Welcome to the City Bikes clearance bin for all the overstock thoughts, rants, news items, and other idea fragments that we need to turn over. Check back often, as stock is refreshed frequently

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bega's Cannondale

As seen previously with my Moots, a few of us at the shop refuse to buy into the conventional wisdom that your commuter bike needs to be a beater. Sure, we have access to some nice bikes at reduced prices. Sure, we benefit if everyone decides that a commuter bike oughta cost more than your first car. And the best bike is the one that you ride.

But putting all that aside, here's Bega's Cannondale SystemSix, rigged and ready for commuter duty.The cognoscenti will note the SRAM Force drivetrain bits, and the Zipp / Flashpoint wheels. But don't ignore the fenders, Speedplay Frog pedals, and the mirrors and bell. Running a carbon race bike as your regular transpo may not be for everyone, but here's proof that it is possible.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Even bike blogs in DC talk wonky

[Edit -- since this post, this bill did indeed stall, and has now been reintroduced, click here for the details on the new, more ambitious bill]

Both you regular readers are probably wondering, "What's that gobbledy-gook feed you plunked into your already ugly blog?" It's a status update on the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008, which passed in the House, and is coming up for Senate vote soon.

Who cares? Bike commuters should, because buried within the bill, is an extension of the transportation fringe benefit allowance (the reason nearly every Federal employee in the area gets those $100 in Metro cards every month that occasionally end up on eBay) to bicycle commuting. Rep. Blumenauer of Oregon (of course) has been quixotically championing this issue for years.

Obviously, it would be a great thing for the larger "us" of cycling. But for the small business "us" that pays me every two weeks, allowing companies and Government agencies (there's a few of those around here) to give a non-taxable commuting subsidy for bike commuting would probably bring quite a few people through the store doors.

What are the chances? Well, this bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Legislative Purgatory in the past. This time round, it is tucked it into a bill that would repeal oil company tax credits, and use the savings to fund alternative fuel research. So nobody will oppose it, and it should fly right through the Senate. Yes.

By the by, Tom Davis of Virginia's 11th (Fairfax, Springfield, Potomac Millsville), Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland's 6th (northern Maryland), Frank Wolf of Virginia's (Herndon, Winchester, Sterling), and rural Virginia's voice-of-tolerance, Virgil Goode of the Charlottesville area, are among the local-ish reps who voted against it.

I'm not going to get my hopes up, but I'm also going to write a letter to my senators. Hope you'll do the same. Unless, of course, you're in DC. Like City Bikes. Disenfranchised and it feels so good.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cartoon that is either funny or offensive

I vote 'funny', but then, I don't ride a "tungsten-graphite" bike.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Superlame RFK Crit wrap-up post

I didn't stay for the racing, and took a grand total of three photographs at this past Sunday's City Bikes RFK Criterium presented by Hub Racing [sharply inhales]. So to further lame up an otherwise lame post, I'm using Men at Work lyrics to structure my thoughts. Yep, I've reached a nadir of cheap gimmickry on this blog. Here's the video, to refresh your repressed memories of the song.

Do you come from a land down under?
The bike doesn't, it's a Cannondale SuperSix Ultimate...
.... which is ridden by Leeanne Manderson of Hub Racing, who does. Where women glow and men plunder? I might have plundered that bike, had it not been secured by a lock, and been way too small for me. The SRAM SRM crank features a built-in powermeter, tasteful good looks, a huge pricetag, and two similar acronyms I don't know. If the women were glowing, I was far too tired to notice, as I reported for setup duty at 6AM sharp. Note the fading remnants of the moon just east of the nose of the saddle.Can't you hear the thunder? Yes, quite clearly in fact. I live overlooking I395 (jealous?), where Rolling Thunder convened, just as I had settled down for my post-race nap. Bitchin.
You better run you better take cover. I did, after two laps of watching the Cat5 Men's race, which included a young go-getter named Adrian Fenty. As mentioned, I then beat a hasty retreat for my bed, and listened to motorcycles, wishing I had a head full of zombie. So for race info, you'll have to make due with WABA's pictures, and the results.

