Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chill Ride Tonight Behind Shop

We're going to do an easy chill ride tonight. Meet at the shop 7pm'ish. We have some new people who are going to ride so it will be pretty relaxed and probably pretty short.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Trek Soho Commuter

Trek Soho Drive-Side Shot

The Soho is a belt drive bike aimed at the urban commuter market. It features an internally geared eight-speed hub, has full fenders, a chainguard, rubberized toptube for leaning/locking up, puncture resistant tires with reflective sidewalls, and maintenance free roller brakes. The bike is new to me and so far I have put on a big-ass front basket for trips to Star Market, a few lights here and there, and my I-home stereo. For those who havent heard it, the I-home is one of the coolest ways to go for tunes on a bike (your ipod goes inside it, its weather resistant, and it has a wireless controller on the stem).

Trek Soho Belt-drive Close Up

The Carbon Drive belt system mated to a Shimano internal eight speed hub makes for a clean, quiet, low maintenance drive system. CD claims that the belt will get approximately 8000 miles out of it and requires zero lubrication.

Trek Soho Side Shot

My only gripe is that the Soho retails for right around a grand which is a little high for a commuter bike but in its defense, that seems to be where most bikes with internally geared 7 or 8 speed hubs are priced these days and this particular bike had a lot of practical features that really set it apart. I had a Surly BIg Dummy before this bike which was considerably more expensive but had a lot more cargo carrying capacity. The Dummy was awesome but overkill for the bulk of my trips. In comparison, the Soho is a lot more nimble and I am really enjoying the fact that I can wear long pants with absolutely no worries about grease or snags. On the down side, you have to shop a lot more conservatively which actually works well for me since I usually only grocery shop for a couple of days at a time. I have to admit that I love the look and ride of the bike but the squishy saddle (which actually isnt the original seat) has to go. It has a built in tail light which i thought was cool but also has more padding than I am used to and it feels weird. I also have some different flat pedals and some Hold Fast straps (thanx Janet : ) ) that I think will make it more enjoyable - that way I get some degree of foot retention but wont be committed to any particular shoes. So yeh, thats my review of the bike so far. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. Don't forget to check out the show at The Flying Monkey tonight.


a short from the Dirty South event in Nashville last week

Kyle Ramirez

Friday, December 25, 2009

Look What I Just Got For Christmas!

Ha I wish. Just a sweet porn-worthy pic for the holidays.
Have a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Have Fun But Be Safe And Cab It!

Christmas Tree Pictures, Images and Photos

This is not necessarily cycling related but while you're here; Im sure we will all have family and old friends in town and a lot of us will probably be doing our fair share of celebrating. That's cool but please remember that it's oh so easy to get carried away and before you know it, you're a little too toasty to get home. Be smart, play it safe, and cab it home (or have a D.D.). Of course this is a good practice but especially during the holidays

Huntsville Police Department’s DUI Holiday Day Season Blitz Period Planned

"Huntsville, Alabama (December 7, 2009). The Huntsville Police Department reported today that the department will be proactive in enforcing Alabama DUI Laws over this Holiday Season. Thanks to grant enforcement money provided by the Northeast Alabama Traffic Safety Office (N.A.T.S.O.) Huntsville Police Officers will be setting up traffic safety checkpoints and encouraging everyone not to drink and drive.

This effort is attributed to a continuing and sustained enforcement effort by the entire department to ensure the safety of our citizens, according to Sgt. Jeffery B. Rice Sr., the supervisor of the DUI Task Force. “Our officers are highly motivated by the importance of this mission. The safety of the public is our primary objective and we will take all necessary steps to interdict the driver who chooses to endanger our lives by driving impaired,” he said.

Using crash data from the State of Alabama Critical Analysis Reporting Environment (C.A.R.E.) data program, the Huntsville Police Department’s DUI Traffic Task Force will be setting up random safety check points. When driving up on a safety checkpoint, citizens will be asked for a current driver’s license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. Additionally, seat belt compliance for both the drivers and all passengers will be checked. Locations for these Holiday checkpoints through New Year’s Eve will be:"

1. Winchester Road at Moores Mill Road

2. Drake Avenue at Newsom Road

3. Drake Avenue at Chasewood Drive

4. Pulaski Pike at Sparkman Drive

5. Bob Wallace Avenue at Leeman Ferry Road

6. Andrew Jackson Way at Ward Avenue

7. Jordan Lane (SR-53) at Sparkman Drive

8. Old Monrovia Road at Providence Main

Sgt. Mark Roberts
Public Information Officer
(256) 427-7197

Monday, December 21, 2009

Nabba Dabba You My Only Friend

We're going back; arrangements are being made now so...

