My friend Jacob at the Presido School of Management in San Francisco is doing research for ways to help curb bicycle theft.
If you are a bike owner please take this quick survey to help with this worthwhile venture.
There’s a new bike shop open in Sommerville, Mass.
Located at the corner of Washington St. and Hawkins St. in Union Square, Summerville, Massachusetts.
Here are some pictures of the new store.
Open is having its Grand Opening this Saturday the 11th. Trying to open themselves up to the local community.
They’ve got a whole schedule of events including:
10a-7p : Open Grand Opening
7p : Chorus Gallery Launch & Reception for photographer Justin J. Keena
9p : Macaframa Boston Premiere
10p : Crit, Footdown, Tricks, etc.
11p : After Party, Location TBD
From the owner Zack Teachout-
“All events are taking place at the shop and in Union Square, Somerville/Cambridge/Boston.
One of the biggest announcements we have to make is that we will have raw, pre-paint handbuilt frames in the shop Saturday, showcasing the three local builders we represent – Geekhouse, Icarus & Royal H. We will also have finished frames on display and for sale. Open serves as the only shop in town offering both retail sales and custom fittings for these builders. We have also launched our webstore, which has a little vintage bling in it!
Thanks guys! Also, let us know if you need anything, we’ll return the favors!
Every cyclist will receive free admission to the museum that day! This leisurely ride will end with a press conference on the museum steps. We are then are welcome to enjoy the exhibit. Those cyclists who cannot stay at the museum that day will be given a pass for free admission at a later date.
Bike Ride to Growing and Greening Exhibit at Museum of the City of New York
Tuesday, April 14th
10 am-12 pm
USS Maine Monument
Columbus Circle (Intersection of 59th Street & Central Park West)
Ride leaves at 10 am. Press Conference will be at MCNY at 11 am.
This Saturday, April 11th. Its time to get dirty…real dirty.
Its the 2nd annual Track Bike Cyclocross being called: Tracklocross.
get more info at the website: www.tracklocross.blogspot.com
I’m told anyone can participate in this event.
To get a better understanding about what this event is all about I sent out some questions to the race organizers and got back these responses. (Note there are two people organizing this event and both of them responded to the questions. I marked the responses accordingly)
Who is organizing this race? (Name, Age and where you live) We are Drew and Mattio – two bicycle enthusiasts and alleycat racers in our twenties who live in Brooklyn.
What bikes do you own? Mattio: I’ve got an everyday IRO which has doubled as a cyclocross bike, a Felt TK2 for racing at the track, a Co-Motion Ristretto for road racing, and a sweet 1973 Pogliaghi track bike.
Drew: I’ve got a soma, a fuji track pro, a mikkelsen road bike, and a bob jackson touring bike.
For those who don’t know, describe what is Cyclocross and what is unique about this race? Mattio: Cyclocross is a nutty sport from Belgium where it’s grown over the past century as an opportunity for road riders to stay in shape during the autumn offseason. Riders ride bikes that look like road bikes but with knobby tires and some geometry modifications. The race is done around a roped-off course, a circuit that the riders repeat over and over again, that features a variety of obstacles – steep run-ups, barriers, tight slick turns, off-camber sections, exposed rocks and roots… challenging terrain. ‘Cross is about carrying speeds through these obstacles and frequently requires racers to dismount, carry their bike and run over and through difficult sections.
Drew: This however is not your typical cyclocross race. Tracklocross is part cyclocross, part alleycat, and part urban exploration. The race is in a really muddy and mostly off-road area, but there are checkpoints, and racers have to find the best way to the checkpoits. Second tracklocross is not about building a bike to suit a particular terrain, the way cyclocross sort of is. Tracklocross is more about riding what you have, wherever.
