Installed it on the Surly Steamroller (after switching out the front fork for a Cross Check fork and mounting some Avid Shorty 4's and an extra long link wire to fit over the mounting bracket) the other day. Today was the first day I got to ride, loading up 30 records for sale at Shangri-La, then later a quick trip to the grocery store for dinner items. Of course we utilized the Madison Ave. bike lanes and Em (my wife) felt very safe and loved them. From our counter-top lunch perspective at Kwik Chek we saw several people ride by (Cara and Don).
The official giveaway will take place this Monday, December 19 from 5:30pm-7:30pm at Shelby Farms Park Starry Nights. If you can't make it for the giveaway, join us at Peddler Bike Shop at 6:15 for a group ride out to Starry Nights via the Greenline. Be sure to bring $5 for the entry fee, cash only at the gate!
I'm sure you remember Confessions of a Pedalphile which took home several awards at last May's Bikesploitation. Yes, you do, because it's damn funny. Well the gents from Corduroy Wednesday are bringing another bike related film festival to town this Thursday, December 8th: Bike Smut.
Five in One
423 North Watkins
8pm Doors, 9:30 Show
Starry Nights, the annual holiday light display in Shelby Farms Park opened last night. At least, I'm assuming it opened. I didn't go because of the rain. Every Monday is run, walk, or bike night; no cars allowed. Last year was a nice display and I'm looking forward to a nice cold ride through the park this year. Get ticket prices and more info here.
Smart City Memphis has posted some in depth, informative articles on bicycle infrastructure. Go here and read them, leave a comment if you feel so inclined. You definitely won't have to wade through any "cyclists should register their bikes" or "stay on the sidewalks" type of comments you see on The Commercial Appeal and Memphis Flyer websites.
Bike Walk Tennessee, a statewide organization of bicycle and pedestrian advocates held its annual board meeting in Memphis this past weekend. While the meeting was not open to the public there was a meet & greet session which I attended and which was rather informative. You might think that we have enough issues to deal with in Memphis so why should we care about the rest of the state? Think of it like the wheel of a bicycle: you and I are the rim; we're touching the ground, seeing everything that is happening and translating our desires to those who have taken it upon themselves to head up local organizations like Outdoor Chattanooga and Livable Memphis, or the spokes. They then pool their efforts at the hub, or Bike Walk Tennessee, to get bills introduced into laws that say we don't have to sit around at red lights waiting for them to change if there are no cars coming. Or the new "Due Care Law" which jumps the penalty of hitting a cyclist from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor, or $50 to $500, and up to a year in jail for killing a cyclist. The author of that bill? Memphis's own Mark Hicks:
The new law took effect on July 1st of 2011, so the guy from this video who was so worried about his truck will see a stiffer penalty.
After the meet & greet we took a ride to show some off some of the Memphis facilities: the crossing light at the Greenline and Highland, our rebel bike lanes on Broad, our real bike lanes on North Parkway, the Harahan Bridge (and a quick beer at Martyr's Park) and the repaved Madison Avenue to finish up with more beer at Bosco's where Dr. Spaceman sat next to us. Here's our route, it stops at Martyr's because my phone battery was like weahhhh:
Do you remember all of those surveys you took and meetings you attended earlier this summer? Well, the MPO has posted the updated bike/ped plan for public review at http://memphismpo.org. Take a few minutes and check it out.
On our recent trip to Chicago I stumbled upon the Chrome boutique in Wicker Park. I really hadn't planned on buying a new bag but I figured I'd go in and take a look. We skipped past the bags and headed right for the shoes. Now I definitely don't have as many shoes as Em but I have quite a few. Several friends have some Chrome shoes and they like them but I was interested in the SPD compatible models. Until now I would wear my cycling shoes and carry a pair of regular shoes in my backpack and I'm always looking for a way to reduce the amount of stuff I need to carry. I opted for the Midway Pro, a mid-top shoe that will give me a bit of ankle support and also be a good winter shoe.
My first ride was pretty positive. The cleat bridge is pushed more forward than my other shoes so I had to make some adjustments mid commute but after that I was on the ball again and riding comfortably. The next morning I was a little flustered when my cleat released as I was taking off from the light at Cooper and Union. Thinking that it was just a fluke I tried to purposefully pull out from that spot again and I hit my knee on my handlebar! Now I was hurt and frustrated. I took it easy the rest of my commute. I know that I can put a shim under the cleat to improve the cleat/pedal interface but that would negate the purpose of having an SPD street shoe - the cleats should not contact the ground when I'm walking around.
