New lightweight packraft can carry bikes or other gear — and be carried on a bike’s handlebars


Seattle shop damaged in early morning blast

SEATTLE?(BRAIN) — G&O Family Cyclery, a three-year-old shop that specializes in cargo and family transportation bikes, was damaged by an early morning blast that destroyed three adjacent businesses in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood. The initial blast was behind a coffee shop next door to the shop and was apparently the result of a gas main leak. Store co-founder?David Giugliano (better known in the neighborhood as? Davey Oil) told BRAIN on Wednesday morning that he had not yet been allowed to enter the shop, but that the structure appeared to be damaged and perhaps will have to be leveled.

Seattle shop damaged in early morning blast

SEATTLE?(BRAIN) — G&O Family Cyclery, a three-year-old shop that specializes in cargo and family transportation bikes, was damaged by an early morning blast that destroyed three adjacent businesses in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood. The initial blast was behind a coffee shop next door to the shop and was apparently the result of a gas main leak

Horse for the Course: Merida Cyclo Cross for Melburn Roobaix

The FYXO Melburn Roobaix is part scavenger hunt, part showcase of Melbourne cycling culture. I recently attended the 10th edition of the event after hearing how popular (and fun) the previous years had been.

Melburn Roobaix isn’t exactly the most competitive event (seriously, look at the photos!). Its website states that those at the finish first, second or third don’t stand a chance of winning. Dressing up is strongly encouraged, and following ‘the rules’ is advised against. If you own some cycling gear that should by rights be burned rather than letting it see the light of day, it seems this is the day to break it out.


You know the event is lighthearted when some of your ‘competition’ are wearing this type of svelte skinsuit

With all that in mind, this isn’t the most serious Horse for the Course, either. The outcome wasn’t for the fastest bike – it was for a bike well suited to the course, for no complaints from the ‘pavé sectors’ or parkland riding… and to facilitate a cheesy smile along the way.

I didn’t want to take anything too racy, and likewise, with much urban riding to be had, a mountain bike seemed like overkill. Enter the entry-level Merida Cyclo Cross 500.

  • The course: The 10th anniversary Melburn Roobaix. Starting at an outdoor velodrome just down the road from the original birthplace of the Malvern Star brand, find your way to the checkpoints on the map and stop for some fun along the way. Finally finish some odd 43km later (if not lost – ours was much longer) at Brunswick velodrome with the approximately 2,500 other participants.
  • The equipment goal: A dependable and comfortable multi-terrain bike that was up to the cobbles, but still efficient on tarmac. Nothing too flash given the high likelihood of stopping for a coffee mid-event in urban Melbourne.
  • The horse: A 2015 Merida Cyclocross 500, with the inline brake levers removed for better brake feel, added tyre sealant to the tubes to prevent flats from grass (bindis) and glass, Shimano XT Race pedals and a Speedsleev on the saddle rails for spares, Indigo Dual mount off handlebar with GoPro Silver 4. No GPS computer in the spirit of getting lost. 10.2kg all up.

You can

SRAM brings 1x tech to the road – SRAM R1?

SRAM’s three 1×11 mountain bike groups and the CX1 cyclocross group have earned praise for their simplicity and durability – but how will a 1×11 drivetrain designed for the road be received? With prototypes already spotted, a SRAM 1x road group seems to be near production.

When SRAM introduced the CX1 group in early 2014 the company said it would pursue further applications for its 1x drivetrains. SRAM road product manager JP McCarthy said the company was keen to see how many types of bikes can be built with 1x drivetrains.

“We know that the 1x drivetrain has long legs — a lot of applications,†McCarthy said last January, telling BikeRadar that commuting, time trialing/triathlon and fast lunch rides could all potentially benefit from the design.


It appears that a yet-to-be-named road group — perhaps SRAM R1 or RD1? — built around a single chainring is in the works. Herbert Krabel reported on Slowtwitch about pro triathlete Jordan Rapp’s 2015 Dimond TT rig, which was built up with a clutch derailleur and a single front ring. Rapp declined to allow BikeRadar to use his photos, but you can still see them on Slowtwitch.

Jordan Rapp declined to let us use the photos of his bike posted on Slowtwitch, so here is a rendering of his prototype 1x road ring with a wide-narrow chainring

You can

Street Photography from the World’s Youngest Urbanist

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Everybody sees their city differently. What does the city look like through the eyes of The World’s Youngest Urbanist? Lulu-Sophia keeps delivering a solid flow of pure observations about city life. She also grows up in a home filled with cameras and has free access to all of them. What about putting those two things together, I thought.