I had that awful song in my head all weekend. Sorry. The posts will improve. Maybe.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Why Bike to Work #5 -- Apparent motion

So, way back on reason #3, commentator Marissa noted in part:
Hands down, my favorite part of bike commuting is how I zip past all the suckers waiting at the bus stop. They'll be there for another 15 minutes or so, only to have to pay to cram into a sardine-can-esque bus that usually smells of sweat and frustration....
Well, I won't trash the bus, it's ambiance, or it's patrons. But I'll run with the central point -- getting to work on the bike is pretty satisfying, in part because I'm almost always moving, rarely waiting. Even though I respect the traffic signals. I may only be loping along at 15 MPH, but there's very little sitting, dawdling, or other wasteful activities. When you're as impatient as I am, avoiding those infuriating delays is priceless.

When I held my own Drive to Work Day, I noticed these two headed the other way, not moving terribly quickly, but they were moving. Unlike me, who was cruising about 24mph below the posted limit.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Handbuilt wheels are magical

No warranty expressed or implied, though.

City Bikes RFK Criterium THIS SUNDAY!

So, why should you bumble out to the City Bikes RFK Criterium to spectate?

--plentiful grass space to setup a blanket and cooler to relax
--view of the majority of the course from start/finish
--Bega's stream-of-consciousness announcing
--men's pro race was added this year
--you hardly ever bike east of the Capitol, swing by Eastern Market on the way home, and make a day of it
--more aural pleasure than either Sunday's Rolling Thunder (click here for road closure info), or the old RFK auto race (they really thought it would create $350M in economic impact?)

Or click here to register.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Insert clever pun on "Hungary" here

Not so safe for our overly puritanical North American workplaces, but apparently OK for Hungary eyes, here's a PSA video appealing to the basest instincts of Hungarians to ride. Got the link through the RoadBikeRider newsletter, which is almost as good as ours. Translation of the spoken bits of Hungarian found here, but the plot is pretty easily discernible.

As if I needed ANOTHER reason to grow out a handlebar moustache....

And does this mean that there will be a Bike to Work Day Baby Boom? A sliver less than 7,000 registered this year, and while maybe only half rode, that's still a bunch of people who chose to Bringázz a munkába.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Another reason "steel is real"?

Apparently, "plastic is metastatic." The nanotube carbon fiber construction of such things as the fork on my Moots, and the BMC higher-end bikes, is apparently carcinogenic. Though, I can't imagine too many parts of a bicycle that you could mince up, inject into a mouse, and not expect bad things to happen.

Dogs, vans, and free money from the Government

Our Pedro's rep dropped in today to say hi and do a schwag drop, driving a van in the style of question-mark-festooned scheister Matthew Lesko, a frequent sight in Adams Morgan.Unlike Mr. Lesko, Pedro's has an unquestioned commitment to corporate social responsibility, read more here. Who's the funny looking chap in the driver's seat, though?This is Jordan (not to be confused with Jordan) and he's a German short-haired pointer (their Jordan, not ours, though he does have short hair, and could well be German). They are noted hunting dogs. In an odd evolution of the breed, he apparently seeks his prey on a TomTom.Back to work...

Monday, May 19, 2008

WTOP Bike to Work Day video

Sick of Bike to Work Day rehash yet? Me neither. Here's a nice video by WTOP reporter, and rookie Bike to Work Day participant, Markette Smith, along with our omnipresent face-made-for-radio, Bega. Might this be a prelude to bike path condition reports "on the nines"? Anyway, here's their summary, and here's the video:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

WABA Events Machine Flawless, Weather Machine Needs Work

It's a shame that seemingly every year, Bike to Work Day gets rain. Back in the days of Bike DC, same thing. Oh well. I rode into the shop at 4 em-effin AM, and got miserably soaked....
By 7AM, the rain had tapered off a bit, and it turned into one of those overcast days where it was great to be a bike fender owner.I coasted my exhausted carcass home a bit after noon, and it was gorgeous blue skies and sunshine.I stopped for a cup of coffee at Crystal City, and took a seat outside to enjoy the weather, and to snap a few pics of cyclists coming off of the Mt. Vernon Trail. Got this one solitary shot.......whereupon a Vornado (formerly Charles E. Smith) security guard informed me that I was on private property, and was prohibited from taking pictures. I explained that I participated in the organization for Bike to Work Day, and was looking for pictures of cyclists in Crystal City (which generously co-sponsored the event at a very high level for a second straight year). I was booted off the property ('the property' being a sidewalk). Boo.

