Stories of great cycling in unexpected places

http://www.guardian.co.uk

The story is – at least to my mind – unexpected.  It is unexpected in what the story tells, and it is an unexpected website where I first found the story.

I’m referring to the article “Cycling lessons from Mexico City” by Tom Wainwright, and I found the article not on the Guardian where it originated, but rather copied to a publication called Online Stock TradingWho’d have guessed?

But what makes the content of the story unexpected as well?  Perhaps it is my Americanized perspective, but to me Mexico City as always been a crowded, polluted city full of crazy drivers darting around honking horns like mad.  Admittedly I’ve never been to Mexico City, cut clearly the worlds most populous metropolis must be a terrible place to ride a bike.

Not so according to Tom Wainwright.  In fact, he claims that London should learn from Mexico City:

Well, Mexico City is nearly twice as big and faces social problems graver than anything Tower Hamlets has seen in a few decades. But its inhabitants are much, much more easygoing. Last week I saw a cyclist almost taken out by a thoughtlessly opened car door – he and the driver ended up having a joke about it. Would that happen in London or Leeds?

Like I said before, who’d have guessed?

The article really is an interesting read, and provides a perspective on what can be accomplished.  Check it out.

Random Tips for the Cyclist

This collection of tips came as a result of a tweet that I sent recommending using cycling equipment in a non-cycling way.  A couple of folks asked me to throw together a list of tips.

While there are 101 different tips lists for cycling – training tips, racing tips, whole lists of tire changing tips – I decided on a slightly different focus.  All of the tips on this list are cycling related but not specific to any particular cycling endeavor.  That is why I’ve called them “Random Tips for the Cyclist” instead of, say “Cycling Tips” or “Racing Tips.”

See and be seen

If you ever find yourself caught without a flashlight but needing one – say, when camping, or in your house during a power outage – the headlight of your bike will make a damn fine flashlight in a pinch.  Just unclip if from your bars and carry it around with you illuminating what you need, when you need.

Paper, or plastic?

Need to pick up a couple of items at the grocery store on your way home, but don’t have a backpack or panniers to carry them in?  No worries.  First, choose a plastic bag instead of paper (although some areas are starting to outlaw these!)  After your bag is full, ask them for two extra plastic bags.  These extra plastic bags can be tied together and form a strap that you can then tie directly to the handles of the bag with your groceries.  Tie them nice and tight, and you’ve basically crafted a temporary messenger bag for yourself that you can throw over your head and allow your groceries to hang on your back.

Is it hot in here?

Unless you are someone that likes to do the wrenching on your own bike, it is better to store your bike outside, but protected from the elements – than inside.  A shed, garage, or even locked to a fire escape – somewhere protected from the rain and moisture – are all great options. When you store your bike indoors, you are storing it at indoor temperatures.  Then, when you take it outside you are moving it to an environment that could potentially be significantly colder in the winter, or hotter in the summer.  While not particularly harmful to the materials used to make your bike, it can cause the different parts to expand or contract at different rates – as all things do when they heat and cool.  This will ultimately result in your fasteners (nuts and bolts) loosening up faster than normal.  If you like to take your bike in to the shop for a tuneup once or twice a year and that’s it, you can find your self with critical equipment failures if your bike goes through frequent hot/cold transitions.

Machine Wash Separately

Don’t wash your cycling gloves – or anything else with velcro – along with your jerseys, shorts and bibs.  Those little hooks are terrible when rubbed up against the sometimes delicate lycra, resulting in snags, pulls and wear.  Throw the gloves in with a load of denim jeans where they can do no harm.  While you’re at it – turn your jerseys and shorts inside out when you wash them.  Let’s face it – it is the inside that really needs to be clean to prevent bacteria and other saddle-sore-inducing badness.

Too much junk in the trunk

Bike panniers can often have very tight clearance with your heel as you are pedaling – especially if they’ve been fitted to a non-touring specific frame.  If you have a rear rack with two bars – one above the other – you can sometimes get away with dropping the front hook of the bag down to the lower railing.  This will result in the bag rotating and providing slightly more heel clearance.  If you have the means, you may be able to permanently modify your panniers to accomplish the same goal.

That’s all for now.  I’ll keep adding them to the site as people pass them on to me.  Until then, the final tip:  Keep your helmet above your saddle above the tires.  Cheers!

