Archive for the 'Cycling Culture' Category


Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Cycling Caps

chicago capI don’t know if cycling caps are currently cool or not (all I know is that hot pink is apparently the new black), but with my particularly ambivalent brand of “whatever works” style and a few dollars burning a hole in my pocket, I’ve decided it’s time to add a few pieces to the wardrobe.

But general fashion concerns aside, there’s the question of what to get in the first place. I feel like I should say something here like, “picking the right cap says a lot about a person,” but that would insinuate that I actually know. Personally, I’ve always loved the racing style of pro team caps, but would feel like a poseur pulling up at the local club ride and pretending that my fat ass just got back from Milram training camp.

[Note: looking cool and being a poseur are two related but theoretically distinct concerns in the fashion world.]

That said, my sources do tell me that retro/vintage team caps are now acceptable, thanks to the latest innovations in ironic fashion. I’m leaning towards a classic Team BiC cap to pay tribute to Luis Ocaña, or the retro Reynolds model to channel Big Mig, but there are a wide variety of classic, extinct team caps to choose from that should keep you out of the poseur police’s crosshairs.

If you’d prefer to sidestep the delicate business of declaring your loyalties with your head, Cognition Caps out of Madison, Wisconsin is producing a solid line of handmade cycling caps, including the smooth Chitown tribute shown above; coming in at $24, they won’t break the bank either.

Continue reading ‘Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Cycling Caps’


Christmas in July: Iowa City Bike Lanes Are Finally Here!


For all the cool things about Iowa City, the place has never been known for its adept administration — I once counted two days without seeing a plow after several inches of snow — so you can imagine my surprise as I drove home this morning and saw an honest-to-goodness bike lane on Jefferson Street, complete with — get this — pothole patches all the way to the curb.

Was there some sort of mayoral coup I had missed? Had stimulus funds finally found their way to the heartland? Had the city managers finally tired of receiving my hate mail? Whatever the reason, I was so stunned that I literally pulled off Jefferson St. and ran back into the middle of it with my iPhone to take a photo commemorating the event (the above image can be seen if you’re at the corner of Jefferson and Lucas Street, looking west). I guess I would have known about this ahead of time if I actually read the local paper (and it turns out the actual story is a lot less exciting):

Kristopher Ackerson, assistant transportation planner for the Johnson County Council of Governments, recommends adding bicycle lanes on Jefferson and Market streets between Governor and Gilbert streets in a memo to the Iowa City Council. The items are part of the JCCOG Metro Bicycle Master Plan.

Ackerson wrote that studies have shown that cyclists ride more often and in a more predictable manner when bike lanes are available.

The bike lanes will be subject to the approval of the council. They will not require widening streets or reducing parking spaces, Ackerson said.

Shared lane arrows—or sharrows—are recommended for Jefferson and Market streets between Madison and Gilbert streets, as well as College Street from Summit to Linn streets.

Sharrows are an alternative to bike lanes and are used where road width is inadequate for bike lanes, according to the memo.

“Although popular in other cities across the country, this will be one of the first applications of sharrows in eastern Iowa,” Ackerson wrote.

This may be one of those minor technicalities/asshole moves, but sharrows have been in nearby Coralville for a while, and popped up about a month ago one hour north in Cedar Falls. But, hey, if Ackerson wants to portray it as a truly groundbreaking event, I’ll take it. I might even start paying some of those back taxes I owe the city, but I want to see a goddamn plow once in a while!

[Sharrows, bike lanes in the works — IC Press-Citizen]


Dress Your Desktop in Team Astana Crotchshots


Just in case you were hoping for a new wallpaper to dress up your desktop before the Tour’s kickoff, you can thank Team Astana for their newest series of official Alberto Contador victory crotchshots. Download them all today and relive the Spaniard’s sculpted groin every time your computer boots up.

