Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cycle Memphis - March

The next ride is going down this Saturday Night. View a map of the route here. I hope to see a lot of people there since the last one was rained out and there are several other cool things happening (like the WEVL Spring Concert at the Hi-Tone and the Live From Memphis Music Video Showcase at the Warehouse downtown). As usual I'll be pulling the trailer with spare tubes, pump and tools.

I'm also talking with Young Avenue Deli about a drink special for cyclists that night. Em and I plan on eating at the Deli before the ride if anyone wants to join.

See you then!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Buying A Bike In 4 Steps

A lot of people come into the shop and say they want a bike, but when asked, they don't really know what kind of bike they want to ride. This is a $400+ decision so it should really require a little bit of thought. Here are 4 easy steps that will help you finalize the decision:

1. IMAGINE YOURSELF RIDING. Are you slinging up mud while barreling through a forest trail? Are you contesting the sprint on the morning ride? Cruising on the bike path, pulling the kids in a trailer, riding to work, or are you trying to drop a few pounds? The thing with bikes is they are designed for specific riding conditions. There are only a couple of bikes that can handle multiple terrains. Once you can verbalize the way you see yourself on a bike you can narrow down the many different bike choices.

2. POLL YOUR FRIENDS. Getting out by yourself can be a little intimidating so find out what kind of bikes your friends are riding. This can be a good way to find a riding buddy; getting a bike similar to theirs will allow you to ride at a similar pace, where one person won't be working too hard.

3. BE PREPARED TO TEST RIDE. Would you buy a car without test driving it first? Why are you gonna buy a bike without taking it for a spin and seeing how it feels? Wear something that will allow movement but don't wear anything super baggy that could get caught in a chain. In addition to making sure the bike works properly you can make sure you feel good on the bike.

4. ASK EVERY QUESTION YOU CAN. The employees are full of knowledge so pick their brains. Is the seat at the proper height? How do you take off the front wheel? What if something breaks? What can the bike shop do for you? There are lots of questions that might get left out of the conversation. The employees don't know how much you already know about bikes so help them out by asking lots of questions. It's kind of like an interview where you are the employer and the bike shop is the employee: they want to work for you in exchange for your money!

Now that you've found a bike that rides great and feels great, you are ready to purchase. You've also formed a relationship with your Local Bike Shop. Keep in touch with them, friend them on facebook, etc... Shops have weekly group rides and will often host events like demos (where you can test ride the best bikes out there) and Ladies Night (where just women can gather and learn maintenance and riding tips).

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Memphis BMXpark

I hope that as the weather warms up we get to see some longer/better (in terms of video quality) edits.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Preparing For Spring

As Spring plays 'just the tip' for the next few weeks there are a couple of things you can do to prepare yourself for the heat and high gas prices.

1. Make sure your bike is in good, working order. Dust it off, inflate the tires and ride it down the street. If it is making funny noises you should bring it to your Local Bike Shop (LBS) and have a mechanic check it over. Better do it now before the hot weather hits and you start using the "It's too hot..." excuse. Acclimation is important to enjoying year-round riding.

The goal here is to supplement your driving by running errands on your bike. Short trips are the perfect excuse to ditch the car. (Grocery Getters details the ways to carry your cargo.) My short trip to the grocery store because we forgot tomatoes the other night saved us about $0.35 in gas. For a 2 mile round trip that doesn't seem like much but after a year of $3.50 gas that adds up to $115.50. (Woah! I'm saving approximately $17.50 a week by riding my bike to work; or $910 a year. Add in my short trips and that's well over $1,000! New Bike City here I come!) If the grocery store was a scant 2 miles from your house when gas gets up to $4.00/gallon (which is soon) you could save about $265 a year. What are you gonna do with all that savings? That brings us to step #2:

2. Buy plenty of fresh food and cold beer. Bicycling burns a lot of calories and you need to replenish those by relaxing on a porch and sipping on a cold beer then enjoying some locally grown produce and meat.

For the beer: Ghost River is now on tap almost everywhere in Memphis and they have some flavors bottled in your grocery store. They also have dock sales of growlers and kegs. Bosco's also has growlers available. Joe's Wines & Liquor has a Beer Nutz Club (two months in and it's well worth it) where you get a selection of beers each month. Emily's choice for spring: Big Bite Peach Wheat (scroll to the bottom). Just remember, IPA's have the most calories while stouts have the lowest amount.

