National Bike Summit 2013

This originally appeared in the INDYCOG newsletter.  Get involved with bike advocacy, join INDYCOG!

I wasn't there when it was born. I didn't see its first step or hear it first speak. But this week, I think I saw bike advocacy grow up.
I attended my first National Bike Summit last year. It was contentious. We were fighting to keep the dedicated funding that others had worked so hard to attain. We were greeted with polite nods, and a sometimes dismissive attitude. One representative refused to see us.
This year, we not only met with staff, but with members themselves. They were interested, engaged and (do I dare to say?) supportive. What a difference a year makes.
Now, it could be that we weren't asking for funding like we were last year. I'm sure that's part of it. But I heard the word "tipping point" several times. Legislators are seeing the success cities like Indianapolis are having. Good politicians are nothing if not nimble. The…

Make mine Brooks

I had poo-poo'd them for years.  Brooks saddles.  How in the world could anyone ride one of those?  Weren't those relevant back before we invented plastic?
I did what most people did when they saw one.  I "knocked" on it.  "God, that's hard", I would say.

I built up this bike a few years ago.  I had just begun playing with "functional" bikes.  As I was nearing completion I thought, "A B17 would look really good on this thing".  I ordered one.

I mounted it on the bike, and it did look good.  Then I had to do a test ride.  I threw my leg over the bike with no small amount of trepidation.  To my shock (and relief), all the horror stories I had heard about Brooks saddles were......unfounded.  It was supportive, not hard, and comfortable.

I have 3 bikes that I ride on a regular basis.  They all have Brooks saddles.  At this point, I can't imagine riding anything else.  Ninety nine percent of my commuting miles this year were done wit…

All hail the simple basket

Over the last 2, or 3 years I've gotten quite used to having some sort of carrying apparatus on the front of my bike.  I find it useful to be able to see, and access things without actually dismounting.

I've found the most useful configuration to also be the least expensive.  The tried, and true Wald wire basket.  Essentially unchanged since the early 1900's, all Wald baskets are still made in their factory in Kentucky.

With the supplied mounting hardware these baskets mount in no time.  You can also remove the hardware, and mount the basket to a front rack (as I've done here).  I prefer this option as it keeps the basket low, and the top of the handlebar clean.

It's amazing to me that in this age of $10,000.00 bikes, you can have something so useful for less than 40 bucks.

What's your preference?  Bag, basket or naked?

Ride on!

Just Ride.....again

So, Kev and I lit out this morning for our semi-regular Saturday social ride.  As we made our way around to Perimeter we saw another cyclist in the distance.  My first thought usually would have been to try to chase him down.  I let it go as we were having a nice leisurely ride.  Then we started gaining ground.  Uh oh.

Now, catching him isn't the story......because we did.  It was what we saw.  It was an older fellow.  Cycling shorts?  Yes.  Jersey?  Yes.  Helmet?  Of course.  Magna?  YES.  Magna.  That staple of the mega marts.  It was a girls bike.  It was way too small.  I said my "good morning" as we rode past.   It was obvious he was having just as much fun as we were.

And I say good for him.

Ride on!

The Fringe

I want to start by saying, I like the Tour.  I like most bike racing really.  From the 1 day classics to the lunacy that is the greatest 3 week reality show on television.  It is a testament to what professionals can do on a bicycle.

I do tire of this idea that because we may want to make our bicycles a little more useful with a rack, fenders, bags or even (god forbid) a basket we are somehow "fringe".

Do you know what is fringe?  Bike racing.

Of all of the people in all of the world, bike racers are the minority.  Don't forget it.

Just a little perspective during the first week of the greatest show on Earth.

Have a great 4th.  Ride on!

Daily Drivers

Being a bike shop, Bicycling magazine sends of copy of their mag to the store each month.  I usually flip through the pages, grumble and then pass it on.  They have their moments, but as a whole I don't think they do a great service to "average" bike riders.
The feature on race bikes in the current issue is a great example.  "This year's most victorious machines" was the headline.  The bikes ranged in price from $6700 to $16 (that's SIXTEEN) thousand dollars.  What is the victory exactly?

I can appreciate a McLaren Mercedes but it's not something I'm ever going to own.  If I did, I don't think I would drive it daily.  It's just not practical.

It would just be nice to see the industry spend a little more time focusing on bikes that work for people in the real world.  Maybe I just don't get it.  Maybe I'm just getting old.  Hmmph.

Have a great holiday weekend.

Ride on!

The Places we will Go

I decided to try out the "new" bike lanes on Lafayette Rd. on Saturday.  Specifically I wanted to ride up to 71st St. and see the progress on the Eagle Creek Greenway.

The first thing I noticed was the fresh strips of green paint.  This marks the areas of the bike lane where cars can cross.  This will, hopefully, make the lanes easier for motorists to understand.  They really stand out.

When I reached 71st St., I made a right turn on to the greenway.  What a nice addition to the Eagle Creek area.  At this point, it doesn't go that far.  When it's finished I'm told we will be able to ride from the park all the way to the Monon using a combination of greenway, and bike lanes.  It will be great to finally be able to cross town on a bicycle using dedicated bike ways.

Oh, the places we will go!

Ride on.