Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Get Well Mayor Pedroza...

I have received a report that Claremont Mayor and City Councilman, Sam Pedroza was involved in a bicycling crash on Tuesday night, and was airlifted to County USC Medical Center. His injuries are considered serious, but not life threatening. His condition is stable. No additional details are available at this time. Sam is often seen riding around town on weekends, and is a frequent commuter, taking a route between home and work in Whittier. My thoughts are with him and his family right now. Mr. Pedroza has been a major factor in recent bicycle related improvements within the city, as well as talks to extend the Gold Line to Claremont. Heal well, we would like to see back on two-wheels soon.

Update: Some reports are saying that Mayor Pedrosa crashed into the back of a parked utility vehicle along Arrow Highway, and was thrown from his bike. The incident occurred about 8:30 pm last night (Tuesday). There is no word, or speculation, as to what might have caused him to crash into the back of the parked vehicle. Speeds along Arrow were recently increased, (due to state mandate, and over the objections of local residents), and there is an often narrow right lane, making the street less friendly to bicycle travel. Whatever the cause, the Mayor suffered two cracked neck vertebrae, a fractured nose and some deep lacerations to his face, which will require some reconstructive surgery. I, like many Claremont residents, have come to know Sam as among the most friendly and approachable of public figures, and wish him the best during his recovery.

Update: Sometimes it is easiest just to wait until all information is in, but... it is appearing that Sam, while passing a vehicle parked on Arrow Highway, clipped it with his handlebars, which caused him to crash. There is no indication at this time as to what caused this - a moment of inattentiveness, being startled by a passing vehicle, an obstacle in the path of travel - we all know there are any number of reason which might cause a rider to crash. Slicks on the road surface and cracks are some of my personal favorites, which have brought me to grief on numerous occasions. There are any number of possible causes, and the final police report is not expected for 7 to 10 days. Mayor Pedroza did have some surgery for the lacerations, and is reported to be resting comfortably. Well wishes are being left here (yes, I count him as one of the readers of my blog), city hall, and his Facebook page.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quotable Link: Like Miguel Indurain

Bradley Wiggins has quite the sharp wit. I have never noticed before, but will pay closer attention to what he has to say after this:

"For three kilometres, I've ridden like Miguel Indurain."

Refering to yesterday's Individual Time Trial in the Vuelta a Espana - a 47 km test. The reference to Indurain, an ITT monster, is brilliant, and admitting to riding like him for 3 of 47 km is classic. And this from the man who rode well enough to have the third fastest time. My favorite quote out of the Vuelta so far.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quotable Link: Jan Ulrich Renewed...

"... Completely dead after the 30 km ascent, but totally happy. That's cycling. And it is really fun again, this feeling I have long missed." 

I was happy to read that Jan Ulrich has been able to find pleasure in cycling again. Most of us will go a lifetime without knowing anything but pleasure in turning the cranks; we will never be faced with the pressures of a top-ranked professional racer, never have our life placed under a microscope whether we are on the bike or off, never will we grow to resent cycling as a cause of career and personal misfortune. It is a pressure that, throughout the history of the sport, has destroyed riders, emotionally and physically; taken their lives.

Yes, I was (am still) a fan of Ulrich beginning in the mid-1990s. There was so much potential in the way he powered along the roads of Europe. If anyone was going to take over the mantle of Tour maestro from Miguel Indurain, I thought for sure it would be Ulrich. There have only ever been two professional team jerseys I have purchased for myself, Ulrich's Telekom team being one of those. He may not have been the only reason I was a Telekom supporter (Ludwig, Bolts, Zabel, Heppner, Aldag, and others played their part too), but as the team's overall contender, Ulrich was the standout. Though his career as a professional racer ended five years ago, those years are still under the microscope, particularly his connection to Operacion Puerto, and a ruling in the most recent case against him related to that is expected at the end of September. We all know that cycling has a curious way of healing, both mentally and physically. It seems as though Jan is experiencing this, and will hopefully continue to do so.

Monday's Mural...

today's edition of the Monday Mural, is the latest installation outside the house along Berkeley Avenue, which I have mentioned before. ride along the street, you will spot it, it is there for all to enjoy.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Slow Sunday Scenes from the Village...

a three for one shot

the bike racks at the Colleges are filling up again,
even so these colorfully wrapped bars caught my eye while passing through

more color, this time at the cut-flower end of the farmers' market

loaded up and headed for home, bikes are best for any age, any time

the day's cycle chic photo

there goes michael (not yours truly)

one fully loaded messenger bag

the same woman who walked past in that first photo wearing flip-flops;
across the way, she changed into cycling shoes and was on her way

Meanwhile, Papa Roche at the Haute Route...

