Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday Video - 9 Worst Bike Lanes

Couldn't they just move the sign?
Think you have seen bad bike lanes? Check out the ones featured in this video. My favorite is the one in Holland. They have a lot of problems with automobiles and bicycles falling into canals. This video will show why.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - World's Longest Bicycle

The world's longest bicycle
This week's weird bike was the longest bike in the world when it was constructed in 2014, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.. This 117 foot long monstrosity was created by the Dutch cycling group Mijl Van Meres Werkploeg. Most of the bike is aluminum trusses, which connect the front wheel to the rear wheel.The rider at the back does all the pedaling. The rider in front has no pedals, and only steers. According to Frank Pelt, the group leader, the bike is easy to ride as long as you don't try to turn any corners.

Holding a Guinness World Record is often a fleeting thing. In 2015, a group in Australia created a bicycle that was 5 inches longer. Here is a video of the Dutch long bike in action:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Biking Along Hadrian's Wall

Taking a break while cycling along Hadrian's Wall
If you like mixing your bicycle touring with history, consider taking a tour of Hadrian's Cycleway in England. Along the way you can see the remnants of Hadrian's Wall, A World Heritage site. Other historical sites include a Roman bath house, a Medieval priory, a couple Roman forts, a Roman museum and numerous castles.

The route is 174 miles on bike trails and country roads. You can ride it either way, but most riders go from west to east. The majority finish the ride in three days, but four or five days is recommended if you want to stop and visit the sites along the route. The sections on both ends of the route are relatively flat, but in the middle there are some steep but short hills. The route is marked as National Route 72, and can be seen on this map.

Here's a short video about cycling along Hadrian's wall:


Monday, August 28, 2017

Franklin's Lion Pride Ride

Riding through Franklin on the 2016 Lion Pride Ride
Coming up this Saturday is the Lion Pride Ride in Franklin Indiana. This is a fundraiser for the organizations which the Franklin Lions Club supports. There are three mileage options:
  • 12 mile family ride
  • 30 mile intermediate ride
  • 62 mile pride ride
The cost of the family ride is $30 per family, up to five family members. The other two options are $25 if you pre-register online, or $30 on the day of the ride. Police officers, veterans, and active duty military personnel may ride for free. Before the ride, doughnuts from Long's Bakery (Their doughnuts are hands down the best in Indy) will be available at no additional charge. After the ride, Hillbilly Hot Dogs will be onsite, and you may purchase an after ride snack.

Circle City Bicycles has a personal connection to this ride. Phil Thorpe was an active member of the Franklin Lions club before he passed away in 2016. He was one of the key organizers of this ride. Phil also worked part time at Circle City Bicycles for a number of years.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Photo - Header into Hay Bale

He must have been riding awfully fast
I found this out on Pinterest. No information on where this is, but I'm guessing somewhere in the Midwest. I like seeing roadside works of art. You never know what you might find when you're out cycling around in the country.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Thursday Video - World's Top Ten Cycling Cities

Cyclist getting on train in Tokyo
The video below lists the top ten cycling cities in the world. They say they rated 136 cities worldwide to come up with the top ten. Here they care in alphabetical order:
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Antwerp, Belgium
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Bordeaux, France
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Malmo, Sweden
  • Strasbourg, France
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Utrecht, Netherlands
To find out where each ranked, you'll have to watch the video. I couldn't help but note that all but one of these were in Europe, and none were in the Americas. Be sure and look over some of the comments. One of them said that Tokyo was not "cycling friendly" just "cycling chaotically."