Anyone else with these shoes experiencing this same issue? Solved this issue? I'm going to keep riding them because they still do their job; maybe they will improve with wear?
I started the bike rack map as a way to showcase the artistic racks found around town as well as give people an idea of the plethora of places to which one can ride a bike. It's been a tremendous project and one that has been a lot of fun; after all, I get to ride my bike and take pictures, two things I really enjoy.
If this sounds like I'm stopping the project then I've got you fooled. What's happening is that the City of Memphis is taking over the project; building upon what I've started!
It's a big project. Believe me, I've been doing it for a while by myself. For this phase, though, the City is seeking volunteers to help with the project. Per an email from Kyle Wagenschutz:
If you are interested in becoming part of a team of volunteers that will be working to locate, map, and document the current availability of bicycle parking in the City of Memphis, please consider meeting with us on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 from 5:30pm-6:30pm at Republic Coffee, 2924 Walnut Grove Road, Memphis, TN 38111 (in the back meeting room). Please respond to firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP your attendance.
There's a new startup that's servicing downtown: Memphis Pedicab Company. The intent is to provide downtown workers an easier way to travel across downtown in a door-to-door fashion. They're posting pictures on their facebook and the people look like they've just won Cash Cab! That may be because the rides are FREE! The drivers work for tips!
There has been a pedicab company in Memphis before, as Paul Ryburn remembers and this Daily News article from 1998 but per my emails with MPC (this might not work: MPC is my abbreviation for Memphis Pizza Cafe.) it is not the same company. I'm with Paul in hoping that they stick around.
Live From Memphis, with the help of the National Ornamental Metal Museum and Revolutions Community Bicycle Shop has built a bicycle with a stage! They've taken it out for a test ride or two and tonight they will be riding around downtown with local musician Grace Askew performing. Ride-alongs are encouraged!
Friday marks the 6th annual Broad Avenue Art Walk. Last years Art Walk was a pretty awesome affair with us having a bike shop set up. This year Victory Bicycle Studio is moving to Broad Ave but the actual move is planned for the Monday/Tuesday after the Art Walk so there won't be a bike shop set up. But that doesn't mean there won't be anything bike related happening. Nathan Berry will have an exhibit of cyclists in casual attire and I'm sure there will be lots of other artists with bike-themed pieces. Take a look at the website for more info.
I've totally been waiting for someone to post a Greenline Missed Connection. I was hoping for it to be two strangers passing on bikes but I'll settle for one on a bike and one walking, so here it is:
Beautiful girl on the Greenline - m4w - 35 (germantown)
Date: 2011-10-01, 9:11PM CDT
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I was riding a filthy bike across the bridge in haste to get to ride some trails at shelby farms and I came across you walking your dog and taking photographs. I'm reallly shy so when I rode up to you, I spent most of the time, talking to your dog and smiling...sorry, but you were too pretty for me to just open up an impromptu conversation with. If you would like to catch up on that conversation we could have had, please let me know. I'll buy the drinks, and you just e-mail me back with the color of my jersey in the subject line...
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
As a testament to its appeal the producers of Cyclocrunk have upped the entry fee from $7 to $15 this year. Why the increase? Insurance. The Tennessee Bicycle Racing Association (TBRA) is covering the race so that also means you need a race license. If you don't have a race license, you can purchase one at the event for $5.
In addition to being insured I've been told that there will also be another surprise. We'll just have to wait until tonight so find out what that surprise is.
For the next few days I'll be posting different routes from Midtown to Campus which will culminate with the Bike To Campus Day. (Of course if I had multiple places to stay I would post routes from various places around town.)
The Oregon Manifest, for those unfamiliar with the event, is "(a) design/build competition to create the ultimate modern utility bike", or in other words, a commuters candy store! Custom made bikes, fenders and bags! Can I get an "Oh my!"
Unfortunately for me, as the name suggests, the event takes place in Oregon. But that doesn't mean we can't look at lots of pictures taken by Jonathan Maus of http://bikeportland.org/:
Sidecar! It looks like it's mostly for ice/beer or well, why would you want to put anything else in there?
This is what I'm talking about: 2 Flasks! One for gin, one for vermouth, and the olive jar in the bag!
