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Sony’s Black Friday Specials

Thu, 11/15/2018 - 19:53

Cross posting this news about Sony’s Black Friday Specials from my photography site because of how often I get asked about which camera to buy. Sony started Black Friday early with a $999 deal on an a7 II kit. That sale ended and today they announced their Black Friday specials that start on 11/18/18.

Because Sony continues to manufacture prior revs of their camera bodies, the discounts and deals can be substantial. The a7 II is back on sale on Black Friday and that’s the deal I’d recommend.

It’s a whopping 38% off. If you’re considering the a7 II, here’s what the difference between it and the a7 III is.

If all-in-one compacts are your thing and easy to stuff in a jersey pocket, then the Sony RX100 VA at $100 off with a 50% grip is a good deal too. The VA has upgraded sensors and buffer. It’s built with the shorter 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens instead of the monster zoom of the RX100 VI.

A complete list of Sony’s Black Friday Specials follows.

Alpha Cameras Sony a7 II

The Sony a7 II kit(including 28-70mm lens) is $999.99—that’s the lowest priced full frame mirrorless kit. Really, the most bang for the buck. It’s on sale on 11/18/18 until 12/29/18.

Note the sale price will not show now, but will on the 18th.

Sony a7R III

The Sony a7R III bodyis on sale for $2799. (regular price is $3198). The sale dates: 11/18/18 -12/29/18 (6 weeks). The R is for resolution and maximum sensor performance is what this camera is about. For all out speed, that’s the a9which isn’t on sale.

The a9 body is what I’m shooting with the most.

If a Hollywood moviewas shot with an a7, just imagine what you could do with an updated body like the a7iii. On Amazon for $1998. Sony a7 III

The a7 III, the number one selling full frame mirrorless camera, is in stock now at all the major retailers, while supplies last, at its MSRP of $1999. That’s not on sale, but dollar for dollar the other camera brands can’t match it this holiday season.

The news is that it’s back in stock.

Compact Cameras Sony RX100 VA

The Sony RX100 VA is on sale for $100 and 50% off the grip (VCTSGR1) with purchase from 11/18/18 to 12/29/18.

4K Cinema

While not that into motion preferring stills, the deals on Sony 4k Cinema I couldn’t ignore.

The Sony FDR-AX33is  $150 and FDR-AX53 is  $200 off. Both feature BOSS and Fast AF.

The FDR-AX33 is on sale for 6 weeks and the FDR-AX53 is on sale for 5 weeks.

Sony Sale Recommendations

If you don’t need more advance tech, like what’s in the a7 III, but the a7 II kit for $998. You can save hundreds of dollars and put it toward another lens. I suggest the G Master 24I shot with in San Francisco.


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When Bikes Ruled Seattle

Sun, 11/11/2018 - 08:59

Seattle’s cycling past during boom times is fascinatingly similar to the current one. As I learned from When Bikes Ruled Seattle video, at the turn of the century bikes clogged the paths but not for long.

Miles of new bike paths, roving gangs of cyclists, bicycle polo at the University of Washington — there was a time when cyclists ruled the road in Seattle.

Knute Berger takes us back to Puget Sound at the turn of the century to answer a question: Is the battle between cyclists and drivers even older than the car? Who’s responsible for Seattle’s early road network? And what’s the deal with spandex bike wear?

The eyewear Knute wears in the video, find them in the inventions section of the book Roads Were Not Built for Cars. Also, how early wheelmen clubs built paths that cars eventually took over.

That includes popular routes along Lake Washington.

Here’s an excerpt from the book.


Roads belong to all and need to be shared by all. However, there’s a long history of some road users believing they have priority over others.

Social scientists theorise that humans believe in three kinds of territorial space. One is personal territory, like home. The second involves space that is only temporarily available, such as a gym locker. The third kind is public territory, such as roads.

“Territoriality is hard-wired into our ancestors,” believes Paul Bell, co-author of a study on road rage. “Animals are territorial because it had survival value. If you could keep others away from your hunting groups, you had more game to spear, it becomes part of the biology.”

When they are on the road, some motorists forget they are in public territory because the cues surrounding them – personal music, fluffy dice, protective shells – suggest they are in private space.

“If you are in a vehicle that you identify as primary territory, you would defend that against other people whom you perceive as being disrespectful of your space,” added Bell. “What you ignore is that you are on a public roadway – and you don’t own the road.”