Some Canon camera, be it 5 or 7D is usually lying in the window sill at our place. I often find photos on the memory card that Lulu-Sophia had taken of people out on the street in front of our flat. She just started picking up the camera and shooting. A couple of years ago I started handed her the camera when we’re riding around on the Bullitt cargo bike.

I never say what she should take photos of. I just say “take photos if you want”. Totally up to her and no big deal if she doesn’t. Sometimes I don’t notice what she does but when I load the photos onto the computer, I get to see what she sees. And it is quite wonderful.

I’ve made a little set of her street photography work on Flickr?from when she was five but here are some of her shots from the urban landscape. Both from the flat and from the Bullitt.
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By and large, she photographs people. Still Life must be like watching paint dry for a five year old. Humans, please. Except, perhaps, for a pretty red bicycle (farther down) that caught her eye.

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People doing things. Transporting themselves, waiting for someone, observing – in their own way – their city. Humans watching humans.

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There are many bicycles, mostly because it’s like shooting fish in a barrel in Copenhagen. You can’t take a shot without a bicycle in it. When shooting from the flat, she shoots cyclists and pedestrians.
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And of course, the set wouldn’t be complete without a shot of your big brother, Felix.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Family-oriented shops thrive in glitzy South Beach

BRAIN Dealer Tour Report: Day 3 MIAMI BEACH, Fla.

Koga BeachRacer first look – Eurobike 2013

Is the tide turning and traditional road bike brands bringing out more versatile models? The Giant Anyroad won plaudits for its adaptability at Eurobike and now the Koga BeachRacer could be about to make some waves too.

The BeachRacer (?1,299) is a racy cyclocross frame hybridised with 29in mountain bike wheels and flattened bars. It’s built for, well, beach biking – a cult pursuit among Dutch flatlanders.

While the bike says BeachRacer on the aluminium 7005 tubes and full carbon fork, we reckon it could offer a great deal more. A bike like this would make mincemeat of muddy or sandy ‘cross races and be perfect for really rutted tracks where a gravel bike might not cut the mustard.

The bike has a slightly longer wheelbase than the Koga Cross Winner cyclo-cross bike and is equipped with Tektro Spyre disc brakes, a single 38T chainring (beach races steer clear of big dunes) and a 10spd Shimano Ultegra derailleur. The flattened bars, say Koga, are designed to give beach racers an aerodynamic position when battling relentless wind.

Tyres on the stock model are mongrelised: there’s a semi-slick 2.35in Schwalbe Supermoto beach tyre on the back and a skinnier, grippier 2.1 Schwalbe Thunder Birt harvested from a cross bike at the front.

Koga claim the model in the photos weighs 10.3kg.


Bicycle Carousel

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, this pops into your inbox. It is from the lovely blog Bisikleta iha Dili, run by J.P.. A bicycle carousel for children. Fantastic. Especially as I’m in the midst of editing a book featuring 725 of my photos of cargo bikes entitled Cargo Bike Nation.

Dili is the capital of East Timor – or Timor Leste – the former Portuguese colony nestled between Australia and Indonesia. J.P. is running a cool little blog showing the bicycle’s role in daily life.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Paint Is Not Enough

??Yes, there used to be a painted bike lane right here. ? (with apologies to Joe Raposo)

Forty Days and Forty Nights.

This time period appears again and again in the scriptures of various religions, but especially in the christian bible (which may have inherited it from paganism) where it, amongst other things, measures the period of Lent. ?The day of this posting will mark the reaching of Forty Days and Forty Nights by an example of something far less spiritual but very?detrimental?to the realization of the goal of Copenhagenization. ?And this is an important topic to address and discuss as North America begins to see an explosion in the addition of bicycle infrastructure to its “Complete Streets” where cars are no longer allowed to totally dominate as they not long ago did.

Paint is not enough!

In most of the pictures throughout this post, you see the results of a contractor (in the United States this is usually the firm that submitted the lowest bid to do the job) working on underground utilities and the damage done to a paint-only bicycle?infrastructure?project.?

Was once quite a rare sight on this street.