Road Trip?

a couple of solid events coming up if you're in the mood to blow town for a night or two. Both events run by some good people so show them some love.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Complete Streets

Please consider signing this petition to have the City of Huntsville adopt the Complete Streets Policy. As you may or may not know Huntsville is the 2nd most deadly city in Alabama for pedestrians. Lets make the streets here safe for all!! The streets of our cities and towns are an important part of the livability of our communities. They ought to be for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper. But too many of our streets are designed only for speeding cars, or worse, creeping traffic jams.

Now, in communities across the country, a movement is growing to complete the streets. States, cities and towns are asking their planners and engineers to build road networks that are safer, more livable, and welcoming to everyone.

Instituting a complete streets policy ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire roadway with all users in mind - including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

more info can be found here http://www.completestreets.org

or just put your John Hancock here

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fuck Me: If This Shit Gets Anymore Cliche

"its just so pure and simple. i really feel connected to my bike. once i finish getting my graphic design degree, i'm going to blah blah blah"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter; Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Do you ride every day in the summer and then hang it up at the sign of the first cold front? If you do, it's safe to say that you're not the only one. For many cyclists, riding is a three season sport leaving a few of us to brave the winter months alone. Truth be told, you can easily ride year round in Huntsville with a little bit of gear. Truth be told, that gear can also be pricey. It doesn't have to be. Just buy smart and choose your winter-wear wisely. Buy pieces that you can build on and that are versatile. One of the big problems with helping people choose the right gear is knowing what conditions they plan to ride in and how warm they expect to be. Remember, if you leave the house already warm, youre overdressed and youre going to be too hot. Be realistic about when you're going to ride. Dont buy lobster-mitts if you never get out past January. In fact, we live in Alabama, never buy lobster-mitts anytime. When you say it's cold, are we talking in the 50's or in the 30's? Realistically, it rarely gets colder than that here. Probably the most important layer is the base layer. On longer rides, A technical fabric that manages moisture is extremely important. Being cold is one thing but being cold and wet is another. Obviously if you're just riding three miles to work or the store, you're not going to have time to work up a sauna in your jacket so this is a little less crucial. My old winter standby for a "ride" is a short sleeve bike jersey with arm warmers and a Windstopper jacket. I love anything that has Windstopper! It is thin and easy to move in yet it works like a mofo. A lined longsleeve jersey alone is usually good if its above 50. Pulling the arm warmers up or down has been a good way to regulate temperature as i warm up or cool off. If I'm just jetting home for lunch, a hoodie and jacket will usually suffice. The point is, there are dozens if not hundreds of ways to layer up and I'm always interested in seeing how others do it. Here are a couple of good articles by much more capable authors, Elly Blue and Jonathan Maus over at Bike Portland

Did you fight the cold today? If so, who won? by Jonathan Maus

"This morning’s commute was one of the coldest (mid-20s without windchill) and windiest I can remember in the five years I’ve lived in Portland. I was curious how many people would set out on their bikes this morning (I know several friends who opted to bus or drive) and I thought it’d be fun to capture those that did on camera.

Did you ride today? If so, share your experiences/tips. If not, perhaps the photos below will inspire you to try tomorrow…"
All pictures are by J.Maus. For more pics and larger sizes, check out the original article at Bike Portland

Also check out the excellent article by Elly Blue, Winter riding: Staying warm and dry on a budget

2009 Christmas Parade In Ya Face!

For those who missed the Christmas Parade last Saturday, here is a short Charlie Brown'esque video of the cyclists meeting up beforehand. I believe there was a total of about 60 cyclists which was nice for a chilly Saturday morning. Excellent footage graciously produced by Jacqy and Greg. Originally posted by Angry Jim:

Um Wow, There Really Is An App For That

Thanx Tyler, an interesting little by Bike Blog NYC

"I’ve been talking about a few subtle hints for those paying attention but now the bomb has dropped. First off, if you haven’t figured out already, there is a new iPhone game coming out day one next year, featuring artist and tall bike aficionado, Ryan Doyle. More on this new app can be found at the website: Bikeclubgames.com

Ryan’s been busy at the Miami art Basel showing off his skills as the world’s greatest joustman and demonstrating a few of his ridable art pieces including the Regurigitator and Hell-o-copter.