Besides the obvious mechanical differences, what makes a track bike cyclocross different from regular? Is it track bike only? Do racers have to make special modifications for this event? Mattio: Tracklocross is a goofy word we coined to describe our particular brand of riding bikes that are ill-suited for the terrain. Tracklocross isn’t a cyclocross race – it’s not about cyclocross bikes, it’s about racing wherever with what you’ve got. Last year, track bikes were encouraged but not required; this year, riders must have either a fixed gear, or 23mm slick tires. We’ll probably see a lot of people putting knobby cyclocross tires on track bikes to deal with the difficult sections of the course, which was common last year. But we’ll also see a lot of people riding their everyday track bikes. Crihs took second place last year riding a track bike with risers and slick tires. The reason we have this rule is because we don’t want mountain bikes and cyclocross bikes competing in this race. It would be an unfair advantage!
Drew: We’ll also see a handful of people making it harder on themselves by entering the “track legal” category that we have – drop bars, 23c slick tires, and a fairly high 49-16 gearing. Probably the best bike for this course is a fixed gear with low gearing and knobby tires. But the course is muddy and difficult, and we want to really reward people who stay true to the spirit of the race and ride a truly inappropriate bike, so there will be a special prize for the first racer who can complete the course on a velodrome-ready track bike.
What should racers wear? Clothes they don’t mind getting muddy. And, while they’re at it, they should bring a bike they don’t mind dragging, and maybe a change of socks.
Can anyone participate in this event? Mattio: Absolutely! You don’t need to be a licensed racer or anything. You don’t even need to be competitive – we’ll see a wide variety of riders, from the fun participants who determinedly bring up the rear to the foaming-at-the-mouth nutjobs who will be competing for the title Mud God of Randall’s Island.
Drew: But that said, the course is not easy. If you want to win, then you’ll need to bring a lot of stamina and bike handling skills.
What is the Cyclocross scene in NYC area? Hmm. Good question. Last year, there was one race – way out in Staten Island. If NYCers want to race ‘cross they need to pile into cars and drive to New England, Jersey, Pennsylvania, or upstate. I didn’t race cross last year until Staten Cross, which was stupid, because it’s fun. Apparenlty there are informal cyclocross training sessions in the fall on Randall’s Island, organized via Facebook.
Do you race competitively? Cyclocross or other cycling events? Mattio: This year will be my first year of road racing and my second of track racing. I used to race every alleycat I could get my hands on.
Drew: I race a bit of track now and again, and I’ve raced a fair number of alleycats. I’ll do at least one road race this year, just to say that I’ve done one.
What lead you to organize the race last year? In 2007, alleycats were really big and huge, and then cooled down really fast. We wanted something that was a bit outside of the traffic norm, something that was wild and challenging and offered alleycat racers a race where they didn’t know what to expect. Randall’s Island makes a great venue for this – it’s a little bit weird, a little bit spooky, this bizarre half-park corner of the city where we can kind of run wild without really bothering people.
Did you have to get special permits from the city? tell them it was a Citibank Fun Run or something? Heh. Nope, we haven’t gotten permits. It’s all taking place in public parks; it’s more or less a scavenger hunt, if authorities ask, and while there are Don’t Go Here parts of the island, obviously we want participants to ride sensibly, stay on the roads and paths on the Island, and be considerate of other users of the island.
How was the attendance last year? What will be different about this year? Last year we say about forty racers come out. A third of them didn’t finish – they had mechanicals, flats, or just plain old couldn’t hack it. This year, we expect more people to come out. I can’t tell you how many people told me, “Wow, those photos looked amazing, I’m kicking myself for not coming.”
This year, the course will be different. First off, there will be more mud. The island has changed a lot – last year, so much of it was basically a construction site. They’re building a whole bunch of new playing fields in areas that previously only had… um, playing fields, actually. This year we had to look for exciting new checkpoints, abandoned some favorites from last year, and also try to design a course that *feels* like a different race – which is a challenge on a small island with only a handful of roads and paths. But we’re up to the challenge. We just hope the racers are.
Who’s coming out? Who’s NOT coming out? Alleycat racers, commuters, roadies, trackies, and cyclocross racers. Beyond new york, we’re expecting people coming up from philly, boston, dc, connecticut, elsewhere.