The great Irish champion, and obviously still fit, Stephen Roche, has been riding the Haute Route. Click this link for a recap of the seventh stage; from there you can scroll around for the earlier stages. BikeNewsAsia had some super coverage of this years event. Oops, for some reason I can't seem to link to the single post - but you can still click on BNA and scroll down to read.

A Couple Irishmen Lead the Way (Vuelta spoiler alert)...

It was brilliant seeing the pair of Irish cousins, Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche, off the front on the final climb during stage 9 at the Vuelta a Espana today. However, their unity was short lived. Nicolas just did not have enough to keep pace with his younger cousin, and was forced to fall back to the chase group. Daniel, with his familiar bobbing style of attacking a climb, put a great amount of determination into the effort with about 5km to go. His effort eventually drew out Vincenzo Nibali, and then a select group including, Bradley Wiggins, and put race leader Joaquim Rodriguez on the ropes, and ultimately saw him fall out of the disintigrating group of chasers. Even after initiating the selection, Martin still had enough juice to sprint away from the elite group, and claim the stage, arms aloft in a V for victory salute.

As a result of his day's effort, Martin sits in 12th place on G.C., 4th place in the Points competition, leads the Mountains competition, and is 4th in the Allround competition. Not seen in the other Grand Tours, the Allround competition at the Vuelta combines a riders' placings in the other three competions (G.C., Points, Mountains) and awards the rider with the lowest combined total a special white, Allround jersey.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Coach Wagner, like, for real dude...

you may remember this photo from a few number of months ago;

well, it took all summer (I finished the study materials in a more timely manner), but I finally made the time to sit down at the computer and take the exam for a USA Cycling Level 3 coach. I am happy to say that I was able to pass with room for error, which considering it was an open book exam, was a bit of a relief. Now, when I decide to pay the licensing fee, I can be a licensed coach as well as racer - for whatever good that does. Actually, that sells the whole process short, and I have to admit that both the materials and the exam are quite informative and challenging, so whether or not I end up pursuing this side of cycling to any extent, I have come away from it more knowledgeable, and that is always a plus. So change that cup o' joe in the photo, to a goblet of wine, and raise a toast with me. Slaite.

Cycling Claremont: The Spot...

Sometimes maybe you don't want to go into the Village for your smoothie and sandwich. If that is the case, you have the Spot (formerly Roebecks) at Foothill and Indian Hill. I was bummed when Roebecks went out of business, it was a good place to stop at the end of a hot afternoon ride. But, the Spot stepped in to take their place, and do a fine job of offering up some cool refreshments. Their panini's are good too, or so says my son. I am yet to give their coffee a try. There is a good sized patio with several tables and umbrellas, so you can roll your bike up, lean it against something, order and eat outside. 

The Cycling Claremont series of posts highlight some of the local businesses I have been known to frequent because I like what they offer, because they are bicycle friendly, or because they provide something unique or interesting, and which visitors to Claremont may also like.

Last Minute Alert: Sidi Custom Fitting...

The Sidi people and van is at Coates, and are doing custom fittings for new shoes,
as part of the Coates Parking Lot Sale. This weekend.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Quotable Links...

The Friday Quotable Links is intended as an opportunity to share stories that I have read during the week and found particularly interesting or informative.

"Being attached to cycling, he didn't understand his Dublin colleagues' frowns." 

An architect in Dublin, Ireland, commutes to work by bike, and naturally parks in front of the office. The architect's co-workers, for some reason, think this might reflect poorly on the company, ie., clients might think the company is experiencing financial difficulty. The architect does not understand the mindset, the way of thinking of the others, so he starts his own practice, and finds great success, including the designs for various cycling-related projects. You can read more than my condensed version here.

Origin 8 Uno, Back into the Light...

as promised.

Not a lot of change - got rid of the bmx bars that were originally on it, replaced by standard road bars; flipped the rear wheel, so it is fixed now, and am going to make some effort this time to actually get used to that feeling / style. So, what do you think, is it track ready? Better question, am I?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gitane Kilo...