The master mind behind this game is Fredric King, who made the documentary B.I.K.E. back in 2007 for Fountainhead films. He’s teamed up with Curious Pictures for the creation of a truly unique app which allows the participants to command a tall bike in several urban settings and try and defeat various opponents through the bizarre sport of tallbike jousting.

I was able to interview Fredric King and find out what inspired him to make this app and bring the world of freak bike culture to iPhones everywhere:

Name, Age and where you live?
Fredric King. Age 51. Lives in NYC

What lead you to making a film about tallbikes, Black Label and eventually Ryan Doyle? In what order did that come about and talk a bit about the process?

After I finished my first film “Streets of Legend” that won cinematography at Sundance and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, I was searching for a new project. Anthony Howard was slated to be the lead in a film I was developing at the time called Blue Valentine. His co-director on “B.I.K.E.”, Jacob Septimus, was an associated producer on my first film. They both came to me with a trailer for “B.I.K.E”. that had the 3 elements that I like in a picture: action, a love story, and a kick-ass sound track. I think Tony Howard is a huge talent both in front of and behind the camera. In all of the films he’s made, he is the star — they are unpredictable and elicit an emotion. The challenge on “B.I.K.E.” was embarking on a project with a narrative arc with no set ending to the film, so after shooting for 1 year and ½ and compiling 385 hrs of footage, the task of editing the project over the next two years was the enormous feat. Doyle is one of the main characters and was someone I came to know and respect by watching the dailies.

What interested you in mutant bike culture and tall bike jousting?

How could I not be… it’s fascinating.

What inspired you to make a iPhone app about tall bike jousting?

I spent a couple of Halloweens during the shooting and production of the film at the Bike Kill where hundreds of wild unbridled youth performed extreme Ex-game type feats that would make a skateboarder look like a sissy. It’s a natural extension of the film. Tall Bike Joust is the first of 3 games I intend to make.

Talk about how the game was developed and what lead to certain details like choosing the other cities for tallbike jousts to occur?

Freak bike culture and my movie touch upon serious social and environmental concerns that I have deep feelings for. The underlying theme for the game embraces sustainability and anti-consumerist values. I grew up in New Orleans so it was natural to have a post-Katrina setting; Minneapolis and Reno are very strong BLBC (Bike Label Bike Club) chapters; New York is where Doyle and I both live; Amsterdam and Hong Kong embrace bicycle culture in Europe and Asia.

How did you get involved with Curious pictures?

I was introduced to Lewis Kofsky, a partner at Curious Pictures, at a party that Doyle was DJ-ing at about a year ago. Lewis and Doyle have spent several years together at Burning Man together, Lewis had caught wind of our intention of making a video game. At the time, I wasn’t aware that he was one of the producers of the Beatles RockBand video game. The rest is history.

What was it like working with Doyle in the making of the game?

A match made in bike heaven. I’m a producer who likes to make things and tell stories. Doyle’s artwork creates a unique design language for our game and he’s the Tall Bike Jousting Champion of the World, which brings authenticity to the project.

How was he with the motion capture experience and were there specific challenges in making this game?

Doyle’s persona is one with the bicycle whether he is jumping on to a Tall Bike, cruising down the boulevard or being toppled to the ground. His actions seem effortless almost poetic. The game is truly unique with very ambitious 3D art for the existing platform. Once we realized the 3D engines that were needed to run the game did not exist as off-the-shelf modules, the schedule and budget went out the window to achieve the quality that Doyle and I want to deliver to the user. Curious is pushing the limits of the iPhone platform. I think we are defining the possibilities what can be done with this medium — building tall bikes, creating jouster attributes, there are so many details to the game that will blow your mind.

Are the masses ready for an app about tallbike jousting and what do you think will be the impact on bike culture in general?

Frankly, the masses have no idea what Tall Bike Jousting is, but every time we screen the movie or talk about the impending game, it captures people’s interest and imagination. The gang at Curious pictures are amazingly talented and have exceeded my expectations. The end user will experience a game like no other at a price point that is unheard of for a game of this magnitude.

You may have faced difficult challenges with exposing a sub-culture like mutant bike clubs to the mainstream in the B.I.K.E. documentary. Do you foresee similar hurdles as far as acceptance with the iPhone app?