Some background first. ?This street is located in the broad urban expanses of the area known as Southern California. ?I’m not going to identify where because I don’t desire to use my contributions to this blog to pick on a particular city or utility company…at least not yet! ?And it really doesn’t matter because this could be anywhere on the continent as this sort of thing happens all the time and everywhere in North America, not only to bike lane striping but to other markings like crosswalks and stop-lines which are intended to make the roadway safer for its non-motorized users. ?In truth, the city where these pictures are taken is actually very progressive, for one in North America,?in its?pursuance?of bicycle “friendliness”. ?The city which-shall-remain-nameless really cares about promoting cycle use, so can you imagine how long this sort of thing would fester in a place that pays only lip-service to cycling? ?Sometimes the removal of paint on roadway is caused by utility work, as in this case. ?Other times it is due to a failure to repaint sun-faded markings over time, or wear and tear from winter work like salting and plowing.?But since this situation is an example I’ve been able to document and monitor, it will be our?laboratory?rat or guinea pig today.

The street in question used to be a four-lane “facility” with curbside parking on each side, no turn lanes and no?accommodations?for bicycles what-so-ever. ?The speed limit was routinely being exceeded by motor vehicles and this street was easily a candidate for at least a five miles-per-hour increase thanks to the incredibly biased method of setting speed limits known as The 85th-Percentile.?Indeed the street has a higher speed limit when it crosses over into the adjoining city because there it passes by some formally industrial areas.

Source: NYCDOT Allerton Avenue project

California has a good number of what it uniquely defines as “Class One” bicycle paths. ?They are exactly that, paths which offer a cyclists an unfettered ride, usually only?occasionally?intersecting?cross-streets, and in many cases offering overpasses or underpasses to do so. ?Unfortunately while these paths are usually?pleasant?and well used by recreational cyclists plus what the Dutch call “Wheel-runners” they almost never run past places that a person might work/study or want to go to and visit and/or shop. ?These follow routes that are often facilitated by abandoned railroad corridors, or rivers (many of which in this area have been cemented into the high-capacity floodwater drainage channels that are very necessary when rainy weather does come). ?That is what the above “bicycle facility” was intended to be; funds had been set aside to build a?separated? segregated “Class One” path. ?Unfortunately the land along which the path was to run became unavailable. ?So the funds were?re-purposed such that they were used to place a “road diet” on this, our guinea pig street.

But of course, the cyclist pictogram is wearing a helmet.

So the dedicated pot of money, that had been intended solely for bicycles was instead used to scrape off the old asphalt from the street and lay a fresh new and smooth layer. ?Also, these funds were used to buy and install a number of new traffic signals and refurbish some?existing?ones so that they would recognize bicycles and cars using video cameras. ?Certainly not an insignificant cost when you consider that a basic set of traffic signals now pencils in at around US$200,000, and the video camera detection systems can add at least ten percent to that number. ?That did make the street easier for bicycles to travel on as these signals replaced a closely-spaced series of “Four-Way” Stop Signs, except this signalization always creates potential motorist/non-motorist conflict thanks the the USA’s blanket permission of “Right-turn-on-Red (Light)”. ?Finally the striping-layout ?shown in the diagram above was painted onto the street, except of course this being the USA, a land with far too many lawyers, the street’s bicyclist pictogram has a helmet on.

(There was actually a period in time after the USA’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) was changed to reflect this “newer” standard when I witnessed crews actually being dispatched to paint the helmet onto already extant pictograms around the city I lived in at the time!)

Now a very popular route.

So, effectively, funds originally set aside for bicycles were used to perform overdue?refurbishment?(because the funding mechanism for streets, a fixed surcharge per gallon of fuel, has not been increased in over 20 years) on a road also used by cars and add traffic signals that do not actually offer any special features for bicyclists apart from being able to be triggered (unless the sun is rising or setting!) by cyclists. ?But the discussion of that inequality and further subsidy of the motor vehicle by persons who are not necessarily users of the automobile?infrastructure can be left to another time.

The road diet has been successful. ?First and foremost, this street did not need all the capacity that having two lanes in each direction was providing;??It simply did not have the motor vehicle volume.? While this is one of a longer street street in surrounding area, it does terminate in the city in which the photos are taken and so does not function as a long-distance alternative to the overcrowded “freeway” system, which many motorists in Southern California are now chosing to avoid by using these more?predictable?”surface streets”. ?The street now has a center lane for turns which has two obvious benefits. ?1)Motorists needing to take a left hand turn now can sit in a demarcated refuge awaiting their opportunity to turn, and do so without blocking the other motorists who happened to be behind them, in the same lane, under the old layout. ?2)When crossing oncoming traffic, the motorists only have one lane of on-coming motor traffic and therefore less oncoming vehicles to look through or around (for cyclists) to make the judgement on whether it is safe or not to complete the turn.?