Local Cycling Group: Team Pain Train Cycling

As the first in a series of profiles of Sacramento area cycling groups and clubs, I’d like to introduce Team Pain Train Cycling.  From their own website:

Team Pain Train is a cycling team from Orangevale/Sacramento, California.  Our team was formed around the motto: ”Never Give Up” after our good friend Lenny who was taken by A.L.S. but never let it slow him down shouting “all aboard the pain train” as he pulled away up a monster climb.  We ride in support of A.L.S., good friends, and good beer.

http://teampaintrain.com/

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Is the torch passing to Phinney?

News from the front lines of the Tour of Utah may be a signal of things to come next year:

Currently Leipheimer is riding – not for Team Radio Shack – but for Mellow Johnny’s, while Phinney is riding for Trek-LIVESTRONG.  Phinney’s team is a U23 development team – but Phinney has already ridden with Team Radio Shack in pro races this year.

Shall we look to Phinney to take the leadership position at Team Radio Shack in the years to come?  Only time will tell.  However, while besting Levi in the TT is indeed an impressive accomplishment, the GC landscape in the Tour of Utah shows the larger disparity between the riders.  Leipheimer was sitting in first place at the start of the day of the TT, which Phinney back in 101st place, 34’46″ behind.

However, Phinney is sitting in second place in the sprinter’s competition, behind Fly V Australia’s David Tanner.  A strong track background such as Phinney’s is a huge advantage in sprints and TTs – but the mountains are where stage races are won.

While the final results from Stage 3 have not yet been published, Leipheimer would appear to still be comfortably in first place after his second place TT performance.

Its OK Andy – I won’t shop at Mike’s Bikes any more

Hopefully Andy Schleck doesn’t shop at Mike’s Bikes.

I’ve actually shopped at this chain of bike shops quite a few times – the one here in Sacramento is actually quite nice with a great, friendly staff.  So I decided to check out the merchandise that they had on their website trying to show my daughter some of the options available for her Single Speed project.

Unfortunately, my window browsing excursion was shortened when I ran across this monstrosity of an ad on the Mike’s Bikes website:

OK.  So I guess this is supposed to be somehow funny?  I just don’t get the joke myself.  So, what – if Andy had gotten a proper tuneup from Mike’s Bikes then he wouldn’t have dropped his chain and may have won the Tour de France?  Is that the implication?

Sorry, Mr. Mike (if that is your real name) but think what you want about the chain incident in the Tour de France, no one but you is implying that it was due to a faulty tune up.

I’m looking for my daughter’s wheels somewhere else now!

Disclaimer:  This post is only partially tongue-in-cheek, partially humorous, and partially thought out.

2010 Vuelta a Espana Lineup

The first rounds of the riders set to participate in this years Veulta a Espana are being published.  These are not yet the final (read: official) startlists, but…

Since this is still just a preliminary list, JustAnotherCyclist has decided to take a decidedly biased, non-objective stab at illustrating the most noteworthy riders on (and not on) the list.  Here goes:

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Seattle to Portland set for July 9, 2011

Cascade Bicycle Club has set the dates for the 2011 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic at July 9th and 10th.  Registration for the event – which does sell out – will start on January 4th for club members, and sometime in February for non-members.  While not required to ride in the event, club membership can be purchased at various levels starting at $35 per person.

After the amazing time that I had riding the 2010 event, I will definitely plan on being in Seattle for the 2011 start.

Note: Also see the updated date information here.

Looks like Cancellara will stay with Saxo … probably.

Indications are coming out – as reported by Velonation and others – that Fabian Cancellara will stay with Saxo Bank-Sungard for the final year of his existing contract.  There have been several rumor about Fabian’s possible signing with the new Luxembourg team of Frank and Andy Schleck, or of a move to the Swiss BMC Racing team.

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Casati Photos

Every now and then a bike catches my eye and I just gotta snap a couple of shots.  Luckily this owner – who was sitting right next to it – was gracious enough to allow me this indulgence.

The photos were taken at the Palo Alto Caltrain stop.  I’ve also added them to the growing Bike Pictures photo archive, which you can find off of the main menu at the top.

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HTC Columbia’s Holmes considering move

The Danish website TV2 Sporten is reporting that Brian Holmes – currently of HTC Columbia – will move to work with the new Luxembourg based team of Frank and Andy Schleck.  Brian’s contract with HTC Columbia expires at the end of this season.  From the english translation of the original post, Brian Holmes is quoted as saying:

If you had asked me last week, I would have confirmed that I stop on HTC-Columbia. But I said to Brian Nygaard (CEO of Team Luxembourg, ed) that I need a couple extra days to think about me in