Friday, May 20, 2011

Trappe, Pa Ride of Silence

Thanks to Bikesport Bike Shop, Trappe, Pennsylvania has joined others across the world in the Ride of Silence.  I'm happy that I got to be part of their second year of doing this.  I used my fancy diy camera mount and took some video of our ride, and added some of my own piano music.  I've seen some other videos of the Ride of Silence that people have done in other places, and it is interesting to see how different each location is;  But the meaning behind the rides, and the silence of each rider really unites each one.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hong Kong Ride of Silence

(photo by Lim Soo)
(photo by Lim Soo)

First, check out this excellent video on youtube of this year's ride of silence in Hong Kong.  

I was just in Hong Kong last March for the month, 32 days.  If you've seen my posts about it, then you already know that I had many wonderful cycling experiences there with my folding bike.  Before I arrived there, I had contacted many people in the cycling scene, and then had the opportunities to meet them in person while I was there.  One of those people is Lim Soo, of the blog i-brompton.  Before I left, I gave him as a gift a Hong Kong bicycle license plate.  You can see it in the picture above.  He rode in the ride of silence with it.  Another person I met is Martin, of unicycling hockey fame.  He also has been one of the most important advocates of cycling in Hong Kong for many years now, and instrumental in garnering support.  We hung out for an hour or so my last night in Hong Kong.  I didn't want to take my helmet back with me on the plane, so asked if he would like it.  That is him in the other picture above in the ride of silence wearing the helmet I gave him before leaving.  Eric, of Flwrider, made the video you can see in the link above, and in one of the frames is Brian, creator of Flwrider, and the father of the fixie scene that is ever growing in Hong Kong.  I got to meet them while I was there, have dinner, and go on a ride.  

Watching the video of the ride, seeing pictures from their ride of silence, leaves me with a feeling of gratefulness that I got to meet those people, and be part of the Hong Kong cycling scene for a brief time.  

Bicycle Unusualness

I was happy to see a tall bike show up at my local Ride of Silence earlier this evening.  A couple of my friends at the Community Bike Shop in Charlottesville, Va had made tall bikes, and I miss being around that kind of scene.  In case you're wondering, Ginny (owner of Bikesport) is pinning the ride of silence logo onto the back of Pat's jacket.

Can you spot what is unusual about Antimo's fixed gear (besides the pink tire!)?

Moving by Bike

Steve posing with the Fuji Royale II before I left on the second run.

There are alot of moving parts on a bicycle.  We move our legs to make it go.  The pedals spin, the crank spins, the wheels spin.  It moves our bodies from one point to another.  But that's not exactly the kind of moving I'm talking about for this post.  A bicycle can also move our belongings.  

The other day I helped my friend Steve do that.  Using a trailer from BikesAtWork, we took some trips from one house to the other, loading it with nice and light square boxes that fit perfectly to oddly shaped items that we had to tweak a few times to secure.  On one of the trips (about 1 mile or so one way), we moved the grill.  It fit perfectly on the trailer with no tweaking or extra work.  Each loaded trip took about 12 minutes.  It took less time than that to get back of course.  

Steve is very plugged in to his community.  We saw many people who he knows along the route between houses, and received smiling faces and thumbs up for our efforts.  

We weren't stressed about trying to get too much done.  It was kind of like just going on a neighborhood bike ride like you would as a kid, except you're taking a few things along with you, and dropping them off somewhere else.  The joy of riding a bike is still there even though you are working, and that keeps it fun.  

There was a natural break in between trips, and during one of them Steve had received a package in the mail.  It was a proof of the greenways map of Chapel Hill, NC that he has been working on recently.  If you live in the Philadelphia area, you may have seen or used the Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Map that he designed.  

My family and I are moving too in a couple of months.  Steve has said he'll let me borrow the trailer, which I'm planning to do.  I had already been thinking about moving by bike before I knew he was doing this.  Our new place is also only about a mile away from where we are now.  I've been daydreaming about moving my Yamaha P-22 upright piano by bike, but that's probably not going to happen.  If you've heard of anyone who has moved a piano by bike, let me know!  

If you're in a rush, then moving by bike is probably not for you.  If you can take some time, and want to make your move fun and memorable, then I suggest doing some of it by bike.  