For the food: Here's your one-stop shop - Farmer Mixer at the Brooks Museum on next Thursday March 1st from 6PM to 8PM. Find out about local farmers, gardeners, markets and eat some local food.

Click this picture for the Memphis Flyer's menu sneak peek!

Go ride, enjoy the weather and don't forget your sunscreen.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Paper Or Plastic?

Always get paper. My potatoes found their way through the holes in my rack and one fell out. Also, you can put your recycling in the paper sack and recycle it all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm Starting A New Collection

Every day that I ride past the skatepark I see clothes or helmets, or even skateboards. I'm going to start picking up the usable stuff (unfortunately everything in the above photo is trash, or just soaked) and make the kids clean up their trash if they want it back.

Mid South Greenways Map

A cool map of the existing greenways and blueways can be found at ULI Memphis. It's a google Earth map so it might take a minute to load depending on your computer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pizza With Planners

I'm gonna go hang out with Livable Memphis tonight at the Library on Poplar for a little bit. Here's what's going on:

Join us for our next Pizza With Planners on Greenprint Planning, featured some local greenway developments.

Tara Wohlgemuth, Regional Greenways Coordinator
Keith Cole, Wolf River Conservancy
Syd Lerner, Greater Memphis Greenline
When: Feb 21, 5:30pm
Where: Ben Hooks Public Library at 3030 Poplar Ave

What is a greenprint?
Why is it important? How can it become a platform for regional dialogue?
Projects are being planned across the region.
The exciting new interactive Greenprint Map.
What going on with the Wolf River Greenway?
What is the Greater Memphis Greenline working on in North and South Memphis?
How/when things will be happening?
How the public can play a role?
Free and open to the public but registration is required! Click on the link below to register.

Register Now!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Wanna Buy Some Speed?

That's the Bontrager Aura 5 wheelset; an aluminum rim with a carbon foil weighing in at 1740 grams. Now, I'm not a racer and this ain't VeloNews. This is the first set of carbon wheels I've ridden and I don't have any other wheel sets to compare. But even though I'm not racing it doesn't mean that I don't like to go fast and I know that the easiest way to go faster is through a better wheel set.

My normal wheels are Velocity Deep-V's with Velocity Road Hubs and 1.8 spokes. I really like them; they are not very heavy and still durable. I originally wanted to run B43's but they were not available with a machined side wall; aesthetically I like the deeper profile rim. The only downside to the Velocity's is their lack of stiffness. I notice regularly that when I stand up and start really pushing my computer magnet clips the sensor so I back off a little bit.

The Aura's are noticeably stiffer and that translates to a 2-3 mile per hour increase in speed. It's like I'm going faster without even trying.

So how much is this whole bag of speed going to cost? For the average commuter it will be difficult to justify the $1200 price tag, especially for something carbon fiber. For the beginner racer that's skirting carbon fiber bike prices but not quite there. For this type of increase in speed I would put the Aura 5's on an aluminum frame before I upgraded to a carbon frame. A team racer who already has the carbon bike with a basic aluminum wheel set upgrading here is a no-brainer.

This is a demo wheel set available through Peddler Bike Shop where they have 2 more sets available for purchase. You can get your first taste of speed for free, but you're gonna wait until I'm done!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

18.4 Cents A Gallon

So with all the talk about the Highway Transportation Fund being debated in the House and Senate (see Smart City Memphis and there is only one logical way to actually fund it: the ever-taboo tax raise.

But what does that actually mean for you and me, the "normal" Americans? Well currently, as the title of this post states, you are paying a tax of 18.4 cents per gallon of gas, 24.4 if you run diesel. That amount has not changed since 1993. Here's a little perspective for you: "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston was #1 that year. Weird, huh?

So that's gotta be a huge increase in tax, right, what with inflation and all? Six to Eight cents. That's $0.06 to $0.08. That adds up to about a $4.00 increase per month, or 1 extra gallon, that we have to pay. That will fund the highways, bridges, transportation enhancements (bike lanes, rec trails, Safe Routes To School) for about 20 years when we might have to think about raising the tax again.

And "Whoomp! (There It Is)" by Tag Team (#2 song for 1993).

