Your dad donned cycling caps before you did and he has the bike sweat-filled brim to prove it. Back when Lance Armstrong was swinging two deep and Velocity was only a term used to reference speed, your dad was hyping bike brands on his head. He would flip the shit out of that brim so all the pedal honies could see his laser gaze. He was raw, unbridled, rolling seduction that left a contrail of masculinity with every crank turn.
So hipsters, next time you’re dick up to a bike seat on a fixie, flashing velo gang colors on the brim of your “trying to hard to be original” hat, remember this…
You’ll always be training wheels in comparison to your dad.
The latest episode of Patagonia’s Dirtbag Diaries podcast is about a young man who left a high paying, white collar career to ride his bike from Alaska to Argentina. Gregg Bleakney had a successful and lucrative job at a Seattle software company. By the time he was in his mid-20s he owned a big house, fancy car, and all the other luxuries one might associate with a rich young guy. He also felt a deep dissatisfaction with the work he was doing and spent many sleepless nights pacing around his house stressing about it.
His solution: set off on a year long, 19,000+ mile bike tour with a friend. Bleakney figured the trip would be just the experience he needed to return to his software career with a renewed sense of vigor and satisfaction. Instead, he wound up spending almost two years on the road, discovered a new passion for photography, and realized he would never find satisfaction in his old life.
Dan and E.T. escaping the Feds at a Portland cross race.
Portland Design Works‘ Dan Powell has gumption. It’s a fitting word to describe a man who left his job at Planet Bike to move halfway across the country to start a new bike accessories company (along with fellow ex-Planet Biker Erik Olson) as the US economy crumbled around them. Almost three years later, the company continues to grow and PDW continues to garner recognition in the bike world (thanks in part to the press garnered after Dan purchased a mini velodrome and installed it in their warehouse. I spoke to Dan about the foundation of his company; the struggles of a little company in a big, established industry; the ups (and downs) of living in America’s biketopia, and the general awesomeness of owning a miniature bike track.
Bike activist, writer, and previous Bicycle Story interviewee Elly Blue has a new project in the works called PDX by BIKE. She and business partner Meghan Sinnott are working to create a bicycle travel website and publish a companion guide book that helps bicycle tourists rent bikes, see the best sights, find the best way to get to said sights on bike, and attend the best bike events around Portland, Oregon. In their own words:
It’s a travel guidebook, but with a twist. You know all the good stuff at the front of most guide books about local history, catching the bus, which bridges you can bike over, and tips for doin’ it like a local? That’s what’s in our printed guide–but geared towards bikers.
Meanwhile, all our specific listings—like where to rent a bike and what awesome events are going on while you’re in town—will be on the web where they’ll never be out of date. Don’t worry, the printed version tells you the places you can go to use the web.
If you want even more tips for your trip, we’ll send you a custom itinerary based on your interests, complete with bike routes to get there.
The guidebook will be locally printed and full of gorgeous images by local “drawist” Matt Gauck. It will be bursting with our years of observations and collected tips. It is our hope that with this book on hand anybody on any budget can hop off the train in Portland and immediately be biking like a local.
Elly and Meghan are currently crowdsourcing funding for the publication of the companion travel guide. Check out their Kickstarter page, watch their pitch video, and see if this is the sort of bikey project you want to support.
Paris-Roubaix has come and gone again. Sharper racing analysts than I have written smart recaps of Sunday’s cobblestone sufferfest (this one from Cycle Sport is particularly good), so I’ll spare you my take. Instead, I’ll share with you this amazing video from the race. It’s been making the rounds in the cycling Internet world, but it’s too good not to repost.
Shot at 4,000 frames per second, the video has nearly the same quality as still photography. It does a brilliant job of showing the pain and hardship the riders face on their 260km journey to the Roubaix velodrome. Watch it: