Bike Hugger

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Bike culture blogged
Updated: 1 year 10 weeks ago

Froome Runs Up Ventoux (really)

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 03:25

Seriously, the year I decided to NOT COVER THE TOUR. Well, see for yourself! The BBC is covering it live.

Photo: Reuters

The events so far
  • Froome runs up Mont Ventoux after damaging bike
  • Froome caught up in crash with motorbike
  • Incident late in stage causes chaos
  • Froome loses yellow jersey in provisional standings
  • Yates moves into provisional lead; Froome +53secs
  • Thomas de Gendt wins shortened stage
  • Montpellier to Mont Ventoux (178km)

Recaps to follow.

Zipp Cognition Hubset with Axial Clutch Technology

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 07:48

Huh, Zipp is a secretive company, but perhaps with new competition from Mavic owning ENVE, they’ve decided to be more open? Don’t know, but this video shows off more of their tech that I’ve seen before.

The Best Prime Day Deals on Bicycles

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 06:44

Not sure if the mood of the country is into a faux shopping holiday, but if you want to try Prime, now is the time. The best Prime day deals we’ve seen are on SanDisk memory cards at up to 40% off and a Sigma Zoom Lens. For bicycle accessories, shop this page for hundreds of items on sale; including Brooks Perforated Leather Tape with Cork Plugs for 29% off.

San Diego Pedicabs

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 16:04

A couple weeks ago, I attended a Sony launch in San Diego, and took these frames of a LED, lit up pedicab. It’s a remarkable gif because it was shot in such low light with a 50mm f/1.4, and the mirrorless camera continued to track the subject in focus. Read more about the event and the lenses Sony released in an article I wrote for Shutterbug.

Just a Kiss

Sat, 07/09/2016 - 03:17

To be punched by Froome, is it like a butterfly’s kiss?

Froome In Love

Sat, 07/09/2016 - 02:58

First Froome gazed wistfully at his stem, then lustily heaved himself upon the delicate extension, and made passionate love to it all the way down the mountain.

Bike Racers Invented the Airplane

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 09:17

Wilbur Wright working in the bicycle shopLibrary of Congress

Huh, I thought that the bicycle leading to the invention of the airplane was well known, but as Margaret Guroff shares in a lengthy article for Fast Company, excerpted from her book, there’s much more to the story. Like, many early barnstormers were bicycle racers first.

That’s right! Bike racers brought America the airplane. Later, they fixated on aero bicycles, but that’s a topic for another post.

The Wrights, by contrast, had an insight that came straight from cycling. They understood that a plane didn’t need to be stable. Like a bicycle, it could be inherently unstable and could be flown in the same way a bicycle is “flown”: by a rider making constant, tiny, unconscious adjustments. “It has been a common aim of experimenters with the aëroplane to solve the problem of equilibrium by some automatic system of balancing,” stated the brothers in a 1908 “as told to” story in McClure’s. “Our idea was to secure a machine which, with a little practice, could be balanced and steered semi-automatically, by reflex action, just as a bicycle is.” The Wrights studied the movements of soaring birds and designed a steering system that copied the way birds torque the tips of their wings when they turn. In the Wright Flyer, the pilot steered by pushing on levers that warped the plane’s wings. (Wilbur first got the idea for the wing-warping system while idly twisting an empty inner-tube box.)

Buy The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American Life from Amazon for 18.40 hardcover of 14.72 on Kindle. It includes more stories, and is a lively cultural history, explaining how the bicycle transformed all avenues of American life.


Thu, 07/07/2016 - 12:10

In case you missed it, the buzz of the camera industry this week is FUJIFILM’s X-T2. That’s their second flagship, next to the X-Pro2, and styled more like a traditional DSLR, instead of a rangefinder. How does it compare to the Sonys we shoot with? We could walk through feature by feature, but it’s mostly the weather-sealing, tough magnesium body, and APS-C v. full frame sensor.

Expect the X-T2 to produce remarkable images, like this one, as a FUJIFILM camera does. And, have features that reviewers find fiddly.

Read more about the X-T2 in a review on Medium Bicycles and get it on Apple News.

Also see this edit….