Whole lot of bikes out front of the Velo today, all ready to be led home by some incoming college freshman - they have been moving in for the past week now (the annual traditional freshman run down College Avenue was held last Sunday). Anyway, the bike that really caught my eye was this 1980s, flat black Gitane Kilo; something about the small diameter tubing of old steel frames really gives them a sleek, fast appearance. Dale says it is a keeper for his own stable, but I suspect like most things it has a price, if you can figure out what it is. Unfortunately this one is missing stickers on the seat tube and fork, and the head badge, but the down tube stickers are there, as is the "Made in France" "Kilo" sticker on the top tube, as well as Reynolds stickers (clearly visible). Nice track drop bars. It apparently had original toe clips and straps to go with the pedals, but an inconsiderate rider busted one of them (not me). Even so, and all told, it is a beauty of a bike. I apologize for all the background distraction in the photos - it was like 100º out, and I could not convince myself to move the bike to a more photogenic spot.

Gitane is one of those grande old French bicycle companies. Marcel Bruneliere began producing bicycles in 1925 at his mechanics shop in Machecoul. The early bikes (2 or 3 were produced per day) were sold under the name Marbru. The name Gitane was first used on the bicycles in 1930, and then became Cycles Gitane in 1952. Gitane hit the big time in 1957 when Jacques Anquetil rode a Gitane to victory in the French National Championships. The Gitane name and their bicycles remained popular and highly successful through the next two decades and into the early 1980s. Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon, the brothers Madiot, and Greg Lemond all rode Gitane bicycles at some point during this period. This allowed the company to expand dramatically, to the point that the company (known as Micmo S.A. since 1960, but still sold in the U.S. as Gitane) had become France's largest exporter of bicycles, sending more than 185,000 overseas each year. Following typical cycles of boom and bust, economic downturns and the end of the bike boom in the United States caused the Gitane company, which had been bought by Renault in 1976, to restructure and consolidate multiple production facilities into one central factory in Machecoul beginning in 1986. Distribution of Gitane bicycles in the United States collapsed completely, making them difficult to purchase. In 199s Gitane, along with Peugeot and B.H. cycles united as Cycleurope, and the factory in Machecoul began producing bicycles bearing the names of all three brands. Today, the Gitane bicycles produced in Machecoul are available only in France, though recently frames made in Taiwan have become available in Australia. 

From the Library: Cyclepedia...

The title makes this book sound like some kind of all-encompassing tome of cycling. If that is what you are looking for, look elsewhere. What this is, is a very nice catalog of one hundred bicycles from one man's bicycle collection. The man is Michael Embacher, who has a self-admitted endless fascination with the bicycle. This book is a way for Mr. Embacher to share his passion, and inspire others with a similar passion. The range of dates for the collection goes from 1922 at the earliest, up to 2010 at the latest. Road and mountain bikes are represented. There are some familiar names of manufacturers, and others I was completely unfamiliar with. Some were built for racing, others for utility. Some are straight forward and easily recognized by their design, others exhibit wildly innovative and unique means to deal with such things as suspension, braking, foldability and efficiency. 

a Vialle Velastic, with adjustable leaf spring instead of seat post

an AFA, with another unique suspension design

The photos by themselves make this a worthwhile book for anyone interested in the history of the bicycle, but each bike also includes a brief written description including unique features and information about the maker, as well as a quick little overview listing of country of origin, date, weight, frame, gears, brakes and wheels. The book is not intended by be comprehensive in any way, but due to its wide range of makes and models, it does provide a wealth of information for anyone interested in the history and development of the bicycle.

super sleek

Tur Meccanica Bi Bici, a compact tandem

BSA Paratrooper, one of many folding examples in the collection

Embacher, Michael    Cyclepedia: A Century of Iconic Bicycle Design   San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cinelli, and one final San Diego post...

Have you ever met anyone named Cinelli? The name is such a highly successful and recognizable product name, and taken for granted, that we, or at least I, forget that it is also a family name. This past weekend, while walking around the International Village in San Diego's Balboa Park, tasting the different foods, looking at the exhibits and all, a couple young gals approached me, wanting to know if I was a Cinelli. I was wearing the above pictured cap, complete with sweat stain at the time. They were both quite familiar with the brand name, but one of them also had the last name of Cinelli. She had never met anyone else from the famiglia Cinelli, and was simply curious. Unfortunately I had to confess that I was indeed not some long lost Cinelli relation. In case you are thinking that was pretty random and unlikely, let me tell you that there were Italians, or at least Italian speaking people all over the place, in La Jolla especially - I was frequently turning my head as some bit of that romantic language caught in my ear - so if you were ever going to run across someone named Cinelli outside of Italy, that was the place.