Friday, May 16, 2008

As Seen on News 4

Here's the second segment with Bega this morning, posted on NBC4dc.com

Here's a nice piece from Freedom Plaza for the 11am newscast, featuring a few of our staff and friends rolling out from the store, the usual spandex hokey-jokey stuff, a quick highlight of SmartbikeDC, and some participant interviews.

And finally, Bega has posted a Windows Media file of the first segment on his FTP site, but I think you gotta download all 11MB of it to view.

Proposed FY09 DC Bicycle Funding From Councilman Graham

In his address to the Bike to Work Day crowd at Freedom Plaza, Ward One Councilmember Jim Graham was kind enough to proudly mention City Bikes as one of his constituents, which was nice.

But far FAR nicer was his description of his proposed FY09 appropriation for bicycling. Besides the $1.5M in recurring (not one-time grant money) appropriations, funded out of parking ticket collections, they are looking to fund a full-time staffer for the Bicycle Advisory Council.

Cross your fingers, and maybe drop a line to your councilmember's office. Here's a summary of the proposal we got our mitts on:

1) Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety and Enhancement Fund

· $1.5 million dollars to DDOT recurring each year

· Uses

i. Faster action on implementing the Bicycle Master Plan

ii. Faster action on implementing the Pedestrian Master Plan

iii. Creative solutions that can’t be done with Federal Dollars

iv. Faster responses to local bike/pedestrian safety problems

2) Bicycle / Pedestrian Safety Public Service Announcements

· $18,000 to Washington Area Bicyclists Association

· Get the message out to drivers that they must drive respectfully

· Encourage folks to ride their bikes and walk

3) Better Bicycle Parking

· $60,000 to help DDOT do bicycle parking study required by law

· Assess the quality of bicycle access and parking at all DC Gov’t facilities.

4) Bicycle Advisory Council support

· Full-time staff person to support the Bicycle Advisory Council in pushing DDOT to provide better bicycle facilities.

· This staff person will be located in the Council Policy Office to provide bicycle and pedestrian expertise to all Councilmembers

Bike to Work Day 'round the web

Charlie's pics are up, and they look pretty darned good.

BTW Day coverage on Earth Portal News, along with more talk of bike sales rising due to gas prices. Plus a nice quote by Phil.

Anna K makes us blush with all the nice things she says about us.

Gwadzilla's pics still to come, we impatiently wait.

Quick summary from WashCycle.

Much more still to come....

Three Big Dummies

Eric and David test the limits of good judgment, and of Jordan's new Big Dummy (see prior post).

I'll be sure to add this nuttiness to David's Cargo-Bike sighting map.

Jordan's Big Dummy debuts in style

Lots of stuff to be hauled to Bike to Work Day in Freedom Plaza, and the truck had already departed when we received a frantic call for workstands. Out from his place of slumber, the warehouse, stumbles Jordan, and his just-finished Surly Big Dummy. Thanks to the folks at XtraCycle, who overnighted some necessary rack parts, and some quick bungee cording........Jordan loaded up a bike, and two Pedro's workstands. What a way to take the maiden voyage in style. He was up all night getting the Rohloff internal hub and disk brakes dialed just right. We pointed our way down 14th St.......forgetting his helmet in the excitement. Big Dummy, indeed.At low speeds, it seemed a bit unwieldy and seemed to shimmy, but once he got rolling, it was all good. Big ole Schwalbe tires swallowed potholes.We got a caravan going for the ride back........and guess who was grinning the whole way?More to follow later, nap time now.

NBC4 Morning appearance

Michael Flynn, Bega, Hub Racing chatted bikes.Bega mentioned every sponsor's name at least five times, I think (he was reciting SRAM-Cannondale-Timbuk2-Bryson Web-Asylum-Zipp like Hurley on "Lost" recited those winning lottery numbers).I hope it televised well, we should have video up pretty soon. And in case you didn't hear Bega mention it, City Bikes RFK Criterium, May 25th at RFK parking lot.