A standard quip from bicycle advocates, aimed at a certain type of mine-all-mine motorist, is “You own a car, not the road.”

More About When Bikes Ruled Seattle

Knute’s written more than just When Bikes Ruled Seattle. Also see these stories

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Scott Addict RC Disc

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 18:53

It seems road has settled on a disc design aesthetic and that’s best expressed by the new Scott Addict RC Disc. It also doesn’t look like it’s made to race road or for a pro.

That job is left to the Foil.

Not much room for more than a 28, so get a 290 or 320 TIP tire and ride a bike all day.

Going at a good clip too.

Photo: Jochen Harr

Scott doesn’t say what this costs, maybe because they’re not planning on shipping it to the US yet. Possibly because riders on this side of the pond are spending more time on gravel and want a bike that’ll run at least 32s.

Scott Sports 2019 bikes

Scott does make a “gravel” bike but it’s more like a cross bike and too stiff.

Light on specs, I’m just sharing what that sent out in the PR.  I’ve inquired and I do hope they market the Addict R here. There’s still room for a high-end, fast light road bike in the US market.

The engineers just have to tune the ride from racing to performance and make it look this good.

It’s been a while since I’ve ridden an Addict. Matt Hill reviewed the CX 10 for our magazine in 2017.


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Bike Lane Street Sweeper

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 16:03

Designed and manufactured by Bill Stites, this pedal-powered Bike Lane Street Sweeper was spotted in Portland.

If you’ve read about the UPS cargo trike, that was designed by Bill too. Here’s a very early version of it I saw in 2010.

As Bike Portland tells the story, like many of you, Bill was tired of having to ride through the slippery leaves that often block or narrow many Portland bike lanes this time of year. So he built his own sweeper.

Bill’s sweeper creates a clear path about 36-inches wide by pushing debris to the curb. He estimates he could make them available for about $1,500 a piece (the heavy-duty brush-heads alone are $200 each). With a modified hitch that could attach to more types of bikes, perhaps neighborhood associations, local tool libraries, and other organizations could purchase one of these and loan it out to volunteer sweepers.


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Sony a7II Kit on Sale for $999

Sat, 11/03/2018 - 20:00

Cross posting this from SMP because of how often I get asked about which camera to buy and where to get the best deal. Well, this is the best camera deal I’ve seen. It’s the Sony a7 II with a kit lens, the 28-70mm  f/3.5-5.6, for $999.

That price is $600 off the regular kit price of $1598 and about $800 off if the body ($1389) and lens ($398) were purchased separately.

While a rev behind the a7 III, the mark II is manufactured with a focusing system on par with the Nikon Z7, Canon EOS r and has working face and eye detection at an astoundingly low price. 5 axis in-body stabilization too, a first when it launched.

This isn’t the camera I tell you to stick in a jersey pocket, that’s the RX100. Instead, the a7 II is a great camera for those getting into full frame, a backup body, and second daily shooter.

The 28-70mm is a decent kit lens that combines impressive optical performance with lightweight, compact convenience, making it an ideal everyday lens. The zoom range covers landscapes to portraits and snapshots.

The a7 II with 28-70 lens for $999 sale is available from all major retailers; including Adorama and Amazon. Find the kit at big box stores like Best Buy and locally from Glazers and Kenmore camera.

Looking back, the a7 II ushered in the potential of mirrorless for professionals with features like 5-axis image stabilization system. As a result of its success combined with the a7s and a7r, Sony is the full-frame market leader.

If you don’t need more advance tech, like what’s in the a7 III, you can save hundreds of dollars and put it toward another lens. I suggest the G Master 24 I shot with in San Francisco.

More About the a7 II

Read more about the a7 II in this post on SMP. When first launched in 2014, it received rave reviews and won editorial awards from PC Mag  and DPR

Here’s the promo video from when the a7 II launched.

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GM to Launch eBikes in 2019

Sat, 11/03/2018 - 08:25

GM announced they’re launching eBikes in 2019. I’m less interested in the naming contest, it should be Bikey McBikeFace obviously, then GM marketing an ebike and launching one in 2019. Traffic and emissions solutions are considering in one form or another by companies in the transportation business as our cities become more crowded.