Some of the pictures I’ve seen of the race and the area make it look rather post-apocalyptic. Whats the course like and how does it get so damn muddy? Last year, the course took people over gravel roads, down a few paved paths, onto a huge mound of random sand at an abandoned baseall field, and then into muddy corners of the island. Like I said, there were whole sections torn up as part of construction, and there are all these parts of the island that are underneath the TriBoro Bridge, and underneath the railroad tracks – this deadspace that becomes perfect for checkpoints. Last year it rained the day before, which made conditions perfect.
This year – well, we’re not reavealing details of the course yet. But it will not be easier than last year.
Will you be providing power hose scrub downs of the racers after the event? No. Racers will be on their own in figuring out how not to piss off their roommates.
What are the keys to winning this race? Top riders will have to be strong and fit as well as really determined. They’ll also have to be clever. The manifest is a map of the Island with a few landmarks, and the checkpoints indicated with dots. How racers get from one to the other is up to them. There’s plenty of room for really fucking up the route. Last year’s winner was throwing his mountain bike over fences in an attempt to take a shortcut… he was actually making his race a lot longer. But it all worked out in the end last year.
Will we see this type of event in Xgames 2015? I hope not.
What are your future goals for trackcyclocross? We’d like to see it take place in more places. It would be great to see people organizing alleycat-style pseudocross races all over the country, on their own. Even more importantly I’d like to see the alleycat scene just start to diversify. “Underground” racing is a cheap, awesome, participatory sport that’s a lot easier to get in to than “official” bike racing. And it can be a lot more fun, too. I’d like to see all the alleycat energy continue to get supercreative so that there are lots of ways to be a part of it.
Christian Thormann took some nice portraits of racers from last year:
Ken has been a real fixture in the NYC bike community, hosting events, racing and running various bike/messenger related websites.
Now Ken and his buddies, Quinn and Andy are heading across the country on bikes:
You can follow along on their exploits including a recent test camping trip to Bear Mountain, in the rain, at their website: twoarmparty.com
So far we don’t know where the name comes from. Something about an amputated arm, that non of these guys have.
These guys also are looking for a hand…ha ha, in regards to possible places to stay along the route:
In Ken’s words: “If anyone’s got any friends who live somewhere along our route –
particularly if you know someone who lives in a town of population < 150 in
the middle of Wyoming or something, roofs over our heads and showers might
be spectacular at certain points. It sure will beat setting up our tent
behind a barn or a bear cave. Bears come out of hibernation this time of
year, and they're hungry."
The latest installment of Bike Shorts is coming Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!
8pm at Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo.
Come vote on your favorite bike short film and the best film maker will win $100.00.
The bikeshorts website is a great archive of past participants with links to their movies.
Here is one from Heather Muller, now up on-line. “Get Faster”
Find out what it really takes to win NYC’s Monster Track.
We got a brief taste of good weather this Sunday and temperatures peaked up into a nice level of “take your bike out from the moth balls and see if you can get a tune up.” I noticed a small crowd had gathered near the Mom and Pop bike shop near my apartment in Park Slope. Everyone was looking like they wanted their bikes in working order to get ready for the hopeful onslaught of good weather. Its all good and here’s to more bikers on the streets giving the cars a run for their money. Maybe we can pick up a few more who are tired of being price gouged by the MTA who offer higher prices and lower service.
One place I’d like to recommenced for your winter dust off is the nice folks over at Brooklyn Bike and Board.
Website: Brooklyn Bike and Board
Location: 560 Vanderbilt Ave. Brooklyn, NY.
Started back in December by Brian Gluck this shop is mostly designed for repairs with three full time mechanics ready to fix your ride and answer questions, including Max who rode his Xtracycle all the way across country from Seattle.
I was impressed right when I walked in the shop because they had this huge wood electrical spool in the front window servicing as a work bench. The idea was to create a place where people could do quick flat repairs if they wanted to learn. I like the community feel of this shop and the DIY spirit.
I decided to give my Orange KHS a paint job. First step was to strip off all the parts.
One problem I had was my crank was stripped out.