Friday, February 17, 2012

Memphis Bicycle - Lester Community Center

My Friend Andy Rides With Diabetes

He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 22 months. He's turning 25 next week. He's always been an active person so he's been able to control his weight. Four years ago when he started cycling on the regular he lost 15 pounds which is difficult for lots of people, diabetics especially. Andy rides mountain, road, and plays a fair amount of bike polo all for fun but on April 28th he'll be riding for a reason. Andy is raising money for the American Diabetes Association through the Tour de Cure.

Several ride options are available and Andy is doing the 62 Mile Metric Century because he's pretty bad ass.

View Larger Map

Andy has set a personal goal to raise $500 for the cure. You can help him meet his goal by visiting donating to his team (search Michael Jameson) or you can start your own team.

Memphis, TN
Saturday April 28, 2012
Mud Island River Park

People To Do, Things To See

Or is it the other way 'round? What a crazy day. Transportation Bill lecture in the morning, cracked radiator in the afternoon, new wheels in the evening, drinks - dinner - drinks at night.

The brief synopsis is that you'll pay more for gas, the radiator is fixed, carbon wheels are amazing, the mixed terrain alleycat will be the Revolutions 10 Year Anniversary Fundraiser, more bike lanes are coming.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

16 Whoppers

I was talking with Matt the other day and mentioned this. Thought it was worth a re-post.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Like Trying to Ride A Squirrel

I rode a little bit of trail before the rain came down. Not enough traction on these tires for the conditions today.

I think I've convinced myself to move the Shelby Farms Checkpoint to a location that is more accessible from multiple directions. It's all about options. Sorry, no map of the ride today.

Memphis Bicycle - Greenline

Untitled by fixmemphis

Old news but I felt that I had to document it.

Shit Cyclists Do

Reach into a sport coat pocket and pull out the nut and cap for a presta valve tube. Completely useless.

Having said that, the phenomena of "Shit (so and so) Say" is the new "You know you're a redneck if..." Jeff Foxworthy wishes he was a two trick pony.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Wish This Was

I saw this over at Smart City Memphis. Order stickers from the official website:

My predictions for what we'll start to see around town:

Overton Square: I Wish This Was...
-a fabric store (for theatre costumes in addition to other patrons)
-a breakfast place / bakery
-a make-up store
-not painted ugly

Sears Crosstown: I Wish This Was...
-a vertical farm
-a Sanrio store
-a park
-a rec center
-a modern art museum / gallery

Downtown: I Wish This Was...
-more authentic
-more affordable
-more than just restaurants / never-open galleries / high-end boutiques

The Fairgrounds: I Wish This Was...
-a velodrome
-a playground
-bicycle polo courts

Krogers: I Wish This Was...
-a better grocery store
-an easier parking lot
-a healthier option
-easier to find the arugula / barley / creme fraiche / small organic milks / halibut / etc

Sunday, February 12, 2012

We Can't Have Anything Nice

I gave Cort a nice Jcrew sweater that he has been wanting all winter (since he has put a mysterious hole in the past two he's received) and the Levi's Commuter Jean for Chanukah this year. By the end of January he had already ruined both. He gets frustrated and I get more attracted because I think it's really cute that he's so dirty.

The day he washed his new jeans, he exclaimed that I was receiving yet another "hubby hand me down". I figured I would turn them into my boyfriend shorts. However, I recalled an old high school jeans turned college jeans trick: wash your shrunken jeans, but DON'T dry them. Rather lay them flat on your bed (over a thick blanket as to not sleep on wet sheets) and pull and stretch the fabric.

After about an hour, repeat. Once fully dry, if the denim is a little hard, either wear them to soften them or spray Febreze.

Overlooked New York

Don't ask me how I came across this website (OK, fine, I was searching Puerto Rico bicycle) but there is some cool stuff on here. It's probably been posted before on Urban Velo but I really didn't feel like taking the time to search it out.

Zina Saunders has interviewed and painted various communities of New Yorkers. It started with Puerto Rican Bike Men and continues with numerous other groups, including Bike Messengers.

Disc brake, Aerospoke, Xtra-Cycle (just wha!?) on this last one; the base frame design looks real cheap, though!

Those three are my favorites. View the rest of them at Overlooked New York.

New Bars, New Tape

I had those FSA Gossamer bars on hand but I wanted something with a flat top, having really enjoyed that about my previous bars. Instead of the FSA Wing Pro Compact I went with the PRO PLT, a lighter and less expensive alternative. They have less reach and drop compared to the old carbon bars so I ended up with a bit more cable exposed. Whatever.

