Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A little worried about this guy

Floyd Landis in San Jose Team OUCH

I truly hope he gets some good counsel and doesn't do something tragically stupid in the next few days.

Fat tires and float

I'm having a lot of fun trying the Urbana Bike bicycle. I hope to have an initial review on Commute By Bike in the next day or two.

Those ultra fat 2.6 inch tires on the Urbana suggest to me that they might "float" wonderfully on the snow, and Urbana confirmed for me that the tire was designed with the year round, all weather commuter in mind. Urbana is based in Montreal, Quebec, and Montreal this time of year means snow.

I want to test this out, but we don't exactly have an abundance of snow in Santa Cruz. I tried a reasonable analog: Beach Sand. Conditions this last weekend were 70 degrees and sunny at the beach, a perfect opportunity to test these tires.

Balloon tire on the sand

As you can see, the blue waters of Monterey Bay look very inviting. Furthermore, the tire "floats" over the sand just fine. I didn't photograph myself on the dry, less compact sand away from the water because I was more concerned about keeping in control, but I can still ride and control the bike in the soft sand.

Unfortunately, for my return trip home, I discovered another type of float these tires excel at - the tires are too fat to fit into the tire slot on bus bike racks, so they sit right on top of the slot!

Fat tires and bus bike rack

The bus driver won't let me mount the bike like this, but I eventually found a solution to this problem. If I deflate the tires partially down to about 10 PSI (recommended minimum is 20 PSI), I can jam the tires into place. They're wedged in pretty good, so some effort is required to pull them back out at your destination.

Deflate to fit

At 10 PSI, these balloon tires are still ridable, though you risk pinching the tube on curbs and bumps and the front tire squirms like crazy. You also need noticeably more effort to make the bike go with the tires so squishy.

If you frequently bring your bike on the bus, you might consider swapping out to a skinnier tire. The Nid De Poule tires otherwise perform surprisingly well, with good rolling resistance and superior shock absorption because of their big air volume.

I discovered another cool feature in Santa Cruz last weekend -- a pair of pedestrians crossed against the light directly in front of me, so I squeezed brakes and the rear tire emitted a satisfyingly loud heart stopping screech. The walkers yelped in fear and clutched their chests in response as they jumped back to the sidewalk. I really hate the idea of generating fear like a car, but I have to admit to a certain visceral satisfaction when I saw the look of terror on their faces. I'll repent of that later.

If you want the Nid De Poule, you have to buy the bike from Urbana -- it's not available for sale individually. Steve tells me, though, that Schwalbe's Fat Frank tire might be similar.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bike ride with Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn

Streetfilms Clarence Eckerson joins Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn on his morning commute.

Video: NYC Ice Biking

Sydney and Pat riding their bikes (on road slicks while holding a camera!) on snow covered streets in Brooklyn. Good times!

How much icebiking did you try during last week's Snowmageddon?

Speaking of winter, Byron of Bike Hugger is up in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics, where he's snapping photos of bikes on the street while trying hard not to be too snarky with the Canadian border control officials.

SLO man recovers stolen bike in Santa Cruz

A San Luis Obipso man who had two high-end mountain bikes stolen did a little detective work of his own and found one of the missing bicycles listed for sale on craigslist by a Santa Cruz man.

21-year-old Jordan Scott of Santa Cruz was allegedly offering the stolen Specialized SX 9-speed red mountain bike on craigslist for $1,100. It's valued at $4,000.

More in the Santa Cruz Sentinel: A stolen bike, a sketchy ad, a police sting, an arrest.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Katie Holden

Katie Holden races mountain bikes for a living. When she's not racing bikes or attending college or working at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, she lives just a couple of doors down from me.

That is all. More about Katie here. Her Bio, where she explains how she got into cyclist, is pretty cool.

Bike theft and vigilantism

Don't steal bikes, Bro.
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.
More in LA Times Blog: L.A. sees big jump in bike thefts, prompting some vigilante justice.