Max had a solution which involved a hammer and a screwdriver. It was a mercy killing…had to be done.
They did an excellent job and fixed another track bike I brought in.
If you need a good group of wrenches…I highly recommend this shop.
Looks like they have some community welcoming plans for the summer including some morning rides in Prospect Park and eventually movie screenings in their backyard.
Right now there inventory is kind of sparse but they are slowly expanding. They also sell skateboards too, which accounts for the board part of their title.
Check these guys out and keep track of their blog too for upcoming events.
I asked Brian (the owner) a few questions about how he got started:
when did you open the shop and how long have you been in the bicycle business?
I opened shop on Friday, December 12th, 2008. It was such a strange day. I had gone to Home Depot to buy the â€œnonâ€ bike shop tools the previous Wednesday. The rest of the tools were delivered Thursday. I spent Thursday night setting up my work bench, organizing the tools, etc. It was exciting because I didnâ€™t have any merchandise or inventory, so these tools were the first physical and tangible evidence that I was, in fact, opening a bike shop.
I came into work Friday morning, and it sort of dawned on me. Hey… Iâ€™m open. Wait wait wait wait…. Iâ€™m open… Iâ€™M OPEN! WHAAA!?
And just like that I owned a bike shop.
I printed out a sign, taped it to the window, and that was it. No fan fare. No ribbon cutting. No party. Just me, my tools, a cup of coffee, and a very empty space.
what is good about that location?
Oh thatâ€™s easy: itâ€™s the people in the neighborhood. You have the Roadies peaking in sitting atop their Pinarelloâ€™s on their way to the park. The Pratt students with their thrown together single speeds. The momâ€™s and dadâ€™s and their three wheeled strollers, with one, two, and sometimes all three of their tires flat.Their look of helplessness is almost painful. Oh, and then thereâ€™s three-speed crowd. An indescribable group that love the classic look and European feel. Their indicator chains swinging sadly at the ground, waiting to be reattached to something. The variety of people and their variety of bikes makes for such a rich and exciting bike culture. This location is one giant cauldron thatâ€™s being mixed by a bike god that has a multiple personality disorder.
what makes your shop unique?
My goal is to ignite peoples love for their bicycles and to help them realize itâ€™s full potential. The only way to do that is to engage. Iâ€™ve set up the shop so that the customer is two feet away from our bike stand. And if they want to come around the counter to get a closer look, then they can. I encourage my mechanics to speak with them and answer any questions they have. Itâ€™s very important that we give people really sound and meaningful advice. Thereâ€™s a level of openness that I maintain between myself and the customer. In my shop, there is no room for ego or arrogance or attitude. Itâ€™s all about the bike love.
what are your future plans for the shop?
My long term plan is to continue to tune in to what people need to get around. Iâ€™m continually searching for useful and functional answers to peoples traveling problems. It may be a new product, but it also may come from a suggestion that someone casually mentions. It also may be an old idea or an old product thatâ€™s used in a different way. Iâ€™ll hear it or see it or read about it and say, â€œHey… what a sweet idea…â€ Where ever the inspiration lies, I hope to find it and tell people about it.
how has it been running a bike shop in this economy?
We have a tag line we sometimes use to describe our shop: No spandex and no carbon fiber. Itâ€™s tongue in cheek, but it points to the broader picture of what we are. The shop is geared toward the commuter and the urban rider. It targets people that use their bikes for utilitarian purposes as well as people who use them for travel. We build bikes that meet the cityâ€™s demands. Our bikes are useful, reliable, low maintenance, and inexpensive. The products that we carry reflect that. Blinkyâ€™s, locks, fenders… all these things are needed to get around in this city.
$5,000 Framesets and Campy Groupoâ€™s are not what you need to pick up groceries or to get to a bar in Alphabet City. So we donâ€™t carry them. If I did, then Iâ€™d definitely be worried about my business and the current state of the economy.
But there will always be commuters in this city. And this city will always have people who love and adore their bicycles. All those people need inexpensive, bike minded things that can take the abuse of this city. So thatâ€™s what I give them.