General Motors is building two eBikes which will be available for sale in 2019 and are asking enthusiasts to help name it by visiting

I’m not sure what the popular term for it is now, but the Last Mile has been marketed previously. And, in this context, that’s when you park your car outside of the congested city and then ride to your destination.

I covered car companies making bikes in 2012 and Ford ran a similar program in 2015. Way back in 2009, when they were near bankruptcy, I wondered if car dealers would become bike shops.

Huggacast Shorts: Ford eBikes

They didn’t but certainly have the retail infrastructure to sell bikes and if you’re selling a nice, new electric vehicle, why not upsell an ebike that fits in the trunk of frunk.

The GM eBike Brand Challenge launched with this pitch

Since committing to an all-electric future, General Motors is developing revolutionary, flexible electrification technologies that will enable our team to dream beyond the traditional vehicle and give our customers the freedom of movement that they seek. Today our team brought one of those dreams to life when we revealed two innovative, integrated and connected eBikes – one folding and one compact – without a brand.

And, “As an avid cyclist and urban commuter, I know how great it feels to get where I’m going easily and to show up sweat-free,” said Hannah Parish, director of General Motors Urban Mobility Solutions. “We blended electrification engineering know-how, design talents and automotive-grade testing with great minds from the bike industry to create our eBikes. Now we want to expand our thinking beyond the company walls and hear from people who like to move and have rad ideas.”

GM blended electrification engineering know-how, design talents and automotive-grade testing with great minds from the bike industry to create two innovative, integrated and connected eBikes – one folding and one compact.

I don’t know how rad crowdsourcing your brand is, but the bike looks like it’s been well designed and thought out. The only details GM shared about it are:

We blended electrification engineering know-how, design talents and automotive-grade testing with great minds from the bike industry to create two innovative, integrated and connected eBikes – one folding and one compact.

Mid motor, built in lights, disc brakes, compact and/or folding.

Let’s see what GM does in 2019.

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Saving Lucy: A Girl, a Bike, a Street Dog

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 08:11

Saving Lucy: A Girl, a Bike, a Street Dog is a book about Ishbel Rose Holmes, a former track cyclist with the Iranian National Women’s Team.

Ishbel takes to the road, seeking adventure and hoping to escape the ghosts of a troubled past. Pedaling solo across Turkey, she meets an injured street that changes her life forever.

Saving Lucy: A Girl, a Bike, a Street Dog is her debut book after cycling solo across 20 countries. Here’s the description from Amazon

Ishbel Rose Holmes was adrift and alone when she set out to bicycle across the world. She was pedalling across Turkey when a street dog, Lucy, crossed her path and changed her life forever.

Ishbel did not want anything or anyone to slow her down, but when she witnessed Lucy attacked by other dogs, Ishbel rescued her—forming a deep bond between the pair. Ishbel recognized her own vulnerability in her new canine friend and launched a heartfelt mission to find Lucy a home and give her a happy life.

Their adventures took them over 1,000 miles to the Syrian border and into the hearts of everyone who met them. People around the world who followed the story on Ishbel’s blog, World Bike Girl, watched as Lucy’s unconditional love broke down the wall around Ishbel’s heart. Saving Lucy is the true and inspiring story of two creatures in need of healing and rescue—who find home in each other.

It’s not said enough how cyclists try to ride out of their depression. To write a book after such a horned is an achievement indeed and Ishbel’s story is on my reading lists for the rainy season this winter.

Ishbel’s story also reminded about Louise the Homie Dog in Thailand story posted to Medium in 2015. It was shared by my daughter, Angela, who was on a study tour in Thailand, after her first year of college.

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UPS to Deliver Packages by eCargo Bike in Seattle

Thu, 10/25/2018 - 10:00

Today at their Seattle SoDo hub with media and dignitaries present, UPS launched an electric cargo bike solution to address Seattle’s traffic and air quality problems. And, to get their customer’s packages delivered.

The e-assist trike shown on a sunnier day in Seattle.

UPS has teased their bike and trailer solution a few times now and right before the holiday season. Considered Seattle’s Period of Maximum Constraint is happening soon when the viaduct is torn down this winter, UPS is piloting their e-assist program for a year.

Covering a delivery area from south Belltown to the southern end of the market, UPS cargo bikes and modular trailers will deliver where delivery trucks can’t go or get bogged down in armageddon-level traffic.