Lea Davison Ride at the 2016 UCI MTB World Championships

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 11:25

While the Tour has been boring this year, so far…Mountain Biking has not. Instead, Worlds was thrilling to watch. And, the UCI just published this edit from Lea Davison’s ride. Also see our coverage of Scott’s double win.

Bouhanni and the Dogs of France

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 04:59

So after 9 days of vacation away from bicycles and the bike shop, I am ready to get back to work. Well, maybe not the bike shop; the last year and a half has been a continual failure in balancing life and bike riding against the need to get the new shop running. Burnout has been dogging my heels for months. No solution just yet, but setting that aside, I’d like to be a bit more present on Bike Hugger, sharing random musings where appropriate. And of course the Tour de France provides so many opportunities.

First thought (since I’m such an incurable geek when it comes to equipment) is that this year has been thin on overhyped bike frame debuts. Specialized, Trek, Scott, and Canyon had already introduced their aero road frames last year. Cervelo’s S5, last updated for the 2015 model year, could have arguably been called yesterday’s news until Mark Cavendish (for whom that phrase might also have been applied) scored 2 wins in the opening sprint stages. Well, I might have seen something about a Pinarello release, but I find that company to be so riddled with questionable engineering claims (asymmetric fork blades to balance drivetrain loads… seriously?) that I have nothing but naked contempt for the brand. What I think is that all the big brands had planned on rolling out disc-brake premium road frames, probably working towards that goal for a year, but then the pro peloton got cold feet for disc brakes after Paris-Roubaix and the UCI back-pedaled on their “trial introduction”.

The funny thing is that I have always thought that Paris-Roubaix was never going to be the best place for disc brakes. Paris-Roubaix is usually decided by small breaks or solo efforts, but only after close quarters combat on rough but flat roads. You don’t stay out of trouble by braking before it; you avoid crashes by staying ahead of them. Meanwhile enhanced tyre volume gives better control and speed over broken road surfaces, but disc brakes in themselves don’t give that. For reasons that I’ve discussed here in the past, there are may ways to achieve better tyre clearance on road bikes that don’t require disc brakes but rather more thoughtful and rational frame design. Contrary to this, many of the recent disc road frames still have relatively crappy tyre clearance, which I can only imagine stems from a narrow and perhaps outmoded perception of skinny rubber signifying speed potential. But I guess people think Paris-Roubaix makes sense for disc brakes because the roads are rough. You know, mountain bikes have disc brakes, and they go on rough stuff…so like, Paris-Roubaix would be a good place to run mountain bike tech? People even used to win P-R with suspension forks, right?

With its long descents on epic mountain stages, the Tour de France was always going to offer a better demonstration of disc brake performance, but fate has conspired to deny that international media opportunity to bike manufacturers.

Fate has also conspired against Nacer Bouhanni. After getting into a row with a roomful of drunken neighbors in hotel the night before the French road championships, he had to get stitches in his hand. Unfortunately, the wound got infected which required reopening the sutures for cleaning a few days later. At that point, Bouhanni’s Tour de France participation was spoiled. Now a thought about the circumstances of that night when Bouhanni went nextdoor because the rowdy drunks were keeping him up before a major event. Bouhanni fancies himself a boxer, playing up the image in the media…and his interviews and public opinions certainly have a combative flavour. I am going to make a reasoned guess that the cut that Bouhanni received on his hand was from punching one or more of the drunks in the face and in turn cutting his knuckles on their teeth. This is a classic injury in street fights.

Why do I mention this? Because this ties into a grating bit of folklore that I sometimes hear people say. Namely, that dogs mouths are cleaner than humans. This is false. This pseudo fact arose because in the US, injuries due to contact with teeth had historically not been differentiated between bites (human or canine) and cuts on a fist from hitting someone in the mouth. The depth and severity of the hand injuries from fights are often worse because of the force applied in a punch is more than what most dogs can apply in a bite. On average compared to dog bites, these human “bites” appear to have more infections and complications later on, and due to weakness in data analysis, this was somehow construed to mean that dogs have cleaner mouths than humans. That’s ridiculous. Dog saliva is not harvested for some wondrous antiseptic property. Furthermore, realize that dogs can’t use toilet paper; they have tongues. Go ahead and connect the dots on your own.