Why Bike to Work #4 -- Riding in Rain is Carefree Fun

At least that's the talking point this morning, as I head out for Bike to Work Day... Check back for updates through the day.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Drive to Work Day

Bike to Work Day is tomorrow, but I almost always bike to work, so today was the day to shake the commute up a bit. With a bunch of stuff to haul around for tomorrow, some errands to run at both stores, post-honeymoon sloth, and a whole lot of other great excuses, I drove to work. Here's I-395 at noon:And Rock Creek Parkway:I'm making GREAT time:At least gas is, um, oh. Wow.

City Bikes on NBC4 tomorrow

NBC4 is doing some Bike to Work Day drop-in segments from the Adams Morgan store on their 5-7AM newscast. The only way I could be more excited is if Jim Vance himself showed up to do the segment. Bega and his Hub Racing crew will be in front of the cameras, tune in.


If that radio spot didn't give you the vapors, maybe the poster will.

Come say hi to us at NIH, Bethesda, Freedom Plaza, on the Mt Pleasant convoy, or at either store.

Bike to Work Day TOMORROW

Here's the radio spot that's currently running. Rained be goshdarned, see you out there!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

2008 12 Hours of Lodi Farm: a dcmtb.com Update

[ed note -- this post was sitting in blogger post drydock while i was luxuriating in honeymoon bliss, so it's pretty untimely. But as every maniacal cabbie in St. Lucia told me, "no preshah." Like a more empathetic twist on Jamaica's ubiquitous "no problem." Anyway, onto the race action...]

Howdy. Mike here...

It's hard for me to personally overstate the drama that was the 2008 12 Hours of Lodi... Weather threatened, Kent was out then in, teammates were dropping like flies...On the grenade I jumped, volunteering for the first lap. Kent and Matty allowed me to set the strategy for the race: double laps for one full rotation then back to singles for the rest of the race.I lined up for the pre-race meeting towards the beginning of the prologue loop from last year (hint, hint). Another quick parade loop through the singletrack was announced and I was in the cat-bird seat. I allowed a skinner-lookin' dude to get in front of me as a way to show others that I was in the front and solidifying my #2-into-the-woods plan. We cruised through the end of the course for a solid 1/2 mile prologue then past the start finish. I was #2 into the woods. After the beginning of the first section of trails (before the field traverse), I took a few wrong turns (bad course markings) and I managed to stay in 8th by the end of the first lap. Tom 'Young Buck' from Family Bikes and Mikey 'Cargo' Pearce came by me as did a few other studs. No worries, I had another lap to catch somebody. The course was very different at the top and in the middle. I was lost as usual and confused, to be sure. Lodi has some turns in it, if you didn't know. I passed two people on my next lap and came in a little before 2am in 4th overall, second Expert.To sleep...Through the night, we went back and forth with the Troegenator's team. Their ringer was going against Kent and kept catching him, which is crazy because Mr Baake is quick.Through the final set of laps, we were behind them. Matty went out a few minutes behing the Troegenators. Matty was riding HARD! Roid-rage hard. He was the only guy coming through our campsite HAMMERING! That boy is dedicated. Matty made up the time plus some (hard to do on that course) and he handed off to me with a 2.5 minute advantage. I climbed into the hurt locker that was inside the pain cave at the urging of my wife ('leave it all out on the course!') and DRILLED myself into the ground. I was tired then pushed harder then pushed even harder... I knew I had to kill those little hills, the only straight-aways in the course. Susan was at the end of my lap with the kids, urging me on. I came in to the start/finish fast and handed to Kent, managing to blurt out 'GO! GO!' The kids were stoked.Kent Baake HAMMERED his lap and stayed out in front of Zach from the Troegenators. We managed a win. Zach came in hard and tired. We got him some fluids and did what we could to make him comfortable but that kid REALLY pushed that last lap. They were hard to beat. I would have been fine with losing to those guys. Great guys...I would like to nominate Matty as MVP for the race. Inspirational... Between Susan's words and Matty's determination, I couldn't slow down. Our last three laps were 50, 50 and 51. Fastest lap of the day was 49.1st overall, first expert. My immense respect for our dcmtb team continues to grow, especially Matty, Kent and Mr Fastest Lap, Mike Pearce!Oh, and '70% chance of showers' in Spring in the Mid-Atlantic region means cloudy, dry and WONDERFUL weather... Pics to come later...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Camping in Mariola with the Breezer Itzy

My s.o. and I had to get out of the city this past weekend. The Breezer Itzies seemed to be calling us to load them up and head out to the hills. In the car, that is. The two bikes and all our camping gear fit neatly inside the boot of our diesel powered C3, thereby not hindering the fuel efficiency whatsoever.