The Cinelli Jelly feels good; a non-slip grip similar to Lizard Skins. There is no adhesive backing like other Cinelli tape so if you wrap it slightly off it is easily re-worked. It's a durable tape so you can pull it taut without worry that it will rip.

It smells like a pool float and the look of the wrap reminds me of 80s road bikes and their metallic-ish tape. That's pretty cool but not really what I wanted for this bike. On the bare hand it feels very latex-y. It would probably look better on a silver or white bar. Ritchey Red might be iffy. (I kinda want a pair of those bars, though!)

I picked up another Cinelli tape, the Mash Volee in black. It provides the same tacky Lizard Skins-like grip but with more padding than the Jelly. It is adhesive backed but is still extremely workable; the adhesive doesn't crack when stretched. Plus the topographic print is totally me.

The down side is that it doesn't come with shifter backing so I had to cut a bit off the end. For a 44cm bar that could present a problem so ask your shop for some black shifter backs, they'll probably have some laying around.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Memphis to Washington DC In A Day

Mid-morning this past Tuesday the caller ID on the ringing phone in my hand said Bikes Belong. I answered with professionalism, not sure who might be on the other end. "This is Tim Blumenthal from Bikes Belong." he said. Two days later at 6AM I was flying to Washington D.C.

For the past several years the Transportation Bill has provided funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements all over the nation. The effect of this money for Memphis has led in part to 36 miles of bike lanes/sharrows, 7 miles of rails to trails, and many more planned improvements. For the Peddler Bike Shop we have seen our business double.

The original bill had a 2 year life on it and we have been getting extensions for the past two years but now that the bill is up for vote again there have been some rewrites that take out the language providing funding for transportation enhancements such as recreational trails and bike lanes. This money has been essential to the health and safety of Memphis, a city which in the past has topped many "Worst Of" lists.

I met Mr. Blumenthal and Ivette Rivera, head of the Bikes Belong Government Relations, along with Taylor Keaton, manager of the Trek Store in Chattanooga, at the Senate Dirksen Building. We traded stories of the progress our cities have made and went over our strategy for the meetings. We first met with Senator Lamar Alexander's Energy and Environment LA Curtis Swager and later met with Senator Bob Corker's Chief of Staff Todd Womack and his Energy, Environment, Transportation and Budget LA Hunter Bethea. Both conversations were very productive. I feel that we have kindred spirits in our Senators; when Corker was Mayor of Chattanooga he installed their River Walk a 7 mile bike/ped trail. Senator Alexander recently opposed Senator Rand Paul's proposal to overturn the Clean Air Rule.


But even though we all seem to be on the same page with Tennesseeans health the battle isn't over. (And it was super exciting being on the front lines!) We can all do our part in the good fight. Send a letter to the Senators today and let them know that it's not just two bike shop managers that want funding; it's the whole state!

To contact Senators Alexander and Corker go here:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Down Goes Cort!!

I had some errands to ride today so I went downtown in the morning around 10AM. Both places I needed to go were closed but this time Midtown Bikes was open so I went in and hung out with Daniel for a while. (Did you notice him on the red Townie in the Urban Magnets video below?) After our visit I popped in to the first place, Havana Mix, to get a gift certificate for my friend's birthday (hopefully he doesn't read this!) I know it looks strange for a cyclist to patronize a cigar shop but even though I don't smoke cigars they have very beautiful art deco lighters and I just think they're neat. Anyways, the second shop wasn't open but by this time it was close to lunch so I headed back towards Midtown to meet Em. Headed North on Madison there was a tractor trailer blocking the intersection at Belvedere. In my head I'm saying, "Ha. Suckers hafta wait. I can just go around!"

You know how cars often drip oil and other fluids and it all kind of accumulates at a traffic light? Yeah. So I maneuver past the cars and am making my way around the trailer, cutting back onto Madison and the bike slips out from under me. I stood up and checked my wheels and gears, everything spun. I should have taken the time to realign my left shifter but I rode off. Pulled up to Kwik Chek, aligned my shifter there, grabbed some food and rode the few blocks home with no problems.