Monday, May 9, 2011

Please Welcome My Fuji Track Bike

This afternoon, with Alan's help (owner of Alan's Bicycles), I was able to finish setting up my early 80's fuji track bike.  I'm very excited about this.  Also this afternoon, I registered to take an adult basic class at the Trexlertown Velodrome this August for 4 weeks.  I'll be going there two nights each week to learn and practice riding the track.  I'm hoping of course I can find other times to go ride there as well.  This will be my first time riding a fixed gear, my next step in this fuji cycling life.

Alan's help was integral to making sure this bike was set up properly.  This morning I draped the new (and beautiful) HKK chain around the crank and cog to eye the chainline before installing the chain.  It is a good thing I didn't just put the chain together because it was obvious something wasn't quite right.  I took it to Alan to have him take a look.  He ended up measuring the alignment of the frame, and it was apparent that it was not straight.  I left it with him, and in about an hour he had straightened it out, and got it squared away.  The chainline looked perfect afterward.  He also helped me get a start on working out the proper fit.  He is an expert in all facets of bicycling, and I knew he would see what I wasn't able to see.  Alan doesn't have a website, but you can see a list of some of the spectacular bikes he offers in a previous post I made.  By the way, the fuji titanium on that list has been sold.  His shop's address is:

 285 Schuylkill Road (Rt. 23) Phoenixville, Pa 19460  ph. #: 610-933-4818 
email:     I highly recommend him.  His shop is the kind of place you'll always learn something new no matter how many times you visit.  

Stats of the bike:
ishiwata double butted tubing/made in Japan
nitto njs bars
nitto njs stem 110mm
suntour cyclone track pedals/fujita leather straps/njs toe clips
suntour superbe pro track crank njs167.5mm 
tange bottom bracket ISO 109mm
sunshine professional hubs njs/100mm front/110mm rear flip flop
bontrager inform saddle
sr laprade fluted seat post 26.6mm
origin8 48 tooth chainring 1/8
HKK vertex chain silver 1/8
suntour 16 tooth cog 1/8
tange falcon headset 
suntour lockring njs
ukai 700c presta rims tubular njs

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Trexlertown Velodrome Swap Event

No, I did not buy this (unfortunately).

Today was my first visit to the infamous Trexlertown Velodrome.  I hope to be going there alot more now that I have a track bike (more to come on the progress of that later).  They held their twice annually swap meet there today, and I went looking specifically for track shoes and a chainring/cog bag.  I did not find either, but I did find a great set of wheels for my fuji touring bike.  I also found the jersey you see in the photo above, however, Phil was asking $90 for it.  I just couldn't justify the cost without being sure it is something I would actually wear.  I didn't want to take my shirt off in front of everyone to try it on.  So I asked if I could take a picture instead.  

They served a great lunch at the Breakaway Cafe, and a wonderful special sangria in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  After I got my food, I was looking for a shady spot because I got sunburned last weekend at Bike New York (even though my friend Chris offered me sunscreen which I stupidly declined to use).  I spotted a picnic table with an umbrella, but most of the shade went into the grass instead of directly over the table.  I sat there nonetheless.  There were already two people there, Tim and Morgan, from Baltimore.  Morgan graciously gave me the shady spot next to Tim, and she moved to the sunny side claiming she was kind of chilly anyway.  They provided good conversation.  There was a kind of familiarity as if I had met them before already, but I don't think so.  They had come up the night before and camped out in the grassy parking area outside of the track.  

Bilenky Cycle Works was there, and I noticed a flyer at their booth advertising the next Philly Bike Expo this October 29th-30th, 2011.  That was a pretty good event last fall, and can only be better this time.  I'll look forward to that.  

This swap happens again in the fall as well.  I think it is in October too.  Hopefully I'll find a chainring bag before then though.  I was bidding on one on ebay the other week.  It was  vintage suntour one, blue, and would have been perfect because I'm setting this bike up with some suntour parts (crank, hubs, cogs).  I was the only bidder for days, and it seemed I would win it.  I was there at the last moments just in case, with my finger ready for the 1-click bid, and I did have to use it!  Unfortunately, that punk had put in a higher 'highest' bid, so when I clicked I lost again.  I was flabbergasted and very angry, but I guess that's how ebay works.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bike New York: Yes! Bike Hong Kong: Maybe? Escalate!