In 2016, eBike deliveries were tried in Portland and 5 years before that in Hamburg, Germany. Cleaner air, reduced carbon intensity, and fuel savings sure, but what’s driving this mostly is the UPS delivery model has changed from dropping stacks of boxes at a business to dropping individual packages from retailers like Amazon at customer’s homes.

The e-assist program launched in the rain at the UPS SoDo distribution center south of downtown Seattle. Jacob ‘Jake’ Jewett demonstrates loading the container onto the trike. The trike is shown here connected to the container trailer.

If you live in Seattle and frequent the West Seattle Bridge, you’ve likely seen brown trucks crawling onto the freeway from the SoDo hub. Of course, time is money and us cycling commuters know, you can get around town a lot faster by bike than car, bus, or train.

I’m most curious about what the drivers think, who got the bike assignment and if they’re excited about it. UPS started as a bike messenger company in Seattle and is now innovating the city’s future of cargo transportation. The pilot will last for a year, but based on what I heard during the launch, the Seattle staff is very enthused about it.

I know I’m excited about what UPS is doing because of my enthusiasm for delivering goods by bike, like with the Tern GSD.

Trike Specs Front regenerating hub and brake. Rear powered hub Built by Truck Trike in Portland.

The trikes were designed and built by Truck Trike in Portland. The cargo containers were manufactured by Silver Eagle. The trikes are powered by rear hub motors with motorcycle-sized brakes. The front regenerates power to the dual battery packs. UPS called the drivers their, “Industrial Athletes.”

UPS wasn’t ready to talk range and efficient yet, as the program just started. I’ll learn more about that topic at a follow-on event during the first delivery run in a couple weeks. What’s new since UPS launched the e-assist as a concept in 2012, is the container system and how it’s connected to their Orion software for maximum efficiency. In prior tests drivers manually sorted the packages and now the containers are packed at the distribution center, delivered to the area, and the trikes pick them up and drivers follow the delivery route.

Jacob ‘Jake’ Jewett’s jersey.

The execs at the event emphasized how important launching in Seattle is because 111 years after their founding as a messenger company, UPS is going back to bicycles.

That’s how they got started in Seattle.

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Grass Crits in Belgium

Wed, 10/24/2018 - 18:54

I was just looking back, 5-6 years ago when Cross was mostly what we covered this time of year in cycling. Then, as now, racers may denigrate certain courses as grass crits.

Well, have a look at this grass grit from Belgium and the absolutely brutal pace, starting at 7:30 after a long intro.

The uploader, Cameron, gets dropped each and every lap, but drags himself back up to the group. Feeling how hard that is, I’d probably lasted at most a 1/2 a lap with that group.


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A Paris Balcony View with Cyclists

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 19:02

Here’s 60 seconds of a Paris intersection. It was a lovely fall day on the first floor of a hotel in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood.

October is a good time to visit because the crowds are light, temps fair, and the air fares cheap. I counted 6 different bikes and typical for the other neighborhoods I visited.

Not seen are the fixed-gear and single speed bikes so many Parisians ride.

While I wasn’t in Paris to write about urban biking, velo couture and what not, I did take photos of the locals.

And, when the temps dropped from the high 70s to the low 60s, the coats and scarves came out.

It was lovely and we saw plenty of Parisians cycling.

We rode out in the country too and back in Seattle, I’m editing the photos for that story.

View this post on Instagram

We rented trekking bikes to ride from the train station to Monet's Gardens.

A post shared by Byron (@bikehugger) on Oct 18, 2018 at 3:17am PDT

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Factor Launches Vista

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 00:12

At the last PressCamp, I met Factor and they indicated this bike was being developed. Now the Vista has launched, it should interest those into high performance on any road.

Factor uses much marketing language in the press release to describe their tuned ride concept and what you need to know is they released an aero road bike with room for a 35mm tire. And, the layup dampens vibration.

The Vista ticks off a checklist of high-end road features like an integrated bar and suspension seat post. Curiously, Factor didn’t drop the chainstay to also fit 650b tires for riding road bikes on dirt.

Like the Open and Exploro, the Vista comes in several paint flavors to best express your individuality. For 1x, the front shifter mount is removable. Where Factor wins with their design is integrated fender mounts, a feature Open and 3T ignore.

As Mark V has written about extensively, it’s outright engineering negligence to not include fenders on a do-everything bike; especially, in the Pacific Northwest.