Okay, besides booze, let's see what else we can carry. As part of this years event three well-known builders teamed up with three design firms to come up with some treats. View them all here and click on each one to see their diary of their builds. My favorite:
Part of the event is a ride challenge where builders or selected riders take their designs and put them to a true test: 51 miles of varied terrain! While some of the designs had really cool integrated features I feel they wouldn't last a good 51 miles, but then, how many of us ride 51 miles on our daily errands?
The University of Memphis is hosting their second environmentally conscious day. In conjunction with this, Economics Prof. Doug Campbell will be leading a ride from the First Congo parking lot to campus. I'm no longer in school but I work right there so I'm planning on joining this ride and I hope more people will as well. Get more info on the Facebook page.
My first bicycle helmet was a Giro. After wearing it one time it ended up on a shelf and collected cobwebs. It looked like this: a styrofoam beer cooler with a lycra cover. I remember trying to figure out which direction was the front. Of course my mom got it for me, but that wasn't the kind of helmet that Cru Jones wore at Hell Track so I ditched it. I'm sure a lot of people have a similar story. Maybe they actually wore theirs.
Lots of people think they look like a mushroom in a bicycle helmet. (Though we all know you'd look hotter in a helmet. I'd like to see a new ad campaign featuring two pictures side-by-side. First picture of a busted-up face, second picture done-up all proper with a helmet.) Some don't like the aerodynamic look and crucial ventilation of modern helmets, opting instead for a skate-style helmet. Over the years the options in that style of helmet have increased considerably. Companies like Bern, Nutcase and even Giro themselves have had a skate dome-style design in multiple color and graphic choices, some of which have a built-in visor. One problem I've seen with several of these helmets is that they are rather large and some don't have the adjustability of modern helmets. Not to mention the weight!
I'm sure Giro had gotten much of the same feedback so they produced a new helmet for 2012: the Reverb.
From Giro: Smooth, simple style with the comfort and convenience riders need for life on the roll. The Reverb’s light, cool feel is matched with a tough In-mold shell that resists dents and dings, and a self-adjusting Auto Loc™ fit system allows you to slip into the helmet quickly and securely without extra adjustments – even when wearing a cycling cap. A wide range of colors are available to fit any style, and the removable cap-style cotton visor offers a bit of shade without compromising the cooling flow of air through the helmet on warm, sunny days.
Pretty cool, eh? It uses the same retention strap as the Prolight. It's essentially a piece of elastic attached to the chin-straps which have just enough adjustment. This means that not only is it a sleeker, better ventilated dome-style helmet but it's also light weight. And several of the colors take cues from those first Giro helmets; the same way that fashion often reverberates (yeah, I said that.) through the decades.
And speaking of the other colors, as I was checking out the catalog I noticed that two of the helmets have a very familiar name associated with them: Sasha Barr. Maybe you know him? You've probably seen some of his work at Sub Pop or Chocolate Skateboards. You've almost definitely seen the Revolutions logo. His portfolio can be seen at thisisthenewyear.com. He's been sending graphics to Giro who put them on the Reverb. From the catalog and website you can't really see his designs so I bothered the crap out of him and he sent me these photos. Remember, exclusive content:
Sasha was kind enough to give a history lesson and let us know his thoughts on Memphis:
-You were part of the original thursday night ride crew, correct?
Correct. OG Thursday Night Ride
-When did that start and what was the catalyst?
Geez, I don't know if I can pinpoint the exact year, but I'd guess between 2002-2003. We'd have to confer with Jon Driskell and Anthony Siracusa. The three of us have been friends and riding buds since we met around 2000/2001, and somewhere early on we all got too busy with either relationships or work to find the time to ride our bikes together. I believe the Thursday night ride started as a Tuesday night thing, just one night a week where the three of us would devote time to hang out. We'd ride around town or just sit on a porch and catch up. Eventually Matt Cole and I started living together and he'd start coming on the rides, then folks from Outdoors started joining, then folks from Revolutions, and it just grew from there. I guess sometime it became Thursday nights, but I can't remember when. 2006-2007 were the "glory" years for me(I moved in 2007), where it really took off. That's when it really picked up momentum as a community thing and lots of people were hearing about it and joining in. Adventurous crews of 20-30+ people just down to hang out and ride around any time of the year. Good people and good memories for sure. I hear there's some people still doing the Thursday night thing, and I'm glad someone's out there holding the torch. Hopefully it will remain a Memphis tradition for a while.