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Sunkyong Bicycle Lawn Mover

Hammacher-Schlemmer sold this in 1985
Hammacher-Schlemmer is known for selling some oddball and expensive items. Things like a flying tricycle for $45,000. I ran across an article about their Sunkyong bicycle lawn mower which they sold in 1985 on the Classic Cycle website. Others have developed bicycle lawn mower prototypes, using  old style reel mowers to cut the grass. This design uses a spinning blade underneath the crank. This contraption never caught on, since it had some design flaws:
  • It wouldn't cut if the grass is wet.
  • The gearing was just too low. If you spun the crank at 100 revolutions per minute in high gear, the forward speed is just a bit more than one mile per hour, so it would take a while to finish cutting your lawn.
  • At a weight of 63 pounds, it took off on a downhill, and the single caliper brake didn't have adequate stopping power.
On the plus side, the mower had an MSRP of $399, which made it more affordable than most of the special items that Hammacher-Schlemmer sells.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling Along Lake Titicaca

Cycling along Lake Titicaca
Looking to venture someplace exotic on your next cycling trip? Consider visiting Lake Titicaca in South America along the Peru Bolivia border. At an altitude of over 12,000 feet, it is the highest navigable lake in the world. With a surface area of over 3,200 square miles (roughly equal to eight Indiana counties), it is the largest lake in South America. It has been considered sacred by many cultures, including the Inca. It was also a center of political power.

For information about cycling along Lake Titicaca, visit Andes by Bike. At first there doesn't seem to be much there. Click on the heading that says "Sketch Map" to see a diagram of the route. Click on "Google Map" and you can see that the route goes around the northern tip of the lake and along much of its eastern shore.

Here's a video that shows some of the sights in and around Lake Titicaca:

Monday, August 21, 2017

Wabash River Ride

Crossing the Wabash River
This Saturday the Wabash River Cycle Club will hold its annual Wabash River Ride. The ride begins at Fort Ouiatenon in West Lafayette, with several mileage options:
  • 34 miles
  • 47 miles
  • 65 miles
  • 107 miles
I've ridden this ride a couple times in the past. It's a good ride with interesting scenery along the Wabash River. At the sag stops there will be cookies that are home baked by members of the Wabash River Bicycle Club. After the ride there will be a barbecue lunch.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Photo - Aero Helmet on a Budget

Do it yourself aero helmet
Okay, let's say that you're going to do a time trial, but you don't have the money for one of those fancy aerodynamic bike helmets. What do you do? The guy above came up with the answer. Just get some cardboard, fold it up so it ends with point, and attach it to your regular helmet.

This photo came from the blog Bikenarian - Inconsequential Ramblings of a Vet on His Bike.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thursday Video - Mark Cavendish / Peter Sagan Crash

Mark Cavendish (far left) going down after contact with Peter Sagan
The big controversy in this year's Tour de France was the disqualification of Peter Sagan after his contact with Mark Cavendish during stage 4. Cavendish suffered a broken shoulder blade and had to abandon the race. There seems to be little agreement over the incident. Some called it a "dirty" move by Sagan, while others thought it was "just racing." Most thought the penalty was overly harsh. I think this incident will be talked about by cycling fans for years to come, and there will never be agreement about Sagan's guilt or innocence. Take a look at the video below and see what you think.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - 1948 4-Man Bicycle

4-Man bicycle featured in a 1948 issue of Life magazine
Mankind has been building weird bikes for quite a while now. This 4-man bicycle was featured (along with other weird bikes) in a 1948 issue of Life magazine. There are 5 bike chains on it, so everyone is helping to propel it forward. The guy in front has his hand on the horn. The guy on top is Art Rothschild, who built the bicycle. He suffered three broken ribs while learning to ride it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Ten Best Cycling Holdays

