Monthly Archives: November 2012

Elizabeth Kiker: a National Advocate on the Need for Local Advocacy


Elizabeth moderating the National Women’s Cycling Forum Photo from the League of American Bicyclists flickr page.

A little over a decade ago, a coworker convinced Elizabeth Kiker that her 10 mile commute was doable by bike. And in doing so, an advocate was born. Her informal advocacy eventually led her to work for the national bike advocacy organization the League of American Bicyclists, based in Washington, DC. She is now the League’s Executive Vice President, in charge of operations and fundraising. She also runs Every Bicyclist Counts, a side-project that memorializes and compiles data about cyclist deaths in the U.S. I spoke to Elizabeth about her inroads to advocacy, the League’s work, growing bicycling sustainably in the U.S., underdog biking cities, and more.

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The Death of Tom Simpson

Tom Simpson is a British cycling legend. He was the first Brit to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, first to win the World Championship rode race, and won several Spring Classics and Vuelta a España stages. He died in 1967 on the 13th stage of the Tour de France, while climbing the Mont Ventoux. A potent combination of amphetamines and alcohol in his system allowed him to literally ride himself to death.

In 2010, BBC produced an hour long documentary about Simpson called Death on the Mountain. It not only looks at the fateful 1967 tour, but Simpson’s escape from poverty through cycling, his rise to fame, and the circumstances that lead to his unfortunate death. The program is filled with interviews with Simpson’s teammates and competitors and excellent footage of professional races from that era.

Graeme Obree’s Landspeed Record

Graeme Obree likely needs no introduction among cyclists who’ve been involved in the sport for any length of time. The Scotsman is famous for his world hour records and the unorthodox “superman” position he used on his custom built track bike, Old Faithful. Nearly two decades after beating the UCI hour record, Obree is chasing a new world record, the human powered vehicle land speed record. Given that the only rule for the HPV record is that the vehicle must not have an engine, Obree is free to play to his creative strengths and build any wild bike he can dream up.

Humans Invent–a British website focused on inventions, design, and innovation–produced a series of video interviews with Obree as he built his bike and prepares for the speed record. They’re well done and provide terrific insight into Obree’s unique way of thinking about bikes, design, passion, and more.

Return of the Flying Scotsman: inside the mind of Graeme Obree from Humans Invent on Vimeo.

Graeme Obree: Hand-building the fastest bicycle in the world from Humans Invent on Vimeo.

A Look Inside the Hampsten Cycles Workshop

Last week, I rode up to the Hampsten Cycles workshop in north Seattle to interview Max Kullaway, owner of 333Fabrications and one of two Hampsten frame builders. The shop is built in a detached two-car garage at Steve Hampsten’s home. The space is relatively small and packed tight with all the machines, torches, and tools needed to weld and braze, but it’s far from claustrophobic. I wouldn’t call myself a photographer, but I brought a camera with me and took some photos to show the Hampsten work space.

Lots more photos after the jump.
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