Monday, March 31, 2008

End of an Era?

I read an interview with a framebuilder the other day who said he believes the era of the automobile is over. I'm not sure I totally agree with that but I do believe that the era of the gasoline-powered automobile is rapidly coming to an end. There simply is not enough fossil fuel left to meet the demands of a thirsty global population. If you are unfamiliar with the notion of "peak oil" and the changes that a diminished supply of petroleum will surely bring, you can start by reading this article by James Kuntsler. Fact: The price of oil (by the barrel) has doubled in the last five years. And if you think it's coming back down, think again. Any way you slice it, the bicycle will make a big comeback, not as a recreational vehicle but as a means of everyday transportation. And the sooner the better.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Messenger Service

The concept of urban delivery by bicycle has been around for at least 100 years. And it looks like a fixed gear machine has always been the way to go. Saluting bike messengers everywhere!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

RB-2 Up and Running

Just back from the first test ride of the Bridgestone as a fixed gear. Sweet! Obviously, there will be some tweaking but it's a keeper. The White Industries ENO hub made it possible and while it is a finely made component, it's not without it's eccentricities. I have not quite got the chain as tight as I'd like and the learning curve was steeper than you'd expect of such a simple drivetrain but all in all, I am pleased. Big thanks to Ryan at Veloce Bicycles in Portland, OR for building the wheel and tech support. Future additions? Cloth bar tape, black Brooks saddle and a nicer chain are at the top of the list. More soon...

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Can't remember where I found this photo but it sure is a nice shot of a beautiful bike. Makes a nice desktop picture.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cockpit In Motion

I guess everybody has a folder full of "Look ma, no hands!" photos. Here's one of mine in black and white, taken with a Nikon Coolpix L4 and tweaked in Microsoft PictuteIt.

Friday, March 14, 2008

1971 Bianchi Pista

Here's the '71 Bianchi track bike that was on eBay recently. It sold for $1900 plus shipping which seems like a heckuva deal to me considering...

a. It's a genuine made-in-Italy lugged steel frame

b. Bianchi's heritage

c. Full Campy Pista gruppo

d. It looked to be in immaculate condition.

e. You can't buy a new bike that nice for anywhere near that money

Anybody have any thoughts on the vintage bike market? Old cars and old guitars have gone through the roof in recent years and have proven to be great investments. Is vintage lugged steel next?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

No Brakes!

Last weekend, my buddy Nathan gifted me a copy of NO BRAKES! by Sandra Sutherland which is an overview of track racing in the United States. It seems to be a self-published book as the editing is slack and the overall layout/presentation is less than stellar. That said, I found it to be a very informative look into the world of the velodrome. Extensive interviews with American champions including Nelson Vails and details on all the velodromes operating in the US as of the publication date (1996). Quite a few photos too. You can read some reviews here before deciding to find a copy for yourself.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

Vancouver Fixie Scene

Here is a short documentary film about the fixed gear scene in Vancouver made by a design student named Tom Briggs.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Road Rash

What sets riding a fixed gear apart from other cycling? Well, lots of things really. But right up there at the top of the list is the fact that it demands concentration. There's a saying in Buddhism: When you're washing the dishes, wash the dishes. In other words do one thing at a time and do it fully, do it well. So, when riding fixed, ride fixed. I know that and have known it from my very first spin last summer. I've been on my fixie almost every day since but yesterday, I let my focus get fuzzy. Just for a couple of seconds. And the next thing I knew, I was going down. The good news is I wasn't going very fast and there were no cars in sight. I was lucky, could've been worse for sure. Lesson learned? Obviously, stay committed to the ride, focus. What else? Wear gloves. I always do. Always. But yesterday, I just jumped on the bike and took off without them. Today I have a hole in my left palm to show for it. So from now on those nice padded fingerless gloves I bought myself for Christmas will stay velcro'd to the handlebars so I won't leave home without them. And maybe by this time next week, Joelle will have stopped calling me Bloody Paw.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Zero Emissions Update

The last time I bought gasoline was seven weeks ago today. And there's still a quarter of a tank left. I think this is probably the longest I've ever gone between fill-ups and I've been driving since 1968! Using a bicycle instead of an automobile really pays off both for the planet and the pocketbook. And then there's the exercise. I still have a long way to go to get in shape but every hill I pull puts me a little closer.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Campy Eyecandy

Here's a gorgeous Campagnolo Super Record pista crankset from 1971. The bike ('71 Bianchi Pista) is for sale on eBay at the moment if you're interested. Unfortunately, too small (57cm) for me or I'd be seriously tempted to place a bid. Definitely a classic.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Charles Terront @ PBP

Here we have the winner of the very first Paris-Brest-Paris event which was held in 1891. The bike is obviously a fixed gear with a front wheel brake, a feature that I think was somewhat unusual at that time. Annie Londonderry's high-end Sterling had no brake and her 15 minutes of fame occurred in 1894. He's certainly a dapper looking fellow and you can bet the ranch that jersey is wool!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


A lugged steel bicycle should have a proper headbadge. Decals are OK but seems to me there ought to be some tin on the head tube. Rivendell definitely has a classy badge and they do separate ones for each model too. And here's an elegant modern design in stainless steel by Curt Goodrich. Coincidentally, Curt builds some of the custom Rivendells in his Minneapolis shop. Old school or 21st century, headbadges are works of art.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March 2001

Here's a scan from the famous Rivendell lugs calendar. Check out the curves on these beauties. Hubba hubba!