Available tomorrow at all official Factor retail partners, Vista comes in two flavors: Stone Grey and CHPT3’s Devesa. The Vista starts at USD 4,799/GBP 3,750/EUR 4,690 (RRP) for the chassis option.

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Sony Cyber-shot HX99, Perfect for Travel

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 23:20

Sony announced the Cyber-shot® HX99 (model DSC-HX99) camera, an exciting new travel zoom that packs an extreme zoom range of 24-720mm into the world’s smallest camera body of its kind.

Well-timed for my trip to Paris and travel photography because the new HX99 has features like the pro Alpha series at a much lower cost. This is the camera and any of the super compact Cyber-shots I recommend for your jersey pocket.

The tech features include the ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* 24-720mm High Magnification Zoom lens, 4K movie shooting, a powerful BIONZ X image processing engine with a front-end LSI, extremely fast AF, Eye AF, 10 fps shooting and more.

The HX99 will ship in early November for $449.99 USD.

The rest of the camera’s features I grabbed from the press release and are below.

ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* 24-720mm High Magnification Zoom Lens

In addition to the extensive 24-720mmi zoom range, the versatile new ZEISS® Vario– Sonnar T* lens features Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, which effectively minimizes the camera shake and blur that often occurs during handheld and telephoto shooting. The new HX99 is also equipped with a Zoom Assist function that allows the user to zoom more accurately while shooting far away subjects by offering a quick, temporary zoom–out display to showcase a wider area.  

Processing Power for Video and Stills 

Thanks to its powerful BIONZ X processing engine, the new HX99 camera can capture stunning 4K video with full pixel readout and no pixel binning, with minimal “moire” and“jaggies.”  The new model also is capable of shooting high-frame rate HD video at up to 120 fps to produce impressive slow-motion sequences during editing. 

During still photography, the camera can acquire focus in as little as 0.09 seconds, and it can shoot continuously at up to 10 fps for up to 155 shots.  The HX99 also is equipped with Eye AF technology, a feature made popular by Sony’s acclaimed lineup of αTM interchangeable lens cameras that locks focus onto a subject’s eye for compelling portrait and fast-action photography. The camera also is capable of shooting images in RAW format and has a maximum ISO of 6400.  

Intuitive and Comfortable Operation

The versatile HX99 travel camera includes Touch Focus and Touch Shutter functionality for added convenience, as well as a Touch Pad function for smooth focus point shifting while using the retractable OLED Tru-FinderTM.  The camera also has a Control Ring that can be customized with functions such as manual focus or step zooming, as well as a customizable ‘My Menu’ option for instant recall of up to 30 different settings. 

The new camera has a 180-degree tiltable LCD screen that allows for easy framing of self-portraits and group shots, a pop up electronic viewfinder and an upgraded grip that offers a firm hold and greater stability during shooting.  It also offers location data acquisition via Bluetooth®, which can collect and record location data from a connected mobile device, and proxy recording that allows instant transfers to smartphones or websites for quick sharing.


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Next Stop Paris

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 05:23

En route to Paris to shoot street and bikes with the Sony a9. Follow along on Instagram and Twitter

The periodic posts here too. The last time I was there it was 2011.


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Seattle Isn’t Number One

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 11:03

I appreciate a good rant as that writing form has been lost with blogging’s decline, so linking today to the Stranger’s article about how wrong Bicycling is about cycling in Seattle.

I agree they are dead wrong.

Seattle is the best city in America to ride a bicycle in, according to no one ever in the history of Seattle until the editors of Bicycling Magazine airdropped in this week to give us that proclamation.

That’s because ranking us number 1 makes the jobs of advocacy groups harder. Come budget time, politicians will tout the affirmation and respond with, “Our work is done here.”

Also, Seattle’s bike advocacy community is so bound to corporate sponsorship PR has become more important than product, the actual infrastructure v. indications and promises of it. The effectiveness as a representative of the bicycling community is hamstrung by their dependence on the revenues of corporations who are very sensitive to PR.

We’ll beat Copenhagen by 2020, right?


To her credit, AC Shilton wrote 8K words with photos about Seattle, and most are glorious. I just can’t think of anyone but her and the editors of Bicycling that think we’re the best bike city in America.

The really fun thing about rating cities for cycling is that everyone hates you.