Issue 37 Mid-Season For Free

Tue, 07/05/2016 - 15:41

Rode lots of single track like this in Park City during PressCamp

We were just at PressCamp, and to best share the event, the latest issue of our magazine is free with no subscription required. Read about the brands we met, and the rides, lots of photos too.

The articles from issue 37 Mid-Season are available

The regular price is $3.99 per issue or $15.99 annually. Ad-free and published monthly, subscription revenues directly support the authors, photographers, and editors who contribute to Bike Hugger.

Iron Horse Trail: Pedal Towards the Light

Sun, 07/03/2016 - 04:12

You totally wanna ride through this like we did. It’s the second tunnel heading east after Hyak on the Iron Horse Trail.

Also, a perfect ride on a holiday weekend. Hope you’re getting out for some miles too.

Issue 37 Mid-Season

Fri, 07/01/2016 - 11:45

Issue 37 just dropped on iTunes and the Web

Mid-season. When you are doing your best riding, and the industry announces new products to lure you into fall and next spring. We were just at PressCamp, and sharing what we saw and rode there.

And, to best share what we saw at PressCamp, we’ve flipped a switch and made it free.

No subscription or ads, just read about the brands we met, and the rides…. After the holiday weekend, we’ll have much more to share with you.

Shimano Dura-Ace R9100

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 02:06

The worst-kept secret in the bike business, as it usually is, the new DA has now been released on the eve of the Tour. GCN goes behind the scenes. TL;DR: a power meter, and Dura Ace level hydraulic disc brake.

The Loop of Doom

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 11:21

I don’t really know what I just watched. A guy cheats death and we’re supposed to cheer and his helmet saved him? Considering a RedBull athlete didn’t clear the epic last year, this just seems in horribly bad taste from some industry bros? You can tell me if this is epic, awesome stoke or what. Here’s the backstory:

On Saturday March 19th, Matt Macduff sustained a terrible fall attempting to make his way around the Loop Of Doom. After over 3 year of research, determination and hard work, Matt managed to find everything he needed to make his project happen.

Built in a month at the Garden Route Trail Park in South Africa, the gigantic structure rises up to 40 ft. in the sky. The crash left him with 10 fractures in his right wrist and 3 fractures in his right ankle. The story behind his stunt is as impactful as the structure itself. A real story of determination. After spending a week in a South African hospital, Matt is now home in Ontario, working on his rehabilitation. Just as he started to walk again, we catched up with him to get his version of this incredible story.

In previous posts about the Loop of Doom, there was a lot of interrogations from the readers so we did our best to cover all the aspects of the project. Keep on reading to take a journey through the mind of a young man determined to leave an impact on the sport he loves.

Read the rest of the death-cheating story here, and note this year many we’ve lost too many.

Mike Hall Smashes Tour Divide Record

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 10:24

While we’re out riding Brexit happened, and Mike Hall, a Brit, won 2016 Tour Divide. His time: 13 days, 22 hours and 51 minutes

He beat the previous time by 1/2 a day.

Here’s the PR from Pivot, his bike sponsor.

Mike Hall, of Yorkshire, England, finished his Tour Divide journey in the early hours of June 24th2016 to beat the previous record by over half a day with a time of 13 days, 22 hours and 51 minutes – 12 hours and 46 minutes faster that the previous record set by Josh Kato in 2015 (14:11:37).

Since Mike’s last Tour Divide in 2013, the event has been a case of “unfinished business”, due to forest fires that forced him to detour from the official route that rendered his then potential record time as “unofficial”. Mike’s goal this year was to take the record back with authority and have it stand in the books.

The Tour Divide travels through Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and the United States of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico (map). When complete, a thru-rider will climb nearly 200,000 feet of vertical (equivalent to summiting Mount Everest from sea-level 7 times). Completing the self-supported route is a feat unto itself, and winning the overall is an incredible athletic achievement. Route trackers showing Mike’s average distance per day as 194.1 miles and total moving time as 10:14:36, with stops for rest and refueling making up the additional time.