-Do you still have your "faggots night out" spoke card?
Of course. I took if off my bike not too long after moving out here, I didn't want to come find my bike all beat to hell on the sidewalk somewhere. For those of us who were around for it, we know it's not about anything hateful, but to the random passer by I could see it stirring up some anger. That spoke card, to me at least, really represents a fairly normal part of Southern America. "Faggots Night Out" came from the Thursday night rides, when some random dude in a giant pickup truck yelled at us when were rolling down Front street, "What is it, faggots night out?" And then someone else yelled it at us again a week or so later. Might of been the same dude, I don't know. Either way, that's the South for you. Of course, a bunch of people riding bikes, it's totally Faggots Night Out. To me, it's hilarious. Thanks to Josh Gorman for putting that on a spoke card.
-You visited memphis a few weeks ago. How has the bike scene changed since you moved away?
Since I was staying with Anthony, our only mode of transportation was via bike. The one thing that stood out to me was how much I enjoyed riding a bike in Memphis. The streets are big and wide, there's hardly anyone on them, and everything is so flat. I know everyone is working super hard in Memphis to get bike lanes and awareness, but I gotta say, there's nothing better than riding around Memphis through the neighborhoods. It's a rad place to ride. Once you get all the neighborhoods figured out you almost never have to commute on the busy streets. The one thing that stands out most in my mind about Memphis is how much I truly miss riding my bike there. All the old routes through Chickasaw Gardens or Evergreen or Linden to downtown or midnight ride through Overton Park or just cruising down Harbert.... Good stuff.
-Does the black hole theory apply to you; do you think you'll ever move back?
I honestly have no idea. I've found I'm the kind of guy who really likes having a job, and to be honest there's just not many options for me in Memphis. I really like my job here, so until I get fired or they go out of business, I'm sticking around Seattle. Plus Seattle and the Northwest is an incredible place to be. It's taken me about 4 years to get settled here, so I gotta stay the course! The main lame thing is I'll never be able to buy a home here, but I actually have a pretty incredible rental home with a whole street full of amazing neighbors and a rad landlord, so I'm not really concerned with owning any time soon. Seattle also has like 20 incredible skateparks, which the South can't really shake a stick at(Although I'm stoked on Tobey Park). I didn't leave Memphis because I hated it, I just wanted to try something different. I feel incredibly lucky to have found the things I've found here in Seattle, so for now I'm just doing Seattle. I think about Memphis/ TN stuff all the time. Even though I grew up outside of Nashville, I initially tell most people I meet that I'm from Memphis. Memphis is a big part of who I am.
-Do you use a bike as your main transportation in seattle?
When I was still living in Memphis, I'd say I went most places every day by bike. Upon moving to Seattle, a place when compared to the South is very bike friendly, I find I ride my bike rarely. Here I just walk or take the bus, both things you can't really do comfortably in Memphis. My commute from home to work is only about 4 miles and I ride to work on occasion, but to be honest it's not a fun ride. Even with bike lanes it's nerve wracking- tons of traffic, parked cars, skinny streets, spandex warriors racing you... someone actually got hit and died on my work route while I was visiting TN. Even with all the bikes lanes and bike awareness, there's still plenty of people driving cars that will run you over either maliciously or because they're not paying attention. The last time I rode to work a guy in an SUV literally almost ran me over as he swerved in to the bike lane to go around another car. I punched the back of his car, but he had no idea I was there. If I hadn't of been paying attention, I would of been under that dude's tires. I'm just trying to have a good time and get to work, I'm not trying to stress out at 8 am. I'll ride my Bennotto(my fixed gear) around our neighborhood for little errands, or to a park, or on any of the really amazing paved bike trails, I just don't like commuting here. I typically just take the bus to work. Lame, I know.
My girlfriend Meagan actually commutes by bike everyday, though. She works a couple miles from the house and can use this amazing paved bike path along the water as her commute to work. I got Mike Crum to build her a frame earlier this year, it turned out to be a really nice bike. Thanks, Mike.
-What does memphis lack in its bike scene, like what would entice you or creative professionals like you to move back (besides a helmet law)?
