A little on the thought behind the machine we know as the bicycle.

Month: May, 2013

Bike design from the horses mouth.

So, I have been communicating with those friends of mine who are designers of a cycling bent. Or rather just designers that cycle. Or commute. Or just ride.
Maybe they are cyclists first and then designers second. I dunno. That’s up to them.
Here’s the idea.
This whole blog is about what we ride and why we ride, it’s also about how we ride and why we ride that in that way.
If its getting more women on bikes that work for them.
If it is getting more people to commute.
If it is getting more riders to ride more.
It is about having the right bike.
Bikes are machines. You wouldn’t use an egg beater to make a smoothie, you wouldn’t use a microwave to make creme brûlée, ya damn well shouldn’t be using the wrong machine to ride where-ever you want to go.
Just as you wouldn’t drop of your kids at school in a cement mixer, Or take a lap around Road America in a double decker bus, bikes are made for purposes. When you have the right bike for the right purpose. Everything is easy.
So in a way, that’s my quest.
The right American bike, for the right American cyclist, with the regular American needs, in standard American use.
(I only say this cause I’m not Euro/Aisian/Arabic/islander/etc.)

The talk will begin shortly. Rotating and evolving discussions about bikes, riding, and life, with a designers perspective in mind. For those of you out there who wish to join in comment! Or hell! You’re on WordPress! You have a gravatar! Email me with your answers to these same questions. I’ll put ya in the blog.


Long delayed…. But well worth it. (Continued Rant Day!)

Ok, so the past couple of weeks have been amazing for me.
I’ve had time to discuss the whole riding thing with a few women, A few women cyclists, I also plan to discuss it more today.
The women will ride today!
Okay, here’s my thing, I’m a dude, I’m a heterosexual, I love women. What I hate is when I sit in a shop and I see a woman dragged in by her boyfriend or husband to get a bike because he can’t pull his own head out of his ass to spend any quality time with her and figures making her ride is the only option. Conversely, there are times when a woman shows interest in riding and she comes along because she wants to ride.
Either way it ends up with a douchebag boyfriend taking her out and realizing she’s too slow (because she’s new to the whole thing), that she can’t get the clueless pedals (cause her last bike most likely had streamers and a rainbow brite sticker on it back from the day when his bike was covered in GI Joe decals (Or their just hipsters (Rant for another day))), or that she doesn’t want to just eat miles with a bunch of dudes. This means one of three things he gets frustrated, she stops riding, or they join a group of cyclists who are all dudes and they just end up dropping them along the ride.
Sure, it doesn’t always happen like that. Yet there aren’t many people out there that share the “common spandex cyclist of the opposite sex” mindset.
I’ve been in rides where I have had to make men leave because of the comments and jokes. Seriously, if you wouldn’t say the joke in front of your mother, why is it okay I front of a complete stranger who is also female?
I’ve seen women dropped and completely shattered because their significant others just continued on with the guys and figured the course was marked so it will be all right.
That just sucks. It really does. I’ve ridden along side a few women in my life and learned a lot about cycling filtered through xx chromosomes. Women don’t have penises! (Imagine that!) Their saddles and approach to multi-day rides is different then men’s.
Everything changes!!!!! People! Listen to me! Women need to have women’s riding groups! Not in a segregational manner. They need a group of girls to ride with, they also need groups with “non-dick-headed men”, (or shall we say gentlemen?) to continue cycling in a purely heterogeneous super happy fun time. I had a group of racers I rode with, way back in the day (back when pedals still had straps and aluminum was what you made parts out of not frames), my first day a incredibly strong Jamaican rider carried me two miles while I figured out my pedals. He did that at pace!!! Totally ashamed of myself, he said it just made him stronger. I helped him. WHAT? REALLY?
Where is my road riding Alice B Toeclips?
I mean no wonder there is so many women in triathlon! It’s a individual sport. No group competition. We have completely isolated people! Men! We have isolated the people who actually bear our boorish attitudes to a place where we don’t act and react with them! How is that good?
Anyways…. This is me venting. Things gotta work better.

Rant Day!!!! RANT DAYYYYY!!!!!

Ok, so you know I’m a mechanic. If you’ve been reading I’m also a frame builder, a designer, and slowly but surely, making my way to being a fully fledged architect.

Right now I’m the first two.
Might I say that the freshest breath of air in the past twenty years has been the amount of women who have come in to the shop to purchase bicycles, That they aren’t buying road bikes with the intention to ride with their husbands/boyfriends, (not that this was a bad thing) and that they are riding regularly, they aren’t bound by spandex and the latest yoga wear, that they aren’t out there at the request of women health magazine or Oprahs favorite doctor of the month.
Women have been buying, they are rolling out the door in clothing they are most comfortable in, riding around the neighborhoods, frequenting the farmers markets, loading baskets as if they were Freja unloading bounty upon the plains of Valhalla.
This makes me so happy.
Read me correctly, I am not saying women don’t belong in certain forms of cycling. Bring on all-comers! I want to invite women into all forms. I wish I could have seen Jeanne Longo hand Lance his hat to eat it on the plains of France.
I want an even playing field and I want to see little Danica Patricks destroying upcoming Helio Castroneves on bikes.
(Okay, I totally blended references and bungled ananlogies there. Danica Patrick races against men in cars. )

What I also want is for women to ride more, to ride as they wish to ride. Are they mothers? I want them to ride to the beach, children in tow, giggling and living it up along the way. I want to see coffee shops and Yoga studios, invaded by bikes, blissful smiling faces abound.
I want to see bike shops devoid of flannel and denim or stretched spandex, flowing with a deluge of sundresses and chinos and little ballet slipper slides.
(Yes I realize that anyone can say that any image I just described can be broken down to a sexist root. Not all women act the way I describe, not all dress the way I spoke of. Many groups of women ride. The groups I have described are not the ones who typically ride.)

I want to see Americans riding cause they want to, in every way they feel like it.
The more riders the better!
Ladies, saddle up! The road awaits!