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This Week: Enjoy Random Inter-Theft

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This week might kill me.  A major deadline Friday means that I can’t spend too much time here.  So, for the next few days you’ll be treated to half-assed posts consisting almost entirely of stuff I’ve stolen from better blogs (how is that any different from the usual posts, you ask? Touché.).  For example, I got the above video from the good peeps at Hipster Nascar.

For those of you who live in the centre of the universe, you might be interested to learn that bike sharing is in serious trouble.

And finally, because I have nothing interesting to add, here’s a picture of a home-made prop trike:


There.  Monday’s post is done, and I barely tried.


Goldsprints Montreal: Finally

Go fast. Stay Still.

Just Wednesday I wrote about the Roller Racing coming to Montreal tomorrow.  Well, yesterday I found myself over on the Bikurious Blog and learned that GoldSprints (roller racing’s younger, tight-pants wearing, beer-drinking brother) is now in Montreal.  The first event was just over a week ago, so hopefully this will be a monthly event.  There’s lots of pictures and a few videos on the GoldSprint Montreal page.

And now, it’s the weekend.  Well, it will be in eight hours.  Hang in there, and enjoy la fin de semaine.  (Don’t forget about the Montreal Bike Show).

And remember: use your bicycle for good, not evil.

Best of Etsy: Toe Clip Covers

Dry feet = happy feet

Just last week I was wondering if these existed.  This winter has been odd.  Especially if you live in Body-More, Murderland (The Wire!):

In Montreal, for some weird reason there’s not much snow and it hasn’t been brutally cold (for extended periods, at least), and so I rarely find myself wearing my big boots.  I’ve read in a few places that you shouldn’t ride in boots, which seems like total balls to me.  There have been a few days this winter that my feet would have frozen off in shoes.  Plus, boots give you enough traction on ice/snow when you have to put your foot down at a light or while taking a particularly dicey corner.

My regular shoes, however, aren’t terribly warm.  Moreover, the streets have often been a little slushy or wet.  Too many times I’ve arrived at my destination with a sweet case of freckle juice all over my shoes.  After most rides I’ve got cold feet, despite wearing wool socks over my regular socks.  I was convinced that someone must be making toe clip covers, as at this point (with spring around the corner) I don’t want to buy something like Gore shoe covers.   Maybe $20 Cordura cozies would do the trick?

They're called cozies, which is totally bad ass.

While I don’t doubt that next year I’ll get myself something a bit more substantial, I am a fan of products that stay on the bike (leaving me with less to lug around).  For the spring, these might be helpful.  Even with fenders, there’s always some water splashing at the pedals.  For now, only the single strap option is available, but rumour has it (and by “rumour” I mean “they say on their website”) that a double strap option is in the works.

Long live pedal clips.

Nude Zealand: Ride in Style

Wind tunnel approved.

Sometimes this blog writes itself.  The stories are just too good to pass up.  For example:

A 40-year-old New Zealand man has asked the High Court to rule that it is okay to ride a bicycle naked on a public road. Nick Lowe, a Wellington builder, appealed to the court against a NZ$200fine and conviction for offensive behaviour, saying there was evidence that New Zealanders had become more tolerant towards nudity.

Lowe was reported in Wednesday’s Dominion Post newspaper as saying there was nothing offensive about his ride on a quiet rural road in Upper Hutt, 32km north of Wellington, on last year’s World Nude Bike Day. He was charged after a passing motorist objected and called police.     “It’s a lifestyle thing,” Lowe told the paper. “To put clothes on is uncomfortable. It’s not about exhibitionism, I’m just uncomfortable in clothes.

“I walk around the house naked, I mow the lawns naked, I’ll do the garden naked. A lot of smelly, sweaty clothes – why do that when you don’t need to?” Lowe cited nudity in street parades, National Nude Day, Naked Wedding Day and a recent naked cycle on the Central Otago Rail Trail as proof that “we’re not as puritan as we used to be.”

He described himself as a natural athlete, said he regularly trained nude and had completed a Coast to Coast triathlon naked from the waist down and nobody had complained. The judge reserved his decision.

There’s a really good chance that New Zealand could make Portland look like a conservative haven.  Perhaps the best thing about this story is the purely human element of promoting nudity.  That, and the fact that nudity, when not airbrushed and sexualized, is pretty funny:

Justice Denis Clifford reserved his decision. At one point he apologised after chuckling at a photograph of naked people in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square.

Fight for your right (to chafe).