Pivot Cycles, Mike’s frame sponsor, were there to meet him at the finish line at the Mexican border at Antelope Wells where he finished in the early ours this morning after a mammoth 300 mile last leg non-stop from Pie Town. We caught up with Mike soon after he finished and he said spent the duration of the event relatively unaware of what was going on with other competitors in the race, as he chose to take no mobile phone and ignore the spot tracking on other riders, and focusing on his own riding. In typical Mike Hall fashion, he lead the race from the front almost from the beginning. Speaking to Mike briefly after the finish, he said, “I’ve not been connected [to the world], am feeling a bit strange not knowing what is going on”. “It’s been good to have a clear run at the course. I have given it my best effort and am satisfied this is the best time I could have done”. Congratulations to Mike for his incredible achievement!

Mike’s choice of bike for the epic journey was a Pivot Cycles LES hardtail MTB, equipped with Reynolds carbon wheels, Shimano XTR Di2 drivetrain and components, Apidura bike packing bags, and Lezyne accessories. Mike wore PEdAL ED clothing for the duration of the event.

You can also watch Mike in a documentary about another endurance race, the Trans Am.

While We Were Out Riding Ellsworths

Sun, 06/26/2016 - 04:47

Well, while we were out riding, Brexit happened. And, what that means to the bike industry remains to be seen. The tinkering the brits do impacts the industry, like the work of Fabric who was at PressCamp.

For now, my first impressions of Ellsworth’s new enduro bike (160mm of travel) are this is for a cross-country rider who’d likes a flow trail too. Makers like Ellsworth and Vroomen are responding to the over nichification in bike categories with models that can do everything. That’s on the mountain, road, and places in between. As Tony asked me

Is there another vehicle that a human has developed with suspension that we lock out?

No, there isn’t.The Rogue kinematics are why the bike works so well. On the mountain, we had no idea, or care, about what else was going on in the world….we just kept pedaling with an enduro bike that climbs.

The Rogue 60 XT retails for $6500.

RIP Bill Cunningham

Sun, 06/26/2016 - 03:50

When I decided to take and share better photographs on Bike Hugger, Bill Cunningham’s work informed the street style. That led to publishing mirrorless websites, and freelancing for Digital Photo, Digital Photo Mag, and Shutterbug. Today Bill died at age 87. Here’s a quote from the Times obituary. So many greats have been lost this year….

Bill Cunningham, the street-style photographer whose photo essays for The New York Times memorialized trends ranging from fanny packs to Birkin bags, gingham shirts and fluorescent biker shorts, died Saturday in New York. He was 87. In his nearly 40 years working for The Times, Mr. Cunningham operated both as a dedicated chronicler of fashion and as an unlikely cultural anthropologist, one who used the changing dress habits of the people he photographed to chart the broader shift away from formality and toward something more diffuse and individualistic. In the process, he turned into something of a celebrity himself.

Read more

Golden Hour Epicness with a GT Helion

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 05:20

Everything is epic these days, so I’ll let the you decide what level of epicness this experience was. Shot too long in the golden hour on unmapped, single, single track. Carried 12 pounds of camera gear, climbed 3,000 feet, and then descended without lights, riding by feel, welcoming the light pollution from Park City below as a sign civilization was near.

Sure seems like my initiation into sports photography with the Canon 1DXII is complete…. Even Marco Polo’d Nic Sims when I couldn’t see him anymore, and was worried I took a wrong turn.

My backup plan was to flag down a motorist on the highway, if I could make it to their taillights. Hoped the moose we saw wasn’t with newborns.

That’s the kind of opportunities that happen in Utah during PressCamp. You can gain new levels of epic.

If this ever happens to you, the proven technique is to follow the dull, grayish white line reflecting a few rays of light off the dirt in front of you. Then listen for the tires rubbing vegetation to stay on course.

It was like Tommy playing pinball—using senses I didn’t know I had.

Does that sound epic? Here’s the bike I rode.

It’s the GT Helion, their expert-class niner with a 100-mm travel front and rear. It didn’t let me down, in an extreme situation, and for a reasonable spec costs under $4K.