In Mariola there are some narrow twisty one-lane roads that were alot of fun on the Itzy with its capacity for quick turning.

Having only one gear, the Breezer gang picked a good one that climbs well but also zips around town. And living on the fourth floor with no elevator, the 19.5 lbs that they weigh, along with how small they fold with space being at a premium, make for great incidental characteristics.

All in all, it was a relaxing weekend, good to be far away from the urban chaos, to breathe the mountain air, and to refresh our outlook.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Mominator

Dubbed as such by popular opinion within City Bikes.

What I had was a situation on my hands whereby dear old Mum had talked to cycling friends and eventually they asked about her bike. Her bike was a mid-'80s vintage Fuji mountain bike, super light for that time as I remember, but now heavy as a tank. It was faded and dirty black with faded pink cables and rusty handlebars and cracking grips. That being said, I had kept it well lubed, inflated, and adjusted, and her friends couldn't seem to understand that her son worked in a bicycle shop and had her riding this oldfangled monstrosity no matter how good I insisted it was. So I was looking somewhat less than the caring son.

This was in the summer, and as the winter holiday approached, I called a debt and brought up the idea of restoring this bike beyond its past glory. Shawn at City Bikes was able to help, although he too offered up the prospect of buying her a new bike. This particular piece of chromoly had too much sentimental value to go on the scrapheap, so finally we agreed to restore it.

It had to be yellow, because it was Mum's favourite colour, and she had a 1968 Pontiac Catalina convertable that was yellow, so the bicycle got sent off to be repainted. Mr. Smith recommended white accents, and so there was the colour scheme. I gave him a dollar limit and said "do what you can" to make it stylish and lighter, and a few weeks later I got the call that it was ready. This bike is now the pride of that particular house in the retirement community, sporting Phil Wood hubs, lightweight hand built wheels, new paint, grips, bar, cables, tyres, saddle, and probably alot more that I don't know about.

Judge for yourself - it was a hit with everyone involved and you may even consider doing something like this for an old bike you know of that could use the attention.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Darren's French-ish commuter

I had an ugly old yellow/black French road bike that really wasn't serving much purpose. Then, a former co-worker got doored, busticated his hand, and consequently had to tool around on his Steamroller set up with big upright bars. And he loved it. So I said "me too!", and yeah, after years of tongue-tickling the stem, riding perfectly upright was a revelation.

But the bike still looked awful. And if you're not going fast, you should at least look good. So, off to the powdercoater. Despite many taunts, I wanted a color approximating the Bareknuckle we just jettisoned. Judge for yourself:Fenders were powdercoated to match, the rack was left chromed. Both are from Velo-Orange. I like the upright bars, but I needed a stupid-long stem to be comfortable, so I snagged this 140mm SR stem on this little site called eBay.tinnnnnggggg!
And a nice French bike needs a nice French crank. Well, it's actually an English Lambert, but it's pretty much the same as the old TAs.I think I have a dropout fetish. I just think they're attractive.I had this bike stashed in the shop one day, and a customer referred to it as "pimpin". That works.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Darren's Landshark conversion

My first road bike was a lumbar-puncturing Cannondale crit racer that was a size too small. Live and learn. So, my first tolerable road bike was this Landshark I scooped up at a yard sale.As more bikes arrived and departed (mostly arrived), I eventually went trendy, and converted it to a fixed gear.Vertical dropouts make chain tensioning difficult, but not impossible, I used this very useful website. Another very sketchy feature is the Ergopower bell. I like having two brake levers, and when only one functions as the Campy gods intended, you can't just have that extra lever just flopping around. So I rigged it up thusly to contend with my old commute on the Cap Crescent Trail. Other parts are not so practical...Brakes were selected solely for good looks, as was the Ibis stem.The paint is a nice red/black airbrush, I think, but flakes off in a stiff breeze.