After lunch I make my way back downtown, do my thing, and coming back I heard a little pop as I pulled up on the shifter for leverage. Crap. I played with it a little and felt it move and heard it creak. I made it home, unwrapped the left side and didn't see a crack. I took it off the stand and applied pressure the same way I did on the ride. After I removed the electrical tape and shifter completely it was obvious:

It's up and to the right of the cat toy. Thankfully I have some FSA aluminum bars hanging out at home but I don't know how to wrap them. Let me rephrase that: I'm not sure with which tape I should wrap them. Help me decide:

SRAM Supercork White or Cinelli Jelly Ribbon (kinda clear). White hoods or black hoods? IsoGel or no IsoGel? If I go Cinelli Jelly what should I put underneath (stickers, pictures, words, nothing)? Leave it in the comments!

Urban Magnets

The other day I posted about Cooper-Young and Overton Square; two of the most recognizable neighborhoods in Memphis. It takes a lot to make a neighborhood and probably the most important aspect is community involvement. So let's take a ride over to MCA Thursday night for this free lecture and see how we can further our involvement and fix Memphis.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ladies Night Tonight

This night is sponsored by the Peddler Bike Shop but the event is taking place in the old Peddler location at 3573 Southern at 6PM.

For details visit the facebook page:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hubris Comics

All manner of outdoorsy activities take place in Hubris's world but I thought this one was applicable here.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cycle Memphis February

Click the Poster for the facebook page.

Is 40 Miles Too Much?

At around five miles in I found myself watching the fog migrate up the bluff and spill into all the men working on Beale Street Landing. Empty barges battled the Mississippi current's headwind, pressing North and I thought, "higher ground" while simultaneously bemoaning myself for not filling up my water bottle before I left. The temporary gravel cut-through appealed to the cross tires beneath me but the man, the dog, and the thought that there would be more gravel to come kept me on the concrete path up the hill to Martyr's Park.

Wrong. The fog is better at water-level. I was in it. Now I was above it and the barges and the water didn't look the same. That, or the fog beat me up the bluff. Damn dog.

Looking at the Arkansas bank, part of a barge was aground. Circumcised sometime in the night, the rest of the journey to New Orleans with his head down; due to the fog no doubt. Dog, fog: damn you, both.

It was too early for Midtown Bikes to be open but The Arcade sure was. The waitress filled my water bottle before I even asked and I nodded "good day" to the trolley operator as I exited.

Memphis turns from ghetto to prosperous at several street intersections. Perhaps there is an interstitial area but it's almost unnoticeable. I just kept heading East under the cloud-cover. WOL to WOL (that's Wide Outside Lane in case you were unsure) until I turned onto the bike lanes at Southern. Several years ago when Russ Griffin raced the New Gears Alleycat he thought that cutting through the neighborhoods would shield him from the wind. He came in second. A straight line is always faster and I was going straight for a while.

I stayed ahead of the dust cloud my tires were spitting out as I cut from Cherry into Audubon Park. It wasn't enough gravel to satisfy my tires or myself. The lake didn't satisfy, either. Ducks aren't as interesting as barges, unless someone is chasing them with a fire extinguisher. That's for another day.

Traffic wasn't too bad so I sprinted across Poplar at Perkins and made North for the Greenline. Perkins overpasses the Greenline so I hopped the curb, shouldered the Surly and slid down the leafy bank to the asphalt below. The Greenline was mine and for the first time I noticed the wear: cracks forming in the asphalt. A year and a half is all it took. This summer will wreck it.

Should I make the Wolf River Trail part of the course? No, better to ease everyone into this mixed-terrain race. I was approaching 24 miles and I still wasn't at the 3rd checkpoint. The path around Patriot Lake would probably have been faster if there weren't any runners but they were there. Let them have it. I leaned into the grass and connected with that dirt line and in my head the runners are saying, "How is he going off-road on a road bike?" It was in that 25th mile, that gravel mile, that the first bead of sweat swelled on the brim of my cap. It dropped somewhere on the incline. So did the second one. They seemed to stop after that; my vision pinpointed on the checkpoint.

The sweat dropped steadily tan on my hands as I put on my gloves. Dusty sweat. I refilled my water bottle and made like a barge down the Greenline, pressing towards the 4th checkpoint through my own headwind. My phone talks to me at 30 miles and again at 35 and lets me know I'm getting tired. I pass the 4th checkpoint, Gnome Home, without so much as a glance. The Old Forest Trail is satisfaction for myself and my tires after 38 miles of mostly pavement. Shower, food, beer, and cupcakes made from scratch. I didn't even have to use my A-K.

View Mixed Terrain Alley Cat in a larger map