wa. Transformations: Stories of Success from Authors, Innovators, and Small Businesses Thriving on Amazon is a free download for Kindle. If you want to try what we think is the best sealing device ever made and a best seller, Clip-n-Seals ship with Prime from warehouses all over the US and Canada to you.

Wanted to keep coffee and chips fresh

The idea for them started over a decade ago, when I wanted to keep my coffee fresh on road trips to bike races and tours. Never expected they’d end up in space or on the homepage of Amazon.