Month: October 2006

What’s your plan? Your next bike(s)…

I recently ordered my 2nd “real bike “, a Surly Cross-Check built up for commuting and touring. I like the Cross-Check because it’s the “Swiss Army knife of bikes”: it’s capable of doing so much – single track/cyclocross, singlespeed/fixed-gear, touring, commuting – due to certain features of the frameset , namely clearance and the horizontal dropouts. To quote Surly: “Think of the Cross-Check like an army jeep: tough as nails and used for everything”.

When I was considering the Cross-Check a lot of the cycling forums guys said “save up more money and get a custom frame”. The difference in cost is huge, however. If I get a custom frame built I’d be looking at ballpark 1,000 euros for the frame, because I wouldn’t accept half-measures. Paying 400 euros for the Swiss Army knife of bikes, I will accept half-measures. I know the TIG-welded 4130 Cro-moly tubing is heavier and uglier than 853 Reyolds with beautiful silver lugs (yes, I know lugs miss the point of air hardening the 853).

King of Mercia touring frameset from Mercian CyclesTo me the beauty of the Cross-Check is that a couple of years down the line when I decide to upgrade my commuting/touring bike to something special custom built for me (like the King of Mercia) then I can reuse the Cross-Check frame. My current plan is a fun single-trail capable fixed-gear bike, but maybe at that stage I’ll want a fixed commuter and keep the King for long haul – who knows?

Foreign Lady cyclist teaches Beijing motorist a lesson

This driver won’t forget this incident too soon… originally from Nanfangdaily via Zoneuropa:

At around 8:50am on October 20, 2006, on the road from the Zhaoyang East bridge towards the Blue Island Building, a funny episode occurred: a foreigner acted as traffic police and made a small sedan which had gone into the bicycle lane move back out into the car lane.

By the time that I got there, a foreigner had stopped and held her bicycle in the bicycle lane in front of a silver car (license plate number HL ****). She was smiling and saying something to the driver while making gestures. At first I went past and I did not take any photographs. Then I saw the foreigner go past the car and stopped her bicycle in front of the car. So she was trying to get the car to go back into the car lane instead of being in the bicycle lane. This went on for a few minutes. The driver got mad and got out of the car to curse the foreigner. He even picked up the bicycle and hook it. Even so, the foreigner would not budge and she insisted that the car get back on the car lane.

Finally, the car turned back into the car lane. The foreigner then blocked the next car (a white Santana), which quickly retreated and went into the car lane.

The whole incident occurred in under 10 minutes and drew quite a few spectators. After the foreigner left, the spectators commented: “The Chinese really need to be educated this way!” Dear brother and sister readers, what do you think?

Our heroine.

Reality of bike safety – a mother’s lecture

Most regular sports and commuter cyclists are very safety conscious. Some of us spend serious amounts of cash on lighting systems, reflective clothing and other types of high visibility gear.

But sometimes there’s just nothing you can do – if it’s your day, it’s your day. Here’s a message for all of us cyclists from a grieving mother in California. My condolences to Mary Ann and the Peckams. Thanks for the reality check.Hi-vis ANSI safety vest

John Peckham was my son. He’s the one that was killed in the tragedy in the Los Altos Hills in Northern California on Sept. 8, 2006. John Peckham was doing nothing wrong. Nothing as in nothing.

He was wearing a helmet, he was not wearing earbuds, he was on a training ride on a road that had no traffic ever. Along comes the guy from hell. I can’t talk as much as I’d like here because I really don’t want to hurt my son’s case in the courts but I know for sure the guy was freaked out on Meth. Hit my kid going upwards of 80 mph while my kid was following all the rules of the road.

What I’m trying to say here is that I got some vibe that some of you all think that you can be safer if you try. You can’t. You’re on a bike you’re going to meet up with Mr. Methamphetamine. And my son got him this time. You were all spared for the moment. Nothing is going to make cycling safe. Nothing. You’ve got someone with nothing except Spandex and a Carbon Fiber bike going head on with a guy on Meth with a Buick from the 70’s. Who’s gonna win?