I didn't really take many photos of riders in La Jolla (where I stayed for the long weekend), though they were very common, especially off the main drag. I was a bit surprised by the number of beach cruisers, considering how hilly the area is, but they seemed to be getting around just fine. The same can be said of Balboa Park, a major tourist destination after all. Lots of cars, but also plenty of bikes for getting around between all the different attractions. Alas, I did not make it to the velodrome. I could see it on the opposite hill at one point, but considering the day and time, there was nothing going on, so a visit would have been pointless. That in a nutshell, or taco'd wheel, is a summary of my weekend visit to La Jolla / San Diego. Quite the nice place to visit, and I wouldn't mind living there either.

family and friends of your author, overlooking LaJolla Cove

bikes at the international village in Balboa Park

riders at Balboa Park

Pedicab Pirates and other Waterfront Adventurers...

The San Diego waterfront is crawling with pedicabs; it is interesting to observe the different rigs which tend to be customized to various degree. For instance there was the guy who had installed a stereo system with big speakers placed under the seat - attention getting, yes but, based on what I heard coming out of those speakers, not necessarily the best way to pick up a fare. Though they mostly seemed to patrol the waterfront, they would range further afield too, as we went past one woman and her cab in the downtown area later in the day, and who had been soliciting rides by the Maritime Museum earlier. 

There was one guy, though, who clearly stood out from the rest, who considered where he was and dressed accordingly. His mainsail, er awning was well set, providing some shade if he got caught up in some doldrums while navigating the best course for his fare.

Speaking of the Maritime Museum, one of the best deals in San Diego if you like to take in museums. For about half the price of some of the Balboa Park museums you get to tour, I think it was eight ships/boats, including two submarines, the Star of India, and the HMS Surprise from the movie Master and Commander, plus view the exhibits in the museum itself, which right now features a special, and well done, exhibit on artist Paul Gauguin.

which came first, the bicycle chain or this?
steering mechanism aboard the HMS Surprise

deck scene, HMS Surprise

Star of India

Although this area of the San Diego waterfront is a tourist destination, hence the proliferation,  of pedicabs, it is also immediately adjacent to downtown, and there is a constant back and forth flow of cyclists. Some (most) of these were clearly recreational riders out for some fun in the sun, but there were also commuters with their racks and panniers, doing the daily ride between work and home.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bicycles Everywhere...

I freely admit that I have a bicycle problem, that I look for them all the time, anywhere and everywhere I happen to be. In the spirit of that:

That's right, even the Model Railroad Museum at Balboa Park has bikes. And why shouldn't they be as much a part of imaginary worlds as they are the real world? I didn't see any peloton racing around the little cityscapes, or even any little people wearing lycra and racing kits, so that is a bit of a deficiency. Even so, these four, wearing street clothes, seemed quite happy to be pedaling along as they were.

Monday, August 22, 2011

San Diego (ie. La Jolla)...

The last post, and the unusual gap in activity since that one, have probably given away the fact that I have been stuck in La Jolla the past few days. A lot of bikes in this neck of the woods - roadies and beach cruisers predominate - as soon as I unstick myself from this purgatory, I will share some photos and impressions. I did manage to catch the Vuelta this morning; gotta love those successful breaks - Chavanel and Co. should be kicking themselves for letting Lastras get away for the win, but kudos to him for daring to attack and go it alone with 12 km still to be raced, and extra kudos because it allowed him to, deservedly, claim the race leaders jersey.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Icargobike. You never know what you will see...

until you see it, again. While on my way to La Jolla this morning, I exited I-5 in San Clemente to get something to eat (Pedros Tacos) and what should I spot across the street but a bunch of cargo bikes parked outside this little shop. So after a couple fish tacos, I headed over there to check it out. It is the coolest little shop - all they sell are cargo bikes - Metrofiets, Bulitt, Kona, Madsen, Surly, Yuba, etc, they also had a nice selection of Brooks saddles, cargo accessories (baskets and bags), and more typical cycling stuff as well (helmets, bells and what not). The owner's wife was there (I guess that makes her owner as well) and was happy to talk bikes, baskets and local cycling. They are celebrating their 1st Anniversary and doing so with a big sale; there is also a barbeque planned for the 27th. Worth the stop if you are passing through, or live locally. I of course took some photos, but it may be a few days before I can upload them. Until then you will  have to make do with checking out their website - or drop by yourself. 