— AC Shilton (@ACShilton) October 11, 2018

Maybe next year it’ll be Portland.

Seattle ticks all the boxes on cyclists’ wish lists. Scratch that, the Emerald City doesn’t check the boxes, it crushes them. Crazy smart infrastructure? Definitely—you can ride a protected bike lane from the Space Needle nearly two miles to Pioneer Square, with features like bike-specific traffic lights to make your cruise even safer. The most passionate bike advocates in the country? Absolutely—elected leaders have actually taken DOT staffers to task for not building lanes fast enough. An awesome community? Of course—there are thousands of events throughout the city designed to satisfy any inclination a rider could have.

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Kona and TT Bikes

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 10:23

I’m not a triathlete, but every year at this time, I say bring on Kona and the wild TT (time trial) bikes. Because that’s where bike companies let their engineers do more than bolt electric motors onto double diamond frames.

They also don’t have to adhere to UCI rules and just make what goes fast.

To that end, Specialized launched a Shiv with a wing on it.

Photo: SuperDave.

And, ENVE released a disc wheel.

The SES 7.8.

The SES Disc features a unique one piece molded construction that is free of bonding with the exception of the hub shell. The backbone of this one piece molded construction is a machined PMI core sandwiched between Spread Tow Carbon Fibers. This construction method strengthens the wheel considerably while also saving weight allowing the SES Disc to weigh in at an impressive 1225 grams.

Available in tubeless and disc brake for $2700, the marketing of a disc wheel runs contrary to how they sold their wheels in the past. Regarding that, ENVE’s VP of Product and Consumer Experience Jake Pantone commented, “It is true that our SES 7.8 rear wheel is a faster better solution versus a solid rear disc for most athletes. It really comes down to the course profile, their
level of experience and the average speeds that the rider will achieve. For riders that will average over 27mph/43kph, a rear disc will prove a faster solution on certain courses.

The wind too and it’s notorious at Kona.

Also see the $7499 Dimond Marquis with thru-axles and discs.

It’s the TT bike, where a frame and fork have been designed to offer plenty of tire clearance that we see designers unbridled by brake tracks, do their thing.

Of course, if they have the budget not diverted to motorization. For more Kona content, follow Matt Hill who’s there with Diamondback now.

View this post on Instagram

…and then the rains came.

A post shared by Matthew Hill (@ttamllih) on Oct 9, 2018 at 9:13pm PDT

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Sir Richard Branson Rides a Bike

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 19:02

On a Twitter still angry about American politics, it was nice to see Richard Branson mention the bike. I shared his tweet, Jason Gay replied, and so did he. Branson crashed hard in 2016.

Will do, thanks Jason

— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) October 9, 2018

And, got right back up to ride. The story Sir Richard shared was his top-ten tips. Those include

  • If you live in the hills or you ride in the wet I’d recommend disc brakes. Andy also put me on to Sram Etap automatic gears, which I absolutely love using.
  • You may not look as cool with a helmet on but don’t be a helmet and wear one! It saved me when I went over handle bars and has saved a number of friends when they’ve had accidents.
  • Carry a decent small pump, inner tubes and tyre levers at all times and make sure you know how to change an inner tube. Best to ride wide tyres for comfort.
  • For big trips use electrolytes in 50 per cent of your drinks, not just in water. Take food but not a picnic and eat small amounts often. I think real foods are the best.

I agree the most with eating real food on a ride. Once I stopped racing, and riding for pleasure, that was the first thing I did (besides not carrying a cycling computer) and eat a sandwich with a coke and feel way better on the bike.

The article is promoting Virgin’s Strive Challenge, that’s a Fondo. While they haven’t announced the 2019 edition yet, 2018 raised over a million pounds for Bike Change, a charity setup by Branson’s children.

We’ve all come together to strive for Big Change, the social impact accelerator co-founded by my children, which helps young people thrive in life and not just exams.

It’s focusing on thriving at life. If you follow Sir Richard on Twitter, that’s what he’s all about.

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Interbike 2018 and Bosch’s Innovation

Thu, 10/04/2018 - 09:22

Due to a schedule conflict, I didn’t attend Interbike, but tuning in from afar, what I noticed is that it seems like anyone drawing a salary from a bike brand is lockstep with motorization. That includes magazines and outlets that run ads from those brands.

I can proudly tell you we’ve never ran any brand ads, since we started more than a decade ago.