See the world best by bicycle
I ran across an interesting article on the website of the London newspaper The Telegraph entitled "10 of the Best Cycling Holidays of 2017." All of these ten are commercial tours:
  • River Roaming, Czech Republic & Germany (Chapters Experience Holidays) - Starts with a day of sightseeing in Prague, then follows the Vlatava and Elbe Rivers to Dresden. They say along a river in Germany, you will always find a castle and a bike path.
  • Winelands & Whales, South Africa (KF Adventure Travel) - An eight day exploration of South Africa's western cape. Highlights include vineyards, whale watching and penguins on Boulders Beach.
  • Best of the British Isles (Wilderness Scotland) -  A twelve day ride through five countries (Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland).
  • Backroads of Burma (Intrepid Travel) -  Here's a chance to spend two weeks in a country that was closed to outsiders until recently.
  • Finland in Winter (Exodus Travels) - Here's one for you cold weather fans. Fat tire biking on frozen tundra, watching for elk and reindeer.
  • Bikes and Barges in Provence,France (Saddle Skedaddle) - Eight days in France. Along with beautiful views of other sites, you will get to see (but won't have to climb) the dreaded Mount Ventoux you've seen in the Tour de France.
  • Classic Cycling Tour of Nepal (Mountain Kingdoms) - Ten days of cycling with views of the Himalayas, plus a chance to see rhino, crocodiles and tigers in Chitwan National Park.
  • Seville to Porto (Explore!) - An eight day ride from Seville in southern Spain to Porto in northern Portugal. Along the way you can see sites left by the Romans and Moors.
  • Classic Wales (The Carter Company) - Most of the cycling is offroad. Highlights include Brecon Beacons National Park, St. David's Cathedral and a boat trip to Ramsey Island.
  • Vietnam End to End (Freedom Treks) - Here's a challenging 17 day, 1,000 mile trip from Ho Chi Minh City in the south to Hanoi inn the north.
While I have no doubt that these trips are all fantastic, I can't help but notice the anti Western Hemisphere bias. No tour in North, South or Central America made the list. There also seems to be a home country bias as well. The British Isles, which have about the same area as the state of New Mexico, have two of the ten tours.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Kokomo's Sizzling Century Ride

Not many hills on the Sizzling Century (photo courtesy of The Ride So Far)
If you are looking to ride your first century, and want to find one that isn't too difficult, consider the Sizzling Century coming up this Saturday. The event is run by Kokomo's Breakaway Bicycle Club.   The route is pretty flat (Where are you going to find hills around Kokomo?). Of course, the weather could make it quite challenging (It's called the Sizzling Century for a reason). Fortunately, they have some other route options (40, 62 and 80 as well as 100 miles) in case the weather drains your energy a little too fast. You can register online.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Photo - Bicycle Into this Post

I found this image at Pathetic Photos. There's no information about where this photo was taken. Wherever it is, the Department of Public Works must hate cyclists, and is trying to kill them off.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thursday Video - Tegan's Bicycle Adventure

Tegan Phillips with her new touring bike
In 2014, Tom Allen of Tom's Bike Trip held a contest to give away his no budget touring bike and gear to whoever came up with the best plan for its next adventure. The winner was a South African college student named Tegan Phillips. Her video entry won the contest. Tegan's plan was to pick up the bike and ride from England through France and into Spain, where she could visit her sister. Since Tegan's trip, the bike (also known as "Charlie the Scrapyard Touring Bike," has passed through several more owners, and was last in seen in Hong Kong during late 2016. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Here's Tegan's bike winning video:

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Car Sized Bicycle

Is this to ensure safe passing? (photo courtesy of Inhabitat)
For World Carfree Day (September 22) in 2015, a group of cyclists took to the streets of Riga, the capital city of Latvia. To demonstrate how much space cars took up, they attached frames of bamboo poles to their bicycles and cycled around town for a few hours. I'm sure this improved improve cyclist / motorist relations.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Touring Turesday - Best Cycling Routes in France

Cycling through the French countryside
If you plan on visiting France, check out what tour operators Butterfield & Robinson call the 8 Best Cycling Routes in France. They are all day rides, from 25 to 55 miles in length. All are mapped out on Google Maps, so anyone can access them. Highlights of these routes include:
  • A visit to the historic area of Normandy, where the Allies first landed in France during World War II.
  • Trips through French wine growing regions.
  •  Magnificent Medieval castles
  • Battle sites of the Hundred Years War
  • Ride on a 2,000 year old Roman bridge
  • A loop around the French Atlantic island of Ile de Re.
Of course on any cycling trip to France, you will find many opportunities to sample French food and wine. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Ladies Mallow Run Winery Ride August 19

The Blue River Band will perform August 19 at Mallow Run Winery
The ladies cycling club Women Bike Indy will be having a bicycle ride starting at Mallow Run Winery on Saturday, August 19. Meet at the winery at 2:30 and be ready to ride at 3:00 PM. After the ride there will be a free concert featuring Blue River Band. The route will be 23 miles long on lightly traveled rural roads. You can see the route on Google Maps.