No bike ninjas here
Copen ?Hangnam-style! (photo by Steven Vance)

(You will notice that I am not inferring that cyclists will use this center turn lane. ?The box-left turn is also called the Copenhagen Left for a reason. ?Why on earth would a road/traffic engineer create, or for that matter anyone promoting citizen cycling want to encourage situation where a cyclist is forced to stand, unprotected, in the middle of two streams of traffic in order to get to the other side of the road? ?It isn’t done in Copenhagen and it shouldn’t be assumed necessary elsewhere. ?The Franklin/Forester-cult?may scoff, but the 8 or 80 year old cyclist shouldn’t ever have to be placed in that danger zone. ?Copenhagen Lefts may take slightly longer, but the overall process is usually shorter than the typical ambulance ride.)

Finally the center lane is almost always empty except for those aforementioned left-hand turning motorists, and it can be quickly vacated by those in it either by?completing? the intended turn or re-merging into their own lane of travel. ?This means that the roadway effectively always has a way to permit emergency vehicles to pass less hindered than they would be when the “four-lane” street existed, especially if, for some reason, that old street layout was full of motorists. ?Which is a good thing since there is at least one fire station nearby and, as is typical of public safety resources management in the USA, it usually dispatches a full size fire truck along with what the rest of the world calls a “crash-car” (except it is a pick-up truck like the one from the TV Show “Emergency!”) to almost every call, regardless of need. ?That center-lane creation is an important selling point because increasingly, at least in the United States, it is the Public Safety profession who object to or intervene to stop traffic-calming an bicycle-accommodating?modifications?of infrastructure.

So in the end cyclists ended up with two painted bike lanes on a street that is useful to many and is staying at the posted speed limit ?. ?Which brings us back to our contractor-created “scar”.

Good thing no vehicles are parked here today!

Work was done on some sort of a pipe, which appears in this case to be for water, the clue being the blue spray paint. ?The contractor dug into the asphalt to create a trench to either install, remove or repair that pipe. ?The digging occurred along the length of one of the two stripes that make up the painted bike lane. ?Once finished, the contractor replaced the dirt and put down some asphalt, which is now not only devoid of striping but also quite rough. ?One would have hoped that the rough asphalt was preliminary and that there would be a second visit by the contractor to smooth and restripe, but that was 40 days ago. ?So it looks like this is now permanent.

Savvy SUV-driver “taking the lane”?

Cyclists now have a situation where cars drift into the space formerly taken up by the bike lane, space which is uncomfortable to ride in, forcing cyclists to ride in the parking lane if it is not occupied. ?The roadway that was made smooth for all users by expropriating bike path funding is now very rough precisely where cyclists are trying to use it. ?The motorist is now given the impression that the painted cycle lane is gone and that they now lord over a sixteen-foot-wide (4.87 m) traffic lane, although to some extent the roughness of the current asphalt keeps drivers not in vehicles designed for off-road use (like the plentiful Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs)) ride hard against the center divider. To add insult to injury, when the asphalt that is in place was poured, it was done in such a sloppy manner that a short portion of the right edge of the former bicycle lane is also now obscured.

Defaced painted crosswalk.

Because the pipes needing repair or modification lay under it (another argument for cycletracks between parking and the sidewalk!) the bicycle facility is now, for stretch of over 400 feet (121 m) effectively gone. ?While not a huge distance, it is long enough to create difficulties and anxiety for the type of cyclist these facilities are supposed to encourage. ?The scar also took out some of the crosswalk striping, so pedestrians too lose a part of the road diet ?improvements devoted to them. ?If the contractor’s job had been larger, more of the painted bike lane would now be removed permanently. ?This demonstrates what can happen quickly to all the good work being done right now if attitudes and regulations about bicycles in the profession of Construction Management are not changed and if the overseers of this infrastructure are not?vigilant in making sure that what gets taken away is immediately put back. ?Simple temporary lane markings are available to the construction industry, why were they not used here? ?And if the parking and bicycle lanes were flipped here as they are in Copenhagen, it would have been the under-utilized parking that was disrupted or scarred, not the travel lane of a mode that the city is trying to encourage.

Long Beach (photo by Waltarrrrr)

Missoula (photo by Brett VA)

But really more to the point, isn’t it time to insist that where possible, bicycle infrastructure gets built in a manner in which a sudden removal is made less possible? ?Physical?separation?using?traffic islands or?raised aprons or?recessed curbing as seen in places like?Long Beach, California or?Missoula,?(yes, Missoula!)?Montana or??Richmond, British Columbia show what is already in use in North America. ?These forms of?infrastructure?are harder for a thoughtless site foreman to destroy or for negligent?city staff to delete by means of apathy. ?They imply permanence by their?construction and they are what your city and its cyclists deserve.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.