Go for it, Nick.  At least no one will want to steal your seat.

Weekend! Bikes! Montreal!

I realize that today is only Tuesday.  Believe me, I get it.  However, as we approach hump day and then round the corner to Friday, it’s good to keep in mind that there is actually a couple of things to do this weekend in Montreal.  Don’t forget, this is still the winter.  Many people are weeks away from thinking about getting their bikes out of storage.  So consider this a warm up for Spring.  Or whatever.

Kill a few hours?

The 8th annual Salon du Vélo opens on Friday.  I attended last year, and it was a pretty enjoyable time.  There were perhaps too many bikes/products aimed at roadies, but I suppose that’s the demographic that spends.  If you’ve got any inclination to do some touring this summer, you should go check it out.  If I remember correctly, there were lots of representatives from companies that organize bike trips.  Considering the success of Bixi last summer, I wouldn’t be surprised if urban cycling features more heavily this year. Unfortunately, fun-time bike companies (such as Surly), and local purveyors of lovely bikes (such as Steelwool) have chosen not to attend.  What? You don’t want to visit Montreal in February? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?

After you’ve wondered around the bike show for a few hours, head to Verdun to take in some roller racing.  The West Quebec Wheelers are in town, and they’re throwing a party.  This isn’t the new fangled (and totally awesome) GoldSprints.  This is the old-timey (and totally awesome) roller racing. Each rider is connected to a giant clock, with arms that go around to show the riders’ progress as they race.  Like this:

I’m not sure if the track bike crowd will be out (from what I can tell, Pabst Blue Ribbon isn’t a sponsor), but there will be music, beer, fund raising, and racing.  Sounds like fun.

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 4 Verdun
La Légion Royale Canadienne Filiale 4 Verdun
4538 rue de Verdun, Verdun, Québec Canada H3G 1M7

Selection heats start at 7pm, spectators can arrive any time after that.

Go faster.

Advice for Apparel Companies

Go fast.

Here’s a pretty sweet t-shirt from Howies, which is a great British clothing company.  It seems like every day a new urban cycling company is launched somewhere in North America.  For the most part, these companies are making pretty cool t-shirts. Here’s an example:

Simple. Effective.

Zlog’s t-shirts are popular.  Everyone likes catchy slogans that combine encouragement with veiled threats. And, at $26 (US), this is a good deal.  So, what’s wrong?  Well, the problem is that most urban cycling apparel companies (especially those focused on t-shirts) order their clothes in bulk from a manufacturer.  Then they design a cool logo and silk screen it on.

Some of these shirts are poly-cotton blend, some are 100% cotton, and therein lies the problem.  Cotton is one of the worst materials to ride in.  If you, or someone you know, wants to design cycling t-shirts, please do everyone a favour and use merino wool.  Yes, this will make the shirts more expensive.  But they will last for ages, they will feel fantastic, and they won’t turn into a sweaty, clingy (and smelly) rag after 20 minutes of riding.

Howies is doing its part to lead the way, offering its trademark “Howies” t-shirt in merino wool:

Feels good. Looks good. Costs a fortune.

At £50, this shirt is way too expensive.  But, all Howies clothing is too expensive.  Outlier’s got a black merino wool t-shirt for $75.  Mountain Equipment Co-op has them for $44.  Merino is an expensive material, but its increasing popularity will undoubtedly lower its price.  Hopefully American Apparel will start carrying it.  Then anyone with a silk screen kit and a love for bikes can make t-shirts that actually feel good when worn for cycling.

Bike Theft, L.A., and Street Justice

Hey! That's My Bike!

Cyclists in LA are suffering from an increase in bicycle thefts.  Apparently, Wednesdays are the worst days and Venice seems to be the worst area.  Not surprisingly, stolen bikes often end up on Craigslist.  Like most towns, the messengers are getting fed up with worrying about their bikes.  Unlike in New York, where cornered bike thieves end up on the losing end of a few punches and are told repeatedly “don’t steal bikes, bro,” LA thieves might find themselves less bruised but more humiliated.

The LA Times reports that a couple of messengers meted out the sweetest kind of street justice:

Some bike messengers last month took justice into their own hands when they caught two suspected thieves, teenage boys who attended a local Catholic high school. According to police, the messengers stripped down the teens to their boxer shorts before taking their cellphones, backpacks and clothes.

I suspect this kind of response will become known colloquially as “the Costanza”:

Keep your bike safely locked this weekend.

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