I’ve been criticized for making the film and exposing its dark, tragic nature. For me a worse experience would be to make a film that doesn’t evoke any feeling at all. I’ve met the most creative and generous people making and distributing the movie. We support advocacy groups be allowing them to screen the movie at festivals, museums and galleries around the world. Ultimately the positive feedback outweighs the negative and I think it partially inspired my daughter to study environmental science. I don’t foresee any negative backlash from the game. I think people are going to experience it and enjoy it.

What do you hope people walk (ride) away from the iPhone app? Do you think this will inspire more tall bike welding, mutant bike club formations, tall bike jousting in the xgames 2030?

I hope that the app will inspire people to become more creative and aware of the waste in our culture. There’s a whole section in the game called the Club House that allows you to weld, repair and recycle parts for your tall bike. Doyle and I felt strongly that the game shouldn’t be tied to a culture of waste and that the underlying theme would embrace the bike club’s message of anti-consumerism. I don’t know about Tall Bike Jousting in XGames 2030, but I hope there’s Tall Bike Jousting on Xbox in 2010!

What are future plans for video games with mutant bike sports?

Tall Bike Joust iPhone app is a litmus test to see if gamers are interested in this culture. If we’re successful, peer-to-peer jousting is obvious, with two additional games already being conceptualized. Stage II would offer these 3 games as downloadable modules on the PC platform with console gaming and social networking capabilities down the road.

Anything you wished I’d asked you?

When I was a kid, I remember the feeling of freedom I got from riding my bicycle through the streets of New Orleans. When my brother and I were about 10 years old, I remember flipping my bicycle frame and building a very rudimentary Tall Bike. Doyle’s experiential artwork and outlook on life give that same feeling of freedom and possibility. Making this game has given me that feeling again."
Ride Ur Bike!

Here is a little video with some behind the scenes footage of Doyle involved in making of the app with motion capture:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's Funny Because It's True

A humorous piece by by Kate Kiefer for Paste Magazine on the Evolution of the Hipster

2008: The Williamsburg
He thoughtfully hangs shutter shades in the deep-V of his white tee, and he’s often seen walking his fixed-gear bike around town while texting with his iPhone

2009: The Meta-Nerd
By wearing the popular Three Wolf Moon T-shirt, today’s hipster makes a mockery of herself. She has finally completed the full-sleeve tattoo.

2006: The Mountain Man
He seeks working-class authenticity, taking pride in his full beard and the fact that he’s often mistaken for a homeless person.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ares Bykes

Thought this was interesting, maybe a new player in the FGFS game. As reported by Burd of Bootleg Sessions notoriety.

"Japan's Ares Bykes has long been my favorite flatland BMX manufacturer, I've always had a strong appreciation for the way they operate. It now looks like they'll be coming out with a fixed gear frame in 2010, and why not? Everyone else is. Theirs will be called the "Loope Hole", and it has a pretty interesting design. No comments on their blog as to what it's intended purpose is, but with the bend in the downtube it appears that they may have had some trickery in mind..."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shoot A Cyclist, Get Four Months

Crazy story from TREEHUGGER

"This is downright infuriating. Perhaps you recall this story: while driving down the road one day, Charles Diaz grew upset at seeing a man riding his bike on a busy street with his 3 year-old son. So he shot him in the head. Thankfully, the bullet narrowly missed his skull, instead getting lodged in the cyclists' helmet. Well, Diaz has just been sentenced for admitting to nearly murdering a man by firing a gun towards his head--and he's received a paltry 4 months in jail.

That's right. 120 days. For coming as close to killing someone in cold blood as you possibly can without actually doing so.

Here's a recap of what initially happened, as reported by the Asheville Citizen-Times, noted in Lloyd's original post on the story:

Police said Charles Diez, an Asheville firefighter since 1992, stopped his car to confront a couple riding bikes along heavily traveled Tunnel Road. Diez was apparently incensed by Alan Simons carrying his 3-year-old child on a seat mounted on the back of his bike. After an argument, Diez pulled a gun and shot at Simons, but the bullet passed through Simon's bicycle helmet, just missing his skull, police said.
Yes, this is a man whose logic appears to be that anyone who in his opinion is endangering public welfare must he himself be murdered. And he's doing less time than you could get for selling marijuana or stealing a computer. Here are some of the maddening details from Streetsblog
In August, a grand jury reduced charges against Diez from attempted first degree murder to felony assault. While assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill certainly sounds like an offense worthy of a lengthy prison term, the presiding judge apparently agreed that this was a case of a stand-up guy having a bad day."