I'm back, with a trio of photos.

Wish I had taken a better shot inside, to give some idea of their selection. They have so many different brands and models, that it is the place to go for cargo bikes, because you can try so many different bikes, all in one stop. My favorite, the Bulitt, just made the third photo at the extreme right. Would have been nice to stop back in on the way home, but traffic was already bad, and it was getting late, so it will have to wait for my next visit south.

Never Know What You Will See...

until you see it.

best known for their pedals, I suppose, though I have never owned any, and am comfortable with what I have. Even so, their logo is quickly recognizable, and as I rode the shuttle into downtown Laguna Beach the other day, I glanced out the window in time to notice the familiar drivetrain logo sprouting on some vehicles and the building you see here. Crank Brothers HQ, Laguna Beach.

Are you ready for some Vuelta?

Pre-season football is irrelevant, the pennant run is yet to become do-or-die (and it is over for the Dodgers, anyway), but the season's final Grand Tour is set to entertain, and marvel us for the next three weeks. Last years Vuelta a Espana was among the most exciting in years, and there is no reason to suspect that this years race will be any different. The organizers have thrown together a good mix of mountainous (including six summit finishes) and flat stages, as well as both a team and an individual time trial. True, many of the animators of this year's Tour de France are racing, or training, elsewhere, but familiar names have never been a requisite for an exciting race. 

There will be plenty of racers looking to leave their mark. Vincenzo Nibali and his Liquigas-Cannondale team will be there to defend, Nicolas Roche and AG2R La Mondiale,  Taylor Phinney with BMC, David Moncoutie with Cofidis, Igor Anton with Euskaltel-Euskadi, Denis Menchov of Geox-TMC, HTC-Highroad in their final big Tour, Joaquin Rodriguez of Katusha, Michele Scarponi of Lampre-ISD, a well-rounded Leopard-Trek squad, Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta of Movistar, Daniel Martin and Tyler Farrar at Garmin-Cervelo, Andreas Kloden at Radioshack, Bradley Wiggins of Sky, Marcel Kittell looking to continue his string of victories begun at the recent Tour of Poland (and test himself against the world's best), another well-rounded and dangerous Quick Step team, as well as Rabobank, Saxo Bank, and finally Vacansoleil-DCM, each with riders who could contest on any number of stage finishes. I am expecting another round of thrilling daily races, a battle for the general classification, the mountains and sprints prizes, as well as other special awards. The race's official website is here, but I will be following on Universal Sports.

Only two riders have won the Vuelta three times, Tony Rominger (shown below), and Roberto Heras. Rominger's victories were consequtive (1992, 1993, 1994). Heras, briefly won a forth title in 2005, before the crown was stripped from his head for doping. Of the current crop of contenders, only Denis Menchov is racing to equal that three-time mark. His 2007 win, when he crashed during the final stage time trial, but was able to hang on for a dramatic win, caused everyone's heart to skip a beat. This year will likely be his last best shot at victory, and I suspect he will be riding with great enthusiasm. This year's edition seems well suited to his abilities. However it goes it will be fun to watch.

Tony Rominger (center) with Alex Zulle (a two-time winner himself)

Laurent Jalabert won all three classifications at the 1995 Vuelta, the only rider to ever do so

Day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels...

Moving Planet is a worldwide rally to demand solutions to the climate crisis. Events will be taking place around the world on Saturday, September 24. Locally, Sustainable Claremont will be sponsoring a celebration ride from Claremont to Covina; riders can opt to eat lunch at Taste of Texas, and return by bike or Metrolink, or can make a longer day / ride of it by traveling to Glendora (Finkbiner Park) where there will be another Moving Planet celebration. Thank you Larry for the heads-up about this. Clicking on the above link will take you to the Moving Planet Claremont/Covina event page; from there you can sign up for the ride, to help the organizers predict how many riders to expect. Also, look for them at the 91711 Day celebration, which by the way, is a perfect opportunity to bring out your bike, making it easy to move around between the different venues.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dark Shroud of Mystery...

after picking up my origin8 fixed gear bike in april 2010
it has been featured in a mere handful of posts here.

other than the addition of a freewheel, and new
lizard skin grips, I pretty much left it as it was.

well, after my visit to the encino velodrome last week,
I have decided to proceed with some long-planned modifications.

in reality the changes are mostly minor, but the impact of those changes
will be relatively significant. light will shine on it soon.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...