Are you going to quit riding? No, of course you are not going to quit. My son, John, would rather die than quit riding and that’s what he did. He died. Bottom line is be as careful and as safe as you can but nothing, not even a guardian angel (which I think is virtually useless in times such as these) can help you. Just be as safe as you can be.

That’s a mother’s lecture. I’m not saying to stop riding. That would not do. What I’m saying is that you can’t figure out what’s going to happen.

Here’s the thread on

Review: Specialized Rockhopper MTB shoes

Summary: 9/10 Superb shoes for the price, especially for tourists or commuters

Pros: look great, just like normal shoes off the bike, great value especially considering long lifetime

Cons: sole may not be stiff enough for some

Specialized Rockhopper MTB shoesWhen I got these shoes first, they looked something like what’s in that box to the left there. I used these shoes as my “everyday” shoes for about 2 years, but note that’s wearing them 4-6 days a week solid. I didn’t swap them out while at work (we have a relaxed dress code) and had no problems with the recessed cleat. I could tap it by choice on the ground, but normally I didn’t notice it when walking.

The pedals I used with this are double-sided cheap SPD clone WellGos, which worked just great. My plan was to wear out either the shoes or the pedals first, then upgrade both. It was a close call, but the shoes went first, just. The stitching/glue went between the leather upper and the bottom of the air vent section along the outside of the right shoe. I lived with a rip along there for 2-3 months, but eventually I started seeing a problem where the platform section of the shoe was coming apart from the sole rubber (yeah I really wore these to the limit).

I swapped the pedals out for Egg Beaters, and after chucking a $40 pair of Decathlon Rockrider cr@ppy shoes, I splashed out real money on some sh!t hot Specialized Comp Carbon MTB 06’s based on the performace of the Rockhoppers.

A couple of things I loved about the Rockhoppers… they were great touring, I only needed 1 pair of shoes because they were fine to walk in with a bit of flex in the sole. They were great for commuting because they look just like a set of standard runners (or sneakers or running-shoes or whatever they’re called in your locale).After 2.5 years of hard use...

If I was a more hard core rider I’d be concerned with the lack of stiffness, that’s about the only negative. For my purposes they just kicked ass. I haven’t had normal shoes that lasted this long, so value for money is excellent. I’ll give them a 9/10 rating.

Since I stole their picture (tut tut), here’s a link to a merchant on ebay with some of these shoes in stock for USD $60. (Nope, unfortunately I don’t get commision!)

Guilty until proven innocent: drugs in pro-cycling

Ray Cipollini writes, over at the Daily Peloton – Pro Cycling News, about the Anti-Doping Agencies and the presumption of guilt existing in the cycling world. Here’s some of what he has to say:

Why do we have UNCONDITIONAL faith in the ADA, even when there is no way to verify their usually inflammatory and inaccurate statements?

Why is it that I have never seen an ADA or NGB or the media retract an accusation when the athlete was subsequently exonerated?

The ADAs define their own rules, interpret their own rules, create their own science, hide behind closed doors, use “independent experts” that are appointed by and paid for by the ADA, hold the athletes to different standards than they themselves are willing to accept, and have to answer to no one. They would like the general public to believe that they are infallible, and that the athlete has specific rights to mount a defense to a positive test. The fact is that the athlete has virtually no rights, and instead is forced to fight using technicalities in the process, and the ADA (and the ADA approved labs) has an agenda (and the resources) that an individual athlete cannot reasonably defend against. The athlete cannot argue against the positive test result, only the procedures surrounding the test….the ADA has already met their burden of proof, and guess what, you are already guilty.

I believe that the current anti-doping process is completely ass-backwards and tramples on the basic rights of the athletes, for the common good.

I must say that I agree with this argument and I’ve been thinking this way for some time. I still believe Tyler, despite it all… 🙂 There are many questionable findings from these labs, but the ADA are unwilling to discuss the possiblility of false positives. The fact that these labs and scientists are unwilling to accept questioning of their results brings doubt immediately to the forefront of my thinking.

Go read Ray’s letter and make up your own mind.