(David, Chris, Meg, Me, and Haley)
So, here we are at Bike New York!  (Thanks Chris for the photos!) ... all of us at the 3rd rest stop with a great view of Manhattan in the top photo, and me and Chris stuffed into the 'special train' for all of the cyclists heading to the ride in the bottom photo.  On the way over to Manhattan from Jersey City, I detached the trailer from the bike to maneuver the escalators, but coming back later I just left it on and escalated with it attached.  That was pretty easy to do actually.  I love escalating with large pieces of equipment that I have to hold on to.  I really just love escalating; to escalate; let's escalate!  (Alright, enough of that.)  For the stairs I had to do two trips, and thankfully Meg was there to help Haley get up and down the stairs and escalators.  She was a great helper.  

We were able to stay together the whole ride.  As Chris commented at one point, the large group of over 30,000 riders was kind of like an individual organism, ebbing and flowing, and moving in its own organic way.  It was nice to have a completely car free ride, though I couldn't help thinking while on the expressway that I probably wouldn't choose to use it as a cyclist if I did have the option.  I like being tucked in between buildings and down on the street where I can see and feel people moving around me.  At the same time, a wide open road practically all to yourself is a great feeling too.  

A week or so before the ride I found some New York bicycle license plates on ebay.  I bought them to hand out at the ride.  After giving one to Meg, I had 9 left to hand out.  By the end of the ride I still had three left.  So 6 people were willing to take one.  Others weren't so keen on it.  I think some who declined just thought it was stupid and were too cool for a little bike license plate, and others I think wondered what the catch was.  Maybe they thought I had installed little tiny cameras on them, and would be watching the rest of their lives through it from a little dark closet in a basement or something.  I still have 3 left.  If you want one, let me know.  

I think it is astounding how this ride comes off.  The organization it takes to make it happen is extreme.  The main thing that stands out to me is how they close such major roadways to allow it to be car free.  If New York can do this, I think any very large city can do this.  I was thinking of Hong Kong alot as we were riding over the Verazzano Bridge.  That is a large issue in Hong Kong because cyclists cannot access Lantau Island from Kowloon or Hong Kong Island without taking a train or ferry.  It is illegal to ride the bikes over the bridges.  In fact, before I left there, Martin (a director of the Hong Kong Bicycling Alliance) and I were talking about this very issue of bikes on the bridges there.  I was also thinking of Hong Kong alot because we were on the train and ferry as part of this ride.  Cyclists have just begun in the past few years being allowed on the trains and ferries in Hong Kong, and indeed you cannot get everywhere on a bike that you want to there without having to utilize one or the other.  I think a ride like Bike New York could very well happen in Hong Kong, where they coordinate a car free route by closing some expressway lanes and bridge lanes in an orderly fashion to accomodate a large group of cyclists for a day.   'Bike Hong Kong' has a good ring to it too.   

Vintage Fujis in Bike New York

Last Sunday, my daughter and I rode in Bike New York.  It was 42 miles through Manhattan, Harlem, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.  She was in her bike trailer, and for a 3 1/2 year old did fabulous for such a long ride and day on the bike.  It was helpful that we went along with our very experienced friend Chris, who has done this ride for quite a few years now with his daughter Meg (7 yrs old).  I think you need to count on both hands how many times they have participated at this point.  Meg has done this ride on the back of her father's x-tra cycle since she was 3 yrs. old.  Chris' expertise made the logistics of getting to and from the ride a breeze for my first time.  His father, Dave, also was with us on his beautiful Bleriot.   The weather was perfect.

Of course I was keeping an eye out for some vintage fujis, and did see a few.  Besides the ones I've pictured here, I saw at least two others that I was not able to photograph due to the fact that I needed both hands on the bars at that point.  So, out of over 30,000 riders, I saw at least 5 or 6 vintage fujis.  I feel certain that there were more.  I only had a brief moment to talk with one of the people riding these fujis, and I think it was her first time on it.  She noted mine though, and commented how well her fuji allegro rode.  I think she was surprised by that.  It's performance surpassed her expectations of what that old bike was going to do.  Don't underestimate these older fujis.  There really is something truly special about them.