[even more after the jump]

Continue reading ‘Dress Your Desktop in Team Astana Crotchshots’


Always A Great Ripoff (or: Why I Won’t Be Shopping at Nashbar Again)

Do you remember this guy?

old school Cannondale R300

old school Cannondale R300

It’s turned into one of my favorite bikes in the stable, and one of the many rides I’ve built upon the back of a little mail order/internet warehouse known as Bike Nashbar. And why not? As much as I love my LBS, saving money has always been a priority for this poor writer, and ordering online through Nashbar brought me both the best price and the most convenience on everything from seat posts to cassettes. Over the past 5 years, I’ve plausibly spent hundreds, if not close to thousands, on the website, and until now I’ve had no complaints whatsoever.

Did I mention, that is, until now?

[credit fraud after the jump]

Continue reading ‘Always A Great Ripoff (or: Why I Won’t Be Shopping at Nashbar Again)’


You Can’t Resist It (it’s MonkeyLectric!)

Riding at night has always been something of a compromise between safety and style. You can deck yourself out in reflectors and high-visibility blinking LEDs and even your bright orange hunting/safety vest, or you can play the odds and have a chance at still having drinking companions once you arrive at the bar. I always make sure to ride with a headlight and tail light, but after a recent spate of cycling accidents at night involving riders using blinking lights (including one with a Iowa official; no charges filed against the driver), I find myself wondering if it’s enough. What if you turned your ride into something that drivers couldn’t help but see?

Introducing… MonkeyLectric!!!!!1

Built by Dan Goldwater, a former MIT scientist and apparent disco playboy, the Monkey Light is the safety solution of my dreams. Thanks to 32 full-color LEDs and the persistence of vision, this thing is capable of creating 9 distinct, full color patterns at speeds over 10 mph. So now, at least you can look good as you beef it over that car’s hood.

[more video and a professional review after the jump]

Continue reading ‘You Can’t Resist It (it’s MonkeyLectric!)’


Are You There, God? It’s Us, Bikers.

Between the idiotic vitrol directed toward cyclists and a rapidly growing body count (Green Bay, Echo Park), it’s becoming obvious that could use a little help down here. Perhaps that’s why a recent NYC morning found over 100  cyclists waiting for some help from the man upstairs during a bike blessing ceremony at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

[God on a bike after the jump!]

Continue reading ‘Are You There, God? It’s Us, Bikers.’


Sticky Fingers (not the Stones album)

my sad Gary Fisher

my sad Gary Fisher

You would think that living in the heartland we would be somewhat insulated from bike theft. I’m here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. During my four years at the relatively small University of Northern Iowa, I had two bikes stolen, including my first Gary Fisher mountain bike which was U-locked to a stout railing outside, in what I believed to be a safe place (bikes were not allowed inside the building). I came back to school from a weekend home only to find a mangled Kyrptonite lock in the bushes and an empty spot where my bike had stood. It was my first encounter with property crime, and it hurt something terrible. I had lost my hot new ride — I spent the next few weeks wandering the campus aimlessly, scoping out every bike rack, every rider flying past, hoping to catch a final, parting glimpse of the machine I had spent all of my graduation cash on.

It was only a matter of time before they struck in Iowa City, as well. The bike shown above was a fairly new Gary Fisher Marlin that I had converted into something of a street cruiser after deciding that I was tired of eating dirt ever time I hit the singletrack at Sugar Bottom. It was a sweet, customized hardtail, and I had entrusted it to my brother who needed a reliable ride. And it worked great until he hauled the remainder of the frame home one day — it seems he forgot to lock up the front end of the bike, and an enterprising thief decided to take the wheel and the front fork. The bike has been sitting forlornly in my shed, waiting for another fork (maybe even something rigid?) or the even grimmer task of parting it out to the highest bidder (the cost-benefit analysis continues).

And this is why we can’t have nice things. Learn how to stop it, plus meet Hal Ruzal below.

Continue reading ‘Sticky Fingers (not the Stones album)’