I can't really say about the bike scene, it seems to me to be the same as it's always been. But I'm not totally in touch. Seems like there's always been people on bikes in Memphis, maybe in the last number of years the people are finally starting to get together and communicate, which is a good thing. I remember back in 2000 or 2001 when people from Decleyre and wherever tried a few Critical Mass rides down Union. People have been trying to get noticed on bikes for as long as I can remember. Folks like Anthony and Kyle are obviously fighting super hard for more awareness, and that's amazing. It seems like in that regard things are changing for the better. They're getting the attention it needs.
I think I would just have to be done with the Northwest to consider moving back. I got no hard feelings about the South, I'm just doing my thing up here for a while.
That's great. Thanks to Sasha Barr and Giro!
Cooper-Young Festival is this Saturday. They tried to get valet bicycle parking but weren't successful as far as I know (nothing about it on their website or posters) which is upsetting. I'm sure many attendees will opt for the convenience of a bicycle versus the hassle of trying to find a parking space/paying to park in someone's yard. But maneuvering through a crowd with a bicycle isn't very fun. Last year I re-routed my commute home through the festival. While it was great to see my friends operating their booths and I looked super bad-ass with a bicycle and it was 6:00PM (an hour before the festival ends) I still had to be very careful. I can only imagine what it will be like at peak hour with 120,000 humans milling about.
So park your bike. CY has several ginkgo-shaped bicycle racks that will be situated behind the vendor booths; that's if you can get to one. The picture above is actually a bike rack as well, located before the Art Trestle, behind Toad Hall Antiques. I suspect that there will be more bikes than available bicycle racks so Tamara Cook, CYBA Director suggests locking up to the long fence right after the Art Trestle:
That would make a pretty sweet picture, bicycles lined up for half of a block. Or some enterprising CY resident might just allocate their yard to bicycle parking instead of car parking (Doug? Ryan?). It would also be cool to get a picture of everyone with their bike and see the different frame styles, colors, tire choices, bag/basket options...
Okay, sorry for nerding up on you right there but maybe you agree: everyone loves looking at pictures of themselves (you do. You get excited when someone tags you on facebook) and everyone loves their bicycle (there's probably just one other thing that you'll get as "familiar" with as your bicycle) so combine the two. Maybe we'll do this at our upcoming alleycat(?).
So back to bags and baskets. You'll need something with which to carry all the goodies you'll score. Like this (the real reason for this post); the best thing ever purchased by anyone ever at the Cooper Young Festival. This has been with me for about 11 years:
Definitely click for larger images. It's too small for me now so Em gets to be amazing. Trust me, it was difficult for me to let her wear it but that's what you do when you love someone: you give them your favorite T-shirts.
People have been packing their portable barriers into their backpacks, gluing tubulars, practicing their dismounts, and marking their calendars. According to the TBRA the first points race is going down in Unicoi, TN and brought to you by MSG Cyclocross.
There are 12 points races on the calendar this year, 3 of which take place in Memphis! There are a total of 31 scheduled races, though, 10 of them in Knoxville. So we're not necessarily the hotbed of cyclocross racing for Tennessee. But those are just the races that have paid the $50 calendar fee, so you won't see Cyclocrunk up there. (The dates have not yet been released but the promoters are working on the 2011 website. Photos from previous years can be found on their flickr.)
I came across this website which allows you to custom color a BMX bike. This isn't some Republic-Bikes-choose-from-these-5-colors type of customization. Full color charts on everything from the spokes to the bar end plugs!
The bad part about it is that you can't order the bike once you've designed it. You can, however, order a custom painted carbon fiber Trek Madone through their Project One Website and even get some Nike's to match through the NikeID Website.
Bicyclists meet at Overton Square parking lot at 11:45am to ride downtown as a group or Rally in front of City Hall at 12:30pm. This is a great opportunity to show the mayor what we think should happen with our city streets.
Slider Inn is a new restaurant recently opened in Midtown that serves tiny burgers. As we rode into the parking lot to lock up at their bike rack I caught a flat. Not just a regular flat, but a tire slashing, hafta put a dollar bill between the tube and tire type of flat. Once that was fixed we went in and cooled off with a cold beer and ordered some tiny burgers and sandwiches (they also have mini chicken sandwiches). Best part: spicy mayonnaise. Post cyclocross races: beer, frites, and spicy mayo.
Here's how it racks up:
Form - Standard
Function - Pass
Environment - Doesn't match but does have its own dedicated space.
Points of Interest - Slider Inn