I expect within 2 seasons the marketers will glorify a return to the basics of non motorized bikes and maybe some further innovations around adventure and gravel will go to market.

For now though, the news is about motors and batteries.

Batteries and motors.

Here’s Zap awarding Bosch an Innovation Award for their PowerTube 500. That’s an power pack shaped to integrate with a bike tube instead of being bolted onto the frame like this Yamaha.

From Boch’s PR

The PowerTube 500 can be built into different types of frames, and is therefore suitable for a wide range of cycles – from city bikes and roadsters to eMountain bikes. The battery can be removed from the top, bottom or side. A two-stage mechanism ensures complete safety and easy handling when the battery is being inserted or removed: when unlocked, the battery clicks out of the frame by less than an inch and can easily be handled. A safety device prevents the battery from falling out. The battery is also optimally protected by the frame. Alternatively, the PowerTube 500 can be charged directly on the bike. The recesses on the upper side can be used for a bottle holder or for design trims.  The surface of the PowerTube 500 stands out with a high-grade anodized aluminum in black.

If you’re into ebikes, the PowerTube stores 500 watt hours and weights only 6.2 lbs (about 3x what my gravel frames weighs). And, it’s already spec’d on bikes from Bulls, Cannondale, Cube, Fuji, Gazelle, Haibike, Mondraker, Raleigh Electric, Riese & Mueller, and Trek.

Where I find ebikes most useful is for cargo and transporting kids around town. The updated GSD features a 500 watt battery too, but not in the tube form.


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Blood Road wins Emmy

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 19:41

I need to catch up with Rebecca Rusch about the Blood Road Emmy… like we’ve hung out and stuff, ridden together, got chased by wolves, but I didn’t see that coming.

It’s awesome.

Rebecca and Huyen Nguyen pedal 1,200 miles along the Ho Chi Minh Trail to reach the crash site and final resting place of Rebecca’s father, a U.S. Air Force pilot who was shot down over Laos some 40 years earlier.

Last night, Rusch took home the prize (in Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction) for the 2017 documentary. It was produced by Red Bull Media.

VIDEO: The Emmy for Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction goes to @RedBullTV "Blood Road." #NewsEmmys

— News & Doc Emmys (@newsemmys) October 2, 2018

Here she is celebrating.

Blood Road screenings are happening now and you can rent or buy the film from iTunes, Google Play, Vimeo, and Amazon.

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Interbike 18: State of the Show

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 08:14

It’s good to hear from the one media outlet in attendance, And, I agree with the power of positive thinking, but the Interbike 18 show is what it is and a show like the past isn’t coming back.

That’s because when PR companies convinced the big brands to spend money on content marketing a few seasons ago they don’t need the media and we don’t need them. It comes down to vacation edits on YouTube and being on whatever message they flew an influencer in for, not a trade-show launch.

I just got back from Interbike. And despite all of the hand-wringing and moaning and armchair quarterbacking, it was a delightful event. The venue was clean. Parking was plentiful. Food was quite delicious and reasonably priced. The energy level was surprisingly high. There was a nice mix of legacy brands and dreamers. And overall it made me excited to say I was at the very first Interbike held in Reno.

Stephen missed that in the 80s, Interbike was held in Reno, not that it matters much. Millions of bikes will still get sold annualy and a trade show will happen in whatever city.

Brands aren’t going to return. And if they don’t give media something to do, they won’t either.

I wasn’t there because I had a schedule conflict attending a Sony event in San Francisco.

5 years ago, Jim Merithew and I walked the show floor and Jim said at some point

The bicycle industry’s epically huge, fluorescently lit, yearly hype-fest is an assault on the senses.

Then it was fat, gravel, and cross with much excite.

The Mobile Social took over the Strip.

Now, I hope someone else is quietly working on the next big thing after all the bikes have motors bolted onto them and doing so with a vision.

And, we’ll see it in no less than 2 years.

The industry needs it in Reno or somewhere else.

The venue doesn’t matter.

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Veldrijder Rebecca Fahringer

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 09:44

Rebecca grew up in rural Ohio, riding horses and dirt bikes with her family. Focusing her energy on the study of geology while competing in sport, she found cyclocross. An instant bond to this style of racing rooted in her love of the surrounding land. This video tells the story of what’s in it for her, what she gets out of it.

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