Mallow Run Winery is located in northwestern Johnson county, between Waverly and Bargersville. George Mallow settled the area in 1835 and built the barn which is now the tasting room. A nearby creek was named Mallow Run after him, which is the source of the winery's name. John Richardson grew up on this farm, then moved away to teach for 35 years. He came back after retiring, and planted his first grapes in 2000 on the 600 acre family farm. Today there are 8 acres of grapes, with the rest of the farm mostly planted in corn and soybeans. The tasting room opened in 2005.   

Mallow Run has a picnic concert series with performances each Saturday from Memorial weekend through September. Some of the concerts are free while there is a charge for others. Blue River Band will be performing a free show on August 19.They are a local country band, and have twice won the 8 Seconds Saloon "Country Battle of the Bands." Below are a couple videos of their songs:

Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday Photo - Zoobombing

Zoobomber in Action
Portland, Oregon is well known as a hub of cycling activity. One of their stranger activities is called "Zoobombing." Participants, usually 20 to 40 years in age, ride children's bicycles downhill. The name came about because the starting point is near the Oregon Zoo. This sounds like the kind of activity that would be frowned upon by the police and local government, but not in Portland. The Portland Police Bureau say the riders pretty much police themselves. Riding begins at 11:00 PM on Sundays.

Here's a video of a zoobombing run:

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Thursday Video - OttoLock

The OttoLock is now available at Circle City Bicycles
We just got in a new product called the OttoLock. It is a lightweight lock that can fit in your jersey pocket. Just looking at it, it's hard to believe it would actually provide much security. With multiple layers of steel and Kevlar, the lark is far more stout than it looks. The video below shows Ben Fox, Gear Editor at Outside magazine, trying to cut it with bolt cutters. While he does considerable damage, he does not break it. Afterwards, he shows how easily can cut a cable lock.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - The Aquaduct

The Aquaduct is a water purifier & transporter device
Here is a very odd-looking yet practical bike. It's called the Aquaduct because it is designed to transport and filter water for people in developing countries without a reliable source of clean drinking water. In between the rear wheels is a large, 20 gallon tank, which the user fills up at the well or other source. While pedaling the bike home, water is pumped from the large tank in the rear through a filter, and up to the small (2 gallon) tank in front. Once back home, there is a lever which can be moved to disengage the rear wheels, allowing the user to filter additional water while the bike is stationary.

The design is quite ingenious and won a prize in Google's 2007 "Innovate or Die" contest for a pedal-powered machine. Unfortunately, it looks like it never went into production. The latest post on their blog is dated 2008.

Here's a video about the Aquaduct:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Biking Point Roberts, An Isolated Part of America

Low tide at Point Roberts
In 1846 Great Britain and the United States signed the Oregon Treaty, which specified the western borders of Canada and the U.S. It was decided the border should be at the 49th parallel. Unfortunately there is a peninsula that juts southward from the mainland just below the 49th parallel. This small area, just under 5 square miles, is known as Point Roberts. While it is part of Washington state, to get anywhere by land, you first have to go into Canada.

It's probably not worth making a special trip to Point Roberts, but if you should ever be in downtown Vancouver British Columbia, you're only twenty miles from this little outpost of America. According to the blog Life in Magic Land, there is a 12 mile loop that you can do in Point Roberts. The route is scenic, with views of beaches, eagles, Mt. Baker, and Gulf Islands. Traffic is light, since there is obviously no through traffic. If you want to rent a bike in Port Roberts, stop in at Pedal Pushers.