Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Photo - Letter to Santa

How True!
I know Christmas has passed, but I still like this one. This came from the Indy Action BMX Facebook page.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Thursday Video - Backwards Steering Bicycle

Turn the handlebars to the right and the front wheel turns to the left
This week's video is an interesting one from Smarter Every Day. Welders at a shop added a couple gears onto a bike such that the front wheel moved in the opposite direction of the handlebars. Destin Sandlin, the guy behind Smarter Every Day, tried to ride it, and found it was impossible. Unwilling to give up, he tried to ride it for 5 minutes every day. After eight months he was finally able to ride it.

He then went to the Netherlands, where he tried to ride a normal bike, after learning to ride a backwards bike. It took him 20 minutes before he was able to ride it. Here's the video, which is about 8 minutes long:

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling Cuba

Bicycle Touring in Cuba
Since Americans can now legally travel to Cuba, perhaps you have been considering bicycling on the island. Officially, Americans can only visit Cuba if their trip falls in one of 12 categories, which are listed on the State department's Cuba travel page. While this sounds rather limiting, one Internet source say you just have to sign an affidavit at the airport. January or February are good times to go, since it won't be so hot. Also, you will avoid the hurricane season, which runs from June through November.

I found several sources for information on cycling in Cuba:
Here are a few of their recommendations:
  • Avoid hotels. Instead stay at what we would call a bed and breakfast. In Cuba they are called "casa particulares" or just "casas". They also offer dinner for a modest charge. It's a good idea to check the shower in a casa before paying for the night. Some of them don't have much water pressure.
  • Food is okay, but nothing special. Rice and beans are served at most casa dinners, which are reasonably priced. Restaurant meals are more expensive. Pizza is available on the streets for lunch and very cheap. They advise not passing up food if you are the least bit hungry, since it may be hard to find.
  • Roads are okay, and traffic is not bad. Because of the embargo, many cars in Cuba are ancient, from the 1950s. Not surprisingly, many of these belch out a lot of smoke.
  • Many locations are noisy at night with the sounds of dogs, pigs, music and cars. Ear plugs are recommended.
  • Some basic items, like soap, are hard to find in Cuba. 
  • A basic knowledge of Spanish is a big help.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Photo - Bear on the Mountain Bike Trail

One of those guys would make a nice lunch
This week's photo comes from Whistler Mountain Bike Park, by way of MTB Treks. Whistler Mountain Bike Park is located in the Canadian province of British Columbia. It is a premier mountain biking destination. The photo appeared  in an MTB Treks article called 21 Reasons Why You Might Never Want to Do Mountain Biking. The article has a lot of other great photos.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thursday Video - Paintball Loop Mountain Bike Trail Drop-Off Okinawa

This looks like a pretty easy trail
Our video this week is a short one - Only one minute and six seconds. It's shot from a helmet mounted GoPro camera. The trail looks pretty easy for most of the video, although it's a little tight at one spot. About 45 seconds into the video, our rider encounters a bit of a problem.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Bird of Prey Bicycle

The Bird of Prey Bicycle (Photo courtesy of Bird of Prey Bicycles)
This week's weird bike is the Bird of Prey Bicycle. Because of the unique riding position, the crank is located behind the rear wheel. Among the advantages the manufacturer lists is an aerodynamic position for the rider, safety (You won't go flying over the handlebars) and comfort. I have to admit that I have never ridden one of these, but I'm just not sold on the comfort. It just doesn't look comfortable to me. If you want to Buy One, they retail for $4,800. Here's a video of the bike with its designer:

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling in Mexico

I hope the downhill isn't that steep (photo courtesy of Ginger Ninjas)

Continuing the theme of warm weather touring, our southern neighbor of Mexico fits the bill. According to the Ginger Ninjas, all their friends wanted to know if it was safe to bike in Mexico. They reported that they didn't really have any problems, although they were stopped by cops a few times and police cars sometimes followed them for a while (Turned out they were just protecting them from other vehicles). One thing they caution against is riding at night. Enforcement of drunk driving laws are apparently pretty lax, and 90 percent of Mexico's highway accidents occur at night. The folks over at World Biking reported that their bags were searched three times by police officers, but they were always "friendly and professional." There is a drug war going on in Mexico.

The Ginger Ninjas said they generally took the secondary highways when they were available, where they encountered less traffic. They have a map of their route, which ran from Oakland, California to Mexico's border with Guatemala. Their recommendation is to not count on the locals for good directions or information about the steepness of hills. They went south through the Baja Peninsula and then took a ferry over to the mainland. At World Biking they said their expenses averaged only $7.50 per day in Mexico (This info dates to 2010), and that included 5 days in hotels. The rest of the time they camped, stayed at churches, or spent the night in private homes.