The Crank Diaries

The process of converting my current commuter into a fixed gear has been a bit slow, but it certainly hasn't been non-existent.  Since the cog I need turns out to be really difficult to come by (read: out of stock everywhere always), I decided to start by tackling a problem that affects any type of bike I ride - crank length.
I love box.


78.3 or 126

Miles or kilometers, whichever you prefer.

It's the longest ride I've done so far, and I did it on my single speed.  

Coming back was straight into a headwind, which killed my average speed, made me the slowest rider, and caused me to curse like a sailor.  But I still did it. 

A year ago I couldn't have ridden nearly eighty miles, yet during this ride I felt good.  I was in tune with my bike, keeping a decent speed and just thinking how great it felt to be out riding.  And while the last twenty miles got pretty hard, I still ended the ride with a good feeling.  

More photos under the cut.  


A Visit to the Chrome Store: SF

Last weekend I took a jaunt to the city for the day, with my main goal being to see one of my favorite bands ever, ДДТ, but also with plans to visit a couple of much loved places.  I checked out Zeitgeist, one of the only bars I've ever seen with bicycle storage inside, and a pretty killer selection of beer on tap.  Not to mention full of cyclists of all sorts: roadies, messengers, casual riders, and more.  But I also got to stop by the Chrome Store.



Since Everyone Asks

There is a Takhion on eBay right now!

This listing has ended - congrats to whoever now owns this beautiful bike!

A couple of you have asked about Takhions for sale, and this one just popped up.  I'd like to see it go to a good home.  

I'm tempted, but I'd like to hold out on buying another until a TT version comes up - drilled for brakes and meant for gears.  If you have one of these and would like a track version, ask me about trades.

It's raining.  Rule #9.  


Sunday With Greg

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of hanging out with my good friend Greg Davis, a fellow cyclist and collectorHe was one of the people who helped fuel my passion for cycling - he patiently taught me to build wheels, explained the difference between clincher and tubular, and taught me all sorts of little intricate details about different bikes and components.  I remember bringing my old Nishiki Custom Sport to him because I was having a hard time getting the front wheel back on, and he explained how Nishiki for a while used 90mm dropouts on their front forks on certain bikes.  Then he showed me how to expand a fork.  

He's also done quite a bit for the Silicon Valley cycling scene, and helped to start the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and Bicycle Exchange

Greg has an amazing collection and a whole slew of stories, and I finally got to capture some of his bicycles. 

Greg in his element.


This was how I rode to work this morning

No filters.  Just pure nature.
I made an attempt to get my bike in this photo somehow, but all of the original beauty was lost. 


Review: Chrome Citizen Night

While I am well aware that Chrome is the love of many-a-messenger and that everyone and their bike riding mothers review these bags, I too want to put in my two cents regarding this particular bag: the Chrome Citizen Night.

I've had this bag now for almost a year, which is why I feel it's a good time to write a review - it's withstood a decent test of time and weather, and has been a daily part of my cycling gear diet, and isn't something I'd go without having in my arsenal.  

Again, I must stress that I was not asked to do a review: this was of my own accord, and no one is paying me.  Or bribing me. 

Sitting pretty.


On Sexism and Jeans: A Rant

UPDATE: REI's Novara line now offers a full section of commuter clothing for women!  Including jeans.  Props to Novara for stepping up and being the first line to offer a whole set of equal options for both men and women!

It was during a a rigorous Tuesday laundry session that I noticed my jeans are getting to a state much like that of tissue paper, mostly in the area that sees the most contact with my saddle.  My rule with jeans is that if I can see through them, it's time for a new pair, and I'd heard some buzz from various other blogs about cycling jeans made by various companies, so I decided to spend a little time digging up reviews.

There's definitely a group of people who think cycling jeans are stupid and unnecessary, and while I do somewhat agree and think any clothing is good for riding, there are three little words that get me to sway the other direction: seamless, reinforced crotch.   Seamless.  

Plus, the little add-ons: reflection, stretchiness, and knee room, amongst others, had me intrigued.  Jeans are expensive, and if I'm going to be spending an arm and a leg anyway, why not opt for something more beneficial to me than just pants?

So in my research, I found two things:
- (Most) Cycling jeans are actually pretty freaking awesome
- Nobody makes them for women

Reiterating on that:

Now, I would venture to say that a few years ago there wasn't quite as much of a market for women's cycling jeans - not that the market was by any means non-existent, it just hadn't exploded like is has in recent years.  And still it is male dominated, but not nearly as much as it used to be - come to SF, we've got plenty of lady riders out here. 

That aside, the fact is that nearly half of the ridership I see these days is female, and many of them (myself often included) ride in street clothes.  There are a few companies that make cycling knickers for women, and as nice as that is, it sure as hell ain't optimal for the low thirties we've been getting here in the mornings, not to mention winter in general.  But I guess there's some sort of predisposition that everyone at these companies thinks women who do ride only ride in cute skirts or sundresses or similar bullshit (nothing against skirts or dresses - you get my point), and, well, not jeans. 

"But," I've been asked, as I tend to complain about this to everyone who will listen, "why not just get a pair of the men's style?" And as much as I would like to be able to, seeing as I've been told the Rapha Jeans are life-changing and bring you eternal happiness, I have an ass.  And hips.  Which equates to a combination that doesn't work with men's clothing - believe me, I've tried. 

The closest equivalent I've found are Hincapie Athletic Jeans, which at least get a shout out for having a women's line, but aren't cycling jeans per se. I've been told there are small companies that do make them for women, but I haven't been able to find anything.  

The point here though is less about jeans, and more about the blatant sexism in assuming only men rides bikes.  

And I am not alone in my rage. 

I did write to Levi's, and they did say they would pass their message onto their marketing department, which I'd like to be optimistic about.  I am also planning to write to Rapha, Muxu, SWRVE, and a few others.  A few other bloggers have also inquired, some who received the response that there wasn't enough of a market.

Maybe there isn't enough of a market because the market is so damn sexist.  Maybe. 

I would really like to hope that Levi's claim that they were just "testing the market" is true, but this advert seems so blatantly geared towards men (not even anyone riding with a girlfriend?  Come on!) that I don't know. 

I could go on, but it's all been said, and I've probably been beating a dead horse for the past three paragraphs anyway.  

So this weekend when I go out to replace my disintegrating jeans, it looks like I won't be getting to replace them with the same style my male friends have been able to.  

My dreams of a seamless crotch seem to far away.


The Takhion That Isn't: Part II

Some time ago my dad suggested that I put together a bike out of spare parts to leave back home, as we've gotten in the habit of riding together and he didn't want me to have to constantly lug a bike back and forth.  I've written a little bit about this bike when it was in its final stages, and now I'm back to finish the story of the Takhion That Isn't.

Despite the utter mish mash of parts, I think it came out quite stylish.


Review: It's All About the Bike

Christmas this year resulted in many a bikeful things.  
On a scale of 1-10, I'd say my family knows me pretty well.
And while I could write about all of these nifty gifts (and may, at some point) I wanted to specifically review It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels, because it really left an impact on me.  I will try not to post any spoilers!

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